Latest from The Spokesman-Review
OUTDOOR GROUPS — The Spokane Mountaineers, an outdoors club that's been exploring the region's mountains, waters and trails for nearly a century, will describe their activities in the annual Meet the Mountaineers presentation, Monday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m. at the Spokane REI store, 1125 N. Monroe St.
Members plan to offer a visual tour of club schools, programs and outings, including bicyling, climbing, conservation, hiking, paddling, and skiing.
CLIMBING – Spokane is one of the first stops for the 2013 Reel Rock 8 Film Tour, a gripping collection of climbing films that will show Friday (Sept. 27) starting at 7 p.m. at Mountain Gear’s retail store, 2002 N. Division St.
The films, which debuted in a Boulder, Colo., festival on Sept. 19, include “High Tension: Ueli Steck and the Clash on Everest.”
All proceeds go to the Access Fund, a national advocacy organization founded in 1991 to conserve and keep U.S. climbing areas open.
- Should Image Lake be reopened to crowds of hikers?
- Local Trail Angel: Holly Weiler walks the talk
- Slide show of classic Glacier Peak Wilderness hike
Field Reports: Idaho tiger musky record smashed… Snake River chinook fishing opens Sept. 1… Bass-fishing derby proposed for Badger Lake… Clinics, hunts for youth waterfowlers… Traditional bowhunting clinic… Lake Roosevelt Trout Fishing Derby
OUTDOORS ACCESS — The Washington Department of Transportation says the North Cascades Highway is reopening at 10 a.m. this morning.
It was closed last week by severe mudslides near Rainy Pass.
Several businesses along the scenic route winding its way through the North Cascades National Park reported slower business as a result of the closure last week. Road workers using heavy equipment worked last week to remove about 30,000 cubic feet of rocks and trees in the roadway moved by mountain slides caused by heavy rain.
During the height of tourist season, generally falling in August and September, roughly 2,000 vehicles travel along the highway daily.
PARENTING — I have continued to hear many comments from parents regarding my column of reflections on parenting children with an adventurous spirit for the outdoors.
Tom Mosher of Spokane recalled this advice from John Roskelley, Spokane's world-class mountaineer who passed on his passion to his son, Jess.
When my son started serious climbing, I asked Roskelley what he advised, since Mary and I were a little overcome with anxiety.
His response was a grin and, "Buy him the best helmet on the market." We did that.
NATIONAL PARKS — While more than 30 million visitors flock to America’s 10 most popular national parks, Country magazine took the road less traveled to visit the “Hidden Gems” for a special photo section in the June-July issue on what the editors call "the 10 most beautiful, least crowded parks in the national park system.
North Cascades National Park in northcentral Washington is on the list.
Despite the breathtaking alpine terrain, Washington’s North Cascades National Park remains virtually deserted compared with America’s marquee national parks. Why?
Location plays a part. The park’s most famous feature, Mount Shuksan, isn’t its most impressive peak; it’s just the most impressive peak visible from Mount Baker Highway. Countless mountains of equal caliber remain unknown except among hikers and climbers willing to blaze their own trails.
Precipitation matters, too. Heavy snow mantles the higher elevations in radiant white, while rains nourish the dense forest that cloaks the lower slopes, making them impenetrable to the hesitant hiker.
Other parks on the list include:
MOUNTAINEERING — The National Park Service says a climbing ranger who fell to his death during a rescue operation at Mount Rainier National Park last year was not roped for safety or equipped with an ice ax at the time of the accident.
Nick Hall, 33, was a four-year climbing ranger at the park. He fell roughly 2,400 feet while helping to rescue four injured climbers from Texas on June 21, 2012.
A review into the accident reported by the Associated Press today found a pervasive pattern of rangers being comfortable being unroped on the mountain and that they had become desensitized to the risks.
Park Superintendent Randy King says the park is establishing more stringent protocols for those who work on the mountain and improving training for its rangers.
MOUNTAINEERING — David Liaño Gonzales, 33, from Mexico, became the first mountaineer to double summit on Mount Everest in the same season. He summited from the South Col route on May 11, got a good break in the weather and a helicopter ride to Katmandu where the traveled to the Tibetan side and scaled the peak with a Sherpa via the North Col on May 19.
Dawes Eddy of Spokane snapped this photo of Gonzales as he celebrated with a chocolate cake at advanced base camp.
