Adventure in 60 Seconds: This Week in Exploration

It has been a wild week in adventure: Man has confronted nature with every type of result, but in the end, it was the women who stole the show.
—By Tetsuhiko Endo

Spring is always hectic in the Himalaya and 2010 has been no different.
This week proved to be noteworthy for both its positives and negatives.
As reported earlier, South
Korean Oh Eun-Sun
became the disputed queen of the the 14ers with
her ascent of Annapurna. For more on the controversy, check out this
insightful BBC article
that breaks down the controversy surrounding her claim.

Annapurna continued to live up to its reputation as one of the more
lethal of the 8,000-meter peaks by climbing the life of Spaniar Tolo
Calafat. The situation was further complicated by allegations of fixed
rope cutting by Korean teams. This is the 7th straight year in which at
least one fatality has taken place on Annapurna, and yet another
instance in which the climber summited, but was too exhausted to make it
down the mountain. (

This morning, the New York Times reported that the coast guard is investigating reports that the first fingers of oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico are beginning to tickle the beaches and estuaries of the Gulf Coast. With storms predicted for the weekend that will hamper cleanup efforts, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has declared a state of emergency and the federal government is turning its full attention to the problem. The spill was caused by an oil rig explosion last week that left 11 workers missing and presumed dead. The cause of the explosion remains unexplained. Every day it leaks another 200,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf, so let's hope the federal government has a few aces up its sleeve. (

In cleaner seas, Abby Sunderland, the latest in a horde of youngsters to try to be the youngest sailor to solo circumnavigate the globe without stopping, has had to stop. See if you can keep up: Sunderland, 16, was attempting to break the record of English teen Mike Perham, 17, who had in turn broken the record that Abby's brother, Zac, also 17 but a few months older, set last year. Unfortunately, her autopilot started acting up, so she has had to set a course to get the boat repaired in Cape Town, South Africa. Far from calling it quits and trying to make it home in time for prom, Abby will keep sailing after her repairs, in hopes of compeleting her circumnavigation, record or no. (

All eyes now turn to Australian Jessica Watson, also 16, who is now in the choppy waters surrounding Tasmania, the final leg of her solo, non-stop circumnavigation. She is predicted to claim a new world record any day now. (

And finally, the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards took place last weekend, and recognized the men and women who risked their lives last year to ride the biggest waves in the world. The top honor—the Ride of the Year award—went to the South African Grant Baker, who celebrated by using some of his $50,000 dollars in winnings to buy everyone at the ceremony a shot of tequila. Check out all the winners at (


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