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Team CLIF Bar's Winter Stoke Meter is HIGH!
Chris Benchetler getting it good. photo - Peter Morning
Team Clif Bar Blog
Jun 25, 2012
Mike Libecki’s Year of the Dragon Mid Summer Tales

When Mike Libecki goes, he goes big...and he usually goes solo. This year being the Year of the Dragon is no exception, and Mike already has a couple of solid missions under his belt of bold and bottomless adventure. Below is a first hand account of a few of the trips to bring us up to today. Keep your eyes peeled for the next update too, as the second half of the season has plenty more in store as Mike ramps up for the main courses of what's to come.

“So far, the Year of the Dragon Expeditions appetizers have been spicy and delicious…I kicked off the year with a very special batch of Dragon Blood Homebrews (yes, brewed with real dragon blood, really), a solo first ascent in Indonesia,my third trip back to Afghanistan (the avalanches were scarier than the Taliban), then lost my virginity to BASE jumping…

Homebrewed Beers with real Dragon Blood:

“I have a tradition of starting off the Chinese-zodiac-animal-themed new year of expeditions that goes beyond being naked on summits with the current animal mask on. I always brew a couple batches of special new recipe beer batches to start it all off.  This being Year of Dragon I wanted to make something special.  From the grain, full-mash of course, I brewed a Dragon’s Blood Barley Wine Stout (strong!)…And yes, I really did brew this with real dragon’s blood (you have now drank blood if you tried one).  I have some left, let me know if you want a sample.” –Libecki, he has been brewing (and enjoying!) beer for almost 20 years, Winter, 2011/2012, Year of the Dragon.



“Virgin jungle is by far the worst suffering I have ever experienced.  Machete mayhem in razor vines and needled, steel-like thorns drawing blood every few steps, heat and humidity of a sauna, knee deep muddy swamp trudging, with leeches of course, then one of the locals pulling a brain-eating, ear-entering worm/alien creature off of my shirt more than once, gotta love the addiction to find big walls no matter where they are at.” –Libecki, on his first Indonesia solo trip in search of big untouched rock towers, Winter 2011/12, Year of the Dragon.  Libecki has explored many jungles around the world from Papua New Guinea to Venezuela to Guyana, but prefers arctic subzero suffering over sweltering bug infested suffering.



“The threat of the Taliban was almost as scary as the avalanche danger.  Already, over 100 local Afghanistan people were killed in avalanches when we were there.  I set off two huge avalanches from one domino effect fracture line over a hundred yards away while cutting a traverse––it would have consumed and digested us for sure had we been pulled into it…On top of that, chills ran down my spine every time I remembered that fifty miles in any direction the Taliban would love to have us for company.– Libecki, on his third expedition to Afghanistan to sample some new skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing areas, Winter, 2011/2012, Year of the Dragon. Libecki made the first ascent of the Ibex Horn on his second trip to the area.  His first trip there almost ended his life due to rock fall.


Losing my BASE jump virginity:

“About 12 years ago, the last time it was Year of the Dragon, I was giving a slide show about Baffin Island when Shane McConkey tapped me on the shoulder.  He asked how he could get up to Baffin to BASE jump off all the walls.  The following year I was guiding Shane McConkey, Miles Daisher, Felix Baumgartner and friends so they could jump off the walls.  Finally after 12 years of the seed being planted, I did my first BASE jumps off the Perrin Bridge in Idaho with Miles Daisher.  Special thanks to Miles Daisher for the mentorship.  My training continues, I have always dreamed of BASE jumping off the first ascents I climb, especially the solo ones. A new goal is waiting.  I hope to be flying off the walls next year.”

I am now getting ready for the Year of the Dragon Expeditions main course(s)…Solo to the northern arctic in Franz Josef Land, Russia, then directly to East Greenland, both in search of first ascents.

Then the Year of the Dragon Expeditions dessert…A new area of walls and towers in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.”

Mike Libecki, Spring 2012, Year of the Dragon

Posted by: 
B Cole
Winter Sports, Climbing, Other Sports
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