Thursday, January 21, 2016

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 1/21/16


--American Alpine Institute Guide Like Liz Scholarship applications are due on January, 31, 2016.

Round Table on Climate, Post Meeting Ski Group:
Martinique Grigg (former Executive Director, Mountaineers), (Seattle REI Flagship Store Manager), Barry Collins (Forest Service), Katherine Hollis (Conservation and Recreation Manager, Mountaineers), Jason Martin (American Alpine Institute), Bill Granger (Re-Align Environmental), Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Kurt DelBene, John Meriwether (Stevens Pass), and Taldi Walter (REI Government Affairs)

--AAI Director of Operations, Jason Martin, participated in a roundtable discussion on climate change and its effect on the outdoor industry with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene at Stevens Pass Ski Resort this week. Jason was part of a select group of industry leaders from the Pacific Northwest. The team discussed issues revolving around increased wildfires, floods, and uneven snow years. After the productive conversation, the group all went skiing together. And Congresswoman DelBene can rip. She grew up in Colorado and was on a ski team...! To read more, click here.

--Oregon ski area operators and the state’s trial lawyers association are trying to craft a compromise on an update to the state’s ski statute within the next two weeks. On Friday, the House Interim Committee On Consumer Protection and Government Effectiveness held an informational hearing in Salem on the case for an update to the 1979 statute. A state Supreme Court ruling in 2014 on a personal injury lawsuit brought by a skier who was injured at Mt. Bachelor has brought the issue of ski area liability to the attention of the Legislature. To read more, click here.


--The search for missing California ski instructor Carson May, who disappeared in an avalanche-prone area north of Lake Tahoe, was suspended Tuesday night. To read more, click here.

--Pro skier JT Holmes says he’s still shaken five days after being buried and going unconscious in an avalanche northwest of Lake Tahoe. Holmes, who is known for pushing the boundaries of big mountain skiing and speed riding, said he was skiing with friends on Thursday near Truckee, Calif., when the slide occurred during the group’s fourth run of the day. To read more, click here.

--The names of iconic hotels and other landmarks in Yosemite National Park will soon change in an ongoing battle over who owns the intellectual property, park officials said Thursday. The luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel will become the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, and Curry Village will become Half Dome Village, said park spokesman Scott Gediman. The move comes in an ongoing dispute with Delaware North, the company that recently lost a $2 billion bid — the National Park Service’s largest single contract — to run Yosemite’s hotels, restaurants and outdoor activities. To read more, click here.

--Dynamite saved the day when a gigantic, 20-ton boulder rolled onto a California roadway and blocked traffic for six hours on Wednesday. Road crews from the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) drilled holes into the 15-foot wide rock after it landed on the westbound lane of Highway 50, about 30 miles west of Lake Tahoe, according to NBC Bay Area. To read more, click here. To see an image of the rock exploding, look below:

--An avalanche triggered by a snowboarder in a closed area of Sugar Bowl Resort on Friday, Jan. 15 has been fully investigated by resort officials, and the snowboarder now faces prosecution. Christian Michael Mares triggered an avalanche at approximately 12:45 p.m. on Friday Jan. 15 after knowingly traversing into an area of the East Palisades called “Perco’s,” which has not been open to the public since the 2010/11 ski season. The area is clearly marked as closed from both the Mt. Disney and Mt. Lincoln directions, and it is a very active avalanche area. As such, Mares put himself, his friends, ski patrol and the skiing public at risk. To read more and to see the video that lead to the resort's decision to prosecute this snowboarder, click here.

--The 12-pitch WI 5 Widow's Tears in Yosemite Valley has seen several ascents over the last couple of weeks. This obscure ice route is seldom climbed. To read more, click here.

--Despite a fourth consecutive year of drought, rockfall activity in Yosemite National Park in 2015 was about average, with 66 documented events (rockfalls, rockslides, and debris flows). The cumulative volume of all events was about 8,700 cubic meters (roughly 25,000 tons). To read more, click here.

