Thursday, September 16, 2010

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 9/16/10


--The climbing community is currently responding to a National Park Service proposal to increase the cost of a permit to climb Mount Rainier by two-thirds and for Denali by 250 percent. The Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Rainier park Superintendent plans to propose to the National Park Service that the fee for an annual Rainier climbing pass be increased from $30 to as much as $50. The increase is intended for the training of climbing rangers and for other expenses. To read more, click here

A black bear in Whistler, British Columbia, was so intent on getting at a few tomatoes growing in a window box that he scaled a three-story condo building to get at them. The bear made the climb Thursday morning as an incredulous resident of the condominium complex rushed to get his video camera. The bear used everything he had, claws and teeth, working his way up the corner of the building, to get at the small crop of tomatoes. To read more, click here.

In response to the record floods of 1995, 2003 and 2006, the National Park Service has developed the Draft Stehekin River Corridor Implementation Plan Environmental Impact Statement to address, in a comprehensive way, the steps needed to continue to implement the 1995 Lake Chelan National Recreation Area General Management Plan. The goals in creating this plan are to provide high-quality recreational experiences, protect natural and cultural resources, support the private community of Stehekin, and establish sustainable administrative facilities. To read the plan and to make comments on it, please click here.

An Ellensburg man who was descending from Mount Stuart on Saturday broke his ankle and spent the night with his party while they waited to be evacuated. Jason M. Paschen, 28, was discharged after treatment in Wenatchee. Paschen fell and broke his ankle on his descent Saturday, but his partners could not call for help because there was no cell service. To read more, click here.

--After months of preparation, training and fundraising, a Ladner, British Columbia woman achieved two lofty goals. Robyn Thomson has returned from Africa where she made an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro. She set out to climb the mountain earlier this year in an effort to raise both money and awareness, for the Delta Hospice Society. Her goal was to reach the top of the mountain and to raise $10,000 for hospice. To read more, click here.


The U.S. Forest Service has announced that an off duty ranger recently discovered the bones of a man that has been missing in Yosemite National Park for seven years. Fred Claassen disappeared in 2003 when he went on a twenty-mile hike in the park. To read more, click here.

--A California man with cerebral palsy is trying to be the first person with his condition to climb Yosemite's El Capitan. Steven Wampler has been training for over a year to attempt the climb. Wampler will climb the 2,000 foot face in a wheelchair he helped create for the climb. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth has announced the start of a project to rehabilitate campsites and improve utilities in the tent only Loops C and D in Watchman Campground. The project will consist of reconstruction and delineation of 69 campsites with new site furnishings, resurfacing the road system, re-vegetation, installing new irrigation lines, and water and sewer line improvements. Loop C is now closed and Loop D will be closed effective October 12, 2010. The two camping loops will be closed until the project is completed in early April 2011. South Campground, which usually closes at the end of October, will remain open through Thanksgiving weekend to make up for the loss of tent sites in the Watchman Campground this fall. Loop A of Watchman Campground will stay open through the winter months and is open to both tents and recreational vehicles. To read more, click here.

Rangers were dispatched to the Furnace Creek Ranch Resort in Death Valley just after 3 a.m. on September 9th to investigate a report of shots fired. The ranch is a large resort complex managed by Xanterra Corporation and is a private inholding within the park. Rangers regularly respond to the full range of emergencies there based on an agreement with Xanterra Resorts and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office. Four rangers and a resident California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer responded and met a Xanterra security guard at the scene. To read more, click here.

Christian Stangl's Purported Self Portrait on the Summit
Stangl was nearly 3000 feet below the true summit when the photo was taken.

--An Austrian mountain climber says he lied when he made a claim last month to have scaled the world's second highest summit. Climber Christian Stangl now says he did not reach the summit of K2, and he says the picture used to prove the climb was in fact taken 3,000 feet below the summit of the Himalayan peak. The 44-year-old Stangl was attempting to become the first person to climb the two highest peaks on each continent. To read more, click here and here.

--Deep in the Karakoram, an eighteen year-old Pakistani girl summited the previously unclimbed Chashkin Sar (20,997'). Samina Khayal made the ascent with her brother Mirza Ali, Tafat Shah, Yahya Baig, Salamat Khan, Arshad Karim and with Romanian filmmaker Stelian Pavalache. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Sarah Shourd, one of three jailed US hikers, has been freed after more than a year in an Iranian prison. Shourd was released Tuesday. The thirty-two year old woman said that she would continue t0 campaign for the release of the other two hikers. To read more, click here.

--Outside Magazine has posted an interesting blog on the issue of charging for rescue. They write: "After the Colorado Search and Rescue Board (CSARB) successfully helped convince one mountain town to stop charging for rescues, municipal public safety agencies seem to be sending more bills. According to the New York Times last week, if you need help from police or fire, don't be surprised to get a bill, the so-called "crash tax." Eight states can lawfully bill for search and rescue services. Remember the teenager in New Hampshire's White Mountains who was sent a $25,000 tab? The Mountain Rescue Association and National Association for Search and Rescue are adamantly against cost recovery in this manner. The reason: it promotes a delay in a call for help." To read more, click here.

--Over the summer Nicolas and Olivier Favresse as well as Sean Villanueva and Ben Ditto completed a series of new routes on the West Coast of Greenland. Many of the lines were big wall ascents and were made from a floating base camp, a thirty-foot sailboat that they used to access the area. To read more, click here.

--British Climbers Tom Chamberlain and Tony Barton have made a significant first ascent on Huaguruncho (5723m), Cordillera Oriental, Peru. Their new line, Llama Karma (1000m ED/ 90·/V, 24 pitches) was climbed over four days and tackles the large south west face of Huaguruncho. Chamberlain and Barton had tried a similar line back in 2008, accompanied by Olly Metherell, but had not reached the top. On re-acquaintance this year the pair (this time without Metherell) found that different snow conditions forced them to take an alternative line. To read more, click here.

--President Obama recently declared September, 2010 as National Wilderness Month, encouraging all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, to learn about their vast history, and to aid in the protection of our precious national treasures. Obama has made significant effort while in office to protect America's wilderness. Last year, he signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, designating more than two million acres of wilderness for protection across the United States. To read more, click here.

--Nineteen year-old Brenna Fisch is in critical condition after surgery on her skull following an unroped climbing fall outside of Boulder. The University of Colorado sophomore fell two stories from a hike on Dome Rock in Boulder Canyon. To read more, click here.

James Franco plays Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours

--The Aron Ralston story has finally hit the big screen. We all know the canyoneer who cut off his arm story by now, but it appears that the sequence on film is quite traumatic. Three people fainted and one person suffered a seizure when 127 Hours was screened at the Toronto Film Festival this week. To read more, click here.

--In early August more than one thousand mountaineers and mountain enthusiasts attended the opening of the Slovenian Alpine Museum in Mojstrana, Slovenia. The multitude of guests who attended underlined just how strong the demand was for an institution such as this in the Slovenian Alps. To read more, click here.

--After months of preparation, training and fundraising, a local woman conquered two lofty goals. Ladner's Robyn Thomson has returned from Africa where she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. She set out to tackle the mountain earlier this year in an effort to raise money, and awareness, for the Delta Hospice Society. Her goal was to reach the summit and raise $10,000 for hospice. To read more, click here.

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