Thursday, December 19, 2019

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

Climate Crisis:

--Gizmodo is reporting on some really good news: "Money talks, and that’s why environmental activists—and, more specifically, indigenous peoples—have been pressuring banks for years to stop throwing their money toward fossil fuel extraction projects. Finally, major banks are starting to listen. Goldman Sachs announced Sunday that it’s finally listening and won’t fund new coal projects globally or any extraction projects in the Arctic, including in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." To read more, click here.


--So a drug smuggling pilot near the border with Canada was pursued by Border Patrol. During the pilot's attempted escape, pursuing agents watched as he threw several bags out of the plane and into the North Cascade wilderness. It is presumed that these bags were filled with some kind of drugs. The pilot was arrested when he landed. To read more, click here.

--Four people have been killed in the Big Four Ice Caves that exist in base of the avalanche cone at the bottom of Big Four's North Face. The Everett Herald is reporting that, "Baylor University professors Kelli McMahan and Chris Wynveen visited the caves in the summer of 2017 to observe how visitors behaved and interviewed those who got too close. Along with Texas A&M staff, they recommended some changes to the trail. The researchers spent four days watching visitors. They approached those who got too close to the caves and asked the red-handed hikers what it might take to keep them from climbing on or going in the ice structures." To read more, click here.


El Capitan
Photo by Krista Eytchison

--The Yosemite Facelift continues to grow in popularity. Over sixteen-thousand pounds of trash was picked up, and over eighty percent of that trash was recycled. To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--CNN and others are reporting that, "A snowboarder was killed after unintentionally triggering an avalanche near a Utah ski resort on Sunday morning. The snowboarder, identified by the Summit County Sheriff's Office as 45-year-old Raymond M. Tauszik of Salt Lake City, was 'caught, carried and killed' by the avalanche when he was skiing down a slope, according to the Utah Avalanche Center." To read more, click here.

--CBS 4 Denver is reporting that, "A 21-year-old man was buried in an avalanche at the Steamboat Ski Resort on Sunday afternoon, but was quickly dug out." To read more, click here.

--A 65-year old skier passed away at the Keystone Ski Resort this week. The skier was found unresponsive with no signs of trauma. To read more, click here.

--KCBW, an NPR affiliate in Utah, is reporting that, "Local law enforcement officers were dispatched out to Conehead on the Park City Ridgeline again after a man triggered an avalanche in the same area that killed a 45-year-old Salt Lake City man on Sunday. Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright reports Tuesday’s avalanche was triggered by a parachute skier." To read more, click hereHere is more info about the earlier avalanche that resulted in a fatality.

--Snowbrains is reporting that, "Vail Resorts, Inc. yesterday announced a series of major capital improvements across its resorts that are designed to make getting on and around its mountains faster and easier through terrain expansions, new lifts, and expanded restaurant experiences. The new projects are part of the company’s calendar year 2020 capital plan of approximately $210 million to $215 million to enhance the guest experience and scale the company’s growing business. This investment builds on the approximately $190 million to $195 million that Vail Resorts is planning to spend on capital improvement projects in the calendar year 2019." To read more, click here.

--The Colorado Sun is reporting that, "the Brazilian owner of Granby Ranch is walking away from the 5,000-acre ski and golf community after 24 years, handing a lender the title to the Grand County property where she once planned a $600 million mega-resort." To read more, click here.

--The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that, "No one will ever see “no trespassing” signs in Zion Narrows, thanks to a complicated land deal tapping money from myriad federal, state and private sources that will keep a historic property in a farming family’s hands, while preserving public access to one of the nation’s finest hiking destinations." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

Tim Staples, a school teacher and rescue volunteer, died in a 
fall while searching for a missing hiker on on Mt. Baldy on Saturday.

--KTLA 5 and many others are reporting that, "A search and rescue team member volunteer and schoolteacher was found dead Saturday amid the search for a 52-year-old hiker from Irvine who went missing near Mount Baldy nearly a week ago, authorities said." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "Ken Wallator was a leading climber in the Canadian Rockies during the 1980s and 90s, having made a number of bold first ascents and hard repeats. He was recently in the Bow Valley climbing with his good friend Will Gadd, who Wallator knew growing up. On Dec. 14, Wallator posted an alarming message on Facebook that implied that it could be his last post. Wallator’s message came after a hard few years and similar posts from the previous weeks, but none so dire." Wallator is currently missing, and is presumed to be somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. There is a photo of his truck in this report, and anyone who sees it is encouraged to report it. To read more, click here.

--Politico has published a piece entitled, "the Stealth Plan to Erode Public Control of Public Lands." The piece talks about the recent decision to move BLM headquarters, and how this is undermining the dedicated employees. "Our view is that the plan is a poorly disguised attempt to destroy the agency from the inside. BLM state directors and field managers in the West already have the authority to make land-use, leasing and permitting decisions and facilitate coordination with state, tribal and local governments. The 3 percent in Washington focuses on policy, oversight and coordination at the national level with other federal agencies, Congress and national public interest groups. This is work that must be done in Washington to be effective." To read more, click here.

--Here are the top ten advocacy victories by the Access Fund in 2019!

--Looks like there's another Vertical Limit or Cliffhanger getting ready to be made out there. Deadline is reporting that, "In a last fevered auction before the holidays, Netflix prevailed and paid high six figures for First Ascent, a genre script by Colin Bannon with a female lead set in the world of mountain climbing. The project injects a genre element to a dangerous sport and was likened to The Shining meets Free Solo. Jake Scott is attached to direct a script that will be featured on The Black List, the annual tally of best screenplays that will be revealed later today." To read more, click here.

--Backpacker has put a video game online about surviving in a blizzard. Check it out.

--Uber is developing a service that will take you to a ski resort. To read more, click here.

--Here's a video of someone doing a flip off a gondola, something we don't recommend:

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