Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ep. 373: Climbing in North Korea - Woolly Mammoths - Nepal & Siberia - George Kourounis


One of our favorite recurring guests, George Kourounis, is back on the show today. George recently returned from Nepal where he visited Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas to film a TV show. They decided to try visiting the base camp with no acclimatization. So they took a helicopter up with no time to adjust. George immediately experienced the effects of hypoxia during this trip. George was also fortunate enough to meet Kancha Sherpa on this helicopter ride. Kancha Sherpa is the last surviving member of Sir Edmond Hillary's 1953 expedition to be the first people to reach the summit of Everest.
On our last show with George, he was preparing to head to North Korea for a rare opportunity to mountain trek, climb and camp. He was approved by the government and was able to travel there in May of 2017. He fills us in on what it was like to be a western-world guest in this secretive country during tumultuous political times. His experience is an interesting one that most of us never get to hear much less experience. Listen in to hear about what the mountains and surroundings are like over there.
George tells about his continued trips to volcanoes including 11,384 ft Mt Nyiragongo which is an active volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He explains that the lake nearby, Lake Kivu,  which is susceptible to exploding due to the vast amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide at the bottom. The volcano holds the world's largest boiling lake of lava.
He traveled down the Road of Bones to visit a village in the middle of Siberia, Oymyakon, which is known as the coldest place on earth. He tells us a story about visiting a preserved woolly mammoth frozen in the permafrost and when no one was looking, George snapped off a little mammoth to have a taste. Listen in to hear what that experience was like for him.
Then we discussed the difficulty of ice climbing on icebergs to place satellite tracking devices on them for tracking the path of the icebergs as they float through the ocean. 
It's never a dull hour when our friend George Kourounis joins us on the show. 




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