Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
willstrickland

Most Hardcore Epic ever?

Recommended Posts

MisterE said:

The Long Walk:

 

Synopsis

In this gripping account, the author recounts how, in 1941, he and six fellow prisoners escaped from a Siberian labor camp and trekked across frozen Siberia, China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and finally over the Himalayas to safety in India. Without a map or a compass, carrying nothing but an ax, a knife, and a tiny amount of food, they walked for two years, and their experience constitutes a nearly incredible tale of hardship, suffering, and final triumph.

 

 

That was a pretty inspiring book. (author is Slavomir Rawicz.) This year I read someplace (Newsweek, or Time, maybe?) that some of the details of the story had been exagerated. Even so, if it was only half as arduous as he portrayed it, it was FAR worse than I expect I could endure.

On long tedious hikes out from climbs, I think about the story to remind myself that things could be much, much worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another hardcore epic: in 1893, Fridtjof Nansen deliberately embedded a specially-built ship into the Arctic icepack, anticipating that the motion of the icepack would take it over the north pole. Eventually he figured out they were going to miss it, so he took off with a few dogsleds and one other guy, and headed off to the north pole. After a few weeks, had to turn around and make for solid ground (fed the dogs with the "dog eat dog" method) then when they reached the end of the icepack, shot the two remaining dogs and took off with two kayaks. Ended up on an uninhabited island, where they had to spend an entire winter, before taking off in spring, and arriving home the same week as their ship. It's told in a book called "Farthest North" written by Nansen and recently republished as part of the Modern Library Exploration series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tristan Jones in his book Ice! tells the story of how he attempted to better Nansen's record solo with a one eyed labrador dog as his only companion. He purchased an 38 foot long, double diagonal planked lifeboat that he refitted and named Creswell. He sailed north and allowed the ice to close about the boat. Before it could crush the ship, he used a windlass to haul it on top of the ice. There he wintered alone and took celestial sightings as the currents carried them north. Eventually they were carried south again without having beaten Nansen's record, but having set the record for furthest north solo. It was a good read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, maybe not the most hardcore epic, but a great story.

During world war II, a group of Italian soldiers were taken captive by the British. hellno3d.gifThey were transfered to a POW camp, at the base of Mt Kenya. With nothing to do all day but look at the mountain, some of the Italians who had climbing experience began to day dream about climbing the mountain. After a few months, it became a plan in reality. They aquired extra rations, and some make shift equipment. HCL.gifThen one night, they escaped and began the climb. fruit.gifOnce out of sight of the POW camp, they encountered lions and had to keep fires going to keep them away. Climbing, and alternatinly hiding, they made slow progress up the mountain, but did keep going up. They described the upper meadows as having flowers 8 feet high, and pitched their tent tied between two flowers. After several days they eventually climbed one of the peaks, and began their descent. rockband.gif The climb was hard on them, and as they descended, they headed towards the POW camp. Once near the camp, they decided to break back into the camp and blend in. The British of course knew they had been gone, so punished them, but they were a bit amused by them too. pitty.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

in some ways it is an anti-hardcore story. the characters emerge as classic anti-heroes who live boring lives after having been defeated by the brits and cower in fear at the sight of wildlife. summitting is eventually quite accessory to discovery and enjoying the journey, i.e. the perfect adventure that also accounts for human frailty. or the ultimate quest for wonder without hype, quite refreshing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Among explorers, Shackleton's 1911 Endurance trip rightfully gets a lot of attention.

 

But as good a story as it is, some others from the Heroic Age of exploration were just as good. E.g., John Franklin literally ate his boots to stay alive in the Canadian north in 1822, and Aldophus Greely personally tended to his dwindling crew -- doomed by his own botched decisions -- after a failed attempt to reach the North Pole in 1881.

 

The most improbable of all is George Tyson's ice drift. After a failed North Pole venture in 1871, Tyson's ship was nearly destroyed in a storm. Tyson and 19 others jumped onto the pack ice to retrieve supplies being thrown overboard, only to have the ship break free from the ice and float out of sight. Tyson was stranded with two Inuit families, the ship's cook, and 10 Germans who had been hired as crewhands. The families included four kids, including three that Tyson unwittingly had saved by picking up a musk ox hide just as the ice broke apart underneath it. The three kids were in the hide.

 

Tyson had only the clothes on his back. The two Inuit men had rifles, and they went hunting every day, catching just enough every few days to keep everyone alive. The children wailed constantly from the pain of hunger. The Germans huddled to themselves, hoarded food, and refused to listen to Tyson's pleas to help coordinate a plan for survival. (Since he had no gun and they did, Tyson was reduced to pleading.) The Inuit men eventually gave Tyson a gun to protect their families while they were hunting. They were afraid that the Germans, who complained that the kids were a drag on the party, would kill the kids.

 

Meanwhile, the party hopped from floe to floe, carried south out of Smith Sound and south of Elsemere Island. Eventually they were rescued by a whaler north of Baffin Island. They spent six months floating on ice. Remarkably, everyone survived.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just watched "Rabbit-proof Fence"

 

Two children walk 1500 miles through the outback of Australia in 9 weeks to escape adoption and get home.

 

They are recaptured, and do the walk AGAIN!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, I heard watching Titanic was pretty tough too. I haven't seen it to verify the "Epic-ness" of it though yellowsleep.gif. I'll do a couple of marathons in combat boots, but I'm not into suffering that much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Distel32 said:

Epic??? Titanic in squamish took me more tries than Anubis yellaf.gif

 

Big Fish/Small Bowl syndrome? rolleyes.gifcrazy.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may not be the most hardcore, but it sure ranks up there- I'm thinking of Mark Twight, Barry Blanchard, Kevin Doyle, and Ward Robinson on the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat...anyone hear of this epic? It was in Climbing awhile back...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
glassgowkiss said:

shining wall (g4) by kurtyka-schauer and south face of k2 by kukuczka-piotrowski.

 

Two of THE most inspiring climbs for sure.

Everything Kukuczka did in the Himalaya was epic, for his partners anyway. The guy must of been the friggin' definition of hardcore. Did you ever meet him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ryan said:

This may not be the most hardcore, but it sure ranks up there- I'm thinking of Mark Twight, Barry Blanchard, Kevin Doyle, and Ward Robinson on the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat...anyone hear of this epic? It was in Climbing awhile back...

 

There's a mention of it in Extreme Alpinism... that's the one where they came across the packs of some dead dudes from a few years earlier and hit the jackpot with some ropes and pins?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"OK, I'm letting go of the rope!"

"OK gotcha, you've got the rope!"

"Er, where's the rope?"

 

Or something like that...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone's epic can be more hardcore than an elite alpinist. THe stories are good but I am open minded enough to read gaper epics like mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alpine_Tom said:

Another hardcore epic: in 1893, Fridtjof Nansen deliberately embedded a specially-built ship into the Arctic icepack......

 

Nansen's story is right up with my all time favorites. The story of two men having made a Farthest North and then taking more than a year to get back to civilization is incredible. Wintering over in a cave-like shelter made from stones. The Long Walk as well.

 

Here are a few more really good reads of truly great epics

 

In the Land of White Death...Valerian Albanov was the navigator on board a Russian ship attempting the Northeast Passage in 1912. After a year and a half stuck in the polar ice, his observations showed that the ship was drifting north, and that it was likely that they'd never survive (and Nansen's theory about drifting out of the polar ice was still unknown and unproven). Albanov obtained permission to leave the ship; he built sledges and kayaks and about half the crew (13 plus himself) elected to join him. After an incredible time of sledging on the ice pack followed by difficult travel on mixed ice/water and then iceberg filled water as they got further south, eventually 8 of them made it to the northern end of Franz Josef land. Four chose to work their way on land, meeting up at the end of the days with the other 4 (including Albanov) who stayed in the kayaks. Eventually the four on land did not show up at the end of one day, and a search found nothing. The remaining four on two kayaks got separated in heavy weather, and finally only Albanov and his partner get to a camp occasionally used by whalers at Cape Flora at the southern end of Franz Joseph land.

 

Adrift by Callahan (sp?). Solo sailing a small boat west from southern Europe, he is hit at night by a larger boat or a whale (he was never sure). He manages to get a survival raft and some supplies together and then that's it. Repeatedly hammered by storms, surrounded by sharks, nearly run over by a container ship that never saw him (he saw several such ships in his 89 day epic), continually having to patch leaks, obtain water from solar stills, food from fish, he kept it together for 89 days until he ran into some fisherman in the Caribbean. The tenacity of this guy to survive rivals Joe Simpson's efforts in Touching the Void.

 

Mawson's Will, another great story of artic survival.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew a guy, Klause Lockshavitz, who was born in an Austrian village. When the Nazis came, he was drafted into the Nazi army and sent to the Russian front. The Russians captured him and sent him to Siberia. After a little more than a year, he had learned Russian and escaped. He walked back to Germany and was almost home when he was caught by a Russian platoon. He was able to pass himself off as a Russian so they drafted him and sent him to the German front. He was captured by the Germans and sent to a concentration camp. I'am not sure which. He was rescued by the American army. When he returned to his village in Austria, it was burned to the ground long before. He left his family history with several people in the area and went to America where he became a Zoology professor. 29 years after he was taken by the Nazis at age 16, one of his sisters found him. The Nazis took all the men in the village, letting them wave goodbye to their families. They were told they were fighting for their families. According to the sister, as soon as the men were out of sight, the women and children were gathered up and the village was burned. They were sent to a factory somewhere as slave labor where she watched her sisters and mother die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Adrift by Callahan (sp?). Solo sailing a small boat west from southern Europe, he is hit at night by a larger boat or a whale (he was never sure). He manages to get a survival raft and some supplies together and then that's it. Repeatedly hammered by storms, surrounded by sharks, nearly run over by a container ship that never saw him (he saw several such ships in his 89 day epic), continually having to patch leaks, obtain water from solar stills, food from fish, he kept it together for 89 days until he ran into some fisherman in the Caribbean. The tenacity of this guy to survive rivals Joe Simpson's efforts in Touching the Void.

I have this book. It is a good read. Adrift, by Steve Callahan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tshimko said:

Alpine_Tom said:

Another hardcore epic: in 1893, Fridtjof Nansen deliberately embedded a specially-built ship into the Arctic icepack......

 

Nansen's story is right up with my all time favorites. The story of two men having made a Farthest North and then taking more than a year to get back to civilization is incredible. Wintering over in a cave-like shelter made from stones.

 

Farthest North is one of the best books I've ever read, but they were all so damn competent I wonder whether their adventure was an "epic" or not.

 

Edited by nonanon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×