Friday, February 05, 2016

Salon des Vacances

EN: I went to the Holiday Fair in Brussels. It's mainly tourism of course but there is always a surprise around the corner. I met Ingrid and Nicole who did 3 long cycling journeys over 20 years and young photographer Johan Lolos who shows some large prints of his portfolio, mostly New Zealand. Gotta go back to this country.

FR: Je reviens du salon des vacances de Bruxelles. C'est évidemment du tourisme mais il y a toujours une surprise à découvrir. Comme Nicole et Ingrid qui ont fait 3 grands voyages à vélo sur plus de 20 ans et le jeune photographe Johan Lolos qui expose des grands clichés de son portfolio, principalement Nouvelle Zélande. Faut que je retourne dans ce pays.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sarah Marquis in Brussels

EN: I've been following Sarah Marquis since a long time. I read her first book in 2006 about her walk in Australia. Most videos I saw about her speaking disappointed me in the recent years. 

Now that she's more successful with a manager etc... her style changed. It was mainly entertainment and funny anecdotes and no more tips about survival and being an animal. I preferred it this way but I was disappointed that her talks lacks details and a map of her journey.

FR: Je suis Sarah Marquis depuis très longtemps. J'ai lu son premier livre en 2006 sur sa marche en Australie. Ces dernières années, je suis déçu de ses interventions que j'ai vu sur internet ou à la télé.
Maintenant qu'elle est plus connue, avec une équipe et un manager etc... son style a changé. C'était surtout divertissant avec des anecdotes rigolotes et plus vraiment des conseils sur la survie ou être animal. Je préfère ainsi mais j'étais déçu que son discous manque de détails et surtout d'une carte de son trajet effectué.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

ISPO Munich 2016

GoPro 360 degree rack
Léa Brassy talking about Yvon Chouinard
EN: Another year at ISPO Munich, the outdoor fair. I met my sponsors of Death Valley and had a look at everything related to 360 degree content. Also met for the second time Léa Brassy and Vincent Colliard, the adventure cold-surfing couple. I was happy to see the PANONO team and I soon I'll get this 360 degree camera for expeditions.

FR: Et une année de plus à ISPO à Munich, la foire outdoor. J'y ai rencontré mes sponsors de la Vallée de la Mort et je me suis intéressé au produits 360 degrés. J'ai revu Léa Brassy et Vincent Colliard, le couple aventuriers et surfeurs en eaux froides. J'étais content de voir que l'équipe de PANONO était présente et j'attend de pourvoir utiliser ma camera en expéditions.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fuck Up Night Bolivian Salars

EN: At Brussels Fuck Up Night Volume XII, I told the lessons learned in the failed expedition across the Bolivian Salars in 2013.

FR: Au Brussels Fuck Up Night Volume XII, j'ai expliqué les leçons apprises lors de l'échec de mon expédition dans les Salars Boliviens en 2013.

This story will be featured in the book of Kira (Antiheroes).

Monday, January 18, 2016

Death Valley Trek video

EN: I finally found time to make a 2 min trailer of last year's expedition in Death Valley. I had to watch 2 hours of rush videos, edit and select a suitable music. Next step is to write the story and hire an editor.
FR: J'ai finalement trouvé du temps pour réaliser cette courte bande annonce de l'expédition dans la Vallée de la mort. A partir de 2 heures de rush vidéos, monter et sélectionner une musique. Prochaine étape, écrire l'histoire et engager un monteur.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Announcing Simpson Desert Trek 2

EN: After 8 years my first trek, I plan to go back to the Simpson desert for another small crossing without a cart this time. All details will be on the Desert Expedition website. Start in July.

FR: Huit ans après mon premier trek, je veux retourner au désert de Simpson pour une petite traversée sans charrette cette fois-ci. Tout est sur le site l'expédition du désert. Départ en Juillet.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Expedition Sailing boats

EN: I was in Paris on the Seine. I couldn't visit La Boudeuse but I was allowed to visit the inside of TARA. I took spherical 360 degrees photos of it. First times I was TARA in 2009 and 2008. I then went to the Salon du Nautique Paris (also in 2014, 2009 and 2008) and saw la Louloute 2 of Yvan Bourgnon, the Pilot Fish Submarine prototype and talked to Nicolas Jarossay who will attempt crossing the Atlantic on SUP next month. Friday morning I went to visit Rémi Bricka, the singer, orchestra-man and adventurer. I'll write the account of the interview on MeetExplorers.

