Science in Antarctica

The Antarctica was the last major unknown land of our planet. As wild and inaccessible as the most fearsome mountain peaks with double the size of Australia, Antarctica was the subject of the last heroic age of exploration just a few decades before the mankind turned its head towards the stars. The Antarctica was also the subject of an unprecedented world-wide collaboration dedicating the whole continent to scientific investigations and banning both military and mineral exploration activities. But what kind of scientific investigation needs a 14 million sq km laboratory in one of the harshest places of the Earth? Becoming one of the wintering electronic engineers of the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI station is not only the greatest adventure of my life, but also an opportunity to watch and assist some of the major scientific explorations of our age. (Check my weekly diary for more.)

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Norfolk Coast run-hike

(Story)

I really enjoy experimenting with the daily distance I am capable of maintaining on a multi-day tour no matter if its walking, cycling or running. It is partly the usual curiosity of my limits, but also a preparation for a real, weeks or months long tour that I might have opportunity in the future to do. I’ve done several long distance weekend hikes, and last year I crossed both the Swiss Alps and Jura by bike, but the multi-day running was an itch that I couldn’t scratch so far. So given my first weekend alone in Cambridge I decided to do a careful test on the Norfolk Coastal Path.

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Running to work

(Advice)

After several years of regular sport activity in the school or early career years it is a really shocking experience to realize that finding time for training besides work, family and friends can be a very challenging task. Although skipping a few occasions might seem an acceptable sacrifice on the altar of the higher priorities, the irregular training is a very fragile thing and the  lack of your habitual physical activity soon becomes a torture. And while stealing time for the training from work or sleep time has rarely a happy ending, there is a certain amount of time that we spend every day just by sitting: TRAVEL. Although running to work is not an ideal way of training, it can preserve some of that fitness you often remember to with a little drop in your eye. It is cheap, time efficient, independent from the weather and can be combined with other means of transport. And it is a socially quite accepted sport to be done on streets compared to for example javelin or judo. So in the followings I will go through the suggested pace and length, clothing and logistics of running to work.

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Ballad Oberaar

Oberaar is a mountain area in the Obergoms region, Vallais canton of Switzerland. Surrounded by 4000ers, spotted by ponds, crossed by glaciers and rivers, covered by grass, ice and stones, it is everything that is considered Alpine. Our team of four – the mother-of-four programmer Zsuzsi, the agricultural scientist Bori, my dear biologist girlfriend Kata and myself – decided to enter this area to make an attempt on the Finsteraarhorn (2478 m). Our base was the affordable and super welcoming Sporthotel of Obergoms in the heart of the Swiss Alps within an hour of the Grimselpass, Furkapass and half of the high-mountain ranges of Switzerland. Although the peak left unclimbed this time, the two days we spent in the wilderness of Obergoms was spectacular, tiring and dangerous, especially the 17 hours walk of the first day that gave the idea for this ballad.

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Walking pace

(Advice)

„It isn’t the distance that kills but the speed.” The known phrase emphasizes the importance of speed in every distance sports including the hiking as well. Walking too slow or too fast can both put you in uncomfortable situations or even danger. But there is no absolute scale for pace, it is always compared to your plans, which can be realistic or not, and can be carried out correctly or not. Let’s see some rules and examples.

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Nature by a scientist’s eyes

(Thought)

Going out to the nature can mean a lot of different things. It is an adventure for one, and a relaxation for the other. It can be an opportunity to meet others or to be alone a while. It is also fun to know what it means to others, which can be shared through conversations or by photos. So I was glad my girlfried took hundreds of pictures on the hiking tour I guided to the Watzmann ridge, because that way I could see the tour, during which I was too busy looking after our team of 20, through the eyes of a biologist. It’s quite a special angle of view I can assure you.

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The mountain will be there

(Thought)

“Because it’s there.” This was the answer of George Mallory for the question why climb the Everest. These words became the motto of generations of mountaineers. But there are some words I find just as important as those motivating ones, words that saved and will save many lives, words that everybody should keep in mind when facing a difficult decision on the mountain: “it will be there”.

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My Grand Cycling Tour – Simplon

It is the season of the road cycling Grand Tours. Hundreds of the world’s best cyclists compare their strength and endurance day after day making huge distances and climbing great mountains. Their inspiring performance should not only pin you in front of the TV but also make you follow their example and make your own Grand Cycling Tour. Here is the story of my Grand Tour in Switzerland. The first part was about the Alps, followed by the Jura and the Lake Geneva, and now the final episode comes with the crossing of the 2005 m (6578 ft) high Simplon pass to Italy.

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My Grand Cycling Tour: Jura

It is the season of the road cycling Grand Tours. Hundreds of the world’s best cyclists compare their strength and endurance day after day making huge distances and climbing great mountains. Their inspiring performance should not only pin you in front of the TV but also make you follow their example and make your own Grand Cycling Tour. Here is the story of my Grand Tour in Switzerland. The first part was about the Alps, now it is followed by the Jura and the Lake Geneva, the final episode will be the crossing of the 2005 m (6578 ft) high Simplon pass to Italy.

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