Everett, Wa. July 30, 2009 — A lightning storm rolled through the north Cascades yesterday, igniting approximately 30 more fires on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The additional fires range in size from a single tree to two acres.
Forest Service and Department of Natural Resources are staffing the fires with engines, rappellers, smokejumpers and hand crews.
“We are taking action first on fires that are a threat to public safety. Our primary focus is public and firefighter safety,” said Tony Engel, fire management officer for the forest. Fires that are not staffed are being monitored. Engel said the situation is unfolding, "We identified a number of new starts immediately after the storm cells passed and we expect to continue to identify hold-over fires."
Hold-over fires can linger undetected for several days after a lightning storm. Unlike the lighter fuels east of the mountains, heavy west-side fuels can harbor fire for longer periods of time. On the east side fine fuels ignite quickly and burn fast. “It is common to detect fires on the forest weeks after a lightning event,” Engel said.
Six fires have been detected in Mt. Baker District, within Whatcom and Skagit County; 10 in Darrington Ranger District, within Skagit and Snohomish Counties; eight in Skykomish Ranger District, within Snohomish and King Counties; and, five in Snoqualmie Ranger District within Pierce and King Counties. Along with the new fires, more than 50 have been detected throughout the forest.
“Detection is ongoing, and we expect to have additional fires,” Engel said. “We encourage the public to be careful with fire and report what they see.”
Report fires on the state wildland fire hotline at 800-562-6010.
Friday, July 31, 2009
American Alpine Institute Receives 2009 Best of Bellingham Award
U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement
WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2009 -- American Alpine Institute has been selected for the 2009 Best of Bellingham Award in the Instruction Schools, Camps, & Services category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
The USCA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2009 USCA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.
About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.
The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.
SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association
U.S. Commerce Association
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Everett, WA, July 30, 2009 –Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest will receive $1.25 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for forest facilities and trails. “This will improve access for our public while helping our local communities,” said Forest Supervisor Rob Iwamoto.
Following are the projects on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the county they will be located in, and the estimated funding received. Work will start this summer and is expected to be completed in two years. This list is designated by project, county and funding:
North end trail maintenance Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish $150,000
North end facilities maintenance Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish $310,000
Skykomish trail maintenance Snohomish $119,300
Skykomish developed recreation trailhead maintenance Snohomish/King $157,000
Skykomish dispersed recreation improvements Snohomish/King $25,500
South end trail maintenance King/Pierce $136,000
Forest wide hazard-tree removal Forestwide $80,000
Tinkham campground area repair King $35,000
Middle Fork campground day-use area repair King $80,000
South end trails and trailhead maintenance King/Pierce $158,000
“These Recovery Act projects are central to creating jobs and building a better, stronger economy in the future,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack when he announced the projects last week. Funded at more than $274 million, the 191 projects are located throughout the US Forest Service in 32 states.
“These projects exemplify President Obama’s commitment to sustainability, reducing our environmental footprint, and increasing energy efficiency, which will benefit the 178 million people who visit the National Forests each year, while generating additional tourism and stimulating local economies.”
The Forest Service trails system provides access to a wide diversity of users including hikers, horseback riders, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts. In many ways, the benefits of maintaining the trails system are similar to those of roads. Trail maintenance includes protecting soils and reducing erosion, along with clearing vegetation, controlling invasive species, and removing downed trees. Repairs and upgrades to trail head and parking areas will improve access and safety for trail users. All of this is labor-intensive work requiring skilled workers to be hired under ARRA.
The ARRA directs the Forest Service to improve, maintain and renovate public and administrative facilities. As with the roads and trails system, there is currently a large backlog of maintenance needs for public facilities. Maintenance needs were identified through extensive studies of specific public facilities needed to support the primary outdoor activities that are best provided on the National Forests and grasslands.
Workers hired under ARRA will maintain facilities so that they contribute to safe, high quality outdoor experiences for citizens. Once work is completed these buildings will be more energy efficient, use less water, have a smaller environmental footprint and save taxpayer money.
Information on other Forest Service ARRA projects and related economic recovery can be found at:
Everett, WA, July 30, 2009 – The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest bans open campfires and restricts smoking beginning today.
“We need to take precautions for public safety,” said Forest Supervisor Rob Iwamoto. “These steps are based on weather projections and conditions on the ground.” Fuel moisture has been at historic lows and the National Weather Service predicts more hot and dry conditions ahead.
Wood and charcoal fires are only allowed in developed campgrounds that have established concrete or steel grated fire pits or rings. Campers can use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel sources for cooking or heat outside of designated campgrounds. Smoking is allowed within enclosed vehicles, buildings and developed recreation sites. Violators can be fined up to $5,000 and/ or imprisoned up to six months in jail.
A list of campgrounds where fires are permitted is at:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/conditions/2009-campfire-restrictions.shtml <http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/conditions/2009-campfire-restrictions.shtml> .
Because of similar conditions in other areas of Washington, visitors are encouraged to check with state or local fire protection agencies to determine other campfire restrictions.
For information about fires on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest go to InciWeb, Wildland Fire and Incident Information System at http://www.inciweb.org/forest/53/ <http://www.inciweb.org/forest/53/> .
Northwest Interagency Coordination Center provides general fire information at http://www.nwccweb.us/ <http://www.nwccweb.us/> .
Report fires to the Washington wildland fire hotline at 800-562-6010.
Fires are allowed in the following developed campgrounds:
Campground Name Ranger District
Campgrounds: Douglas Fir Mt. Baker
Mineral Park Mt. Baker
Silver Fir Mt. Baker
Shannon Creek Mt. Baker
Boulder Creek Mt. Baker
Park Creek Mt. Baker
Panorama Point Mt. Baker
Horseshoe Cove Mt. Baker
Marble Creek Mt. Baker
Gold Basin Darrington
Clear Creek Darrington
Red Bridge Darrington
Buck Creek Darrington
Sulpher Creek Darrington
San Juan Skykomish
Money Creek Skykomish
Beckler River Skykomish
Denny Creek Snoqualmie
Middle Fork Snoqualmie
The Dalles Snoqualmie
Silver Springs Snoqualmie
Denny Creek Snoqualmie
Corral Pass Snoqualmie
Ranger Creek Snoqualmie
Evans Creek Campground Snoqualmie
Campground Name Ranger District
Group Camping/Campgrounds: Boulder Creek Mt. Baker
Excelsior Mt. Baker
Horseshoe Cove Mt. Baker
Bayview Mt. Baker
Gold Basin Darrington
Beaver Creek Darrington
Coal Creek Darrington
Marten Creek Darrington
Tulalip Millsite Darrington
Wiley Creek Darrington
Miller River Skykomish
--AAI Guide Dawn Glanc was featured on the cover of Alpinist 27. Dawn is slowly becoming a minor celebrity in the world of climbing athleticism. She won first place in the women's division at the Ouray Ice Festival this year.
Photo by Alasdair Turner
--The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest will receive $1.2 million for "maintenance and renovation of trails and developed recreation sites" from the Federal Stimulus Package. Another $1.86 million has been slated for Pacific Crest Trail work in Oregon and Washington, routine maintenance and storm damage repair. To read more, click here.
The House Hope Stewardship Project, taken off the shelf with $1.4 million from President Obama's economic stimulus package, will thin and restore 890 acres. It's a tiny fraction of the 60 million to 80 million acres the U.S. Forest Service estimates need it nationwide, but people here feel as if this is a start — not only to grappling with the growing threat of wildfire in a warming climate, but in healing rifts between environmentalists, the timber industry and the Forest Service that have left the national forests in limbo. To read more, click here.
--The U.S. Forest service has developed a survey to increase the use and value of their visitor centers. To take the survey, click here.
--An excellent accident report was recently posted on Supertopo.com. A group of three climbers were involved in a significant rockfall accident on the Venison Blind (IV, 5.7). The group successfully evacuated an individual with a seriously broken leg. To read the report, click here.
--Disabled climbers Mark Wellman and Steve Muse made an appearance on the Today show last week. The video focuses on Mark's incredible climb of El Capitan with a broken back and how his ascent has helped to inspire many other climbers with disabilities. To see the clip, click on the video below.
--The Forks Fire in the Bishop Creek drainage launched this fire season with a dramatic show. Fortunately, no homes or other structures were lost. The more than 3,000 acre fire did grab the attention of residents and visitors. Now, the Forest Service wants to drive home the message - protect your home and educate yourself before the next wildland fire. To read more, click here.
--Denali National Park reports that there were 682 summits of Denali out of 1161 climbers this year, or a 59 percent success rate. On Mount Foraker, 8 of 15 climbers reached summit, or 53 percent success rate.
--Finnish climber Veikka Gustafsson recently climbed Gasherbrum I in Pakistan, his 14th 8,000-meter peak without supplementary oxygen. Gustafsson is the the ninth person in history to climb all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks. To read more, click here.
--A small team of British balloonists flew to 36,000 feet and took photos of Mount Everest. The phenomenal pictures that they took may be seen here.
--Mount Huashan is one of China’s five sacred mountains and is famous for its dramatic and precipitous faces. It has great cultural significance and is famous for being the birthplace of Taoism, which worships and upholds nature and morality. Leo Houlding, Carlos Suarez and their Chinese partner climbed the west face which is 6680 feet of mostly vertical granite. It took the team a whole day to complete the ascent and they were met at the top by a large group of Chinese media who had gathered to cover the climb which has aroused great interest in China. To read more, click here.
Notes from All Over:
Photo from Wikipedia
--A US man has been found dead on the slopes of Japan's Mount Fuji, police said Friday, and a second body has been recovered in the area where he went missing with a climbing companion last week. American Jerry Yu, 30, was found near the summit of Japan's tallest mountain on Thursday, a police official said from Gotemba city at the base of the volcano about 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo. To read more, click here.
--San Diego climber Mark Winslow took his own life on Friday morning. Mark will be remembered as a an outstanding climber and a gentle person. He had a number of first ascents in the San Diego area. To read more, click here and here.
--The International Climbers Festival took place in Lander, Wyoming over the weekend. The festival featured climbing, slideshows, slacklining, crate stacking, beer drinking, pizza eating and dancing. To read about the festival, click here. If you're wondering what crate stacking is from that list, check out the following clip:
----The Boston Globe ran an editorial yesterday about President Obama and the National Parks. The story calls our new president a champion of the parks, but says that Congress can do more to promote and preserve the parks. To read the editorial, click here.
--Jean Trillet, a 61-year-old Swiss-Canadian climber, completed a new route on the north face of the Matterhorn with French climbers Martial Dumas and Jean-Yves Fredriksen. The new line is found between the 1935 and 1965 routes and climbs nearly continuous overhanging terrain. To read more, click here.
--Smokey the Bear was born in August 1944, sired by a committee of ad men and government bureaucrats hoping to safeguard a key war material: wood. Smokey today remains the face of the longest-running public service campaign in U.S. history -- a simple message delivered by an anthropomorphic bear. But Smokey's story is anything but simple. His uncompromising stance -- "Only you can prevent forest fires" -- helped alter the landscape by reinforcing the idea that fire was an enemy that should be eliminated, that the price to be paid for living in the path of wildfire was vigilance and will. Smokey's critics say decades of fire suppression helped create forests unnaturally thick with fuel, setting the stage for the infernos that march across the West every year. To read more, click here.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Everett, Wa. July 27, 2009 — Lightning storms passed through the North Cascades Saturday igniting seven fires on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. All of them are less than a half acre in size.
The Jumbo Fire is four miles south of Darrington. Fire managers deployed eight repellers and a Type-1 helicopter to fight the fire and expect to contain it by tomorrow evening.
The French Fire is nine miles west of Darrington. Forest Service firefighters secured it Monday morning and expect to have it contained tomorrow evening.
Fire managers will monitor the Higgins Fire, nine miles west-northwest of the Stillaguamish River on the south face of Mt. Higgins, and the Gee Fire, seven miles southwest of Concrete.
