Speaking to MailOnline Travel on her return from the K2 expedition in Pakistan, Vanessa O'Brien, who's British-American, said that she 'truly believes' much of the challenge is mental rather than physical and it is essential to 'keep a strong focus' while battling the elements. During her July trek up the 8,611 metre stack - which has a notoriously high fatality rate - the 52-year-old former banker experienced deep snows, the sight of dead bodies, winds of more than 30 miles an hour and temperatures below minus 40 degrees Celsius. She also couldn't shower for five days and feasted on baby food as things such as protein bars froze solid. Pictured: Steep ascents on K2 (main, bottom left), views from the top (top right) and O'Brien after her summit success (top left).
The real Dragonstone! Tourists flock to a Spanish islet with a 240-step footbridge that's used as a key Game of Thrones filming location
Gaztelugatxe, an inlet in Spain's Basque Country pictured (left) and (right), is topped with a church believed to have been built over a thousand years ago, reached by a winding footbridge with 241 steps. It is used by HBO series Game of Thrones to represent the mystical island of Dragonstone (inset).
Come fly with me! Stunning blonde pilot welcomes on board more than 67k Instagram followers as she jet sets around the world
Meet the stunning blonde pilot who has accrued more than 67,000 Instagram followers with her non-stop adventuring in the skies and on land. Incredible pictures show airline pilot Eva Claire Marseille, 31, from Haarlem, The Netherlands, preparing for take-off in the cockpit of her Boeing 737 (inset), riding a camel across the desert (bottom right) and letting off some steam with kick boxing practice (top right).Other envy-inducing photos on her account @flywitheva show the aviation pro in a canyon in Spain (top left) and relaxing in Barcelona (bottom left).
The world's most thrilling road trips revealed: Lonely Planet names the drives that are unmissable, from misty mountain passes in Scotland to jaunts up the Pacific Coast Highway
In new book Epic Drives of the World, a variety of intrepid adventurers detail their experiences of travelling by car. From fairy tale scenery in Germany's Black Forest to vintage motels on Route 66 or waterfall spotting on Hawaii - the journeys detailed in the book will make you want to drop everything and hit the gas. Pictured clockwise from top left: The world's highest pass in the Indian state of Jammu; the Blue Ridge Mountains in the U.S; Great Glen in Scotland; Canada's Icefield Parkway and (inset) Milford Sound in New Zealand.
The British 'bullet train' that will cut London to Edinburgh journey times to four hours travels to Scotland for the first time
The Azuma train uses technology stemming from Japanese bullet trains and can accelerate faster than existing services on the UK network. The inaugural run north of the border was made as part of a testing programme by manufacturer Hitachi in preparation for roll-out of the 65-strong fleet on Virgin's east coast route next year. The train travelled over the Scottish border at 12.45pm and was piped into Dunbar Station around 15 minutes later, before returning south.
Tourists have caused more damage to Skye in the past two years than in the previous FITFY, says one of the island's longest-serving gamekeepers
Pictures taken by Scott MacKenzie, head gamekeeper at the 23,000-acre Fearann Eilean Iarmain estate - and a local photographer - show heavily erodedÂ roadside verges, vehicles stuck in mud, and internet cables exposed by heavy traffic, plus mounds of litter. Mr MacKenzie says the landscape is now 'beyond recognition'. The land management expert, with 25 years' experience on Skye, says poor management of tourism on the island is to blame with too many people descending on a handful of visitor hot spots.
Juggling with hands and feet and backwards rollerblading down a hill: Astonishing video compilation reveals why 'people are awesome' with the best feats of 2017 so far
A YouTube video compilation has emerged of some of the most incredible feats of the year so far from around the world and itâ€™s had over a million views so far. Called â€?People Are Awesomeâ€™, it features daredevils performing the most incredible feats, from somersaulting onto skateboards to juggling with hands and feet (top left) â€“ at the same time. Here MailOnline Travel presents five of its favourite moments from the video. Also pictured: Snowboarders hurtling around a homemade course in Australia (top right), a daredevil hurtling down a 30-degree incline backwards, with one rollerblade on (bottom right), a sharp shooting basketball player doing a flip and landing a shot at the same time in Sweden (bottom left) and a two-year-old boy in Arizona hitting a ball into his father's mouth (inset).
