Thursday, July 9, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 7/9/15

Important News Development:

--A battle is currently looming in Congress over the sale of a huge swath of America’s public lands in the west—putting millions of acres (and the climbing opportunities they offer) under siege. A group of politicians have written bills proposing that individual states “take back” America’s parks, Bureau of Land Management lands, national forests, wildlife refuges, and open spaces, arguing that these lands and the profits that they generate should belong to the states. In an economically choked state like Nevada, where greater than 80 percent of the state’s land is owned and operated by the federal BLM, this kind of thinking is gaining traction. Imagine how profitable it would be for Nevada to sell off federally protected lands for development? Sadly, that might mean never getting to climb at Red Rocks again. To read more, click here. To sign a petition to stop this, click here.


--One person died and four others were hurt Monday in a partial collapse of the Big 4 Ice Caves near Granite Falls in Snohomish County. The body of the person killed remained under debris overnight while recovery efforts were suspended. In a stroke of irony, shortly before the accident a video was posted on youtube of some individuals barely escaping icefall at the same location on the same day. To see the video, click below. The cave collapses at approximately the 29 second mark. To read more about the accident and the fatality, click here. There are signs, but people seem to ignore them. An 11-year old girl was killed in this extremely accessible area

--On June 27 Joe Sambataro and Jason Schilling climbed a new 11-pitch line on Golden Horn (8,366') in Washington's North Cascades in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Their route was authored ground up and without bolts or fixed protection. To read more, click here.


--Over 4th of July weekend more than 200 feet of rock fell off of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, erasing part of the famous Yosemite big wall route, the Regular Northwest Face (VI, 5.9 C1, 2,000'). To read more, click here.

--Yosemite National Park is experiencing very high fire danger along with continued hot and dry weather patterns. Due to current and predicted fire conditions and possible active fire behavior, the park implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions until further notice. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--A climbing area at Joshua Tree National Park is open again following the flight of at least two baby hawks that were nesting there. To read more, click here.

--A man was arrested after police say he stole a Washington County sheriff's patrol car and led officers on a chase before being stopped in Zion National Park. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Officials at Acadia National Park are urging visitors to be careful this holiday weekend after four people were injured in separate incidents at the park Friday. A 32-year-old-man from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, sustained non-life threatening injuries when he fell about 60 feet from the rock climbing area of Otter Cliffs to the ledges below Friday morning, park officials said. The man, who was with a private climbing group, was transferred onto a Coast Guard boat and eventually taken by LifeFlight to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. To read more, click here.

--A 22-year-old Arizona man was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at Denali National Park and Preserve Tuesday morning. It is not clear at this time if the shooting was accidental or intentional, according to a news release issued by the National Park Service. To read more, click here.

--A large boulder struck and seriously injured a climber during a rockfall on July 7, in Grand Teton National Park. Michael Polmear, 27, of Bethesda, Maryland was ascending the Middle Teton near its black dike feature when a boulder — described by his wife, Stephanie, as the size of 5-6 microwave ovens — suddenly rolled down slope toward Polmear and hit his left arm, causing severe injuries. Luckily, Polmear did not sustain additional injuries during the rockfall incident. To read more, click here.

--A 39-year-old man from Gardiner, Ulster County, survived an approximate 75-foot fall in the town of Hunter’s Platte Clove in New York State last Thursday, and was successfully rescued after almost seven hours of hard and careful work by an assemblage of fire, rescue, environmental, and law enforcement personnel, all performing various functions during the incident. To read more, click here.

--This is a scary story about a near miss on a family climbing day. An individual pulled off a block that almost hit his daughter. Everybody walked away from the incident unharmed, but it was a close call and worth reading about it so that it doesn't happen to someone else.

--Our national forests are at risk from reckless logging! The U.S. House of Representatives is about to vote on legislation that would bypass essential environmental laws and deprive many stakeholders of the opportunity to fully participate in the process—putting outdoor recreation, wildlife and forest health in danger. To read more, click here.

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