Thursday, September 3, 2015

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 9/3/15


--Glaciers on Mount Baker and other mountains in the North Cascades are thinning and retreating. Seven have disappeared over the past three decades, and the overall volume of glaciers in the range have lost about one-fifth of their volume. The shrinking glaciers here mirror what is happening around the U.S. and worldwide: As the planet warms, glaciers are losing volume, some faster than others. To read more, click here.

--On Saturday, September 26th, there will be an event in Tacoma celebrating the life of AAI Guide Liz Daley. Liz was tragically killed in an avalanche last September. This event is a fundraiser to build a climbing park called Liz Rocks at Point Defiance Park. To read more, click here.


--The family of a woman who was rescued after being stranded in the rugged Sierra Nevada for nine days said Sunday that she is recovering from surgery to set the broken bones on her lower left leg. Miyuki Harwood's family said in a statement that she has asked for "uninterrupted rest and quiet." Harwood, 62, was found Saturday morning in a remote area of the Sierra National Forest after she used a whistle to get the attention of a search and rescue team looking for her. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--The search continues in the Sandia Mountains for a missing climber. The team is looking for 40-year-old Bryan Conkling who failed to return after a weekend trip. To read more, click here.


--The eastbound U.S. 24 exit to Manitou Springs was closed Monday afternoon after a climber fell in the area, according to a tweet by Colorado Springs Traffic. To read more, click here.

--Vail Resorts and the town of Breckenridge have reached an agreement on a November ballot measure that will ask the town's voters to approve long-term funding for parking projects through a tax on winter-only lift tickets, but not season passes. The deal drops Vail Resorts' wildly successful Epic Pass from the tax plan to impose a 4.5 percent tax on lift tickets to raise money to support the town's parking and transit projects. Vail Resorts is guaranteeing the tax will raise at least $3.5 million a year for the town. To read more, click here.

--Vail Resorts will spend $100 million to $115 million on improvements at its nine ski areas for the 2015-16 winter, pushing the resort operator's five-year mountain investments beyond $500 million. To read more, click here.


--In huge news for Alaska, President Obama announced on Sunday that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, using his executive power to restore an Alaska Native name with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

--Some people are pretty upset about the renaming of the mountain that we all called Denali anyway. To read about it, click here.

--For those who are freaking out about this, here's a nice piece on why you shouldn't be freaking out. If you're a regular on our blog, you'll note that we never call in McKinley. So maybe this article isn't for you, but for your relative that's freaking out.

Notes from All Over:

--A climbing accident has killed two men in Wyoming's Wind River Range, marking the second double climbing fatality in the state in a week. The Fremont County coroner's office identified the victims from Friday's fall as Jonathan Peter MacDonald, 23, who lived both in Lander, Wyoming, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and Keith Murray Henderson, 57, of Cheyenne. To read more, click here.

--A 21-year-old Moran, Wyoming man was rescued from the Middle Teton after a fall Saturday afternoon. Justin Bodrero fell about 100 feet on a snow field and another 100 feet into a boulder field while descending the mountain. To read more, click here.

--The National Park Service’s 100th anniversary is being celebrated in 2016, and the party starts early for families with kids in fourth grade for the 2015-2016 school year. As President Obama announced earlier this year, the parks service is launching a special initiative for the centennial to help engage and attract children and families to our national parks and the great outdoors. It is called Every Kid in a Park, and starting September 1, all fourth graders in America are entitled to a free Every Kid in a Park Pass, which grants free admission for one’s family—or an entire car-full at locations that charge by the car—to all U.S. national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife refuges. AAI Director Dunham Gooding is on the NPS Centennial Committee helping to plan the celebration. He recommended this idea based on the popular free 5th Grader program at Mt. Baker Ski Area. To read more, click here.

--Officials are threatening to reroute the end of the trail off Katahdin and out of Baxter State Park. The idea has stunned the hiking world. Katahdin has been the trail’s northern terminus for more than 80 years. For the thousands who set out annually to follow its entire path, moving the trail’s endpoint off the rocky peak would be a momentous detour, forcing long-distance hikers to end their treks not with a bang but a whimper. To read more, click here.

--Despite recent calls by some to charge uninjured recreationalists who call for help for the cost of their rescue, local search and rescue volunteers have historically opposed the idea. To read more, click here.

Smoke rises from a small wildfire.

--Wildfire is a striking story, often filled with the drama of danger. But there's a narrative missing from many of the reports: We need more controlled fires to prevent these runaway infernos, said fire historian and Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Stephen Pyne. To read more, click here.

--A 6-year-old girl in Austria is being sued for roughly $38,000 for causing a skiing accident that left an adult woman seriously injured and no longer able to ski. The child, who was part of a ski school group, allegedly made a sudden turn into the path of the woman and a judge will now have to decide whether the child can be held legally responsible for her actions. To read more, click here.

--The 12,740-acre Wasatch Peaks Ranch in Utah – part of an 11-mile Wasatch Mountains’ ridgeline of 24 peaks and 15 bowls that offers 4,600 vertical feet of snowy relief only 15 minutes from Ogden – is available for $46 million. The goal is to develop this area as a ski resort. To read more, click here.
--Two bills currently making their way through Congress should anger any American who cares about the nation’s forests. Introduced this summer, both bills are pro-industry and anti-environment — and seek to eliminate the public participation in federal decisions about forest management that could negatively impact local communities, ecological health and wildlife. To read more, click here.

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