Mount Kilimanjaro Defeats Jordanian Princess

Mount Kilimanjaro
It looks like money and privilege can’t buy everything.

Princess Sarah Princess Sara bint Al Faisal of Jordan, niece of King Abdullah II, failed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Tanzania Daily News reports.

The 18-year-old princess tried to scale the famous mountain last weekend with a large entourage of assistants and Jordanian international students. She reached the Kibo point at 4,700 meters (15,420 feet) but developed altitude sickness. Doctors climbing with her advised her to descend instead of attempting to reach the mountain’s highest summit, Uhuru point at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet).

Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid pulse and more. For full coverage see this PDF document. To prevent altitude sickness, it’s best to ascend in stages, staying overnight at an intermediate altitude to give the body time to adapt. The only cure of altitude sickness is to descend to a lower altitude, which should be done immediately.

It’s difficult to predict who will get altitude sickness. When I climbed to similar elevations in the Himalayas the only symptom I noticed was a need for more breaks. On the other hand, a couple of other trekkers who looked far more fit than I was got very sick and had to descend.

The princess hoped to get a certificate of achievement for scaling the mountain. Only three of her party made it to Uhuru Point and got the certificate. She said that she enjoyed her trip to Tanzania and would try to climb the mountain again.

[Photo courtesy Muhammad Mahdi Karim]

Video Of The Day: Transmongolian And Transsiberian Train Trip

Filmmakers Rubén Sánchez and Cristina Fernandez from creative studio Factoria shot this fantastic video during a transmongolian and transsiberian train trip. The pair traveled about 7,500 kilometers (4,460 miles) on a journey from Beijing, China, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and then from Irkusk, Russia, to Moscow. The second leg of that journey alone is more than 5,000 kilometers (3,106 miles), a distance almost equal to crossing the entire United States from coast to coast. But more remarkable than the numbers is the footing they captured, which includes everything from sprawling shantytowns and cityscapes to mountain peaks and vast farmland.

To learn more about transmongolia travel, here are some more videos posted by Stephen Greenwood. And to see past videos that made the cut as Gadling’s “Video of the Day,” click here.

Accident On The Trail? Science, Nature To The Rescue

on the trailOn the trail, adventure travelers know the importance of basic first-aid skills when thousands of feet up on a climb, camped miles from nowhere or hiking off the beaten path where a call to 911 brings help. When an emergency happens, knowing what to do can mean the difference between life and death.

New research done at the University of Michigan, Harvard University and the City University of New York indicate that brain stimulation releases an opiate-like pain killer. Using electricity on certain regions in the brain of a patient with severe pain, scientists were able to release one of the body’s most powerful painkillers.

Hikers, campers, climbers and others commonly off the grid when traveling, might find this ability useful when an accident happens. Waiting for first-responders to arrive with help can be a very long time when in severe pain.

A natural substance produced by the brain that alters pain perception, called mu-opioid receptors (MOR’s), is the hero here.

“This is arguably the main resource in the brain to reduce pain,” said Alexandre DaSilva, assistant professor of biologic and materials sciences at the U-M School of Dentistry and director of the school’s Headache & Orofacial Pain Effort Lab in Laboratory Equipment.”We’re stimulating the release of our [body’s] own resources to provide analgesia,” adds DaSilva. “Instead of giving more pharmaceutical opiates, we are directly targeting and activating the same areas in the brain on which they work. [Therefore], we can increase the power of this pain-killing effect and even decrease the use of opiates in general, and consequently avoid their side effects, including addiction.”

Looking for other natural painkillers may not require waiting for science to arrive at our favorite gear store though. In this video, Kate Armstrong, The Urban Forager, shares how to find a natural pain killer from nature.




[Photo Credit- Flickr user iwona_kellie]

Climber Falls And Swings From El Capitan

The last time you probably heard about El Capitan was when you read about Alex Honnold, the crazy free climber who summited the wall in Yosemite Valley without a rope. There’s also a rope missing in the above video, but for a different reason. Anchored on two ropes, LiveLeak user tomservo set up a massive swing on the face of the wall by dropping to the end of one rope and then swinging across the expanse. There’s a huge drop before the second line goes taut (you may notice it when your stomach tries to climb out of your throat) and the swing is definitely risky – but it makes for a great video.

10 Minutes Of Terror On Vacation In Iraq

Iraq, Samarra

I’m in Samarra, in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, the birthplace of the insurgency and a hotspot for sectarian tension in war-torn Iraq. My heart is racing and my mouth is dry. This is the most frightened I’ve been in months.

But I’m not scared of the Sunnis, I’m scared of plummeting to my death.

I’m climbing one of the famous spiral minarets of Samarra, a pair of towers with a narrow staircase snaking up the exterior. They were built in the ninth century. The taller one is 52 meters (171 feet) and the shorter one is 34 meters (112 feet). I’m on the shorter one. It doesn’t feel short to me.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a fear of heights, a phobia that years of rock climbing never cured. That doesn’t stop me from going up one of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture, though. I’m a sucker for medieval buildings.

Up I go, step by step. They’re steep, a bit uneven, and they relentlessly narrow as they rise higher. You can see just how little room there was between me and the abyss in the above photo. That’s my foot at the lower right, and beyond the step you can see our bus, which comfortably seats 20 people.

The stairs are wide enough, I tell myself. I’ve climbed narrow spiral staircases hundreds of times and have never fallen off.

But there was no risk of death on those, a little voice tells me.

“Shut up,” I reply, and keep climbing.

%Gallery-170252%They tell me the muezzin who ascended this minaret five times a day to give to call to prayer was blind. He’d keep one hand on the wall and climb without seeing how high up he was. I can’t decide if that’s a good hiring decision or a bad one.

I keep both my hands gripped on the aging, crumbly brick. I’ve been climbing for what seems like hours. Surely I must almost be there?

“Go back!” someone shouts from below.

You’re kidding me, right?

“Go back, there’s no room!”

From around the corner comes another member of our group, a Norwegian sailor who has no fear of heights. When he sees me he stops.

“Go back,” I say.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pass you,” he replies.

“That’s a really bad idea. Go back.”

He comes close. I flatten myself on the wall as he reaches around me, grabs the edge of the brick, and eases past. You can see his brave/foolish move in the photo gallery, as well as the beautiful panorama that awaited me when, a few steps later, I reached the top.

It was worth the climb. Even more rewarding was that sharp-edged feeling I had the entire time going up and the adrenaline rush of the even more hazardous trip down. Colors and sounds were vivid, every step a crucial moment – every moment a lifetime of excitement.

Want to get high? Skip the drugs and grab your fear by the balls.

Don’t miss the rest of my series, “Destination: Iraq,” chronicling my 17-day journey across this strife-ridden country in search of adventure, archaeology, and AK-47s.

Coming up next: “A Sneak Peak At The Soon-To-Reopen National Museum of Iraq!”

[Both photos by Sean McLachlan]

Iraq, Samarra