Thursday, February 23, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 2/23/2023


--NBC News is reporting that, "A mountain climber accidentally triggered a deadly avalanche in central Washington, killing three people on the expedition, authorities said Tuesday. The victims were among six 'backcountry travelers' on Colchuck Peak, which is near the Cascade Mountains village of Leavenworth and about 120 miles east of downtown Seattle, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "two people died in an avalanche near Kicking Horse ski hill in Golden this week, bringing the total number of people killed by avalanches this winter to nine.  The size 3.5 avalanche measured 115 metres wide and 950 metres long with a crown depth of 1.5 metres and it ran on a weak layer. Avalanche Canada said this season’s snowpack is similar to the 2002-2003 season when 25 people died in British Columbia’s backcountry." To read more, click here.

--Don Striker, the superintendent of North Cascades National Park, has laid out three primary challenges and objectives for the coming year. To read about them, click here.


--Gripped is reporting on the death of a legend: "one of Yosemite’s most iconic big wall speed climbers, Ammon McNeely, has died at the age of 52. Details of the accident are unknown, but sources close to McNeely say that he fell off a cliff near Moab, but it wasn’t climbing related. During his time in the Valley, McNeely climbed over 60 routes on El Capitan and spent hundreds of days on the wall." At this point, it appears that Ammon was sitting on a rock near the edge of a cliff that fell, and he went with it. To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--The iconic invisible house near Joshua Tree National Park is for sale. A mere 18-million will get you a house with an indoor pool that disappears into the landscape due to the house's mirrors. To read more, click here.

--A lost hiker started a wildfire near Sedona. He's now being charged $300,000 for the damage the fire created. To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--Vail Resorts doesn't appear to be doing a good job with employees who have traveled to the US to work for them. Summit Daily tells one story: "Queiroz is among several employees of Keystone’s parent company, Vail Resorts, who said they’ve faced challenges securing hours after traveling to work in the United States on a temporary student visa — known as a J-1 — for the 2022-2023 ski season. Students say it’s led to financial burdens as they contend with a high cost of living in Summit County that includes their housing, groceries and transportation." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Gear Junkie is reporting that, "Alterra Mountain Company, the owner of 16 ski resorts and facilitator of the Ikon Pass, will pay a total of $17.5 million to those who held passes in the COVID-shortened 2019-2020 season. That’s after a Colorado judge awarded the sum following a court case in late January." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "German climber and experienced high-altitude mountaineer Jost Kobusch has become the fifth person ever to reach the summit of Denali, North America’s highest mountain at 6,190 metres, solo and unsupported in winter." To read more, click here.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 2/16/2023

Desert Southwest:

--Backpacker is reporting on three different rescues this month in Death Valley National Park: "When most people think of Death Valley, they think of heat—blistering, record-setting, egg-frying, triple-digit heat. But over eight days this month, a very different hazard sent SAR teams scrambling to rescue three stricken hikers: cold and snow." To read more, click here.

--The Access Fund is doing everything it can to keep reservations and fees from coming to Calico Basin in Red Rock Canyon just outside Las Vegas. To read more, click here.

--A couple of climbers had to rescue a free soloist who was stuck at a crux at El Cajon Mountain this week. This comes on the heels of the death of a climber on the same crag in December. It is not okay to free solo anywhere near your limit. And you certainly should never free solo a line that is not totally obvious. The amount of people getting in trouble or getting hurt, is rising. To read the story, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Silverton Ski Area is adding another lift.

--Seasonal raptor closures have gone into effect in Rocky Mountain National Park's Lumpy Ridge area. To read more, click here.

