Thursday, May 19, 2011

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 5/19/11


--Washington Pass is being cleared and may open Memorial Day Weekend, but with daily avalanches, WSDOT is having to work twice as hard, clearing areas more than once.  To read more, click here

--Our condolences go out to Tucker Taffe's family and friends.  While ascending on skis up Mount Rainier with three friends, Tucker took a 100-150 foot fatal crevasse fall.  It wasn't until the skier behind him found a ski and realized what had happened.  The team was unroped.  To read more, click here


--California state parks officials announced Friday that the budget deficit would cause closure of 70 state parks next year.  In January, Governor Brown issued a budget proposal that reduced spending on state parks by $11 million this fiscal year and $22 million next year, when the parks will start to shut down.  To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Utah's Zion National Park officials are planning to burn about 50 acres to control invasive wild grasses.  The prescribed burns will help restore an ecosystem that helps native grasses grow. Those native grasses are more fire-resistant and better suited to the environment in the park.  To read more, click here

--Desert National Wildlife Refuge, just north of Las Vegas, will turn 75 next week.  To mark the occasion, visitors to the largest and one of the oldest refuges in the 48 contiguous states can celebrate by, of course, taking a hike.  To read more, click here


--A Mountain Trip team had an accident near the summit ridge of Denali.  A rope team of one guide and three clients fell near the ridge, and one of the climbers sustained a broken leg.  While the guide worked to secure the injured climber in a bivy sack at 19, 500 feet, the two other climbers began the descent.  One climber never made it back to high camp and died.  To read more, click here, here and here

--A second Denali fatality happened on Monday.  An Italian climber who tumbled to his death on North America's highest mountain was not using ropes and snow anchors as advised on a deceptively dangerous section of trail on Mount McKinley, a ranger said Tuesday. To read more, click here and here


--A Nepalese Sherpa on Wednesday broke his own record for most climbs of Mount Everest by scaling the world's tallest peak for the 21st time. To read more, click here.

--A Japanese climber who became ill while attempting to scale Mount Everest died just several hundred feet (meters) from the summit, a Nepalese official said Friday.  To read more, click here

-- Long-time Roseville, CA coach and former construction company owner Rick Hitch died Sunday while climbing at the 23,000 foot level of Mt. Everest.  Hitch had climbed the highest peaks on six continents and was trying to climb Mt. Everest to complete all seven peaks, known as the Seven Summits.  To read more, click here

-- Altitude sickness killed an 82-year-old former Nepalese foreign minister who died this week attempting to become the oldest person to climb Mount Everest.  Shailendra Kumar Upadhyaya died on Monday afternoon, just hours after arriving at camp one in his record attempt.  To read more, click here

Notes from All Over:

-- New Zealand's winter season is kicking off and Mrs. Betty Main, age 82, was in line on Tuesday to reviece her free ski pass.  "From 75 you don't have to pay. It's my very favourite four-letter word beginning with F - free," Mrs Main said.  To read more, click here

-- Kim Hall and Jewel Lund know their way around mountains. Both women are skilled skiers. And yet they were no match Wednesday for a steep, icy slope.  Jewel slipped and tumbled down roughly 1,000 feet. Kim tried to go to her aid and didn’t fair much better. To read more, click here.

-- Search-and-rescue teams in Carbon County (Montana) on Wednesday found four backcountry skiers who were stranded in the East Rosebud drainage Tuesday night.  Jon Trapp, Carbon County Search and Rescue coordinator, said the skiers — from Canada, Italy and Idaho — used an emergency beacon at 6 p.m. Tuesday to let authorities know that they were stranded near Rimrock Lake and needed a helicopter. To read more, click here.
-- American Alpine Club Executive Director Phil Powers was seriously injured in Clear Creek Canyon near Denver, CO.  After falling approximately 50 feet, Phil sustain injuries that required a helicopter evacuation.  To read more, click here and here

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