360 VR Photos of TARA: Deck 1 - Deck 2 - Deck 3 - Entry - Navigation - Living Room
La Louloutte 2 in VR 360 : Deck - Front - Side
Atlantic SUP prototype : Inside

FR: J'étais à Paris sur la Seine. Je n'ai pas pu visiter La Boudeuse mais j'ai été autorisé à visiter l'intérieur de TARA. J'en ai pris des photos sphériques 360 degrés. J'avais déjà vu TARA en 2009 et 2008. J'ai ensuite été au Salon du Nautique Paris (aussi en 20142009 et 2008) et j'ai vu la Louloute 2 d'Yvan Bourgnon, le prototype sousmarin Pilot Fish et j'ai discuté avec Nicolas Jarossay qui va tenter de traverser l'Atlantique en SUP le mois prochain. Vendredi matin j'ai rendu visite à Rémi Bricka, le chanteur, homme-orchestre et aventurier. Je vais écrire l'interview sur MeetExplorers.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Death Valley desert trek

Media and press: My Skype is LONCKELPH or email me with your full details. You can call me on +32 492 911 250 Videos and Photos in DROPBOX

Map of the Route - Start: 1943m/6375ft | End: 145m/475ft 

Day 0 (29 Oct): Took the bus from Las Vegas to Beatty. There is then no transport to DV so I hitch hiked. It's illegal in Nevada but I had no other option... and I walked and walked in my F***** jeans and for 4 hours no one took me. At the border with California, finally... but no hourray as they dropped me at a turnoff still 19 miles from Furnace Creek. I has to walk another 2 hours before Chinese tourists took me. I'm now sunburnt :( Arrival in Death Valley Furnace Creek 4.20 pm so I got my CLIF BAR package. But arrived at 5.02pm at Farabees Jeep Rentals where they have perhaps an "expensive" solution to drop me at the start. I'll take expensive. I have to go.
I repacked and tomorrow I hope to be dropped North with a 1,5 day delay. Grrrr as the moon is not full anymore. The good sign is that the 6 hours of walking on the sealed road -in jeans- were OK with a good wind and I only had 1 liter to survive. Bad thing is I have a small blister and face sunburnt. One day at a time, one day at a time. Tomorrow evening, (so  Saturday morning in Europe) you should have the daily update written by Jeremy. I will call him every day at the end of my day on his mobile phone. 23.43... off to bed in my MSR Tent. The wind is very strong. The temperature is perfect.

Day 1 (30 Oct): 37°15'23.7"N, 117°37'04.9"W 
Jessie drops me at 1.30 pm. I film and leave at 2 pm. My aim is to pass the mountain and the deep canyon before darkness. What a pleasure to start walking in the desert. After the hurry of preparation and the difficulties to reach the starting point it is a really important to finally being immersed oneself in this great environment.
I crossed the Last Chance Range with no major difficulties (except few falls due to the backpack weight). Then I started to walk through the canyons.
As foreseen, after a short night I will start walking during the night thanks to the moon light.

Day 2 (31 Oct): 37°04'59"N, 117°29'13"W 
So far, so good. Typical trekking day in the Death Valley : hot (very hot) and rattlesnake (my first !)
Due to the sun and heat, I had to stop during 3 hours in the middle of the day. My only protection was the mirror canvas of OutdoorLogic. Works like Charms.
But the real bad news of the day was the discovering of a very small leak in one of my water tank. So I spend some time to fix it and split the water in the other tanks. Fortunately I succeeded rather well and everything is ready for tomorrow...

Day 3 (01 Nov): 36°52'10"N, 117°17'34"W 
Whatever the expedition, the third day is always difficult. You start suffering of strain, both physical and psychological. Moreover I feel a little bit sick due to a wrong mix of salt and water in one of my water tank and exhausted by the heat. I just can't cool down even at evening when it's only 10C. What's wrong with my body, my heart is pumping super fast. I thought several time to abandon and will decide tomorrow. I'll take time to have rest and think about my options.

Day 4 (02 Nov): 36°40'46"N, 117°9'29"W 
I decide to abandon, the salty water makes me not sweat at all so I am overheating and could die from a heatstroke. Fortunately, each day is different from the previous one ! After walking few hours, I decide to walk over a small dune to have a different outlook of the valley and my exit point at Stovepipe Wells. It was the best idea I had for a long time. Indeed, I saw close from my position small 3 small puddles of fresh -dirty and greeny- water due to the last (and unusual) extremely rain of last week. I replaced 10 liters of my salty water with the green water, mixed it all and added enough micropurs. The process took a lot of time an then I had to wait -and rest- for the water to get purified and drinkable. Twice a day, I remove my shoes and add bandage to locations prone to blisters. I'm ready for a "new" start, the morale is on top.
The second part of the day was marked by an extremely strong wind and little sand storms. Its power was really impressive but left no damages on my tent although it was made flat by the wind with me inside

Day 5 (03 Nov): 36°29'37"N, 116°58'24"W 
I progress slowly, too slowly but I keep my objective for the moment.The sunrise happens just at the mesquite sanddunes, the highlight of this trip with the 360 photo below. I was supposed to trace the dry river in the Valley, but the field is completely chaotic:  it's like an inextricable tangle of blocs made of mud and salt. Very hard to cross over. It's remind my island trek on lava field...
I have to turn back and join the shore of the "dry lake" near the mountain. Following the shore and its rocks during the evening darkness.

Day 6 (04 Nov): 36°11'20"N, 116°52'23"W 
Finally I reach a "good" field : almost flat and stable. Now I walk straight South with a good moral.
I think I should have enough water and food supply to make it. More news tomorrow...
The center of the lake is muddy at times but I only get max deep to my ankles at times. I have to learn reading the different colors of sands. White can mean hard or sink through it. Only cracked ground means dry and firm. I heard a story of this man walking across it and he went through the crust deep until the head. He couldn't move and died. I see a few tracks of people having crossed the lake East-West but I'm the only crazy (idiot?) going full South across.

Day 7 (05 Nov) : 35°55'14"N, 116°41'58"W
Good progression today. I really experience what desert and desolation means... : sand, bushes, and salt... This desert has 20+ various terrains. I keep walking !

Day 8 (06 Nov) : 35°55'14"N, 116°41'58"W
I'm close to the finish line ! The backpack is lighter than ever and it gives me wings. The field is definetly not a highway but it is better than yesterday. I take few risks by choosing to walk close to rocks field and small canyons during the dark with my tiny headlight but it paid. It was a gain of 4 or 5 miles of walking for the day. Next news at the finish line I hope.

Day 9 (7 Nov) : 35°37'48"N, 116°17'25"W
ARRIVED ! I succeeded in trekking the entire Death Valley unsupported.
9 calendar days but a Total time of 7 days - 23 hours - 40 minutes. Come on, 8 days.

Brief conclusion.
I am so happy to have made it. My last expedition was 2 years ago in 2013 and it was a failed one. That failed expedition will have a second attempt in September 2016. Today my feet are still in pain, I believe I have a small infection as my calf was swollen for the past days but it's better now. My right kneecap hurts, perhaps a small fracture but I wait a few more days before going to see a doctor.
DVNP is still possible in 6 days if you are an athlete and do the following:
* less water (25,5 l) and food (6,5kg) at the start
* go starting with a 85% coming new moon, so you have a full moon mostly all night long for all days. (I started with an 85% leaving full moon).
* Less camera gear, no tripod etc... to save another 5kg or so.
* Walk really 18-20 hours per day using the moon and headlight torch. I have an average of 16 hours per day with a 3 days where I didn't walk for about 2/3 hours.

Even a return trip unsupported is possible I think in 11 days with day 6 being a run to the end with no pack for 2*30 miles or so.
The last left big first in DV is to do my route during the summer June, July or August. It is possible but it needs a lot of back and forth moving loads of water.

Daily distances (real):
D1: 11,6km - D2: 24km - D3 : 31,6km - D4 : 25,4km  - D5 : 29,5km - D6 : 38,5km - D7 : 35,4km - D8 : 31,3km - D9 : 21km = 248,3km.

Thanks to:
Advisors: Ray Zahab, Marshall Ulrich, Régis Belleville, The DV Rangers.
Thomas de Dorlodot who let me use his Garmin GPS.
My home team and adventurer friends, friends: Jeremy Roumian and Guillaume Bruyr. Maud C. Mom, Dad, Sis, The Explorers Club,
Special thanks to Outback Logic to allow me to test their sunreflecting fabric.
People who took me hitch hiking: Employees of StovePipe Wells, a Chinese tourist couple, Linda from Sweden, JJ Graham -while we were driving she lost the brakes of her car, we could be dead- and Mark and his wife from Indianapolis. Special Thanks to Jared for the sandbuggy ride.
The people who took me hitch hiking: Linda, Mark & wife, Jessie, JJ Graham.

Gear Sponsors
Mountain by ExperienceLEKI carbon trekking polesMSR Thermarest Clif Bar

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Death Valley preparations and equipment

28 October
It is today I wanted to start the expedition but it is hard to find a way to get to DV (Death Valley). I take a bus Las Vegas (8am) to Beatty (Nevada) and then I'll hitch hike to Furnace Creek (DV) where my Clif Bar package is and where I'll meet the rangers. Normally in the afternoon I'll meet with Farabees Jeep Rentals and try to find a way to get to the start during the evening or early morning on Friday as I want to start at 5am.

