Thursday, January 5, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 1/5/23

Post Holiday Note:

Normally, this report updates news on a weekly basis. Due to holiday staffing, this report covers the news from December 23rd through January 4th.


--Gripped is reporting that, "a huge rockfall on Snowpatch Spire is sending shockwaves through the local and international climbing community. This will forever change this part of the Bugaboo Provincial Park and access to certain routes. The face has classic aid and free routes, including the Tom Egan Memorial Route, which Will Stanhope freed at 5.14 in 2015, which is now gone. The popular Sunshine Crack, an 11-pitch 5.11 first climbed by Alex Lowe and Shelly Scott, has also been destroyed as at least the lower pitches have been wiped out." To read more, click here.

--King 5 News is reporting that, "The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) began Phase 3 construction this year on a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 90 between Hyak and Easton that will include new wildlife crossings. The crossings will help reconnect animals with habitats they have been isolated from because of high traffic volumes on the interstate – joining existing crossing structures that have already had an impact on wildlife." To read more, click here.

--Here's an update from Gripped on a new ice route in British Columbia. This report also includes several other updates on Canadian ice.

El Capitan at Sunset

--Gripped is reporting that, "two people were killed in Yosemite National Park following a rockfall near the park entrance, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. Officials said the rockfall took place between the Arch Rock Entrance and the town of El Portal, within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park. It happened on Tuesday and was described at the time as 'a significant rockfall.'" To read more, click here.

--The Tahoe Daily Tribune is reporting that, "the first Sierra snowpack survey of the season on Tuesday showed that California is way above average, but officials caution that last year was also well above average at the beginning of the year before three record months of dry weather resulted in one of the smallest packs on record. The Department of Water Resources conducted the survey at Phillips Station, located near the entrance to Sierra-at-Tahoe, and discovered the snowpack is at 177% for the location and  is at 174% of the historical average for this year, an impressive amount due to a stormy December. The snow there was at a depth of 55.5 inches — enough to store 17.5 inches of water." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Joshua Tree National Park, through a ranger's eyes...

--From the Grand Canyon Trust: "New data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows outdoor recreation growing rapidly in the Grand Canyon state, adding over $9.8 billion to Arizona's economy in 2021 and providing over 100,000 jobs. The findings underscore the need to permanently protect the Arizona economy and the Grand Canyon region from new uranium mines that could put land, air, and especially clean water at risk of radioactive contamination. Arizona outdoor recreation jobs depend a healthy, safe Grand Canyon." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "a snowboarder was killed in an avalanche on Monday, December 26, on Berthoud Pass, CO. Four backcountry tourers were caught, two fully buried, and one killed. It is the first avalanche fatality of the winter 2022/23  season. Local news is reporting the victim was a 44-year-old man." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "a backcountry skier was killed on Saturday in an avalanche on Peak 10 near Breckenridge, CO. The skier and his partner had left Breckenridge Resort, CO, through a backcountry access gate." To read more, click here. is reporting that, "a tree fell on a Park City Mountain resort ski lift line Monday, killing a resort employee. The tree fell about 10:45 a.m. on the line of the Short Cut chairlift, Sara Huey, senior manager of communications, said in a statement." To read more, click here.

--On December 22nd, a chair at Breckenridge with a person onboard, was ripped off the chairlift cable by high winds. The occupant was okay after the incident. To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "At approximately 4:50 pm on Thursday, December 29th, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputies learned a 38-year-old female from Fruita, CO, became too exhausted to make it to the 10th Mountain Division Hut, Betty Bear, off of trail 505, in the White River National Forest. The skier activated the SOS feature on her Garmin InReach. She communicated with Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputies via text message. The female skier told Deputies that her water had frozen, but she had food. The female skier said her friends were faster and traveled ahead. She said her friends were already at the Betty Bear Hut. The female skier could not make it to the hut because she was too exhausted." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--The Miami Herald, strangely, is reporting on an ice climbing accident in New Hampshire: "A climber needed rescue after a piece of ice came loose and fell on top of him during his ascent, New Hampshire officials said. James Lawrence, a 37-year-old “experienced” ice climber from Dover, was climbing Willey’s Slide — a climbing route in Hart’s Location — in the afternoon on Dec. 30, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said in a news release." To read more, click here.

Tim Howell became the first person to wingsuit off Aconcagua.

--Gripped is reporting that, "Tim Howell has become the first climber to jump from Argentina’s Aconcagua (6,962 m) and to fly to the valley using a wingsuit. Due to conditions, Howell could not jump from the summit instead launching from near the second camp." To read more, click here.

--The New York Times posted a piece on ice climbing and climate change on Christmas Day. Check it out. here.

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