Space flight - 2015

Tags: Space xcor lynx spacexc spacecraft Curacao
At the end of December 2013 I bought a trip to space with a new experimental spacecraft from American XCOR.

I have added some photos in my photo albums from a party at XCOR in Amsterdam, where I tried the space suit and took some photos of a full sized model of the spacecraft.

For many, Space is the ultimate adventure, and something I have dreamt about for many years


Mount Everest: Went to Camp 2 today, energy level is high

Tags: Everest Climbing
Two of us, a Belgian guy and me, went to Camp 2 today at 6,400 meters altitude. A fantastic climb and our energy levels are high.

We were told by our expedition leaders to go to lower altitudes tomorrow to get more oxygen. Even if we feel great and energy level is high, we of course do as they say.


Mount Everest: Arrived at Camp 1 today

Tags: Everest Climbing
Two of us arrived to Camp 1 today after a rough climb. We are fine and I hope to see more from my group of 15 arrive here tomorrow.

I will try to keep updating my
Use The World Facebook page with news.


Mount Everest: Arrived at basecamp now, weather is getting better

Tags: Everest Climbing
I have now arrived to basecamp and everything looks good. Route to Camp 1 was opened yesterday after some delay because of the weather, our sherpas was at Camp 1 for the first time today.

If everything goes as planned, I will get to Camp 1 in 2 days. Weather is getting better also.

I will be updating my
Use The World Facebook page with news.


Climbing mountains Dubai style :-)

Tags: Dubai Jabal Bil Ays Climbing SUV
This morning at 02:00 AM I arrived at my hotel in Dubai and went straight from hotel towards Jabal Bil Ays in a Cadillac Escalade with a driver of course

Jabal Bil Ays is the highest mountain in UAE and if you can find the way on the roads at night you should be able to drive up to apx. 1500 meters and just trek and stumble to the summit.

However, my driver knew how to put the pedal down, but his onboard GPS did not have show the roads and Google maps showed a route crossing the Oman border

And then all the weirdness started, I think it was 04:30 AM when we got to a border/military control that would only allow local people/farmers access, and my driver decided to take another route into Oman.

So around sunrise we went through the border with Oman, through immigration passport control, paid to exit UAE and paid for 10 day visa entry to Oman, and after getting even further from the mountain we returned to the same border crossing, more immigration, but this time no payments and went back to Dubai .... 8 hours later we ended up at Jumeirah beach where we started .... I have been in and out of contries and driving to mountains etc. but no summits in the bag


Shower on the A380 with Emirates on first class

Tags: Emirates A380 Shower
I had a "Concorde Moment" today

I was flying with Emirates from Seoul to Dubai on first class and apx. 2 hours before landing I took a shower.

That was the first shower I have had while flying, and a very special experience ... a "Concorde Moment"

Since I flew the Concorde many years ago, not much have changed, the seats got better, so did the food and selections of wine, but besides that not much have changed.

But on the A380 Emirates have included 2 showers for their first class passengers, and the shower comes with heated floor, hair dryer and a whole selection of products to use for the shower plus fluffy towels .... fantastic experience.

I arrived in Dubai with a big smile on my face


Trekking Mount Hallasan in South Korea

Tags: Climbing Trekking South Korea Hallasan Jeju
I trekked to the top of Mount Hallesan on Jeju Island in South Korea today

From all the treks I have ever done, this trail is remarkable well kept, and I dare anyone to get lost. The trail is clearly marked every apx. 500 meters and it really does not make much difference, because it just goes up, it should be impossible to get lost. I trekked up using the Seongpanak trail and down the Gwaneumsa trail.

The Seongpanak trail is a little longer, but less steep, and I started my trek at 05:50 and reached the top at 8:45 including. a 10 min break for a change of clothes and some food.

It was very bad weather, and raining almost the whole day, and really bad at the top with high wind gusts, but even in rain the trail is good, mostly made up of planks and small rocks and not muddy anywhere on the trail.

Mount Hallasan is a 1950 meters high vulcano that is not active and it occupy most of the island of Jeju and is the highest mountain in South Korea.


Trekking Mount Lamlam in Guam

Tags: Guam Mount Lamlam climbing trekking Mount Jumullong Manglo
I trekked the highest mountain in Guam, and according to how you measure a mountain this could be considered the highest in the world, because the foot of the mountain starts deep in the Mariana Trench, but only 406 of the 11330 meters is above sealevel. But it is a good trek no matter how you want to measure it and next to Lamlam is Mount Jumullong Manglo where for many years the local people have celebrated easter and carried crosses to the top.

Guam is also the most western part of the USA, and there is both a big navy and airforce base in Guam.


Climbing Everest has been cancelled this year from Nepal side :-(

Tags: Climbing
Climbing Everest has been cancelled for all expeditions this year from Nepal side, and I had to return after spending 10 days in basecamp

The angry mob of sherpas that threatened the life of climbers, ice fall doctors and sherpas succeed

Today we had a meeting with the minister and other officials here in base camp, but it did not satisfy the angry mob and they listed new demands to allow people to climb Everest, including the following:



I climbed Jade Mountain (Yushan) at 3952 meters

Tags: Jade Mountain Yushan Taiwan Climbing
I climbed Jade Mountain in Taiwan the 10. June 2013 and reached the summit at 12:15 .... see more pictures in the photo album.

There are a lot of mountains in Taiwan to climb, both in summer and winter. Jade mountain is the highest, but there are so many peaks around Jade Mountain in the Yushan Range and the trails are so pristine, and I cound them to be in very good condition, despite I met almost no people.

To prepare for the trek you have to get a permit, and they limit the amount of trekkers, so it is a good idea to get the permit before you leave home.

The trail is quite long, and doing it in one day will lead to sore feet, but most people who climb Jade Mountain start very early with a headlamp and then reach the top around noon.

The views are fantastic during the entire trek, with unspoiled nature and peaks all around the trek, the trail is easy to follow, if you pay attention to the signs.


I felt the earthquake here in Taiwan today at 00:39 local time

Tags: Earthquake Taiwan Taipei
I have felt earthquakes a few times before ... this was much stronger. The local time is 00:39 on the 8. June 2013.

I sat in my bed and felt it really strong. and the curtains started swaying a little bit and I quickly got up and looked around in the hotel room and when I got to the toilet the towels were still swaying. I could hear some noise like from the building or like a scratch in some furniture. I am on the 14. floor in this 17 floor hotel building.


