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Climbing News from Here and Abroad -- November 5, 2009

Posted Nov 05 2009 10:02pm

--Julian Lopez, 43, of Santa Rosa, Calif., was airlifted off of Mount Shasta early Sunday morning after falling approximately 1,500 feet down the mountain, a Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office news release stated. To read more, click here.

--The Snohomish County sheriff's office said Wednesday a Seattle man remains missing near Darrington. Searchers have been looking for 59-year-old Gregory Keller since Tuesday when his girlfriend reported he had failed to return Monday from a hiking trip that began Oct. 27. To read more, click here and here.


--A search dog team found the body of Kenneth Wade Brunette, 73, on the eastern slope of Mt. Whitney on Saturday afternoon. Brunette -- who was from Hansville, Washington -- had been missing since Sunday, when he was seen on the trail to the mountain -- at 14,505 feet the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. To read more, click here.

-- BBC News is highlighting how decreased snowpack and increased lightning strikes are going to cause wildfire flare ups in Yosemite National Park. According to research published in the International Journal of Wildland Fire, Yosemite is likely to see about a 20% increase in both the number of fires and the area of land which burns at high intensity, from 2020-2049. To read more, click here.


--Nanga Parbat hasn't seen that many ascents. The ninth tallest peak in the world is a dangerous mountain. So why climb it if you can fly to the top? Ramón Morillas and Thomas de Dorlodot of Spain and Belgium have set the world record for the highest-altitude paragliding flight at 25,590 feet near the summit of the peak. To read more, click here.

--Frenchmen, Yannick Graziani and Christian Trommsdorff, successfully climbed the south spur of Nemjung (23,425') from October 11-15. The pair decided to attempt the peak after they were shut down on Mansalu. To read more, click here.

--Samuel Anthamatten, Michael Lerjen, and Simon Anthamatten recently completed an alpine-style first ascent of the south face of Jasemba (24,114') in Nepal. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A teenage skier was buried up to his neck but survived a weekend avalanche near Copper Mountain in Colorado. The Eagle County resident was skiing with two friends Saturday on the northeast side of Bartlett Peak between Copper Mountain and Leadville. His friends said he made five or six turns before an avalanche broke about 50 feet above him. He was buried up to his neck, but his friends dug him out and called for rescue. To read more, click here.

--The UIAA General Assembly on October 10 approved a code to serve as a beacon of mountaineering values, spelling out ethics of sportsmanship, respect for cultures and care for the environment. The assembly named the document the UIAA Mountain Ethics Declaration. The governing body met for its annual gathering from October 8 to 11 in Porto, Portugal. To read more, click here.

--Two men and their teenage sons recently tackled one of the world's most unforgiving summertime hikes: the Grand Canyon's parched and searing Royal Arch Loop. Along with bedrolls and freeze-dried food, the inexperienced backpackers carried a personal locator beacon — just in case. In the span of three days, the group pushed the panic button three times, mobilizing helicopters for dangerous, lifesaving rescues inside the Arizona canyon's steep walls. To read more, click here.

--Disturbed by recent accidents caused by fixed anchors that failed, the UIAA is warning climbers to be extremely vigiliant in checking for corrosion on anchors in tropical, marine environments. Early results from a study prompted by the accidents are startling. Among fixed anchors in tropical, marine locales examined for far, 10 to 20 percent would fail with a force of 1 to 5 KN applied. The UIAA standard for fixed anchors is a minimum of 22 KN (1 kN is the weight of a mass of 100 kg). To read more, click here.

--The snows of Kilimanjaro may soon be gone. The African mountain's white peak – made famous by writer Ernest Hemingway – is rapidly melting, researchers report. Some 85 percent of the ice that made up the mountaintop glaciers in 1912 was gone by 2007, researchers led by paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And more than a quarter of the ice present in 2000 was gone by 2007. To read more, click here.

--Two different teams developed two different "extreme" Grade VI aid routes on Zion's infamous Streaked Wall. The routes, Lord Helmet (VI 5.9 A4) and Wet Stone Wall (VI 5.10 A4), join a paltry four other routes on the massive piece of stone. The low number of routes on the wall is a testament of how difficult and inaccessible the wall is. To read more, click here.

--Mountain climbing is their passion, but land conservation and climbing preservation and advocacy are their missions. The Western Mass Climber's Coalition, a 400-member strong nonprofit group, works with private land owners and other entities to ensure access to Western Massachusetts' limited climbing resources while protecting properties from development. "Our job is to build a sense of community and get people invested in the resources that are local to them," said Jeffrey D. Squire, of South Hadley, president of the Western Mass Climber's Coalition. To read more, click here.

-- Stranded with a sprained ankle on a snow-covered mountain, Eagle Scout Scott Mason put his survival skills to work by sleeping in the crevice of a boulder and jump-starting evergreen fires with hand sanitizer gel. New Hampshire officials praised his resourcefulness. So grateful was he for his rescuers that Mason, 17, sent $1,000 to the state. Sometime later, New Hampshire sent him a bill: $25,734.65 for the cost of rescuing him. New Hampshire is one of eight states with laws allowing billing for rescue costs, but only New Hampshire has made frequent attempts to do so — even strengthening its law last year to allow the suspension of hiking, fishing and driver's licenses of those who don't pay, according to an Associated Press review. To read more, click here.

--It used to be that whent he snow turned to slush and the last lift shut down for the season, ski areas emptied out and were quiet for the summer. Ski areas have increasingly stepped away from that outdated model and are now pursuing a bill in Congress that would allow for additional year round activities within their boundaries. The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2009 would clarify the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to allow additional recreation uses and related facilities on National Forest lands in an effort to permit year-round recreation opportunities at ski resorts. To read more, click here.

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