Thursday, November 24, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/24/22

Thanksgiving Update:

As most of you know, this is often the busiest long weekend of the year in places like Smith Rock, Red Rock, Joshua Tree and Indian Creek. If you intend to visit one of these places, make sure that you have a back-up plan for camping. In addition to that, it's good to have backup plans for any popular routes that you intend to climb.


--Mt. Bachelor is moving to heat its base area with biofuel. They will use locally sourced wood chips to heat their buildings. Theoretically this will decrease greenhouse gasses. They state that this will lead to "150,000 gallons in propane savings and 1,000 tons fewer CO2 emissions annually." To read more, click here.

--So a mountain biker rode down the descent route for the Apron in Squamish. On his way down he passed a free soloist and a base jumper passed him. Check out the video, here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "Danny O’Farrell and Steve Janes have made the first ascent of Great Balls of Fire, a 420-metre WI4 at the Top Gun area near Lillooet, B.C. It’s one of the province’s longest ice climbs that is this less than an hour approach from the road." To read more, click here.

A winter sunset in the Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierra.

--The Sierra Wave is reporting that, "Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center will be holding its annual Season Kickoff Event and Fundraiser on Saturday, December 3, 2022. The ESAC Kickoff is a two part event, with free daytime avalanche workshops in Mammoth and the evening kickoff event and party in Bishop! The evening Kickoff event features a presentation by Jeremy Jones, a world renowned big mountain snowboarder, environmentalist, climate change activist, and entrepreneur!" To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Z107.7 News is reporting that, "Joshua Tree National Park asked for public comment regarding changes to back country permitting in July, and has received 28 responses to the proposals. Superintendent David Smith and park management have said that they are currently reviewing and responding to these public comments as they finalize their decision about the changes." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting on the death of a canyoneering guide. "A 21-year-old woman died Saturday in a climbing accident at Morning Glory Arch near Moab, according to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office." This canyoneering objective is referred to as the Medieval Chamber and has a couple of 100-foot rappels. It's not clear what happened that led to this accident. To read more, click here

--Unofficial Networks has published an article on cost estimates for riding the gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon: "One expert estimates it could cost as much as $200 per rider if UDOT is attempting to turn a profit. Another expert believes the fare could be as low as $14/day as long as UDOT implements as $25-$35 toll for vehicles. Other estimates included in the report ranged around $100 per rider." To read more, click here.

--The Colorado Sun is reporting that the name of a mountain that used to honor a governor that approved a Native American massacre has been changed: "The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board moved to make an official recommendation to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to change the name of Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky.  The unanimous decision by the board came during the Nov. 17 meeting where all suggested names were considered.  The suggested names included Mount Soule, Mount Rosalie, Mount Sisty, Mount Cheyenne-Arapaho and Mount Evans." To read more, click here.

--Snowbrains is reporting that, "Park City Mountain Resort lift mechanics & electricians yesterday voted 35-6 to unionize with the United Professional Ski Patrols of America, CWA 7781. The vote comes after a months-long organizing effort and signifies the first ski resort lift maintenance department in the country to unionize. They have organized as the Park City Lift Maintenance Professional Union." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--The Skier Responsibility Code has gone from seven points to ten. Check out what has been added.

--Climbing is reporting that, "Access Fund, in partnership with the American Alpine Club, has awarded $15,000 in anchor replacement grants to nine local climbing organizations." To read more, click here.

--Snowbrains is reporting that, "students in a Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO) marketing research course have developed a survey exploring how snowsliders view safety messaging while on the mountain. They are interested in finding out how much safety signage impacts people while out on the slopes." To read more, click here.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/17/22


--Oregon Public Broadcasting is reporting that, "Environmental groups on Thursday hailed a decision by the Biden administration to resume studying whether grizzly bears should be restored to the remote North Cascades ecosystem in Washington state. The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they would jointly prepare an environmental impact statement on restoring the endangered bears to the North Cascades." To read more, click here.


Yosemite's El Capitan

--Reservations will not be required to enter Yosemite National Park in 2023. These were required prior to now to deal with COVID, not congestion. More from YNP.

