Friday, December 30, 2022

Avalanche Awareness: Proper Probing Technique

The following video is the second in a three-part series put together by backcountry access.

Once again, I'd like to state the importance of having proper avalanche training before traveling into the winter backcountry. And proper training doesn't come from a two-minute video.

--Jason D. Martin

Monday, December 26, 2022

The Danger of Open Slings

UK Climbing has posted an interesting video about the danger of draws with rubber bands or rubber holders on them.  This video really demonstrates how it is important to check your gear before every climb!


--Jason D. Martin

Friday, December 23, 2022

Emergency Rescue Sleds

In the backcountry there is no ski patrol. This means that there is nobody managing avalanches and this means that there is nobody to immediately rescue you if you get injured. That means that you have to manage these things yourself. The best way to do this is to take an avalanche course and to carry a rescue sled.

A rescue sled is a lightweight system that may be employed by a backcountry skier to haul out an injured partner.

Brooks Range Ultralight Rescue Sled

There is an argument out there that people aren't going to carry the extra weight of a commercial rescue sled. As I ski with ski guides a lot, I feel like this is absolutely not the case. There is nearly always someone in my ski parties with such a sled.

There are some very light systems that can be used to build rescue sleds. Some brands of shovels may be used to convert a patient's ski system into a rescue sled as well. 

The following video shows the Brooks Range rescue sled set-up:

As with all the other rescue systems that we cover in this blog, it is important to note that practice makes perfect. Every backcountry skier should practice with their avalanche beacon every year. It's not a bad idea to practice with your rescue sled system at the same time.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/22/22


--GoSkagit is reporting that, "Deception Pass State Park will expand by 78 acres by early next year. Washington’s most-visited state park acquired the new parcel due to a collaboration between state and county agencies, Skagit Land Trust and Fidalgo Island community members. The parcel is located on the north side of Deception Pass, close to the popular Tersi Trail and to Rosario Beach, and bordering the current state park." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Climbing is reporting that, "earlier this month an unidentified 54-year-old-man died in an apparent fall in Death Valley National Park. Leading up to the discovery, a campground host first noticed a tent that remained standing past its due date. Rangers left a note in the tent, attempting to contact the tent user. A day after failing to connect with the visitor, officials returned to remove the property from the site and found technical gear within the tent. After the discovery, the rangers recalled seeing a vehicle at the Mosaic Canyon Trailhead a few days earlier. Officials returned to the trailhead, and ran the plates on the vehicle. The plates matched the campsite registration information, prompting a rescue attempt." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--Fox 13 is reporting that, "a man collapsed while skiing at Deer Valley Resort in Park City Tuesday morning and was later pronounced dead." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--CNN is reporting that, "a skier was rescued on Friday in Teton County, Wyoming, near Jackson Hole after getting caught in an avalanche and carried about 500 yards. Matt Hansen, communication director for Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation, told CNN that two skiers were on a ski tour that began on a trail head on top of Teton Pass in the backcountry." To read more, click here.

--Outside is reporting that, "new testing by a consumer advocacy group warns that a number of sports bras and athletic shirts on the market contain high levels of bisphenol A, or BPA, an industrial chemical that has been linked to cancer and other health concerns when exposed to the human body. The finding is prompting scientists and gear makers to more closely inspect next-to-skin materials." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "The Arena Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE American: AREN) (the “Company” or “The Arena Group”), a tech-powered media company home to more than 240 brands, including Sports Illustrated, TheStreet, Inc. (“TheStreet”), and Parade Media (“Parade”), today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the digital assets of Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Surfer, Powder, Bike, SKATEboarding, Snowboarder and NewSchoolers from accelerate360. The collection of active lifestyle brands, which will provide the core components of The Arena Group’s fourth major vertical, has been a staple of those enjoying active and adventurous lives." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "rock climbing continues its move into the mainstream. Actor (and climber) Jason Momoa and climbing legend Chris Sharma have teamed up to produce a new reality competition series for HBO Max titled, The Climb." To read more, click here. To watch the trailer, click below:

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "Vail Resorts, who own and operate 37 ski areas across the United States including Vail, Breckenridge, Heavenly, and Crested Butte, have announced that they have sold 2.3 million pre-purchased passes for the 2022-23 Season. This serves as a 6% increase from the 2021-22 season, which means you can definitely expect to see a lot of skiers and snowboarders out on the slopes this year. These statistics were released as part of the company’s earnings report for the first fiscal quarter of 2023, which came to a close on October 31st." To read more, click here.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Book Review: Psycovertical

I became aware of Andy Kirkpatrick some years ago when I was an avid reader of every climbing magazine out there. Kirkpatrick has written for the American magazines Climbing and Alpinist as well as for the UK magazines Climb and Climber. His articles were always engaging, often funny, and even more often, terrifying.

