Surtsey Island is the result of a volcanic eruption that happened off the coast of Iceland a week before JFK was assassinated (not that we're saying the island had anything to do with that). The eruption itself was ongoing for a long time; long enough that the Icelandic government grabbed its chance to declare Surtsey a nature preserve that nobody was allowed into without authorization before some dickhead with a national flag was able to pin it on the island.
Being the one island we know for a fact is unspoiled, Surtsey's like one gigantic petri dish for evolutionary scientists. The only two structures on Surtsey are an old lighthouse for safety and a tiny shack that that looks like it couldn't even take a single huff, let alone a puff. But that's all they're going to allow. The whole point of observing Surtsey in the way that they are is to see how plant colonization and succession works. That means no outside seeds, no outside fertilizer, nothing. The scientists don't even get to shit their pants when they see something exciting happen.
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
To be fair, the most exciting part probably happened when the island formed.
Most Of The World's Peaks Have Yet To Be Climbed
Mount Everest is so passe. It's like the pumpkin spice latte of dangerous mountains. Oh, look at the brave mountaineer, assailing a rock everyone and their grandmother has already scaled. Face it, climbing Everest is the blandest thing you can do that could cost you all your toes. Why not try some of these cool new alternative mountains no one has never heard of?
It's totally worth no one ever finding your remains.
This is Muchu Chhish, and it does not want to be climbed. Trying to get settled in at base camp? Enjoy the stampeding yaks. There are snow leopards and ibex nearby too, and they don't like people. It's also quite prone to falling rocks and avalanches -- for tenderizing you before you get eaten. You will get eaten.
There's also Karjiang on the Tibet border, which seemingly has a couple of summits, none of which are particularly accessible (by mountain standards, at least), and none of which have successfully been climbed to the tippy-top. Joe Puryear, who wasn't some schmuck with a decent Sherpa, was the last guy to even attempt to climb it was in 2010, and he died trying.
Abandon all hope and oxygen.
Then, we've got Gangkhar Puensum in peaceful Bhutan, the world's tallest un-summited peak. This is a mountain so nasty that, despite being the 40th-highest overall peak, has never been conquered. Part of that has to do with the fact that the Bhutanese government has had to slap a ban on trying to climb it. They claim it's out of respect for local spiritual beliefs, but according to the chairperson of the Everest Foundation, "They just looked at what was going on in Nepal with Everest and decided that they're not going to be part of that." Gangkhar is too remote and too dangerous, and Bhutan would prefer to remain unknown rather than be known as the place where extreme sports dudebros go to die.
Isaac wrote this from the comfort of a chair in his room. You can find him on Twitter.
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