--The Tahoe Daily Tribune is reporting that, "Sierra-at-Tahoe is opening for the season early next month after suffering extensive damage from the Caldor Fire and were unable to spin lifts for all but one weekend during the 2021-22 season. The resort has announced it will open on Saturday, Dec. 3, and plan to fully reopen all 46 trails, weather and conditions permitting." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Climbing is reporting that, "Riverside Mountain Rescue (RMRU) went into action again when on Saturday, October 22, they responded to a call for help from two climbers stranded in a storm high on Tahquitz’s five-pitch Northeast Face West (5.7)." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "a powder day will be a bitter-sweet experience for skiers at Eldora Mountain Resort, CO. The sweet is obvious; Colorado’s famous blower pow. The bitter; if there’s 10″ or more of fresh snow, parking could cost you $10. The resort explains that 'as required by Boulder County in alignment with its sustainable transportation priorities, single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) will be charged $10 to park at Eldora on weekends and holidays, as well as on non-holiday weekdays with ten or more inches of snow in the forecast.'" To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--SnowBrains is reporting on two skier triggered avalanches at Alaska's Hatcher Pass. No one was hurt in either. To read more, click here.

--The Inertia is reporting that, "Two years ago, professional skier Dean Cummings called 911 to report that he’d shot and killed a man in self-defense. This week, Cummings stood trial for the murder of 47-year-old Guillermo Arriola, who ended up dead on the floor of Cummings’ trailer. And just a few hours ago, a jury found Cummings not guilty of second-degree murder." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "Mount Snow, VT, is being sued for $50 million by a guest who suffered life-changing injuries after falling from a closed-off chairlift platform. The lawsuit, which accuses the resort and its owners Vail Resorts of negligence, was filed in federal court in Vermont last week." To read more, click here.

--Gear Junkie is reporting that, "a shuttered Cotopaxi retail location in San Francisco reopened today after hiring private security, Cotopaxi founder and CEO Davis Smith announced. Three weeks ago, Smith announced the initial closing of the Hayes Street Cotopaxi location via a LinkedIn post notable for its strong language regarding crime in San Francisco." To read more, click here.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/10/22


--The Mountain Loop Highway closed for the season this week, and the North Cascades Highway will stay closed for the winter after the recent storm.

--AAI's director has written an editorial about prescribed burns.

Desert Southwest:

--The streak of car break-ins is continuing at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and the areas adjacent to it. To read about it, click here.

--Several climbers got together to do a climbers cleanup of Joshua Tree last week. Check it out.

Colorado and Utah:

The Flatirons are right outside Boulder, Colorado.
Many people free solo lines on these features.

--Gripped is reporting that, "a rock climber survived after falling around 30 metres from a route on the Second Flatiron in Boulder, Colorado, this week. At 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Boulder County Communications Center got a call about a 48-year-old who fell and was seriously injured, the Boulder County Sheriff’s office said. He was not using a rope." To read more, click here.

--From the Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center: "Since November 3, there have been 41 avalanches recorded throughout Colorado. 11 of those were human triggered. The majority of these are being triggered on northerly aspects. Be alert of cracking and collapsing in the snowpack, and pay attention to how far the cracks shoot away from the tips of your skis, snowmobiles, or feet." To read more, click here.

--Snowbrains is reporting that, "A Colorado backcountry skier had a close call after triggering an avalanche that carried him 1,000 feet down a gully according to a Colorado Avalanche Information Center report. The incident, involving two skiers, occurred on Greg Mace Peak, south of Ashcroft, on October 27th. Skier one descended first, skiing a short chute that fed into a larger one beneath. Immediate signs of instability were seen, with multiple cracks in the storm slab on top. Skier one descended carefully to a safe zone about halfway down the couloir and stood behind a large rock outcropping. Skier one alerted skier two of the conditions and told skier two to make a large ski cut across the larger adjacent slope." To read more, click here.

--Water rights for the Ouray Ice Park are a little more secure today. As the ice in the park is "farmed" from pipes, a consistent water supply is essential. But as water becomes an increasingly scarce commodity in some regions, there was fear that the Ice Park could become victim to cuts. Read about it, here.

