Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How Those Bolts Got There...

The Canadian guide, Mike Barter, put up the following video on bolt placement. This is a rather rudimentary look at bolting. He gives the basics so that you know how that bolt actually got there, but there is a great deal more to placing bolts.

The best way to learn how to place a bolt properly is to work with an experienced bolter on replacing old bolts. This process will allow you to see where others have made mistakes. Understanding the most basic bolting mistakes is a great way to avoid making such mistakes.

The unfortunate reality is that most bolts are placed improperly. The fortunate reality is that most of these bolts that were placed improperly only have minor mistakes in their placement that make them unlikely to pull out most of the time. It's incredibly lucky that more people aren't injured or killed every year from poorly placed bolts.

If you decide to start bolting, it's important to do it right. Don't go out there and "just-figure-it-out." Seek out advice and guidance first...

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 3/23/17

Desert Southwest:

--The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that, "Save Red Rock, in an effort to halt progress on a proposed development near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, has accused the Clark County Commission of violating open meeting laws. Save Red Rock attorney Justin Jones made the allegation in a counterclaim filed in Clark County District Court on Monday. It’s the latest development in an ongoing lawsuit between the environmental nonprofit, the County and mining company Gypsum Resources, which wants to build 5,025 homes on Blue Diamond Hill." To read more, click here.

--Red Rock Rendezvous is a world-class climbing event. There will be climbing instruction, competitions, slideshows, games and parties. This is one event that just gets better every year. AAI guides will be there to support the event and will be available for guided climbs or instructional programs both before and after the Red Rock Rendezvous. To learn more, click here.


--The Associated Press is reporting that, "The body of a climber missing on Longs Peak has been found. Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson says the body of the 39-year-old man from Thornton was discovered by searchers on Sunday and flown down by helicopter." To read more, click here.

--The Gazette is reporting that "a 48-year-old Colorado Springs woman who fell while skiing on Pikes Peak died Sunday, the Teller County Sheriff's Office said, the latest death on a mountain whose steep chutes, ice and avalanches can make it extremely dangerous even for experts. Rachel A. Dewey, a middle school social studies teacher with Banning Lewis Ranch Academy and adjunct professor at Pikes Peak Community College, was skiing in an area known as Little Italy Couloir near Glen Cove with her husband and three teenage sons Sunday morning when she lost control and fell about 1,000 feet, the Sheriff's Office said." To read more, click here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Climbing Class and Grade

One of the most confusing elements for a new climber is how the climbing class and grade systems work in the United States. Many individuals go to the rock gym and feel like they understand what a 5.7 feels like, but seldom understand where that grade came from. Many wonder why it's not simply a 2 or a 3 instead of a 5.7.

In North America we use the Yosemite Decimal System to define the class of a climb. This system provides a class number and then a specific grade. Following is a breakdown of the classes:

Class 1 - Hiking on a maintained trail.
Class 2 - Easy scrambling. Some may occasionally need their hands.Class 3 - Moderate scrambling. Hands may be employed more often.
Class 4 - Easy climbing. Hands are used all the time. Many will climb at this level without a rope.
Class 5 - Where real rock climbing begins. Technical equipment is employed at this level.

At Class 5 we add a decimal and a number to the system. Periodically a plus or a minus will be used in conjunction with the class identification (i.e. 5.6+ or 5.8-). Once the system hits 5.10, a letter grade is added. There are four letter grades before the number grade changes. (i.e. 5.10a, 5.10b, 5.10c, 5.10d, 5.11a, 511b...). Following is a breakdown of this system;

5.0-5.6 - Beginner level climber
5.7-5.9 - Intermediate level climber
5.10a-5.11c - Advanced level climber
5.11d-5.13d - Professional climber
5.14a-5.15b - World class climber

Currently 5.15b is the hardest grade climbed in the world. However, the system is open-ended and one day somebody will climb something that is 5.15c.

