Ski boots buying guide

Ski boots might be the single most important piece of skiing equipment you own—maybe even more important than the skis themselves. Your boots, after all, are the only piece of equipment that touches your body. Skis of different qualities will do more or less the same job, but all of your power and control comes from your feet. The wrong ski boots will screw up your performance on the slope, at best, and cause serious pain and injury at worst.

When you prioritize shopping for ski boots, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits for years to come, and save yourself the hassle and hurt of skiing in the wrong footwear. Here’s some tips to prepare you for the process, so that you can get what you need to ensure that your first day on the slopes goes smoothly.

Start With The Right Shop

You’re not going to get the right boots if you don’t shop at the right store. This might sound like a no brainer, but in the era of online shopping, the temptation can be strong to click and order on delivery. This might be an option for regular shoes, but ski boots are not regular shoes (more on this in a moment). It’s crucial to go to an actual brick-and-mortar store to get the right ski boots, because there’s no way you can get the right fit off the internet. When you decide to go shopping, make sure you have enough time to invest in the trip—a proper ski boot fitting can take up to two hours, done properly.

ski shop with three employees

Find a shop that carries a wide selection of ski boots in different brands, sizes, and styles. It can be helpful to visit before ski season even begins to make sure they’ve got everything in stock. You’ll also need to make sure that the staff is knowledgeable enough to get you properly fitted, and aren’t just there to make a sale at any cost.

Ski Boots Are Not Shoes

It’s possible to go shoe shopping without a specialist because you can feel whether or not you’ve got the right size. In fact, armed with your shoe size, you might not even need to try shoes on at all, especially for shoes like sandals that come with a lot of room for error. But ski boots aren’t shoes. They function completely differently on your feet, forcing your body into completely different and unusual positions.

In shoes, you are generally able to stand perfectly upright, distributing your weight roughly equally between the ball of your feet and your heel. Your foot widens as it spreads out against the ground, and your ankles are more or less free to flex.

skiers wearing ski boots in snow

In ski boots, though, your knees are forced forward at a slight angle, distributing your weight mostly on the ball of your foot. Your ankles should be completely immobilized and prevented from rolling inside the boot. This is the physical arrangement that skiing power comes from. If a ski boot is too big, you lose all the power, and put yourself at risk of serious injury.

“If the shoe fits, wear it” is a great motto for sneakers and flip flops, where each number roughly fits everyone else of a similar foot size, but ski boots are more like Cinderella’s infamous glass slippers—they should only fit you. A good boot fitter will take your foot length, width, shape, arch, and build, as well as any other unique features into account when sizing you.

If The Boot Fits, It’s The Wrong Size

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying ski boots is choosing a comfortable boot. That’s right: if it’s comfortable when you buy it, it’s almost certainly the wrong size. Because ski boots are built with a spongy liner that compresses over time to mold to your feet, new boots should feel too tight the first day that you wear them. If you buy a pair that fits comfortably right away, they’ll quickly become looser and larger until they’re much too big. Compensating by buckling your boots in tighter to the skis will just damage the nerves and blood vessels on the tops of your feet, and won’t make the boots fit any better.

fitting a pair of ski boots

The same rule of thumb goes for kids. Avoid the temptation to buy boots for kids to “grow into”. Ski boots come in one-centimeter size increments, which is more than a shoe size (in American as well as European sizes). This means that if a ski boot is two sizes too big, it’s an inch and a half too big, which is a huge gap for a kid’s foot. The boots will be incredibly difficult to ski well in, and the learning curve will be much steeper than it would be with boots that fit right. Don’t make skiing harder than it needs to be, or put kids at risk of injury.

The Flex Index

Ski boots are rated on a flex index that measures how stiff boots are. In general, stiffer boots are able to transfer more power, and for this reason are better for more advanced skiers. Boots with a softer flex, or a flex index below 80, are good for beginners, partly because they’re more comfortable. If you’re an intermediate skier, go for a flex index between 80 and 100. Medium-flex boots are more responsive than soft flex boots, so they’re better for speed and turning.

If you’re an advanced skier, stiff flex boots are the way to go. With a flex index of 100 or more, these ski boots are perfect for steep or challenging terrain with tight turns, bumps and jumps. Racing boots are the stiffest, but can be too rigid if you’re going for real maneuverability as well as speed.

Unfortunately, flex index ratings vary by manufacturer, so you’ll just have to try them on and see how they feel in the shop.

skiers in action

Don’t let the process of buying ski boots turn you off. Instead, get excited for the chance to choose a ski boot that’s truly unique to you, so that you can enjoy skiing like a pro, and hit the slopes knowing you’ve got exactly the right equipment.

