Monday, September 16, 2019

Film Review: High Lane

There are a lot of horror-style movies out there that involve climbing in some way. Most of them are not just bad, but are really bad. It's actually somewhat uncommon to come across one that is...mediocre.

The reality of most film of all genres is that it's mediocre. You're often not totally bored. You find some engagement with the characters and then when the movie is over, you quickly forget it. Surprisingly, really bad films tend to stay with you a bit longer.


High Lane (2009) is one of those mediocre films that will likely drop out of my brain shortly after I write this blog. But that doesn't mean that I wasn't engaged by it. For a "horror-thriller" style film, set in the mountains, it was much better than most of its competitors, but that's not really saying much.

Five friends decide to go on a trip to Croatia where they will take a via ferrata route up into the mountains. For those who are uninitiated, via ferrata is a form of climbing where one wears a harness rigged with lobster claws. The via ferrata routes follow cables and ladders -- many of which were set during World War II -- through the mountains. If you fall, the lobster claws attached to your harness will catch you.

In any case the friends are composed of two women and three men. One of the women, Chloé (Fanny Valette), previously dated one of the men, Loïc (Johan Libéreau) and is currently dating one of the other men, Guillaume, (Raphaël Lenglet). This provides a bit of tension throughout the story, and indeed, is one of the subplots that raises this film above many of its competitors.

The group is lead by Fred (Nicolas Giraud), an accomplished climber who is sure that he can bring the group up into the mountains on a via ferreta route that is rusty and falling apart. Needless to say, he doesn't do a good job and the team gets caught in the mountains. And of course, the fact that they're caught is compounded by the fact that there is a delusional psychopath in the mountains that has set traps all over the place and might be a cannibal...or something. All of this leads to where most horror movies lead to, a combination of blood and guts and edge-of-your-seat tension.

There is one scene that is particularly interesting for climbers. The via ferrata completely falls apart and the climbers are stuck with two injured people in the forest above the cliffs. They have a rope, but pretty much nothing else: no gear, no extra clothes, nothing.

One of the great values of a film like this is that we tend to put ourselves in the characters shoes...and I have to admit that this was one time where I wasn't sure what I would do. The situation was incredibly difficult. Especially with the lack of equipment to rig anything. It's scenes like this that make this type of film worth watching. What would you do...?



High Lane is a French film that has been dubbed. This is a bit disconcerting at the start. I generally prefer films that have subtitles. But the dubbing is doubly disconcerting because there are sections in English where the characters lips line up, but then they start speaking in French again. This is annoying. However, the plot is just interesting enough to allow you to forget about the dubbing.

A second larger problem with this film is the way that the director (Abel Ferry) elected to cut together footage that was designed to raise tension.

Here's an example: A character is running. Another character is loading a crossbow. A character is running. Another character is still loading the crossbow. The first character is still running and the music is intense so he must be in danger, but the other character is still loading the crossbow.

Most directors would make three cuts where Ferry elected to make six or seven. The intent to create tension goes on for so long that there is no tension anymore...

Early in this review I noted that there is tension between two male characters over a female character. Though the characters actions are sometimes stupid (like fighting with one another while being hunted by a madman), this little subplot provides a small amount of depth to otherwise flat characters. It also provides a few plot twists that allow for a more interesting story.

The via ferreta sequences are mostly true to the way they would actually be...minus cables randomly breaking. That's a given in this kind of film, and I'm willing to suspend my disbelief. Indeed though, if nothing else, this film gets viewers psyched for cool via ferrata routes

High Lane is an engaging ride that explores some places that other similar mountain thrill-horror movies do not. But that doesn't mean it's a good movie...but if you've got nothing else to do, it might be worth an hour and a half of your time...

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Birth and Death of a Carabiner

A few weeks ago we put up a post on rope construction. Black Diamond has produced a little video entitled, "The Birth of a Carabiner." The video doesn't dwell on narration or anything else, it's just a quick peak inside a shop where carabiners are made.



Of course, once carabiners are made, a couple are tested from every batch. In other words, this is the death part of this blog.

The following video from Omega Pacific shows a force test on a carabiner. This is an awesome video. It's pretty intense to watch as the tester puts more and more and more pressure on it...



--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 9/12/19

Northwest:

--News 10 is reporting that, "A climber died after being seriously injured during a fall on Mount Shasta this weekend. On Saturday, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received a call from a female stating her climbing partner fell while climbing on Mount Shasta and was unconscious at or near the 11,000 feet level of the mountain. He reportedly fell on Casaval Ridge in the area of Red Banks. The man’s companion and reporting party talked to SCSO’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator, Deputy Mike Burns via cellular phone and advised him she had to hike to Lake Helen to get a cell signal sufficient to report the incident." To read more, click here.

--A climber was severely injured, suffering a potential pelvic fracture, after taking a fall in Washington Pass. To read more, click here.

Hiking near Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

--The Peninsula Daily News is reporting that, "Multiple search and rescues in Olympic National Park — including Monday’s rescue of a 15-year-old boy who fell in the Sol Duc River — kept rescue crews busy over the Labor Day weekend. At about 12:12 p.m. Monday Olympic National Park dispatch received a report that the 15-year-old fell into the Sol Duc River and went over Sol Duc Falls, falling up to 50 feet. This incident was one of 71 search and rescue incidents so far this year." To read more, click here.

--The Vancouver Sun is reporting that, "A historic rail trail that was donated to the province by the Trans Canada Trail society could be opened to logging trucks if a government proposal to cancel its trail designation gets the green light, say trail advocates. The Ministry of Forests is seeking to transfer management of a 67-kilometre portion of the Columbia and Western Rail Trail to unspecified agencies to reflect local interests and support 'access for industrial activity,' according to a letter sent to stakeholders soliciting feedback on the plan." To read more, click here.

--Thousands of people worked together to raise money to save a beautiful area from logging in British Columbia. The New York Times is reporting that, "In an unusual crowdsourcing campaign, more than 1,000 students, philanthropists, sailors, businesspeople and others raised 3 million Canadian dollars, or $2.3 million in American currency, that the British Columbia Parks Foundation needed to buy nearly 2,000 acres in Princess Louisa Inlet. Known as the 'Yosemite of the North,' the stunning glacier-carved gorge had been eyed by developers this year." To read more, click here.

--The Statesman Journal is reporting that, "Sudden fame and poor behavior have marred another famous outdoor spot in Oregon. Broken Top Lake, often referred to as No Name Lake, has been closed to camping following a dramatic spike in people visiting and excess amounts of poop at the high alpine destination." To read more, click here.

