Osprey Athlete Payge McMahon is an adventure athlete, ‘rockin’ yogi’ and journalist who travels the world inspiring others to get outdoors, try new things and start checking off that bucket list.
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Osprey athlete Kim Havell sent this video to us this morning and it’s a perfect mental health break to kickstart your day. This beautiful short from Fisher Creative captures the beauty and the reality of ski attempts in the high Himalaya — in this case on the 14th highest peak in the world — without the use of any oxygen and with no one else on the mountain with them at the end.
Kim, and the rest of the team, was attempting to complete a first descent on the mountain, but not the first descent. The peak has been skied before… they were just hoping to ski a new route from the top. The crew turned around just shy of the final summit push because of a sick teammate and other factors. Take a few minutes, grab your cup and enjoy.
The Gift of Sight: Timmy O’Neill Studies at Tilganga Eye Institute on Behalf of Himalayan Cataract Project
I am in Kathmandu, Nepal for the next two months studying to be an ophthalmic tech at the Tilganga Eye Institute working on behalf of the Himalayan Cataract Project and Dr. Geoff Tabin. I made it after more than two days of 725-mph aluminium tubes cruising at 35,000-feet above sea level with intermittent groveling on greasy airport carpets. I just finished my first day of training and I have class six days a week with Nepali language class another three nights a week.
This town seems to both simultaneously ensconce and entomb me: at once offering the majesty and curiosity of the many stupas with burning sandal wood incense, ringing bells and garland covered lingams; monkeys, cows and dogs stirring up pigeons into the firmament alongside the offerings to the multitudes of gods and goddesses; narrow roadways winding past dust-caked brick walls that obscure wizened city denizens practicing ancient forms of prayer and life.
Be thankful my friends, very thankful. I returned home to Tennessee this week to do the same, finding that many blessings in my past did not go unnoticed — if not delayed a bit by gratification. Thanksgiving was neither a holiday for vegans or the gluten free set in the Clark household, circumstances I prayed for on some pretty high perches with that foreign sense of adventure I crave equally forcing me to look toward the heavens.
When all you have is Clif bars, Mom’s cranberry apple dish and my brothers deep fried Cajun infused turkey beckons like a belly sized siren. With this singular and unsustainable venture into the cardio “Death Zone”, I replaced pounds I seem to have lost somewhere and restored brain functions that a high altitude explorer sometimes forgoes in the pursuit of lightness. Oddly I felt the same outcome, I was tired and satisfied… at only 500 feet above sea level.
Holidays at home are fun and every culture has a ritual, and in these rituals, no matter how foreign, we can observe each other and bond in the experience. In this episode of Ski The Himalayas, our team participated in a Buddhist Puja ceremony at a local nunnery in Muktinath, Nepal. Our goal: to have fun and pay respect to the mountains… what really happened is unforgettable and resulted in Jon Miller’s most memorable moment of the season.
Some days, actually many days, I wake up with nothing more than a hint of what may be possible. Seeing new things all the time motivates me — it’s my routine, a gig for life. At some point, after lots of plane tickets, duct tape fixes and miscommunications, Darwinian principles begin to crest. I call it “dumb luck”, it’s saved some great times from becoming total losses. This one in particular.
As our expedition to ski in the region of Mustang fails when horses can’t negotiate landslides that have pummeled the approaching hillsides, we’re stuck in a location I have hung in three other times on three other expeditions. The location is Jomosom, it’s like the Denver of Nepal. In this episode we reorganize our gear for the next leg of our journey to ski powder in the Himalayas and visit a village that not too long ago was a hallowed spot on the Annapurna Circuit trekking route. Today fewer visitors explore the town of Marpha, known for it’s apple brandy, and steps leading to 26,795-foot Dahaulagiri, as vehicles carrying time sensitive travelers pass by.
Life is pretty short and sharing a Himalayan summit with good friends is rare — coveted even. Especially when an avalanche expedites your descent as the series ending reveals in Season 3 of Ski The Himalayas. Such is the nature of adventure sometimes. I grew up listening as GI Joe said “knowing was half the battle”… well, sometimes we see the other half, and we learn more from that “knowing”.
For me, it’s how you get there, how you get back and what you experience in between. That’s why I like sharing these videos — so that others can learn from our mistakes! In this dialogue-driven episode, the outcome of our original plans becomes murky as we figure out that this will be no routine expedition. As the team stages for trekking to the region of Mustang from Jomosom, Nepal, we see how too many cooks in the kitchen and not enough translation can change travel direction quickly when you leave Kathmandu in the trekking high season.