Notes from All Over:

--A former director for the National Park Service, believes that the NPS would be better situated if it were completely detached from the Department of the Interior. To read about it, click here.

--Veterans and Gold Star Families are now eligible for a free lifetime pass to the National Parks. To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting that, "Andrew Slootweg and Derrick Van Es have made the first ascent of a two-pitch WI4 just west of the town of Banff. Overall, it’s been a slow start to the ice climbing season in the Canadian Rockies, a range known for having routes formed by mid-October. The new ice line is near Sunshine Ski Resort and can be accessed from the parking lot for the skiing." To read more, click here.

--Here's a breakdown of the winners of the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

--And finally, here are some of the coolest photos you will ever see. This photographer got several exceptional photos of a snow leopard in the Himalaya.  

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 11/3/22


--High Country News is reporting on a very problematic arrest: "A U.S. Forest Service employee leading a prescribed fire in central Oregon was arrested after the fire crossed onto adjacent private land Wednesday night, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office. According to a press release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, a controlled burn “escaped” Malheur National Forest lands north of Seneca, Oregon, before burning about 20 acres of a nearby ranch. Officers arrested the burn boss, the person in charge of planning, organizing and executing the operation, for what they deemed 'reckless burning.'" The concern is that if these fire managers are arrested for doing their jobs, it could have a chilling effect on controlled burns, making fire issues in an area worse. To read more, click here.

--Mountaineers Creek Road, with access to the Enchantments, closed this week for the winter season.

--Climbing is reporting that, "on October 26 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Massacre Rocks, Idaho, stating that they intend to permanently close numerous crags to climbing. Massacre Rocks is the single largest climbing area in southeast Idaho, with hundreds of single-pitch basalt sport routes. The BLM’s decision, which was made to protect historical and cultural resources important to the Shoshone-Bannock people, will prohibit all forms of rock climbing on 3,846 acres of the American Falls Archeological District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places." To read more, click here.


--After a high profile accident on Yosemite's Snake Dike (5.7, 6 Pitches), one of the first ascentionist is arguing that the route needs more bolts. To read bout it, click here.

--The Tahoe Daily Tribune is reporting that, "The Tahoe Fund on Tuesday announced the start of ‘Plates for Powder,’ an annual program that offers free skiing opportunities to those who purchase a Lake Tahoe license plate. Proceeds from plate sales and renewals support environmental improvement projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin. " To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

Red Rock Canyon from Turtlehead Peak

--The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that, "attorneys for the developer of a long-stalled housing project at Blue Diamond Hill alleged in federal court Thursday that Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones deleted all his text message history hours after voting against the development in 2019. Gypsum Resources LLC asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Elayna Youchah to schedule an evidentiary hearing to explore possible sanctions for “destruction of evidence” against Clark County and Jones, who was legal counsel of a conservation group that opposed the project before he was elected to the commission." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--9News is reporting that, "a man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to shooting a ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park was sentenced on Monday to federal prison. Daron Ellis pleaded guilty to attempted murder of a federal officer and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, prosecutors said. He was sentenced in federal court to 23 years and six months in prison, followed by eight years of supervised release, according to court documents." To read more, click here.

--Yahoo is reporting that, "as an outdoor customer, have you ever wanted to attend an industry trade show to get sneak peeks at all the gear coming out next season? Soon, you'll be able to. The Big Gear Show (BGS), the exclusive hardgoods-only event created in 2020, is attempting to reinvent and revitalize the outdoor trade show model by inviting the public next June." To read more, click here.

--There has long been a competition to beat the fastest known time on Eldorado Canyon State Park's The Naked Edge (5.11b, 6 pitches). Someone just did it in less than 24 minutes. To read about it, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Rossignol is sharing it's recyclable ski formula with other companies. From the Outside Business Journal: "The French company announced it is designing a (mostly) recyclable, all-mountain ski called the Essential, with an eye toward converting at least a third of all the brand’s ski models to recyclable versions by 2028. The Essential will be made with 62 percent recycled materials, with even its topsheet graphics using no solvents or water, Rossignol said. Even more crucially, Rossignol said it plans to share its proprietary manufacturing process with other ski makers so that more brands can start producing recyclable models." To read more, click here.

