Thursday, March 23, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 3/23/23


--560 KPQ is reporting that, "The Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) will begin its seasonal clearing of the North Cascades Highway on Monday, March 27. The 44-mile stretch of State Route 20 closes annually during the winter months from the Ross Dam Trailhead to Early Winters due to heavy snow and persistent avalanche risks." To read more, click here.


--Yosemite has reopened!

--The Inertia is reporting that, "every week seems to come with a new winter storm to track in the Sierra Nevada region and we’re now stepping into territory where every week brings some kind of new record. The trend in the past decade has seen a handful of strong starts to the season that tapers off significantly as spring approaches, so when January 1 rolled around this year we were in a wait-and-see pattern. For reference, California had recorded 64 percent of its average April 1 snowpack as 2023 began, which accounted for 174 percent of the average snowpack for the first week of January." To read more, click here.

--This video is making its rounds of a patroller seriously losing his cool. Generally, our assumption is that the patroller is in the right, but this is a bad look for Palisades Tahoe.

Desert Southwest:

--From The Hill: "President Biden on Tuesday will designate two new national monuments at Nevada’s Avi Kwa Ame and Texas’s Castner Range and will also take a step toward the designation of a national marine sanctuary. The Avi Kwa Ame monument in Southern Nevada will include the peak also known as Spirit Mountain, which is part of the creation story of several tribal nations. The area is a desert landscape that contains a Joshua tree forest and fauna including the desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise and Gila monster." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Sacramento Bee is reporting that, "An avalanche engulfed three people near Marble, killing one, Colorado officials report. The Friday, March 17, avalanche caught two skiers and a splitboarder touring the backcountry near Rapid Creek, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said." To read more, click here.

--Summit Daily is reporting that, "Spring break has kept the Summit County Rescue Group busy this year. Over just the last 11 days, members responded to an overnight rescue of a backcountry skier, a snowmobile accident in Heeney, an airlift for an injured skier at Mayflower Gulch and several calls to Quandary Peak." To read more, click here.

--Fox News is reporting that, "A 56-year-old man died at Arches National Park in Utah on Sunday, the second hiker reported to have died on a trail at the park within a month, officials said. Park rangers had responded to a "report of CPR in progress" at Devils Garden Trail, the National Park Service said Monday. Officials with the Grand County Sheriff’s Department, Grand County EMS, and Classic Air Medical also responded to the trail." To read more, click here.

--Gwyneth Paltrow is currently defending herself against an accusation that she ran into a retired optometrist on a Utah ski slope. The optometrist's lawyers state that, "Paltrow crashed into Sanderson with such force that he broke four ribs and left him with a concussion. They claimed the concussion left him unable to adequately convey the seriousness of the crash, saying a ski instructor confronted him and berated him after the incident while Paltrow "bolted" away from the scene." To read more, check out an article at KOMO News.

--KPCW is reporting that, "On Monday the head of Deer Valley Resort had an update for the community about possibly joining forces with the new Mayflower ski resort, which plans to open in late 2024.
During a panel discussion about the state of the local ski industry Monday night at the Park City Library, Deer Valley President and COO Todd Bennett offered unprompted remarks about negotiations between the resort and Mayflower developer Extell." This new resort will not allow snowboarding. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--CBS Boston is reporting that, "A skier who was buried in snow for about 6 1/2 minutes after getting caught in an avalanche in New Hampshire's White Mountains this week was dug out by a companion and survived uninjured, authorities said." To read more, click here.

--THV11 is reporting that, "on March 7, a man was sentenced for illegally guiding hikers at Buffalo National River (in Arkansas). According to reports, Jeffrey Johnson was sentenced to two years probation, $600 in fines, $80 in processing fees, and was ordered to pay $2, 686.27 in restitution. Mr. Johnson was also banned from the Buffalo National River for two years" To read more, click here.

--WUSF Public Media is reporting that, "the National Park Service is now requiring permits that could cost hundreds of dollars for filming in national parks – including the 11 parks across Florida and more than 400 others across the country – if there is an intent to make money off the recordings. That’s an increasingly common scenario among emerging content creators, including YouTubers, Instagrammers and Tik Tokers, who worry the government is turning out the lights on their growing industry." To read more, click here.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 3/16/23

From the Access Fund:

--"The National Park Service and US Forest Service are working on new national-level guidance that may prohibit fixed anchors in Wilderness areas, which would amount to a fundamental re-interpretation of the Wilderness Act of 1964. In other words, the government would regard bolts as illegal unless federal bureaucrats provide special allowances for individual fixed anchors. At stake is not only the ability to safely climb some of the most iconic routes in America, from big walls in Yosemite and Zion to alpine spires in Rocky Mountain National Park, but also the potential erosion of climbers as Wilderness advocates." To read more, click here.

--From Gripped: "Utah and Colorado politicians want to protect access to famous rock climbing areas. Utah Rep. John Curtis says that climbing and outdoor recreation is an “ever-growing industry.” Curtis and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colorado, co-introduced the bipartisan Protect America’s Rock Climbing Act, which would “reiterate Congress’ intent for climbing to be an activity allowable and compatible with wilderness designations.” To read more, click here.


--There's limited information at this point, but a skier was seriously injured by an avalanche in the Baker Backcountry near Mt. Herman on Wednesday. 

--So a stranded driver hooked his cell phone to a drone, sent it up, got service, and got rescued. Read about it, here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "the backcountry ski season has been marred with touchy snow conditions and several avalanche deaths, but on March 8, Christina Lusti and Andrew McNab made the first ski descent of southwest couloir of Mount Niflheim in B.C." To read more and see the line, click here.