I'm writing Dawes' story for Sunday Outdoors.
By the way, Dawes is 70.
MOUNTAINEERING — Two climbers with Spokane connections had their moment on Mount Everest, elev. 29,035 feet, last weekend with mixed results.
Dawes Eddy, 70, who climbed the world's highest peak in 2009, made his way to around 24,000 feet on Sunday (May 19) before turning back for unspecified reasons.
Did you note — Dawes is 70!
"He did say 'everything is good' and hopes I can get him a flight out of Kathmandu on the 22nd which would put him back in Spokane around the 24th," said his wife, Mary Kay.
Aaron Mainer,32, a graduate of Mead High School, was one of two guides with International Mountain Guides leading the U.S. Air Force Seven Summits Team to the top of the world's highest peak on Saturday (May 18).
As a native of Washington State, Aaron was introduced to the outdoors at an early age by his parents, who often took him and his younger sister skiing, backpacking, and boating. He attended the University of Puget Sound, where he graduated with a degree in International Political Economy. Since he started working with IMG in 2006, he has guided well over 100 trips on Mount Rainier and along the way done several trips to Alaska, Antarctica and South America. His passion is for ski mountaineering and he has numerous first and second descents in Washington and Alaska. One of his favorite things to do is ski on Mount Rainier, where he has skied over a dozen different routes from the summit, including most recently a first descent of Cryogenesis. (Check out the video.) Aaron is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide and Ski Mountaineering Guide. He lives in Enumclaw, WA, but does not like horses
PUBLIC LANDS — The federal Bureau of Land Management may permanently close a popular climbing site in southeastern Idaho, over opposition from local rock climbers who argue the plan is too restrictive and was pushed through without stakeholder input.
The Associated Press resports the 400-acre area known as Castle Rocks has been closed off and on to climbers since 2003, and may close permanently sometime this summer. Agency officials say they hope make a decision this month, depending how much feedback they receive from the public.
Mike Courtney, BLM field manager in Burley, said both the Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute tribes consider the land sacred and are worried cultural resources could be destroyed if climbing continues. BLM surveys have determined the region contains important archaeological resources and artifacts, including spearheads dating back thousands of years.
Read on for more details.
MOUNTAINEERING — An American female climber who's climbed Mount Everest four times is getting a big share of the credit for saving three British climbers confronted on Everest by an angry mob.
British climber-photographer Jon Griffith told The Guardian he had to flee with two companions fearing the "mob" would stone them to death as "years of frustration" boiled over in what he calls a misunderstanding over use of routes prepared by the Sherpa guides.
Speaking from Lukla, the town that acts as gateway to the Everest region, Jon Griffith told the Guardian of the moment when a group of up to 100 Sherpas confronted them about an argument higher up the mountain. "It was obvious there would be no talking or negotiation," he said. "They crested the ridge of moraine above our tent. They had pulled their scarves over their faces and instantly bent down to pick up rocks."
Griffith said that without the bravery of half a dozen other climbers at Camp 2, he and his two partners – the Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck and the Italian Simone Moro – would have been killed in the incident on Saturday. He praised the American climber Melissa Arnot, the only woman to have climbed Everest four times, who warned them an attack was imminent.
He said: "Melissa was a real heroine. She saved Ueli's life. Without her, he'd be dead. She explained to us in our tent that there was a big mob out looking for us. She said something terrible must have happened. We explained that words had been exchanged but that was it. She stepped out of the tent for a moment and then shouted: 'They're coming, get out of here.'"
Steck, the renowned Swiss climber who's set records for climbing the Eiger and other peaks, said his "trust is broken" and he'll "never return to Everest," in this interview with SwissInfo.com.
Outside magazine's site makes the point that early reports about incidents on Mount Everest "are often murky or incorrect when first filed." However, Steck's interview is riveting.
The Nepali Times calls it "the highest brawl in world history," as well as evidence of a culture clash.
The AFP says a meeting between some of the climbers and the Nepalese guides may have cleared the air Monday.
ABC News is airing this TV report and interview with Arnot tonight.
National Public Radio is airing this interview with Griffith today.
CLIMBING — Northwest climber/photographer Alan Kearney has an ongoing project to photograph Cascades glaciers from the same spot he photographed them on climbing trips decades ago.