Recently Kirkpatrick's award winning autobiography, Psychovertical, made it's way across the pond and was reprinted by Mountaineers Books. And like his shorter work Kirkpatrick's stories from the mountains of his life are always entertaining and enlightening.

I'm well aware that a large percentage of our blog readers are Americans and are far more interested in tales from Alaska and Yosemite than stories from the Alps. And I also know that some of you might already be turned off to this book because it was written by a Brit. But rest assured, Kirkpatrick's sense of humor has a flair that we Americans can appreciate, and he even writes about the Sierra...extensively...

I don't believe in God, and intelligent design is only for those who know nothing about either, but when I stand beneath El Cap I always have second thoughts. How could nature be so brash and showy? And if there is a God, he must be an American, or the road wouldn't be so close to this glorious wall.

Kirkpatrick frames the story of his life around a solo climb of the Reticent Wall (VI, 5.9, A5) in Yosemite Valley, an incredibly committing and dangerous climb. The book is written as if from the climb. Kirkpatrick tells us the story of his life and his obsession with high end alpine climbing in a series of vignettes, always returning to the pinnacle of his climbing career on the solo climb of the Reticent.

Early in my climbing career, I become obsessed with big wall climbing. The idea of vertical backpacking was extremely attractive. And as such, I poured over articles about big wall routes throughout the world and found many of them to be...dull. This is not at all the case with Kirkpatrick's wall adventures. Even as he describes individual moves, which in the hands of a lesser writer would be incredibly boring, we are engaged. And we are never more engaged with this type of climbing than we are when he is relating comic stories from living on the wall:

For breakfast we had a big tin of fruit to share, and every day he would eat his half, then in the same motion as he passed the tin to me, pull out a paper bag, pull down his pants, and have a dump. It's not surprising that more often than not I would lose my appetite, the sight, smell and sound unconductive to keeping a mouth full of pineapple and grapes.

Many of us learn the art of climbing with a little bit of trial by fire. Some of us end up running out of food. Others spend unplanned nights in the mountains. And a few of us even get hurt. But almost none of us jump out of bed one day and right into high end climbing. Kirkpatrick was one of those who did just such a thing. He learned the art of alpinism as most of us do, by climbing local rocks and then graduating to the mountains. But most our graduation climbs do not include travel to a new range in the winter for our very first alpine climb...

Early in his life, Kirkpatrick threw himself at his climbing and became totally enamored with winter ascents in the Alps and in Patagonia. Psychovertical chronicles a number of these in his trademark comic, self-deprecating style. The winter ascents are incredibly engaging in part because so many of them turn epic, with dangerous descents in massive storms, rappels off terrible anchors into the unknown and freezing bivys in tiny snow caves...

After an hour we'd dug a coffin-shaped cave, just big enough as long as we left almost everything outside. I was putting the finishing touches to our temporary home, scraping any irregular lumps in the roof so water wouldn't build up on them and drip onto us, when, as I was leaning against one wall, my hand shot through and I fell onto my shoulder. I rolled away and realized we'd dug through into the side of a crevasse. It was so late that I just filled in the gap and climbed back out into the storm. I said to Aaron that he could sleep on that side, neglecting to tell him why. He was lighter anyway.

And while the book is chalked full of intermittent intensity and comedy, the heart of the book is in Kirkpatrick's obsession with high end climbing and the guilt he feels when he leaves his family for climbing trips. This is a theme that many climbers deal with. Most of our spouses understand that we need to climb in order to be who we are, but our kids don't understand that. Instead, they just see us as not being there. Kirkpatrick describes significant anguish around his lifestyle and how he feels when he's in the mountains that he should be home with his family; and conversely that when he's at home with his family, he wants to be in the mountains.

Late in the book, he makes this point more eloquently than any other climbing writer ever has, and by doing so places himself in the top tier of mountaineering authors:

I thought about talking to Ella, imagined her voice, what she would say.

She would ask when I was coming home. 