I am here for Computex 2013 and for climbing a mountain in Taiwan in a few days ... more on that later.


I trekked to the highest peak of Ile des Pins (Pic N'ga) in New Caledonia

Tags: Pic N'ga N'ga Peak Ile des Pins Isle of Pines New Caledonia
I trekked to the highest peak of Ile des Pins (Pic N'ga) in New Caledonia .. at only 262 meters, it is a non-stop trek to the summit and offers and a fantastic 360° view of the whole island


Watching the launch of Ariane 5 in French Guiana

Tags: Ariane 5 French Guiana VA211 Caymans
I saw the launch of Ariane 5 - VA211 - in French Guiana


.... more details about this will be added later ....


Trekking Mount Pelée on Martinique in the Caribbean

Tags: Mount Pelée Martinique Caribbean Trekking
I was on Martinique before going to French Guiana and decided to do some trekking and see more of the island.

Maybe Martinique is best known for French girls and beaches ... but there is more on this island to try  ... it is quite rocky and very mountainous.

Mount Pelée is the highest peak on Martinique at 1397 meters and the 10. highest in the Caribbean, and that is where I decided to do some trekking

The roads to get there and the signs to find the path are quite good, and I recommend anyone who wants to see more of the mountain to try it. The trek itself is not so long, but just keeps going up, and remember it is okay to take breaks and to turn around if it gets too hard.

Walking down I saw the spider on the trail, that you can see in the photo albums, and I felt no urge to pick it up, but walked around it and did not look back


1. Attempt on Everest - 2012 - April/May

Tags: Everest Climbing
In April/May 2012 I had my first attempt on Everest, and in short I turned back due to prior illness on the way up and the extreme danger this year.

We had so many accidents and fatalities this season on Everest, due mostly to warm weather making climbing a lot more dangerous with constant rock fall on the trail and many avalanches. So when Russell Bride cancelled his entire expedition I followed and went back.

However I will return in 2013 for my next attempt, and since I have already had good experience on Khumbu Icefall I feel encouraged and positive as I now have even more experience


Snow Leopard Safari

Tags: Snow Leopard Ladakh
I went to Ladakh to find and track the most elusive cats in the World - Snow Leopards.

They are very elusive and the few remaining snow leopards in the World, apx. 4000 - 7000 are roaming all the way from Mongolia to Pakistan, and from North India to Nepal and Bhutan.

Because their pray is searching lower for grass etc, the Snow Leopards are following them down and thus making it easier to see them in winter times.

We tracked them for days and caught pictures of them on our camera traps, but despite all the evidence and the scent marks and tracks in the snow, I did not get to see them with my own eyes


I saw the final landing of the Space Shuttle - mission STS-135

Tags: Space Shuttle Atlantis Florida Kennedy Space Center
The bridge was packed with people and I stood at the top in the middle of the bridge, and after hearing the double sonic boom-boom from the nose and wing-and-tail boom we saw the Shuttle land a few minutes later.

The view was not clear and I only saw it for 10-20 sec. During landing, and then again after it touched down. And I could not be more happy, a lot of people did not see it at all

Now I am going to explore Daytona Beach, and after that an airboat in The Everglades


My first earthquake experience

Tags: Panama Earthquake
Today I experienced an earthquake .... That is a different experience ! I was taking a nap and woke up to a gentle shakyness of the bed, it was not violent at all, but enough to wake me up. Later today I found out that there really was an earthquake in Costa Rica (bordering Panama) today the 13. May 2011, it was 6.0 on the richter scale. Here is a link with more info: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/events/us/c0003et0/us/index.html


Turtle eggs on Isla Colon in Panama

Tags: Panama Turtles Isla Colon
Tonight I walked up and down the beach here on Isla Colon in Panama with some wildlife preservatists looking for sea turtles coming up to lay their eggs .... And we were very lucky We saw two giant turtles digging a nest and laying eggs and one more making a u-turn and returning into the sea again. The turtles were huge, more than one meter long ....


The Panama Canal

Tags: Panama
Yesterday and today I went to see The Panama Canal. The whole operation is so controlled and undramatic, that it is almost boring. In almost 100 years they have not have any disasters or even accidents .... So tomorrow I will fly North-West close to Costa Rica to find more adventures .... First zip-lining and then climbing Baru, the highest point of Panama


Climbing Aconcagua in Argentina

Tags: Climbing Aconcagua Argentina
I summited Aconcagua in Argentina the 15. February 2011 at 14:00

Climbing mountains back-to-back has both advantages and problems. Most important I was somewhat acclimatized, but the my body hadnot had the time to recover fully.

And mentally I had already been away for a while and keeping motivation high became a challenge ...

Aconcagua is a high and quite deadly mountain because of all the novice climbers are attracted to the mountain because of the ease of access and because it is not so technical. And the weather can be really bad on Aconcagua, and it is a very windy, dusty and dry mountain.


Climbing Vinson in Antarctica

Tags: Climbing Vinson Antarctica Vern Tejas
I summited Vinson in Antarctica the 28. January 2011 at 18:40 after a crazy month of:

* Strikes in southern Chile - look at my ireport here  ... http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-540883

* Problems with the plane (an old Russian plane that fly between Punta Arenas and the glacier in Antarctica)

* Weather delays

All this resulted in a very late climb and pushed everybodys schedule and patience to the limit.

We were one of the latest climbs ever on Vinson, and late season climbs affects not only climbers schedules, but the weather starts changing.

However all this just made the experience much more memorable, it was tough because we wanted to get up and down quickly but still safely, and we had one of the best guides in the World, Vern Tejas. Vern have climbed all 7 summits several times and holds many records including the record for summits on Vinson ... so we knew we were in good hands.

A few days after I arrived in Punta Arenas a strike broke out and prevented us from leaving the city with multiple road blocks and as the strike progressed even the supermarkets were shut down.

We did make an attempt to bypass the barricades and succeded in reaching the airport .... walking 20 km. with boots, parkas etc. ... some got blisters from this walk, and when we sat in the lounge at the airport, we were told to walk back to the city because of a fuel regulater fault .... not cool ...

This made a lot of people drop out and return home, but in our team Dave and I tried to keep everybody happy and in the end we all stayed.