Though climbers strive for consistency in grades, this breakdown is often quite subjective. In other words, a 5.10a in Red Rock Canyon might be the equivalent of a 5.8 in Joshua Tree National Park. It's important for climbers to get a feel for how the grades work in every new area they visit before pushing themselves too hard.

Many long rock and alpine climbs also employ a Roman Numeral commitment grade. This grade gives the "average climber" an overview of how long the route will take, how many pitches are technical, how difficult the routefinding on the route might be, and in some cases it will also take into account the remoteness of the climb. The commitment grades are as follows:

Grade I - A very short route requiring one to two hours.
Grade II - A route that takes two to four hours.
Grade III - A route that takes the better part of a day. For slower parties a Grade III will be an all day endeavor.
Grade IV - A route that takes all day. Generally a day that requires in excess of 12 hours. The technical difficulties are more pronounced.
Grade V - Generally takes more that a day. There are clear technical difficulties to be overcome.
Grade VI - A multi-day climb that requires solid technical skills and often requires both aid and free climbing techniques.

As with the Yosemite Decimal System, the commitment grade system is not without problems. It is incredibly subjective. The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite is a Grade VI. When it was first climbed in 1958, it took 45 days. The speed record is currently under three hours and many parties complete the route in a day. So the question must then be asked, what is an "average" climber? How should these grades be set? Most guidebook authors will look for some kind of consensus. The real average party on the Nose still takes about four days. As such, the Grade VI will remain for the time being.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 3/16/17


--Hood River News is reporting that, "The search for a missing skier, Steve Leavitt from The Dalles, has been dialed back and termed a recovery effort. Leavitt, 57, has been missing at Mt. Hood Meadows since last Tuesday." To read more, click here.

--The Everett Herald posted an editorial on the return of grizzly bears to the North Cascades. To read it, click here.

--The American Alpine Institute will be working with the Liz Rocks campaign to provide a scholarship for our Leaders of Tomorrow program for youth who come from a diverse background or who face significant hardship. The Leaders of Tomorrow program is the American Alpine Institute's premiere program for young people who wish to become climbers and mountaineers between the ages of 14 and 17. To learn more, click here.

--Leif Whittaker is a mountain climber, photographer, and writer whose work has appeared in various media worldwide, including Powder, Backcountry and The Ski Journal. His first book, My Old Man and the Mountain, was published by Mountaineers Books in October, 2016. In this presentation on March 30th in Bellingham, Whittaker, son of the first American to summit Mount Everest, will shed light on growing up in the shadow of a famous father, and how that journey helped shape a unique view of his own relationship with a mountain and a dad. Whittaker will be available after the presentation to sign books. Coffee and cookies will be served. Registration for this event closes on March 27, 2017. To learn more, click here.


AAI's Director Dunham Gooding and Royal Robbins
at the 2009 Outdoor Retailer

--On Wednesday night, Climbing magazine posted an obituary for one of the greatest rock climbers of all time. "On Tuesday, March 14, California rock-climbing and big-wall pioneer Royal Robbins passed away at age 82. Born February 3, 1935, Robbins ushered in the development of many modern free- and aid-climbing techniques and standards. In 1952, Robbins made the first free ascent of the Open Book in Tahquitz, California, pushing free climbing standards to 5.9. Five years later, he, Jerry Galwas, and Mike Sherrick completed the first ascent of the Northwest Face of Half Dome over five days." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--It appears that there was a fatal climbing accident in Arches National Park on March 5th. There is limited information about what happened. To read more, click here.

--This could be good news in the ongoing fight to stop development near Red Rock Canyon. The Nevada Independent is reporting that, "In the wake of controversy surrounding a proposed development within eyesight of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada lawmakers have reintroduced a bill that would essentially freeze any private development within a five-mile radius of a national conservation area. Democratic Assemblyman Steve Yeager introduced AB277 on Friday, with a large number of Democrats and two Republicans — Sen. Becky Harris and Assemblyman James Oscarson — signed on as sponsors." To read more, click here.

