Friday, January 23, 2015

EVEREST: Realizing The Dream 2

Please join me at the National University of Singapore Mountaineering Club on Friday 30th January 2015 at 7pm at the SRC (Sports and Recreation Club) Conference Room, where I'll be giving a talk on climbing Everest.  I'll talk about gaining the experience you need, as well as how to physically prepare your body for the challenge in the most time efficient way possible to get you to the top of the highest mountain on earth.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm On Instagram!

I'm happy to revive my Instagram account - Not happy about how I came to have so much time on my hands (laid up with a broken collarbone), but Instagram has given me a chance to take a fresh look at many of my old images. They have rekindled forgotten memories, and I have to admit, fitting my images into the square format is a nice challenge.  Here are some images from my Everest expedition that are already on my Instagram account.  Follow me on Instagram (link on the right) for more!

Friday, December 12, 2014

#blackandwhitechallenge


While out-of-action with a broken collarbone, I thought I'd go through some of my favorite images and rework them in black and white.

#blackandwhitechallenge Day 1/5. Taken in the Gobi Desert during a 250km ultra-marathon called the Gobi March in 2005. Our team of 3 was hot on the heels of Team USA, but we would eventually lose to them, finishing 2nd in a very small field. It was my job to be the team photographer, so the guys offered to lighten my load in order for me to run ahead, snap a few shots, and then run to catch up. - Taken with a Pentax Optio 43WR, 95mm (35mm equiv), f/9.3, 1/200, ISO50. 
#blackandwhitechallenge Day 2/5.  Joanne descending into the mist on the Via Feratta, Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo Malaysia. Jo is one of 5 amazing women who climbed Mt. Everest in 2009. At the invitation of Mountain Torq, we were allowed to climb freely on the Kinabalu Massif without the need of guides. Taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX3, 24mm equiv, f/4.0, 1/50, ISO80.

#blackandwhitechallenge Day 3/5. This amazing woman is my wife, Laura, during the inaugural Tour de Timor Mountain Bike Race in 2009. We were rookies and did not really know what we were doing. It was the first day of the 5-Day stage race, she finished dead last, and the medics sent her to the hospital in Bacau for what looked like heat exhaustion. She started the next day though, and finished the race strong. That was the start of her mountain bike career. Today, at nearly 50-years-old, she is Singapore's current XC Mountain Bike Champion. - Taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX3, 24mm equiv., f/4.5, 1/800, ISO80. 
#blackandwhitechallenge Day 4/5. Megagrit! - Pauline cranking out some Wall Ball Sit Ups with a broken foot at Crossfit Singapore. I'm inspired as I begin my own rehab for a broken collarbone. Taken with a Nikon D7000, 12-24mm at 12mm, f/4, 1/60, ISO1600.
#blackandwhitechallenge Day 5/5. Summit, Mt. Chola (6168m), China. This is one of my favourite shots in color, but the b&w contrast and vignette adds some drama to the dawn sky.  Taken with a Panasonic LX3 at 24mm equiv, f/2.8, 1/500, ISO80

Monday, December 8, 2014

Yes! I am Ironman!!!

I broke my collarbone into 3 pieces about three weeks ago.  It was a rock-climbing accident.  I was learning to ride a motorbike so that I could access a rock-climbing crag in Thailand, fell down and broke my collarbone... so to ease my battered ego, I'm chalking it up as a climbing accident;)
My Collarbone Broken in 3 Pieces :( Meh
I had surgery done about 2 weeks back and am on the road to recovery.  The procedure was pretty high-tech.  I had a stainless steel (recommended by the surgeon over titanium) plate inserted under my collarbone by keyhole surgery.  The plate was bent to conform to the shape of my collarbone, and inserted underneath so that I won't feel the plate when I'm carrying a backpack.
Stainless Steel Plate inserted under Collarbone
I had a couple of projects planned out, but that will have to wait til I'm stronger.  I've not been very active on Instagram, but I'm getting bored and looking for things to do, so I'm reviving my Instagram account and learning about hash tags.  Ho hum...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Stone Meets Ocean

When I think about rock-climbing destinations in Asia, Taiwan does not readily spring to mind, but there I was, on a spur-of-the-moment trip... and having the time of my life!
Rock-Climbing, Long Dong, Taiwan. Copyright © Kenneth Koh 2014

Long Dong (龍洞 lóng dòng), which means Dragon's Cave is the name of the stretch of sea cliffs along Taiwan's North East coast.  About an hour's drive from Taipei, the climbs range from 5.4 to 5.14a and comprise of both sport and trad routes, mostly single pitch with a few multi-pitch routes.


Where Stone Meets Ocean from Kenneth Koh on Vimeo.

Quality of the routes is generally very high, and old bolts are being replaced with new stainless steel ones.  There are some areas with loose rock and it's best to get information about the area you intend to climb from locals or and the latest guidebook available here.

This is probably the most dramatic location I've climbed at.  The waves are incredibly powerful, and must be respected at all times.  No less than six people were swept out to sea the weekend I was there.  Making your way to and from the climb is probably more hazardous than the actual climbing!

Along with the waves, weather can be an issue.  The climbing season is year round, although it can get very hot and humid in Summer, and Winter can be wet.  Your best bet is late Fall, after the Typhoon season (October-November).
Sunset, Long Dong, Taiwan. Copyright © Kenneth Koh 2014

Although I can speak a little Mandarin, I can't read or write.  I got QX (qxadventures.com) to arrange transport and accommodation for me in Long Dong, which turned out be a simple, but comfortable guest house in Long Dong Village.  Frankly, there isn't much to do outside of climbing in Long Dong.  Fortunately, QX shuttled us out for breakfast and dinner everyday.  If you need a guide, or just someone to make arrangements for your climbing in Long Dong, check out qxadventures.com.

Tech notes:  I used my new Panasonic GH4 for most of the video, GoPro on a DJI Phantom for the aerials, and iPhone 4s for the night opera, and the last sequence of Clare climbing was contributed by QX.