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Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 2/11/10

Posted Feb 11 2010 6:00am

--As the Olympic flame ignited the cauldron on the stage at Sechelt's civic squarefor just a moment community torchbearer and climber Sarah Doherty was a little kid again. "I have always loved the Olympics and even before I lost my legI would practice the gymnastics moves that I saw and really try to be better at skiing. I always thought that if they can do it maybe I can do it." To read moreclick here.

--More than 70 Forest Service recreation sites in Oregon and Washington will see new or increased user fees under proposals approved today at a teleconference meeting of a citizens advisory committee. The approvals were unanimous despite the fact that most public comment about the proposals was overwhelmingly negative. The fees will affect visitors to the DeschutesUmpquaand Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forestsat day-usecampingand cabin rental sites. They include four primitive camping areas on the Okanogan-Wenatcheeseven new day-use fee sites on the Deschutessix new fee sites on the Umpquaand 55 increases at existing fee sites on the Umpqua. To read moreclick here.

Half Dome in Yosemite

--Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite National Park. Most visitors ascend Half Dome via the cableswhich are in place from mid-May through mid-October. Approximately 84,000 people climbed to the top of Half Dome in 2008.The increase in popularity of the hike has resulted in large numbers of visitors using the cablesparticularly on weekends and holidays. During last summerSaturdays and holidays averaged 840 visitors per day. In an effort to address thisthe park will institute an interim program that will require a Day Use Permit to hike the cables on Half Dome on FridaysSaturdaysSundaysand holidays starting in May2010. Four hundred permits will be issued per day300 of these will be Day Use Permits and 100 will be included in wilderness permits. To read moreclick here.

--The latest measurements show that the snowpack at Mammoth Pass is closer to normal than it was two weeks ago. The latest snowpack numbers from the LA Department of Water and Power show 27.3 inches of water content on the ground at Mammoth Pass. On January 22before the last round of storms blew int water content on the ground measured 19.3 inches. This was 80% of normal for that date. Since that reportMammoth Pass has picked up additional snow that has brought the water content to 92% of normal for this time of year. To read moreclick here.

--A 58-year-old Victorville man has pleaded no contest to charges related to the fatal shooting of a bear at Lake Mary on September 22. Shortly after the shootingofficials described that the man had been having a picnic with a female companion when the beara sowapproached. Another person was able to scare the bear away for a timebut when the bear returned the man shot the sow with a large caliber pistol. To read moreclick here.

Desert Southwest:

--A record number of visits were made to Zion National Park last year. The park's 2.7 million visits were 1.7 percent more than 2008. Park officials say some of the uptick could be attributed to Zion's centennial celebration last summer. To read moreclick here.

Notes from All Over:

--On February 4than avalanche in the Alborz mountains of Irannear Karajburied dozens of climbers and skiers yesterdaykilling eight mountaineers including Farshad Khalilian esteemed mountain guide. To read moreclick here.

--Afghan officials say they fear more than 64 people may have been killed by a massive avalanche along a key northern road. Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said Tuesday that rescuers have already recovered 24 bodies from the Salang Passbut they fear that more than 40 others still trapped have already died. Hundreds of people have been rescuedbut the 3,400-meter-high mountain passas well as a nearby tunnelremain blocked. To read moreclick here.

--A massive avalanchewhich killed at least 17 soldiers and trapped 53 more under the snow and ice Mondayplowed into an Indian army training center near a popular ski resort designed to exhibit peaceful progress in the long-disputed state of Kashmir. The Associated Press reports the avalanche hit the army’s High Altitude Warfare School around 11 a.m.sweeping away the soldiers during a training session. An army spokeman told the AP it was “the worst avalanche in the area in many years.” To read moreclick here.

--The "miracle" survivor of an avalanche in the Swiss Alpswho was buried in a concrete-like sarcophagus of snow for 17 hourshas admited that he should not have ventured off the beaten track. "After the event I realised I took a childish and ill-considered risk," Cedric Genoud said at the hospital where the 21-year-old was being treated after escaping from a "long cold night" with mild hypothermia. "I saw lights.... I shouted a lot," the Swiss skier saidas he explained how a night-time search party passed nearby while he fought against the soporific effect of the bitter cold. To read moreclick here.

--A Royal Air Force serviceman died last week after he was trapped in an avalanche while skiingthe Ministry of Defence confirmed. The airman was one of three Britons engulfed in the avalanche while skiing down the Riedbergerhorn mountain in the Bavarian AlpsGerman Police said. To read moreclick here.

--Six teams have been announced as this year's Mugs Stump Award winners. In the spirit of the awardgrant recipients will attempt some of the world's most striking climbing objectives in fastlight and clean style. To read moreclick here.

Climbers on Cotopaxi
Photo by Jason Martin

--It appears that a speed climber has blown all of his competition away with a 1 hour and 32 minute ascent of Equador's Cotopaxi (19,348'). To learn morecheck out this article (in Spanish).

--Over a period of three weeks in November and December of 2009Austrians Christoph HobenreichPaul Koller and Karl Pichler explored a group of areas east of the Ulvetanna Group Antarctica's Queen Maud Land. The trio summited 15 peaks and nunataks and believe 11 of their climbs to be first ascents. To read moreclick here.

--Here's a possible future diet tip: Move to a mountaintop. In a recent studyobese individuals who spent time at a mountain facility at high altitudes lost weight without going on a diet. And they kept the pounds off for at least four weeks once they returned to normal altitudes. The researchers suspect part of the weight loss can be attributed to the thin airwhich may have decreased participants' appetites and increased their metabolismmeaning they burned more calories sans a workout. While at high altitudesthe obese subjects also showed an increase in levels of leptina hormone that when present can make one feel full. To read moreclick here.
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