Thursday, January 3, 2019

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 1/3/18


We didn't post the news round-up last week as it was the holidays and things were a bit busy, so this report covers December 20th through January 2nd.

Government Shutdown / National Park News:

--There are a lot of problems in the National Parks right now. We're hearing reports of fights over campgrounds, off-road vehicle use on pristine lands, overflowing toilets, and now many campground closures due to bad behavior. A government shutdown is bad for outdoor recreationalists of all stripes. Check out this overview from Gripped about what's going on.


--This isn't really a northwest story, but the person featured is a north-westerner. Oregon Public Radio is reporting that, "Colin O’Brady is a professional endurance athlete, a motivational speaker, a world record holder and, now, the first person in history to cross the continent of Antarctica alone and without wind assistance. The 33-year-old Portland native set out on a brutal 921-mile journey across Antarctica in early November. He was alone and unassisted, dragging a sled weighing hundreds of pounds that contained everything he needed to stay alive in some of the harshest conditions on earth." To read more, click here.

--CBC News is reporting that, "One of Metro Vancouver's biggest search and rescue teams has broken its record for the highest number of callouts in a year. With the rescue of two lost, cold hikers Thursday night, North Shore Rescue (NSR) has now responded 141 times in 2018." To read more, click here.


--On June 2, 2018, Tim Klein and Jason Wells -- two extremely experienced Yosemite climbers -- were killed while traveling over easy terrain on El Cap. What happened? Why did it happen? Outside online looks at the tragedy and tries to understand... To read the article, click here.

--It's not clear what happened, but a skier died at Lake Tahoe Ski Resort last week. The story doesn't note whether the death was the result of an accident or a medical issue. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--News Channel 3 is reporting that, "A rock climber who fell 50 feet while traversing an area of Joshua Tree National Park was airlifted to a hospital for serious, but non-life threatening injuries sustained in the fall, San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies said today. Peter Muffoletto of Berkeley, 30, fell at 5:10 p.m. Wednesday somewhere within the park while rock climbing." To read more, click here. It appears that this might have been a bouldering accident that resulted in an open compound fracture. It's also possible that this second report is a separate incident. To read a thread on it, click here.

Joshua Tree National Park is suffering during the Government Shutdown.

--Things are not going well in Joshua Tree National Park during the Government Shutdown. The LA Times is reporting that, "The federal government’s partial shutdown has granted outdoorsy travelers free access to national parks that usually charge up to $30 per carload. And with that freedom, some locals say, has come a surge in scofflaw activity and a ticklish toilet situation, especially at Joshua Tree National Park. At Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Channel Islands national parks — all within 220 miles of Los Angeles — conditions vary as widely as the geography. All three parks are open, and their lodgings and campgrounds are open, as are other services generally run by park concessionaire companies. But all visitor centers and many restrooms are closed and many other services have been disrupted, including bathroom maintenance and trash collection. Those conditions pose a particular peril in Joshua Tree, locals say, because these are some of the busiest days of the year." To read more, click here. And here's a story on the same subject from Outside.

--It's a similar story in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Historically, the gates have been closed during government shutdowns. However, this time the gates have remained open, which is good for climbers, but not so good for sightseers. There is a lot of traffic in the Conservation Area after 10am, and no one to shut the gate to decrease the load. To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Denver Post is reporting that, "an unidentified 66-year-old man died on Tuesday afternoon after losing consciousness on a ski run at Keystone Resort, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. The man was unconscious when others discovered him at about 12:26 p.m. on Christmas Day. Emergency responders took him to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead." This appears to be a medical fatality. To read more, click here. It appears that there was a second medical issue that resulted in a death at Keystone as well. Click here for more on that.

--A hiker in Eldorado Canyon got pinned under a 1-ton boulder last week. Rescue crews had to remove this massive block of rock with all sorts of mountain rescue tricks. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Rock and Ice posted a "Climbers We Lost" article this week. The magazine posts an article like this once a year to celebrate the lives of those that were lost. To read the article, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "An ice climber was climbing alone on Cascade Falls (WI 3) when an accident occurred and he died from injuries on December 25th. An outdoor gear store in Canmore remained closed on boxing day due to an “unforeseen emergency” after the Christmas Day accident. There are no details about the cause of the accident or the climber who was soloing.' To read more, click here.

--The Times Union is reporting that, "The body of a rock climber, who fell to his death while climbing in New York's Shawangunk Mountains, was recovered Sunday afternoon. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said in a press release on their website that a man had been solo climbing at the privately owned Mohonk preserve, in Gardiner, Ulster County, when he fell to his death." To read more, click here.

--NECN is reporting on what appears to be yet another solo fall: "A Vermont man suffered serious injuries in a 60-foot fall while ice climbing Thursday. Vermont State Police said 39-year-old Steve Charest, of Jericho, was climbing in the Smugglers’ Notch area of Jeffersonville Thursday when he somehow fell. Rescue agencies said Charest first hit a bluff, then crashed through tree limbs before finally landing on the snow-covered ground." To read more, click here.

--The Post Register is reporting that, "A female skier triggered an avalanche in the Broken Branch area south of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Wednesday and was carried down a chute and buried up to her helmet. She was the second skier caught in avalanches in the past three days in the backcountry area just outside the ski resort. The other skier was hurt on Monday in the Spacewalk Couloir." To read more, click here.

--Mass Live is reporting that, "A Tufts Medical Center doctor died Sunday after being struck by falling ice while hiking in the White Mountains in Hart’s Location. The Boston Globe identified the victim as Dr. Judith Pinsker, a 57-year-old Wellesley, Mass., woman who was hiking the trail with her husband, her sons and several friends. Pinsker and her party were hiking on the Frankenstein Cliff Trail around noon Sunday when falling ice struck her, causing a serious head injury, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department." To read more, click here.

--The Idaho Statesman is reporting that, "a Montana man was out target shooting when he became a target himself — and it was because a man “mistook him for Bigfoot,” he told authorities. The 27-year-old from Helena told dispatchers on Monday that a day earlier he had been putting up targets on public lands outside the city when bullets started flying toward him, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said in a phone interview with McClatchy. The man said one bullet hit three feet to his left on Sunday and another whizzed past him on the right. He explained that he ran into the trees for cover as more gunfire came his way. Eventually he came out to confront the man in a black Ford F-150 who shot at him, he said." To read more, click here.

--So it appears that a snowmaking pipe broke on Stratton Mountain in Vermont and blasted a few gondolas violently with water. Check out the crazy video of this below. To read more, click here.

--The Flathead Beacon is reporting that, "A mechanical error on Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Chair 5 lift prompted the evacuation of approximately 140 passengers Saturday afternoon, with everyone lowered to safety and no injuries reported." To read more, click here.

--And finally, there are currently two teams that are trying to make the first winter ascent of K2. To read more, click here.

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