Thursday, February 17, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 2/17/22


--Oregon Live is reporting that, "After two skiers died at Mt. Bachelor ski area Friday and Saturday, a helicopter was dispatched to the mountain Sunday morning on a medical emergency call, transporting a 64-year-old man to St. Charles Bend. A spokesperson for Mt. Bachelor confirmed a man was flown to St. Charles Bend at around 9:53 a.m. after he experienced a medical emergency." To read more, click here.

--Climbing is reporting that. "On February 2, local police arrested former USA Climbing National team member Alex Fritz on three charges of third-degree child rape. Fritz, 28, had been coaching and route setting at Vertical World in Redmond, Washington. He is accused of having sexual interactions with athletes as young as 12 years old in the U.S. and Canada. Fritz had been under investigation by SafeSport, a federally mandated organization for investigating cases of sexual assault in sport. The investigation began in June 2019. Following SafeSport’s recommendation, Fritz’s USA coaching license, along with his access to SafeSport certified gyms, was suspended on Dec. 16, 2020." To read more, click here.


--The Tahoe Daily Tribune is reporting that, "The Tahoe-Truckee community is in mourning following an accident at Palisades Tahoe that took the life of North Tahoe High School sophomore Scotty Lapp, authorities said. 'Our hearts are broken at (Tahoe Truckee Unified School District,) and our deepest sympathies are extended to the Lapp family and his friends,' said Kelli Twomey, coordinator of communications for the school district, in an email. Lapp had reportedly finished competing at Sunday’s Tahoe Junior Freeride Series’ event at Palisades Tahoe when he and a teammate collided, Twomey said." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--The Sacramento Bee is reporting that, "Hikers discovered human remains during their visit to Joshua Tree National Park, police said. Deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department went to the California national park Tuesday, Feb. 8, after hikers said they found human remains." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--Snowbrains is reporting that, "At about noon on Sunday, February 13th, the Summit County Rescue Group received a call for an avalanche on the west side of Loveland Pass with a confirmed skier burial. A mother and son on skis intended to retrieve a piece of rappel gear they had left behind the day before when they rappelled to ski a chute locally known as Butt Crack. As the son traversed toward the top of the chute, he cut across a steep slope below the ridge and triggered an avalanche. The mother stayed in a safe zone to the side of the avalanche and was not caught. The son took an estimated 200 to 300-foot ride in the avalanche debris, including an estimated 50-foot drop off a cliff. It took the mother about ten minutes to reach him, and she found him buried up to his waist with minor injuries." To read more, click here.

--Climbing is reporting that, "Over the weekend, visitors to Moab’s Big Bend bouldering area were shocked to discover a petroleum-based grease smeared on various roadside boulders. Three popular boulders—Black Box Boulder, Chaos Boulder, and Punisher Boulder—each of which holds various lines and link-ups, were affected. Big Bend is a small sandstone bouldering area nine miles north of Moab, along Highway 128. With easy access and a wide range of grades, the area is highly trafficked. Cleaning efforts began on Saturday. Local climber Maddy Barney helped determine initial cleaning methods." To read more, click here.

--More complaints about Vail Resorts were made to elected officials in Park City this week. In this case the complaints were epitomized by a $9 cold hotdog in s styrofoam container that was served after a 45-minute wait in line. To read the story, click here.

--It seems like Backcountry Hunters and Anglers are doing more than state or Federal authorities in curbing illegal trail construction: "In support of our state’s elk, mule deer, trout and a myriad of other species that rely on public lands habitat for survival, the Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) is offering a $500 reward for reports or information leading to a conviction of those responsible for illegal trail construction on public lands." To read more, click here.

--Gear Junkie and many others are reporting that, "In a Feb. 14 press release, a contingent of outdoor brands led by The Conservation Alliance expressed stark opposition to the relocation of Outdoor Retailer (OR) from Colorado to Utah by its parent company, Emerald Expositions.'Despite widespread industry objections, Emerald has demonstrated a continued interest in moving the Outdoor Retailer trade show to Utah,' the group stated. It added that it 'will not support or attend a trade show event in the state as long as its elected officials continue their attacks on national monuments and public lands protections.'" To read more, click here.

--Unofficial Networks is reporting that, "Aspen Skiing Co. announced a $3/hr raise for all hourly and salary staff beginning Sunday, February 13th. The raise represents a $12 million dollar investment, and with the combination of the November pay hike, which increased the payroll by three million dollars, and this weeks raise, starting hourly pay for most employees with Skico is $20/hr and salaried employees will see a $6,240 annual increase in pay." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--The National Park Service is reporting that, "Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call the afternoon of February 13, about a skier involved in a fall in the Apocalypse Couloir in Death Canyon. Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue jointly responded to the incident. A climber in Death Canyon reported witnessing an individual fall in the Apocalypse Couloir, who appeared to be unresponsive. Park rangers, Teton County Search and Rescue personnel and the Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter responded to provide medical care." To read more, click here.

--Montana Right Now is reporting that, "Search and rescue teams found a climber safe after their friend received an alert from their GPS device Wednesday. A caller reported to Gallatin County 9-1-1 that they received a message from their friend’s GPS device that an incident had occurred according to Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR). The caller said they believed the friend was ice climbing and provided GPS coordinates of the last known location of the device." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting on the reasons behind the number of in-bounds fatalities in the 2021-2022 ski season: "This season has been off to a rocky start in many ways. Many resorts have been dealing with the lack of snow across the nation, as well as an increase in fatal crashes. Ski resorts all across the country have been in a drought. This winter has been exceptionally dry, and on top of it, areas have seen more and more traffic.  So far, there have been at least 14 in-bound ski-related deaths at resorts all across the country. Major areas like Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Jackson Hole, Mt. Hood Meadows, Eldora, Alta, and even Fernie Resort in Canada, have experienced crashes that ultimately resulted in a loss of life. Most of these accidents have happened on predominantly expert runs where the skier lost control and couldn’t stop themselves." To read more, click here.

--Doing wilderness survival stuff and violating national parks rules and regulations to do it, is no good. That's what a couple of youtubers in Canada just found out, when they were fined for nearly $111,000 each for unlawfully fishing, hunting, discharging firearms, lighting fires, damaging natural objects, and operating a drone inside Banff National Park. To read about it, click here.

--While vaccine mandates are politically fraught, a number of outdoor companies have taken these mandates on themselves. AAI is one of these. From the Outdoor Business Journal: "Some companies, including Denver-based outdoor industry behemoth VF Corporation (parent company to The North Face, Smartwool, and Timberland, among others) have taken matters into their own hands by issuing their own companywide vaccine policies." To read more, click here.

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