--Backpacker is reporting that, "Two college wrestlers are lucky to be alive after sparring with an aggressive grizzly bear in Shoshone National Forest last weekend. Northwest College wrestling teammates Brayden Lowry and Kendell Cummings were antler hunting when the bruin came running out from the trees." To read more, click here.

--Several bolts were chopped at an entry level sport area in Eastern Canada. From Gripped: "Ascent New Brunswick issued a statement after a few bolts were chopped on a relatively new sport route at the popular Cochrane Lane. House Sass is an 18-metre 5.5 at the right side of the Waterfall Wall that was developed in 2018 by Dom Caron, Anna Schneider and Amanda Savoie as a fully bolted line. It’s one of three sport routes on this part of the wall. The climb is popular for people learning how to lead. When Caron shared the route details after the first ascent, he said, 'The closely spaced bolts and the grade of this route are sure to attract a fair share of traffic – whether for a warm up, a cool down or for a first outdoor lead.'" To read more, click here.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Training for Endurance

Endurance is an extremely important part of climbing and mountaineering. Obviously, these two pursuits require different types of endurance. Rock climbing requires an individual to climb a series of moves without getting to pumped. Additionally, rock climbing also requires that you build endurance in a way that allows quick recovery when you find a rest on a route. Mountaineering is completely different. It's the art of going...forever.

Professional climber Joe Kinder has recently been putting out videos on techniques for climbing. His most recent foray into that realm is a piece on rock climbing endurance. Check it out below:

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, October 28, 2022

Toproping Etiquette

The following is a series of etiquette oriented questions that arise around toproped climbing at popular cragging destinations. The answers to these questions should be adhered to at North American Climbing destinations. Locations outside of North America may have different etiquette issues.

A Climber Lowers Off a Route in Leavenworth, Washington
Photo by Ruth Hennings

1) Where should I set-up my "camp" at a crag that I'm going to climb at all day?

Gear and equipment should not be placed directly under the wall. It's good to set-up a "safe" area away from the wall where you can relax without a helmet on and eat lunch. This will also keep the base of the wall from being crowded with gear and packs.

It's a good idea to consolodate your group's gear. Avoid allowing equipment and packs to be scattered around.

A Climber Leads Tonto (5.5) in Red Rock Canyon
Photo by Jason Martin

2) What if I have a large group and want to "take-over" a crag for the day?

It is not appropriate for a group to "take-over" a crag. Climbing areas are public areas that are open to everyone. As such, it is incredibly rude for a group to hold an entire area -- or even a few routes -- hostage for the day.

If you have a large group, you have a large impact on both other users as well as the area. The best thing that you can to mitigate that impact is to keep a low profile, allow others to work in on the wall that you're using. Never leave a rope up that is not being used to "hold" a route.

If you do have a lot of ropes up and other users wish to climb routes that you have ropes on, it is okay to allow people to use your ropes if they look like they know what they're doing. If they don't appear knowlegable and they are climbing on your gear, you could become legally liable if something happens to one of the climbers that aren't with your group.

A group climbs at the Cowlick Co. Crag in Red Rock Canyon
Photo by Jason Martin

3) What if a large group is using a crag and refuses to give up a climb to my small group?

If you've got moves, then offer to have a dance-off for the climb. Seriously, joking with people will often loosen them up. In most cases, people that have had a good laugh will be more polite and more open to allowing people to climb.

If the large group is very rude and refuses to give up a climb, then politely find another place to go. It's not worth lecturing an ignorant climber about crag ettiquete. More often than not, a lecture will just reinforce negative behavior.

4) Is it okay to use the same anchor bolts as the person on an adjacent route?

Yes and no. Will this cause the person next door problems? If so, they were there first. If not, then be sure to ask them before clipping in next to their carabiners. If they say yes, then clip the bolts, but be sure not to do anything that changes their set-up in any way.