--Here's a comprehensive report on the state of Forest and Public Lands in Washington State.

Sierra:

--The Los Angeles Times is reporting that, "A 29-year-old woman died in a fall from the cables used to climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, officials said Friday. Danielle Burnett, 29, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., was killed Thursday when she “fell over 500 feet down steep, rocky terrain, and was deceased when park rangers arrived on the scene,” according to a statement from the National Park Service." To read more, click here.

--As of two days ago, the Taboose Fire was 36% contained. To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Summit Daily is reporting that, "Nearly two years after a collision at Vail Mountain, Paulina Romero Labra received $750,000 in damages after the case was settled ahead of a scheduled jury trial, according to a news release. The lawsuit stemmed from an incident Dec. 8, 2017, when Labra, of Mexico, and Craig Michel, of Virginia, collided on Lower Lion’s Way trail. Labra’s left humerous was shattered in the crash, and she required surgery to place hardware in her shoulder followed by rehabilitation, according to the release." To read more, click here.

--The Spectrum is reporting that, "The official nonprofit partner of Zion National Park is looking for more than $3.7 billion in funding for projects this coming year — like a $2.5 million visitor center at Cedar Breaks National Monument, a revamp of the east entrance to Zion National Park and money to care for an endangered California condor chick." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Buckrail is reporting that, "Grand Teton National Park Rangers rescued a climber who was stranded on the Middle Teton last weekend. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received an emergency call from the climber at approximately 7:45 p.m. Saturday, September 7." To read more, click here.

--The New Hampshire Union Leader is reporting that, "A climber was hurt on Cathedral Ledge Sunday morning. Sean Goodrich, 45 of Yarmouth, Maine was climbing with a partner when he slipped. Before a rope could stop his fall, Goodrich hit the cliff face." To read more, click here.

--The Anchorage Daily News is reporting that, a hunter was mauled by a sow brown bear Friday night in the Eureka area northeast of Anchorage, the Alaska State Troopers said. The injured person’s hunting partner ended the attack by shooting the bear dead." To read more, click here.


--Rock and Ice is reporting that, "The Protect Our Winters Action Fund and Climb the Hill 2019 will bring climbers—including Conrad Anker, Tommy Caldwell, Sasha DiGiulian, Quinn Brett and Alex Honnold—to the U.S. Capitol to speak on issues of climate change and land management." It should be noted that AAI Guide Lindsay Fixmer will also attend the Climb the Hill event. To read more, click here.

--Huffpost is reporting that, "if the Trump administration gets its way, approximately 28.3 million acres of federal land across Alaska could be transferred, sold or opened up to extractive development, according to a new Center for American Progress analysis of the federal government’s land management actions in the state." To read more, click here.

--This guy is trying to climb all fourteen 8000-meter peaks in under 1000-days...

--The Banff Mountain Book Festival "Long List" of books and articles in competition has been published. To read more, click here.

--And finally, speaking of Banff, there are five new bolted multi-pitch routes there. Check it out.

Equipment Recalls:

--Decathlon USA has recalled one of their locking carabiners. It appears that these were assembled incorrectly.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Film Review: Meru

Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin have been major names in the climbing world for a long time. Both of the athletes have built themselves into climbing superstars.  Conrad is world famous for his ascents and even made waves in the non-climbing world by finding the body of George Mallory on Mt. Everest. Jimmy is well known for his climbing photography and cinematography.

In 2004, I was living in Las Vegas and guiding in Red Rock Canyon every day. Many of my friends at the time were living the "dirt bag" lifestyle, living out of their cars and getting after it whenever they could. It was then that I met a young climber who had just linked up three huge classic lines in Red Rock. Renan Ozturk linked Epinephrine (5.9, IV), Cloud Tower (5.12a, IV) and Levitation 29 (5.11c, IV) in a single day. I was absolutely amazed. Each of those lines are not only big, but are nowhere near each other...


It didn't surprise me when I started to hear stories about Renan climbing with Conrad and Jimmy. There's no doubt that he had the chops to play in the same world class arena as the other two.

There have been several articles and films that featured each one of these climbers over the last several years. But none of them come close to the aesthetic quality and the human tension that exists in the film, Meru.

Meru tells the story of the three climbers and one mountain: Meru. Or to be more specific, the Shark's Fin of Meru, which is a massive granite peak that combines mountaineering, ice climbing, mixed climbing and A4 big wall climbing skills to ascend. Dozens of parties have tried the route, but no one had succeeded.

Conrad attempted the route in 2003 with Doug Chabot and Bruce Miller, but failed. They simply didn't expect it to be as challenging as it was. The film chronicles his return to the mountain with Renan and Jimmy in 2008 and 2011.



In the course of the film, we discover that all three of the men have dealt with close calls and loss. Conrad's mentor died first, and then his best friend. Renan becomes seriously injured in an avalanche. And Jimmy barely escapes from another avalanche with his life.

The three men all have different reasons for climbing Meru. It was a dream passed down to Conrad from Mugs Stump, his alpine mentor. It was a passion for Jimmy as he slowly brought himself back into the climbing and skiing world from his brush with death. And it was an absolute necessity for Renan to prove to himself that he still is who he was before his accident.

Meru is a beautiful film. The scenery mixed with the expert cinematography is breathtaking. But the real story is the story of the three men, mountain partners who work together to achieve a goal while sealing the bonds of friendship...

There is no doubt that it was a tremendously difficult task to make such a film in such conditions. There were times when I was amazed by the fact that the camera elevates as if by a boom (where did they get a boom in the mountains?) to provide a better shot. There were other times that I was shocked that they kept the camera rolling when someone was clearly in pain or at the edge. And there were times that I was amazed by the fact that they probably had to climb something twice or even three times in order to get a shot. And indeed, I was amazed by the fact that it all came together so seamlessly. Meru is a testament to documentary filmmaking. It is a testament to what can be done...

I had an unusual experience in this film. It was the first documentary-style climbing film that I had ever seen with a non-climber audience. Most of the films that I see like this are at Reel Rock Film Festival, at Banff Film Festival or at 5 Point Film Festival. The people watching films at these types of festivals tend to be like-minded individuals, who don't hyperventilate at the heights depicted or question the motives of the climbers.

It was valuable to have this experience watching the film with non-climbers, in part because hearing the reactions and the gasps of the audience reminded me what a beautiful place the mountains are, and how the images of what we do inspire others. But we need inspiration too. And that's where the value of a movie like this comes into play. Those of us who are not world class climbers need people like Conrad, Jimmy and Renan to inspire us. And a film like Meru does exactly that. It reminds us what is possible...

