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November 10, 2013: Seven Summits of Everest, 18 Months in a Canoe and More

Two climbers make their way through Mount Everest's treacherous Khumbu Icefall, which is said to be the second most dangerous day in summiting the mountain. (photo by Barry Bishop)

Two climbers make their way through Mount Everest’s treacherous Khumbu Icefall, which is said to be the second most dangerous day in summiting the mountain. (photo by Barry Bishop)

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below!

Hour 1

The allure of climbing the world’s tallest mountain is strong. American mountaineer Ed Viesturs has summited the mountain seven times in 11 attempts since 1990. The mountaineer shares stories from his time on Everest, and combines them with historical anecdotes in his new book The Mountain: My Time on Everest. He explains to Boyd how better equipment has revolutionized how we climb Everest, permitting people to climb faster and safer than in generations past.

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On a recent visit to South Africa’s Royal Malawane Game Reserve, he went on safari with head guide, Juan Pinto. Boyd questioned Pinto’s attention span when there were adolescent elephants wrestling in front of them, and the guide was paying attention to birds in the sky. But Pinto explains that a lot can be learned about other animals in the surrounding area by the way birds, antelope and other prey animals behave.

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While visiting one of the remotest sections of Democratic Republic of the Congo to study the parasitic tropical broomrape plants, Jeffery Morawetz  was asked to finish his work and leave the computer cafe early, because rebels had entered the town and were firing their guns. The botanist tells Boyd that he’s passionate about plants, but he also loves the stories he gets to bring home to his friends from the field.

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Even the longest human life doesn’t register as a blip on the Earth’s geological timeline. Susan Kieffer explains to Boyd that our brief perspective comes as a disadvantage in avoiding the biggest catastrophes, because humans planning cities haven’t seen the worst floods, earthquakes and tsunamis that the earth plans to dish out. Her book, The Dynamics of Disaster, looks at the threats that face modern cities from a geologic perspective that the city planners of yesteryear lacked.

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David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, helps listeners save money this week, by pointing out all of the energy, and money drainers, that go overlooked in most households.

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Hour 2
 
Charly Ray grew up going on canoe trips with his family and wanted to share that with his new wife, Julie Buckles. So, shortly after their wedding, the two set off to go on a 1,700 mile trip to the Arctic that would last 18 months. They spent a lonely fall and winter in a cabin in northern Saskatchewan, but they both agreed that the benefits of spending time together outweighed any relationship difficulties that they endured along the way. Their story is told in Buckles’ book, Paddling to Winter

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National Geographic Emerging Explorer, photographer and filmmaker Sandesh Kadur returns, bringing stories of what happens to animals in India’s famous Kaziranga National Park during the seasonal monsoon floods. He tells Boyd taht elephants swim across miles of water, braving exhaustion and villagers; tigers build nests in trees; and rhinos head for the hills and hope to avoid poachers while they are displaced by high water. 

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In the past century, ninety percent of Africa’s cheetah population has been killed by encroaching human populations and competition for the remaining space with bigger, more aggressive animals. Reporter Marcy Mendelson has been traveling around the continent, to learn how humans are now trying to help give cheetahs a break by introducing dogs and donkeys to chase the cat away from livestock, and human conflict, as well as rehabilitating injured cheetahs.

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Even National Geographic Explorers need a day job. Deep-ocean diver Michael Lombardi shares anecdotes from his commercial diving job, which occasionally includes swimming through Rhode Island’s sewage system. But the payoff of the dirtier jobs is that he explains his deep water shelter, a tent-like structure that will permit scientists to stay hundreds of feet under the water for longer periods of time. 

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In this week’s Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares experiences from his favorite fall travel destination — Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to the polar bear capital of the world

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