Guide to choosing your perfect skis

Whether you’re just hitting the slopes for the first time, or you’ve been skiing black diamonds every season for years, deciding how to choose perfect skis can be a complicated experience. Luckily, a little bit of preparation and foresight goes a long way towards making the mission a success.

The following guide will help you choose skis that are the perfect match for your height, weight, skill level, and ski style, so you can walk out of the ski shop or rental store with exactly what you need.

Where Will You Ski?

The first step is deciding what kind of a skier you are, or what kinds of mountains and terrains you’ll be skiing on. This should be the first question a salesperson asks you, and from there, they’ll be able to hep you determine how to buy the skis that you need.

All mountain skis are suitable for skiers at any age or experience level. They handle best on hard snow and groomed terrain. All mountain skis tend to be narrower, with deep sidecuts and rockered tips (more on these features later) which make them easy to turn. All mountain wide skis, also known as mid fats or fats can handle more powder snow than their thinner equivalents and can provide stability and power on snow of varying density.

three skiers climbing a slope

Powder skis, predictably, do best in deep powder snow. They are sometimes called super-fats because they are wide enough to provide superior floatation in loose snow, like surfboards. Most of them are fully rockered to keep the edges from catching. They’re not the first choice for tight turns on groomed runs, but they’ll handle deep powder better than any other variety.

Backcountry skis, also known as alpine touring or ski mountaineering skis, tend to be lighter than all mountain or powder skis, to make them easier to carry when trekking to find untracked slopes. Many of them come with notches in the tips and tails for attaching climbing skins, so you can ski uphill and explore to find fresh terrain. Because backcountry skis are so specialized, they’re not always great on hard snow, and their light weight makes them susceptible to damage by impact. Unless you’ll be spending most of your time mountaineering with your skis, another style might be a better option.

Gender or Age

kid on a skiGender and age are both important factors to consider when shopping for skis. Because women’s bodies are different from men’s, women’s skis are designed differently, often with a softer flex which makes them more responsive and easier to maneuver. They tend to be lighter and shorter than men’s skis. Because the center of gravity on a woman’s body is typically farther back than on a man’s body, the bindings on women’s skis are often mounted farther forwards than on men’s skis, for enhanced balance and stability. Of course, everyone’s body and preferences are different, but it’s certainly worth considering models that are designed with your body in mind.

For kids, avoid the temptation to buy skis for kids to grow into. Skiing equipment should fit right, all the time, and sticking a kid with skis that are too long for them will hamper their development and give them unnecessary difficulty. If nothing else, skis that are too short are much better than skis that are too long, so keep this in mind if you’re stuck between two different sizes or styles.

Height and Weight

Your height and weight will help you determine the ideal length and width of your skis. In general, for adults, the tips of the skis should reach somewhere between the nose and eyebrows, though this may vary depending on skill and style. For kids under six, the skis should land just under the chin, and for kids under twelve, skis should reach somewhere between the chin and forehead, depending on skill, style, and comfort.

skier on a jump

Your weight, too, plays a role in how to choose skis. Heavier skiers might want to consider longer or wider skis. Extra weight gives good leverage for turning longer skis, and wider skis are good for weight distribution.

Length

skier with skis on his shoulderThe length of your skis will decide how your skis perform on any terrain, at every speed, during turns, and skiing straight. In general, shorter skis are more nimble than longer skis, making them ideal for the park, or for skiers who are interested in making quick turns around trees. Their superior maneuverability is great for shorter and lighter people, who don’t have as much mass to put into turns. Short skis also handle better at slower speeds, making them ideal for beginners.

Long skis, on the other hand, are more stable at high speeds than short skis are. They aren’t as nimble, so they’re appropriate for advanced skiers who are comfortable with longer turns. Heavier skiers might do well on longer skis as well, because they have the weight leverage for turning.

Ski length is a matter of preference, rather than an exact science, so this is something you might want to experiment with if you are able to demo your equipment before you buy it.

Waist

When deciding how to buy skis, the most important dimension to consider is ski width, or waist. A narrower waist is ideal for harder snow. Narrow waists allow you to get your skis on edge sooner, concentrating your weight for turns. Narrow skis are more nimble, great for turns and groomed runs.

A wider waist, on the other hand, gives a skier the needed surface area to float through powder and flatten out the irregularities of softer snow. By spreading the skier’s weight out over a greater surface area, wide skis make skiers lighter per square inch of snow, providing stability and float.

two skiers holding their skis

Carve skis tend to have the narrowest waists, generally measuring less than 85mm. Backcountry skis built for trekking and long tours tend to measure on the narrower side as well, between 70 and 90mm, but alpine touring skis designed for deep snow are wider, at 90-115mm, for better float. Allmountain skis land somewhere in the middle, with an 85-95mm waist for harder snow, and 95-105mm for more varied terrain. If you’re unsure, or want something suitable for a variety of terrain, this is a great waist width to consider. Powder skis are the widest, typically measuring between 98mm and 125mm—the deeper the snow, the wider the waist you’ll want.