After waiting 6 days for a new fuel regulator we faced the normal delays due to weather problems. The warmest day on the mountain was -28 and the coldest was -40

We had a perfect storm coming up to high camp, but we also had a fantastic summit day, with beautiful weather and almost no wind ....


Climbing Mount Trikora on Papua

Tags: Climbing Mount Trikora Papua Indonesia
I arrived in Jakarta in Indonesia to climb Mount Trikora in Papua - the 2. highest mountain on the Australian continent - together with Andries, one of my climbing friends.

There were volcanic eruptions from Merapi on Java during our stay in Indonesia. I arrived Friday and both Saturday and Sunday all international flights to and from Jakarta had been cancelled, so we were quite lucky to get in just the day before.

We got to the summit - the real summit

our guides had never been up there and they did not know of anyone who made it ! Most people get to just 50-75 meters below the summit.

It was a real rock climb and at times quite dangerous and difficult. At some places the ridge was paperthin, and it was the most dangerous rock climb we had ever tried. And I had to overcome my fear to get all the way up.

After I got back over the most dangerous part of the ridge, I had one thought ... marriage suddenly did not seem so scary anymore compared to this ridge


Climbing Elbrus from the North side .... BOTH the East and West summit :-)

Tags: Climbing Elbrus Russia
Today I climbed BOTH summits of Elbrus from the north side, starting at camp 2 at 3740 meters at 01:01 in the morning :) First 1900 meters up to the East summit, and then down apx 400 meters and up again to the West summit From the West summit we traversed back down to the North side and then down to camp 2. We had a lot of deep new snow and had to break a new trail. It was a really long summit day, 16 hours and 48 minutes with crampons is very hard. Rewarding, but hard. We had good weather with us, but due to heavy snowfall the day before we had to break new trail going up. I started with my guide, but we were soon a group of different tours, 9 people in total. The North side is climbed mostly by Russian climbers, and I was the only non-Russian in the group.


Climbing Kosciuszko in Australia

Tags: Climbing Kosciuszko Australia
Today I made it to the top of Kosciuszko here in Australia I don't know anyone who climbed it during the winter and it looks nothing like the pictures "the crazy Scotsman" showed me last week. No girls in bikini here now But a lot of snow and ice ...... And again I had to walk in a white-out situation, and only because of my GPS did i find the summit. The mess path to fallow in the summer was 90% covered in snow and ice, but at some place you could see the mess though the snow and it helped finding the way to the pass, and from there to the summit. The cairn at the top looked bizare, half covered in ice, and one side was completely covered by 40 cm ice from top to buttom. I started alone, but met a group from Slovakia that had no GPS and couldn't find the summit, but they followed me to the top. Windy and cold is what I remember from todays climb and we couldn't see anything from the summit.


Climbing Ayers Rock and walking all the way back to the resort

Tags: Climbing Ayers Rock Australia
Today was a good day Ayers Rock have been closed for some days due strong wind at the top, but today at noon they opened for climbing and i hopped on the bus to take advantage of the moment. It was steeper than i thought, but still an easy climb, and until you are there it is difficult to understand the size and colors of Ayers Rock. It is vibrant red, almost a rysty color, so when the sun is shining on the rock it looks amazing. I loved it  After descending i walked the extra 25 km back to the resort ......That was harder than i thought, and i wasn't back until just after the sunset.


Climbing Mount Fuji in Japan

Tags: Climbing Japan Fuji
We have just come down from Mount Fuji. The mountain had a few suprises for us ! The trail was invisible, everything was covered in snow and ice and the visibility was so limited that sometimes we just walked straight up hoping to find some marks/sticks/rope indicating that we were on the right path. We did the climb alone with no guides, but took extra time and few chances. We had to break trail through deep snow for most of the way up, and the crampons and ice axein came in handy. Got to top of crater and back down in a single day despite its high altitude. Most people would take at least 2 days to climb mount fuji. At 3100 meters the white out was so bad we made the desision to turn around, but after 45 min. we got enough visibility to continue and we finally reached the top at 15.30 It  looked like nobody had been up there for a long time, as everthing was covered in snow and ice, and sometimes we were walking on rooftops of the small huts and houses. We cleared the ice off many signs and ropes, it was a tough but epic climb.


Climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Tags: Kilimanjaro Climbing Tanzania
I have traversed/trekked/climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania following the Lemosho route and summited on the 21-03-2010 at 06:30 in the morning - just in time for the sunrise

This route is not more technical than the famous Coca-Cola route that most people do, but it is the longest route, virtually taking you from one side of Kilimanjaro to the other.

I really enjoyed this trip to Tanzania, and I will strongly recommed this route to other climbers, to enjoy it even more then add one extra day to the climb.

I had heard so much about the snow melting away, so I was pleasently surpriced about the amount of snow up there, and we had fresh snow the night we went for the summit.

The ascend started saturday morning when we left camp 4 at 4000 meters at 09.45 and trekked to camp 5 at 4600 meters, ate and slept Saturday evening we get ready at 23.00, and exactly 24.00 we push for the summit. and we reach the summit at 5900 meters at 06.30 So we climbed the last 1900 meters in less than 21 hours.

Please go to Tanzania, climb Kilimanjaro and set aside an extra week to go for Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti .......... I enjoyed that very much too


I crossed Borneo on a boat and trekking trip

Tags: Borneo Kalimantan Indonesia
On a long trek from West to East Kalimantan (The Indonesian name for their part of Borneo). Starting on a long boat up the rivers until the boat could not take us any further and then continuing with a hard trek through the dense/humid and extremely wet jungle for 7 days crossing rivers hundreds of times, some days walking in rivers the entire day ...... blood leeches become so annoying as they bite constantly.


Climbing Carstensz Pyramid in Papua - 4897 meters

Tags: Carstensz Pyramid Papua Indonesia
We reached the top of Carstensz Pyramid on 17. November at 08:35 local time

This expedition started with 7 climbers landing at Bilogai airstrip in Sugapa, Papua, Indonesia, just a few degrees below equator at 2212 meters.

4 of the 7 climbers had already climbed Everest and 3 out of these 4 climbers needed to go to hospital and the end of the trip, not because of climbing, but because of the gruelling trek we faced. So it was an experienced and tough group - and I was the least experienced climber of the group and I needed pain killers every day to keep the pain in my knee in check. We all lost between 5 - 7 kgs. during this trek.