I often wondered about writing her a letter, to tell her who I was, why I climbed, and why I left her, even though she was the greatest gift I had ever been given. But every time I started, my words sounded like the excuses they were. The only thing I had to give were the photos I had taken of her, boxes full. Through them you could see my love for her. And her love for me.

One day, I would write a book and hope she would then understand that fathers are only children too.

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, December 16, 2022

The Dangers of Tree-Wells

At the American Alpine Institute, we spend a lot of time talking about avalanches.  We run dozens of avalanche courses a season and highlight avalanche near misses and fatalities on this blog.  But we haven't spent much time talking about another major frontcountry and backcountry danger: tree-wells

Every year there are stories about people who have gone into a tree-well upside down and suffocated.  Essentially, a skier or a snowboarder takes a fall and slides into a tree-well upside down. When this happens it's very difficult for one to extract him or herself. Indeed, struggling upside down in a well can actually cause an individual to slip down further. The result is very similar to an avalanche, an individual suffocates in the snow.

Occasionally we report on frontcountry avalanches, but they are rare. Tree-well accidents happen every year both in-bounds and out-of-bounds.   The wells are particularly dangerous after a big snow storm that dropped a lot of powder.

The Tree-Well and Deep Snow Safety website indicates that, "the odds of surviving a deep snow immersion accident are low; especially if you are not with a partner. In two experiments conducted in the U.S. and Canada in which volunteers were temporarily placed in a tree well, 90% COULD NOT rescue themselves."

The following video portrays a shocking demonstration of just how dangerous tree-wells can be:

Following is a breakdown of what to do in the event of a tree-well accident:

Ski with a Partner

First and foremost, skiing with a partner is the most important part of staying safe on a powder day.  And skiing with a partner means keeping track of him or her visually.  If you speed ahead and are waiting at the bottom of the slope for your partner in the tree-well, then you have failed to truly ski with your partner.  Many of those who have died as a result of a tree-well incident were with partners, but they did not actually witness the fall.  Visual contact is important!

In addition to staying in visual contact, it is important to be close enough to your partner that you could dig him out if an accident occurs.  How long does that person have? Well, about as long as you can hold your you should be close enough to perform a rescue quickly.

If your partner goes into a hole, don't leave to get help.  Dig him or her out!  Once you have reached the person's face, be sure to clear the airway as there might be snow in the mouth.

Carry Backcountry Equipment

Obviously digging requires a shovel. Be sure that you have a shovel, a beacon and a probe on any big snow days, in-bounds or out.

If you're a skier, remove your ski pole straps. People who go into tree-wells often have trouble removing these straps while in a hole.

Stay on Groomed Trails

On big powder days, groomed trails are always the safest.  However, if you really want to enjoy the powder or you want to ski in the backcountry, you'll expose yourself to tree-well danger.

If you are off the groomed trails, stay away from the trees. There will not be a tree-well where there is no tree.

If You Fall in a Tree-Well

If you realize that you are falling into a tree-well, try to grab the tree and the tree-branches.  Once you've fallen in, try to hold onto the tree or branches so that you don't fall in further.

Struggling in a tree-well often makes you sink more deeply. So if you're in the hole, think. Don't panic. Try to breathe calmly in order to conserve the little bit of air you might have while waiting for a rescue.

If you are in the hole, try to create a breathing space near your face. If you're secure, try to rock your body gently in order to increase this space. Over time, heat from your body, along with rocking motions, will compact the snow. The hardening of the snow around you might allow you to work your way out of the hole.


Following are a few great sites with information about tree-well related incidents:

Stevens Pass Tree-Wells
Tree-Well and Deep Snow Safety
How to Escape a Tree-Well

Tree-wells are dangerous, but they are a danger that can be mitigated and avoided.  Pay attention to your surroundings and to your partners in order to stay safe while skiing or snowboarding.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/15/22


--Cascadia Daily News is reporting that, "a male snowboarder died Saturday in a deep snow immersion incident in the Pan Dome extreme danger zone cliff area of Mount Baker Ski Area, CEO Gwyn Howat said. The Bellingham man, 44, appeared to be riding alone in the rarely frequented area, located to the north of Chair 1. He was not reported missing to the Mount Baker ski patrol, Howat said." To read more, click here.

--This situation near Stevens Pass Ski Area in Washington is unsustainable:

--To train for a trip to Indian Creek, a Squamish local found a thin roof crack on the bottom of a bridge that she climbed and re-climbed for training. Check it out.