  Desert Southwest:

--Rescue team volunteer Scott Hicks was responding to a call about a woman who died while rock climbing when he received a shock: The body belonged to his ex-wife. Hicks, 58, and other members of the Santa Fe County Fire Department technical rescue team were sent to Diablo Canyon to recover a body Monday afternoon, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. They were told a 59-year-old woman fell 175 feet to her death. To read more, click here.

--The best climbing festival of the year is now accepting registrations. Red Rock Rendezvous will run from April 1-3. Come on out to Vegas and get your climb on! To read more, click here.

--Climbers have been exploring Grand Canyon National Park for decades. The desert alpine climbing area provides many classic summits such as Zoroaster Temple and Mount Hayden. Much of Grand Canyon National Park is classified as “proposed Wilderness,” and as such it is managed under the same set of guidelines as a designated Wilderness area. The Park recently issued a DRAFT Backcountry Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement, which proposes fixed anchor regulations, day-use and overnight permits, climber use monitoring, climbing impact assessment, climber education, and the development of a standalone climbing management plan. To read more, click here.


--So this is odd. During the Ouray Ice Festival Elite Climbing Competition, a 3-foot wide water pipe burst above the canyon. Climbers had to be evacuated from the lower canyon due to rising water levels, but the ice competition continued. Check out the video of the burst pipe below:

--For a round-up of the Ouray Ice Festival mixed competition results, click here.

--Skiers and snowboarders often don't see eye to eye, but one skier who shared a chairlift with a snowboarder took things to a new level Sunday at Aspen Highlands. The skier, a white man in his late 20s or early 30s, took offense to a seemingly innocuous comment by the snowboarder sitting next to him and threw the man off the Loge Peak chairlift, said Seth Beckton of Aspen, the snowboarder who was pushed. To read more, click here.

--Earlier this month, Jefferson County Open Space (JeffCo) in Colorado released its Final Climbing Management Guideline (CMG) that will govern climbing in Clear Creek Canyon, Mt. Lindo, North Table Mountain and other JeffCo-managed climbing areas. The county released a draft of its CMG in November with little public input, alarming many local climbers with proposed regulations that would unnecessarily encumber climbing access and route development. In response, JeffCo officials initiated an abbreviated public process and solicited input from the Access Fund and local climbers. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A skier died in an avalanche in the northern Madison Range near Big Sky on Tuesday afternoon and officials warn of dangerous conditions throughout the mountains of Southwest Montana. A release from Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Advisory, said the man died after the avalanche swept him into some trees near Cedar Basin. Three of his skiing partners rescued him quickly but he died as a result of trauma. To read more, click here.

--The man who died in an avalanche near Hatcher Pass Saturday was identified as 25-year-old Warren Carlyle, Alaska State Troopers wrote in a dispatch. Troopers were notified of that an avalanche took place Saturday afternoon just east of Summit Lake on Hatcher Pass Road in Palmer. To read more, click here.

--A ski patroller in Utah was buried in an avalanche Tuesday and remained under the snow for as long as 10 minutes before being rescued, police said. The 31-year-old man was performing avalanche reduction just northeast of Powder Mountain's James Peak around 9:15 a.m. when a loose slab of snow triggered an avalanche that dragged him about 1,800 feet down the mountainside, said Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Brandon Toll, who oversees the agency's search and rescue team. To read more, click here.

--Despite a low snowpack and seemingly early-season conditions on Mount Washington, an avalanche on Sunday triggered by two climbers swept a Tuckerman Ravine gully, catching four and leaving two injured. The slide occurred just before1 p.m., according to the U.S. Forest Service Mount Washington Avalanche Center, in The Chute, a narrow gully just left of the Tuckerman Headwall. To read more, click here.

--A skier was caught in a two-foot deep avalanche and carried along the Park City ridgeline Tuesday afternoon. The skier was not seriously injured. To read more, click here.

--A bizarre tree that appears to be on fire has captured the attention of more than a million people. Hikers walking through Defiance, Ohio, discovered the so-called “devil tree” before capturing it on video. The guy who takes the video has a hard time taking video and walking. He falls down at least twice. But the video is still cool. To read more, click here. To see the Devil Tree video, click below:

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