Thursday, April 28, 2016

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 4/28/16

Important Recall Notices:

--WARNING: Petzl has reported that a third party has been selling "modified" Petzl ASPIR harnesses on ebay. These harnesses have been modified in a way that makes them EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. If you own a Petzl ASPIR harness, click here to learn more..

--Black Diamond Equipment has issued another recall. They are recalling the Easy Rider and Iron Cruiser Via Ferrata lanyard sets, Index Ascenders, Camalots and Camalot Ultralights. This is in addition to previously announced recalls of select carabiners and nylon runners. To learn more and to see if your equipment has been affected by this recall, click here.


--An individual recently posted a video of a climb of the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, BC. The individual is unsuccessful in his climb and fall from a 17-story building. Amazingly, he walks away from the incident with minor injuries. We are not proponents of "buildering." We believe that climbing is a means to experience the mountains and that soloing up manmade objects is way more dangerous -- and way more illegal -- than any climbing experience you could have in the wilderness. I've posted the video below, but beware, it's hard to watch. To read more, click here.

--The North Cascades Highway has reopened!

--Stevens Pass, who wrapped up for the season over the weekend, announced Tuesday that skier visits were more than double last year's -- 132% more, in fact. It's the most skiers they've had since they've been electronically counting all their visitors in the 2008-09 season. To read more, click here.


--At least one party lost their dog to high water crossing the river at the Owens River Gorge climbing area. It's likely that the dog was killed. Several other people also had close calls with their dogs. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Onlookers watched in horror Wednesday afternoon as an 18-year-old hiker nearly fell to her death off of Camelback Mountain. To read more, click here.

--Joshua Tree National Park rangers, operating on a tip from park visitors, apprehended and cited four men for vandalism and possession of a controlled substance. About 2:30 p.m. April 15, climbers in the Oyster Bar area of the park called park officials to report they smelled and saw fresh paint in the area; they also copied the license plate numbers of the only two other vehicles in the parking lot. When a ranger arrived, both cars were still at the site. To read more, click here.

--Zion National Park has seen an increase in attendance as of late, as well as an increased amount of search and rescues in the park. With the summer months ahead park officials are offering a few helpful tips when it comes to exploring the southern Utah terrain. Andrew Fitzgerald, SAR coordinator at Zion National Park said 2015 was a busy year for rescuers, he added in May of 2015 they had 16 searches and as of today they have 17 so far. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Maxim Arsenault, a skier from Whistler, Canada, died last Wednesday in an avalanche near Haines, Alaska. Arsenault’s death comes just days after another avalanche and a speedflying accident claimed the lives of Estelle Balet and Jordan Niedrich, respectively, both beloved members of our mountain community. To read more, click here.

--Remember a few weeks back when that guy climbed Morro Rock to propose to his girlfriend over FaceTime, then required a helicopter rescue and was subsequently arrested for suspicion of being high on meth? Of course you do! And no climber could soon forget, seeing as Michael Banks’ pioneering first ascent has been added to the online, open-source guidebook Mountain Project and already has more than 8,000 page views. Banks is respectfully credited with the first ascent of the only route on the 576-foot-tall formation at Morro Bay — and it’s an instant mega-classic! At the moment, “The Michael Banks Proposal Ramp” is literally number one on Mountain Project’s list of the top 10 most classic climbs. To read more, click here.

--A group of adventurous Aymara women from Bolivia, known as cholitas, is taking on some of the tallest peaks in South America. While the conditions on the excursions can be tough (they’ve dealt with steep andsnowy terrain and thin air at high altitudes) they’ve already climbed five mountains outside of La Paz, Bolivia, all of which top 19,500 feet above sea level. To read more, click here.

--Gordon Irwin is a guide with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and recently reported about a large rockfall at the Black Band crag on Tunnel Mountain near Banff. The wall is busy in the spring as it faces south and requires about 10 minutes of easy walking to approach. There are a number of well-bolted 5.10s up to 30 metres. Irwin reported that on Wed. April 20, three climbers witnessed a large rockfall. The climbers were descending from the crag to the main trail after climbing a number of routes, including Farrago 5.9. The rockfall they watched swept down Farrago and sent “torso-sized” blocks on the trail below. The climbers continued their descent and did not inspect the damaged route. To read more, click here.

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