--Red Rock Rendezvous is a world-class climbing event. There will be climbing instruction, competitions, slideshows, games and parties. This is one event that just gets better every year. AAI guides will be there to support the event and will be available for guided climbs or instructional programs both before and after the Red Rock Rendezvous. To learn more, click here.

--In preparation for the Red Rock Rendezvous, Climbing magazine posted this article about belay extensions by Jason Martin, AAI's director of operations...


--The Denver Post is reporting that, "Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park finished off 2016 as the nation’s fourth most popular national park with more than 4.5 million visitors.": To read more, click here.

--A death due to a ski lift malfunction has heightened awareness of ski area infrastructure needs in Colorado. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--CBC News is reporting that, "A 34-year-old man who died Sunday while skiing at Canada's Lake Louise was wearing a helmet when he crashed into a tree, RCMP said Monday." To read more, click here.

--Fox 13 Salt Lake City is reporting that, " Search and rescue crews responded to Little Cottonwood Canyon after a rock climber fell about 50 feet while rappelling Saturday." To read more, click here.

--Boston.com is reporting that, "Authorities are investigating the death of a skier who was found unresponsive near an intermediate trail at the Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire." To read more, click here.

--Rock and Ice is reporting that, "The Access Fund has announced its 2016 Menocal Lifetime Achievement Award, Bebie Leadership Award and Sharp End Awards. These annual awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that "go above and beyond to volunteer their time and efforts to protecting America's climbing." To read more, click here.

--A moose in Alaska had to be shot because it charged a ski area lift line! To read more, click here.

--If you haven't seen this awesome clip from Bollywood, you should drop everything and watch it right now.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Super Munter

In a serious rescue situation, it might be possible that you would have to lower an extreme weight down a rock face. For example, there is the possibility that you might have to lower two climbers, one cradling another one, or you might have to lower a climber and a litter. There are many ways to do this, but there is one really smooth technique.

The super-munter is a variation on the munter-hitch. It creates a tremendous amount of friction and doesn't have one of the main problems of the munter-hitch, it doesn't tangle the rope. Indeed, the action of the rope as it goes through the super-munter twists the rope and then twists it back.

Following is a short video on how to make a super-munter:

The super-munter creates a great deal of friction. I have never used this for a rescue, but occasionally I have lowered two climbers together with this who didn't feel comfortable rappelling. I've always found it to provide more than enough friction to deal with 400+ lbs of dead weight.

While it is unlikely that you will use this particular hitch very often, it is a valuable rescue tool to have in your back-pocket.

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, March 10, 2017

Route Profile: Pequeno Alpamayo

Bolivia's Pequeno Alpamayo is one of the prettiest little peaks in the Cordillera Real. The mountain looks a great deal like Peru's Alpamayo, but doesn't have the objective danger or the size of it's namesake. Instead, Pequeno Alpamayo is a striking and accessible peak that can easily be done in a day from the Condoriri basecamp.

There are two major routes on the mountain. The moderate Southwest Ridge and the more difficult Southeast Face. Both lines require four to five pitches of climbing. The Southwest Ridge is primarily forty to fifty degree snow and ice climbing, while the Southeast Face is a bit steeper with terrain that ranges from sixty to seventy degrees.

In 1990, an AAI team established the steeper of the two routes. During the 80s and 90s American Alpine Institute expeditions were responsible for dozens of new routes in the Cordillera Real.

The route selection on Pequeno Alpamayo often takes place based on how one feels. The mountain's summit rises to 17,618 feet above sea level, so the oxygen is a bit thin. Many who might see the Southeast Face as a quick jog will find it to be somewhat more difficult due to the altitude. Climbing steep terrain at 17,000 feet often requires one to take a bit more time on each pitch. This is primarily because climbers tend to take a few breaths between each tool placement.

Both routes are accessed by traversing an adjacent peak. Tarija is 16,601 feet and is often considered an objective in and of itself. This approach to the mountain provides for an excellent view of the potential routes. Many of the striking photos of Pequeno Alpamayo have been taken from Tarija's summit.