Firefighters have contained Depression Lake Fire, south of Baker Lake. They expect to contain the Diobsud Ridge Fire tomorrow, five miles north of Marblemount.
The Necklace Valley Fire west of the Foss River and close to the Necklace Valley Trailhead is contained.
“I expect more fires from this weekend's lightning to pop up, so we will be running detection flights for the next several days,” said Britt Davis, North Zone Fire Management Officer for the forest. “Lightning-ignited fires smoldering since the weekend could become active and visible as weather conditions grow warmer and drier. Crews will continue to respond to fires as they are detected,” he added that because of the dry fuels and hot weather the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie has bumped the fire danger rating from Moderate to High.
According to the National Weather Service, the hot, dry weather has potential for isolated lightning strikes through Wednesday, with more lighting storms moving through the Cascade crest this weekend.
Report any new fires on the state wildland fire hotline at 800-562-6010.
After a bit of driving around, I picked up all three climbers from different locations around Seattle and made for Ashford, a small town just outside of Mount Rainier National Park. The diverse team included Dax, a geologist from Seattle; Peter, a scientist from Washington D.C.; and Virginia, a radiologist from Auburn.
Each of the climbers on the trip had already completed a fair bit of training ahead of time. Dax took a variety of courses over the years, the most recent of which was our Alpine Ice Course. Peter climbed in the Alps and on Mount Shuksan and Virginia completed all three parts of our Alpine Leadership series. It was a very skilled team.
Once we arrived in Ashford, we met the other guide for the trip, Dawn Glanc, and the camera people, Nick and Robert. Dawn has been guiding for six years and is slowly working her way up the climbing sponsorship food chain. She is currently sponsored by Mountain Hardwear and is being courted by a number of other companies. She's no small potato, she's on the cover of Alpinist magazine this month. And lastly, Nick and Robert were both Northwest climbers and filmmakers.
Once the team was all together, we went through a thorough gear check and got everything together for the start of our ascent.
On the first day we hiked up to the base of the Nisqually glacier, made camp and reviewed some snow and ice climbing techniques. The filmmakers set-up their camera and went to work filming us while we went to work teaching. Both Dawn and I did our best to avoid stuttering or stammering as we taught in front of the camera. Both of us believe that we did a good job. I guess we'll have to see once they edit it together. Who knows, they can do a lot with footage. For all I know, they're going to make it look like Dawn voted me off the mountain...
We broke camp and made our way up to high camp. This was a difficult leg of the climb. We moved full packs up the mountain nearly 4000 feet under a searingly bright and hot sun.
At one point on the ascent, I attempted to chop a step in some hard glacier ice. Surprisingly, the adze of my ice axe bent completely over. Though the ice axe still worked, that particular tool had been on a lot of mountains with me. It was a sad moment in my climbing career. But it was only a moment, we still had a lot of mountain to climb with or without my nostalgia.
Peter and Dax working up toward high camp.
The author leading up a short rock pitch on the way to high camp.
Photo by Peter Kaskan
Unfortunately, Virginia and Dawn were forced to turn back at the rappel. Virginia was a trooper and an absolutely wonderful team member, but it wasn't in the cards for her that day. We have no doubt that the mountain will give her another chance in the future.
The upper mountain -- of course -- had other ideas. What looked like easy French technique terrain, turned out to be steep and physical penitentes. Penitentes are snow or ice fins that stick out of the glacier late in the season. They are beautiful objects and give the mountain a lot of character, but they definitely require a tremendous of energy to climb through.
As we worked our way slowly toward the top, Peter asked for some help. "Jason, I need a little psych. Can you give me a little psych to motivate me?"
"Only a few hundred feet left," I responded. "We're going to make it. Only a few hundred more feet...a few hundred feet to the glory," I smiled.
The last few minutes to the summit were difficult, but both Dax and Peter held on. When they finally pulled up onto the highest point in the Pacific Northwest, there was no longer a deficit in psych...
