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Climbing News from Here and Abroad -- October 22, 2009

Posted Oct 22 2009 10:04pm

--Preliminary autopsy findings in the death of a Portland teen at a Central Oregon wilderness camp may lead to criminal charges for staff members. Sergey Blashchishen, a 16-year-old Portland boy, died hiking in Central Oregon late last summer. According to his mother, Sergey was at the Sage Walk Wilderness Camp to "get his life back on track after dropping out of school." To read more, click here.

--Four unprepared hikers were safely escorted off the Pacific Crest Trail early on Monday morning after becoming lost, Kittitas County sheriff’s officials said. The King County Sheriff’s Office received the first report that the group was in distress and relayed the information to Kittitas County about 8 p.m. Sunday, Undersheriff Clay Myers said. The group was stranded on the trail in the area of Mirror Lake, in the western area of Kittitas County just east of the King County border, Myers said. To read more, click here.

A Climber on the Stellar Backbone Ridge (IV, 5.9) on Dragontail Peak
The Enchantment Area may soon go well beyond peaks like Dragontail to include Mount Stuart and Ingalls Peak.

--The USFS is currently to expand the Enchantment permit area to include the Ingalls Lake, Headlight Basin, and Mt. Stuart areas. The soonest this could be implemented would be 2010. These areas sustain high use levels, in excess of what the fragile subalpine plant communities can support. A NEPA (legal) decision was made in 1993 to limit entry to these areas, but we have stalled implementing this decision for a variety of reasons. If implemented, the Cle Elum Ranger Station would likely assist us with issuing daily permits and serving as a venue for hikers to pick up their permits. To read more, click here.


--After enjoying an early opener, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area has closed. Mammoth Mountain opened last Friday with a day of free skiing and snowboarding, and remained open for the weekend. However, Mammoth issued a press release Sunday afternoon stating the mountain would be closed starting Monday. To read more, click here.

--Park Officials say that the three backpackers missing in Kings Canyon National Park have been found alive. The three men from Southern California were due back from a 65 mile backpack trip in Sierra on Monday but did not return. A search effort started, soon after but recent storm hampered the search effort. To read more, click here.

--The wet and wild storm that blew through the Eastern Sierra last week, unexpectedly opened the ski area for a few days, but also ended up stranding two backpackers in the local mountains. Mono Sheriff Officials report that Search and Rescue Team was called out on Friday October 16, for a report of two backpackers stranded in Red’s Meadow. The two men from Louis, California, 36-year-old Kevin Garbi and 46-year-old Randall Dennis had started their trip at Lake Mary, but had been stuck out when the storm hit. To read more, click here.


--Friends dubbed him “Super Dan.” Pilot Daniel McGregor, 35, lived up to that nickname Friday when he crawled out of the fiery wreckage of his crashed airplane and walked 20 miles through the wilderness of Denali National Park to reach help. The crash, on a mountainside near the Toklat River, about seven miles from the park road, claimed the life of wolf biologist Gordon Haber. Initial reports stated McGregor also died in the crash. To read more, click here.


--It's been a tough Fall in the Himalaya. Italian climber and mountain guide Roby Piantoni, 32, fell to his death on Shishapangma (26,289') in Tibet. The climber fell over a thousand feet during a summit push early in the morning on Wednesday. To read more, click here.

--Spain's Edurne Pasaban said Wednesday she has abandoned a bid to climb the Shishapangma mountain, throwing into doubt her attempt to become the first woman to scale all 14 of the world's peaks above 8,000 metres (26,240 feet). She had planned to climb the 8,046-metre Shisha Pangma this year, her 13th 'eight-thousander', and then Annapurna in Nepal in the spring of 2010. To read more, click here.

Photo from Wikipedia

--Edyrne's Pasaban's main rival was also shut down. Mountaineer Oh Eun-sun burst into tears before a llama’s altar after delaying her plan to scale the Himalayan peak of Annapurna due to bad weather. She seeks to become the first woman to conquer the world’s 14 highest peaks. After giving thanks for her safe descent and pledging to return next year, she expressed frustration but said she has no regrets. To read more, click here.

--Marko Prezelj, Rok Blagus and Luka Lindic climbed three new routes in the Bhagirathi group of the Garhwal Himalaya, India. Prezelj and friends made camp in the area for the better part of a month, but climbed most of their routes late in September. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Authorities in central Pennsylvania say a missing hiker was found alive along a trail but died before he could be carried to safety. Authorities said 64-year-old David Bone of Mechanicsburg went hiking Tuesday in Bald Eagle State Forest in western Synder County. When he did not return, about 50 people began searching that night in temperatures close to freezing. To read more, click here.

--Prolific desert climber, Kyle Copeland, 50, died in Salt Lake City on October 3 after a twenty-year battle with Crohn's Disease. Copeland was responsible for dozens of first ascents in places like Boulder Canyon, Eldorado Canyon, Longs Peak, South Platte, Nevada's Wild Granites, Arches National Park, Zion National Park and the greater Moab, Utah area. To read more, click here and here.

-- David Leon Waggoner, owner and manager of Colorado Custom Hardware of Laramie, died peacefully on the evening of Oct. 7, 2009, at his home in Laramie after a brief illness. He was 53 years old. Waggoner is best known as the innovator who invented the Alien camming device. To read more, click here.

--A group of climbers has been criticised after they abandoned a wheelchair-bound friend halfway up Mount Snowdon. Six martial arts experts were on a sponsored charity climb up the peak in North Wales, carrying the man in his wheelchair. But before they reached the summit they found it too difficult to keep carrying him and decided to carry on up the mountain without the 31-year-old man, leaving him sitting alone on the path. By the time they came back down for him they were too tired to resume the wheelchair lift and had to call out rescuers. He was helped to safety by a mountain rescue team and was found to be suffering from mild exposure. To read more, click here.

--A one-handed Scots action hero who scales the world's most daring climbs without safety ropes is to star in a film. Despite been born with most of his left hand missing, daredevil Kevin Shields has made an extraordinary series of impressive and bold ascents. Single-Handed, by director Paul Diffley, follows Kevin on terrifying solo climbs. Kevin, 30, from Fort William, Inverness-shire, only has a thumb on his left hand. To read more, click here.

--The ripest recipe for trouble in a national park? Young men hiking on a weekend who make a bad decision or two and end up hurt, exhausted or lost. On average, 11 search-and-rescue operations are launched in national parks every day. While expenses average around $900, the price can easily jump into the thousands of dollars, according to a new analysis of search-and-rescue operations over 15 years. Travis Heggie, an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota who headed up the study, also found that roughly 20 percent of the people who called for help likely would have died if they had not been rescued. To read more, click here.

--Alain Robert, the French “Spiderman,” recently found a perfect crack system on the 499 foot Tour Ariana, a defense building in Paris, France. Obviously, the cops were waiting at the top for him again. To read more, click here.

--Scott Semple asks, is climbing sponsorship a sin? And he makes a pretty strong argument that it is here. To read what the climbing community thinks about this, click here.

Redpoint Autobelay Device

--Climbing wall owners and operators of climbing towers are being warned to stop using a belay device. The Redpoint and Auto-Belay descenders allow a controlled lower without a belayer operating the rope from the ground. But two climbers have been injured recently when the Redpoint device allowed a rapid descent. To read more, click here.
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