Photo Of The Day: Eye Of The Beholder

This Photo of the Day, taken in Arches National Park, Utah is titled “Eye of the Beholder” and comes from Gadling Flickr pool member Terra_Tripper

Arches National Park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, pinnacles, fins and giant balanced rocks. Located just outside of Moab, Utah, the 76,679 acre red rock wonderland was originally a National Monument then redesignated as a National Park.

Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. Several times a week we choose our favorite images from the pool as Photos of the Day.”

Tips for getting featured: Include the camera you used along with any other equipment or processing software that might help other photographers know more about your image.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user Terra_Tripper]

Mountain Climbing Course Brings Skills From Experts

Just after completing the second ascent of Kilimanjaro‘s Breach Icicle 25 years ago, Scott Fischer and Wes Krause realized that they were hooked on adventure. Since then they have faced grizzly bears, walked among lions, rode avalanches and made first ascents, founding Mountain Madness to provide the highest quality experience for beginner and advanced mountaineers and trekkers alike.

Coming up in October, Mountain Madness guides head to Red Rocks, one of the best desert rock-climbing areas, offering something for every climber from challenging sport routes to long and classic multi-pitch traditional climbs.

“Few climbing locations have as much sun and varied climbing as the beautiful canyons found in the Red Rocks National Conservation Area” says Mountain Madness on its website – and they should know. Mountain Madness was selected by Outside, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, as a recipient of its first-ever Active Travel Awards earlier this year.In addition to the diverse Red Rocks terrain, unique to the Mountain Madness program is the freedom to adjust your itinerary as the weather, climbing conditions and the objective allow.

The scheduled five-day course starts with an orientation and equipment check, with a review of essential knot tying skills and proper use of equipment. Top rope set-up, anchors, belaying a lead climber, cleaning protection, rappelling and rope management take up the rest of the day that ends at a nearby campground.

The next day is devoted to practicing skills including a warm-up multi-pitch climb with the evening saved to enjoy the Las Vegas nightlife. After that, guides cover anchoring systems, and equalization techniques with time to apply the skills learned throughout the course in the multi-pitch climbing arena.

The course gets an early start each day to beat the crowds and the heat, giving flexibility regarding which routes to climb in Red Rocks, depending on skills and interests.

The October course starts at $795 per person with one guide for every four students and includes group-climbing equipment. Check the Mountain Madness website for more information.

Want to get an idea of what its like to climb Red Rocks? Check this video:

[Flickr photo by justonlysteve]

9 Climbers Killed In Nepal

Nine climbers are dead after an avalanche on one of Nepal’s tallest mountains, the Guardian reports. At least five climbers were injured and have been evacuated to Kathmandu.

The avalanche hit the climbers’ camps at 7,000 meters (22,966 feet) on Mount Manaslu, a 8,163-meter (26,781-foot) peak and the eighth tallest in the world. More than 200 climbers and guides were on the mountain, but not all were in the area of the avalanche. The nationalities of only three of the dead are known at this time – German Spanish, and Nepali. The Toronto Star reports that seven climbers are missing – five French, a Canadian, and an Italian climber.

Mountain rescue crews, assisted by helicopters, are searching the area for bodies and survivors.

This is the beginning of the autumn mountaineering season in Nepal, a time right after the monsoon season when unstable weather makes avalanches more common.

This sobering news reminds me of my own trip to the Annapurna Base Camp, when a Japanese team lost some men in an avalanche on a nearby peak. It’s good to remember that adventure travel carries with it certain inherent risks.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Video: Beautiful Bhutan Footage

Bhutan – A Journey Through The Land of Thunder Dragon” from on Vimeo.

It’s not every day that I find myself liking promotional videos, but this video seems to be an exception. Sponsored by Bhutan‘s board of tourism, this video pairs dramatic music and beautiful Bhutan footage. The end result is a gorgeous video featuring hiking, rafting and wildlife that makes me want to look into flights to Bhutan immediately. If you’ve been to Bhutan, tell us about your experience in the comments. Be sure to point us in the direction of any fantastic photos or videos while you’re at it.

Video: ‘Wild Love’ And The Adventure Stories We Rarely Share

Here at Gadling, we often tell stories of adventure: of traveling to far-off lands and meeting fascinating locals and sampling unpronounceable foods and returning home with bug bites and slipper tans and tales to be told over cocktails at dinner parties.

But the stories we less often share are the stories of what we sacrifice for those adventures: the patterns we disrupt, the worries we create and the often heartbreaking agony of being apart from the people that we love.

That’s why this short film from the Wild Love Project was familiar and somewhat painful to watch. The film follows a couple, Jake Norton and Wende Valentine, as they try to reconcile Jake’s love of mountaineering with the obligations of family life. Though it’s difficult, the couple makes it work so that they can impart to their children the importance of pursuing what makes them come alive.

In a release for the film, which premiered last month at the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Jake discussed some of the questions at the heart of the film:

In my experience, the climbing community has some topics, which they generally don’t want to discuss… how does climbing fit in with love, life, family? How do climbers evaluate risk and continue climbing when the responsibility changes and a spouse and children are added to the mix? Is continuing to climb simply selfish, or is there another explanation, a philosophy about life and passion and living which explains the need to keep climbing?

I’m sure most travelers can relate. I sure do.