Camber & Rocker

skier on a downhill

The camber and rocker of your skis refers to the bend in the middle and the ends of your skis, respectively. The more camber, or arc, that you have in your skis, the more energy and power you’ll be able to put into and get out of your turns. It’s like a built in spring that snaps the ski back from turns. Camber skis are great for skiers who use the whole ski from tip to tail throughout their entire turns.

The rocker is sometimes called the reverse camber or negative camber, and it refers to the rise at the tip and tail of a ski. Rockered skis are great for skiers who keep their weight balance in the middle of a ski, and for maneuverability and floatation in powdered snow and mixed terrain.

Stiffness

skier on a jumpThe final consideration when deciding how to choose skis – before, of course, the color! –is the stiffness. Stiff skis can feel and perform completely differently to soft skis, and your skill level will play a big part when deciding what stiffness is best for you. In general, beginners will be more comfortable on softer skis, which are much easier to learn on. Soft skis are easy to control at lower speeds, and require far less energy and technique to maneuver than stiffer alternatives. They’re less responsive than stiff skis, though, so you might find that you want stiffer skis as your technique develops.

Experts, more aggressive skiers, and heavier skiers might want stiff skis, which require more strength to maneuver, but provide more power for speed and stability for varied terrain. Metal skis are stiffer and less flexible than wood or carbon skis, but faster and more stable. The faster and more aggressively you ski, the stiffer your skis should be.

Somewhere in the middle, medium flex skis are great for skiers who ski at a variety of speeds or on a variety of terrains. Powder skis tend to be medium flex, which will keep you floating on top of the snow instead of cutting beneath it, while still providing stability with some speed.

How To Choose Skis

choose perfect skisThis guide is a great start to choosing the skis that are right for you, but nothing beats experimentation. Let your research give you a sense of what might work for you, and then take it to a rental shop. Whether you’re hitting powder slopes or cutting a groomed run, find the skis that are appropriate for the terrain, and then try out some different lengths and waist widths to find the balance that’s truly right for you.

All Should Know About The 7 Summits Challenge

Most mountain climbers have heard or come to the understanding of what the Seven Summits challenge is. Basically, the term refers to the highest mountains found in all the seven continents worldwide. The challenge usually involves climbing the highest mountains. The challenge of mountaineering was brought about in the early nineteen eighties. Generally, the seven Summits are defined according to their continental borders and they use the same definition that Western Europe, Austria, and the United States.

There are several peaks that are still disputed; the first one is the Oceanic summit. It’s further argued that the highest mainland peak is Mount Kosciuszko at two thousand, two hundred and twenty-eight meters found on the Australian mainland. Puncak Jaya is the other peak talked about; it stands at four thousand, eight hundred and eighty-four meters high in New Guinea. Indonesia is also contested to be part of Asia; therefore, Mount Wilhelm which is 4,509 meters tall making it the highest in the Oceania area along the Papua New Guinea region.

Mt. Puncak Jaya

The other peak which lies in dispute includes the European summit. Mount Elbrus which is at 5,642 meters. It lies within the border of Europe and Asia; this factor makes its inclusion to the Seven Summit to be disputed, thus making Mount Blanc the highest at 4,810 meters. It is also found within the borders of Italy and France and yet it is undisputed.

The commonly used and well-accepted list of the seven summits includes the Messner and Bass lists. A lot of mountaineers agree with the list of Messner as the correct list to be used. Bass list involves the Mainland Australia Mountains; however, the Messner’s list includes the Puncak Jaya as the tallest Mountain in the oceanic region. The Messner’s list includes the most challenging as it upholds all the ideals that climbers need, unlike the Bass lists which include Oceania mount that is considered to be the easiest to climb to its peak as compared to the difficult Carstensz Pyramid.

The Seven Summit List According to Messner

Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is located on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, but the foothills of this mountain are located firmly in Tanzania. There is no any technical difficulties to be encountered when climbing this mountain. It is known to be a warm mountain due to its location on the Tanzanian plains close to the equator. Close to the summit glaciers are found and on some slopes but the usually used route is free from ice and snow. No expensive hiking gear is needed when climbing this mountain, the normal hiking gear is used, and the ticket prices to the country are moderate. The mountain is 5963m high.

Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Carstensz Pyramid

Vinson

This mountain is found on the continent of Antarctica, and it is officially not part of any Antarctica country. Low temperatures and cold winds characterize Vinson. Climbers should take advantage to apply winter climbing skills since the route is solely on ice and snow, and avalanches are possible. A good sized budget is needed to reach this mountain. Climbers should be equipped with good winter climbing equipment. Vinson is 4892m high.

Carstensz Pyramid

The Carstensz pyramid is found on the continent of Australia. Its foothills are firmly located in Indonesia. This mountain is known to have an airy summit ridge traverse and steep rock climbing sections including some rappelling. The most technical of Carstensz Pyramid is the rock peak found in the middle of the steaming Indonesia rainforest. On its higher reaches, the mountain peak is plagued with zero visibility and bad weather conditions. You can do climbing with ordinary clothing, but it is such expensive to reach this restricted part of Indonesia. Carstensz is 4884m high.

Everest

Mt Everest is at the heart of the Himalayan range at the border of Nepal and China. There are climbing threats at 9000m since there is not much oxygen and it’s cold with strong winds. It is not such an easy task to climb Everest. The mountain has a notorious icefall called the Khumbu which has collapsing seracs and dangerous crevasses. It is also quite expensive to climb Everest. Mt Everest is 8848m high.

Mt. Everest Peak

Elbrus at 5,642 meters on Europe in Russia

The largest mountain in Europe is located at the border of Georgia at the Russian peak. The highest point on the mountain of Caucasus.

This mountain is one of the easiest mountains to climb for new mountaineers as it does not require any mountaineering skills to climb. It is straightforward and no complicated sections. Elbrus can be climbed any time of the year but the most appropriate time is between May to September. You can do here with the standard cold weather gear. National reserve fees are applicable, but no peak fee is charged.

Mount McKinley at 6,194 meters on North America in the United

This mountain is managed by the Alaskan Range and is located in the wilderness of Alaska. It’s among the coldest climbs due to its location at the far up North of America. The climbing gear has to be quality cold weather gear this is due to its winds and weather which is not friendly. The route to the top is not complicated, but mountaineers need to have some skills in ice and snow climbing. The best season to climb is late April to early July, this is because during winter it gets intensely cold.

Aconcagua

Aconcagua is at 6,962 meters, it is found in central parts of Los Andes in Argentina at the South American continent. The routes followed are well elaborated and the weather keeps on changing from time to time. During the night, it gets pretty cold due to its high altitude of about seven thousand meters and most climbers do not make it to its peak; this can be as a result of not going through proper acclimatization. The weather is never friendly. Summer months are the best moment to climb Mount Aconcagua, and the months to go climbing ranges from December to march.

For those who want the real adventure, try the seven summit challenge – a journey you will never forget!

Sierra Bivys

Post #144 – North Palisade 14,242’ #10 Sierra 14er Summit Bivy, Oct 6-7, 2014.

Post #144 – North Palisade 14,242’  #10 Sierra 14er Summit Bivy, Oct 6-7, 2014.
14,242’ North Palisade
A very long but enjoyable fall day in the Eastern Sierras took me all the way to the summit of 14,242’ North Palisade on Monday, October 6.
These peaks are rugged.  North Palisade is located to the southwest of Bishop, CA.  The peak is in fact a large mass if that includes three additional subsummits of over 14,000’ that comprise the Palisades:  Starlight, Thunderboldt, and Polemonium.  While each of these peaks are 14er summits, by definition of the 300-foot rule from a connecting saddle, only North Palisade is considered an “Official” Fourteener summit.
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The Meeting 11, Aspen CO Recap on a great conference, Oct 1-3, 2015.

