Thursday, February 24, 2011

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 2/24/11


--Northwest climber, Dave Burdick has created an Iphone/Ipad app that tracks Northwest weather and snowfall.  The app can be purchased for $2.99 at the Apple itunes store.  To read more, click here.

--Three snowboarders were rescued Monday after being stranded most of the night say foggy conditions made them disoriented. They were found safe by Idaho Mountain Rescue in an out-of-bounds area near Bogus Basin ski area early Monday morning. To read more, click here.

--Mount Rainier has volunteer opportunities for every interest. Whether you're looking for a one-day project to turn your vacation eco-friendly, or a week-long volunteer vacation, or a job to last all summer, you'll find all the details on Mount Rainier's volunteer blog. Check out the volunteer opportunities on their blog.

--Hoping to break a legal logjam that has stymied logging as well as ecosystem restoration, the U.S. Forest Service said last week that it was revising its planning rules to take more control over national forests and find more common ground between industry and conservation groups.  The old rules designated certain animal species that must be protected to assure ecosystems are healthy. However, the system became the basis of numerous lawsuits that sharply cut back logging to protect habitat for fish and wildlife. To read more, click here.

--There is currently an open casting call for a TNT television show called Leverage. They are looking for "mountain climbers that have their own gear," and will pay $68 a day.  This seems a little weak, but you can learn more and download the flier here.


--It appears that a portion of the Palisade Traverse was completed in winter.  AAI guide Aiden Looehr has attempted the complete traverse, but has not yet been successful.  Two Californian climbers completed the traverse between Thunderbolt and Sill.  You can read their trip report and see a very cool interactive 3-D tour of their trip, here. We'll have to get Aiden back on trying to complete the whole thing!

--Speaking of computer technology, somebody on made a very funny video about big wall climbers in Yosemite. The film was done using the xtranormal technology which many of you have seen.  Essentially someone creates dialogue for cartoon characters.  In this particular case, a character lectures another character about how people should climb big walls...and it's funny.  To see the video, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Developers are trying to put the nation's largest garbage dump right next to Joshua Tree National Park. The proposed Eagle Mountain landfill would cover 3,500 acres of federal land, bordered on three sides by Joshua Tree's unique beauty, and fragile ecosystem. The proposal by developers Kaiser Ventures has been struck down by two courts. Now Kaiser Ventures is asking the Supreme Court to review the case, and the Department of the Interior has until February 25th to weigh in. Tell Secretary Ken Salazar: Don't trash Joshua Tree! Oppose the Eagle Mountain landfill project. Sign the petition before the February 25th deadline. To read more and to sign the petition, click here.

--Legislation in Congress last week was designed to block new national monuments.  The 1906 Antiquities Act allows the president of the United States to declare lands of historic or environmental importance, National Monuments.  New legislation will gut the law which has been used to preserve lands by both Democratic and Republican administrations.  To read more, click here.

The Red Rock Escarpment on New Years Day, 2011
Photo by Jason Martin

--In related news, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley last week expressed her strong opposition to a proposal that would strip funding for the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Southern Nevada, a move that would force the closure of the popular recreation and tourism destination. "Red Rock is one of the most popular spots in Southern Nevada for outdoor recreation and more than a million local families and tourists from around the world visit this unique natural treasure each year.  More than just a National Conservation Area, Red Rock Canyon brings valuable tourist revenue to our community at a time when we continue working to recover from the economic downturn," said Berkley. To read more, click here.

--The annual climbing festival, Red Rock Rendezvous is coming up fast.  Once again, the American Alpine Institute will be present at the Las Vegas event, both for the event itself as well as to offer courses and trips before and after.  To learn more, click here.


--A.C. Sherpa has completed the Seven Summits in less than a year! A.C. completed his ascent of Denali with the American Alpine Institute.  It does appear that there is a discrepancy in his Denali time in the report that we've linked.  We calculate that he summited on day 14 and that he was off the glacier on day 16. Even with this small discrepancy, it should be noted that it is absolutely amazing that he finished the Seven Summits in less than a year. To read more, click here.


--Ang Rita Sherpa has won the 2011 Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal. A native of Khunde, the villge where Edmund Hillary established the only hospital in Nepal's Khumbu District, Mr. Sherpa has dedicated himself to the management of remote mountainous protected areas. His focus has been on conserving ecosystems while expanding sustainable livelihoods for mountain communities. Since 1988, he has worked for The Mountain Institute (TMI), where he currently serves as Senior Program Manager for the Himalayan Program in Kathmandu, Nepal. To read more, click here.

--Fifteen Nepalese civil servants will soon abandon their desks for the slopes of Everest to improve government understanding of the challenges faced in the Himalayas.  The civil servants from different ministries, including tourism, education and foreign affairs, are aged between 27 and 54 and aim to reach the top of the world’s highest peak during the main climbing season in May.  To read more, click here.

