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A Year in the Wilderness: Winter and Spring Play Tug of War – Week 27, Post 12

The dogs trotted down Knife Lake pulling us silently across the last patches of snow lining the southern shore. In the spring, dawn is usually the coolest time of the day and offers the best traveling conditions. In a couple hours the sun’s powerful rays would cause the dogs to pant, the snow and ice…

For More and More Runners, Ski Mountaineering Is Closing the Winter Fitness Gap

Why trail- and ultrarunners are spending their winters in ski boots. Just after sunset on March 20, 2016, endurance athletes Jason Schlarb, Scott Simmons, Paul Hamilton, and Noah Howell skinned to the edge of Cement Creek on the outskirts of Silverton, Colorado. They had completed all but the last two miles of their planned four-day…

Calving Ice Sets Off Mini-Tsunamis Daily in Antarctica

The placid demeanor of an Antarctic fjord often conceals a more dangerous reality that lurks just below the surface. Even as Ari Friedlaender led us on a quiet search for minke whales in Andvord Bay on March 15, the fjord was showing a very different face several miles away at Neko Harbor, a low, ice-free…

Hunting ‘Gators’ in Antarctica

3 p.m. local time, March 15, 2016, Post #4 Our Zodiac glides past chunks of floating ice, through water as smooth and still as glass. Ari Friedlaender stands in back, steering the boat with one hand, his crossbow stowed conveniently at his feet. We’re cruising through Andvord Bay, a fjord on the west side of…

Skiing Ja-Pow: Chasing Winter in Remote Japan

Our headlights ignite a furious vortex of snowflakes that races toward the windshield of our little Toyota HI eight-passenger van as we speed into the night and the thickening storm ahead. The road beyond the falling snow is barely distinguishable from the massive banks of white on either side of it, carved from the landscape…

Penguins’ Not-So-Adorable Contribution to Life in Antarctica

9 a.m. local time, March 14, 2016, Post #3 A flurry of snowflakes swirls past in the cold morning air—at least they look like snow—but I soon realize they’re actually penguin feathers, lofted by wind from the colony of stinky birds nesting a few yards away. It is late summer on Danco Island, a small…

A Year in the Wilderness: Navigating Blizzards – Week 25, Post 11

On our 176th day in the wilderness, we found ourselves staring into a blank, white canvas. From our position in the middle of frozen Snowbank Lake, no land was visible. Traveling inside a ping pong ball, our senses were heightened. The wind against our faces and the angle of the snow blowing across our skis were…

14 Year Old Achieves Hardest Boulder Climb Ever Done by a Woman

A week before her 15th birthday, Ashima Shiraishi, the unlikely climbing prodigy from New York City, got an early present. During a spring-break trip to Japan, she climbed a boulder problem with a difficulty rating of V15—essentially, at the current limit of climbing difficulty. This makes Shiraishi not only the first woman to climb a…

How I Crossed One of the World’s Roughest Seas

4 p.m. local time, March 11, 2016, Post #2  I woke this morning to the dizzy feeling of rocking—as if my bed were swinging from a hammock. The walls, ceiling, and floor creaked with each swing. The room was dark. I stumbled out of bed in search of the light switch. Our ship, the Ortelius,…

What Will Climate Change Mean for Whales? These Scientists Hope to Find Out.

2 p.m. local time, March 10, 2016, Post #1 On a blustery autumn day in Ushuaia, Argentina, 54 degrees south of the equator near the shredded, mountainous tip of South America, final preparations are under way on the M.V. Ortelius, a vessel strengthened for navigation in polar sea ice. This evening, tugboats will nudge her into…