Collected by kim bellisimo
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Kangrinboqe Peak, Burang, Ngari, China
Michael and I take the lead up a scree-choked stream draining from the Gangjam glacier. Two hours of climbing through talus brings us to ice-blue seracs rising like frozen waveforms from the mottled glacier. An hour further, in the cirque beneath...
Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
Tourists call it the “Monkey Temple,” owing to the clans of rhesus macaque wandering through the grottos and recesses of this ancient shrine. The monkeys climb where they please, siblings squabble, parents scold and protect—a parallel simian...
Mount Olympus, Litochoro 402 00, Greece
Above the tree line, a wiry twelve-year-old named Pericles and his taciturn papous—grandfather—accompany me along the trail that crosses beneath the steep needles of Mytikas, a five-hundred-foot crag that soars to the summit of Olympus. “You come...
Ormos Vatopediou , Mt. Athos, Mount Athos 603 86, Greece
Sipping ouzo, I ask Gerhard what brings him back to Mount Athos year after year? The question seems to catch him off guard. “Some places are special,” he says. “Some places you feel more at home than…at home.” He chuckles, surprised at his...
Delphi 330 54, Greece
The belly button of the world lies eighty miles northwest of Athens, where the southern slope of Mount Parnassus, cut deeply by cascades feeding the River Pleistos, drops precipitously into the Gulf of Corinth. High above the ravine in a cleft...
Stairways, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
Late that afternoon, we reach the confluence of the Rongshar and Menlung rivers, where a promontory of ancient glacial shelf rises several hundred feet above the two swollen rivers. On its summit, the blackened tin roof and broken adobe walls of...
Al Haram, Medina 42311, Saudi Arabia
A steady stream of pilgrims files past deserted merchant stalls. Sleek Mercedes and muscular Fords are forced to pull to the curb, unable to penetrate the accretion of foot traffic surging toward the end of the road. There, like Disneyland on...
At Nasser’s stables, I hoist myself up into the saddle of a mottled Arabian mare. She’s small, but spirited, and we canter for a while into the dark gray void that appears abruptly at the edge of Giza and doesn’t end until it spills into the...
Mt Shasta, CA 96067, USA
30 feet below the cornice of a narrow crevasse, I’m dangling like a marionette on a 9-mil rope, staring in awe at a rippling splinter of luminescent blue ice—the size of a 10-story building—jutting from a rift in the Hotlum glacier. And what’s...
Abu Tesht, Qena Governorate, Egypt
Walking in deepening twilight past a towering obelisk, and then through the Hypostyle Hall and colonnade of 134 massive pillars—10-12 meters tall—capped with stylized papyrus and calyx, into a broad solar court, I was able to envision only the...
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