--The American Alpine Club has posted a blog from John All, a professor of geology at Western Kentucky University. The professor is looking for historic pictures of the Mount Everest region, specifically Everest base-camp, to help with his studies on climate change.  To read the blog, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Three crimes were committed in Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in the Mt. Elbrus region. Three tourists were shot by a masked gunmen, then a bomb was detonated by unknown persons on ski a lift and another bomb was found in a car in ski resort village. Till this time terrorists had been attacking only police and security forces, without touching tourists and other people. But their plans changed causing an outflow of tourists from the region. To read more, click here and for a climbing perspective, here.

--The body of nineteen year-old James Sizemore of Meeker was pulled from about 15 feet of snow on Monday, about 600 feet from the start of a large slide that buried him and his snowmobile Sunday afternoon in Colorado's Flat Tops Wilderness Area.  About 60 searchers and trained dogs scoured the slope, which was at risk of another slide Monday, before finding the body at about 2 p.m., said Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Michael Joos. To read more, click here.

--A person was killed on Tuesday after being buried in an avalanche outside the Snowmass Ski Area in Colorado. The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office says the snow slide was first reported by the Snowmass Ski Patrol just after 4pm. To read more, click here.

--The twenty-one year-old Toronto skier who was killed when he went off a run and into trees at Lake Louise Ski Area has been identified. Christopher Lum was skiing in bounds on a well-groomed black diamond run when witnesses say he left the trail and into some trees. To read more, click here.

--On February 5th, Alain Adon and his wife Renee were climbing Glenwood Ice Falls (WI 4/5), a  route near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, when Alain fell while leading, breaking his tibia and fibula, and dislocating his ankle. Nearby local climbers to aid the injured Alain, and with Renee got him down the steep approach and to the Glenwood Hospital. Unforuntately, other climbers who attempted the route later picked up the equipment used for the rescue as booty.  To read more, click here.

--Seventy-seven skiers and boarders raised more than $25,000 for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in a night of skiing last weekend at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. To read more, click here.

--There’s more than climate change triggering the collapse of the world’s glaciers. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand’s South Island on Tuesday apparently caused a massive iceberg, estimated at 30 – 40 tons, to shear off from Tasman Glacier and drop in Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake, at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. In what must have been a truly spectacular glacier calving, the gigantic iceberg ripped off from the glacier within minutes of the earthquake that rocked the South Island, and crashed into the lake. Some chunks are now towering up to 164 feet above the lake. To read more, click here.

--The Adventure Journal has posted some excellent photos from turn-of-the-century climbing expeditions...and we're not talking about the turn from the 20th to the 21st century.  To see the photos, click here.

--And yes, for all the girls who play with Barbie, they are finally coming out with a model that skis!  To read more, [Link Removed]

--President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum (see video below) on April 16, 2010, establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO). The AGO Initiative focuses on reconnecting Americans to the outdoors and promoting community-level efforts to conserve and restore outdoor spaces. As part of the AGO Initiative, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior will be joined by the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality in soliciting public input on how the federal government can better serve the conservation interests of communities across the country. The video below is from the president's speech on this topic last week.  To read more, click here.

--Magnetic north is moving.

Manufacturer Recalls and Equipment Issues:

--It is possible that a faulty strap on a helmet lead to a skier's death in New Zealand. To read about this incident, click here.

--Petzl has recently discovered Chinese counterfeit versions of the Croll, Attache, Ascension and Rescue Ptezl products. There is a significant risk that these counterfeit products could open or otherwise fail at low loads and under normal use.  To read more, click here.

--Problems have been sighted with the #5 DMM Dragon Cam.  There are cracks in the aluminum axle boss.  To see photos and to learn more, click here.

--Backcountry Access (BCA), the North American manufacturer of avalanche safety equipment, has announced a recall of its latest beacon, the Tracker2. BCA representatives say they have isolated certain issues that could cause a potential malfunction in the T2 units.  To read more, click here.

--The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of 3,500 Avalung backpacks due to a suffocation hazard.  The backpacks, imported from China by Black Diamond Equipment, include air intake tubing that can crack at cold temperatures.  To read more, click here.

--Totem Cams sold prior to December 31st 2010 are being recalled.  The color anodizing of the cams gives them a surface hardness that may affect their holding power in certain areas of polished limestone and when the cams still retain their layer of anodizing on the area in contact with the rock.  To read more, click here and here.

--There have been some problems with Petzl ice tools.  The adjustment system of the GRIPREST (the lower hand rest at the bottom of the handle) on the 2010 NOMIC (U21 2) and ERGO (U22) in some cases may not stay fixed in the desired size position.  This issue concerns NOMIC and ERGO ice tools with serial numbers between 10208 and 10329 and all GRIPREST (U21 GR2) accessory parts. It does not concern the new QUARKs or the older versions of the NOMICs, QUARKs and QUARK ERGOs.  To read more, click here.

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