As you might expect, having read anything about climate change in the past few decades, the glaciers show considerable shrinkage. See one of his stories and photo comparisons here.
Also check out his blog for other stories and photos.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
- Salt Lake Tribune
CLIMBING — Jess Roskelley of Spokane said Alaska climber John Frieh opened his eyes with his method of "Smash and Grab" climbing efforts (see the Sunday Outdoors story).
They'll be explaining it in a free mult-media program starting at 7 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 28) at the Mountain Gear retail store, 2002 N. Division St.
Top recent outdoors-related stories in The Spokesman-Review include:
CLIMBING — When I watched Robyn Erbesfield's chiseled body defy gravity at Wild Walls for a profile story I wrote in 1996, I should have assumed that any children she might eventually produce would have the genetics to become a good climber.
I underestimated her.
Brooke Raboutou, 11, born to climbing world champions Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou and Didier Raboutou, is setting records adults couldn't reach in their dreams.
Her mom says rock climbing walls have been part of their homes just like the oven and dish washer.
Brooke began her training around the time she could walk, according to her profile at Team ABC Boulder.
The video above show this little person is nothing short of amazing.
OUTDOOR REC — If you enjoy the outdoors, you owe it to yourselff to participate in the online Washington State Outdoor Recreation Survey.
In addition to the survey, which can help channel planning and funding in the future, the site is asking the publicv to post their stories and photos showing how outdoor recreation impacts you and your family. The information will be used in the final report.
- In the last statewide survey conducted in in 2005-2006, WALKING was rated the most popular outdoor recreation activity in Washington.
The state’s outdoor recreation strategic plan, called the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), needs to be updated every 5 years to maintain the state's ability to receive federal funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The funding is used for grants to local communities to build parks and trails, and conserve wildlife habitat.
The National Parks Service has approved long-awaited upgrades to Mount Rainier’s Camp Muir – one of the main stops for the thousands of people who climb the mountain.
Pacific West Region director Chris Lehnertz determined that upgrading the high camp would have no impact on the park, giving the green light to replace the camp’s nonhistoric structures.
Mount Rainier National Park superintendent Randy King said the project will cost about $700,000 and take three to five years to complete, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.
Camp Muir is the highest backcountry camp, located at an elevation of 10,080 feet.
OUTDOOR ADVENTURE – The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will continue its three-day, sold-out run tonight at the Bing Crosby Theater, featuring a series of two dozen outdoor adventure films brilliantly displayed through the Bing’s new, just-installed, state-of-the art projector and $12,000 viewing screen.
(Coming this month: a new $50,000 surround-sound audio system).
The eclectic assortment of outdoor films has displayed some stellar adventures, including the chilling drama of a kayaker nearly drowning as a wild river pinned him and his boat to a boulder in Flow Hunters, and unbelievable skills, such as mountain biker Danny MacAskill riding obstacles through a steel plant in Industrial Revolutions.
The biggest loser film from the Friday night offerings might be 5 Races, 5 Continents featuring prolonged interviews (largely unintelligible) with ultra-runner Kilian Jornet through the 2011 running season to some of the world's most demanding races, none of which were explained.
If I had not hiked the 110-mile Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Italy and Switzerland this summer, I would not have had any idea what this film was about.
Best quote from Friday night's films came from disabled rock climber Pete Davis of The Gimp Monkeys:
“The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms any day.”
Top films to show tonight (Saturday) include:
Crossing the Ice (Winner of Grand Prize, People's Choice and Best film on Exploration and Adventure at the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival)
REEL ROCK: Honnold 3.0 (The festival's Best Film on Climbing)
On Sunday, viewers will see a documentary, Wild Bill’s Run, about an adventurous 1972 snowmobile expedition — and crime caper — that attempted to cover 5,000 miles of snow and polar ice between Minnesota and Moscow.
Director Mike Scholtz emailed me this information about a local connection:
"Chris White, in particular, was invaluable. He composed the score on a Moog synthesizer (befitting the film's 70s setting) and did the sound design and final edit for the Banff World Tour."
See the lineup of World Tour Films in the Spokane event.
ADVENTURE — The lineup of films for the three-day run of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Spokane has been decided — just hours before the first films will be shown tonight starting at 7 p.m. at The Bing Crosby Theater.
Friday and Saturday night snows are sold out. Only a few tickets remained for Sunday at last check.
