Episode 1145—Air Date: November 5, 2011

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about climbing the world’s deadliest peak, unraveling the mysteries of Easter Island, completing the ultimate bird-spotting list, finding five million dollars’ worth of gold, watching elephants fight and play, fishing for sharks, reviewing the best outdoor gear, celebrating 2012 the Mayan way, and spending a long day with Hunter S. Thompson.


• High-altitude climber Ed Viesturs joins Boyd to talk about climbing the world’s deadliest mountain. Viesturs has climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks, but he tells Boyd that he nearly gave up on Annapurna. Boyd and Viesturs discuss his new book, The Will to Climb: Obsession Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna—the World’s Deadliest Peak.

• Archaeologist Claudio Cristino has spent most of his adult life in Polynesia, and for the past 30 years he has been Easter Island’s resident archaeologist. Cristino joins Boyd to talk about the mysterious Rapa Nui civilization that constructed, then destroyed, the huge, iconic statues for which the island is famous.

• Illustrator and avid birder Jonathan Alderfer joins Boyd to talk about the updated National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Alderfer tells Boyd about the exciting updates to the sixth edition. The book contains the most new material since the first edition was published more than 25 years ago.

• Imagine finding over five million dollars’ worth of buried treasure in a farmer’s field. One treasure hunter in England did just that, discovering a trove of 3,500 gold, silver and garnet objects dating from Anglo-Saxon times. Author Caroline Alexander talks with Boyd about the find and her cover story for the November 2011 National Geographic magazine, “Magical Mystery Treasure.”

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to talk about finding new planets.


• Game ranger Brett DuBois works at the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve in South Africa. Boyd visits with Du Bois as well as some elephants and other animals on a recent trip to the park.

• Should humans fear sharks or should sharks fear us? Shark attacks on humans are up this year. But shark populations are being decimated at a frightening pace, killed in large part simply for their fins. In her new book Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks, Juliet Eilperin explores our complex relationship with the ocean’s top predator.

• Gear guru Steve Casimiro joins Boyd to talk about some of the latest and greatest outdoor gear for fall and winter. Casimiro’s reviews can be found on the NG Adventure blog and on Casimiro’s Adventure Journal blog.

• 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar. Some say this means the end of the world is upon us. But Josh Berman says 2012 is the perfect time to travel to the Mayan world. In his new book Moon Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras, Berman shares tips on where to find the best Central American ceremonies and festivals in the coming year.

• Boyd says the new Johnny Depp movie The Rum Diary reminded him of a day—that felt like a week—he spent with Hunter S. Thompson in 1988.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1145—Air Date: November 5, 2011