Desert Southwest:

--KLAS is reporting that, "Fees for entering the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just outside of Las Vegas are about to go up, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Currently, the daily entry fee for Red Rock Canyon is $15 per vehicle. As of January 1, 2023, this is going up $5 to $20 per vehicle. Other fees are also increasing in the new year." To read more, click here.

--Patch is reporting that, "Joshua Tree National Park and the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians will join forces with a co-stewardship agreement, officials reported. Tribal Chairman Darrell Mike and Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David A. Smith and are among the representatives expected to sign the agreement next month." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--KSL TV is reporting that, "Search and rescue crews on Tuesday located the body of a skier who was reported missing Monday night. 'He was found at about 8:15 (a.m.), just off of the Sensation ski run in some trees,' said Unified Police Department spokesperson Melody Cutler." To read more, click here.

--KSL TV is also reporting that, "One skier got caught and was injured in an avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon Tuesday near Tanner's Campground. Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler said the call came in about 2:15 p.m. from an area known as pink pine. Two skiers in their 20s, one male and one female, were skiing when an avalanche was triggered. Police said the man was caught in the avalanche but was not buried. He did, however, suffer significant injuries to his leg, ribs, shoulder and face." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "avalanche danger is high in Colorado right now. In the last 10 days, observers have reported over 400 avalanches as the snowpack has passed a tipping point. An avalanche warning has been issued by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for the northern Front Range Mountains, including Cameron Pass and the Park Range." To read more, click here.

--In late November there were a lot of base jumpers that suffered cliff strikes near Moab. In at least one case, a climber came to the rescue of a jumper who was stuck. To read the story, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Don't hire unpermitted guides. From Backpacker: "A Missouri man who led a 31-person hike on the Buffalo National River where one participant died in a fall will face criminal penalties for acting as an unpermitted guide, a federal judge ruled this week." To read more, click here

--Climbing is reporting that, "Black Diamond is stepping up to match up to $80,000 in donations to Access Fund, the national non-profit advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing. Gifts made HERE will be matched through December 19." To read more about this initiative, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "Glacier National Park in British Columbia, Canada, was forced to close an entire backcountry skiing area because skiers failed to stay out of avalanche mitigation areas. On December 1st, skiers entered the closed MacDonald West area. This area was closed due to avalanche mitigation concerns." To read more, click here.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Gifts for the Backcountry Skier in Your Life

Tis the season to be thinking about holiday gifts. And boy-oh-boy, if there's one person who needs a lot of stuff, it's the backcountry skier in your life.

Backcountry skiing is an expensive sport. Skis, boots and bindings are all extremely expensive. A thousand dollar purchase is not uncommon for an individual outfitting themselves with a mere part of the backcountry kit. So it may come as a surprise to find out that there are many inexpensive items that a backcountry skier could certainly use.

Following is a list of not-to-crazy-expensive gift ideas for a backcountry skier:

Ski Straps ($4-$8)

This is one of those items that skiers lose all the time. They are also one of those items that skiers can use to fix a myriad of backcountry problems. They are a very nice thing to have. We recommend the Voile Ski Straps.

Glop Stopper Skin Wax ($12-$15)

Nothing is more frustrating that having snow glop up on your skins during a spring tour. This inexpensive wax can quickly be placed on the skins to eliminate the problem. It is a must have... We recommend, the Black Diamond Glop Stopper.

Warm Socks ($8-$30)

Darn Tough Hike/Trek Boot Sock

Who doesn't need a new pair of warm wool or synthetic socks.  Look for a pair that is tall and will protect the skier's shin from the boot. I am personally a big fan of Darn Tough socks.

Lightweight Gloves ($20-$40)

OR PL Base Glove

Skiers often wear heavy thick gloves for their descents. But a good chunk of a backcountry skier's day is spent going up hill. No one wants to wear super heavy gloves while skinning up. Most want light gloves that breath, but still keep their fingers protected from the cold.

There are several options out there, but we recommend the OR PL Base Glove.

Brooks-Range Field Organizer ($20)

At this point I don't think I know any guides who don't have one of these protective book covers for their avalanche "blue books." This inexpensive piece of gear is a well-loved part of my everyday backcountry kit! I'm not sure if anyone but Brooks-Range makes these...

Buff ($10-$25)

A Buff is a tube of fabric that can be worn over the face, head, ears or neck. There are several companies making these accessories, but Buff is still the original and best.