Note: The new owners of The Bing have just installed a new state of the art projector and larger screen to debut with this weekend's film festival showing. Also, for the first time, alcoholic beverages will be sold during the festival event.
World Tour host — better known as the World Tour road warrior — Charla Tomlinson and her traveling partner Lorraine Fung from Canmore, Alberta, met with Phil Bridgers of Mountain Gear at Northern Lights Brewery this afternoon to work through the options. Several films Bridgers wanted to show still were not licensed and a couple more were hung up in U.S. Mail.
But they came up with a good lineup of shows for each night. This is the second week Tomlinson and Fung have been on the road. They'll log 60 hours of driving and 4,000 kilometers of travel from Nov. 8-Dec. 10 to show the World tour around the region.
Read on for the lineup in Spokane, subject to minor modifications.
ADVENTURE FILMS — The trailer for this year's Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour has been released (above) and, as usual, it doesn't disappoint. The action you see in this trailer will be played out in Spokane on a bigger screen in this year's World Tour weekend at The Bing — tonight, Saturday and Sunday.
The shows for tonight and Saturday are sold out but tickets are still available for Sunday.
The Mountain Gear staff is meeting with the Banff World Tour host at noon to begin the task of selecting the available films for each night. The decisions are based on film lengths, diversity of films and what films have been licensed to show on the road to get a good mix of different films for each night.
I'll post the lineup as soon as the decisions are made.
See you at the shows!
ADVENTURE — When they talk about "action films," these are the real deal. The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour has hit the road and the next stop is the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane.
About two dozen films will be shown in Spokane over the three-night run at the Bing, including Crossing the Ice (above), which won the Grand Prize, Adventure category prize and the coveted People's Choice Award at the recent nine-day film festival in Banff, Alberta.
Here's the schedule for this year's tour in this region.
Spokane: Friday and Saturday (Nov. 16-17) starting 7 p.m., and Sunday, 6 p.m., at The Bing. Different films at each showing. Tickets $15 a show or $40 for all three sessions, from Mountain Gear, 325-9000 or mountaingear.com.
Sandpoint: Jan. 24-26 at Panida Theater. Info: Mountain Fever, (208) 661-3857.
Coeur d’Alene: Jan. 27-28 at Kroc Center, 1765 W. Golf Course Road. Info: Mountain Fever, (208) 661-3857.
Pullman: Jan. 29 at Washington State University. Info: Outdoor Recreation Center, (509) 335-1892.
Spokane film lineup to be announced
Since licensing is still underway for films pegged for the World Tour version of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the features to be shown this week in Spokane won’t be selected until Friday afternoon.
Outdoors editor Rich Landers will be at Friday afternoon’s the selection meeting to post the film lineup for the three-day event online at www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors
MOUNTAINEERING — Jess Roskelley of Spokane teamed with John Frieh of Portland in late October for a three-day "smash and grab" outing to pioneer a new route on Mount Wake in the Alaska Range.
Roskelley, the son of Spokane mountaineering veteran and county commissioner candidate, at one time was the youngest American to summit Mount Everest.
- See the S-R story announcing his completion of that chilling 2003 Everest climb with his father.
- See my wrap-up feature with details about the Everest climb.
Timing the recent Alaska Range trip with a great weather forecast, Frieh and Roskelley flew by ski plane to the Ruth Glacier, got right to business to scale a route they've named The Cook Inlet (4,500′, V AI4 M4). They were back at their skis 15 hours after leaving and flew out the following morning.
"Autumn ascents in the Alaska Range are unusual, but if you can put up with the reduced daylight and deeper cold of post-equinox climbing, you may be rewarded with less avalanche danger and, of course, no crowds," says climbing writer Dougald MacDonald in this report on the climb.
CLIMBING — See mind-boggling vertical rock climbing feats in a FREE presenation of the Reel Rock 7 film tour starting 7 p.m., Nov. 1, at Mountain Gear, 2002 N. Division St.
FILMS– Radical Reels, the high-action, adrenaline-packed off-shoot flicks from the Banff Mountain Film Festival are coming to North Idaho this week, including a debut appearance in Coeur d’Alene.
The shows are scheduled:
Wednesday (Oct. 17) at the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene. Doors open 5 p.m.; films start at 6.
