Five lessons from extreme places

Another guest blog post, this time for the OUP Academic blog. Click through for the entire post! Throughout history, some people have chosen to take huge risks. What can we learn from their experiences? Extreme activities, such as polar exploration, deep-sea diving, mountaineering, space faring, and long-distance sailing, create extraordinary physical and psychological demands. The Read more about Five lessons from extreme places[…]

What I’ve been reading

Here’s what’s caught my eye over the last few days – all relevant to research and stories we discuss in Extreme. Introduction to astronaut bioethics: Patrick Lin and Keith Abney from Cal Poly’s Ethics and Emerging Sciences Group provide a thought-provoking guide to the ethical and legal pitfalls we might face in long distance, long duration space Read more about What I’ve been reading[…]

Free soloing El Sendero Luminoso

One of the topics we wrote about in Extreme is the importance of focus in extreme environments. We used free solo climbing as an example of the degree of extraordinary concentration that some extreme activities require. Free solo climbing entails climbing a sheer wall of rock with no rope. If you lose your grip, you Read more about Free soloing El Sendero Luminoso[…]

When it comes to climbing Everest, what’s more important: mental or physical toughness?

Mountaineer Alan Arnette has just posted a brilliant commentary on what it takes to climb Everest. He argues that it’s not ‘mostly psychological’ nor ‘mostly physical’ – it’s both together: Climbing at altitude is about having your body in balance. It is a system. Can your lungs feed your heart, your heart feed your muscles, Read more about When it comes to climbing Everest, what’s more important: mental or physical toughness?[…]


Today is the sixtieth anniversary of the first ascent of Everest, and a time to reflect on why people climb the mountain. Mallory famously quipped ‘because it’s there’, whilst Hillary suggested it was for ‘fun’. Wilfred Noyce, one of Hillary’s 1953 party, later wrote a book exploring the varied motivations people have for engaging in Read more about Everest[…]

Everest pioneer’s Olympic medal heads to summit

From The Observer, 1 April 2012: British mountaineer Kenton Cool was sitting in the check-in lounge at Gatwick airport last Thursday with a locked waterproof box that, if all goes according to plan, will not leave his side until he reaches Everest’s summit for a 10th time this spring. The box contains the Olympic medal Read more about Everest pioneer’s Olympic medal heads to summit[…]