The Meeting 11: Aspen-Snowmass. Oct 1-3, 2015. A must attend event in the Snowsports Industry!
Aspen CO Meeting
outdoor adventureFor me, an emerging outdoor adventure athlete, ski-mountaineer, author, TV consultant and expedition guide, The Meeting 11 serves as an awesome opportunity to learn about the snowsports industry and the relationship between creating content and what are the best ways to use it.  The conference portion of The Meeting in 2015 focused on all aspects of content with discussion focused on delivering marketing value, effectively using social platforms, fostering an audience, generating return on investment and identifying the next trend. A unique set of panelists and presenters representing a wide range of brands were assembled to share ideas and lead interactive discussions throughout the day.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Peroscope, YouTube, Snapchat, Vimeo, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr and more.  How can we keep it all straight?  I’ll admit, some of these forms of Social media I don’t use at all. But some I have been successful with. The amount of content being produced, posted and utilized in this industry is mind-boggling, and understanding which platforms appeal to which audiences is key to maximizing the ability for your own content to be seen and be made of value.
One of the best parts of the conference was the breakout session sponsored by Group Y.  In this interactive session I spent an hour with some professionals in the media industry, and our task was to create a marketing platform to appeal to all demographics.  Breaking down which social media is relevant to which age demographic was eye opening, especially since every social media brand actually has a specific age group that uses it more than others.  For example a marketing campaign that targets both the youth and the older generation in the Aspen area for the Ski Company can be possible through different uses of Social Media.  Aspen is truly a ski town of contrasts, (X-games youth, versus traditional rich families or the older generation that comes for their annual ski-vacations or to build a second home and stay in Aspen).
home and stay in AspenWith social media, reaching new audiences is often the challenge, and I can attest to this.  Have you ever been posting on social media but have the same people liking everything? How can you diversify your social media portfolio authentically? The VP of Integrated Marketing for Stance, Nick Tran and ISSA Sawabini from Fuse Marketing discussed ways that this can be done.  They provided some stellar tips and examples of a campaign they did with Taco Bell, which not only promoted their Instagram account, but maximized the expenditures of customers during a particular period in time when they introduced a new taco to the market.
The great Penn Newhard of Backbone Media presenting with my group during the breakout session presentations.
Presentation
Overall the biggest thing I pulled from the meeting was understanding the space of content with authenticity, which will truly reach every demographic. Content is valuable, and a great way to give a sponsor something in return.  Quality content can go a long way to building a true partnership with a brand.  Content delivery and creating quality content can be sold to sponsors at a high value.
With brands these days, their Goal isn’t to sponsor, its to collaborate and make content. Content creates an experience for the consumer and gives a person an experience through a brand. There has to be a story behind the content to give it depth. Given this concept authentic was a buzz word.  So was doing something because you have a passion for your own adventures in the outdoor world.  In my opinion this is very true.  There are so many people out there trying to post content to become “Insta-famous” on social media.  I personally think that those people aren’t in this business for the right reasons.  Do something because you are passionate about it, not because you want people to like your posts or garner attention.
Road
To wrap up some short highlights:
Cool product: Iphone 6 shoots 4k.
Can be shared with the CS1 placing the Iphone 6 right into the device for instant sharing and no downloads necessary.  You can create edits and share instantly.
Scott McDonald Cofounder Lumenati @Lumenati_CO
Something on the horizon: Live Streaming coming with Snapchat and Peroscope and different perspectives from different camera angles.   This new concept is where social media is becoming even more “Live”.
The event  (THE MEETING 11) isn’t just about the conference sessions, its about having fun, collaborating with others, networking, and enjoying the festivities in and around Aspen for the weekend. Other highlights of the conference:
Ski and Snowboard Films: Almost too many to count, but some were packed.  The best film: Paradise Waits by Teton Gravity Research.
Also The Transworld Snowboard Film  – “Origins” , was a great film because of the history behind snowboarding.
Red Bull
Go Cart Racing – Always a Hit, Sponsored by Aspen Snowmass and Red Bull as well as GoPro.
And I even had a chance to run in a 10K race to benefit MS.
Looking forward to THE MEETING 12 in 2016.
Cheers
Dr. Jon
Car Racing

Kathmandu; The Long Trip Home, Trying to Comprehend it All, May 9, 2015.

Post #169: Kathmandu;  The Long Trip Home, Trying to Comprehend it All, May 9, 2015.
 
