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Climbing News from Here and Abroad -- September 24, 2009

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:11pm

Former Mount Rainier Head Ranger Mike Gauthier

--You know you've become famous when they're talking about you on the Senate Floor. Former Mt. Rainier head climbing ranger Mike Gauthier's name came up when talking about this year's wildfires. While the following transcript isn't that cool, the fact that Mike's name is in it is. To read the transcript, click here. To see Mike's correspondence with the climbing community about it, click here.

--This weekend will be the annual Cascade Climbers Fall Rope-Up. is the popular climbing website for the Pacific Northwest. Those who are interested in attending this weekend's event in Leavenworth should click here to learn more.

--The sixth issue of the Northwest Mountaineering Journal was recently released online. The feature story in the journal was written by AAI Guide Alan Kearney and details his 35 year obsession with the McMillian Spires. To view the journal, click here.


--Troy Kellenberger isn't your ordinary Yosemite hiker. Last Saturday, the 19-year-old Fresno City College student hiked to the top of Half Dome, El Capitan and Glacier Point -- all in one day. There's a reason this butt-kicker of a hike -- called the Yosemite Triple Crown -- is seldom done. It's 43 miles long and requires 24,000 feet of elevation change (12,000 going up, 12,000 down). Most amazingly, Kellenberger finished the linkup in 14 hours, 53 minutes. To read more, click here.

The Mojave Desert:

--A man claiming that he was paying tribute to dead golfers tossed up to 3,000 golf balls into the biggest sand trap he could find -- Joshua Tree National Park. But where 57-year old Douglas Jones saw commemoration, park rangers saw wholesale littering. He now faces possible jail time and other sanctions. To read more, click here.


--A 39-year-old Canadian backpacker who fractured his spine and arm in a 20-foot fall in Denali National Park set a stand of trees on fire after deciding it was his only hope for rescue. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A climber who fell 15 feet from a rock formation near Boulder Falls on Thursday morning died en route to a Denver-area hospital, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office said. A Colorado Department of Transportation worker found the fallen climber around 11:30 a.m. at the 34-mile marker of Boulder Canyon at the Cob Rock formation, authorities said. To read more, click here.

--Rock and Ice magazine puts it best, "the most difficult mountain on Earth now sports a ski run." Yes, that's right, Dave Watson recently became the first person in history to ski down K2. Due to the weather, Watson was unable to ski from the summit, but did make a challenging descent from the bottleneck. To read more, click here.

The Terrifying North Face of the Eiger

--Robert Jasper and Roger Schäli completed the first free ascent of the Japanese Direct on the north face of the Eiger this summer. This line required the team to climb up to 5.13b and M5. To read more, click here.

--Brett Nelson and Phil Gruber recently completed a new free line up the Diamond on Colorado's most well known piece of rock, Longs Peak. Their line link clocked in at 5.12 with six pitches that required climbing of 5.11 or harder at altitude. To read more, click here.

--Landon Wiedenmann and Paul Rachele recently completed a difficult new mixed rock and ice climb on the North Face of the Enclosure on the Grand Teton. The new route is a four pitch variation on the Visionquest Couloir. To read more, click here.

--Visits to National Parks are on track to hit 280 million for only the third time since 1989. Visitation to 360 sites managed by the National Park System hit 207 million for the first eight months of the yar, putting the 280 million mark within reach. To read more, click here.
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