The first ascent of the north face of Eiger, a mountain in the Swiss Alps (13,025 feet tall), happened in 1938 and took three days. Watch as Ueli Steck climbs it in 2 hours, 47 minutes, and 33 seconds.
The whole thing is pretty much insane, but you'll really want to start paying attention around the 2:15 mark. He's running up that mountain! (via devour)
Four boarding school friends (the charmer, the looker, the student, and the joker) attempted to scale Mont Blanc and only two came back alive. Two of the four had previously scaled Everest at 19 (without sherpas) and followed that up by travelling from the North Pole to the South Pole using only manpower and natural power. So what went wrong on Mont Blanc?
They spent their first two days with an emphasis on safety measures. Lebon and Atkinson were well advised of Mont Blanc's singular reputation. Any seasoned climber, when contemplating the world's most dangerous mountains, looks first to the Himalayas -- to Annapurna, K2, Nanga Parbat. These monsters are as forbidding as they come, and therefore have the highest fatality rates. Four out of 10 climbers who ascend Annapurna die there.
Mont Blanc comes in somewhere after Everest, the Matterhorn, and Denali, in Alaska, but in sheer numbers it kills more climbers than the whole lot of them combined. It is the Siren of major mountains; gracious and popular, it is summited by 20,000 climbers a year -- pretty much anyone can climb the thing, if not safely. But it lures overly ambitious suitors too high or deep, then brutalizes them.
Viewed architecturally, these examples of high-tech camping gear -- capable of housing small groups of people on the vertical sides of cliffs, as if bolted into the sky -- begin to look like something dreamed up by Archigram: nomadic, modular, and easy to assemble even in wildly non-urban circumstances. This is tactical gear for the spatial expansion of private leisure.
Designers often have the design disease, where you "can't stop looking at things through your designer eyes". "But it's not just books, it's everything. You'll choose wine by the design of the label and you'd stay [at a hotel] because of the sign." (via emdashes)
Update: Bruce writes: "A parallel affliction to the Design Disease is Climber's Complaint, wherein someone who takes up rock climbing begins to see every object and architecture as potentially climbable. Similarly, Skater's Disorder afflicts those for whom every surface is seen to exhibit some measure of skate-worthiness."