Following is a photo essay from a series of ascents of Pequeno Alpamayo:

The classic shot taken from the summit of Tarija.
The Southwest Ridge climbs the obvious ridge.
The Southeast face ascends the steeper terrain to the left of the rocks.
Photo by Miles Newby

A group of climbers descend the Southwest Ridge
Photo by Jason Martin

Two AAI Climbers take a break in the middle of the Southwest Ridge
Photo by Jason Martin

Pequeno Alpamayo from nearby Chachapamapa
The Southeast Face route climbs up to the left of the rocks
Photo by Jason Martin

To learn more about the American Alpine Institute's expeditions to Bolivia, click here.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 3/9/17


--The CBC is reporting that, "A 52-year-old tourist from Austria has been killed in an avalanche north of Revelstoke, B.C. The man was with a heli-skiing outfit about 100 kilometres north of Revelstoke in the North Columbia region of east-central British Columbia." To read more, click here.

--CTV New Vancouver is reporting that, "The man who died in an avalanche near Whistler on Saturday is being identified in a memorial group on Facebook as Corey Lynam. Friends and family members are sharing pictures and memories of Lynam, his wife, and young son on the page. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to build a “legacy fund” for Lynam’s son. The page had raised more than $11,000 as of Sunday night. To read more, click here.

--TV News Vancouver is reporting on a backcountry avalanche that took place near Cypress Mountain. "A pair of backcountry skiers were caught in an avalanche on Saturday afternoon, and rescuers said one was taken to hospital after spending roughly five minutes buried under the snow. North Shore Rescue Team Leader Mike Danks told CTV News only one of the pair was buried. The other was able to dig him out with the help of another group of skiers that happened to be nearby." To read more, click here.

--There was a snowmobile avalanche fatality on the east side of the Cascades this week at Hawkins Mountain near Cle Elum.

--A skier broke his leg in an avalanche on Saturday near Alpental Ski Area in Snqualmie Pass. To read more, click here.


--The Mono County Search and Rescue team is looking for new members. To learn more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

AAI Guide Andrew Yasso talking about Red Rock Canyon to The Guardian.

--The Guardian recently did a piece on Red Rock Canyon. AAI Guide Andrew Yasso is featured in the video just over a minute into it. To see the video, click here.

--Red Rock Rendezvous is a world-class climbing event. There will be climbing instruction, competitions, slideshows, games and parties. This is one event that just gets better every year. AAI guides will be there to support the event and will be available for guided climbs or instructional programs both before and after the Red Rock Rendezvous. To learn more, click here.

--Patagonia and Google 360 teamed up to make an awesome interactive video about Bears Ears National Monument. To see it, click here.


--The Aspen Times is reporting that, "A 23-year-old mountaineer missing for two days after attempting to climb Pyramid Peak and falling nearly 1,500 feet was found alive late Tuesday afternoon, authorities said." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--A father and son were caught in an avalanche while cross country skiing near Helena, Montana on Monday. To read more, click here.

--A snowboarder in Alaska is lucky to be alive after triggering an avalanche in the sidecountry at Eaglecrest Ski Area. To read more, click here.

--The AP is reporting that, "Six people have died on Vermont's ski slopes this season, an increase over previous years. Three of the deaths involved resort visitors who were killed in accidents: two in crashes into trees, and one after falling into deep snow, according to a review of public records by the Burlington Free Press. Two other skiers died of natural causes on the mountain, and a resort employee was killed in a workplace accident." To read more, click here.

--The Idaho State Journal is reporting that, "Emergency responders were able to rescue a 61-year-old Idaho Falls man who suffered a heart attack while backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park on Friday. Mike Connolly was skiing with family members and friends when he began experiencing significant chest pains. He was listed in good condition at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls on Monday." To read more, click here.

--USA Today is reporting that, "Forest Service law enforcement officer Brad Treat was fatally mauled by a grizzly bear after accidentally surprising and colliding with the animal while mountain biking, the Board of Review Report has determined." To read more, click here.

