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Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 7/22/10

Posted Jul 22 2010 6:00am

--An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death for a missing hiker whose body was found off a trail near Windy Pass in the Leavenworth area. Chelan County Sheriff Mike Harum says the body of Mark Swenson was found by a hiker Saturday at the 7,000-foot level of a trail that leads to Mount Cashmere in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Harum told The Wenatchee World it appears he was cutting across country, rather than staying on the trail. There was no indication of a fall or other injury. To read more, click here .

--Late last week, the Access Fund announced that the Washington Climbers Coalition has paid back its loan to the Access Fund for the option agreement on Lower Index Town Wall. The loan was administered under the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign. In the spring of 2009, the Access Fund loaned the WCC $15,000 to secure an 18-month option agreement to protect the Lower Index Town Wall and surrounding crags from a quarrying operation. The option agreement protected the area while the WCC worked to raise the $300,000 needed to purchase and steward the 20-acre tract of land. To read more, click here .


--Alex Honnold and Sean Leary made a massive Yosemite link-up last week. The pair linked three Grade VI routes on Yosemite's El Capitan in a single day: The Nose, Salathe Wall and Lurking Fear. To read more, click here .

--Mark Huddon makes a plea for all big wall climbers in Yosemite to carry down not only their solid human waste, but their liquid waste as well. To read the post, click here .

--Yosemite National Park announces the first mobile application is available for visitors to use on their iPhone. The application will feature the hike to Lower Yosemite Fall, offering multiple locations in which visitors can stop and learn about the surrounding environment. The iPhone / iTouch application features a Global Positioning System (GPS) map which highlights the visitors' location as they walk to Lower Yosemite Fall. The application highlights 22 points of interest with stories of wildlife, the environment, John Muir, floods, fires, and forests. In addition, the application will allow visitors to easily locate the nearest restroom, visitor center, museum, and shuttle bus stops. To read more, click here .

Desert Southwest:

-- Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent Curt Sauer has annnounced his retirement after 35 years of federal service. He’ll hang up his flat Thursday, Sept. 30. In his seven years in Joshua Tree, Sauer prioritized creating positive relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships with the park’s gateway communities, according to a park press release. During his park service career, Sauer served as chief ranger at Olympic National Park, manager for the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, which is part of North Cascades National Park, park ranger at Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain national parks, as well as seasonal positions with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. To read more, click here .

--A section of a Lake Elsinore road in California's Riverside County was closed for about 40 minutes Sunday after a hiker found a small destructive device in a wash below an overpass, said Sgt. John Kaiser. No one was injured during the incident. To read more, click here .

--An article on an Arizona television station website asks the question, "should there be a stupid hiker law?" While not heavily reported here, there have been a number of hiker rescues in the Southwest this summer. And we ask the same questions that we always ask... How would you apply such a law and who would oversee it? Unfortunately bureaucrats have little knowledge of outdoor travel and sports, so some groups (like climbers) would be unfairly discriminated against. To read the article click here .


--Wolves likely killed a teacher jogging alone along a rural Alaska village road, public safety officials said Thursday. The Alaska State Medical Examiner listed "multiple injuries due to animal mauling" as the cause of death for Candice Berner, 32, a special education teacher from Pennsylvania who began working in Alaska in August. Her body was found off the road a mile outside the village of Chignik Lake on the Alaska Peninsula, which is about 474 miles southwest of Anchorage. To read more, click here .

--Early this week we received an unusual call from a reporter at Reuters. It appears that the former Alaskan Governor and former Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin tweeted that she was going to climb Sweet Tooth on Denali in the Alaska Range. Of course, there is no Sweet Tooth. There is a Sugar Tooth, and on Sugar Tooth, there is a feature called the Sweet Tooth Gendarme, but the route is Grade V, 5.10+, A2. And the Sugar Tooth is not on Denali, it is in the Ruth Gorge. In any case, we have no idea what she was actually trying to climb. To see some comments about this, check out the supertopo thread , the thread or this article at The Mudflats .

--French climbers Sebastien Bohin, Sebastien Moatti, Emmanuel Pellissier, and Sebastien Ratel recently completed a new route on Augusta (14,071') on the Canadian side of the Saint Elias Range. The team's ascent on the mountain was the first recorded in two decades. To read more, click here .


--Mountaineer Petar Unzhiev from Bulgaria has passed away at camp 2 while attempting the second highest mountain in the world, K2. According to The Sofia Echo Petar Unzhiev was climbing with Romanian climber, George Dijmarescu. They reached Camp 2 on the mountain at 6700 metres, where they spent the night in a tent. The following morning the Romanian had descended to Base Camp as part of an acclimatisation routine, but the Bulgarian had remained high in Camp Two, and is thought to have passed away from altitude sickness. To read more, click here .

--Bonita Norris, who recently became the youngest British woman to climb Everest, launched the new Nissan Juke this morning. Juke rolls off the production line at the Sunderland factory in September and is set to safeguard over British 1,000 jobs. With three months still remaining, Juke has already received over 15,000 pre-orders across Europe exceeding Nissan's expectations. To read more, click here . To watch a video about Bonita's work in the ad campaign, please click here .

Notes from All Over:

--Authorities have identified the New Jersey man who fell to his death Saturday afternoon while hiking on Mount Washington. Christopher Baillie, 24, of Forked River, N.J., was hiking with four friends on theTuckerman Ravine Trail when Baillie went off the trail to the top of a waterfall and then slipped on the rocks and was washed over the headwall, falling about 100 to 200 feet to his death. To read more, click here .

--A 17-year-old boy vacationing with his Pennsylvania family who fell to his death while hiking on the Coastal Trail near the Muir Beach Overlook Monday may have been distracted by his cell phone, according to a report. The boy fell 400 to 500 feet from the trail three-quarters of a mile south of Muir Beach around 1 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene about an hour later, Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said. According to authorities, there are indications the teen may have been either talking or texting on his cell phone and unwittingly walked over the edge of a cliff. To read more, click here .

--A 27-year-old man who seriously injured his ankles in a 20-foot fall on a technical climb on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park was identified Sunday as William Esposito, of Boulder, according to Kyle Patterson, park public information officer. The accident occurred at 2:23 p.m. Saturday on Stettner’s Ledges near Mills Glacier on the 14,259-foot peak, Patterson said in a news release. To read more, click here .

--After twenty years of being a workhorse in the climbing world, Petzl is releasing a new version of the GriGri: The GriGri 2! To read about it, click here . Check out the promo video below

--An American heart transplant recipient who climbs mountains to demonstrate the power of organ donation has been turned back by frigid weather and loose rocks while attempting to summit Africa's second-highest peak. Kelly Perkins, 48, had hoped to climb Mt. Kenya's tallest peak — Batian, at 17,057 feet (5199 meters) — but the six-person team Perkins was climbing with turned back after passing 16,000 feet (4,877 meters). To read more, click here .

--Former President Bill Clinton has a few things he wants to do before he dies. "I'd like to climb Kilimanjaro before the snows melt, I'd like to run a marathon before I give out, there's lots of things I'd like to do," Mr. Clinton said Monday in Vienna, where he was speaking at the 18th International AIDS Conference. Clinton's own bucket list isn't only limited by his mortality: Studies suggest the snow will melt on Tanzania's Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, in the next two decades as a result of climate change.To read more, click here .

--A 22-year-old man has been sentenced to serve six months in jail for blowing up an outhouse at a federal recreation area north of Gillette, Wyoming. Friday’s sentence comes more than two months after David Everett Smith pleaded guilty to a felony charge of property destruction. Smith was one of four men charged with destroying an outhouse last summer in the Weston Hills recreation area about 25 miles north of Gillette. Prosecutors say the men used an oxygen tank, acetylene, fire extinguishers and several Molotov cocktails to cause the explosion. To read more, click here .

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