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Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad 2/17/11

Posted Feb 17 2011 9:00am

--Ketchum resident Christopher Bridgeman, 49, died on Idaho's Bald Mountain in Sun Valley last Wednesday after colliding with a tree while skiing down an intermediate run that descends off Lower College in the center of the mountain. To read more, click here and here .

--New information has been released about a January avalanche that buried a snowmobiler in Canada's Kootenai National Forest.  The incident happened on January 15th after a group of 15 snowmobilers went out on a "skills clinic" that day. To read more, click here .

--British Columbia's Whistler Blackcomb revenues increased in all categories in its first quarter with strong increases in regional skier visits, but challenges remain in attracting destination skiers, according to quarterly results released Thursday by Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. The company also announced that it is on track for two million skier visits this year, and has set a record with the highest ever number of season tickets and frequency cards sold before December 31st. To read more, click here .

Desert Southwest:

--The annual climbing festival, Red Rock Rendezvous is coming up fast.  Once again, the American Alpine Institute will be present at the Las Vegas event, both for the event itself as well as to offer courses and trips before and after.  To learn more, click here .

--A few popular hiking routes at Zion National Park will temporarily close to protect nesting sites of Peregrine Falcons, which are recovering from endangered species status. Cliffs that are not used as nesting sites this year will reopen for climbing in May, according to a news release from the park. To read more, click here .

--Arches National Park is on track to finish their official climbing management plan.  This plan has taken a significant amount of time to develop, in part because professional climber Dean Potter elected to climb the off-limits Delicate Arch.  To read more, click here .

--More than 1,200 square miles of open space, six mountain ranges, vast valleys, striking pink granite boulders and its namesake desert plant life make Joshua Tree National Park a paradise for visitors. However, every summer, smog cooked up in industrial zones and freeways 100 miles away blow into the park on sea breezes, sullying the air, ruining the views and encouraging the growth of fire-prone weeds. To read more, click here .

Notes from All Over:

--It took one hundred people from multiple agencies to recover the body of an Orange County man who died while rappelling down the side of a waterfall in a remote section of the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County.  The body of Matthew David Pack, 24, of San Juan Capistrano, was retrieved Saturday, the day after he was discovered by a hiker passing by Mildred Falls, in the rugged wilderness near Julian.  To read more, click here .

--Echo Oak has had a run of bad luck of nearly biblical proportions. Burying her face in her blackened, cracked and frostbitten fingers, she laughs and shakes her head rather than cry.  It's been only three weeks since the 33-year-old Billings hair stylist survived a 200-foot fall while ice climbing. To read more, click here .

--The Vermont State Police says a New York man is in critical condition after he was found unconscious after leaving a bar near the Jay Peak ski resort. Police say that thirty-two year-old Jason Eichorst of Saratoga Springs, New York, left a bar at Jay Peak with three friends at about 5:30pm Saturday, intending to ski back to their condominium.  To read more, click here .

--Christian Skalka knows better than to think that he, or anybody else, can foretell with precision when and where an avalanche will occur. But Skalka has an idea for how to make avalanche risks clear to those who want to venture into the high terrain: backcountry skiers, ice climbers, snowmobilers and others. He has developed a smart-phone application that crunches relevant data and spits out a number from 1 to 5, in ascending order of hazard. To read more, click here .

A Turn-of-the-Century Climber in a New York Fashion Week Show
Photo Courtesy of N.Hoolywood
--So nobody's going to mistake mountain guides anywhere, anytime, for being hip or fashionable.  Even when we think we are hip or fashionable, we're usually a few years behind the curve. But this week a New York Fashion Show featured 22 turn-of-the-century climbing outfits.  And get this...they called the clothing line the Half Dome Collection! To read more and to see all the outfits, click here and here .

--Hee Yong Park of Korea has won the Lead event at the UIAA Ice Climbing World Championship in Busteni, Romania. For the women, it was Italy’s Angelika Rainer who came top in Lead.  Russian athletes continued their superior display in the World Cup Speed discipline, taking all top three positions in both the men’s and women’s competitions, with Pavel Gulyaev and Natalya Kulikova taking first place respectively. To read more, click here .

--Two snowboarders who triggered an avalanche in a closed area of Sunshine Village Ski Resort in Banff, Canada have been fined for trespassing.  The pair crossed two marked ropes to enter the Wild West area, closed all season due to high avalanche danger, when they triggered the slide Monday afternoon.They were able to stay above the wall of snow and were not buried. To read more, click here .

--There have been a number of first ascents in Patagonia this season. To read a round-up of what's been going on, click here .

Manufacturer Recalls and Equipment Issues:

--Petzl’s GriGri2 and four pieces of equipment from Black Diamond have become the first braking devices to be certified by the UIAA and can now bear the UIAA Safety Label – the only certification for braking devices worldwide. The Black Diamond devices are: ATC, ATC-Guide, ATC-XP, ATC-Sport.  To read more, click here .

--Petzl has recently discovered Chinese counterfeit versions of the Croll, Attache, Ascension and Rescue Ptezl products. There is a significant risk that these counterfeit products could open or otherwise fail at low loads and under normal use.  To read more, click here .

--Problems have been sighted with the #5 DMM Dragon Cam.  There are cracks in the aluminum axle boss.  To see photos and to learn more, click here .

--Backcountry Access (BCA), the North American manufacturer of avalanche safety equipment, has announced a recall of its latest beacon, the Tracker2. BCA representatives say they have isolated certain issues that could cause a potential malfunction in the T2 units.  To read more, click here .

--The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of 3,500 Avalung backpacks due to a suffocation hazard.  The backpacks, imported from China by Black Diamond Equipment, include air intake tubing that can crack at cold temperatures.  To read more, click here .

--Totem Cams sold prior to December 31st 2010 are being recalled.  The color anodizing of the cams gives them a surface hardness that may affect their holding power in certain areas of polished limestone and when the cams still retain their layer of anodizing on the area in contact with the rock.  To read more, click here and here .

--There have been some problems with Petzl ice tools.  The adjustment system of the GRIPREST (the lower hand rest at the bottom of the handle) on the 2010 NOMIC (U21 2) and ERGO (U22) in some cases may not stay fixed in the desired size position.  This issue concerns NOMIC and ERGO ice tools with serial numbers between 10208 and 10329 and all GRIPREST (U21 GR2) accessory parts. It does not concern the new QUARKs or the older versions of the NOMICs, QUARKs and QUARK ERGOs.  To read more, click here .
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