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Adventure 2015: Flashback on the year that was

Adventure 2015: Flashback on the year that was

Text By Saurabh Kalkar

2015 had been epic in many proportions for the adventure circuit. Here is a look back at how phenomenal this year has been! While you were seated in your office chair trying to make something out of the adventure streak in you, few people were redefining the history and setting higher benchmarks in adventure activities for the coming year. If you don’t believe me, did you know that in 2015:
    • China’s ‘Yuntaishan’ glass-bottomed walkway got its first crack! Enough to make people scramble to return back to its edges. ‘Yuntaishan’ glass-bottomed walkaway (Photo: Hindustan Times)
    • Arnaud Longobardi parachuted into a moving cable car, but this surely seems to be part of some action movie, just way better and realistic.

    • Two siblings from India; Kandarp (5 yrs) and Ritvika (8 yrs) with their parents reached Kalapthar and became the youngest to trek to EBC. Post Nepal Earthquake this record was a confidence builder as well as something that could get you stumped.
    • Youngest kids at Everest Base Camp (Photo: Times Of India)
    • Skydiver Chris Walker completes a Rubik’s cube before deploying his parachute

While this all happened, there were a few epic history-making feats that were achieved in 2015 and are worth getting inspired from.


  C S Santosh (Photo: Motoroids) C S Santosh makes his debut in Dakar Dakar is one of the most unforgiving multiple stage race in motorsport. An Indian not only participated in it but also finished 36th after starting on 85th position. Enduring through the race, C S Santosh fell multiple times which injured his left shoulder and gave a bleeding nose. Later in the stages he fractured his big toe of his left foot yet completed the race. Dakar Rally has 13 stages, goes through 3 different nations of South America and covers almost 9000 kms. It’s considered one of the most tough offroad moto-endurance races. Still not getting the point? Refer this   Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on dawn wall of El Capitan Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson (Photo: Chris Burkard/The Cleanest Line) Tommy Caldwell & Kevin Jorgeson complete first free ascent of the dawn wall on El-Capitan The year started with a bang with this epic first ascent. Dawn wall project was an epitome in itself, and posed as a big challenge as it was considered too steep and too difficult for free climbing. Dawn wall, initially called as the Wall of Early Morning Light, is a 3000 ft wall which has no cracks and is a shear Granite Wall face with very minimal & razor blade thin holds. Caldwell himself took seven years to carefully plan his way to the top. The climb was set and had already started by the end of December 2014. For the next 19 days, Tommy Caldwell & Kevin Jorgeson stayed put on the wall in the three portaledges which served as their base and did something that will grip the imagination of the world. Suddenly Big Wall climbing and Yosemite’s El Capitan’s Dawn Wall came in every layman’s conversation.

MARCH 2015

Kaustubh Khade Kaustubh Khade (Photo: Redbull) Paddle Hard: Kaustubh Khade enters Limca Book of World Record for kayaking Kaustubh Khade, an IITian kayaked a distance of 500 kms in the deep sea all by himself, to enter the Limca Book of World Record. This humble Mumbai boy covered the distance from Mumbai to Goa in 18 days to achieve a feat, never done before. Kaustubh has also participated in several National Championships. He has represented & won medals at International Asian Dragon Boat Championship. Moreover, all of these achievements mentioned are only a warm up to what you would be seeing in 2016. Hold your breaths ladies and gentleman, something big is on its way! Ref: Sports Keeda

APRIL 2015

Sir Ranulph Fiennes completes Marathon Des Sables at the age of 71  
Marathon De Sable is one of the toughest foot race, in the world’s most inhospitable area - Sahara Desert. The marathon goes for 6 days and the total distance covered  at the end is 251 kms.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes who has authored books like “Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know” and “Cold: Extreme Adventures at the lowest temperature on Earth” is one of the most renowned faces in the adventure circuit in Britain. Known for his uncanny appetite for exploration and setting high standards in human endurance does what no normal person can imagine. He completed Marathon Des Sables at the age of 71. Sir Ranulph Fiennes at Marathon Des Sables Sir Ranulph Fiennes had a heart surgery only 12 years ago. (Photo: BBC) And would you believe that he had a double bypass surgery 12 years ago? No he isn’t mad, he knows what he’s doing; long ago, for an interview this is what he’d said,
"If there is madness in there, I would like someone to specify it to me. People who undertake these kinds of expeditions have the necessary physical capabilities and clear technical skills. They have calm and stable personalities that cope under stress. They are anything but mad, because otherwise they would fail, and someone else would do it. These expeditions are very carefully planned and entirely feasible. Now if you were talking about, I don't know, hopping to the south pole on a pogo stick - that would be mad. But not what I do."
And this speaks volumes for any achiever who is into outdoors. Tashi Nunghsi become the youngest to complete the Explorers Grand Slam Tashi and Nungshi Malik Tashi and Nungshi Malik (Photo: Redbull) The Explorers Grand Slam is essentially an adventure feat that is completed once the participant reaches North and South Poles and covers the Seven Summits (highest mountain peak in every continent).
This year, Tashi and Nungshi Malik, two girls from Haryana became the first Indians from India and the youngest to have completed the Explorers Grand Slam.
Nepal Earthquake   Nepal Earthquake Everest Base Camp (Photo: Global News) The earthquake of magnitude 7.9 on Richter scale that struck Nepal caused wide spread destruction and troubled times for all, including those on Everest and at the Base Camp. The earthquake truly brought the ultimate adventure to its knees. Many expedition teams chose to stay back and help out in the search and rescue mission throughout the country. Nepal, considered as the mecca for mountaineering, is famous for its Himalayan ranges and other sports such as paragliding & kayaking. The earthquake triggered massive avalanches, and caused havoc in the remote as well as populated areas. As the climbing season had just started, a lot of mountaineers were either stranded or lost; all the expeditions were called off due to subsequent after-shocks. The team members shared most of the ration as well tenting equipment with the locals, their expertise in First Aid and rescue was a boon during such a calamity. Though the country is still reviving, the mountaineering/climbing community was also very supportive as just in few months, life slowly crawled back to its pace.

MAY 2015

Mark Beaumont: Cycled from Cairo to Cape Town (10k km) in 42 Days and 8 hours   Mark Beaumont (Photo: Bicycling Mag) A long distance British cyclist broke the previous record by riding all the way from Cairo to Cape town, clocking the distance of approximately 10,000 kms within only 42 days. Surviving a mugging incident, Mark sped up to break the previous record by 17 days by maintaining an average distance of 240 km per day.

JUNE 2015

Scott Jurek: Appalachian Trail; Ultra Marathon Trail Record 3500 kms in 46 days 8 hours 7 minutes The Appalachian Trail or AT is one of the hiking trails on the Eastern Side of United States. This marked trail is about 3500 kms long, and Scott averaged approx  80 kms/day and hiked through the trail in 46 days 8 hours and 7 minutes. Scott Jurek author of the acclaimed book Eat & Run had almost given up on the trail but pushed his own limit to not only just complete the trail but also finish it in record time.


Cyclist Sachin Gaonkar completes Bharat Parikrama Sachin Gaonkar completed ‘Bharat Parikrama’ by riding almost 225 days, 13500 kms in 25 states. A sculptor & a theatre artist by profession, Sachin cycled through the country visiting schools and promoting awareness about mental health/illness.


India hosts Paragliding World Cup for the first time Bir billing paragliding (Photo: This year marks the first time that India hosted the Paragliding World Cup in Bir Billing in Himachal. The magnificient event was attended by top-ranked pilots like Julien Wirtz of France (ranked world #1) Vidic Jurij of Slovenia, Torsten Siegel of Germany, Michael Kuffer of Switzerland and Xevi Bonnet Dalmau of Spain while the Indian leg was led by Ajay Kumar. Redbull reported that the first two task days of the competition (24th and 25th October) were cancelled since the weather conditions in the Bir Billing valley were not apt for cross-country flying because of a fair amount of moisture in the upper atmosphere of the valley being pushed over by a jet-stream.


Sarah Outen travels solo around the world by non-motorised means, solely by her own power Sarah Outen London2London route The route (Photo: Sarah Outen Website) Sarah Outen perhaps defined adventure travel in the true sense with this feat. She rowed, cycled and kayaked and to complete her London2London travel. She started back in 2011 and was supposed to complete this journey of 32000 km in 2.5 years. During the initial journey she had to be rescued as her vessel ‘Gulliver’ had capsized in Pacific due to a storm, she took some time to recover and then again restarted the journey in Japan with a new vessel called Happy Socks.
Sarah has kayaked across the English Channel and then cycled 18,000 kms across Europe & Asia, rowed across the North Pacific, kayaked again in the Aleutian island chain of Alaska and rode again for 7,300 kms across America. She not just only set a multiple records but had to experience a shipwreck, face snakes in Kazakhstan and grizzly bears in Alaska.
She completed the 40000 km approx journey within 4 years and 217 days. New Eiger Speed Record now stands 2hrs 22minutes 50 Seconds again by Ueli steck   Yeah, Ueli Steck does it again! If you’ve got enthralled by his previous video where the ‘Swiss Machine’ challenges the limits of human capacity and climbs Eiger as if it’s a cake walk, you should check out his latest achievement  when he repeated the same feat on the classic Heckmair route in 2 hours 22 minutes and 50 secs. Just few days earlier Ueli Steck teamed with Nicolas Hojac to do the fastest team ascent of 3h 46mins.  

In this same year Ueli had completed the 82 summit (82,4000m summits in W. Europe) in 61 days, falling short of a day to establish a new record. For this attempt he’d depended to go completely on human power, even when it came for reaching to one base of the mountain to other.


Sheetal Bambulkar and Meera Velankar become first ladies to do a tandem BRM Brevets de Randonneur Mondiaux is a French long distance cycling event and Sheetal Bambulkar & Meera Velankar became the first ladies to finish it tandem. They completed a 200 km BRM with Baroda Randonneurs. Do you think we missed out on something of the year 2015 from this list? Do let us know in the comments sections


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