February 16, 2013: Winter Mountain Climbing, Great Ape Stakeouts and More

National Geographic photographers spend months in remote locations for the perfect shot. Mattias Klum shares the indignities he suffered to get the perfect orangutan image for the February, 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine. (photo by James P. Blair)
National Geographic photographers spend months in remote locations for the perfect shot. Mattias Klum shares his weeks of suffering for the  orangutan image for the February, 2013 issue of Nat Geo magazine. (photo by James P. Blair)

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

Mount McKinley’s extreme winds, sub-zero temperatures, and over 20,000 feet of rock and snow might be enough to scare off many climbers – but not Lonnie Dupre.  The mountaineer looks back on his third, and most recent, attempt to scale North America’s highest peak in winter and how Denali hasn’t seen the last of him yet. Listen here.

Wolves have been the denizens of many cultures’ folklores, lullabies, and spiritual practices, and yet are still one of the most misunderstood creatures known to man.  Filmmakers Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived with a wolf pack in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountain Range for six years.  They talk about the incredibly intimate nature of their encounters, in their new book The Hidden Lives of Wolves, and disappointing recent developments in U.S. politics that caused wolf populations to plummet. Listen here.

Ever since the light bulb’s invention, electricity has become one of life’s essentials.  Unfortunately, many people on the planet still do not have access to a reliable source of electricity.  National Geographic Energy Challenge grantee Jamie Yang decided to help change that by providing recyclable batteries to customers in Tanzania.  He speaks to Boyd about how these small, portable sources of energy have made a big difference in Tanzanians’ lives. Listen here.

From heists to duels at high noon, the Old American West was known to be where only the rugged and the brave could survive.  No other icon came to represent this way of life more so than cowboys and outlaws, particularly Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  In his book The Last Outlaws, author Thom Hatch writes about how these two figures fascinated the public, defied convention, and struggled to survive in an increasingly modern age. Listen here.

Rainforests have always been hotspots of biodiversity.  The lush rainforests of Peru are no exception, and they provide prime habitats for endangered species like the yellow-tailed woolly monkey.  National Geographic grantee and Community Conservation director Rob Horwich is leading the charge to protect the primates through community-based conservation. Horwich and his team run workshops to educate and empower native Peruvians to protect their rainforests and the yellow-tailed woolly monkeys that live there. Listen here.


Boyd speaks with Mattias Klum about some of his wildest moments out in the field.  Klum talks about his trips to Vietnam, where he came face-to-face with some of the world’s most dangerous snakes, and to Indonesia, where he waited in a tree for four months for a single photo of an orangutan mother nursing her offspring.  He regularly puts himself into precarious situations for the sake of capturing the beauty of our planet and bringing attention to the importance of protecting it.  Klum’s most recent work can be found in the February, 2013 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Listen here.

Some might call a land with merciless winds, sub-zero temperatures, and high death rates unlivable.  But to the Kyrgyz nomads of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor, this land is called “home”.  In the latest issue of National Geographic magazine, photographer Matthieu Paley captures the Kyrgyz way of life for the article “Stranded on the Roof of the World”.  He shows how, despite these nomads having found a way to survive in one of Afghanistan’s harshest environments, they still struggle to survive in the face of geopolitics and modernity. Listen here.

By touting its approximately 250 million athletes and fan base of over 1 billion people, soccer is hands-down the world’s most popular sport.  Photographer Jessica Hilltout decided to learn about the sport’s cultural influence by travelling away from the largesse of professional stadiums and into the rural villages of west Africa.  Her 12,500-mile journey from Ivory Coast to South Africa brought her face-to-face with some of soccer’s biggest fans:  children who fashion soccer balls out of cloth, twine, plastic in order to play the sport they love. Listen here.

Around the world, immigration has been a point of great tension.  In South Africa, some people have reached a tipping point in their frustration, lashing out at immigrant in vigilante mobs.  Daniel Thompson, a National Geographic Young Explorer, has been investigating the contentious relationship between the local population and immigrants in their struggle to make a living in South Africa. Listen here.

Brazil is known the world over for its boisterous celebration of Carnival.  With samba providing the backdrop for the country’s most famous holiday, countless people join in the music and dance.  NG Weekend’s Boyd Matson recounts his own Carnival experience in which he tried his hand at learning how to play the “music of Brazil”.  But after a comical samba lesson with a leading percussionist, he learned that the Brazilian beat might be a bit trickier to play than he thought. Listen here.


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Meet the Author
Justin O'Neill produces the weekly radio program National Geographic Weekend with host Boyd Matson. Check it out on on SiriusXM satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or stream it directly to your smartphone with Stitcher Radio.