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"Meru": Risk and Responsibility in Climbing

"Meru": Risk and Responsibility in Climbing

World-renowned climber Jimmy Chin and filmmaker Elizabeth "Chai" Vasarhelyi talk about making Meru, a documentary about Chin, Conrad Anker, and Renan Ozturk's attempt to make the first successful ascent of the Shark's Fin on Mount Meru—a climb that has thwarted every previous summit attempt by the world's most elite climbers.In making the documentary, Chin was passionate about revealing the friendships and mentorship within the climbing community, an aspect not typically depicted in climbing films. Chin and Vasarhelyi also discuss how risk-taking was a pervasive theme in the film—finding balance between risking too much and too little and how responsibilities to yourself and others impact decisions on the mountain.Read more about Meru, the film.Upcoming Events at National Geographic LiveThe National Geographic Live series brings thought-provoking presentations by today’s leading explorers, scientists, photographers, and performing artists right to you. Each presentation is filmed in front of a live audience at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. New clips air every Monday.

Exploring Toxic Ice Caves Inside an Active Volcano

Exploring Toxic Ice Caves Inside an Active Volcano

"The caves themselves are very complex with hazards deep inside. The recipe is set for a cave rescue with a lot of dire consequences," says Eduardo Cartaya, a National Geographic grantee who is leading an expedition into the ice caves inside one of Mount Rainier's craters.With a background in search and rescue, Cartaya hopes that his team's data will help protect the thousands of people who attempt to climb Mount Rainier every year. Climbing any mountain presents inherent risks, but Rainier's caves are especially dangerous since they have pockets of poisonous gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide."These caves are being visited by recreational climbers who frequently take shelter inside the caves when they are caught on the summit by unexpected storms. We want them to know and understand that yes, there are hazards in there and to know where those hazards are so that they're not trapped up there for 24 hours in a storm and find themselves in a pocket of bad air, because there wouldn't be time to rescue them in a situation like that," Cartaya explains.Rescuing lost or injured climbers in the caves is a time- and resource-consuming operation, as Mount Rainier is very remote and hardly what you'd expect to find less than two hours from Seattle, Washington. "The crater of Mount Rainier is often referred to as the 'backside of the moon.' It actually used to be considered for a training ground for astronauts. And not only are we at the summit, we