--The Owl Creek Chase Nordic Race had a bit of an issue last week. From The Aspen Times: "The race, which typically takes place on the Owl Creek Trail from Snowmass to Aspen, was rerouted due to moose activity near Buttermilk Ski Area." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Gripped is reporting that, "it’s a sad day in the climbing community as word has spread of the death of Zach Milligan, a climber originally from Montana with close ties to Yosemite. The accident took place on Polar Circus, a 700-metre WI5 in the Canadian Rockies. After receiving a call at 11 p.m. on Saturday night, a Parks Canada’s visitor safety team flew a drone over the climb on Saturday. “They found what appeared to be the deceased person at the bottom of a cliff in that area,” said Sgt. Susan Richter of the Lake Louise RCMP." To read more, click here.

--TV6 is reporting that, "The body of an ice climber that went missing off of Miner’s Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore last week has been recovered. According to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the body of 31-year-old James Bake of Gaylord was recovered." To read more, click here.

--A climber was injured this week in Lakeside, California. From Fox 5: "A climber fell from a large distance near an East County park on Saturday, said CAL FIRE Public Information Officer Thomas Shoots. Officials received a call shortly before 12:30 p.m. reporting the incident, which occurred on a trail near El Monte County Park. CAL FIRE said the trail had difficult access." To read more, click here.

A still from the wild boar attack.

--A wild boar attacked snowboarders in Japan last week. Watch a video, here.

--The Climbing Business Journal has released a report on the state of the climbing gym industry. "The report chronicles and analyzes all the major industry happenings for the year 2022. More specifically, the report showcases the size and scope of the climbing gym industry in the United States and Canada, exploring in-depth the various shifts, changes and evolutions that took place in climbing gyms of all types last year. And, for the first time ever, the report reveals average annual growth rates in the U.S. and Canada and features a look at Mexico’s climbing gym industry as well, thus expanding the breadth of the report to encompass all of North America." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "some of North America’s most experienced ice and mixed climbers gathered last weekend at the Michigan Ice Festival. Of all of the climbs that went down, a new WI6+ above Lake Superior might be the most impressive." To read more, click here.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 2/9/2022


Due to some field time, this news update was not posted last week. The current edition covers two weeks of outdoor news.


Low on Mt. Rainier

----Kiro 7 is reporting that, "Washington’s National Park Fund awarded a record-setting $1.1 million to the state’s three largest national parks on Wednesday. The funds will support 42 “priority projects” at Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Parks." To read more, click here.

--Unsurprisingly, a new research paper indicates that Bigfoot is likely many bears. From BioRxiv: "It has been suggested that the American black bear (Ursus americanus) may be responsible for a significant number of purported sightings of an alleged unknown species of hominid in North America. Previous analyses have identified correlation between ‘sasquatch’ or ‘bigfoot’ sightings and black bear populations in the Pacific Northwest using ecological niche models and simple models of expected animal sightings. The present study expands the analysis to the entire US and Canada by regressing sasquatch sightings on bear populations in each state/province while adjusting for human population and land area in a generalized linear model. Sasquatch sightings were statistically significantly associated with bear populations such that, on the average, one ‘sighting’ is expected for every few hundred bears. Based on statistical considerations, it is likely that many supposed sasquatch are really misidentified known forms. If bigfoot is there, it may be many bears.' To read more, click here.

--WlFi is reporting that, "Nestled between the snowy ranges of Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak, a significant glacier in Washington state has disappeared after existing full of ice and snowpack for millennia, according to a researcher who has tracked the glacier for years. In this swath of mountain range in the Washington Cascades east of Seattle, the climate crisis dealt the final blow to the Hinman Glacier, the largest in the region, according to Mauri Pelto, a glaciologist with Nichols College. It's not just the Northern Cascades that's losing ice. Researchers recently found that up to half of the planet's glaciers could be lost by the end of the century, even if the world's ambitious global climate targets, including phasing out fossil fuels, are met." To read more, click here.

--Climbing is reporting that, "While certainly no Joshua Tree or Red River Gorge, City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho holds its own as a climbing mecca for the area, with a storied history, over 600 routes, over 120,000 visitors each year, and 14,407 acres of land. During the first week of December 2022, the National Park Service acquired an additional 105 acres of land adjacent to the City of Rocks and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation purchased 260 adjacent acres, all land that had previously been privately owned and had limited access for use. With these new additions comes the opportunity for the development of many new climbing routes." To read more, click here.

--It appears that Aaron Minton and Tucker Merrill climbed a new ice line on the west face of Sloan Peak. To read about it, click here.


--There's news coming out of Yosemite on an Access Management Plan. This could have a real impact on all visitors to the valley. Read about it and comment on it, here.

Desert Southwest:

--From the National Parks Traveler: "Planning a backpacking trek in Joshua Tree National Park in California? You can obtain the necessary permit online at For the rest of February you'll also be able to self-register for a backcountry permit at trailheads in the park. However, the new online system will be fully implemented on March 1 and the self-registration, paper-based permits will no longer be available.  " To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "a skier was killed in a fall in the Y-Couloir in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon on Saturday, February 4th. According to the Unified Police Department, the victim was a 36-year-old male backcountry skier who had lost control of his skis around 1 p.m. and fell a long distance to the base of the couloir. The fatal fall did not involve an avalanche." To read more, click here.

--The Denver Post is reporting that, "A snowboarder was found guilty of leaving the scene of a collision that killed a skier at Eldora in 2021. Nicholas Keith Martinez, 29, of Wellington, was found guilty Tuesday of leaving the scene of a skiing or snowboarding crash, a petty offense, in connection with the death of Ron LeMaster. Following the trial, Martinez was sentenced to a $500 fine and costs, as well as 40 hours of community service to be completed within 90 days." To read more, click here.

--The Colorado Sun is reporting that, "The United States will pay family members of a Ugandan human rights activist killed in an accident at Arches National Park more than $10 million in damages, a federal judge ruled Monday." This was not a regular outdoor incident, but instead the horrible result of human error. A gust of wind swung an untethered gate into the woman's car, killing her horribly, in front of her new husband. To read more, click here.

--Climbing is reporting that, "Nestled on the southwest side of Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Chaos Canyon, one of North America’s best known bouldering areas, is home to nearly 1,000 boulder problems on impeccable Rocky Mountain granite. Due to a massive rockfall event on the south slope of Hallett Peak on June 28, 2022, the National Park Service has indefinitely closed access to all areas west of Lake Haiyaha, including all of Upper Chaos and Upper Upper Chaos, home to some 80% of the canyons boulder problems. These closures have raised questions about the future of climbing in the canyon and lead some to speculate about the National Park’s long term attitude toward climbers." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--KTOO in Alaska is reporting that, "It took dozens of rescuers several hours to retrieve a skier who broke his leg after venturing beyond the Eaglecrest Ski Area with two friends on Saturday. Jackie Ebert, Operations Chief for Juneau Mountain Rescue, says they were able to mobilize quickly thanks to the timing of the accident." To read more, click here.

--The Insider is reporting that, "A skier caught in an avalanche in Alberta, Canada, on February 3 was saved by two rescuers who hiked for hours to reach him, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC, reported on Sunday. The man, who has not been identified by name in media reports, is in his thirties and is from Nelson, British Columbia, per the CBC. He went off the ski path at Castle Mountain Ski Resort on Friday afternoon and was caught in an avalanche, the ski resort's sales and marketing manager, Cole Fawcett, told the media outlet." To read more, click here.

--Huffpost is reporting that, "The Biden administration on Wednesday followed through on its commitment to ban commercial logging and other development across more than 9 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest — the nation’s largest national forest. The move reverses a Trump administration rule that gutted safeguards for the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest." To read more, click here.

--The New York Times has posted a really interesting article about how skiing in Ukraine is a respite from the war raging in that country. To read the story, click here.

--Is it possible that beer without alcohol, "near-beer", is better post workout than sports drinks...? Here are some thoughts.

--So will anyone wear 3D printed climbing shoes? They're out there...

--And finally, though it's not news, this is fun to watch: