Cold shoulder: 10 dramatic climbing controversies

From dubious first ascents to tense clashes at high altitude, we chart 10 dramatic climbing controversies – some resolved and others less so

There was a time when climbing controversies were sportingly confined to the slopes. The petty trivialities, the robust exchanges and the heated clashes were just part of the cut and thrust of the mountaineering world. 

13 stunning natural phenomena

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From the famous northern lights to the lesser-known sea of stars, we share the world’s most stunning natural phenomena

It’s firefall time. Every year, beginning around late February, the setting sun hits Yosemite’s Horsetail Falls at just the right angle to light the cascade in blazing orange and red hues, giving the appearance of flowing fire or lava. To celebrate the spectacle, we’re exploring the world’s most stunning natural phenomena.

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2020

Mam Tor in the Peak DistrictDaniel_Kay/Shutterstock

As a difficult year draws to a close, we reflect on the top 10 posts that our readers most enjoyed

Well, what can we say about 2020 that hasn’t been said already? As a writer, I feel that I should be able to say something grand and stirring about the global pandemic, but to be honest, I can’t. I don’t know how to aptly describe the hopelessness and inertia that so many of us have experienced this year.

Concrete jungles: the world’s most urban countries

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We take a look at the world’s most urban countries and why they go hand in hand with the most stressed

City life is stressful. It presses on our weary bones, wafts through windows on pungent fumes and boxes up our personal space.

17 megadiverse countries of the world

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in IndiaOndrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

We profile the world’s megadiverse countries, from obvious contenders like Ecuador and Brazil to one or two surprise entries

It should be comforting to know that a mere 17 countries hold more than 70% of the world’s species. It should be easy to rally this small group of ‘megadiverse countries’ to protect the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity. Alas, some of these countries are also the world’s biggest consumers and polluters. 

Climbing the seven summits: a route to the top

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Climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent – is an improbable dream of mine… but that’s the beauty of dreams

I have always loved trekking and climbing. I usually spend several weeks of any given year on the grades of the Scottish Highlands or Welsh Snowdonia or ideally further afield such as the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland or the K2 base camp trek in Pakistan.

20 interesting facts about Argentina

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Interesting facts about Argentina, from the largest creature to have walked the earth to the first human to be born in Antarctica

I first visited Argentina in 2015 as part of our year-long trip around the world. Due to quirks in our itinerary, technically, we visited the country three times in the space of a mere few weeks (as we crossed in and out of neighbouring countries).

24 interesting facts about Aconcagua

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We share the most interesting facts about Aconcagua – from the world’s highest art gallery to mysterious mummified remains

I recently climbed Aconcagua in Argentina, the third step of my journey to climb the seven summits.

Cerro Aconcagua may not be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world and the ascent is certainly short on charm, but this enormous lump of Andean rock and ice is one of the most coveted mountains on the planet.

Argentina’s best hiking destinations

El Chaltén is one of the best hiking destinations in Argentina4kwonderland/Shutterstock

We explore Argentina’s best hiking destinations, from the highest snowbound peak in South America to the final scrape of civilisation at the end of the world

Argentina is one of the world’s best countries for hiking thanks to the 5,000km-long Andes that curve like a spine along the nation’s back. This vast landscape boasts the Patagonian steppe, hulking glaciers and the world’s highest trekking peak.

Aconcagua gear list: all you need for summit success

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Our complete Aconcagua gear list includes everything you’ll need to summit the highest mountain in the Western and Southern Hemispheres

Aconcagua in Argentina, at 6,961m (22,837ft), is South America’s highest mountain and one of the seven summits (the seven peaks that make up the highest point on every continent). 

I recently returned from climbing Aconcagua with Acomara Aconcagua Expeditions. A good trekking company will issue you with a detailed kit list, but I always like to see what other people have used.

Climbing Aconcagua: my third seven summit

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Climbing Aconcagua was the culmination of a 10-year journey and the next step towards realising my ultimate dream: climbing the seven summits

At around 2pm local time on 19th January 2020, I stretched out my hand and tapped the top of the simple aluminium crucifix that marks the summit of Aconcagua at 6,961m (22,837ft).

Looking at the winter climbs taking place at the time in the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges of Asia, and given that our summit time corresponded to around 11pm in Nepal and Pakistan, it is safe to assume that for a few brief moments on that Sunday afternoon, I was the highest person stood on Earth.

5 best dive sites in Aruba according to divemasters 

Grunt fish duel for mates at one of the best dive sites in ArubaJames Dvorak/Shutterstock

From a ship scuttled in World War II to a fiercely guarded secret spot, we share the best dive sites in Aruba as chosen by local divemasters

When it comes to choosing dive sites, we are yet to find a perfect solution. Official rating apps are often skewed towards popular spots, meaning that a mediocre dive site with lots of visitors will trump a less-visited but better site based on the weighting system.

Diving the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba

Diving the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba

Diving the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba was eerie and surreal, but ultimately thrilling

I’m hopeless at fish identification. My memory is awful and I don’t like diving with a fish ID slate – it just becomes a piece of clutter to add to the essentials (pressure gauge, regulators, dive computer and my camera). As such, unless it’s a lionfish, grouper, clownfish, whale, dolphin or shark, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to identify it.

Unknown treks: 10 off the beaten trail adventures

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From remote deserts to polar escapes, these unknown treks will get you far off the beaten trail

I spent 10 years living in London, riding the crowded tube to work, fighting for space with those around me and standing in queues at bus stops, supermarkets, anywhere really – I am British after all.

Naturally, this inspired daydreams of escaping it all and running off to the wilderness with only my backpack, tent, camping stove and a handful of freeze-dried meals.

10 mispronounced country names

From Kiribati to Kyrgyzstan, we list the most commonly mispronounced country names

When Donald Trump mispronounced Namibia asNambia’ in 2017, he became the subject of widespread ridicule. Journalists wondered if he meant Zambia or Gambia while social media users mocked up memes and one enterprising tweeter took the opportunity to pitch a new title to Lonely Planet. 

Best road trips in the world – by continent

The Ring Road in Iceland is a very close contenderShane WP Wongperk/Shutterstock

The best road trips in the world have inspired artists through the ages, from Kerouac and Steinbeck to the talents at Pixar. Here, we attempt to explain why

When it comes to road trips, we’ve had our fair share of mishaps. We’ve battled a whiteout in Iceland, got stuck in a ditch in Turkey, broken down in Chile and changed a tyre in Namibia’s lion territory.

17 interesting facts about Bolivia

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A selection of the most interesting facts about Bolivia we picked up during our visit

Before we went to Bolivia, my entire education on the country came from this scene from the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Although our arrival in the country wasn’t quite as displeasing as Robert Redford’s, Bolivia did prove one of the more challenging countries we’ve visited. Cold showers, uninspiring cuisine and high altitude were just some of things we battled.

UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

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From Inuit hunting grounds to sacred mountain monasteries, UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites have been formally recognised for their outstanding value

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

To be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria.