Saturday, January 23, 2016

Explore Mont Blanc in Google Maps

Google launched Mont Blanc in Google Maps this week.

Mont Blanc is the highest peak (4809m) in Europe, excluding Elbrus (5642m) in Caucasus. In real life I have climbed Elbrus, but Mont Blanc only virtually here.

The Gouter Route to the 4809m peak.

There are four main sections to be virtually explored:
  • Climb the Goûter Route (to the top of Mont Blanc),
  • Discover the mountain with famed explorers (featuring Kilian Jornet, Ueli Steck etc.)
  • Train in the valley (run with Kilian Jornet, rock climb with Catherine Destivelle etc.)
  • The changing massif (visit the shrinking Mer de Glace glacier). 

Kilian Jornet running up and down Mont Blanc - he has done it in 4h 57mins.

I found this an interesting addition to last year's El Capitan in Yosemite. Hopefully Google will add a Street View of the whole UTMB course around the Mont Blanc Massif in the future. Until then you have to run it yourself, like I did (my UTMB 2014 race report).

Ueli Steck ice climbing near Triangle du Tacul.

Kilian Jornet's typical training run.

Kilian Jornet.

Ueli Steck.

Ueli Steck.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Flying Hanuman Rainforest Zipline Eco-Adventure

Flying Hanuman is Phuket's top-rated rainforest zipline eco-adventure. The 2.5-hour course consists of 20 minutes jungle trail hiking, 15 ziplines, 2 abseils, 2 skybridges, 3 spiral staircases and a skyrail. The maximum height (to abseil down from a gigantic tree) is 40 meters and the longest zipline flight is 400 meters. One of the ziplines is dual, allowing two persons to fly together side by side.

We found Flying Hanuman a thrilling but secure experience. The staff take good care of everyone in your group and make the experience fun and exciting.

After you finish they give you a Flying Hanuman t-shirt and serve fruits or a meal.You can also keep the black scarf that is required under the helmet.

The course is not physically too demanding but it may be mentally a bit challenging if you are scared of heights. My Suunto Ambit move data is here. Well worth a visit if you are in Phuket and can spare half a day.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Phuket Snorkeling

We spent the Christmas holidays again in Andaman Sea with TPjr. Swimming and snorkeling is fabulous around Phuket island in Thailand, as you can see. And with 33-34°C temperatures the ocean is the coolest place to be!


Friday, January 1, 2016

Patience, Birdwatching and Ultratrailrunning

"Endurance is nobler than strength, and patience than beauty."
 -John Ruskin

The other evening a dark grey morph of Pacific Reef Heron looking for supper caught my attention on a lonely beach in Phuket island. It patiently waited for an opportunity to catch supper. Maybe this seabird has a lesson for us mountain-ultra-trailrunners to learn?

Judging after my first half of 2015, my year of ultra trail running surely didn't look great. I had fallen in the first downhill in Transgrancanaria, causing injuries which later lead to a dreadful DNF. My legs were really not working properly while training all spring. Then I got lost way too many times in Ecotrail Oslo. Finally I chose to quit Lavaredo Ultra Trail relatively close to the finish when a short thunderstorm forced me inside a tent. Things were definitely not looking too bright at that point.

But I still had the other half of the year. The glass is always half full, right? I changed my training toward steep hill repeats. I also raced short'n'steep Zugspitz Trailrun Challenge and even managed to climb the highest peak after the race. Then I finished Swiss Irontrail 201km, my longest and hardest race ever with 11,440 meters of climbing. This was followed by another success in Ultra Trail Collserola. All of these races were awesome new trailrunning experiences in their own unique way.

So I wish everyone happiness and patience for 2016. This will certainly be my New Year's resolution, as my main goal will be Swiss Irontrail T201 again. And who knows what else.