A Sunset from Space, Solo Freeclimbing and Customizing your iPad for Travel


Rock climbing is becoming more and more popular. Even in my current city of Chiang Mai, there’s a robust rock climbing club and plenty of karst to scramble up – with ropes, safety equipment and helmets. But what about free form rock climbing, with nothing at all? The video below from North Face, showing world famous free solo climber Alex Honnold casually climbing Yosemite’s Half-Dome (in a fun, green shirt no less) with no ropes, is pretty insane to watch. 


This week, National Geographic also posted a great photo gallery of superclimbers, also pushing the limits at Yosemite National Park. Check out the incredible set of daredevil photos – you won’t regret it.

Speaking of incredible photos, this NASA image from the Earth Observatory shows a golden sunset over Bolivia, from Space. Taken by astronauts on the International Space Station, it’s a just beautiful. I can’t imagine being able to say goodnight to an entire continent from above, but this is the closest I’ll get:

Sunset from Space

In more earthly travel news, but strange indeed, a woman claims that Continental Airlines lost her husband’s body and is now suing them for damages.

Over on Intelligent Travel, the 2011 Traveler Photo Contest is up and running, with photos posted every few weeks. The competition is still open if any of you Hipmunks have travel photos to submit!

Capitalizing on the spotlight from the Royal Wedding, Antigua has decided to rename one of their beaches after Princess Diana, noting that “Barbuda [beach] became a sanctuary for the princess, and she seemed to find solace in the beauty of the island”. [via]

Have an iPad and like to travel with it? Matt Long from Landlopers did a service-y post on how to customize your shiny toy for travel, with screenshots and apps for download.

Man drives his car off the South Rim of the Grand Canyon - and survives to tell the tale. Pretty crazy stuff.

New York Times’ Frugal Traveler column posted a guide to navigating rental car fees. Given the many options, add-ons and fees when you rent a car, this is bound to come in handy.

EuroCheapo has rounded up three free walking tours of Paris for those of you heading over to the pond to France.

And in my hometown of Montreal, a new exhibit at the Museum of Archeology commemorates Mr. Indiana Jones, archeologist extraordinaire. The exhibit runs through September 18 and includes an interactive tour, film accessories and archeological finds on loan from other museums. 

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Avalanches, Skydiving and Northern Lights: Amazing Videos from Around the World

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg. Her views and opinions are hers alone and do not represent Hipmunk. 

For this post-Easter weekend roundup, I wanted to share a few videos that caught my eye. The first is from Mattias Giraud, a French skiier who climbed out of bounds in the French Alps for some pristine powdered snow. He got a bit more than he bargained for when he got caught in an avalanche, all captured on film with a GoPro HD Helmet HERO camera. Matthias was quick to clarify that there were rescue teams watching at all times, including a helicopter. But he added “like any exposed line in the Alps, a fall means death. So, you don’t fall. And if you do, well it’s part of the game and you know that before going into it.”

Dizzying, first-person view of an off-piste trail between the ski resorts of Megeve and Les Contamines in the French Alps: 

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GoPro HD: Avalanche Cliff Jump with Matthias Giraud from GoPro on Vimeo.

My brother sent this to me late last week, and as someone who has skydived (skydoven?) for years, I was mesmerized. But you don’t have to have jumped out of a plane to appreciate the ethereal beauty of this video. According to Vimeo user BettyWantsIn, a Melbourne-based design studio, post processing was used only to slow down the shots and correct color.

Experience skydiving without actually leaving your chair, thanks to these four Melbourne Skydive Centre skydivers, slowly floating toward the ground:

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Experience Human Flight from Betty Wants In on Vimeo.

From the enthusiastic response to Terje Sorgjerd’s The Mountain timelapse posted on Friday, I thought I would include another one of his videos. In The Aurora, he filmed an incredible display of Northern Lights, from a vantage point in Pas National Park, Norway. Braving the -25C temperatures seem worth it in retrospect – what an awe-inspiring show.

Almost 2 minutes of shimmering green Northern Lights from the far reaches of Norway:

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The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

More to come on Friday. Until then, if you’re an Android developer, Hipmunk wants you.

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The Mountain: A Stunning Milky Way Timelapse from Spain’s Highest Peak

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg. Her views and opinions are hers alone and do not represent Hipmunk. 

We are used to seeing the Milky Way galaxy from space, like this NASA photo from the Fermi telescope:

But the video below is a whole new way to see the Milky Way, and easily the most beautiful thing you’ll watch this week. Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd set up his camera between the 4th and 11th of April atop Spain’s highest peak, El Teide mountain. At 3718m (12,198 ft) tall, it is one of the best places to photograph the stars, which is why the Teide Observatories are on its slopes. 

Though he wanted to capture the Milky Way, a sandstorm swept through the Sahara on the 9th of April, clouding the sky from the summit. Instead of ruining the scene (as Sorgjerd initialy worried it would) the sandstorm produced some of the most beautiful, haunting and shimmering scenes in his film. Watch for it at 32 seconds in:

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The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed this video, take a look through his Facebook fan page or Twitter feed for more terrific films (The Aurora is one of my faves).

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