Thursday (Oct. 18) at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint. Doors open 6 p.m.; films start at 7.
The 11 films on this year’s tour include skateboarding on bobsled courses, kayakers on an adventure from Mexico to Iceland, speed climbing on outrageous rock routes, BASE skiing and a humorous candid look at people using headcams.
Tickets are $13 in advances at shops in the Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene areas. Leftovers will be sold for $15 at the door.
- Info on where to get advance tickets, etc: mountain-fever.com.
OUTDOOR PURSUITS — This is a great evening of presentations and activities to help women get involved in outdoor pursuits. Be sure to pre-register at REI-Spokane store website.
Refreshments start at 6 p.m.; show at 7 p.m. Gifts will be offered to the first 100 women attending.
Glanc joined Patrick Ormond and Jeremiah Watt on the first American team to climb in the Balkans country bordered by Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and the Adratic Sea.
COUNTY PARKS — The long-awaited trailhead parking area on the south side of the Big Rock-Rocks of Sharon area in Spokane Valley will be open to public access Friday at 3 p.m., said Paul Knowles, Spokane County Parks planner.
Heavy equipment is still working at the site accessible from the Palouse Highway near the end of Stevens Creek Road. County Parks will be hydro-seeding, putting up signs and doing other touch-up worth at the parking area through fall, Knowles said.
The Big Rock area, adjacent to the Iller Creek Conservation Area, is prized by rock climbers and hikers. It's been secured by the county through a series of deals and purchases with help from the Dishman Hills Conservancy.
The new parking area is designed to handle school buses. It will accommodate about 30 passenger vehicles if parked in an organized fashion.
Notable restrictions include:
- No motorized vehicles allowed on trails beyond the parking area.
- Dogs must be on leash.
- Equestrian use of the Rocks of Sharon-Iller Creek Conservation Area is discouraged because newer trails built by volunteers have not had time to compat and poor visibility along trail corridors makesconflicts between different users more likely, Knowles said.
See a map of hiking trails accessible from Stevens Creek or from the north side Holman Road access to Iller Creek.
MOUNTAINEERING — Spokane Mountaineer John Roskelley is mentioned in a new climbing novel and serves as an inspiration for one of the characters, says author/climber Nick O’Connell of Seattle.
The Storms of Denali, is a disaster epic that O'Connell ranks in the tradition of Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm. Four young men set out to climb a new route on the 20,320-foot peak, the highest and coldest summit in North America. They battle avalanches, fierce winds, and mind-numbing cold to ascend a classic new line up the south face. In confronting these obstacles, the group splinters, leading inexorably to tragedy.
O'Connell will be reading from the novel Thursday (Aug. 9) at 7 p.m. at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane.
See a video trailer of the novel featuring the author and scenes from Denali.
An extraordinary novel. Through verisimilitude and candor rarely found in the nonfiction literature of North America's highest peak, O'Connell plumbs the motivations, risk, and nuances of an ordinary climber's life. The mounting tension, deft characterizations, and sun-burnt realism of The Storms of Denali transport the reader more vividly than any other book about the mountain.
—Jonathan Waterman, author of In the Shadow of Denali and Running Dry.
ROCK CLIMBING — Climbers were humbled earlier this month to find a massive rock fall had wiped out a generation of climbing routes on the east face of Chimney Rock, a landmark on the skyline east of Priest Lake.
And the danger lingers.
The collapse of rock from the near-vertical face erased rock flakes used in many pioneering climbs on the iconic granite pillar in the Selkirk Mountains.
Classic lines now gone include Magnum Force, a route first free-climbed in 1967 by Spokane Mountaineers John Roskelley and Chris Kopczynski.
“Many tons of Inland Northwest climbing history are now part of the boulder field at the base,” said Dane Burns, one of the rock’s pioneering climbers.
"From the splitter crack line of Yahoody left all the routes are now gone. That includes but not limited to the Beckey/Cooper South Nose route, later freed by Roskelley and Kopczynski and renamed Magnum Force, Kimmie, named after our friend Kim Momb and UNI the first trad 5.12 crack done in the inland NW.”
Zach Turner, who reported the rockfall on July 5, noted the east face has a swath of new routes to be pioneered, but warned climbers more unstable rock appears to be hanging on the wall.
See Turner's post with before and after photos of the Chimney Rock east face and a list of the climbing routes affected.