Carstensz Pyramid is difficult to get to, and since April 2008 when one of the world biggest gold mines - just next to Carstensz Pyramid - closed a commonly used route for climbers, it is now only accessible with helikopter or by trekking to base camp. Before it was possible to be smuggled through the mine on the back of a truck.

Papua is still a very rough un-touristed area and everything is a hazzle, there are many local tribes and villages that have to be respected and paid just to walk through them, and this problems "forced" us to experiment with a new route.

We had to fight our way through an unknown route that none of the guides knew and no other treks had used before .... And at this time things strated to get really tough

We all faced problems and fell many times, on roots in mud, rivers, logs that we had to balance over, and streams and rivers we had to cross, and on the second day one of our climbers had a bad accident and needed to return to Sugapa with a broken rib and then home.

We had never seen so much mud before, and the rain was relentless, some days we trekked for 11 hours before reaching the next camp, and most of the time in rain and mud all day. We usually got up in the morning between 5-6 when the daylight came, and started trekking before the rain came.

However we had one night/morning with good weather and that was the day we actually climbed Carstensz Pyramid, and we started at 03:20 in the morning with a clear star filled sky

The climb was fantastic and a great experience for me - since I was the rookie on rock climbing in the group

We used our jumars to get up the 70 - 90 degrees wall of Carstensz Pyramid and reached the top at 08:35 in the morning and after less than one hour at the top we returned to base camp, repelling down the fixed ropes.

We were hanging in fixed ropes when crossing the tirolin on the traverse of the ridge close to the top, that was really cool to try

Our Italian climber - who now completed the 7 summits - stated after we got back: that he would not recommend this trek to anyone unless one is fit enough to run marathons.


Climbing Mount Fito on Samoa .... an amazing jungle trip :-)

Tags: Jungle Mount Fito Samoa
On saturday I went for a trip to climb Mount Fito - and I ended getting a trek that i will remember forever

Organizing this trek was difficult because this mountain is in a dense jungle with no paths and treks to follow, so I had to find and organize guides and access myself.

The plan was to walk through the jungle from Cross Island Road to the top of Mount Fito, and then back the same way.

We felt pretty strong when we got to the top of Mount Fito at 11:50 and the time was perfect, so the leading guide - who did not speak any English, but had been there one time before - decided that we had
time to traverse and trek through the rest of the jungle.

We dit not pause, but fought our way through the jungle with bush knives (machettes). It was extremely hard, and we ran out of water at 13.00, and we still had 5 hours more before we were out of the jungle.

It is dark as h... in the jungle when the sun is down, and we came out of it 15 minutes before sunset.

I hurt my head, knees, legs, arms, and feet on this trek, and when i got out of the jungle, the other guide and me just laying in the grass drinking liters of water.

When there are no existing treks fo follow in the jungle you will trip over all the wines/roots/trees etc. and when you get tired it is difficult to remember to lift your foot every time you take a step.

But when I got back to the hotel that same night, I felt great


Climbing Mount Yasur, an active vulcano on Tanna - Vanuatu

Tags: Tanna Vulcano Lava Vanuatu Mt. Yasur
You can climb Mt. Yasur on Tanna Island in Vanuatu or you can drive around the vulcano almost to the top .......... I climbed the vulcano and had a fantastic experience doing it :)

Vanuatu is a small independent country in the Pacific Ocean between New Caledonia and Fiji.  I went to Vanuatu from Indonesia, and I did not know anything about this island country before arrival ....... the first thing I noticed, people were so friendly and smiling all the time when I was there.

Mt. Yasur is an active vulcano and according to the local guides it has been this way for many many years. They have scheduled day and night tours to go to the vulcano which is located in a remote area of Tanna.

Because it is very active and spewing lava and ashes into the air constantly, the outside of the vulcano is quite steep and nothing but ashes, making it very hard to climb up.

I wanted to see the vulcano both in day time and at night, so I went on a day tour and then I arranged to be picked up at night, this gave me plenty of time to climb up on the outside of the vulcano.

When the truck dropped me off at the foot of the vulcano one local guide told me to always keep an eye on the lava, and if I saw some lava come falling down towards me, then I had to move away quickly. As I turned around and looked up I saw a big rock come falling down towards me, and that made me very alert all the time.

I could not believe how hard it was to climb to the top, zig-zagging up the outside in sand and ashes, I had my backpack and my climbing helmet on and when I got to the top I could see into the middle of the vulcano. After a hard trek it is always fantastic to stand on the top and look out, enjoying the route you took and the scenary and view ...... especially when you have a clear sky and a jungle beneath you. AMAZING

Every time there was an explosion I could feel the whole moutain shaking, and I heard a deep deep rumble from inside the vulcano, and then it spewed lave and ashes into the air, an awesome and destructive spectable.

I was walking around the top and it is so phenomenal to see the difference - the inside is destruction and the outside is a lush tropical jungle.

I got to the the top in the afternoon, and I had to wait at the top for the night tour to come and pick me up and it gave me a lot of hours alone at the top of the vulcano.

Late at night - to everybodys surprice - I walked down on the inside of the vulcano, the heat was so intense and the air was full of sulfur and ashes, and it burnt my throat so bad that I could only withstand it for a few minutes, but I did get a video clip much closer .........

Everybody was in awe and the local guides had never seen or heard of anybody ever doing that, but the whole day when I was watching the vulcano I did get a an idea where the lava landed ............. at least most of the times

I would not recommend anyone doing the same, but I would recommend everyone to go to Tanna and see the Vulcano


Climbing Mustagh Ata (7546 meters) in China

QuickImage Tags: Climbing
I climbed Mustagh Ata in the Xinjiang province in western China (bordering Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan). This area is mostly inhabited by muslim communities, and getting to Khasgar is a journey in itself and the easiest, but certainly not the shortest, route is to stop-over in Beijing.

The actual climb was scheduled from the 1. July to the 24. July, however due to weather and other unforseen problems I planned for extra days. I chose an american travel agent SummitClimb that has much experience with this mountain.

Mustagh Ata is 7546 meters high, but not very technical, and mostly climbed on snowshoes. Some climb it on ski, but after my last ski trip to the North Pole I prefered to try snowshoes

I relaxed a week in northern Thailand and did a bit of trekking in the Golden Triangle before travelling to Khasgar - you can see some pictures of this here.