5) Where should I go to the bathroom when I'm cragging?

If there is an outhouse nearby, always use that first. Avoid urinating at the base of the wall and always avoid urinating in cracks on a wall as this causes the smell to linger.

If you have to defecate, know the rules of the area. Some areas require the use of WAG Bags, while other areas require you to dig a cat hole and pack out your toilet paper. Never go to the bathroom on the ground, stack the toilet paper on it and then put a rock on top.

6) When should I say something to a person who is doing something dangerous?

This is up to you. I usually don't say anything unless there is real and iminent danger. If there is mild danger, I will usually chat with the people for awhile in a non-threatening way before providing any unsolicieted beta.

7) Is it okay to toprope the first pitch of a multi-pitch climb?

More often than not, the answer is no. This is a more complex issue than the others and it does depend on the route and the route's history. People who are doing multi-pitch climbs always have the right of way over those who will TR a climb.

Some climbs are multi-pitch climbs, but nobody does anything but the first pitch. In this case, all the other ettiquete rules apply. Other climbs are commonly climbed as multi-pitch routes and are seldom done as single pitch routes. Such climbs should not be toproped.

8) Is it okay to yell beta at people who didn't ask for it that I don't know?

No, many climbers like figure out the moves on their own.

Climbers who keep these concepts of etiquette in mind will almost universally have a much better time with a lot less conflict at the crags. And climbing isn't about conflict. It's about having fun...!

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 10/27/22


--Gripped is reporting that, "Squamish-based Nathan Roberts died in a climbing accident in Cheakamus Canyon on Oct. 15. The BC Coroners Service have not released any information, saying they’re investigating." It is currently believed that Nathan died free-soloing. To read more, click here.

--NPR is reporting that, "a Washington state woman left her home to let her dog out early Saturday morning and ended up fending off an attack from a black bear. The woman, who sustained non-life threatening injuries, punched the bear "right in the nose," which led it to run away, according to one official." To read more, click here.


--An 8-year-old boy has set out to become the youngest person ever to climb El Capitan. Check it out!

Desert Southwest:

--The Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that, "authorities are warning visitors to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to be vigilant after a rash of car break-ins this month. According to the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the popular hiking and camping refuge west of Las Vegas, there were multiple break-ins at one of the conservation area’s parking lots in early October." To read more, click here.

--Joshua Tree National Park is in the process of closing up old open mine holes. To read about it, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--It has started...let's be careful out there. Snowbrains is reporting that, "the last flakes of the first significant snowfall of the winter in Utah had barely even settled when a skier triggered an avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon. According to Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) forecaster Craig Gordon, the slide was triggered near Main Chute on Mount Baldy above Alta Ski Area. Nobody was injured." To read more, click here.

Moab's Delicate Arch is a major tourist attraction in Arches National Park.

--Arches National Park is completely filling up as early as 8:30am. To read about it, click here.

--From Rocky Mountain National Park: "Beginning in late October and early November 2022, construction will begin on a new and improved entrance station at the Fall River Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Fall River Entrance is one of two major entrance stations on the east side of the park and is located on U.S. Highway 34, just inside the park boundary. During this major construction project, only one lane at Fall River Entrance will be operational to enter the park and one lane to exit. Park visitors are strongly encouraged to avoid the Fall River Entrance and use the Beaver Meadows Entrance." To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Outside is reporting that, "Citing lawlessness and “chaos,” Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith announced on his personal LinkedIn page yesterday that he has closed the company’s sole San Francisco retail location. 'As of today, we are closing the store due to rampant organized theft and lack of safety for our team,” Smith wrote on October 18. “Our store is hit by organized theft rings several times per week.'" To read more, click here.

--SGB Media is reporting that, "The North Face plans to open more than 70 stores in North America and up to 300 additional retail and partner locations globally over the next five years. The North Face also said it plans to continue transforming existing sites to ensure consistent store formats for consumers who shop brick-and-mortar." To read more, click here.

--And finally, Climbing has some costume ideas for your upcoming trick-or-treat festivities.