Friday, December 9, 2016

The Most Dangerous Go Pro Footage Ever Shot!!!!!

It's pretty common for us to post videos of extreme ski lines. But I have to say that this is the most extreme ski line anyone has ever seen anywhere.

Put on your seatbelts, because things are about to get very very real...

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/8/16


--Washington-based climber Craig Gorder was seriously injured in a climbing accident on November 15th in Indian Creek. There is currently a Go-Fund-Me site up to help him pay for his recovery and the medivac flight that saved his life. To read more, click here.

An instructor demonstrates an avalanche snow pit in the Baker Backcountry.

--The Baker Beacon Rally will take place on December 17th at Mt. Baker Ski Area. This is a free community avalanche education event. AAI will be providing clinics at the event. To read more, click here.


--The Reno Gazette Journal is reporting that, "California’s winter resorts have more safety measures in place than they did five years ago, but just barely. That’s according to the California Mountain Resort 2016 Safety Survey. The report, published by the SnowSport Safety Foundation, surveyed safety measures at 19 ski and snowboard resorts, including many in the Lake Tahoe area." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--There is significant fear amongst conservationists that the incoming Trump Administration will revoke President Obama's recent creation of National Monuments. To read more, click here.

--Red Rock Rendezvous will take place from March 24 to 27. This is the premire climbing event of the year. Early registration is now open. Early registration allows you to save money and while also providing you with better clinic options than when you register closer to Rendezvous! To register for the event, click here.


--Aspen Public Radio is reporting that there were five human triggered avalanches this week. To read more, click here.

--The San Juan Independent recently published an extensive article on the history and the problems that exist within the Ouray Ice Park. If this is a place you enjoy, this is an excellent piece of reporting that gives real insight into the area. To read the article, click here.

--The UIAA is running part of the Ice Climbing World Cup Series in Durango. But they're short on funds. Check out the GoFundMe site for more info.

Notes from All Over:

--There have been three accidents/close calls in the Canadian Rockies this year. A pair or climbers at the base of Kidd Falls (WI 4) were almost swept away in an avalanche. A climber on Kemosabe (WI 4) took a lead fall, pulled two screws and had to be helicoptered out. And a climber was caught at the base of Gimme Shelter (WI 6) on Mt. Quadra. To read more, click here.

--Here's an interesting article about ski resorts, global warming and sustainability...

--Leave No Trace is hiring its Subaru Traveling Trainers. To see the job listing, click here.

--And finally, the internet is known to be a cesspool of cat videos. I'm not really sure why. But the following cat video, of a cat rock climbing, has been making the rounds lately...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Job Information Session, Rocky Mountain National Park

AAI just received this notification from Rocky Mountain National Park:

Rocky Mountain National Park News Release 

December 5, 2016
For Immediate Release
Kyle Patterson 970-586-1363 

Job Information Session For Rocky Mountain National Park 

Rocky Mountain National Park will be hosting a Job Information Session on Tuesday, December 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Come learn about the job application process for Rocky Mountain National Park and how to apply online for specific jobs at the park. Information will also be available regarding park volunteer opportunities as well as fellowship positions with Rocky Mountain Conservancy.

Beginning December 13, through December 19, the park is accepting online applications for work in campgrounds and entrance stations for this summer. In the upcoming months, online applications will be accepted for custodial worker, park guides, and general maintenance workers. All job announcements for Rocky Mountain National Park are posted on 

For further information about Rocky Mountain National Park please visit or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cheap Gifts for Climbers

My sister-in-law recently asked me what I wanted for Christmas. As usual, I had no idea what I wanted. So I poked around the internet to look for articles on gifts for climbers. The problem is that a lot of the lists included expensive outerwear or equipment. It also required the buyer to understand something about climbing. That said, there was one list I liked. I thought the Mojo Gear list was pretty good. But other than that...

So here are some things that climbers might like that mostly won't break the bank.

Battery Packs ($20-$50) and/or Solar Panels ($90+)

One of the biggest problems with being in the backcountry is the ability to recharge your devices. You should never plug a device directly into a solar panel. This will drain the device unless you have perfect light. Instead, you should consider charging a battery pack (sometimes called  a battery bank). Then charge your device from this.

A battery pack alone might be enough to get you through a day or two. A solar panel might not even be necessary.

Goal Zero has several battery pack and solar panel options available. Check them out, here.

Chalk Bags ($10-$30) and Chalk ($2-$15)

Last year my mother bought me a chalk bag and chalk. She doesn't really understand what I do or why. And my chalk bag was absolutely falling apart. This was one of the best gifts ever. I was super psyched that my mother was supporting my climbing and it was also something that I really needed that I didn't want to buy for myself.

Chalk bags come in all types. You can get cool kitschy bags, and you can get plain jane bags. If you poke around on the net, you will find every kind you can imagine.

