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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Sean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe on Being Mountaineers: “Your Physiological Condition Needs to be Right”

Poles ApartSean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe, the adventurers who wrote Poles Apart with David Bristow, were interviewed by Nancy Richards for Country Life magazine.

In this inteview, Richards asked Disney and De la Harpe about what it takes to be a mountaineer. They told her about the mindset that enables them to succeed and some of the more peculiar equipment they require when they climb mountains.

They have some great stories to tell, and are planning even more adventures. “First your physiological condition needs to be right – some people cope with altitude better than others – then you have to have the mental strength,” said De la Harpe.

Read the interview:

It all began in a crowded bar, as only male bonding can, when journalist David Bristow had a chance encounter with a couple of strong-looking lads from Joburg. But, as Bristow discovered, Vaughan de la Harpe, ‘the Somewhat More Dapper One’ and Sean Disney ‘The Taller One’ turned out not be a pair of lycra-clad chancers in the Cape about to try their luck at the Argus Cycle Tour, but two eminent mountaineers, members of the elite global Explorers Grand Slam rock-climbing club of people who have conquered all Seven Summits – the world’s highest – with both North and South Poles thrown in.

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Excerpt: Poles Apart Authors Share the Funny Questions They Get Asked About Climbing Everest

Poles Apart“So, is it cold up there?” ranks as one of Sean Disney’s favourite ridiculous questions that he and Vaughan De La Harpe get asked at dinner parties when fellow guests find out that they are going to be climbing Everest.

In this excerpt from Disney and De La Harpe’s book, Poles Apart written with David Bristow, they share some of the questions they get asked and talk about descending the Khumbu Icefall, which De La Harpe feels is the “most dangerous, foreboding, menacing place on the planet”.

So, is it cold up there?

VAUGHAN: Dinner parties. You’ve just got to love the questions they ask you at dinner parties when they hear you’re planning on climbing Everest.

Like: Oh, it’s very nice to talk to you while you’re still alive. (My pleasure.)

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Frostbite, Vertigo and “Extreme Envy” at the Launch of Poles Apart by Sean Disney and Vaughan de la Harpe

Vaughan de la Harpe, Sean Disney and Nancy Richards

 
Vaughan de la Harpe and Sean DisneyPoles ApartA large group of people braved the cold for the launch of Poles Apart: With Some Pointy Bits In Between at Kalk Bay Books recently – although the Cape Town weather seemed bearable in comparison to the book’s subject matter.

Nancy Richards, who was in discussion with authors Vaughan de la Harpe and Sean Disney, began the evening by noting that even James Clark’s cover shout emphasised the terrifying and exciting nature of the book, as he said he “suffered frostbite” just reading it.

Richards jokingly admitted to feeling “intimidated” by De la Harpe and Disney, calling them a formidable pair, and adding that she felt like she was talking to the “gods of the mountain”. As told to David Bristow, Poles Apart documents the journey of the two intrepid mountaineers’ climbing expeditions. De la Harpe and Disney have completed The Grand Slam, which includes The Seven Summits (including Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest) and the North and South Poles, as well as summiting many other peaks over the years.

Topics discussed during the evening included everything from ethics to physical exertion, acclimatisation, dangerous environments, sherpas, altitude sickness and the interesting characters the authors met on their travels. Richards was entertaining and engaging, and admitted to suffering “vertigo, anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome, outrage, shock and altitude sickness” while reading the book – but ultimately “extreme envy”.

De la Harpe, who reached all his summits on the first try, explained how he and Disney stay motivated, insisting “it’s not just about climbing”, and noting the importance of factors such as support, planning and assessment. However, most crucial, according to De la Harpe, is factoring in “internal motivation” and having “an objective that is worth achieving”.

Disney, a mountaineering guide and motivational speaker, has done the Seven Summits twice, and says he tries to do two or three new challenges every year. He shared his insights into the technical knowledge and practical challenges of mountaineering, including understanding the affects of altitude and mountain medicine, preparing for the journey and knowing the body’s ability to adapt to such experiences. Disney equates the skill to Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers and the notion that you need 10 000 hours of practice in a discipline to achieve optimum results.

It was difficult to believe the pair had summited the world’s highest mountain peaks and were still left with the energy to document their story, but as Vaughan explained, they wanted to “break the mould of this kind of book, we wanted it to be free of ego and in a conversational style” combined with a “large dollop of humour”. From the talk it is clear that De la Harpe and Disney’s story is detailed, riveting and definitely worth a read.

