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Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 6/17/10

Posted Jun 17 2010 6:00am
--The biggest news in the outdoor world this week was the terrible tragedy in Arkansas. At least twenty people were killed when a flood ravaged a campground in a remote part of the state. The flash flood hit the Albert Pike Recreation Area in the Ouachita National Forest just before dawn on Friday morning. To read more, click here and here . Following is a video that was made by a news team prior to the discovery of the twentieth body on Monday:



Northwest:


--Congratulations to John Jackson, Steve "Possum" Thompson and Tim Brockman. All three individualspassed their Single Pitch Instructor Exam this week that was administered at Mount Erie . The trio are now all American Mountain Guides Association Certified Single Pitch Instructors.

--There is a conversation going on about the addition of bolts to a somewhat old route on Supertopo.com. Tami Knight is looking for input on whether or not she should give the okay for additional bolts to be added to a traverse pitch on Milk Run (5.11d). To read more, click here .

Sierra:

--The bears in the Eastern Sierra have started to become active. Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles called the season the "longest winter in 35 years." The good news for Mammoth and its bears - plenty of natural food out there. Searles said that as the front country opens up, it provides lots of natural grasses for the bears to break their 6-month sleep. As the snow recedes, he said, the bears mow down the heavy grasses for about 8 weeks. Searles said there is huge potential for natural food for bears through the summer. To read more, click here .

Yosemite National Park

--In January the Access Fund asked for your help to write Yosemite National Park urging them to protect and enhance climbing opportunities in the latest Merced River Plan (MRP), which looked like it could limit public access to climbing and camping in Yosemite Valley depending on how the Park prepares its user capacity program. Climbs in the planning area include The Rostrum, Cookie Cliff, and Middle Cathedral Rock (everything ¼ mile on either side of the river). This plan will also affect all travel through the management area to locations just outside the river corridor, which brings into play all climbing in Yosemite Valley including El Capitan and even Half Dome. To read more, click here .

--Local off road enthusiasts are working on a plan that would help visitors enjoy the Owens Valley and surrounding areas by quad, rhino, or jeep. The plan is to map out routes that visitors can use to link campgrounds to dirt roads and trails into popular areas like Coyote Flat and the Alabama Hills. With a mapped out, interconnected system of routes, visitors could drive their quads from the south end of the Owens Valley to the Bishop area, taking a few days to camp, fish, and enjoy the scenery along the way. The idea is also to find a way to allow people on quads and rhinos to legally drive into the Owens Valley towns to get gas and food. The problem with this part of the plan is that it’s not currently legal to drive vehicles like quads and rhinos into towns. To read more, click here .

Desert Southwest:

--The National Park Service is currently planning on banning bolts and removing all fixed anchors from Christmas Tree Pass. We have reported on this issue in the past, but the implications of this move are starting to reverberate through the climbing community. To read more, click here .

--A group of rangers has been involved in an effort to reclaim dark skies in national parks, still some of the best star-gazing sites left in the country. They are using research-grade digital cameras to chronicle the loss of dark skies at the parks, which are affected by light from cities more than 200 miles away. Of 38 parks and monuments the group has surveyed, the light dome extending from Las Vegas alone reaches eight of them, including Joshua Tree, Death Valley and the Mojave National Preserve. It radiates as far as Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. To read more, click here .

Alaska:

--The acclaimed GiriGiri boys from Japan are at it again. Ryo Masumoto, Takaai Nagato and Kazuaki Amano had an excellent spring in the Ruth Gorge. The trio completed two new routes in the range and also repeated two additional hard lines. The new lines were respectively on Peak 7,400 and on Mount Church. To read more, click here and here .

Himalaya:

--Less than a month after American boy wonder Jordan Romero made mountaineering history by becoming the youngest climber in the world to summit Mt Everest, the highest point on earth, it is now certain that no one else will be able to beat the record with China announcing a curb on kid climbers from autumn. The China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA), the regulates climbing activities in Tibet – which shares Mt Everest with Nepal – issued new regulations Thursday, informing climbing agencies in Kathmandu that there will be an age bar on Mt Everest. In a surprising decision, CTMA said climbers applying for a permit to attempt the 29,028 foot peak – and any other Himalayan ranges from the north or Tibet — would have to be at least 18. To read more, click here .

Notes from All Over:

--A Virginia woman who fell while rock climbing in the New River Gorge Saturday has died, authorities said. Karen Feher, 33, of Midlothian, Va., was taken to Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill, where she was pronounced dead, said Chuck Noll, acting chief ranger for the New River Gorge National River. To read more, click here .

--A woman running near the Glacier Creek Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park was attacked Saturday evening when she stopped to take a break. The attack happened about a half-mile from the popular Glacier Basin campground on the east side of the park.The 20-year-old woman told rangers she was attacked from behind by a white man wearing a black windbreaker. She said the man was 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 9 inches with a fit build.Park officials said the woman fought off the attacker, then ran down the trail to call for help. To read more, click here .

--Google Earth has recently released a version which they dub 5.2. It was designed specifically for outdoor enthusiasts and has a number of features that make it easier for people to map out their trips. To read more, click here .
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