--The Inertia is reporting on a slide in Tahoe last week: "A large avalanche slammed into an apartment building in the Olympic Valley area near Palisades Tahoe, one of California’s most storied ski resorts. The avalanche, according to reports coming out of the Tahoe area and it was significant – as in not just a sluff slide." To read more, click here.

Yosemite's El Capitan

--Nobody seems to know when Yosemite will reopen. Maybe tomorrow...? Maybe not...

Desert Southwest:

--There was some kind of accident in Red Rock Canyon on Sunday afternoon. This was likely a rappelling accident.

Colorado and Utah:

--The New York Times is reporting that, "the state of Utah is fighting in federal court to gut the very law that first protected its landscapes that have since become among the nation’s most popular national parks, visited about 10 million times in 2022. The courts should toss out the state’s lawsuit." To read more, click here.

--Backpacker is reporting that, "After state legislators voted down a bill that would have blocked hikers from suing private landowners over injuries, the owner of two of Colorado’s most popular summits says he’ll close the trail to the top." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Gripped is reporting that, "one month after Yosemite ice climber Zach Milligan died while soloing Polar Circus north of Lake Louise, another ice climber has died in Canada’s mountains. Police have said that an ice climber died after falling around 10 metres on a route that’s 25 kilometres up the Kootenay River Forest Service Road. The only route in that area is Gibraltar Wall, a four-pitch WI4." To read more, click  here.

--AAI Guide Lauren Olivia Smith had a close call while leading an ice climb in Montana in January. The story can be found, here.

--The Bangor Daily News is reporting that, "vandals are leaving false markers along trails in Acadia National Park, which could lead hikers to follow unsanctioned and potentially dangerous routes along the park’s rugged terrain, according to park officials. The National Park Service is trying to find out who spray-painted red splotches or blazes along the trails. The park uses blue paint — known as blue blazes — to mark trees or rocks along hiking trails so that visitors know which routes to follow to safely get to their destinations." To read more, click here.

--ANI is reporting that all foreign trekkers are going to be required to hire a guide to trek in the country after April 1st. To read more, click here.

--The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer is reporting that, "the National Park Service proposes constructing an estimated 17 miles of trail in the frontcountry of Denali National Park. The area proposed for development is the nonwilderness area of the park between the George Parks Highway and the Nenana River, on the eastern margin of the park" To read more, click here.

--This is spooky. From Science Alert: "Each year, hundreds of mountaineers camp at the South Col on Mount Everest's southern side in preparation for their attempt to reach the roof of the world. While these adventure seekers may be taking home some well-deserved bragging rights, a new study shows they may also be leaving behind some tenacious microbes that seem capable of bunkering down to survive on the icy, desolate outcrops." To read more, click here.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 3/2/23


--Spokane Public Radio is reporting that, "Grizzly bears in Washington’s North Cascades could gain habitat as the climate warms, according to a study that looked at how climate change could affect the reintroduction of grizzly bears. The study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, found potential high quality grizzly bear habitat in the North Cascades Ecosystem will expand as the climate changes. The study looked at climate scenarios through the 2080s." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "Comedian and actor Chelsea Handler celebrated her 48th birthday her way: by skiing in a U.S.-Canadian Patterned bikini down the slopes of Whistler, Canada. Handler was born on February 25, 1975, in New Jersey, and the near naked birthday ski in Whistler has become somewhat of a tradition for her. She first came to Whistler for her 38th birthday and has returned every year. This year, Chelsea was lucky to be able to catch some powder runs as a birthday present." To read more, click here.


--Yosemite National Park will be closed indefinitely due to deep snow.

Desert Southwest:

--The Deseret Sun is reporting that, "A Minnesota man who climbed into an off-limits ancient cave and petroglyph site in Joshua Tree National Park has been fined $540 and banned from any national park for a year. Alexander Lee Demko, 34, of Minneapolis was found guilty on Monday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Shashi H. Kewalramani in Riverside of one misdemeanor count of illegally entering, climbing, walking on, and traversing the Barker Dam Petroglyphs site, an archeological resource in the park." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Durango Herald is reporting that, "Two backcountry skiers died in an avalanche Saturday near Vallecito Reservoir. The men left to go skiing at 7 a.m. Saturday south of the reservoir with the intention of returning about noon the same day, according to a news release from La Plata County. But after failing to return, someone notified authorities at 9:18 p.m. that the men were missing." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "The body of a snowmobiler caught in an avalanche on Saturday was located and recovered yesterday, the CAIC reports." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--The National Parks Traveler is reporting that, ", a national portal for accessing recreational activities on federal lands, is cluttered with unauthorized and possibly illegal “junk fees” that potentially generate hundreds of millions of dollars for a government contractor hired to operate the site, according to a lawsuit. The filing, which requests a jury trial and seeks at least $5 million in damages, raises the question of whether in effect has privatized public lands for the benefit of Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., which operates the site. It was filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Virginia and asks the court to order Booz Allen to refund to consumers processing, lottery, and cancellation fees charged on the website and mobile app." To read more, click here.

--Eddie Bauer has discontinued its "Guide Built" program, laying off all of their brand ambassadors and athletes. To read more, click here.

--Gear Junkie is reporting that, in the near future, "REI will only sell products that are entirely free of PFAS, the harmful category of chemicals. That’s the news from the Washington-based retailer, which announced Tuesday new product standards for itself and its thousand-plus brand partners. REI’s new rules will require its suppliers to cut all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from all cookware, apparel, shoes, packs, and similar gear. It’s a planned phase-out of all remaining products with the chemicals. Its deadline? Fall 2024." To read more, click here.