27 October
I just flew from NYC to Las Vegas. What to do today? Shop for food, prepare the maps, read the GPS manual and insert GPS points. And find a way to get to DV tomorrow. Find also a way to be dropped at the Northern part of the National Park for the start at 5 am on the 29th.

26 October
I found and bought a 630gram and high tripod and visited the Freedom tower. At 8 am I called the rangers and at 6 pm I attended a lecture at the Explorers Club. Clif Bar just accepted to send me bars for the expedition and that is really great. Another company that believes making a difference in this expedition.

25 October
It's midnight in NYC and my day isn't finished. I spent the morning checking some info about the hurricane Patricia. During the afternoon, the sun came out and it was time for training: walking with a heavy backpack in NYC which is very enjoyable because I actually visited at the same time and walked in areas of New Jersey and Wallstreet. I took a ferry to Staten Island and back to see the statue of liberty. I entered a shop and bought some extra small electronics.

24 October
Finally some sleep. this morning I went to visit my cousin (works for OMEGA). He showed me his office and we talked expeditions, NASA, Bertrand Piccard and James Bond (all sponsored by OMEGA). During the afternoon, more preparations. Next shop in a pharmacy and buy a lightweight small tripod.

23 October
After a long night to prepare my pack and a 30 min sleep, my alarm clock told me it was time to go to Brussels airport and fly to New York. In big Apple my first stop was the Explorers Club where I got my packages arrived: tent, trekking poles, sleeping mat, satellite phone SIM card (activated successfully). No idea there was a drink for members on Fridays and a reception for Oceans protection and leading explorer Anne Doubilet, who I was happy to meet again. During the evening I was invited at a friend's place and my smartphone "died" again. No way to turn it off again. I think I know why and perhaps in 24h it will work again.

22 October 2pm.
I worked 19 hours straight yesterday. My brain was painful I had to sleep. Makes me understand I need more sleep and during the trek I'll need to sleep 6 hours the first 2-3 nights otherwise I will become a zombie -not being able to think properly- and make deadly decisions. Sleep deprivation is my biggest fear in this challenge. The accumulation of stress will be so intense.
I ordered/bought a new tent & sleeping mat. Thanks to a good discount from CascadeDesigns. A new MSR and a new Thermarest. I trust these products eyes closed as I have already older/heavier models used in all my expeditions Australia expeditions and treks.
I ordered an Iridium SIM card +75min and all my stuff should arrive in NYC (like me) tomorrow.
Hotels booked. Still need to find transport, a light tripod and to replace my stolen GoPro.
I'm off to buy new hiking trail shoes and socks. My parents come to see me later today.
I even had a job interview this morning. Seriously, I might be the only person in the world doing job interviews 24h before leaving for another continent. Crap. How am I gonna get to the airport by the way ?
I went to decathlon to by some small equipment including a new pair of trekking shoes. I'll use them in NYC.

21 October
My Millet equipment has arrived. To celebrate this here is a 360 photo of my room. On the table I'm like "what electronics and cables do I need?". Next finding a hotel, transport to get to DV and by socks and new trekking shoes. Re-contact several brands for more items and print maps. Another big day with a JCI event tonight to network and eat well.

20 October
LEKI USA was very reactive and will ship to me a new pair of carbon trekking poles. For those who never walked with (carbon) poles, well, if you find your own pace you can increase your speed a lot. In my case it's speed increase and safety. First the pain in my knees will be less but with a heavy pack, having a total of four legs prevents you many times per day to fall. And in the washouts, canyons and down the mountain at the start of the trek, it can just save my life. No LEKI, no go. Simple.

16 October
I received good news today Millet agreed to give me a PROLIGHTER MXP 60+20 backpack and a LTK600 (gram) sleeping bag. This weekend is the last one I will email potential partners to get equipment that is lighter to help in this Death Valley expedition crossing.

I just received a sample of fabric that a new company called Outback Logic. They are crowdfunding on Kickstarter for a new tent that is able to reflect most of the sunlight and keep you cool inside. See my test with light and laser beam below.

Friday, July 17, 2015

German adventurers in Friedrichshafen

EN: For my third time in at the Outdoor Show, I focused more on meeting people and and trying to find the best expedition gear for the next challenges. I saw the seakayak goddess Freya Hoffmeister and discussed with Joe Vogel.

FR: Pour ma troisième visite à l'Outdoor Show. j'ai mis plus l'accent sur la rencontre avec des personnes et la recherche du meilleur équipement pour mes prochains challenges. J'ai vu la déesse du kayak de mer Freya Hoffmeister et j'i discuté avec Joe Vogel.