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Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows

52 Week Adventure Challenge

08.07.17

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Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows

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  • A coyote at Death Valley National Park.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Alvord Desert.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) in Joshua Tree National Park.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Sunset at Half Moon Bay, a classic dive spot.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Underwater swim-throughs at Sharks Cove for freedivers.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Divers frequent Kahe Beach as it makes for an interesting shore dive with the proper training and guide.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Mammoth Cave is filled with beautiful limestone formations.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • They're called ice nubbins in Arnold Ice Cave.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • On the southwest side of Whistler Mountain the trail gets plenty of late-afternoon sunlight. - Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • The Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake from the trail.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Mount Adams, South Climb.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • A climber ascends a steep snowfield at dawn.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Jaw-dropping views from a side trail in Oil Well Flats, Colorado.- Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
  • Black Tusk across the valley to the east. - Blood-Pumping Adventures: Reset Your Altimeter with These Highs and Lows
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Contributor

To ascend and to descend: These are the basic actions we take when we gain and lose elevation. When we descend, it is into darkness or chaos; when we climb, it is to success against trial or tribulation. This is language we learn from nature, and for this week’s installment of the #52WeekAdventureChallenge, we celebrate the change that we bring when we gain and lose elevation.

In the outdoors, the change that comes from the tick of the altimeter can be just as dramatic. The Himalayan Mountains rise just 5 miles above sea level, and yet behind the range is an arid rainshadow 1,000 miles long. At a depth of 600 feet in the oceans off of the Indian coast, as elsewhere, there is too little light for photosynthesis to occur. On the earth’s surface, it is common for temperatures to fluctuate over 60 degrees between day and night. Dig just 2 feet underground, and that temperature fluctuates by one degree.

For us bipedal creatures, the idea of such adventures poses a threat to our health. Mountaineers believe the body can’t adapt to life in the “death zone” above 26,000 feet, where they speculate that there isn’t enough oxygen to feed the body. Humans have survived for two years at 19,520 feet, and some live permanently at 16,700 feet, but they risk acute mountain sickness and various types of edema to do so. On the opposite end of the spectrum, to dive is to risk oxygen toxicity, and the pressure of water on the body increases the size of the heart the moment a diver immerses in water.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? We were always big-hearted creatures. We don’t climb the peaks or plumb the depths because we have to, we challenge ourselves to stretch the definition of what is possible—and experience something different and new. We are risk-takers, and where there is disbelief we discover ways to subvert it.

So go out there and climb that 26,000-foot mountain.

Here are a few adventures to get your blood pumping.

Rainshadows

Plumbing the Depths

Touching the Sky

High-octane Steeps

Negative Gains

#52AdventureChallenge

We believe good things come from people spending time outside. We strive to provide inspiration and supporting information on incredible adventures to make it easy for you to get outdoors and explore new places. We understand that life is busy, but we strongly encourage you to make time for outdoor recreation on a weekly, if not daily, basis. To keep you inspired all year, we've put together a list of 52 geologic features and adventure themes. Check them out and join us in our #52AdventureChallenge!

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