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Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 4/22/10

Posted Apr 22 2010 6:00am

--The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a climbing ban on 400 acres in the Castle Rocks Interagency Recreation Area, adjacent to Castle Rocks State Park in Idaho. This ban affects over 40 established climbs and hundreds of potential new routes. The BLM acted on the basis that a climbing ban is needed to protect historic cultural resources inventoried by a recent field survey. The Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, who have a rich history in this area, support the ban, expressing concern that climbing could negatively impact their cultural resources on the property. However the field study found these resources in two specific areas of the property and a subsequent environmental assessment failed to state why climbing could not continue where there are no conflicts with cultural resources. To read more, click here .

--After nearly 10 years of work and more than $11 million, one of the largest single conservation efforts in Washington has permanently protected some 7,000 acres of land along the Hoh River. Taken together, the lands purchased, plus those already protected within Olympic National Park, conserve nearly the entire length of the Hoh. To read more, click here .

Climbing on Mount Rainier
Photo by Jason Martin

--The FAA, in cooperation with the NPS, has initiated development of an Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) for Mount Rainier National Park (MORA), pursuant to the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000. The objective of the ATMP is to develop acceptable and effective measures to mitigate or prevent the significant adverse impacts, if any, of commercial air tour operations upon the natural resources, cultural resources, and visitor experiences of a national park unit and any tribal lands within or abutting the park. To read more, click here .


--It looks like film crews will be back to shoot more footage of the bears of Mammoth Lakes, for a short Bear Whisperer TV series. The Bear Whisperer was a popular two hour special that originally aired on Animal Planet in January. Since that time, there had been talk that the show might become a series focused on Mammoth Lakes. To read more, click here .

Desert Southwest:

--Bad news for Red Rock Canyon. This week's Southwest section is totally devoted to the land deal that could have a serious impact on Red Rock Canyon...

--The Clark County Commission in Las Vegas voted 4-3 on the side of Jim Rhodes, a developer who plans to develop 2,400 acres near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Residents and climbers objected to the county’s decision, which allows Rhodes to apply for higher density housing on the land. Prior to the lawsuit, county code limited development to one house per acre, but that can now be altered. He will still need the county to approve his proposals. This will be the next stepping stone and climbers will need to do everything they can to block it. To read more, click here .

--An upcoming zoning exception could turn the few acres left between the grid of Las Vegas and Red Rocks into a housing development, forever changing the views from your favorite multi-pitch Red Rock climbs. In 2002, the Access Fund helped defeat a proposal to build 8,400 homes —including a school, golf course and businesses—on Blue Diamond Hill across the road from the world class climbing at Red Rocks. Now the notorious Rhodes Development (responsible for the ugly tract homes creeping towards Red Rocks) is close to receiving county approval that could lead to a 1,700-acre McMansion project. This is the kind of housing development eyesore that Blue Diamond residents and Red Rocks visitors have opposed for years. To read more, click here .

--Yesterday a rally was held in Las Vegas at the zoning commission meeting which concerned the possible changes in Red Rocks. The rally drew hundreds of protesters and made the news throughout the state.


--Former AAI Guide Mark Allen and Graham Zimmerman established a new route on the southeast buttress of Mt. Bradley (9,104') in the Ruth Gorge of the Alaska Range. This difficult new line was also noteworthy for the fact that it kicked off the "real" Alaska season in April. To read more, click here .

On April 14th a series of earthquakes hit the Qinghai Province of Tibet. Since the disaster, the death toll continues to rise; official state figures are: 2,039 Tibetans dead, more than 12,000 injured, and at least 100,000 left homeless in bone-chilling temperatures. The American Himalayan Foundation is acting to respond to this tragedy. To learn more and to learn how you can help, click here .

Oh Eun-Sun could be the first woman to climb all 14 8,000 meter peaks.

--A South Korean climber high in the Nepal Himalayas is closing in on becoming the first woman to scale the world's 14 highest peaks, ahead of two European competitors. Oh Eun-Sun, 44, hopes to make her final push to the summit of Annapurna this weekend, braving the avalanches and ice falls that have claimed the lives of dozens of climbers on the mountain. If she succeeds, she will make mountaineering history, becoming the first woman to have stood on the top of every mountain over 8,000 metres (26,000 feet). To read more, click here .

--India's Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Home Affairs has just approved a proposal to pen 104 previously restricted peaks in the Jammu and Kashmir regions. This move will allow access to this long untrammeled mountains this summer. To read more, click here .

Twenty Nepali climbers are setting off to Mount Everest this week to try and remove decades-old garbage from the mountain in the world's highest ever clean-up campaign, organizers said Monday. Many foreign and Nepali climbers have cleaned Mount Everest in the past but Namgyal Sherpa, leader of the Extreme Everest Expedition 2010, said no one had dared to clean above 8,000 meters (26,246 feet), an area known as the "death zone" for the lack of oxygen and treacherous terrain. To read more, click here .

Notes from All Over:

--While we normally don't report on single pitch adventures and who's who in the sport climbing world, this story caught our eye. Tito Traversa recently sent a 5.13b sport route in Italy. That in itself isn't amazing. Lots of people are climbing at that grade these days. What's amazing is that Tito is only eight years old! To read more, click here .

--Glacier National Park authorities said Tuesday that they have finished their investigation into the death of snowboarder Brian Wright, 37, who died during an avalanche in the park March 31. The report states that while the exact details remain uncertain because Wright was snowboarding alone, evidence shows he was able to walk out of the avalanche field but then collapsed. The report said blood was found in a grove of saplings, indicating that he likely hit a tree. To read more, click here .
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