Skin Salve ($6-$20)

Skin Salve is one of those things that a lot of climbers don't buy, but they need. It's especially useful when people go on climbing trips where there is an intensive amount of climbing over a short period of time.

The are lots of salves available. These include brands like Giddy,  Joshua Tree Healing Salve, Burt's Bees and Metolius.

Kitschy Climbing Shirts ($15-$30)

There are a lot of funny climbing shirts out there. Cafe Press usually has a handful that are fun. Look Human has some good ones. And of course, there's always Etsy.

Harness Knife ($20-$40)

Multi-pitch climbers generally carry a knife to cut cord and webbing for rappels, but there are only a few out there that are climber specific. The Petzl Spatha is a great knife with a carabiner hole. The Trango Shark Nut tool is both a nut tool and a knife. And the Trango Piranha Climbing Knife is a nice compact knife for a climber.

Hot and Cold Water Bottle/Thermos ($15-$50)

A wide-mouth water bottle that also acts as a hot and cold thermos is an awesome gift. Hydroflask provides the most popular model right now, but there are a lot of others out there.

Subscription to a Climbing Magazine ($30-$60)

There are four major magazines that climbers read in North America. They are Alpinist, Climbing, Rock and Ice and Gripped. Alpinist is probably the best magazine for the alpine climber. Climbing and Rock and Ice are very similar to one another and cover everything from bouldering to big wall climbing. And Gripped is a Canadian oriented magazine.

Membership to Access Fund or American Alpine Club ($35-$75)

The Access Fund is an organization that lobbies for climbers. Their primary mission is to keep public lands open for climbing. This is an excellent organization to support.

The American Alpine Club lobbies for climbers, but also supports them in other ways. They provide two yearly publications: The American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering. They also provide rescue insurance, lodging discounts in certain climbing areas, and grants for climbers.

Gift Card for the American Alpine Institute ($100-Whatever)

If you're reading this blog, you probably already know that the American Alpine Institute is a climbing school and guide service that operates in six states and sixteen countries. The organization's mission is to provide world class mountain education, exceptional guided experiences and to inspire natural preservation. We have programs for all levels of climber's and skiers, from rank beginners to extremely advanced... We know that this doesn't exactly count as a "cheap gift for a climber," but it is -- without a doubt -- the best gift on this list... Check us out!

--Jason D. Martin

Monday, December 5, 2016

Emergency Rescue Sleds

In the backcountry there is no ski patrol. This means that there is nobody managing avalanches and this means that there is nobody to immediately rescue you if you get injured. That means that you have to manage these things yourself. The best way to do this is to take an avalanche course and to carry a rescue sled.

A rescue sled is a lightweight system that may be employed by a backcountry skier to haul out an injured partner.

Brooks Range Ultralight Rescue Sled

There is an argument out there that people aren't going to carry the extra weight of a commercial rescue sled. As I ski with ski guides a lot, I feel like this is absolutely not the case. There is nearly always someone in my ski parties with such a sled.

There are some very light systems that can be used to build rescue sleds. Some brands of shovels may be used to convert a patient's ski system into a rescue sled as well. Check out the following video from K2 on one such system.

As with all the other rescue systems that we cover in this blog, it is important to note that practice makes perfect. Every backcountry skier should practice with their avalanche beacon every year. It's not a bad idea to practice with your rescue sled system at the same time.

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, December 2, 2016

Charity Group Raises Funds on AAI Ecuador Trip

Three climbers on our December 2nd Ecuador expedition are using their trip to raise funds for clearing landmines in Angola. Mike Schipper, Deli Ford and Andrew Ford will be climbing Cayambe, Antisana, and Chimborazo, making South America their third continent in five years to climb in for fundraising efforts. They collectively raised $5,300 on previous expeditions, including Everest Base Camp in support of the Cairn Trust (raising funds for children's education in rural Nepal) and Kilimanjaro in support of the Freedom From Fistula Foundation (raising funds for women's health in Africa).

This year the group, two of whom currently live in Angola, decided to support the humanitarian work of the Mines Advisory Group, which has been clearing landmines left behind from Angola's long civil war for over twenty years.

The MADs, climbing to support the Cairn Trust - Everest Base Camp, March 2012

The MADs, climbing to support the Freedom From Fistula Foundation - Kilimanjaro, August 2013

"Using our expeditions to raise funds for good causes is really motivating" said Andrew. "It helps make all the training worthwhile and definitely keeps us going when it gets tough on the mountain!"

If you would like to help save lives in Angola by supporting Mike, Andrew and Deli - who somewhat fittingly call themselves the "MADs" - please visit and make a donation. Thank you!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/1/16


--The Vancouver Sun is reporting that, "A snowboarder has suffocated after falling into deep powder snow on a glade run in Blackcomb Resort’s Crystal Ridge area, just a week into the resort’s ski season.The 27-year-old was in a tree run known as Arthur’s Choice Saturday morning when he encountered problems and died in the seemingly bottomless snow." To read more, click here.