--Jason D. Martin
--July 25 -- Obed/Clear Creek, GA -- Help Clean Up the Obed
--July 25 -- Hinckley, OH -- Whipp's Ledges Cleanup
--July 25 -- Philadelphia, PA -- The Sunburn Comp
--August 16 -- Squamish, BC, Canada -- 2009 Squamish Mountain Festival
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sometimes these stoves require extra care. Older WhisperLites may actually require quite a bit of extra work. Some may even require work for every use...but they will work...
Following is a short video on how to run an MSR WhisperLite stove:
--Jason D. Martin
Friday, July 24, 2009
By AAI Guide Alasdair Turner
This photo was shot on my first trip to the Alaska Range on a climb of Mt. Foraker. This is also the photo that I have sold the most copies of thanks in part to Denali Images Gallery in Talkeetna who have sold a lot of these for me. You can have your very own copy by ordering from here. That one won't have the route drawn all over it.
Crevasses from the plane.
Vaibhav on the flight in.
Kahiltan base camp and the ski equiped Otter that landed us there.
Richard and Mary's rope teams just behind us.
A couple guys dragging sleds.
A snow sluff caused by warm temperatures.
A rope team ahead of us.
Two climbers on the lower Kahiltna Glacier.
AAI guide Mary Harlan.
Ascending Ski Hill.
7800 ft camp from the top of Ski Hill.
Camp at 7800 ft.
Richard at 7800ft.
Pat taking a break.
Two climbers at Kahiltna Pass
Icefall below 11 camp.
Moving toward camp at 11,200 just above Kahiltna Pass.
The final few steps into camp at 11,200ft.
My good friend Ray.
Camp at 11,200ft.
Clouds signaling unstable weather while at 11 camp.
Two skier descend toward Kahiltna Pass.
Tony and Pat enjoy the beautiful weather.
Brian at the top of Motorcycle hill in high winds.
A cup of coffee and a sunset at 11 camp.
Richard and Mary enjoy the evening.
Richard and Mary enjoy the evening.
Seracs near 11 camp.
A campsite at 11,200ft.
Late evening light on Mt. Foraker and Kahiltna Dome.
Nearing the top of Motorcycle Hill.
Starting the climb out of 11,200ft camp with Kahiltna Dome, Mt. Crosson and Mt. Foraker in the background.
A very windy carry day.
Clouds spill over Kahiltna Pass from the north side of the range.
Richard and his rope team on Motorcycle Hill
Richard at the top of Motorcycle Hill.
Another team moving through Windy Corner in perfect weather.
Vaibhav, Brian, and AC Sherpa below 14 camp.
AAI Guides Angela and Mike.
Pat and Tony at the Edge of the World.
14,200ft camp with Mt. Hunter in the background.
Same as above.
14,200ft camp shot from half way up the fixed lines.
Park service helicopter at 14,200ft.
Vaibhav, Juan, and AC Sherpa on the ridge below me.
Vaibhav, Juan, and AC Sherpa on the ridge below me.
Richard on the ridge.
Tony on the ridge.
Richard leading on the ridge.
Juan and Vaibhav on the ridge.
AC Sherpa at the top of the fixed lines.
On the ridge near 17 camp.
What is unusual about this photo? Helicopters apparently can fly at over 17,000ft.
Richard in the tent.
Mt. Foraker from 17 camp.
Me calling in the dispatches, or talking to my lovely wife.
Two climbers taking in the view of Mt. Hunter.
Mt. Foraker from 17 camp.
Solo climber above Washburn's Thumb.
Climbers and Washburn's Thumb
Killing time at 17,000ft.
Clouds at Windy Corner.
Climbers on the ridge above Washburn's thumb.
Climbers on the ridge below 17 camp.
Richard at 17 camp.
Richard.... Looking a little wasted.
Sun shining through snow wall protecting the camp.
The team returning to 17 camp from the summit.
Clouds over Mt. Foraker.
The team coming down from the summit.
Decsending the Autobahn.
The team just below 14 camp on the way down.
A rope team above Kahiltna Base. Ash from the Mt. Spur eruption is clearly visible on the glacier in this photo. Crevasses on the flight out.