"In the past 18 months, over 50 bills attacking federal management 
of our public lands have been introduced to Congress." Climbing.

--Climbing magazine has published a great article on how we can help defend our public lands. To read the article, click here.

--Jeff Lowe -- the inspirational climber that made the first ascent of classics as varied as Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, to Moonlight Buttress in Zion -- has received the 2017 Piolet d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award. To read more, click here.

--The newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior has a mixed record on public lands. To read an article on this topic from the Access Fund, click here.

--Outside Magazine has an article up about snow making machines that emit less greenhouse gasses and operate when the temperature is above freezing: "Climate change is ravaging the $12 billion ski industry. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates reduced snowfall has cost businesses a full $1 billion in the last decade. Snow machines, as a result, have become a necessary stopgap. But manmade snow is a bankrupt solution for this anthropogenic problem. Not only is the process weather-dependent—temperatures must be freezing for machines to work—but, critically, the thousands of snow machines that buzz all winter long use a tremendous amount of energy. Up to half of all the energy consumed by ski resorts now goes to making snow, NRDC estimates." To read more, click here.

--The Tacoma News Tribune has run an interesting article about a ski instructor who impaled his face on a tree. To see the article, click here.

--Rock and Ice is reporting that, "Canadian climber Nathan Kutcher has established what is likely the hardest mixed route in Alaska and a contender for the most difficult mixed climb in North America. His new route, Contra, ascends a near featureless, overhanging rock face in Keystone Canyon outside of Valdez." To read more, click here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review: The Adventure Gap

In the mid-nineties when I was teaching high school and trying to climb every weekend, I began to notice something. I was teaching at an inner city school with an incredibly diverse classroom, but then I was recreating in a place that wasn't diverse at all.

It's no secret that the bulk of those who participate in outdoor adventure sports are caucasian. And while most of us know a few minorities that participate in climbing and skiing, the percentage of those who participate in these sports are miniscule... There just aren't that many minorities playing in the mountains. And that's where James Edward Mills starts in his excellent book, The Adventure Gap.

The "adventure gap" is a term Mills coined for this lack of diversity in outdoor adventure sports. As a black man and a writer for several outdoor magazines and newspapers, he has spent a large part of his professional career writing about this gap.  And though Mills profiles several African American outdoor adventurers, the bulk of the book focuses on a single expedition.

In 2013 a group of African Americans set out to be the first all black Denali summit team. Their expedition was aptly named, Expedition Denali.

At 20, 320 feet above sea level, Denali, also called Mount McKinley, is the loftiest perch in the United States. As one of the so-called Seven Summits -- the tallest peak on each continent -- Denali is a much-valued prize on most climbers' bucket lists. Both physically and metaphorically: if you can succeed on Denali, you can likely succeed anywhere.

By summiting this high mountain, the members of the Expedition Denali team wanted to show that people of color -- African Americans in particular -- do in fact have a place in outdoor recreation. The objective was to inspire a new generation of minority youth to seek out and enjoy a relationship with the natural world where they might come to play, pursue career opportunities, and fight for its long-term preservation. Like most climbing expeditions the summit was not the sole goal. And for this expedition in particular, the ascent to the summit would be only the first step. The journey would continue for climbers back home in their communities, where each team member would be responsible for sharing their experience and offering encouragement to those around them who aspire to a life of adventure. 

The expedition was composed of a number of people from different backgrounds. Some of those on the trip had significantly more mountain experience than others. But they all were aware that putting together a team of African Americans for a Denali climb was something different, something that had not been done before.

A point aptly made in the book's narrative is that the opportunity for people of color to participate in mountain sports often simply isn't there. Perhaps the best anecdote in the book revolves around a young climber on the team by the name of Erica Wynn. The story picks up as she pokes around in a library full of mountaineering books.

As she perused the volumes before her, Erica was reminded that many of these stories were dominated almost exclusively by the adventures and exploits of white men.

