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Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 6/24/10

Posted Jun 24 2010 6:00am

--Crews got the break in the weather they had been waiting for and recovered a climber's body on Mt. Hood on Thursday. Crews were able to successfully recover the body of Canadian climber, Robert Dale Wiebe on Thursday. Robert Wiebe, 58, of Langley, British Columbia fell from about the 9,500-foot level, near Coe Glacier, on Tuesday afternoon, according to detective Matt English, a spokesman for the Hood River County Sheriff's Office. To read more, click here .

--An 18-year-old Portland hiker died Monday after he fell nearly 150 feet from a Columbia River Gorge trail. Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said search and rescue crews recovered the body of Victor Anthony Powell from an area near the Angel’s Rest viewpoint. To read more, click here .

--A Mount Rainier National Park spokesman says a woman was injured Friday evening near the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise when she fell through a snow crust onto the hard surface of an electrical transformer. The unidentified woman was first described as falling into a "sinkhole" in the snow. Spokesman Kevin Bacher says heat from the transformer buried under 20 feet of snow had melted a large cavern in the snow. The woman walking on the surface broke through the "ceiling" of that cavern and fell at least 10 feet onto the hard surface of the transformer, and from there onto the ground. To read more, click here .

--Adding to a tremendously busy couple of weeks on Mt. Shasta, a man from Tacoma, Washington was rescued by helicopter this afternoon after slipping on an ice field and sliding down the mountain. Oleg Maslov, who appears to be in his mid-20’s, was reportedly with several friends who are inexperienced climbers who had no climbing equipment and no helmets, said Susan Gravenkamp, spokesperson for the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department. Maslov was wearing shorts and a t-shirt when he slipped in an ice field and slid down the mountain. It is not known at this time how far he may have fallen, Gravenkamp said. To read more, click here .

AAI Guides Forest McBrian and Erin Smart skied the South Couloir of
Colfax Peak late Last Week
. The line they skied is in red.
Photo by Erin Smart

--AAI Guides Erin Smart and Forest McBrian skied the South Couloir of Colfax Peak late last week. The pair found firm conditions and terrain that was as steep as fifty-degrees. To read about the descent, click here . To see Erin's slideshow of the descent, click here .

--A bill to create a federally protected 331,000-acre wilderness in central Idaho's Boulder and White Cloud mountains got a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing Wednesday. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican, has been working on this measure for a decade. The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' subcommittee on public lands and forests discussed the bill, along with a separate wilderness measure for South Dakota and a mining-related bill for Nevada. To read more, click here .


--In an amazing feat of stamina, Alex Honnold linked the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome (5.9, A1, VI) and the Nose on El Capitan (5.9, A2, VI) in just eight hours. To read more and to see pictures, click here .

--The thousands of mine shafts that pockmark the Sierra Nevada and testify to California's Gold Rush riches have also left a legacy of toxic contamination in some of the state's popular recreation areas, according to a new study. Soil tests on a handful of trails near mine mouths in the foothills have revealed extremely high levels of lead, arsenic and asbestos, said researchers at the Sierra Fund, a small environmental advocacy group. To read more, click here .

--With Mono County now paying a share, it appears that the Mammoth Yosemite Airport will now have true year-round air service. The return of commercial air service to the Mammoth Yosemite Airport started over two years ago, with service during the winter months. This year, Horizon Air provided air service to Mammoth during the summer, but there was a planned gap during the fall shoulder season before the winter ramps up. To read more, click here .

Desert Southwest:

--Crews battling a 10,000-acre fire that has threatened hundreds of homes were sending planes Tuesday to learn the full scope of the blaze, which choked the skies with rolling clouds of smoke and sent flames high into the air. About 10 percent of the wildfire outside Flagstaff was under control late Monday, as firefighters focused Monday on protecting endangered homes by digging trenches, clearing out dry brush and spraying them down. At the height of the fire, rolling clouds of black and gray smoke darkened the sky north of Flagstaff, and bright red and orange flames shot up more than 60 feet in the air. The smoke lingered over roadways, forcing drivers to use headlights in daylight hours. To read more, click here .


--AAI Denali Team Five will likely move up to the 17,200 foot camp today in order to prepare for their summit bid. To read the expedition dispatches, click here .

--After being repeatedly shut down, Ryan Hokanson and Sam Johnson climbed a two new routes in Alaska's Hayes Range. The first was a completely new line on Mt. Hayes (13,832') and the second was a route that fell 100 feet shy of Mt. Balchen's summit (11,142'). To read more, click here and here .

Notes from All Over:

-- Missoula investigators announced 37-year old Chris Spurgeon died from massive injuries after being caught in an avalanche. Detectives explained the snow hit him with the force of a speeding car. Search crews found Spurgeon's body Friday on Lolo Peak. Family reported him missing about 1 am Thursday. Friends describe him as an avid and well experienced back country skier. To read more, click here .

--In the first fatal mauling in 25-years, A man hiking near Yellowstone National Park on Thursday was killed by a grizzly bear. Erwin Frank Evert, 70, of Park Ridge, Ill., was reported missing by his wife, Yolanda, to a member of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team , which had been conducting research in the Kitty Creek drainage, about seven miles east of Yellowstone. To read more, click here .

--There have been three climbing accidents this week at Eldorado Canyon in Colorado, the worst of which resulted in a fatality. On Tuesday morning, Joseph Miller Jr. was killed after sustaining a fall on the Yellow Spur (5.9, III). The preceding Wednesday, a climber fell on top of his belayer and on Thursday a woman was hit by a large rock. To read more, click here .

--A Colorado woman who took a day trip to the Rocky Mountains to clear her head ended up spending 11 days in the wilderness with no food, medicine or shoes. Kelly Guzman, 45, of Denver was expected to be released from a hospital today after treatment for frostbite and hypothermia. When found by searchers Sunday in the Arapahoe National Forest, she was barefoot and wearing only shorts and a fleece top. To read more, click here .

--On May 31, 2010, Vernon Tejas completed a new world speed record of the Seven Summits, summiting the highest mountain on each of the seven continents within a 134-day period. The previous record of 136 days was set in 2008 by Danish climber Henrik Kristiansen. Following the combined Bass and Messner lists of summits, which includes Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, Tejas began his record attempt with Vinson Massif on January 18, 2010. After ascents on Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid, Kosciuszko, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Everest, Tejas reached the top of the last summit, Mt. McKinley on May 31, 2010. To read more, click here .

--It appears that Sunday was Nude Hiking Day. This day is typically observed on the first day of summer, which was June 21st. Ironically, this tends to be a big time for naked bicycling too. It's not really clear why. To read more, click here .

--Twenty-one professional climbers scaled Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on Wednesday, in the world's first climbing race on a building facade. The race was part of celebrations to mark the opening of Singapore's second integrated resort. Seven teams, with three members each, from over 10 countries will scale the walls of the three towers in the World Championship Climb to the Sands SkyPark. To read more, click here .

--Celebrated Himalayan alpinist Walter Bonatti recently celebrated his eightieth birthday with ubber Himalayan climber Reinhold Messner. To see photos of the pair, click here .
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