Jason D. Martin

Climbing Technique: Footwork

Neil Gresham's Climbing Masterclass on youtube is pretty darn good. In the following video, Neil works through the essentials of good footwork. He hits upon all most important types of movement -- edges, smears, pockets, and polished footholds -- and then talks about how to create precision with your feet in all these mediums. It's well worth the watch...


--Jason D. Martin

Monday, September 9, 2019

Purcell Prusik Personal Anchor System

The Purcell Prusik is an adjustable personal anchor system. It is designed with an internal prusik-hitch that allows for an adjustable loop.

Many climbers use "Purcells" in a climbing application. This fine, but there are often easier and lighter options. At AAI, we primarily use these in rope rescue applications for personal anchors. We do this for two reasons. First, Purcells are very adjustable, even after they've been clipped to an anchor. And second, the internal prusik can operate as a shock absorber if you fall and shock-load the anchor.

Check out the following video for one way to tie Purcells...


--Jason D. Martin

Friday, September 6, 2019

Climbing as a Party of Three on Technical Glaciated Climbs

Climbing as a party of two is common but there are several advantages to climbing as a party of three. One more person to lead, more assistance in the event of an accident, dispersing group gear weight, better sourcing of belay comedy, etc. One key disadvantage is that systems can get more complicated with one more person, and in turn slow down the speed of the party's climbing. Let's look at a few basics for making a party of three successful on glaciated alpine climbs that are more technical- like the North Ridge of Baker. None of these techniques should be tried for the first time on a climb, practice beforehand, and if in doubt seek qualified instruction/guidance- this blogpost should not be your sole source of information on these techniques and should be treated as a "tech tip" rather than an exhaustive how-to.

Glacier Travel
One great plus: three people traveling on a crevassed glacier is better than two! Some will opt to set up the rope so that each end person has extra rope to effect crevasse rescue depending on the situation and techniques practiced.

Climbers travel on the Easton Glacier, Mt. Baker

Caterpillar
For smaller, isolated sections of technical climbing it can be efficient to caterpillar: one person leads, the first follower attaches in the middle of the rope-climbs to the anchor, the second follower ties into the end of the rope and follows after the first follower has completed the pitch. This can potentially save the need for bringing a second rope if the technical sections of a climb are short (<30 meters).

Climbing in caterpillar style on the icy crux step of the North Ridge, Mt. Baker. The leftmost climber is still attached to the previous anchor and will not climb until they are on belay (after the middle climber is done with the pitch).

End-Roping
For moderate snow climbing that is too steep to self-arrest on, and isn't quite steep enough to merit caterpillar or parallel, consider end-roping. This is a common technique used for guiding but can be applicable in recreational climbing as well. The leader climbs- potentially placing gear depending on terrain and comfort, and builds a belay (utilizing their body and/or snow/rock/ice protection), and belays the two climbers on the far end of the rope. For the two climbers on the end: one ties into the end of the rope, the second climber is on a bight knot (an overhand with a cow's tail is common) 6+ feet from the end. It is important that both climbers on the end of the rope work together with their pacing so that slack isn't developed and the distance between them is adjusted as needed (don't want to kick somebody with crampons!).


Tow followers in end-rope formation. On homogenous "smooth" snow/neve terrain, letting the extra rope simply slip downhill is fine and can speed up systems.


 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad -- 9/5/19

Northwest:

--KRCR7 is reporting that, "KTVL reports that a climber has died after being seriously injured during a fall on Mount Shasta this weekend. On Saturday, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a female stating her climbing partner fell while climbing on Mount Shasta and was unconscious at or near the 11,000 feet level of the mountain." To read more, click here.

--KOMO News is reporting that, "a hiker from Germany died after he was hit by a falling tree on the Pacific Crest Trail. The Skamania County Sheriff's office said Thursday it received a cell phone call at about 4 p.m. Tuesday from a group of hikers on the PCT, northwest of Trout Lake, Washington." To read more, click here.

--The Seattle Times is reporting that, "State officials have canceled a series of public meetings about possible changes to the state’s wolf-management policy, citing fear of violence. The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife had planned 14 public meetings from Spokane to Montesano to kick off  a yearslong process of creating a new wolf-management policy, once wolves are no longer protected under the state and federal endangered species acts." To read more, click here.

--KGW8 is reporting that, "Two years after a fire consumed trails and forests in the scenic Columbia River Gorge, the popular Eagle Creek Trail is in the final phases of reopening to the public." To read more, click here.

Sierra:

--From the Bishop Area Climbers Coalition: "Attention Owens River Gorge Gorge aficionados! The Gorge will be CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC from September 9-17. LADWP will be releasing substantially higher-than-normal flows down the Gorge for maintenance during this time. Please respect this closure in order to keep yourself safe and to help us ensure the future of climber access in the Gorge. (Also, it's too hot there anyway :P ) We will soon update our website's dedicated ORG page (https://bishopclimbers.org/owensrivergorge) with this info, including the official LADWP press release and links to monitor the flood levels."

Colorado and Utah:

--Summit Daily is reporting that, "A Boulder man was airlifted from Rocky Mountain National Park after sustaining serious injuries in a fall while climbing Hallett Peak on Friday. Park rangers responded in the early morning on Aug. 30 to a 63-year-old man who had taken a 15 to 20 foot roped fall from the Englishman’s Route. The man was approximately four pitches up when he fell and sustained serious injuries." To read more, click here.

Forest bathing is not about bathing in a creek, but bathing in nature...

--Forest bathing...? The Daily Beast says, "it'ss a Japanese practice that has become popular around the world, and the Rocky Mountains in particular are experiencing a surge in interest." It's not swimming or skinny dipping, "'taking in the forest atmosphere,' emphasizes the importance of slowing down to connect with nature. It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in modern Japanese medicine." To read more, click here.

--So Castleton Tower in Moab, hums...

Notes from All Over:

--WKYT is reporting that in Kentucky, "The Wolf County Search and Rescue Team completed three rescues Saturday during the busy holiday weekend." Some of these rescues were hikers and others were climbers. To read more, click here.

--Outdoor Sportswire is reporting that, "a new, multi-resort ski pass, called the Indy Pass, is now on sale for the 2019-2020 season that will provide two lift tickets – 68 total days – at each of 34 independently owned resorts for just $199. Indy Pass resorts provide an uncrowded and welcoming experience for individuals and families seeking great snow and varied terrain. In addition, vacation getaways at these quaint ski areas cost a small fraction of what major resorts charge for comparable stays." To read more, click here.

--In related news, Teton Gravity Research is reporting that, "the Ikon Pass has just announced a partnership with Zermatt Matterhorn Ski Resort, its first European destination. Full Ikon passholders will get seven days at the resort with no blackout dates, and Ikon Base passholders will get five, also with no blackouts. This addition brings Ikon's total resort count up to 41, spread over five continents." To read more, click here.

--Politico is reporting that, "Dominion Energy wants to run a massive pipeline across America’s treasured Appalachian National Scenic Trail and some of the least developed wildlands remaining in the East. This isn’t just a bad idea, it’s an unprecedented one. Dominion, the Virginia-based power giant that serves customers in 18 states, wants to do something that has never been done in the half century since the iconic hiking path was enshrined in law: force a pipeline across the Appalachian Trail on federal land managed by the Forest Service." To read more, click here.

--GearJunkie and many others are reporting that, “'E-bikes are allowed where traditional bicycles are allowed.'” In a policy memo released today, the National Park Service (NPS) succinctly formalizes an increasingly popular stance across many U.S. states governing the use of e-bikes on public lands." To read more, click here.

--Montana Public Radio is reporting that, "Yellowstone National Park staff are working to reroute backpackers southeast of Yellowstone Lake after the Brimstone Fire grew to an estimated 80 acres Wednesday evening." To read more, click here.

--This is random. A ex-Royal Marine left a rowing machine near the summit of Mont Blanc. To read more, click here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

An Alternative Classics Tour of Boulder, CO

Boulder and the surrounding areas are home to literally thousands of rock routes. From Dream Canyon's China Doll (II, 5.14-) to the Direct East Face of the First Flatiron (II, 5.6) there is an incredible spectrum of offerings...where does one even start? In this article we'll recommend climbs at each grade from 5.6 to 5.12 that you may not have heard of. Recommendations are made on the basis of quality, and not to be taken as routes that are necessarily the best protected climbs.

A climber follows March of Dimes in Eldorado Canyon

5.6
West Chimney to Icarus, Eldorado Canyon (4-5 pitches, 5.6R)

Two shorter "approach pitches" of 5.6 via the West Chimney (and yes, it is an actual chimney) takes climbers to a scrambling pitch to the base of Icarus. The three pitches of Icarus are fun, airy, and the final pitch is the same as the Yellow Spur- an incredible arete high above the Canyon floor. Climbers should be confident climbing 5.6 with poor protection (the final pitch is where the "R" rating comes from).

A climber enjoys the final arete pitch on Icarus
5.7
North Face Center, Boulder Canyon (2-3 pitches, 5.7+)

This shady climb is perfect for those hot summer days as it faces North. Take a fun tyrolean traverse across Boulder Creek to clean granite crack climbing for 2-3 pitches depending on how one pitches it out. The descent is a short and amicable walk-off.

5.8
Gambit, Eldorado Canyon (4 pitches, 5.8)

Gambit offers a variety of different climbing styles for 4 pitches up Shirttail peak- the highest point in Eldorado Canyon. It is indeed a further walk than other Eldorado canyon routes but 45 minutes is well worth this high quality climb.

A climber on the final moves of Gambit, Eldorado Canyon

5.9
Green Spur, Eldorado Canyon (4-5 pitches, 5.9)

The Yellow Spur gets a ton of attention, and rightfully so, but the Green Spur is also a high quality classic and rarely has the same crowds.

5.10
Outer Space, Eldorado Canyon (4 pitches, 5.10)

This undisputed classic protects (relatively) quite well with modern trad gear and should not be missed for competent 5.10 trad leaders. Start on the Bastille Crack for two pitches before busting right on a wild traverse to two pitches of extremely exposed climbing.

A party on Outerspace, Eldorado Canyon.

5.11
Vertigo, Eldorado Canyon (4 pitches, 5.11b)

This well-protected climb offers truly classic climbing in Eldorado Canyon with a beautiful dihedral and an imposing roof that offers unparalleled exposure.

5.12
Thunderdome, Boulder Canyon (1 pitch, 5.12-)
This one pitch classic offers quality granite crack climbing on trad gear and is a must for the grade.

One final recommendation!
Hands of Destiny, Boulder Canyon (2 pitches, 5.12+)

This gem was first climbed on trad gear and later retro-bolted, making it quite popular present day for those climbing at the grade.

This list is the tip of the tip of the iceberg- there are too many routes to climb in a single lifetime!

A climber enjoys the moderate second pitch of Wind Ridge, Eldorado Canyon. 



Monday, September 2, 2019

What Else is There Besides Denali in Alaska?


“Were you on Mount McKinley, or is it Denali?” Is a common question asked when returning to the village of Talkeetna after an expedition in the Alaska Range. Given that Denali is the highest peak in North America, it’s no surprise that the thousands of other peaks (both named and unnamed) in the range aren’t on many people’s radar amongst the general public. The reality: the Alaska Range has several lifetime’s worth of skiing and climbing expeditions on peaks…that aren’t "the big three" (Denali, Foraker, and Hunter). For those of you who have never thought about what else such a mountain range can hold, read on…peaks other than Denali have been in the spotlight for decades. All of the below destinations are also incredible options for guided trips, given the prerequisite experience has been met.

Base Camp on the Ruth Glacier in the Ruth Gorge

Ruth Gorge 


Home to peaks like Moose’s Tooth and Mount Dickey, The Ruth Gorge is among the most classic alpine playgrounds in the World. While the majority of the routes in this area are extremely difficult, moderate routes such as “Ham and Eggs” (V, 5.9 AI4) on the Moose’s Tooth or the West Face (II, 40 degrees) on Mount Dickey keeps an expedition in the Ruth “doable” for a variety of ability levels. March-May is typically the ice, snow, and mixed climbing season with June-August being the alpine rock season.
A climber approaches Japanese Couloir (III, 50-70 degrees) on Mt. Barrille

Little Switzerland

The Pika glacier is home to the area affectionately referred to as “Little Switzerland” and is an incredible destination for skiing and rock climbing. For many, this will be among the most amicable options given the relatively smaller nature of objectives here. March-Early May is generally the ski season, with the alpine rock season kicking off from June through July. Some of the class rock routes include “South Face” (III, 5.8) on Middle Troll or “Lost Marsupial” (III, 5.8) on the Throne.

A skier practices crevasse rescue on the Pika Glacier

Mt. Huntington

Mt. Huntington is a breath-taking peak that offers classic ice and mixed climbing on a big peak. The two most commonly climbed routes are “West Face Couloir” (V, 85 degrees) and Harvard Route (V, 5.9, A2, 70 degrees). Both of these routes are not necessarily great introductory routes for Alaskan climbing (depending on your previous experience) but are well worth working towards.

Cathedral Spires of the Kichatnas

Commonly named the “Kichatna Spires”, this area is one of the most unique zones in the Alaska Range. Dozens of golden granite spires erupt from the various glaciers that spiral together to form a beautiful vertical jungle. It is likely that you will be the only other people you see while you’re in here, providing one of the most serene destinations on this list. The most common type of climbing that is done here is big wall climbing, but high quality ice/mixed climbing also exists.

A climber negotiates a ridge straddling the Cool Sac and the Tatina Glacier.
This list is extremely far from being exhaustive, don’t forget that the Alaska Range is over 600 miles long…there is much exploration left to be done.












Friday, August 30, 2019

Forearm Exercises to Make You Strong

There's no question about it. When your forearms are fried, the dishes are done. You're going to fall off your route.

Technique is important for climbing and it can save your strength. Indeed, on routes with a rating below 5.8, strength may not even be an issue if your technique is adequate. But as you start to push up through the grades, you'll find that forearm strength becomes more and more important.

The more you train your forearms, the stronger you'll be. And the more you train your forearms, the more likely it is that you will be able to rest them quickly and adequately by shaking out or finding a stance on which to take a break.

There are a handful of exercises that work to build forearm strength and endurance. Following is a quick breakdown of some of these exercises:

Static Hangs


You probably remember from your days of lifting weights in the high school weight room that muscle is most effectively built when you workout until muscle failure. Commonly, an athlete will work a specific muscle group by lifting a weight a number of times (referred to as reps) until the muscle fails. Most will know that with a given weight, the muscle will begin to fail after a given number of reps.

A static hang works the muscle in much the same way. For this to work effectively, you have to hang until your muscles fail. This doesn't mean that you have to hang until it hurts or even until it hurts a lot. You have to go beyond those thresholds to the point of complete muscle failure.

After failure, allow the muscles to rest for five minutes or so and then try again. Ideally, you will do this exercise three or four times in order to get the most out of it.

Endurance Static Hangs

Hang on a bar or a hangboard with both hands. Drop one hand and shake it out while still hanging on the other. Hang for at lease five seconds on one arm before switching.

This particular exercise is great for climbers because of the way it imitates real life!

Forearm Curls

There are two effective ways to do forearm curls. One may use a regular barbell or a dumbell.

To use a barbell, you will need to lay your forearms across a weight bench holding the barbell. Your hands should hang over the edge, palms up. All the bar to roll toward your fingers and then flex, bringing it up into your palm.

With a dumbell, the system is almost the same. Allow the dumbell to roll out toward your fingers and then flex, allowing int to roll back into your palm.

With both of these exercises, it tends to be more effective to work toward a combination of strength and endurance by working on time as opposed to reps. Try to do as many curls as possible in a minute and then work up from there. Remember most sport routes take five to ten minutes to climb, so that should be a goal in the exercise.

Indoor Gym Exercise

One of the best ways to build forearm strength and endurance is to traverse around the climbing gym on easy holds. Try to stay on the wall for at least twenty minutes. Another version of this same exercise is to try to down-climb the routes after you reach the top.

As with other excercises, a series of these twenty minute sessions will be more effective than a one time run at them.

Forearm Exerciser

There are a number of different commercial forearm exercising devices out there. Perhaps the most popular is the blue latex rubber doughnut. The value of these devices is that they work out both fingers and forearms. This should be used like any weight device. Do a series of reps until failure, rest and then repeat two more times.

Additional ResourcesYou can find more on forearm workouts here. For information about why forearms pump out and about lactic acid buildup in forearms, click here.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Rocky Mountain National Park Proposes Changes in Camping Fees


From Rocky Mountain National Park:

Rocky Mountain National Park staff are proposing a change in current campground fees.  Campground fees are based on comparable fees for similar services in nearby campgrounds. Park staff are proposing an increase for summer camping from $26 to $30 and winter camping from $18 to $20, per site, per night.

Park staff are proposing a flat rate at group sites at Glacier Basin Campground.  Currently the fees are $4 per person, per night.  The proposed flat rates would be as follows: small group site (9-15 people) $40; medium group site (16-25 people) $50; and large group site (26-40 people) $60. 

Camping is very popular in Rocky Mountain National Park.  There are five campgrounds open during the summer, which includes 570 sites. The park’s three reservation campgrounds, Moraine Park, Glacier Basin and Aspenglen, normally fill up six months in advance.  The park’s two first-come, first-served campgrounds, Longs Peak and Timber Creek, fill up quickly.  Timber Creek Campground, located on the west side of the national park, normally fills up last. Moraine Park Campground remains open during the winter, with 77 sites available. 

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) is the legislation under which the park currently collects entrance and amenity fees, including camping.  This law allows national parks to retain 80 percent of the fees collected for use on projects that directly benefit visitors.  The remaining 20 percent is distributed throughout the National Park System.  Since the beginning of FLREA and its predecessor the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, the park has spent millions of dollars in repairs, renovations, improvements and resource restoration.       

People notice!  Ninety percent of surveyed park visitors have continually expressed support for this program.  Some of the projects funded through these fees at Rocky Mountain National Park include the park’s visitor shuttle system, which last year transported over 700,000 visitors throughout the Bear Lake Road corridor and to and from Estes Park; renovation of all restroom facilities throughout the park’s campgrounds; extensive hazard tree mitigation near facilities such as campgrounds, parking lots, road corridors, housing areas and visitor centers; and hiking trail enhancements including maintenance and reconstruction on much of Rocky’s 350 miles of trails.

“Camping is very popular in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We want to keep our campground fees affordable and provide visitors with the best possible experience,” said Darla Sidles, Park Superintendent.  “We feel that our proposed campground fee change is an incredible value. Plus, 80 percent of those funds stay right here in Rocky to benefit visitors.” 

Park staff are seeking feedback about the proposed fee schedule.  Please email comments to ROMO_Information@nps.gov by September 27, 2019.  The current campground fees have been in effect for the past four years.  Feedback the park receives will help determine how and when a campground fee increase may be implemented. 

-NPS-

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 8/26/19

Northwest:

Smith Rock State Park

--A climber tripped while descending a trail in Smith Rock State Park and fell 100-feet. The climber did not survive. To read more, click here.

--There are two missing hikers in the Downey Creek area. This is the south end of the Ptarmigan Traverse. King 5 News is reporting that, "The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team is looking for two hikers missing at the Downey Creek Trail. David James and Marshall "Buster" Cabe left on August 16 and were expected to return on August 23, the sheriff's office said, but family members said they had not heard from the pair. They called 911 Monday to report them missing." To read more, click here. UPDATE: These guys were found. To read about it, click here.

--Here's a nice piece on how Latino Outdoors is getting kids outside. This particular article specifically talks about kids on Mt. Rainier.

A boulder being moved on a highline for 
trail construction at Washington Pass.

--Several AAI guides contributed to trail construction efforts in Washington Pass last weekend. The American Mountain Guides Association and the Access Fund sponsored a work day for guides, so that they might contribute to the development of a trail that accesses all the towers in the Liberty Bell massif.

--There is another trail work opportunity with the Leavenworth Mountain Association on September 21st. They will be working on the trail up to Snow Creek Wall. To read more, click here.

Sierra:

--Bakersfield Now is reporting that, "Bad news for some hikers looking to getting away this weekend. The Bureau of Land Management posted a warning that portions of the Pacific Crest Trail have been blocked due to rockslides caused by recent seismic activity. Crews will start removing the debris starting in late September. The buried section is impassable to equestrians north of Walker Pass, where the PCT crosses State Route 178 near Lake Isabella." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--News Channel 3 is reporting that, "A hiker is recovering after falling nearly 30 feet while climbing "Lily Rock" in Humber Park near Idyllwild. This happened just after 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon." To read more, click here.

--There was a meeting this week and a public forum that concerned the expansion of the mobile network on Highway 159 outside Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. To read more, click here.

--KTLA 5 is reporting that, "an anonymous donor has given more than $30,000 to fund a reward for information that leads to whoever has killed more than 40 protected wild burros in the Southern California desert." To read more, click here.

--The campground in Red Rock Canyon will reopen tomorrow, Friday, August 30. To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--HuffPost is reporting that, "A Colorado man survived a bear attack Monday thanks to his wife and her Louisville Slugger. Jon Johnson and George Ann Field were watching TV at their home in Pine when Johnson heard noises coming from upstairs. He walked into the kitchen and found himself face-to-face with a mother bear and one of her cubs eating a loaf of bread." To read more, click here.

--There was a massive rockfall event in Zion National Park this week, when a massive piece of rock broke loose from Cable Mountain. Three people were injured in the incident, and one was taken to the hospital. To read more, click here. To see a video of the event, click below.



--A climber is lucky to be alive after being struck by lightning. Rock and Ice is reporting that, "Around 3:00 p.m. on August 17, longtime climber Minko Nikolov, 31, was struck by lightning while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park between Lower and Emerald Lake. His smoking body was discovered by hikers and he was quickly airlifted to a hospital in Loveland, Colorado." To read more, click here.

--Snews is reporting that, "Doug Stenclik, co-founder of Colorado retail shop Cripple Creek Backcountry, recently purchased WildSnow, the blog dedicated to the niche sport of ski touring and splitboarding." To read more, click here.

--Increased recreation may be having a detrimental impact on the elk population near Vail. From the Guardian: "Trail use near Vail, Colorado, has more than doubled since 2009. It’s had a devastating impact on a herd of elk. Increasing numbers of outdoor recreationists – everything from hikers, mountain bikers and backcountry skiers to Jeep, all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle riders, aren’t good for Elk populations. Biologists used to count over 1,000 head of elk from the air near Vail, Colorado. The majestic brown animals, a symbol of the American west, dotted hundreds of square miles of slopes and valleys." To read more, click here.

--The BLM may be trying to find a way to sell off public lands. To read more, click here.

--Rocky Mountain National Park is considering a change in camping fees. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--The Jackson Hole News and Guide is reporting that, "A 20-year-old French Canadian man was climbing by himself in Grand Teton National Park on Sunday morning when he fell 50 feet. Although Maxime Blondel was injured, he was able to pull out his cell phone and call for help." To read more, click here.

--The issues in Wyoming's Ten Sleep Canyon have come to a head with the National Forest Service closing the area to all future development. The problem that lead to this was twofold. First, people chipped holds in the process of their route development. Second, a group of climbers stripped all these routes with manufactured holds of all their bolts. The combination of these things was too much for the Forest Service. To read more, check out this great piece on the controversy from Climbing.

--The Burlington Free Press is reporting on significant overuse issues in the Adirondacks. "Hikers packed the lots at popular trail heads up and down New York State Route 73 before sunrise on an early August weekend, partly thanks to a roadside parking ban enacted in the spring amid safety concerns. The scene was indicative of a growing problem in the Adirondacks. A sweeping management plan created by the state Department of Environmental Conservation two decades ago might have headed off parking woes, but locals say little of the plan was ever implemented, nor were other measures that could have helped mitigate overcrowding at one of the Northeast's most popular hiking destinations." To read more, click here.

--India has opened up several new peaks. From the Economic Times: "The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has opened up 137 peaks located in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim to foreigners ''desirous'' of obtaining a mountaineering visa for climbing and trekking purposes. MHA said the proposal to open more mountain peaks for mountaineering and trekking in all the Himalayan states was under consideration of the government." To read more, click here.

Navigating the Khumbu Icefall on Mt. Everest
Photo: Guy Cotter

--Alan Arnette has published a deep dive into the new rules on Mt. Everest in Nepal. And he notes that some of them don't make any sense at all. To read the blog, click here

--And in other Everest News, Nepal will be banning single use plastics in the Everest region. To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains has compiled a list of the ten best small ski resorts in America. Check it out, here.

--Rock and Ice is conducting a survey on alcohol and drug use around climbing. To participate, click here.


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Your Food Vs. Alpine Animals


Picture this. You are on the second day of your trip up into the mountains. It’s hot. You’re hungry. The bag of potato chips you have stashed in your tent is sounding mouth-wateringly good right about now. You’re just coming off the Deming Glacier, practically dragging your ice axe as you stumble, mind in a haze, towards the alluring potato chips ­– your post summit prize food. You unzip your tent, fingers trembling, and find to your horror a pile of confetti in the corner next to a scraggily looking hole, sunshine filtering through the tatters of your tent.

Do not, dear reader, become this sad climber.

Marmots, mice, and ravens are a real hazard when it comes to food in the backcountry and I wager, have had years more experience thieving than you have likely had in protecting your food from their greedy little mouths.  I myself woke up recently to not one, but two mice in my tent having a nice little feast on my food bars, which I had set aside for the summit the next day. One even had the audacity to run over my face. This was not fun. 

That being said, here are some things to do and some things not to do with your food in the alpine.

-       Do not hang your food from rocks in an attempt to mimic food protection from bears in lower country. This seems to be a common recommendation on the Internet at the moment. However, I personally see a few flaws in the system. Firstly, marmots can climb rocks and so a small boulder simply wouldn’t do. This means you would need to hang your food over a cliff and a) that sounds like a lot of effort/potentially sketchy and b) ravens, being birds, can in fact fly and they will get it even if the rodents don’t. So, nix the “marmot bag” option.

-       The best option I know of is to store your food inside your tent. You might be wondering why I would suggest such a thing when we have already learned about the confetti threat but there are ways to store it properly and ways to store it improperly. For starters don’t leave your food along the walls of your tent. You would be significantly increasing the risk of an animal chewing its way inside. What you can do though is put your food in your sleeping bag (which reduces smells) and place the sleeping bag as centrally in the tent as possible. So far, I have not had any issues while employing this technique and it is one that seems popular among the crowds that frequent the mountain slopes.

Note: at night you still should try to keep your food away from your tent walls and zip the door closed at the bottom.

-       You can also dig a cash in the snow and burry your food there if you are concerned with the possibility of animals chewing into your tent. This is a perfectly reasonable option when there is snow at the camp. However, if you employ this technique be sure that you dig down fairly deep. A foot simply doesn’t cut it. Three feet would be a minimum depth for proper storage, but even that might be too shallow. Four to six feet is best. Don’t forget to mark the location of your cash. Losing your food would be just about as bad as it being eaten.

Good luck with the food ventures! Remember, don’t be the sad climber with out his potato chips. 

Yellow Bellied Marmot
Photo Credit: Alasdair Turner AAI Instructor and Guide

--Jess Lewis, Instructor and Guide

Monday, August 26, 2019

Falling on Lead and "Cratering"

It was a beautiful spring day in Red Rock Canyon. I was overseeing the second day of an American Mountain Guides Association Single Pitch Instructor exam and all of the guide candidates were doing a great job. It was a great day to be in the mountains.

It was a great day until we saw a "runner."

People who are running to get help for an injured climber are often referred to as runners. In this particular instance it was a young woman running down the canyon. She yelled for help and told us she was trying to get a better cell signal...she kept losing 911.

Two SPI Candidates, Kevin and Brenden, and I grabbed our first aid kits and made our way up canyon. Kevin was a firefighter and Brenden was a nursing student. They were excellent people to have with me on a rescue.

When we finally discovered the injured climber, we found a man in his late fifties. His head was seriously lacerated and he had been knocked unconscious for two to three minutes before coming back. There was blood in his helmet and it appeared that the the tab on the back had perpetrated the laceration. The rear of helmet was also cracked. It looked like it had been pushed up under his scalp and then pulled back out as the helmet contracted around his skull.

The man's two college-aged daughters were both there as well. All of them, the man and his grown children, seemed to be rank beginners. A tote bag that was used to carry their gear sat next to the rocks.

We immediately held the man's head to keep him from moving it, providing C-spine. Clearly the fall could have caused a spinal injury and we didn't want to take any chances whatsoever. Kevin cleverly created a spinal collar out of coiled up rope and wrote the time of the accident on a piece of medical tape holding the rope in place.

The Patient Getting Ready to be Short-Hauled

Not long after we finished with the C-collar, a helicopter arrived. The Las Vegas Search and Rescue team is one of the best in the world. They packaged the man on a litter and were quickly able to extract him in the tight canyon. We assume that he safely made it to the hospital and is now back to his normal every day life...

Rescues can be extremely interesting to watch. There are helicopters, medical people, cool hauling systems, and often some blood. But they aren't that cool if you're the one that is getting rescued...so why did this individual need to be rescued...?

A Search and Rescue Office being hauled back to the Helicopter

Obviously we weren't there, but there were clues. The group was climbing at the Cut Your Teeth Crag in Calico Basin. This is a beginner crag, but it is also a very young crag. It was developed in 2006 by Mike McGlynn and Todd Lane. The route that the party was on is a bolted 5.7 called Introproximal Stripper. The importance of knowing the age of the crag is that on sandstone, holds can sometimes crumble or even break on newer routes...

The lead rope ran through draws on the first two bolts. The girls claimed that their dad was trying to clip the third bolt when he fell. The dad was tall, at least six-feet four inches tall, and probably weighed around 200 lbs. The girls were both small and probably didn't weigh more than 120 lbs each.

So looking at the situation, there are a lot of possible factors. Following are some speculations based on the story that the girls told.

Rope behind the Leg:

It's unfortunately quite common for climbers to lead with a rope running behind their leg.  If this is not something that you are constantly paying attention to, it is an element that could easily cause you to fall, catch your leg and flip upside down.

Both of the man's daughters claimed that he flipped upside down in the fall.  This could have been from the rope running behind his leg and it could have been from his feet hitting something and flipping him.  However, since he had no obvious injuries to his feet, heels or ankles, it seems more likely that he was flipped by the rope.

Over the Head Clipping:

It's very dangerous to clip over your head. This is because when you pull slack to clip the rope, you are also putting a lot of extra slack into the system. If you are close to the ground and take a fall at this time, it is likely that you will "crater."

Some people put the slack rope in their mouth when they are getting ready to clip. It is not uncommon for those who take leader falls in such a situation to have teeth pulled out by the rope. While this didn't happen in this case, it is definitely something to be worried about.

The safest way to clip a rope is to wait. Wait until the draw is at your waist to clip it. That way, you will take the smallest possible fall. Unfortunately, this can feel very unstable. It's always more satisfactory to have the rope clipped than not to. And indeed, many routes are designed to clip the rope above the head...but we should be very aware of the dangers implicit in the action.

It is quite possible that the individual in this accident was trying to clip over his head when he fell.

Weight Differences

When weight differences are small, sometimes its nice to have a situation where a person can be pulled off the ground a little bit. This provides a soft catch. But when weight differences are large, it's important to make sure that the belayer is tied to the ground. This will limit the distance that the person falls.

The Cut Your Teeth Crag is a short crag and the weight differences between the two individuals was large. It's likely that the young woman who was belaying was pulled significantly off the ground as her dad landed. I did not confirm this at the time, but I did ask if she was tied down.