I had to fly from Chiang Rai - Bangkok - Beijing - Urumqi - Khasgar. In Urumqi I had more than 8 hours to wait and I left the airport to go sightseeing, some stewardesses on the flight to Urumqi gave me some tips on where to go and with a few Chinese sentences on the back of a piece of paper I went out of the airport. I told the taxi driver "Hong Shan Gong Yuan"  .......... and after half an hour I was at a park. I spent a few hours there and I must have look silly carrying a huge backpack and a sleeping bag around this park  Even Chinese security officers looked stunned when I walked through check-in wearing these boots. The things you do, to make your carry-on look smaller and keep the weight of the checked-in luggage down

Oh, and if you want to attract Chinese girls just wear a pair of Millet Everest boots, sit down at the cafe in Urumqi airport and take them off. One of the girls working there came over to me every 5 min. saying "they are too big"

After arriving in Khasgar we had a few days of planning, sightseeing and preparation for the climb, including the guide, but not including the sherpas etc. we were 19 people on this climb

On the 3. July we arrived at Karakul Lake, there is a stunning view of Mustagh Ata from Karakul Lake

We do not have access to Oxygen when we climb this mountain, but we do have a Gamow Bag with us if needed. You can read about Gamow Bags here


The North Pole ski adventure

Tags: Adventure
I have skied the last degree to the North Pole

An 11 day/10 night epic journey

And the preparation for that was by pulling pulling tires, most people smiled at me, and admitted, I must have looked pretty stupid walking to work with tires and a backpack........ But I HAD TO exercise as much as possible. I have walked to and back from work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays dragging these tires after me. A few days I was walking while it was snowing and wrongly I imagined that the tires would glide on top of the snow, but instead the tires are digging into the loose snow and ....... surprise surprise ...... the inside of the tires are getting filled with wet snow ...... damn, it was slowing me down

Now I know why skiing to the North Pole is not that popular, and I am not going to make a fortune selling used tires to people who want to exercise

We started in Longyearbyen with a a few days of testing the equipment and then we flew to Barneo Ice Camp. Since Barneo had drifted far to the North we flew back in a helikopter to start our ski trip towards the pole. We were a team of 4, 2 guides and 2 members ........ and as I was the only dane and the others were from Russia, I was left out of most conversations, but sometimes we were talking English. Video - Being dropped by the helicopter

Every night we had to set up the tent, which a long process to ensure that the tent is stable in snowstorms, and it proved to be a good idea not to under estimate the changes in the weather. We had 3 snowstorms during our walk and had to spent 4 days sitting in the tent. One of the snowstorms were particular hard and we realized that we during this snowstorm had open water on 3 sides and the snowstorm came in from the 4 side Video - snowstorm .......... an unnerving experience, which forced us to only unpack the neccersary equipment and stay very alert ...... going out in the snowstorm with such a low visibility and uncertainty was more risky than staying !!! Video - inside the tent

At Barneo they had their handfull of problems with their tents that they needed to secure with more ice screws to prevent them from flying away. They also found a big crack in the airstrip which prevented any flights to and from the ice for 8 days, and it took a stress on everybody, since the snowstorms were raging over the region, preventing people from being flown back to Barneo and home.

We often had to pass cracks in the ice Video - crossing crack and also walk over pressure ridges Video - pressure ridge

After the last snowstorm in which we decided to walk anyway to get around a huge "lake" of open water, that we later dubbed "Lake Ontario" ....... walking in a low visibility for many hours and actually we ended up making a huge u-turn because we faced yet another lake after the first one ......... at the end of the day we had only gained 2 km. on the North Pole

Video - panorama view

Being locked down by bad weather for so many days we needed a "jump" with a helikopter to take us across the open water, which finally happend and we were then able to finish our walk to the North Pole

YAHOO YAHOO YHAOO ............ We got there at 3:20 in the morning on 21. April 2007

And we had fantastic weather on this last day to finally just enjoy the view, the calm and the silence of the North Pole.

I had promissed my nephew that I would do 10 "push ups" when I got there, and I did ...... twice ........... but both times the video recording was not working

After running around during stupid things and taking photos, we set up the the camp for the last time ........ Video - setting up the last tent


Climbed Mera Peak in Nepal (6461 meters)

Tags: Trekking

I climbed Mera Peak on a very cold morning in October 2006. From the time I finally bought this tour I only had 5 weeks to get all the needed gear and getting ready. I had no idea about the amount of time and the list of equipment nor did I know about the particular brands normally used for climbing and trekking mountains in Nepal.

We first spent 2 days in Kathmandu before flying to Lukla. From Lukla everything was on foot, there are no cars, busses etc. in Lukla.

Getting to the foot of the mountain took 10 grueling days of hard trekking through hell of mud, rain and rocks. It was hard, it was wet and it took a lot of sweating. Being in the mountains offered fantastic scenery and at the end it was good for acclimatization to higher altitudes.

We were 8 on this tour/expedtion and 2 persons had to stay at 5000 meters in Khare due to altitude sickness, but the rest of us continued to the top. Khare was our Base Camp, actually our tents were apx. 150 meters higher than Khare and from there we we went to Mera La at 5350 and on the last day we went to our high camp at 5805 meters.  It took us only 2 hours and 15 minutes to go from Mera La to high camp and from there, the same night we went for the summit.

We intentionally wanted to leave for the summit at 01:00 after midnight, but due to bad weather this was postponed to 03:00 (and thank God for that) becuase we did it in 3.5 hours, and came just in time to enjoy the sunrise together with us.

The best part of the tour was to see and experience the sunrise over the mountains as we were climbing the summit. When we were aproaching the top we could clearly see that the sun was illuminating the peaks around us. Due to the curvateur the highest points is hit by sunlight the first and it was beautiful to see the sunlight illuminating the highest mountains as we were still walking towards the top in the dark, and then slowly more and more of the mountain is hit by the sun.


We passed a canadian/brittish team on our way to the top and could enjoy the top, before descending to high camp and then all the way back to Khare which we reached at 14:30. On the way back to Lukla we faced hell of snow as we walked up and down mountains for one full day from 08:00 till 18:00 while it was snowing.