Young people are exposed to many narratives, and Erica felt strongly that these stories shape our expectations of ourselves and of our lives. It's problematic if we're exposed to a single story and we can't identify ourselves in that story. Like so many young children, Erica had grown up in a culture heavily influenced by Disney movies and found herself unable to relate to the characters in those stories. The white woman in those movies always gets the happy ending and she rides off with her Prince Charming, she thought. Where is my place? My happy ending?

Erica thought of what little black girls would make of the mountaineering stories like those in the library. They'd think they didn't have a place, or that the odds were stacked against them. She knew that Expedition Denali could help change that. It could add a new story and in that way, help women identify themselves in the outdoors in a way they were unable to in the past. 

Racial minorities aren't the only ones that have dealt with this perception. Certainly women have dealt with this as well, but female climbers and outdoor adventurers have made great strides in this arena. And where young women had only few outdoor role models thirty years ago, now they have dozens upon dozens of female sponsored athletes and guides to look up to...

Obviously one expedition is unlikely to change an embedded preconception of who gets to go into the mountains. But every change in perception has to start somewhere. Programs like the one set up to put together Expedition Denali are a great start, but they are just a start. All of us have to be more accommodating to opening up access to the outdoors and to adventure sports for those who don't look like us. It just takes a few programs like this in order to start a trend that might change things; and then perhaps in a few years, there will be a lot of people of color who will be role models for young minority aspiring outdoor adventurers...

Some might say, "but the places where I play are already crowded. I don't want more people there. I want less." This is a valid point, and as an advocate for solitude in the wilderness I hear you...but this is important. It's bigger than our own personal desire to be alone. This issue matters...

The question some may ask is, why does this matter? Mills does an excellent job of answering that question:

African American comprise only a small percentage of people who routinely spend time in nature. Low rates of participation among people of color in adventure sports such as backpacking, rock climbing, downhill skiing, and mountaineering suggest troubling prospects for the future. Very few blacks join environmental protection groups such as the Sierra Club or The Wilderness Society. And an even smaller number can be counted among the corps of professionals in careers dedicated to the preservation and conservation of nature, including national park rangers, foresters or environmental scientists.

 It's estimated that by 2042, the majority of US citizens will be nonwhite. Which begs the question: What happens when a majority of the population has neither the affinity for, nor a relationship with the natural world? At the very least, it becomes less likely that future generations will advocate for legislation or federal funding to protect wild places, or seek out job prospects that seek to protect it.

What happens indeed? It seems to me that Mills has thrown down the gauntlet for those of us who love the wilderness. How will we promote outdoor adventure to people of color? How can we get more diverse people into the mountains? How can we protect the future of the lands that we love...?

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Temporary Closures to Protect Nesting Raptors in Rocky Mountain National Park

The American Alpine Institute just received the following email from Rocky Mountain National Park:

Each year to protect raptor nesting sites, Rocky Mountain National Park officials initiate temporary closures in the Lumpy Ridge and Sheep Mountain areas of the park. To ensure that these birds of prey can nest undisturbed, specific areas within the park are closed temporarily to public use during nesting season and monitored by wildlife managers. All closures began on March 1 and will continue throughJuly 31, if appropriate. These closures may be extended longer or rescinded at an earlier date depending on nesting activity.

Closures include Checkerboard Rock, Lightning Rock, Batman Rock, Batman Pinnacle, Sundance, Thunder Buttress, The Parish, Alligator Rock, Sheep Mountain, and Twin Owls, Rock One. These closures include the named formations. Closures include all climbing routes, outcroppings, cliffs, faces, ascent and descent routes and climber access trails to the named rock formations. Check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/area_closures.htm for updated information on raptor closures.

The National Park Service is committed to preserving birds of prey. The same cliffs that are critical for raptors also appeal to climbers. The cooperation of climbing organizations and individuals continues to be essential to the successful nesting of raptors in the park.

For further information on Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 3/2/17


--Yesterday was the anniversary of the deadliest avalanche in US history. An avalanche came down on Stevens Pass and knocked two trains off their tracks. Ninety-six people died in the incident and it became known as the White Horror. To read about this historic avalanche, click here.