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Vaughan de la Harpe Admits Climbing Mountains Got “Out of Hand”

Poles ApartVaughan de la Harpe, co-author of Poles Apart, explains the psychological impetus that drives him to achieve incredible feats of endurance and stamina.

De la Harpe and Sean Disney’s new novel is about their experiences completing what explorers call the “Grand Slam” – reaching the seven highest peaks in the world and the North and South Poles – and becoming the first South Africans to do so.

The imposing list of the Seven Summits is Aconcagua in South America, Everest in Asia, McKinley in North America, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Elbrus in Europe, Vinson in Antarctica and Kosciuszko in Australia.

In an interview with Bruce Dennill from The Citizen, De la Harpe attempts to answer the age-old question set to mountaineers: Why did you do it?

It’s my own psychological make-up.

I like to set an objective, meet it and then set the next one. I’m like that with everything, but climbing mountains just got out of hand. First it was one, then it was the Seven Summits, then the poles. But it’s about achieving and moving on – I don’t dwell on it.

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Sean Disney and Vaughan De La Harpe Describe Completing the Explorers’ Grand Slam in Poles Apart

Poles ApartNew from Pan Macmillan, Poles Apart by Sean Disney and Vaughan De La Harpe, as told to David Bristow:

An entertaining and fascinating account of the authors’ formidable mountaineering and climbing accomplishments. In 2011 the pair completed the “Grand Slam”, which is summiting the world’s seven highest peaks as well as journeying to the North and South Poles. The book chronicles their achievements in an amusing and modest manner, while still sharing the drama of the various expeditions.

Poles Apart is highly informative about some of the real nitty gritty encounters and behind-the-scenes information about what exactly it takes to summit some of the world’s highest mountains, delving into the vast and varied challenges of mountaineering and very personal experiences of how the two authors overcame them, finding an inner strength that is just as vital as an outer, physical strength.

Although this book delves into the challenges but it does so with a good dose of humour, as both Disney and De La Harpe bounce their experiences off each other and reminisce in sometimes hilarious ways with the kind of detail and stories that armchair adventurers (as well as genuine mountaineers) will enjoy.

“This book is not just about mountaineering. There is the required physical fitness, the mental strength, the tortuous planning, the extreme patience (waiting in a tent in sub zero temperatures, day after day, for a window in the weather) the science, the careful choice of equipment, friendships formed, the need for tolerant wives and families, the soul searching … and, of course, the need for a good sense of humour.” – James Clarke

About the authors

Sean Disney is the Managing Director of Adventure Dynamics International. He lives with his family in Johannesburg. He has climbed Everest from both sides and is a two times 7 summits climber. Disney is a qualified paragliding pilot, private pilot, open water diver, and cyclist.

Vaughan De La Harpe
is the Managing Director of a company based in Johannesburg that specialises in the administration of insurance-related products. He is the first South African, along with Sean Disney, to have completed the Explorers Grand Slam.

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Video: Nechama Brodie Takes a Walk Through the City of Gold and Discusses Its History

Inside JoburgNechama Brodie, editor of Inside Joburg: 101 Things to See and Do, took CNN on a walk through Johannesburg and its history, starting on Main Street, which was one of the first streets to be plotted out in the grid of Johannesburg.

“The strange thing about Johannesburg is that for all that it is a city based entirely on making money, it has at the same time produced two of perhaps the most important human rights political leaders that we’ve known in the last few centuries, which is Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi. Neither of whom were born here, but both of whom were formed here in a sense,” Brodie says.

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Win a Copy of Wild Weekends: Places to go, things to do by Claire Keeton and Marianne Schwankhart

Wild WeekendsDo It Now is giving two lucky people the opportunity to win a copy of Wild Weekends: Places to go, things to do by Claire Keeton and Marianne Schwankhart.

To stand a chance of winning email competitions@doitnow.co.za with the answer to the following question.


Q. How many weekend destinations does the book feature?

The competition closes at midnight on Wednesday 28 August.

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Claire Keeton and Marianne Schwankhart Bring You Adventures for Every Destination in Wild Weekends

Wild WeekendsSunday Times adventure travel writer, Claire Keeton, and photographer Marianne Schwankhart have worked together to make sure you never have to spend another weekend at home wishing you were doing something more exciting.

They’ve collected 30 great weekend destinations and given you the lowdown on the adventure activities you can do in each – visit Waterval Boven and try climbing, a mountain bike trail or learn to fly fish; take your children on a hike to explore the sandstone formations of the Cederberg; go horse riding in the Drakensberg; or tackle an urban adventure and bungee jump from the Soweto cooling towers.

Decide where you want to go and they’ll tell you what adventures are waiting for you, or decide what activity you want to do and they’ll tell you the best weekend destinations to head for.

About the authors

Claire Keeton is senior Travel and Adventure Lifestyle writer at the Sunday Times. Marianne Schwankhart is a professional climber and full-time adventure photographer for the Sunday Times Travel Weekly. Together they travel the subcontinent in search for adventure activities as holiday destinations.

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Patricia Glyn Reveals Bushman Dawid Kruiper’s Secret in What Dawid Knew

What Dawid KnewFrom the pen of the remarkable adventurer Patricia Glyn, author of Footing with Sir Richard’s Ghost and Off Peak, comes the true story of Bushman Dawid Kruiper and his family; What Dawid Knew: A Journey with the Kruipers:

“You see, Mama, I told the truth. And so did my grandpa. It’s the last time before I die that I can show my descendants the truth about what happened here. Now I can rest.” – Dawid Kruiper to Patricia Glyn

Dawid Kruiper was an old Bushman with a secret that had been kept in his family for over a century, and which he wanted to hand on to his sons before he died. But he didn’t have the means to take his children back to the place where his grandfather had witnessed the horror that silenced him.

So Dawid asked Patricia Glyn to help him mount the great – and final – odyssey of his life. For two months in 2011, three generations of the Kruiper family, Patricia and her expedition crew travelled through the Kalahari, visiting and documenting places where Dawid and his forebears had roamed when they were ‘wild’ and free in the decades before the outsiders arrived in their homeland. And their journey culminated in Dawid releasing his secret to the world.

This is the story of how Patricia’s assumptions about and relationships with the Kruiper family were tested to the limit before they trusted her with their knowledge and stories. Patricia slowly gains an understanding of the depth of the Kruipers’ pain after centuries of genocide, prejudice and dispossession. The result is a candid but compassionate account of how this historical trauma manifests in the everyday lives of a contemporary Bushman family.

Patricia describes what she learned from the family about humankind’s original relationship with wilderness and the natural world. She recounts the Kruipers’ extraordinary veld knowledge and intuition, their inbuilt GPS and prescience.

This is an eco-adventure with a difference. What Dawid Knew explores the personal history and heritage of a remarkable family and what the Bushmen have to teach us about respect for, and responsible management of, our natural resources.

About the author

Patricia Glyn is an eco-adventurer, professional speaker, former TV and radio presenter, and the author of Footing with Sir Richard’s Ghost about her 2 000 km walk in the footsteps of her Victorian ancestor, and Off Peak, an irreverent diary about the three months she spent on Mount Everest.

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Nechama Brodie Interviews Ken Follett on Becoming Brilliant

Ken Follett

Inside JoburgFall of GiantsNechama Brodie, author of Inside Joburg got a chance to speak to Welsh author Ken Follett while he was on a visit to South Africa for the premier of the film Paradise Stop, for which he is an executive producer.

Follett spent many years failing before reaching success with the publication of his 11th book Eye of the Needle. Follett, who published Fall of Giants last year, says of his artistic struggle, “We learn nearly everything we know about literature from reading. And from writing and failing. Like writing a story and showing it to someone who says, yes, alright, that’s not bad. And you go: ‘Not bad? I thought it was brilliant. What do I have to do to be brilliant?’ And that’s when you begin to learn.”

I knew I would like Ken Follett even before I met him — not just because he’s one of the few Authors you can spell with a capital letter (he’s sold in the region of 130-million books worldwide) or because I’ve actually read and enjoyed his work, but because his success is something he’s clearly worked for. Like many writers, Follett was no overnight sensation: he had a day job and wrote novels in his spare time. He wrote a lot of novels before he became an Author with a capital A.

His first success, he explains on his website, was his 11th book (Eye of the Needle, 1978). Three decades and a number one New York Times best seller later, Follett hasn’t rested on his laurels. His latest book Fall of Giants (part one of a planned trilogy) was released late in 2010, and he’s already hard at work on the second installment. The Century Trilogy, as it’s called, will “tell the entire history of the 20th century, seen through the eyes of five linked families”. The first book focused on the World War I and the Russian Revolution. The next will cover the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and the dawning of the nuclear age.

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Photo courtesy KenFollet.com


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