Does size matter to you? The world's smallest hotels revealed, from slim lodgings built in an ALLEY to properties with just one double room
There's an intimate hotel - and then there's a hotel with only one room. Welcome to the world's least roomiest lodgings, where guests have a choice of a handful of rooms, or just one. The Eh' Hausl Hotel (top left) and the Central Hotel & Cafe (bottom left and inset) are only fit for two people with their tight quarters. The Grand Hotel De Kromme Raake (bottom right) was transformed from a grocery store to a hotel and has just one bedroom, but the bed is king-sized. The isolated Hotel Punta Grande in the Canary Islands (top right) is positively gigantic in this company - it has four bedrooms.
Inside one of the world's most remote towns where only 10 children go to school, there are no cars and you can build a house wherever you like
With no cars, no hospital and no bars or restaurants, Francois in Newfoundland and Labrador has to be one of the world's most remote communities. The tiny town, tucked away in a bay on the most easterly point of Canada, is only accessible by boat and the locals scoot around on quad bikes to save their legs on the steep valley paths. During a recent trip to the settlement, MailOnline Travel learned that all of the 75 inhabitants know each other, darts is a popular form of entertainment and residents are free to build a property wherever they fancy. Pictured: (From top left, clockwise) Sailing into Francois, a view from the bay, a quiet playground and locals on a quad bike.
Relax and recharge at Thyme... a fabulously foodie luxury boutique hotel in the heart of the glorious Cotswolds
Set on a 150-acre country manor estate in the picturesque village of Southrop - the location for Kate Moss' 2011 wedding to rocker Jamie Hince, no less - Thyme has a magical feel from the very first moment you pull up to its driveway.Â This 17th century luxury boutique hotel is comprised of a beautiful farmhouse - featuring elegantly designed bespoke bedrooms - a series of picture perfect cottages, a renowned cookery school, a delightful cocktail bar and an award-winning, traditional country pub mere metres down the road.Â After a 12-year restoration project overseen by owner Caryn Hibbert, it's clear from the moment you set foot in the door that no detail is too small, writes Louise Saunders.
The ultimate romantic break: Feeling mushy in Morocco with candlelit dinners beneath the stars in the Sahara and al fresco lunches in almond groves
Dar Ahlam translates from Arabic to House of Dreams in English - and prides itself on the theatrical. There is neither a restaurant nor menus but instead guests are served alone in different areas around the hotel - no meal is in the same place twice (top right and inset). And there's the optional treat of staying in their luxury desert camp (bottom right). La Sultana in Marrakech is also magical thanks to its Intricate wooden carvings, decorative archways, alcoves with plump silky cushionsâ€¦ just wandering around the hotel is a voyage of discovery (bottom and top left), writes Harriet Mallinson.
Amazing behind-the-scenes time-lapse video shows a Rolls-Royce engine being replaced on a Virgin Atlantic A340 - a job so complicated it takes 24 hours
The feat takes place in a 65,000sq-ft hangar at Londonâ€™s Heathrow Airport, which is home to hundreds of engineers. They carry out skilled maintenance work, checks and repairs on aircraft â€“ including the highly specialised task of changing an engine. The sneak peek shows the A340, one of the biggest aircraft in the world, rolling into the hangar, then a team of six engineers getting to work and replacing its Rolls-Royce Trent 5000 engine.
Birk Haaland, 27, and Sara Teigen, 26 - from Stavanger and Aros in Norway - are surfing their way around Europe in their house on wheels, finding 'adventure on their doorstep'. 'After Birk got sick three years ago from a parasite, our perspective of how to live now changed,' said Sara. 'This meant everything from food, mindfulness, travel, yoga, friends and family, living more sustainable and so on. Birk saw the amazing movement that started with tiny houses and van building - and after a while we got so stoked. Now we are currently saving money to travel through Europe in the van. Birk is going to hold seminars on how to build your very own van build and Sara is working in psychiatry.'
Inside a secret Soviet holiday spot: The abandoned resort in the 'Georgian Switzerland' once used by the Kremlin's elite
Tucked away in the Caucasus mountain range in the region of Racha, western Georgia, the holiday resort has been left neglected for decades. With its picturesque scenery it's easy to understand why this little known secret has been described by many as the 'Georgian Switzerland' and was a holiday getaway for many people in the Soviet Union at its height. Photographer Ioanna Sakellaraki, 27, documented the forgotten holiday resort.
Something to spout about! The magic of swimming in open water with humpback whales at Australia's OTHER incredible reef
MailOnline Travel's Lisa Young stayed at the lesser known - but still incredible - Ningaloo Reef, where you can reach corals from the beach in minutes by kayak. And nearby lurk majestic humpbacks. Her accommodation was the simply stunning eco-luxe wilderness camp Sal Salis, said by Lonely Planet to be one of the best places on the planet to stay. Here Lisa recounts a trip that was exotic in every way, from the wildlife to the breakfasts.
From drab to fab! Self-taught photographer reveals exactly how to take your family albums to another level (and you don't need an expensive camera)
Missouri-based photographer Phillip Haumesser has released a before (top) and after (bottom) gallery of family snaps to illustrate how even drab locations can be dressed up with a change in perspective. He suggests shooting from below rather than above, and getting a cheap lens with a wide aperture.
Before New York had Broadway and London was crammed with tourists: Oldest known photos of cities around the world reveal just how much they've changed since the 1800s
The advent of photography in the 19th century meant people were finally able to record their surroundings, and this collection includes some of the very first snaps of cities including Sydney, New York and London (pictured); as well as others including Tokyo, Rome, Berlin, Toronto and Copenhagen, compared with what they look like today.
Is this Britain's quaintest holiday rental? A stay at this 500-year-old 'rough-luxe' barn hidden in the undergrowth (with a hayloft for naps) is like stepping back in time
The Grade II listed barn conversion in the heart of the Malvern Hills â€“ called Wishbone - is now available to rent from ÂŁ745 for a long weekend. The self-catering property has been lovingly restored to retain original timbers, stone walls and vaulted truss ceilings. The owners said they were inspired to make â€?this humble countryside buildingâ€™ an â€?interesting and beautiful place to stayâ€™.
Around the world in 80 spins: Dizzyingly incredible video shows traveller whirling on the spot in 41 countries spanning six continents
Meet Chanel Cartell, 32, and Stevo Dirnberger, 31, two ex-advertising industry creatives from Johannesburg who quit their jobs in 2015 to go on a trip around the world â€“ and produced an amazing video of their travels called Around The World In 80 Spins. Paris, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Sydneyâ€¦ all the big hitters are featured in the dizzying mash-up.
From epic skyscrapers to stunning gardens, bird's-eye-view photographs reveal a rarely seen view of Singapore's urban beauty
It's a city known, in part, for its stunning architecture. But while most people view Singapore from the ground upwards, one photographer has offered a refreshing alternative - thanks to his collection of stunning aerial shots.Â Taken by local resident Willy Chandra, his exhibition shows residential hubs such as Sentosa Island in all its glory, plus some of the country's biggest skyscrapers, including Suntec City and Lion City.
'The first time I ever stepped onto a plane, it was to fly it': Meet the youngest female commander of a Boeing 777, who'd never been a passenger before she trained
Air India pilot Anny Divya (pictured), 30, is the youngest female commander of a Boeing 777 (top left) - the worldâ€™s largest twin jet - but before she left her humble home in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, to train, she couldn't speak English and she'd never even boarded a plane. The glamorous pilot has now made enough money to buy her parents a home and financed her siblings' studies abroad.
A long lost airplane that crashed during WWII is finally discovered almost perfectly preserved on the riverbed of a remote Pacific island
Holidaymakers can expect to witness numerous unexpected wonders when they explore the wider world. But tourists visiting the Micronesian archipelago of Palau discovered an unusually rare sight, recently - after stumbling across a doomed WW2 plane. The long lost aeroplane was found in a shallow river on the archipelago of Palau, which boasts 500 picturesque islands.
Is this what cities will look like for our children? Eye-popping plans reveal a futuristic metropolis built from beehive land dwellings and floating moon-shaped abodes
These images represent a planning concept designed by architects for aÂ futuristic metropolis in the United Arab Emirates (bottom right); comprising of five buildings on land (top right), and five crescent-shaped 'moons' on the sea (left). Luca Curci Architects, based in Italy, says its aim is to create 'a common place where people can live, meet, learn, work, socialise and create new mixing cultures'. All aspects of the beehive-shaped land-based structures are connected through various streets and parks at different levels, while further 'moon' buildings rise out of the adjacent ocean. Designed to host more than 150,000 inhabitants covering an area of 372 square miles, the layout would provide residencies, hotels, offices, shops and wellness centres - the tallest building looming 1,500-ft high.
Humans have been crossing the oceans in sea vessels since 3000 BC. And my, how they've grown. These ships make the Titanic look like a toy. Pictured is the Blue Marlin (inset left), which can carry 75,000 tonnes-worth of other ships (and oil rigs), the Hoegh Target, the world's largest car transporter (inset right) and The Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship (main).
From Russia withâ€¦ views! Summiting Europe's highest mountain with eight men, a broken toe and one pair of underpants
MailOnline Travel's Sadie Whitelocks embarked on an 11-day expedition to Europe's highest mountain in south Russia with Cumbria-based company Adventure Peaks. The trip saw her join eight men and one girl in the snowy foothills. Mount Elbrus is the tenth most prominent peak in the world and it has two summits, with the western point being the biggest at 5,642m. It claims around 15 to 30 lives a year on average. Getting to the top involved a 15-hour round trip up some very steep slopes but Sadie said the views were well worth the long slog. Pictured: (From top left, clockwise to centre) Accommodation at Mount Elbrus, the Caucasus mountain range at sunset, the same landscape by day, the mountain's twin peaks and Sadie at the summit.
Welcome, Conehead! US woman is left with HUGE forehead and stretched face in passport photo fail that left her looking like a sci-fi character
They are hardly known for being flattering. But one woman's passport photo went beyond unkind, this week - when it warped during processing, leaving her resembling a sci-fi character. Chelsey Ramos, 27, from Austin, Texas, was left with the unappealing image following a glitch during printing by US officials.Â
Is this the world's most extreme public toilet? Smelly washroom teeters on the side of Europe's highest mountain at 3,700m (but the views are to die for!)
Perching very precariously 3,700m high on the side of a mountain in south Russia is what's deemed to be the world's worst public toilet by locals. Indeed, after visiting the rickety WC, MailOnline Travel can confirm that the facility presents more of a hazard than the mountainous area itself. While it is located in the popular ski resort of Mount Elbrus it appears little investment has gone into sprucing up the washroom and it remains a basic pit-style loo with no flush or basin.
Sleeping on collapsed tents and being duct-taped to a tree: Hilarious pictures reveal why drinking and camping don't always mix
Camping is perilous enough without large quantities of alcohol being involved. A warning that these campers, from around the world, appear not to have heeded. One shows a camper lying down asleep on a collapsed tent, with a bottle of something by his side. Another reveals a young man who appears to have been taped to a tree trunk. Here MailOnline Travel takes a trip to the crate outdoors.
Street art that stops traffic! From UFOs to The Beatles, graffiti artist transforms road signs with VERY witty make-overs
They are the stern street markings which regulate Bulgaria's roads. But, although they aren't supposed to be entertaining, the signs have been given a witty make-over by a cheeky street artist. The unknown creative, who goes by the name of idavidci on Tumblr, has enhanced the roadside icons with his own creative touch.Â
Modern technology reveals many of the world's most famous geographical markers are in the WRONG place
They've long been considered accurate land markers which map-out the world's most seminal sites. But, despite their claims of precision, it seems that many of the globe's most lauded locations are actually way off-the-mark.Â Ecuador's 'Middle of the World', the Geographical Center of North America, the Centre of Europe in Lithuania and the Real Greenwich Prime Meridian are among the markers that are thought to be misplaced.