Thursday, January 19, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 1/19/2023


--Mt. Rainier National Park is receiving a lot of blowback for it's weekday closures. From the Seattle Times: "Paradise is popular with families for sledding and snow play, snowshoers and Nordic skiers, out-of-town visitors eager to see snow up close, and backcountry skiers and winter climbers who explore the park’s higher reaches. The closure has pinched a nerve in a region dealing with chronic overcrowding at winter recreation access points, an issue that flared elsewhere Jan. 2 as Stevens Pass and The Summit at Snoqualmie handled overwhelming crowds, and day hikers packed the Mount Tahoma Trails network." To read more, click here.


--Outside is reporting that, "California’s snowy winter could mean trouble for thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. According to current measurements, the northern Sierra Nevada range currently has 173 percent of the average snowpack for this time of the year, followed by 201 percent in the central Sierras, and 222 percent in the southern Sierras. Statewide, snow levels are 199 percent the average amount. Amidst the worst drought in 1,200 years, the moisture could help restore some of California’s water supply. But there are drawbacks to the heavy precipitation.  Flooding and risks to backcountry travel are hazards that could be on the horizon for the spring and summer." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--With the wet cold weather, be prepared for closures at Red Rock Canyon. And consider climbing on limestone after these storms. There are several limestone areas outside the Red Rock Scenic Drive.

--3 News is reporting that, "The steady winter storms this season are especially good news at Red Rock Canyon, where a project is turning the rain into more rain. Scientists say they've successfully increased rain in Red Rock Canyon this season by cloud seeding." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--A skier died in a tree well at Steamboat on Friday. Please be careful out there and consider the thoughts in this video.

--Out There Colorado is reporting that, "Crew members from Snowmass Ski Patrol were deployed into the backcountry near Snowmass ski area on Saturday after being notified that an out-of-bounds skier fell into a river.  Ski patrol officials contacted emergency services at around 3:09 PM on Saturday, saying they were in contact with a skier that skied out of bounds near the West Willow drainage and had fallen into the river." To read more, click here.

--From the Access Fund and the Boulder Climbing Coalition: "The BCC and Access Fund are looking for climber input to help us in formulating our submission on Rocky Mountain National Park’s re-examination of its visitor use management strategy. In general, Park officials believe that excess visitation is hurting the ecology, system infrastructure, and user experience. They have not identified climbers in particular as a cause of those problems, but any further changes to the Park’s timed entry system will affect climbers. The Park is initiating a public process (NEPA) to consider various options. They have mentioned some possible changes for consideration, but say they are open to other ideas as well." To read more, click here.

--Climbing is reporting that, "On January 1, a new law took effect in Colorado that provides extra support to the state’s search and rescue teams. Senate Bill 168 transfers the backcountry search and rescue responsibilities of the Department of Local Affairs’ (DOLA) to the division of Parks and Wildlife, which is expected to provide teams with a bigger budget. The new law also provides volunteers with immunity from civil lawsuits that result from failed missions. And if a volunteer becomes permanently disabled or killed while on duty, the law will also provide the volunteer’s dependents with access to higher education." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Climbing is reporting that, "Last December, Iranian authorities arrested at least five athletes, including several climbers, from the southern city of Shiraz. Their arrest came amid the widespread anti-regime protests, which have been ongoing since September 16, 2022. Hesam Mousavi, a prominent rock climbing and highline instructor, was among the detainees. Others arrested were Eshragh Najaf Abadi, a former member of Iran’s national cycling and mountain climbing teams; Amirarsalan Mahdavi, a rock climber and snowboarding coach; and Mohammad Khiveh, a mountaineer. According to Iranwire and the Center for Human Rights in Iran, other climbers from Shiraz have since been arrested, including Marjan Jangjou, Hamid Ghashghaei, and Hamed Qashqaei." To read more, click here.

--Outside is reporting that, "after nine teleconference meetings, plus dozens of emails, texts, and phone calls, the American Alpine Club has finally agreed on a new name for its annual award for excellence in climbing. The honor, formerly named for groundbreaking American climbers Robert and Miriam Underhill, will now be called the Pinnacle Award. The club chose to rename it after leadership learned of Robert L.H. Underhill’s antisemitic views, which he expressed in written letters to colleagues in 1939 and 1946." To read more, click here.

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