Records are made to be broken, of course. Breedlove broke his own record twice, and a handful of guys have since, including Andy Green of Great Britain, who went over 250 mph faster than you see in this video, and broke the speed of sound.
But every single person that stretches the bounds of human ability and endeavor deserves to be mentioned with all that come after. We stand on the shoulders of giants. It’s why we see so far.
In 2008, Yuichiro Miura, a 75-year-old Japanese mountain climber and all-around wild man, became the oldest man to climb Mount Everest. He’d already owned the record when he was 70, but someone broke it, and he went back to show that whippersnapper what’s what. But then again, it was all minor compared to 1970, when he skiied down Everest.
This incredible, award-winning film features adventurer, poet and world-champion skier Yuichiro Miura as he and his team face the most challenging climb in the world, Mt. Everest. The ascent is fraught with tragedy, the descent miraculous. During the climb, they face an icefall that claims the lives of six of their team, still considered the worst natural disaster accident in Himalayan history. With a 35mm Panavision film crew in tow, they continue on to the South Col, only 350 meters from the summit, where Miura put his life in the hands of the gods in his descent. Using oxygen and a parachute to slow his speed, Miura skied 7,000 feet over sheer ice and rocks. Unbalanced by the gusting winds, he hit a boulder and fell 1,320 feet, smashing into rocks and ice ridges. A patch of snow was all that saved him, allowing his fall to end just moments away from the Bergshrund Crevasse. This final climax has been called the most exciting six minutes of film ever shot as Miura plummets helplessly down Everest’s unforgiving icy slopes toward certain death.
If you’re searching to place the accent, he was in the Italian Boy Scouts.
John Henderson passed away at 74 this week, at his home near Las Vegas, Nevada. He was something of a loon, a wildman, a gambler and an adventurer. In short — a duke in the kingdom of the Borderline Sociopathic Boys.
He crossed the Atlantic because it was there, and the Pacific because it was also there. He made both crossings in a rowboat because it, too, was there, and because the lure of sea, spray and sinew, and the history-making chance to traverse two oceans without steam or sail, proved irresistible. In 1969, after six months alone on the Atlantic battling storms, sharks and encroaching madness, John Fairfax, who died this month at 74, became the first lone oarsman in recorded history to traverse any ocean. In 1972, he and his girlfriend, Sylvia Cook, sharing a boat, became the first people to row across the Pacific, a yearlong ordeal during which their craft was thought lost. (The couple survived the voyage, and so, for quite some time, did their romance.)(read more here)
You have to love a guy smoking a cigarette while telling you about rowing across an ocean. Insouciant is the word, I think. He was just sort of a free-spirit knockabout waif, but at the same time deadly serious about everything he was doing, while laughing and joking about it. He is the Dos Equis man for real.
Seeking to give her son structure, his mother enrolled him at 6 in the Italian Boy Scouts. It was there, Mr. Fairfax said, that he acquired his love of nature — and his determination to bend it to his will.
On a camping trip when he was 9, John concluded a fight with another boy by filching the scoutmaster’s pistol and shooting up the campsite. No one was injured, but his scouting career was over.
His parents’ marriage dissolved soon afterward, and he moved with his mother to Buenos Aires. A bright, impassioned dreamer, he devoured tales of adventure, including an account of the voyage of Frank Samuelsen and George Harbo, Norwegians who in 1896 were the first to row across the Atlantic. John vowed that he would one day make the crossing alone.
At 13, in thrall to Tarzan, he ran away from home to live in the jungle. He survived there as a trapper with the aid of local peasants, returning to town periodically to sell the jaguar and ocelot skins he had collected. (read the rest here)
God rest ye, merry gentleman, whether he exists or not. After hearing about you, I’m not sure I believe in you, either.
(Thanks to Sam in Astoria for sending that one along)