The first time I ever saw a buff, I thought it was goofy. But now I wear one in the snow, in the desert and in the summer on the rock. This essential piece of equipment protects me from the sun, but also can protect my face from stinging snow. Nearly every AAI guide regularly wears a Buff in some form or another...

Portable Battery Charger ($25-$100)

As smartphone technology has improved, most skiers have begun to use their phones throughout their tours. That means that they're also using up battery power. Portable chargers have become a key piece of equipment, just in case one's battery starts to run low. The Goal Zero Flip Series works well and there are several sizes available with different charging abilities.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/8/2022


--Here's some video from Sunday when a snowboarder experienced an avalanche in the Mt. Baker Backcountry:

Desert Southwest:

--Climbing is reporting that, "Around noon on December 4, local authorities received a call that a climber had fallen around 200 feet while climbing on the Left Wall on El Cajon Mountain, near San Diego. Nathaniel Masahi Takatsuno, 22, had, according to eye-witness accounts, been free soloing Leonids—a three-pitch 5.9—when he fell." To read more, click here.

--A TikTok influencer is in trouble after hitting a golf ball into the Grand Canyon. From USA Today: "In the video, which appeared on 20-year-old Katie Sigmond’s accounts on Oct. 26, Sigmond hit a golf ball and subsequently lost most of her club when the driver’s shaft flew into the canyon after the ball. Social media users were quick to share Sigmond’s stunt on platforms such as Reddit, where a screen recording of Sigmond’s Snapchat Story garnered more than 900 comments. Commenters condemned Sigmond for littering as well as endangering people and wildlife below her. The influencer – who has a combined 10 million followers across TikTok and Instagram – was going viral for the wrong reasons and she appeared to delete the posts." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "On Saturday, at least two people were caught in two separate avalanches in Colorado. Both of these large and dangerous avalanches were near Berthoud Pass." To read more, click here.

--There was an inbounds avalanche at Snowbird on Sunday.

--This guy is celebrating his one hundredth year skiing...

Notes from All Over:

Climbing is reporting on some unfortunate news from Iran: "The family home of Elnaz Rekabi—who competed without her hijab at the Asian Continental Championships in October—has been destroyed according to IranWire, a pro-reform media source. A video has reportedly circulated showing footage of climbing medals among the ruins." To read more, click here.

--The Iphone 14 has a emergency message service that works through satellites, similar to an inReach. SnowBrains is reporting on the first known rescue using this new technology: "On December 1, 2022, at around 2:00 am, the Alaska State Troopers were notified that an adult male traveling via snowmachine from Noorvik to Kotzebue had activated an Apple iPhone Emergency SOS via satellite on his iPhone after becoming stranded." To read more, click here.

--Speaking of the Iphone 14, it does appear that an unanticipated problem with the device is that it is reporting ski crashes as car crashes. Check it out.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "on the morning of December 1, 2022, Colorado second-grade elementary school student Maddock Jefferson Lipp set a new world record as the youngest person to ski on all seven continents. Maddock, age eight years and 25 days, went from the Ocean Diamond ship off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula via Zodiac craft to shore, near a gentoo penguin rookery. From there, Maddock, along with his older sister (Keira Lipp), father (Jordan Lipp), and IFMGA ski mountaineering guide (Jorge Kozulj), ascended the lower portions of Mount Hoegh in Antarctica. With several inches of fresh powder, the four skied down the slopes of the glaciated mountain back to shore and the penguins." To read more, click here.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Winter Backcountry Campsite Construction

Outdoor Research has posted a nice video on how to create a backcountry winter campsite. Specifically, they design a site for a Megamid or Mega Lite style tent. These are circus style tents with no floor and a center pole. In the snow, this style of tent allows for quite a bit of customization.

It should be noted that this style of tent is often used for cook tents on expeditions. Historically, AAI guides used this style of tent to create cook tents on Denali. Climbers still slept in tents with floors, but the ability to customize cooking space makes this a very desirable tent to operate with in an expeditionary setting.

Check out the video on how to build a backcountry campsite in the snow, below:

  1. Stamp out a platform with your skis.
  2. Start small with digging out the tent area.
  3. One person will climb down onto the "table" and hold the center tentpole. That person should place the tentpole on something that will disperse the weight appropriately.
  4. Once the tent is up, fill in the snow around the edges.
  5. Dig down inside to create bed areas or benches.
  6. Cut blocks with a snow saw and stack the blocks around the tent to decrease the impact of wind.
  7. Finally, when taking down the tent, be sure to fill into the holes. There's no reason to leave a place where someone could ski into a hole and get hurt.
People who do a lot of light backpacking also often use this style of tent. However, the tent is not as good if you have bug or rodent issues, issues you won't have in the snow.

One more interesting thing... These tents are often used in outdoor education. Outdoor educators have started to refer to the pole in the center of the tent as a "chastity pole." In other words, it blocks someone from rolling over to snuggle with someone else. So if snuggling is your thing, this probably isn't the tent set-up for you...

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, December 2, 2022

Secrets, Nuances and Selecting Ski Bindings.

Cody Townsend is a well-known pro skier. His profile has really taken off recently as he has released several videos about his attempts to ski the Fifty Classic Ski Lines in North America. His YouTube series entitled, The Fifty, is well worth watching.

But you know what else is worth watching...?

This video. I have now watched it three times. The knowledge about ski bindings here is insane. If you're a backcountry skier, then this 13-minute video is an essential thing to watch:

I know I missed something. I think I need to watch this again...

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 12/1/2022


--Access to Paradise on Mt. Rainier will only be open on weekends. From Mt. Rainier National Park: "Beginning today, November 29, the park will maintain public vehicle access to Paradise on Saturdays and Sundays, but due to staffing limitations the road will be closed to public access during the week. The Longmire area will continue to be open seven days a week barring any major storm events. Park staff will continue to revisit the Paradise access schedule should staffing levels change during the winter season." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "North of Lillooet is an ice climbing area with routes over 400 metres and up to WI6. The area was only recently discovered and is called Top Gun. On Nov. 26, Tim Nielsen and Josh Zahl climbed a new “fun and varied route in a fantastic setting.” They called it You Can Be My Wingman Anytime and graded the 300-metre WI3. It’s one of the biggest new routes at the grade climbed in a decade in the province." To read more, click here.


--Outside is reporting that, "Palisades Tahoe skiers and boarders have long-known that more than a few of its black diamond runs warranted another diamond due to cliffs and other hazards. The resort finally agreed this year. Palisades Tahoe upgraded nearly 40 of its 245 Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley runs to double black diamond status–on paper anyway–including Granite Chief Peak, Funnel, Kathmandu, Idiot’s Delight, Tom’s Tumble and Chimney. The extra diamond can be seen on the resort’s 2022/23 map available on its app." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--The Hill is reporting that, "a popular camping spot in Grand Canyon National Park has been renamed, making it just the latest federally-managed space to undergo rebranding. It isn’t the last, either. After a unanimous vote by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names earlier this month, the Indian Garden campground has been renamed Havasupai Gardens. The vote came after the Havasupai Tribe formally requested the National Park Service change the campground’s name." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--A backpacker died in the Zion Narrows, likely due to hypothermia this week. To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that "Loveland Pass—home to two Colorado ski areas and an area infamous for avalanche activity—was reportedly closed for four hours on Monday morning after a large avalanche buried a section of highway." To read more, click here.

--Shuttle service in Zion will end on Monday

--From the Access Fund: "Following the lead of the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni, Access Fund filed a motion to intervene in a state of Utah lawsuit that attacks President Biden’s decision to restore Bears Ears National Monument. Bears Ears is a sacred landscape to Native American Tribes and home to world class rock climbing visited by climbers from around the world." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Gripped is reporting that, "Ed Webster, who pushed the limits of what was possible on Mount Everest in 1988, has died at the age of 66. He was born on March 21, 1956, in Boston and grew up in Massachusetts before moving to Colorado where he earned a degree in anthropology in 1978." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "the climbing community has lost one of the most prolific route developers in the Canadian Rockies and Skaha Bluffs with the passing of Jon Jones. If you’ve cragged in the Rockies or Okanagan Valley, you’ve likely climbed one of his routes. Jones recently died at the Penticton Regional Hospital with his partner Christine Wright by his side." To read more, click here.

--Cocaine Bear is a real movie. It is supposedly inspired by true events (a bear eats cocaine from a downed drug-runner's plane) and the movie is coming out in 2023. Check out the absolutely awesome trailer, here!

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "Vail Resorts today announced the appointment of Angela Korch as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective Dec. 22, 2022. Angela rejoins Vail Resorts from CorePower Yoga, where she served as Chief Financial Officer since May 2020, after previously spending more than a decade in successive leadership roles within Vail Resorts’ finance organization, working closely with the company’s current CFO, Michael Barkin." To read more, click here.