HALO World Record

Tags: HALO

I have set a new world record with a tandem jump from 31000 feet on July the 27. 2006 at the World Free fall Convention in Rantoul - just 150 km. south of Chicago ......... how cool is that ........... VERY

Only a few people have ever attempted a tandem HALO jump, and I was number 25 in the world. At the moment it is only Kevin and Ben from halojumper.com in the US that do civilian HALO tandem jumps, thus if you want the thrill of jumping from 30000 feet you have to go to the US. But it gets a little more complicated, the max allowed altitude was 28500 feet, however during the World Free fall Convention in July 2006 there was no limit from FAA and this gives the possibility to jump from 30000 feet or higher.

I went in 2006 to try to set a new World Record and succeeded

The day before the jump all the gear was fitted and I was taught how to use the equipment and the routines of switching from the 100 % pure oxygen in the plane to the mixed oxygen bottle attached to my stomach. The training is quite thorough and Kevin and Ben, while stressing the importance of the routines and awareness, make no jokes about the danger of doing this jump. It is dangerous, but I would love to do it again with Kevin and Ben, they certainly have the experience needed to make this jump safe !

The actual jump was very early in the morning, and nobody else can jump at the World Free fall Convention until we have been up and down. 4:30 is very early, but before we were fitted, and the weather had improved enough to attempt the jump an hour had been spent.

There is very little pressure at 31000 feet, so we had to prebreath 100 % pure oxygen until our body is saturated with oxygen, this is to avoid getting the bends. The temperature is -40 degrees outside, without counting the windchill factor.

With all our gear we are getting in the plane and hooked up to the onboard Oxygen system .... we sit there prebreathing Oxygen for about 25 min. before take-off and then we continue breathing 100 % pure oxygen until 28000 feet when we prepare to jump, at this point we switch oxygen from the plane to our "normal" oxygen in the attached bottle.

We are looking for a clear hole in the clouds, and this we find at 30700 feet and then we get ready to jump out of the plane. When we jump out of the plane, the camera man to film the jump is hanging outside the door as we stand in the door with our feet halfway out ........ and then we jump.

It is fantastic jump out and at first it does not feel so violent  but then I put my hands out and we get to more dense air I can feel the force immensely as we hit the air with apx. 450 km/h ......... this is what life is all about. IT IS ABSOLUTELY SENSATIONAL

I really feel the force and it feels like the mask and helmet is being ripped off my face/head. The freefall lasts for more than 2 min. and I have a clear memory of the fall, especially when we fell through a cloud, because it lasts for a long time and when we get through I feel that the air isuddenly much warmer and we open the parachute.

The free fall lasts from 31000 feet to 5000 feet when we open the parachute.


Mig 29 flight in Moscow

Tags: Mig

Mig 29 Flight over Moscow in April 2005 ........ when I booked this flight I was not sure what to expect, I knew this plane was a fighter, but all I wanted was to get as high as possible.

When I went to Moscow, to do this flight, I stayed at a really bad old communistic hotel. However the location next to The Kremlin was fantastic. They told me to get a good nights sleep and a good breakfast, but that was a little difficult at this hotel.

Early in the morning the next day we went to Zhukovsky Air Base - and when we arrived I got introduced to my pilot - Alex.

Alex explained to me that because the Mig 29 was build as a fighter, and thus not build to go to the edge of space, we had to "prepare" the plane by doing "something" in 12000 meters before we could make the final climb to over 20000 meters.

Alex seemed very competent and I had no fear nor anxiety ....... I was just looking forward to the experience.

Since I was the only one flying that day - at all - all the personnel, incl. assistants, ground personnel, the pilot and the mechanics to prepare the plane were there just to support my flight.

After briefing we both had to wear a G suit - and I got two Russian assistants to help me get into the suit and find the gear, mask and helmet etc. needed, and then we drove from the main building to the plane.

This plane is a fighter, and not a leather cabin with free drinks and nice stewardesses, but the seats are electric and felt very comfortable, and after I was seated Alex told me a few things :
  1. to look at the instruments so I can follow the altitude and speed,
  2. to keep my feet on the pedals,
  3. if I need pure oxygen push the blue switch,
  4. and how to communicate with him during the flight

At app. 12.000 meter - still going up - I experienced something totally wicked. My arm rested on my leg, but suddenly it got this 'sleepy-feeling'. I bented my arm and tightened my fist to check if everuthing was ok. It felt fine, but when I wanted to put my arm down it just stayed in the air. Because of some maneuers I had become weightless - without knowing. I had not been prepared for this to happen, and it felt so unexplainable strange.

This is something you have to try for yourself.

The view was amazing and to see with my own eyes that the Earth is round - was absolutely fantastic. When you look up and out into space the sky is pitch black and when you look to the horizon you can see the different colors in the atmosphere around the Earth ....... there are so many impressions, you just have to try it

Another thing I noticed is that the sun looks just like a white diner plate, it is difficult to explain, but it looks different when the background is black.

Please look at this video - it is very large, (it is better to view it using VLC Player form videolan.org)  Video from Mig 29 Flight

Going down Alex asked me to take control of the plane ...... very cool, it was so different, once I tried to fly a Cessna, but the Mig rocks  I just trid to fly a little bit, the experience was overwhelming ........ one thing I tried was to push the stick as fast as I could forward to descent as fast/steep as possible ........ but I realized after my intestines went from my stomach to my lungs, that I needed to pull it back a little bit

When we got back down again I could see that the gas meter was in the red, and we only had enough gas to make a few maneuvers before we would be forced to land.


Mount Agung in Bali

Tags: Bali

After a 3 day stopover at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, my American girlfriend and I went on to Bali. This blog is not about Raffles Hotel, but I just have to compliment this hotel. I have stayed at tons of hotels, but this is just in a league of its own. You don't stay at Raffles - you live there ........... it is absolutely worth a trip to Singapore alone.

In Bali we stayed at Grand Hyatt in a "club" room ....... the extra price of the club room was a good deal, because every day they had happy hour where we would get snacks and free drinks for one hour. I think it was from 18:00 - 19:00. And every day we sat in the lounge enjoying whatever drink we wanted.