--Here is a breakdown of Washington State's core ski areas. Of particular note are the dates that each of the ski areas have area defining events taking place.

The Mt. Rainier Visitor Center and where the cell "tower" will be
installed. Photo: National Park Service. (Click to Enlarge)

--The Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that, "Improved cellphone coverage could soon be coming to the most visited part of Mount Rainier, the national park announced in a statement released late Monday.Verizon and T-Mobile have applied to install wireless communication facilities at Paradise, a year-round destination on the mountain’s south side. Cellphone coverage is notoriously sketchy at and around this location where most climbing expeditions and many rescue operations are launched." To read more, click here.

Read more here:
Desert Southwest:

--It's likely the news got this particular SAR report from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area, wrong. It appears that a climber fell sixty to eighty-feet on Epinephrine (5.9, IV) and was injured. The injuries are not life-threatening.

--This weekend there will be a rally in Red Rock, put on by the Save Red Rock Canyon group. The rally will include a run, a bike ride, hiking, and yoga. To learn more, click here.

--The Durango Herald is reporting that, "a group of Fort Lewis College students defaced ancient Native American ruins in the Comb Ridge area near Bluff, Utah, while on an outdoor retreat in October. According to FLC spokesman Mitch Davis, the incident occurred on a Fort Lewis College Outdoor Pursuits overnight 'yoga in the backcountry' trip Oct. 14 to Oct. 16." To read more, click here.

--Red Rock Rendezvous will take place from March 24 to 27. This is the premire climbing event of the year. Early registration is now open. Early registration allows you to save money and while also providing you with better clinic options than when you register closer to Rendezvous! To register for the event, click here.

--KSL News is reporting that, "The explosive growth in visitation at Zion National Park is compelling the National Park Service to consider changes at the south entrance, including moving the monument site and parking area farther to the east. Such a move, park officials say, would eliminate the need for visitors to congregate in the roadway and cause a safety hazard and traffic congestion." To read more, click here.


--Colorado Public Radio is reporting that, "Arapahoe Basin will soon get bigger. The White River National Forest on Monday gave the green light to an expansion plan for the Summit County ski resort. The expansion will open up about 338 acres of skiing terrain in an area just west of the existing boundary known as the Beavers. Skiable acres will grow from about 1,000 to more than 1,300." To read more, click here.

--There are a fair number of lawsuits in ski areas. Many of these are from skiers who are injured in the resorts, but in other cases they are skier-to-skier. Colorado Public Radio recently published an awesome article about skier liability. To read the article, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Gripped magazine is reporting that the legendary Canadian climber Richard "Dick" Lofthouse has died at the age of 84. "Lofthouse brought his passion to the Canadian Rockies where he paved the way for following generations. With his good friend Brian Greenwood, he made the fourth ascent of Mount Alberta in 1958...In the early 1960s, Lofthouse and Greenwood teamed up Heinz Kahl to finish the now-classic Red Shirt on Yamnuska. Lofthouse also made first ascents of Gollum Grooves, Chockstone Corner, Bottleneck and Pangolin on the Yamnuska." To read more, click here.

--First Tracks is reporting that, "Officials with the Westford Police Department, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Middlesex County district attorney’s office are presently on scene at Nashoba Valley Ski Area in northeastern Massachusetts, investigating what appears to be the scene of a fatal industrial accident." To read more, click here.

--The Star Tribune is reporting on a lawsuit filed against a Minnesota ski area. "A Minneapolis mother has sued Burnsville’s Buck Hill ski resort after her 8-year-old daughter suffered serious injuries in January 2015 after falling 40 feet from a tow rope. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Hennepin County by Tina Graham, says Buck Hill was negligent because the tow rope the girl was using failed to operate correctly and put her at bodily risk. To read more, click here.

--Patagonia made 10 million dollars worth of sales on Black Friday...and they are going to donate every penny to environmental groups. To read more, click here.

--Here is a breakdown of how some of the core outdoor organizations responded to Trump's election...

--The Utah Avalanche Center put out the following statement this week: The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is implementing a revised policy for backcountry closures in Little Cottonwood Canyon this winter to help get SR 210 open quickly and safely, keep it open, and to reduce the likelihood of backcountry travelers exposed to avalanche explosives work. UDOT has thousands of people waiting on them to reduce the avalanche hazard and safely open the road and the sighting of a single person or even evidence of a person near their artillery targets can delay opening for hours. For this reason, they will be enforcing a complete closure of all backcountry in Little Cottonwood Canyon the night before any planned avalanche mitigation work. If this revised plan does not work, more restrictive closures may be needed." To read the whole statement, click here.

--Wyoming Public Radio is reporting that, "avalanches can be dangerous and shut down highways on many of the roads going in and out of the Jackson area, especially on Highway 191 through Hoback Canyon. But in the last few years, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has been installing new technology there that’s helped control the problem." To read more, click here.