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.

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:

Monday, January 30, 2023

How to Build a V-Thread

You've just completed a spectacular ice climb. Everything went smoothly the entire way. But now you're three pitches off the deck and you don't want to leave anything behind on your descent. There is a way to do this and it is surprisingly simple.

The V-thread -- also known as the Abalakov anchor -- is a simple technique wherein one simply links two holes bored in the ice together and then threads a cord through, the cord is then tied-off and used as an anchor.

Following is a short video on how to do this with a single ice screw:

It's not a bad idea to back-up an ice anchor before rappelling. This article provides some tips as to how one might back-up a V-thread.

It's a good idea to practice this on the ground before employing it in a descent. Though this is conceptually simple, it can be difficult to line up the bore holes. This is definitely not something that you want to use for the first time in a raging snowstorm as it's starting to get dark.

--Jason D. Martin