With any luck I will get this posted when I am back on U.S. Soil.  Suddenly I am sitting on a very long 15 hour flight from Doha to Dallas.
flight from Doha
Well, eventually I made my way to Lukla, and in clear skies jumped on a flight to Kathmandu, ending my adventure in the Everest Region.  I felt fulfilled with the activities I was given in the days after the Earthquake, but knew it was my time to leave. The morning I came out I was on about the 10 flight of the morning, so while there wasn’t 500 people trying to leave Lukla, 10 planes throughout a clear morning with 10-15 people is still a fair amount.
trail from aNamche
The evening before I arrived to Lukla on the trail from Namche, I observed Most Teahouses from Monjo to Phakding to Lukla with minor cracks and damage, and there were a handful with complete destruction.  One thing was clear and bizarre at the same time: it felt desolate and deserted because the teahouses were empty, and there was not a single trekker coming up the trail from Lukla.  I an almost guarantee you’ll never see it like that ever again during trekking season.  It reminded me of 2013 when I trekked down from Gasherbrum II on the Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan.  Terrorism had effectively wiped out the people coming in. As I strolled out of the Khumbu to similar stillness, I thought that this would also be the only time that such a famous trekking route to Everest BC will be so deserted.
What will the implications be this fall then when the fall trekking season is slated to begin? I am going to go out on a limb and say that this fall may be slightly lower than usual, but I believe the crowds will be back.  As for Everest next year, I bet it will be as crowded or have even more aspiring climbers in 2016.  Let’s see what happens.
Kathmandu:
I minimized my time in Kathmandu, but I saw enough.   In some places homes had completely collapsed.  In most places, the city was fine and completely normal. Now that the Death Toll is Approaching 10,000, the people in Kathmandu also have to try and move on with their lives.  In some cases it’s not easy, especially for the poor who likely can’t afford to build or rebuild for themselves. In a metropolis that includes almost 4 Million people (Including the outlying ex-urban  areas), almost a Million people have fled to rural villages to either help family and friends, or to go to a place that has standing homes ad running water.  For a while, Kathmandu was running out of supplies, but life is actually getting easier in the City, because so many people left.  One of the days in Kathmandu I actually saw the Snow-Capped Himalayas in the Distance, a site that is rare because usually there is too much smog and haze choking the air.  As a result of less people driving, less people burning fuel for cooking,  and others leaving the city, you could argue that the air  quality had improved quite a bit.  In my previous years of visiting Kathmandu, I had actually never seen air so clear there.
Kathmandu
I took a walk around the city one day and shot some photos of the lingering damage.  One place that startled me was a watering hole/temple behind my hotel  in Thamel that was completely obliterated since 2012 from when I saw it last.  A building collapsed, the debris fell into this pit the size of a basketball gymnasium,  about 15 feet deep and up to a dozen people were killed and are still beneath the rubble.  Sadly, this is a common sight in various parts of the City.  You can go for long blocks and nothing has happened, then randomly a building will have collapsed.  Although I wasn’t able to go see it, a famous place in Kathmandu has been devastated, called Patan Durbar Square.  I visited the place in 2008 when I was here and there are photos and videos on the web that show it collapsing.
In leaving Nepal, I find myself feeling what only a human being can feel, sad, helpless, concerned, amazed, and grateful.  While my efforts on the ground in Basecamp and coming down the Khumbu felt good and rewarding, the situation for the rest of Nepal quite honestly feels hopeless for the unlucky ones.  Life goes go on for people not affected, but you come away from it all wishing you had a recipe for recovery.
In thinking about this now on my ride home, if you contribute financially to the causes over here, you should definitely go with good organizations that have a proven track record, and the ability to do something good in Nepal with your donation. Unfortunately the Nepali Government is not very responsible, so money going to them may never reach the right place.  I think 3 organizations for now get my approval.
1.     The Dzi Foundation
2.     The Juniper Fund
3.     Raise Nepal: A disaster relief fund by Nepal Adventurers. (Google Global Giving to find Raise Nepal)
I do know there are regions much more impacted than Even Kathmandu.  The Manaslu and Langtang regions of northern and northwestern Nepal in rural villages were heavily hit. Hopefully the rescue organizations and relief efforts can help them out as by-an-large the Khumbu region not only has wealth to recover, but sustained small damage overall as compared to these other regions.
 What has transpired in Nepal before my eyes was unprecedented.  I can’t imagine having something like this happen again on one of my Climbing Expeditions, or even living through such a powerful force as an earthquake like this one anytime I travel to a different country.  Lets all hope for the best and understand that every little bit helps.
Nepal
This will officially conclude my posts from Nepal for this Expedition.  I want to thank all of my friends, family, and followers new and old for coming along for the journey.  While I will be continuing to put up some occasional entries from this expedition and the follow up through Media and Television projects and interviews, I also plan on trying to get posts  and videos of my adventures this summer up on a regular basis, including a return to Africa in the coming months.  My best-selling book “Sleeping on the Summits: Colorado 14er High Bivys” is also being released for it’s Third Printing here in June next month, so get your copy today from my website, one of my upcoming events,  or bookstores all over Colorado and the Western US.
I want to send a special thank you to my good friend and colleague Chris Tomer who did an outstanding job and helping me post updates, do my Media while away and keep the blog running when I sent him dispatches.  I am looking forward to getting home for awhile and enjoying the Spring and Summer in Colorado, not to mention visiting my parents for some of my Mom’s amazing home cooking!
As always, thanks to my Sponsors, especially Enerplex and Zeal Optics who will be organizing a fundraiser in the coming weeks for Nepal with my help.  Also thanks to GoScope, SilverOak, Honey Stinger, Kastle, Mountain Hardwear, Korte, and Aclimate.  Without my supporters this trip would not have been possible.
Until Next Time- Keep Climbing!
Dr. jon

Collecting USGS Earthquake Data in the Khumbu, May 2015

Post #168- Collecting USGS Earthquake Data in the Khumbu, May 5 2015.
Happy Cinco De Mayo Everyone! Of course over on this side of the planet, the holiday here kind of goes un-noticed. But, nevertheless what does go noticed is the incredible resilience of the Nepali People. Everywhere I have journeyed to in this great Khumbu Valley, folks are now going about their business, whether its rebuilding a wall, gathering supplies and blankets and tents for friends, or helping to start building a new home. While I know for sure people here in the Everest region are not as affected as other places like Langtang north of Kathmandu, everyone has an understanding that things are getting better, because better is the only way.
Earthquake Data for the USGS With that being said, I wanted to talk about the day I spent out collecting some important Earthquake Data for the USGS. Just by the most random inquiry from a former student of mine from when I was teaching in graduate school, I was able to stay near Namche and make a difference. Like I mentioned in my last post, I read an interesting article on National Geographic about these scientists who, because of the earthquake, wont be able to access a number of data locations across the Himalaya. These data sites are full of recorded readings from the Earthquake and subsequent aftershocks last week. If all the data is combined and read it can “paint the picture” according to John from the USGS, about possible displacement of the landscape including the height or any changes to Mt. Everest. If we don’t access the sites before about 14 days time, the data gets overwritten and lost forever. What an incredible coincidence it was to get an email about helping out right after I had read the Nat Geo article! I was happy to do so!
My former student Victoria set me up with John with the USGS and he told me to stand by at my lodge in Namche. I did some side trips to villages over the weekend, including Thame and then I got an email from John. He said to stay put and Lt. Col KC (real name protected) would be stopping by the hotel to bring me a key to the site. One fine afternoon KC dropped by as I was doing some writing. He was a handsome young lad in a Nepali Military Hat but wearing a hoody sweatshirt. He gave me an envelope. I invited “KC” to stay for tea and some chocolate cake. We chatted about our families at home and about the relief efforts here in Nepal. Before I knew it, the Colonel was headed back to his helicopter and I had the key and instructions from John as to where I needed to go up to the next morning.
I went to sleep somewhat anxious about my task. Would I be able to locate the site? Would the data be intact? More importantly, would my computer work to be able to download everything correctly?
At first light I was up and at em. No time to waste. I checked my email for the instructions sent to me for the site, and another wrench is tossed my way. “Access the data with your Ethernet port on your computer.” Ugh- “I have an Ethernet port but no Thunderboldt adapter….how on earth can I download the data?” I say to John in a quick phone call. “No worries” he tells me……”go see Tenjing Sherpa at the Alpine Lodge.” In a few minutes I begin to climb out of Namche to the lodge and Tenjing opens a tent he is sleeping in outside the lodge. “Good Mooorning Sir.” Says Tenjing. He tells me John called me, and first we have tea and breakfast as the morning sun hits us overlooking Namche. What a gorgeous morning it was, I was truly blessed to be in this position, what an adventure! After breakfast we went down to a local internet store where I met Mingma, a friend of Tenjing’s, Mingma was getting his computer fixed and was about to take his computer home to Khumjung which was up near the site on his way. What Luck, Mingma had an Ethernet port on his computer and so was happy to help. “On one condition”, he tells me, “You have to carry the computer up there.” What a deal….Sounds good to me!
So we were up and away by 730 now, warm and clear, the Himalayas were stunning. Up the trail we went through a schrub and Juniper forest. Eventually the path flattend out and we were on a stunning plateau where Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku were all in clear view. “Not much further” Mingma Said, and we continued on. Up on a hill near 13,000’ and I looked across a small bumpy and grassy field with a few yaks around me and saw what I was looking for. It was a solar panel and a box….pretty simple. This had to be it! In the Shadow of Everest and with Himalayas all around I pulled out my key as MIngma filmed me opening the box. Jackpot!
7.9 quake and a 6.9 quake aftershockI proceeded to take a look at the contents inside and began my work connecting to the Ethernet Data Port on a GPS and the rest is history. Mingma was generous enough to serve as my camera crew. A quick called to John in Kathmandu to confirm some files, and I had the data downloaded in no time. What an incredible setting, and it felt great to know I was pulling data from the 7.9 quake and a 6.9 quake aftershock the next day.
I am Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about the results of this earthquake. Did Everest get Taller or Shorter? What other changes occurred in the earth’s crust in this area? Hopefully this data will add to the other sites they have as well across the Himalaya.
Once the collection was done, we closed up, locked the site again and Mingma was generous enough to invite me to his home in Khumjung, about 30 minutes away. I had never been to Khumjung, so I walked across a small pass with him, and descended a bit into a small flat valley that was tucked away between some rocky bluffs, Juniper forests and the peak of Khumbilia (5700m).
Khumbjung School Yard Entering Khumbjung we walked past the School Yard, where many young kids were lining up and also about to play yard games like soccer or Volleyball. Across from the school house we arrived at Mingma’s Home. It was only slightly damaged by the Earthquake. A few cracks here and there and rocks fallen from the frame but for the most part the place was alright. I met Mingma’s wife, and then soon after the kids from the school yard came across on a break. I was generously treated to fresh potatoes from their garden which was dipped in salt, and we drank some milk tea. They were very generous to have me as a visitor. The potatoes were delicious. IN addition to their two sons and daughter, Mingma’s home was also open to many school kids. You could tell that the kids always came over on their school breaks it was a fun atmosphere and a nice place to relax. It reminded me of home years ago when all the neighborhood kids would come over to play and do things.
Neighborhood KidsI handed out some of my ski-mountaineering and climbing bookmarks. The kids loved them and all said thanks. All the kids seemed so happy and just going about their everyday lives which appear to be in good order in Khumjung. We laughed and joked about my GoPro camera when I pulled it out, and the kids all asked me where I was from. I snapped a few photos as well.
Soon I had to get going, the kids hugged me goodbye and I thanked Mingma for his hospitality and help with the computer and the data. I was so humbled by the generosity and the relaxing time I spend in Khumjung. I took one lap around town to see that the village was in pretty good shape. I had heard that there was a lot of damage and that was true to a certain extent, but for every solid house standing there, the damage was confined to older structures. Yes, there are people living in tents until they can repair or build new homes, but the people have plenty to Eat and most are doing fine. Supplies to rebuild again are coming up the trail or have arrived.
KhumbuSatisfied with my day I headed back to Namche, caught a final glimpse of Everest, and felt happy with how everything went. I have a hard time believeing this wis the last time I’ll ever be here near Everest, and I am pretty sure I might be back several times in the future before my career is done. Next I’ll be heading down out of the Khumbu en Route to Kathmandu and will be interested to see the lower valleys to Lukla and Eventually get a first hand look at Kathmandu after I fly from Lukla.
Thanks again for all of your support and good wishes. I have been getting lots of emails from people asking about foundations you can send supplies or money to for the efforts here. I will respond to your emails as soon and best as I can.
Keep Climbing! Visit website homepage for further details.
Dr. Jon
Khumbu Mountain View

STAYING HERE IN NEPAL FOR NOW, USGS, & Unleashing my Inner Indiana Jones, May 3, 2015

Post #167- STAYING HERE IN NEPAL FOR NOW, USGS, & Unleashing my Inner Indiana Jones, May 3, 2015.
Yep-  I am still here in Nepal. I am choosing to stay here.  I’m not just a climber, an adventurer or Ski-Mountaineer.  I am a Geographer….a scientist, and I am in the right place at the right time.
If you can, take a look at the recent article by National Geographic:
The article states that Ken Hudnut with the USGS is looking for a scientist in the field who can collect some data from a station near Everest.  This day is information about the earthquake and measurements from Mount Everest. I read the article the other day and then by sheer coincidence a former student of mine from when I was a professor (Victoria Stengel) contacts me and asks me if I happed to be available to help with this important project.  Wow, what luck for these scientists, and what a neat opportunity to put on my Indiana Jones Hat.
There is a station in the mountains somewhere above Namche with a clear view of Everest.  This data station needs to be downloaded to a computer (which I have), and I only have until this Wednesday to find it otherwise the data expires.  Ken and John with the USGS told me that Colonel Casey with the Military is bringing the key to open the tripod device and directions to the station and will deliver to me at the Hotel in Namche as soon as possible. Luckily I am acclimatized for this effort to go up high again!  If I don’t get the key soon I may have to be authorized to go a break into the data device, but we shall see.
village of ThameSo I wait, but meantime I spent yesterday taking a stroll up to the village of Thame. This is the birthplace of Tenzing Norgay, the first Sherpa to climb Everest.  This village was devastated by the earthquake.  I filled my backpack up with Cokes and snacks, and made the beautiful hike up for two and a half hours to the village.  Upon arrival, many of the houses were leveled by the quake.  Many villagers were in need of supplies and help.  I spend an hour or so not only taking photos, but handing cokes out to everyone I saw, and even took a bit to help a man as he was rebuilding the wall on his house with stones.
Namche militaryAs I departed around lunchtime and headed back to Namche, I was pleased to hear the loud rotors of a military helicopter which landed and dropped off food and water to the townspeople.  As I headed down the trail, there were lots of porters on their way up carrying plywood and other building supplies.  Truly there is lots of support coming from everywhere and Thame is on the path to recovery.
I will update more soon once I hear from Colonel Casey. Please continue to send your good thoughts and prayers out to the people of Nepal.  Things here in the Khumbu are improving rapidly, but I know Kathmandu is still in need of help.
Keep Climbing!
-Dr Jon
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