--A hunter was attacked by a mountain lion near Mono Lake this week. The mountain lion was ultimately killed in the incident. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--In a piece of terrible news, it is looking more and more like 5000 houses will be built across the street from Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas. To read an article about the next step that was recently taken toward this development, click here.

--Red Rock Rendezvous is a world-class climbing event. There will be climbing instruction, competitions, slideshows, games and parties. This is one event that just gets better every year. AAI guides will be there to support the event and will be available for guided climbs or instructional programs both before and after the Red Rock Rendezvous. To learn more, click here.

--Mountain Gear and Latino Outdoors, a national, non-profit organization committed to connecting Latinos to outdoor spaces, are hosting an Instagram contest to support increasing diversity in the outdoors and access to rock climbing. Red Rock Rendezvous sponsor, Mountain Gear, is generously donating five UClimb registrations to the festival, which will be held at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just outside of Las Vegas, from March 24 to March 27, 2017. To read more, click here.

--The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that, "Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area officials say visitors can expect unusually long delays on the park’s 13-mile scenic drive as a construction project gets underway. Crews will begin pulverizing and repaving the loop in roughly one-mile increments Sunday evening after the gates close. The entire one-way road will be resurfaced over the course of the project, which expected to last into summer." To read more, click here.


--The Durango Herald is reporting that, "a 34-year-old woman who struck a tree and died while skiing at Purgatory Resort on Saturday has been identified as Farmington resident Kressyda Ming, according to La Plata County coroner Jann Smith." To read more, click here.

--The Denver Post is reporting that, "Vail police are again warning skiers and snowboarders of a growing trend of fraudulent lift ticket sales this season that has cost visitors thousands of dollars. So far this winter, there have been 39 such cases reported to police, an 875 percent increase over the 4 cases during the same period last year." To read more, click here.

--The Aspen Times is reporting that, "a dog named Snoopy received 66 stitches during the course of a three-hour surgery Monday, but his injuries weren't because of a brawl with another canine, an attack by a wild animal or being struck by a vehicle. Instead the 50-pound cattle dog was, according to his owner, kicked by a skier in the Tiehack area of Buttermilk about one minute after Snoopy snapped loose from a leash. Three of Snoopy's ligaments were severed and the violent encounter left what owner Danny Brown called a "bloody mess" on the slopes of Tiehack." To read more, click here.

--The Star Tribune is reporting that, "More than a dozen climbing routes on rocky cliffs in southern Utah's Zion National Park have been temporarily closed to help protect peregrine falcons." To read more, click here.

--The Durango Herald is reporting that, "Hesperus Ski Area has been shut down since Tuesday after the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board performed a routine inspection and found maintenance and operational issues that must be addressed." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Denver 7 is reporting that, "a Colorado man who went missing while skiing in Japan earlier this week died in an avalanche, his wife confirmed through a GoFundMe page set up to pay for search and rescue efforts. 'After an exhaustive search, I am devastated to report that Mat will not be returning home at this time,” reads the message posted Saturday. “The search and rescue teams have determined that he perished in an avalanche, and due to the extreme conditions, we will be unable to recover him until Japan’s long winter season has passed.'" To read more, click here.

--On Monday, Unofficial Networks was reporting that, "An avalanche hit the main employee parking lot at Snowbird around 5:25pm, burying 3 to 4 cars belonging to resort guests. The lot is called the Superior Lot and is just east of the Cliff Lodge. Fox New 13 is reporting at least 25 ski patrollers were on scene searching for victims but have not yet found anyone injured or buried by the slide." To read more, click here.

--Apparently over 150 soldiers were killed during World War I in the high Alps. And now with glaciers receding due to anthropogenic climate change, the corpses -- perfectly preserved in the ice for nearly 100-years -- are revealing themselves. To read about it, click here.

--AAI Guide Jim Mediatore worked in Antarctica this winter and helped recover a scientific balloon sent up by NASA. Check out the video below to learn more: