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Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 8/5/10

Posted Aug 05 2010 6:00am
--The American Alpine Institute awarded their prestigious Guides Choice Award to five distinct items for climbing and skiing this week at the summer Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. Each of the items that won the award went through a rigorous series of professional tests in the field. To read about the award and to see the winners, click here .

Northwest:


--Base jumping seems to be on the rise in the Pacific Northwest and unfortunately, so too are base jumping accidents. Last week we reported on a fatality on Mount Baring . And this week there has been another rescue on Mount Baring the week as well as two rescues on the Stawamus Chief in Squamish. The rash of incidents and the fact that there have been very few base jumping incidents in the past have led some to speculate on the growth of what many consider to be one of the most dangerous sports in the mountains. To read the speculation, click here .

--Motivated by mutual economic interests and the spirit of cooperation, Clallam County committed $20,000 to help keep Hurricane Ridge Road open seven days a week next winter. The three commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday allocating half of county's lodging tax reserve to a fundraising effort to generate $75,000 by Aug. 15 to match a $250,000 allocation from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The road is currently open in the winter -- from November through March -- on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and closed from Monday through Thursday except on holidays and school breaks. It is open daily throughout the spring and summer. To read more, click here .

--The news has been out for awhile that the iconic Northwest climbing destination, Index, has been saved. Following is a report from a Seattle based television station on the crag and the effort to save it

Sierra:

--Inyo County Sheriff officials report that a 63-year-old woman has died on Mt. Whitney. Carma Roper with the Sheriff’s Department says that Inyo County Search and Rescue received a call at about 2:00 am Friday regarding a fatality on Mt. Whitney. Rescuers, assisted by the China Lake Mountain Rescue Group, used a wheeled litter to carry the female victim down the Mt. Whitney trail. To read more, click here .

--Two search and rescue efforts ended well for the victims involved over the weekend in the Mt. Whitney area. Another search above North Lake continued at last word. Search and Rescue Coordinator Officer Terry Waterbury said that Saturday on Mt. Whitney a boy scout turned his head and his left arm was affected. The wilderness ranger on scene took the boy down. This happened below trail crest. To read more, click here .

Desert Southwest:

--Three women left Pahrump Thursday, July 22, expecting to take a sightseeing tour to Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley and be home in time for dinner. That was not to be. Donna Cooper, 62, Gina Cooper, 17, and a house guest visiting from Hong Kong, 19-year-old Jenny Leung, left the Cooper residence around 11 a.m., made the trip to Scotty’s Castle and seemingly disappeared. To read more, click here .

--A contentious plan to build one of the nation's largest land fills next to Joshua Tree National Park has hit another legal roadblock. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined Friday to review its panel's 2-1 decision last year rejecting a land-swap for the 4,654-acre Eagle Mountain landfill, proposed at a former ore mine site 60 miles east of Indio. To read more, click here

The Delicate Arch in Arches National Park


--Arches National Park is renowned as one the most unique and historic desert climbing venues in America. Climbers have been visiting Arches since the 1960s, before it was a national park, drawn to its unique combination of scenic beauty, remarkable landscape, and the distinctive multi-pitch desert towers that provide exhilarating summit experiences. In 2006, the park banned the use of fixed anchors after the Delicate Arch controversy and effectively banned climbing on many of the Park's historic towers. However, Arches National Park is currently developing a Climbing and Canyoneering Plan that will consider various management scenarios for climbing in Arches including fixed anchors, new routes via permit, access trails, resource protection, group sizes, and commercial guiding. For more background, see the NPS planning website and read the Access Fund’s recent scoping comments . Our hope, is that this plan will consider a process that restores unique desert climbing opportunities. To read more and to sign a petition to reinstate fixed anchors in Arches, click here .


Alaska:

--A large cargo plane crashed Sunday afternoon and burst into a deadly fireball that sparked a small wildland fire at Denali National Park, officials said. Park spokeswoman Kris Fister said late Sunday that all three people aboard were killed. The park service is not releasing the names until families can be notified. The plane was a Fairchild C-123 registered to All West Freight Inc. of Delta Junction, the Park Service said. The first responders got to the plane within minutes, but the wreckage was aflame, Fister said. To read more, click here .

Notes from All Over:

--A mother grizzly and two of her three cubs have been captured after killing a Michigan man and injuring two other people during an overnight rampage through a campground near Yellowstone National Park. The sow, estimated to weigh 300 to 400 pounds, was lured into a trap fashioned from culvert pipe covered by the dead victim's tent Wednesday evening. The bear tore down the tent again and was caught in the trap, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim. To read more, click here . It also appears that after capture, the mother bear was euthanized. To read more, click here .

--Dave Lama, the young man behind the additional bolts that were added to the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre, has spoken out. Lama defends his actions in an editorial published over the weekend. To read the editorial, click here . To read AAI guide Jason Martin's editorial about the issue, click here .

--The idyllic image of gentle mountain paths running along peaceful-looking cows pasturing in the meadows is suffering a blow in Switzerland these days as reports of threatening "killer cows" emerge. While encounters between the animals and hikers still remain largely untroubled, the occasional accident -- with an angry cow charging, hurting and sometimes killing a person -- is possible. Last month, an 80-year-old hiker died after being attacked by a bull while he was walking in a field in Neumuhle, near Bern, authorities said. To read more, click here.

--A hungry bear climbed into a car in the hope of finding food -- but ended up 'stealing' the vehicle and crashing it into a tree. The bear had got into the car, in Colorado, after being attracted by a peanut butter sandwich which had been accidentally left on the back seat. But after getting to the food, the bear became stuck and as it angrily thrashed about in a bid to get out, it knocked the car's automatic transmission into neutral. To read more, click here . And check out the video below


--A federal judge has ruled that the federal Forest Service’s plan for using fire retardant to fight wildfires violates the law because it does not ensure protections for threatened and endangered species of fish and other animals. Dropped from airplanes and helicopters, reddish clouds of retardant are often the most visible tool used to fight wildfires, particularly in rugged areas of the West. Yet chemicals in the most common retardants can hurt wildlife, particularly when they miss their mark. In some cases, large numbers of fish have been killed when retardant has been dropped into lakes and streams. To read more, click here .

--Erik Weihenmayer has become a well-known climber, in part because he was the first blind person to climb the Seven Summits. Weihenmayer was recently interviewed about an ascent that he made of Alpamayo . To read the article, please click here .

--The Swiss recently released a report of accidents that took place in their country from 2004 to 2008. To read the breakdown, click here .

--Mount Kilimanjaro
began forming in Africa's Great Rift Valley around a million years ago. George Solt, from Buckinghamshire, has not been around for quite as long as that, but at the age of 82, he has become the oldest man to climb the world's largest free-standing mountain. Mr Solt took on the challenge with his son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren, one of whom is 12 years old, in memory of his wife, Jen, who died last year. The money he raised by doing the climb will go towards Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes, where his wife spent her final days. "It's great, I can say I'm a world record holder and have done something no one else has ever done," Mr Solt said. To read more, click here .

--More and more Americans are taking their work and electronic play with them on vacation this summer. And now it's getting even easier to stay connected in some of the most far-flung areas, like the woods. The popularity of wi-fi access in campgrounds is exploding. Kathy Palmeri, who owns Jellystone Campground near Estes Park, Colo., says getting reliable wi-fi to the area posed some logistical challenges. The campground is perched on a rocky mountainside covered in trees. But she says the investment is worth it. Why? Because her customers expect it. To read more, click here .
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