Slack in the Belay


Lastly, it's possible that the lead belay had additional slack. Sometimes belayers allow the lead line to sit on the ground in front of them. The line going from the device to the wall should have a mild smile to it. It should not hang down on the ground.

As we were not there, we don't know what the belay looked like and this may not have been an issue. But clearly one or more of the factors described contributed to the accident.

Accident Avoidance

The best way to avoid an accident is to avoid climbing all together. But for most of us, that isn't a possibility. So instead of avoiding the sport we love, we have to constantly study how accidents take place and learn from them.

Every year the American Alpine Club produces a book of accident analysis entitled, Accidents in North American Mountaineering. It is a grim read, but it also provides us with many many opportunities to see what not to do.

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, August 23, 2019

The Pain and the Pleasure of Crampons on Approach Shoes

Whoa! Crampons on approach shoes? That's crazy talk. Crampons belong on boots!

Most of us couldn't agree more with this sentiment. But most of us also don't want to walk across a short section of ice wearing boots for an alpine rock climb and then carry said boots in our backpacks when we put on our rock shoes.

Sometimes it makes a lot of sense to wear crampons on approach shoes. It's not comfortable and it's not fun. Indeed, half the time that you're doing this, it feels like your foot is going to come right out of the shoe. On every step the crampons stick in the ice and have a nearly imperceptible hold your foot. It feels a little bit like you're walking in sticky mud.


Approach shoes were not designed for such a use. They bend easily and it is difficult to walk up steeper terrain while wearing them. The strap-connectors on many crampons are hard plastic and these commonly dig into your ankles.

There are some crampon styles that work more effectively with approach shoes. Aluminum crampons are not really designed for standard mountaineering where you are going to wear your crampons all day. Instead, such crampons are light, have a low profile and often fit well on approach shoes. Aluminum crampons like the Black Diamond Neve Strap Aluminum Crampons and the Stubai Ultralight Universal Crampons are perfect for this type of use.


The pain of crampons on approach shoes is at least somewhat worth it. As with so many other things in climbing, the pleasure comes after the pain. And in this case, the pleasure is no heavy boots in your pack while working your way up a massive alpine rock climb.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad -

Northwest:

--Gripped is reporting that, "Chilliwack Search and Rescue members rescued two climbers from Mount Slesse on Monday afternoon. The climbers were on or near the classic Northeast Buttress when one of the climbers took a fall." To read more, click here.

A helicopter preps for a short-haul in Squamish last week.

--There was an accident on Monday in Squamish. Here's a snippet from the Squamish Climber's Facebook Group:

The incident today was a group of three experienced climbers on milk road.
The leader took approximately a 3m fall and caught his foot on a ledge, injuring his ankle. All members of the party were highly trained in first aid and self rescue, so while activating SAR they were also able to assess and stabilize the injury and being to self rescue themselves.
SAR made contact with them via phone while they were in the process of lowering themselves to the ground; and was able to coordinate to meet them at the base of the Climb to assist with a stretcher carry back to the parking lot.
Approximately 20 member from SAR, BCAS, and Squamish fire worked together to carry the patient back to the ambulance.
Today was an excellent example of an experienced and skilled group having some bad luck and working to help themselves while at the same time reaching out for assistance.
Thank you to everyone involved.

--News Channel 21 is reporting that, "A California man who fell while climbing Friday afternoon at Smith Rock State Park, prompting a two-hour rescue effort, was discharged Saturday from St. Charles Bend after being admitted overnight, a house supervisor said." To read more, click here.

--This is a depressing article about how scientists are chronicling the disappearance of the Columbia Glacier near Monte Cristo. The Columbia is the lowest glacier in the Cascades and sits between 4,700 and 5,600-feet.

--Alpinist is reporting that, "The Scottish alpinist Simon Richardson and Canadian alpinist Ian Welsted recently made what is likely the first complete ascent of the West Ridge of Mt. Waddington in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and possibly the first traverse of the mountain (from Fury Gap to Rainy Knob) as well." To read more, click here.

Sierra:

--Here are a couple of fire updates for the Eastern Sierra.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Denver Post is reporting that, "Possible skeletal remains found during a search for a 55-year-old man in Eagle County could be those of a missing Chinese tourist, authorities said. Search and rescue team members began efforts to locate 55-year-old Yunlong Chen who was reported missing March 7, according to the town of Vail. Chen was last seen Feb. 28 in the area of the Vail Transportation Center during a ski trip and was supposed to fly back to China but did not arrive." To read more, click here.

--The Daily Camera is reporting that, "A man in his 20s was rescued Wednesday after falling 20 feet in Eldorado Canyon State Park in Boulder County. At 3:25 p.m. the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call that a climber had fallen in the Yellow Spur route in an area called the Red Garden Wall. The climber suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries as a result of the fall, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office." To read more, click here.

--The Aspen Times is reporting that, "With the popularity of the Ikon Pass that was launched last year, Aspen Skiing Co. will make adjustments to deal with the masses this upcoming season. In an annual update to Aspen City Council on Monday, Mike Kaplan, Skico’s president and CEO, spoke about specifics of last season’s surge of Ikon Pass holders at Aspen-Snowmass resorts." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--The Jackson Hole News and Guide is reporting that, "The body of a man who died in a climbing accident in the Wind River Mountains has been recovered. Zijah Kurtovic, 63, of Evanston, Ill., died at about 12:30 p.m. Aug. 10 of 'massive blunt-force trauma from a fall from extreme height,' Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said Friday." To read more, click here.

--NBC News is reporting on a wolf attack in Banff. "A New Jersey woman said her family's camping trip in Canada turned into a scene "out of a horror movie" when a wolf ripped apart their tent as they slept and tried to drag her husband away — before a man at a nearby campsite heard their screams for help and came to their rescue." To read more, click here.

Mt. Everest
Photo by Guy Cotter

--Rock and Ice is reporting that, "On August 14, Nepali officials proposed a new, stricter set of guidelines for mountaineers seeking permits to climb Mount Everest. The proposal comes in the wake of an unusually deadly season on the mountain. Media coverage has drawn public attention to overcrowding at the summit, as well as to the large amounts of trash that have gathered on the slope and to the continued presence of the bodies of deceased climbers." To read more, click here.

--There is a new fourteen-pitch bolted 5.7 (mostly 5.4-5.6) in Banff. To read about it, click here.

--NBC News is reporting that, "Brooke Raboutou, 18, became the first American to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in sport climbing by reaching Tuesday’s combined final at the world championships in Hachioji, Japan, USA Climbing confirmed." To read more, click here.