Tag Archives: Everest

A timepiece for the adventurers on the top of the world!

The award-winning Favre-Leuba Raider Bivouac 9000 recently demonstrated that it’s not just a timepiece – but a mountaineering tool that redefines reliability. Recently, the Bivouac 9000 broke records becoming the only watch in the world to reach the top of the world – the summit of Mt Everest.  Record-breaking mountaineer Adrian Ballinger and his team battled biting cold temperatures of -40 degrees C and lower, in the harshest of conditions, noting that “at 8,800 meters, the Raider Bivouac 9000 performed flawlessly all the way to the summit of Mt Everest.” 

Moving towards the summit

Coinciding with the 280th anniversary of Favre-Leuba, the Bivouac 9000 previewed during Baselword 2017 and was officially launched on the consumer market in October 2017. Within months of the launch, the watch won the prestigious 2017-18 Watchstars ‘New Star’ award for the best new watch to enter the market. The Raider Bivouac 9000 is indeed a ‘New Star’, but it pays homage to its 1962 predecessor with the same name. The core idea of the aneroid barometer is taken forth from the original Bivouac but the engineering and functional capabilities of the Bivouac 9000 ensure the watch’s performance, innovations and precision mechanics once again redefine expectations and hold true the brand claim of conquering frontiers. 

Performing in tough conditions is Raider Bivouac 9000

The retro-futuristic Bivouac 9000 is the ultimate timepiece tool for adventurers, especially mountaineers as it shows the altitude using an aneroid barometer. The watch’s altitude/ barometer indicates short term changes in weather based on atmospheric pressure enabling mountaineers to determine if they should proceed to the summit or take shelter. It also helps them better understand their current geo-position, vital knowledge especially during low visibility conditions when it’s hard to determine distance to a destination, as well as providing climbers with a more accurate location to broadcast in case of an emergency rescue mission. For sailing explorers, the barometer is a dynamic indication of whether to change the navigation course due to unforeseen meteorological conditions. 

Adrian Ballinger at the summit with Raider Bivouac 9000

Even at the top of the world – the Bivouac 9000 demonstrated just how it’s redefining reliability and strength of engineering. As Ballinger testified – the watch performed flawlessly throughout the gruelling climb to the world’s highest peak, unaffected by the extreme weather conditions which would have affected the battery life of most digital watches. Favre-Leuba’s Raider Bivouac 9000 showed that it’s a watch with a mission – to never fail even against the harshest conditions.

Inside the Bivouac 9000:

  • The watch’s barometer features an airtight capsule made from a special alloy. The capsule expands when the air pressure drops as the wearer climbs, and contracts when the air pressure rises during the descent. 
  • The 48mm titanium case is engineered for optimized performance (altimeter/legibility), featuring a bidirectional rotating bezel to keep track of altitude based on atmospheric changes.
  • Hand-wound FL311 movement, based on the EMC 3903M caliber; specially designed mechanisms for altimeter and power-reserve indicator; power reserve of 65 hours 
  • Hours, minutes, small seconds, central hand to display altitudes of 3,000 m per full rotation, subdial for displaying altitudes of up to 9,000 m and air pressure in hPa, power-reserve indicator, date display 

More about SWISS masterpieces! Read: A marathon on ice for preservation of water!

Favre-Leuba is the second oldest active Swiss watch brand, with a rich heritage in watch engineering and designing spanning over 281 years. Led by eight generations of the Favre family until the 1980s, Favre-Leuba was acquired by the Tata Group on November 16th, 2011. With the global scope of the Tata Group behind it, Favre-Leuba is now transitioning a legendary brand into the contemporary while continuing to cherish that which its forefathers breathed life into, the art of watch engineering. Not many can claim the power of history and own a piece of it. Today – Favre-Leuba is creating historic legends to be cherished for those that believe that being exemplary is just the start of their own legend. 

Have you used any such timepiece for adventure? How was the experience? Share with us in the comments section below

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Everest climbing season for the year as good as over

everest11Sherpas in Nepal have refused to rebuild a climbing route on Mount Everest that was destroyed by an earthquake-triggered avalanche more than a week ago, a decision likely to end this year’s climbing season. Gyanendra Shrestha, an official at Nepal’s Mountaineering Department, said the Sherpas informed the office on Monday that they were not going to rebuild the route because of safety and time reasons. It would be the second consecutive year that the climbing season has been called off because of deaths on the world’s highest peak. The season was canceled last year after an avalanche killed 16 Sherpa guides. Actually among the big teams attempting the summit this year, almost all have already called off. Around 350 foreign climbers, and double the number of local guides, were on the mountain when its worst ever disaster struck. The avalanche blasted snow, ice and rocks through base camp’s tents, splitting skulls, breaking limbs and hurling people up to 200 metres.

Mountaineering teams have until the end of this month to climb the peak, but without the route being fixed it is not possible for them. The Sherpas play a crucial role by bringing the ladders, ropes and equipment needed to clear the trail. Kapindra Rai of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, which controls the Icefall Doctors, as the Sherpas who prepare the route are called, said the area is too dangerous and there is not much time left in the season before it begins to get warmer and melting ice and monsoon rains bring bad conditions. “It is just not possible to rebuild the route in time for climbers to attempt to scale the peak,” Rai said.

Mount_EverestThe Nepal government has not formally canceled the season and climbing permits are valid until the end of May. Government has said that there is no additional risk for the climbers and they can go ahead if they wish. Climbers and Sherpas attempting to reach the summit from the north face of the mountain in Tibet have already packed their gear and left after Chinese authorities closed all climbing for the spring season. The Sherpas are paid daily wages, but will also lose the big bonuses they generally receive from the teams after successful climbs to the peak. The April 25 earthquake has already killed more than 7,200 people in Nepal, flattened mountain villages and destroyed buildings and archaeological sites in Kathmandu.

Just a few days back, a separate drama had unfolded high above them on Mount Everest where the hopes of a few rich climbers and some of their sherpas have also vanished. After a week of high emotion and harsh words at Everest Base Camp, climbing firm Himalayan Experience finally decided on last Friday to abandon its ascent of the world’s highest peak, becoming the last big team to do so. Its clients included names as millionaire Texas realtor David McGrain. McGrain, a former weightlifter and self-styled “adrenaline philanthropist” who has a tattooed chest and wears a gold nose-ring, was in a minority of one when he quit his party of at least 10 climbers, all clients of Himalayan Experience. Another climber, Nick Cienski, speaking from the ruins of base camp where he helped recover bodies and gather the broken remains of victims, initially agonised over whether to give up.

File photo
File photo

It is a question that also haunted Everest veteran Russell Brice, who runs Himalayan Experience. He made the decision to quit and bring the rest of his group off the mountain. Brice, 63, a stocky, weather-beaten New Zealander, changed his mind after being stung by suggestions that he was putting the interests of his business, some of his climbers and the vanity of summiteering above all else. Nepal’s tourism department said on last Thursday that climbers faced “no additional risk” after the quake and could resume their expeditions. Brice agreed that had his decision been based on climber safety alone, an ascent would have been possible. “Physically, our team could still continue and get there,” he said on Friday. Dennis Broadwell, who owns the U.S. company Mountain Gurus, also canceled his firm’s Everest climb. “If this happened in America, they would not be playing a ball game the next day,” he said. “I told my clients, this is a national disaster, these sherpas just want to go back to their families.”

File Photo
File Photo

Last year Phurba Namgyal Sherpa helped dig out the bodies of 16 sherpas buried by an avalanche. That disaster caused the cancellation of the Everest season.He said he survived this year’s one, and helped save his American client, Afghan war veteran Benjamin Breckheimer, by covering their mouths and noses to stop them filling with snow. Breckheimer, injured by a bomb blast in 2009, wanted to become the first wounded U.S. army veteran to climb Everest. Now heading home to see his family, Phurba said the government’s decision to reopen Everest was irresponsible. It was “too dangerous” to climb, he said.

But for many other sherpas, economics will compel them back to the mountain. In Lukla, Rinjen Sherpa, 49, lay on a stretcher in a room by the town’s helipad alongside four corpses. He arrived there on Tuesday with a serious back injury and gashes on his head and arm. He had been standing outside a kitchen at base camp when the avalanche lifted him off his feet. His face scrunched against the pain, Rinjen said he would return to work if he can. “What else will I do? There is no other work,” he whispered. “I have to work.” Rinjen, who was also at base camp during last year’s avalanche, earns $7.50 a day. Jon Reiter, a Californian building contractor, has climbed six of the seven highest summits on all the world’s continents, with only Everest left to conquer. He was at base camp when the quake hit, having been there for last year’s avalanche as well. “This is not the year to climb Everest,” he said in Kathmandu after leaving the mountain. “It’s the year to hope to God these people get through this.”

(with inputs from AP, AFP, Reuters)

Tragedy returns to Everest exactly a year later

File Photo
File Photo

Exactly a year later tragedy struck again to the Everest region and at the very crucial time of the Everest climbing season. And this could be probably the worst tragedy to hit Everest region.

After the quake today noon an avalanche swept the face of Mt. Everest after the massive earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday. An Indian army mountaineering team found 18 bodies on Mount Everest on Saturday, an army spokesman said, after a huge earthquake in Nepal unleashed an avalanche on the mountain at the start of the main climbing season. Nepal’s Tourism Ministry could only confirm 10 deaths, but spokesman Gyanendra Shrestha said that the death toll could rise, and that the avalanche had buried part of the base camp. He said two tents at the camp had been filled with the injured. Ministry officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, had been at base camp or on Everest when the earthquake struck. The avalanche apparently struck between the Khumbu Icefall, a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and the base camp where most climbing expeditions are, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

File Photo
File Photo

Exactly an year back on 18th April 2014 an avalanche swept down a climbing route on Mount Everest killing at least 16 Nepalese guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak till that time. The Sherpa guides had gone to fix ropes for other climbers when the avalanche hit just them below Camp 2 at about 6:30 a.m. That incident and the strike from the sherpas after that had almost but ruined the Everest climbing season. Its going to be same again this year as most parts of the capital city of Kathmandu under rubbles. Kathmandu is the entry and exit point to Nepal for climbers from world over.

File photo
File photo

The extent of todays’s tragedy is yet to unfold as still there is very less communication coming out. Climbers have taken to social media to report the situation. Romanian climber Alex Gavan said on Twitter that there had been a “huge avalanche” and “many, many” people were up on the mountain. “Running for lifefrom my tent,” Gavan said. “Everest base camp huge earthquake then huge avalanche.”

Alex’s first tweet was at 12.01 pm (20 minutes after the quake)-

His second tweet was at 6.38 pm in the evening-

It simply tells the gravity of the situation.

Another climber, Daniel Mazur, said Everest base camp had been “severely damaged” and his team was trapped. His first tweet was at 1.46 pm.

He made another tweet at 2.54 pm-

His last tweet so far was at 5.22 pm

The trekkers are scattered all around the base camp and some had even trekked further up. It is almost impossible to get in touch with anyone. Choti Sherpa, who works at the Everest Summiteers Association, said she had been unable to call her family and colleagues on the mountain. “Everyone is trying to contact each other, but we can’t,” she said. “We are all very worried.” “This will definitely have some impact on climbing activity, but this is a natural disaster no one can do anything,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

Mount_EverestApril is one of the most popular times to scale the 8,850-metre (29,035 foot) peak, the world’s highest, before rain and clouds cloak it the end of May. Hundreds of climbers, their guides and support crews gather at the base camp to prepare for attempts to scale the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain as early as March end or April beginning for attempting climbs later when weather conditions become favourable. They have been setting up camps at higher altitudes and guides have been fixing routes and ropes on the slopes above. Last year the area where the avalanche hit is nicknamed the “popcorn field” and is just below Camp 2 at 6,400 meters (21,000 feet).

More than 4,000 climbers have scaled the summit since 1953, when it was first conquered by NewZealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Hundreds have died attempting to reach the peak. The earlier worst recorded disaster on Everest had been a snowstorm on May 11, 1996, that caused the deaths of eight climbers. Six Nepalese guides were killed in an avalanche in 1970.

Photos: First Dalit to scale Mount Everest, S. Anand Kumar

S. Anand Kumar of India is now the first Dalit to reach the summit- Mt. Everest, a dream for all adventure seekers around the world. At 7.30 in the morning of 25th May 2014, just one hour after her teammate Malavath Poorna, who has by then already become the youngest woman in the world to reach the top of the world, Anand Kumar too peaked. Anand Kumar is also just 16 years old and a eleventh class student at Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Educational Institutions Society’s school. Born of a very poor family, Anand’s father was a teacher in a private school, but is now working as a cycle mechanic to repay the loan he has taken from the shop owner to construct a pucca house at his dwelling.  Just few years back, half of his family members were taking turns to sleep as his house was leaking in monsoon rains. Anand vowed to reach new heights that day and he has done that against all odds. Similar to Poorna, Anand too achieved the feat in just nine months time from being selected for a rock climbing camp near Hyderabad (in September 2013) to reach to the top of the world. Unimaginable!!

(All photos are courtesy APSWREI and Transcend Adventures)

See the amazing self video of Anand from the top of the Everest

Photos: Youngest female to peak Mt. Everest is an Indian

Malavath Poorna is now the youngest female in the world to reach the summit- Mt. Everest, a dream for all adventure seekers around the world. At 6.30 in the morning of 25th May 2014, she unfurled the Indian tricolour at the highest point on this planet. She was just 13 years and 11 months at that time. Born of a very poor family of agricultural labourers, Poorna is also the youngest Indian to reach the summit. In fact she was just one month older then the youngest person ever to climb the Mount Everest successfully, who was a US boy. A ninth standard student at Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Educational Institutions Society’s school, Poorna struggled against all odds to be on top.  Hailing from a  background, where none of her villager folk have ever seen snow in their lives, Poorna achieved the feat in just nine months time from being selected for a rock climbing camp near Hyderabad (in September 2013) to reach to the top of the world. Unimaginable!!

(All photos are courtesy APSWREI and Transcend Adventures)

Also see the video of her ascend-