2 days before I climbed Mount Agung we climbed a small mountain together where we at the top had a nice break and got something to eat. When we got back I asked at the tourist information desk at the hotel what other mountains I could climb and they suggested a popular mountain, but I asked "which one is the highest mountain in Bali ?" ......... and found out that it was possible to climb it. I got the description and went back to look at it, and later the same day I booked this trip. I was going to picked up a little before midnight 2 days later, and we would climb the mountain in the middle of the night to see the sunrise at the mountaintop. Mount Agung is a volcano which has not been active since the 60's .......... look here for description Mount Agung Bali. That was all the information I got.

On the same day as the climb we went to our happy hour for the usual cocktails - and we sat and enjoyed our drinks together with some other guests that we had gotten to know. After one or two drinks I told our newfound friends that I better go to bed now, because I am going to climb a mountain at midnight ......... they all look at me with big surprise and one turned toward me and said .... WHAT ???

He asked me if I had prepared for this climb, and honestly I just said 'no' ......... but that I look forward to do it, and that I think it sounds exciting, my girlfriend is also there of course and I think she thinks I am a little crazy, she would much rather be laying on the beach and enjoying the sun.

He was/is the general manager of the hotel's food division, and he asked me where I booked it, and he looked a little shocked to find out that the information desk would just sent untrained guests up this mountain. He had tried it a few years ago and he told us, that he had to sit in a wheelchair for the following 2 weeks ....... even though he had prepared for it. And that he knew of guests that had called for help to be air lifted out because they were too scared to climb down.

A guest who seemed to know everybody at the hotel told him that I would sue the hotel for damage if something happened .......... it was just a joke, but we talked about it for awhile ........ to scare him a little bit

The truth is, that I really wasn't prepared for this at all ........ when we left Denmark (where we live), we didn't know that there were "big" mountains on Bali. However all the talk didn't scare me, and I go to my room at apx. 8 pm. to sleep a few hours. I didn't really sleep ........ the adrenaline started to kick in and kept me awake. I decided this time (did you read about my trip to Borneo a few years earlier ?) to take some water, unfortunately they only had bottled water ...... IN GLASS BOTTLES, and I needed a bottle opener. As I didn't have any bag with me, I take 4 bottles of water and a Mars bar from the mini-bar and put them in a plastic bag. I didn't have any special clothes with me so I wore sneakers and some trainers and brought a sweatshirt in case of low temperature.

I was picked up around midnight and we on the way to the mountain we picked up a couple from Germany ........ when they enter the car, I suddenly realize, that I should have been a little more prepared. They wore mountain boots, hats and gloves etc, and they have climbing experiences from mountains in the Soviet Union.

Anyway we get to the mountain and luckily the guides had bottled water ......... in plastic ........ they also gave me a flashlight so I could find the way up the mountain ........ I think it was 01:30 am. before we started to climb up. At first we were in the jungle but later the vegetation became less as we walked up the rather steep volcano. We have no real breaks and just kept on walking, and just before reaching the top we passed an Austrian team

Mount Agung was my first mountain and I still remember the rush when we reached the top ........ the view was breathtaking and the top is just 1 meter wide. Looking down on the inside of the volcano it is a vertical face, and the outside and on the inside it is vertical down on the inside of the volcano and on the outside it is just rocks and lava steep down. On top of Mount Agung - I felt on top of the world

Please see the video - me on top of Mount Agung

I got back to the hotel at noon and slept for a few hours before I went bike riding with my girlfriend.


Concorde flight

Tags: Concorde

This vacation was a bargain of a lifetime ...........

I went with my French girlfriend from London to Toronto on a Boeing 747 and returned on the Concorde. This was the longest flight the Concorde could do on its limited fuel tank. We stayed at a luxury hotel in Toronto and the trip included lunches and diners at hot places around Toronto, including the CN tower and a helicopter flight around Niagara Falls.

Normally the peak of a trip is not going home, but this was different since we were flying home on the Concorde. After we were seated in the plane and waiting on the runway for takeoff, the captain told us that he could not ignite the engine, but needed outside assistance for this. Dont know if that was the case for all Concorde flights. He also told us how bad the Concorde was to fly at slow speed, so just after takeoff we would climb high and fast and then as we we flying over Newfoundland we broke the sound barrier, which to much surprice was effortless and unnoticeable. We were drinking champagne and you could not see of feel anything differently, except for a gentle push back into the seat as the captain turned on the after burner  ....... and of course you could also see it on the display.

One thing I noticed was how fast the clouds disappeared when we flying Mach 2, and the windows in the plane which are normally a little cold, were quite warm. For once I wanted the flight to last longer

And now there is something called the "10 mile high club"

The ride was quite smooth, but when we touch down the camera that I held in my hand flew forward as the Concorde was braking ...... so it is not only the engines, but also the brakes that is upgraded on this plane.

Total prize £2000 pr. person. She found this package and booked it for us .......... I don't remember what agency she used, but today the prize just sound ridiculously low. I cannot read the stamp in the passport acurately, but I think it was 5 days and that we stayed in Toronto at Sheraton Hotel.

What a pitty that this is plane is no more


Vacation in Fiji

Tags: Fiji

Between a working trip to Malaysia and Australia, I booked a vacation in Fiji with my French girlfriend ......... so while I was arriving from Sydney she was flying in from London. We stayed at 2 Shangri-La hotels in Fiji, the first one was very nice, but the next was just too fantastic. The first Shangri-La hotel is not there anymore, but
Shangri-La's Fijian Resort still is, and it is definitely worth a visit.

We did two exciting things on this trip, first we booked a 3 day tour to a secluded Island on a big sailboat - in between the hotels. Every night we stayed at the Island, which had no electricity and no hot water. Each couple, I think we were 5 couples, got a little "hut" to stay in and a flashlight, and of course it was my duty to go in and check for scorpions, spiders and other creepy crawlies before she would come in. We just had one "bed" in this little hut and a mosquito net ........ that was it.

During the daytime we were sailing around different islands and sometimes we got off the boat and went ashore, and the crew members would bring drinks etc. for us ..... NICE

Of course we were also swimming in the perfectly clear and dark blue waters.

This was really really good, and something everyone should experience once in their life.

After this boat trip we checked in at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort to enjoy and relax, but we also booked a balloon flight. Early in the morning, we took off in a 4x4 and drove into the jungle from where we would take off and fly cross of Fiji. It is so different to fly in a balloon. Of course there is noise and much heat when the heater is turned on, but when we were up, the captain did not need to turn it on too much ...... and then it was so quiet. Try it


Diving in the Great Barrier Reef

Tags: Diving

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef outside Cairns is absolutely the most fantastic and beautiful thing I have ever done.

I was working in Sydney and my boss was also there this time, and together we decided to do something in the weekend, I wanted to go to Ayers Rock and he wanted to go diving, so we went diving ....... (he was signing the expenses, so I gave in). And today I am glad that I did.

On Friday we flew up to Cairns and checked in at the hotel, and the next day, Saturday, we went out with a huge catamaran, and on the boat they had something called "discover scuba", the whole idea is that while you might not have a diving certificate you will be allowed to dive with an instructor. So we did. The catamaran was sailing really fast and for at least an hour until we came to the reef. We get off the catamaran and sail in to a little reef sand atoll, where we get the scuba gear on, and we slowly get used to breathing in the shallow water until we swim out.

The feeling of laying on the bottom of the sea and just observing these beautiful fish swimming just 10-20 cm. from your mask ....... fantastic, and I lack words. The water is more clear than normal tap water and the fish have more colors and patterns than kids in kindergarten could even dream of drawing.

I saw a huge sea turtle, it must have been 1 meter long swimming gracefully by me, and instinctively I just followed it ......... I didn't try to touch it or anything, I just wanted to see it. But my diving instructor stopped me.

The following day we went white water rafting in the forest/jungle and then later that Sunday evening we flew back to Sydney to continue working.

I don't have any pictures from the actual dive, but I will add pictures from my visits to Australia later.


Trekking in the jungle of Borneo

Tags: Borneo

Every time I went from Copenhagen to Penang in Malaysia for work it would take me a few days before I got over the jetlag, so I tried to stay at least a fortnight, thus I always had one weekend in Penang to relax, sometimes I went to Kuala Lumpur or small islands close to Penang for the weekend,  but on this trip I asked another Danish colleague if we should get the office to try to arrange that we go somewhere else.

My colleague was quite young, and not used to travelling ..... I looked at the get-away packages that was presented by the secretary at the office, and Kuching was listed. We would leave Penang on Friday night and go to KL and then on to Kuching. Kuching is the biggest city in Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states on Borneo. The main part of Borneo is Indonesian and then there is also Brunei.

We arrived late Friday evening and got to the hotel. We stayed at Hilton, and spent all Saturday relaxing and walking around in Kuching, I got the reception to plan a trip to drop us off at a beach early Sunday morning and pick us up late Sunday night, this would give us one full day to explore the jungle on our own, and we would still make the plane back to Penang late Sunday night.

A taxi drove us for a long time to a water front where a long narrow boat was waiting, we had not planned nor prepared anything, and it was the local guy who in his poor English asked us ........ he looked at us like we were two stupid tourist - which we were .......... don't you want to bring any water with you ???

Oh yes ......... probably a good idea. We bought 2 * 1½ liter bottles of Evian each at the water front and went into the boat. But hey ..... stop and think about it, we were going to spent a full day in the jungle, and we had no water with us ........ but this is only the first mistake

It was early in the morning, but the sun was up and this narrow long-boat with a huge power full engine at the back is really fast. The boat sits very low in the water and after a while we passed some mangrove forests before we finally end up at a beach. For obvious reasons the boat cannot up on the beach, so we have to take our shoes off and walk in ....... he tells us that he will be back to pick us up 9 hours later and then he takes off, we have no way to reach him, no telephone number, only his word. Mistake number 2.

When we got to the out of the sand and into the grass we were going to take our shoes back on, but since we now had sand on our feet, we decided to open one bottle of Evian each and poor some Evian water over our feet to rinse off the sand, we never really thought about how precious the water would be later ........... mistake number 3.

We don't have any guides with us, however there are trails in the jungle we can follow and we have a "rough" map on a piece of paper. I can see a water fall on the map and we decide to go towards the water fall. My colleague was very heavy and he drank his water very fast, I asked him to slow down and preserve the water for the whole day, but after less than 2 hours he ran out of water - I ran out of water after 3 hours ........ Mistake number 4, but not the biggest mistake yet.

We walked along the trail and we had no precise idea how long the trail was or how difficult it was going to be to follow the trail in the jungle. We also took detours when we saw something interesting, like a little beach we passed. It was very hot and quite humid in the jungle, but we still felt fine and enjoyed the experience, the scenery, the wildlife ........ everything.

At the beach - please look at the pictures - it was a little uncomfortable to stand still as my feet was slowly sinking into the sand.

We were still far from the waterfall, so we started to run towards the waterfall ....... at this point none of us had any water left ....... mistake number 5 .......... and yes, this was the most stupid thing we did.

My colleague got so exhausted that he stopped and told me to go ahead alone, he would sit on the same trail the same place until I got back, I gave him all my things, Id, money, phone etc ......... mistake number 6

So I started to run towards the waterfall alone. I always enjoy using my body, and actually enjoyed running in the jungle. When I got to the waterfall, some local Malaysian girls were also swimming in the water, so I joined them and really enjoyed it. They asked me if I wanted some candy, but I said "no thanks" and forgot to ask them for water ........ Swimming in the cool water revitalized me.

When I got back to my friend, I told him about the girls and the waterfall, and he asked me if they had some water ............. He told me that while I was gone he started to think about the cool water in the waterfall too, and ran towards the waterfall, but then realized that I would not be able to find him if I came back another way. So he ran back to his spot. The spot he chose when he stopped was on the top of a hill, with no shade, making it unbearable for him to sit and wait, and he started to panic, and try to call for a helicopter to come and pick him up ........ newsflash - GSM coverage in the jungle is not existing. Mistake number 7.

On our way back to the beach, I had to go take a leak, and he was so exhausted that he sat down on the trail for the 30 secs. I was gone.

When we got back to the beach we still a little bit of time before the boat came to pick us up.

Late that Sunday night we were in the airport and after presenting our passport he accidentially packed it in his suitcase and it went onto the suitcase belt ........ he didn't notice this until we came to security. He ran straight back to check-in and ran up onto the belt and into the bagage area found his suitcase and came back with the passport.

When we sat in the plane towards KL he told me, that he would never go to the jungle again with me ........ he then corrected himself and said he would NEVER go to the jungle again.