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Study: Mount Adams glaciers shrink 50 percent since 1904

CLIMATE CHANGE — In the first comprehensive study of its kind, a Portland State University study has found Mount Adams' 12 glaciers have shrunk by nearly half since 1904 and are receding faster than those of nearby sister volcanoes Mount Hood and Mount Rainier.

Mount Adams, 54 air miles from Yakima, is another sign of gradually warming temperatures that — if continued as expected by researchers — will mean significant problems for the water-dependent Yakima Valley, according to reports by the Oregonian and the Associated Press.

The study lends urgency to an earlier federal report that shows the water content of Cascade Mountain snowpacks could dwindle by as much as 50 percent by the 2070s.

The latest work on glaciers on the 12,276-foot Mount Adams by a Portland State University geology professor and a student team was based on aerial photography, geographic information system mapping, buttressed by historic photos taken by hikers.

The results show Adams' glaciers have melted away 49 percent of their coverage area since 1904.

Over generally the same time period Mount Rainier's glaciers lost 24 percent of coverage area and on Mount Hood the decline has been some 32 percent.

Some scientists suggest Adams gets less moisture because it is just to the east of the Cascades crest.

2011 visuals: How 60 Minutes filmed Honnold’s free-solo in Yosemite

CLIMBING — The extraordinary skill of big-wall rock climber Alex Honnold, 26, was put to the mainstream in 2011 by a CBS filming crew willing to go out of their comfort zone. 

Honnold, 26, said he is at peace thousands of feet off the ground, but how do you find cameramen who feel the same way for a a "60 Minutes" assignment to film Alex's ascent of Sentinel in Yosemite National Park?

CBS assembled a dream team of photographers and riggers, who spent two days assembling an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys so they could film the climb with 12 cameras from the valley floor to the summit.

The video above talks about the filming of the feature on this young climbing phenom.

Watch Lara Logan's full "60 Minutes" report on Alex Honnold here.

Street skiing video in Trail, B.C., is a classic

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.

SKIING — This street-skiing video clip from the ski film All.I.Can. is one of my favorite moments from the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour that ran three nights at The Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane.

It required skill and a sense of humor. It makes fun of all the virgin powder films people die to make.

It features J.P. Auclair making a wild trip down through the dirty urban snow lining the steep streets in Trail, British Columbia.  It's way more imaginative than screaming off cliffs. Very cool.

Aerial photos capture beauty of North Cascades peaks

MOUNTAINS — Climbers, and everyone else, can enjoy an eagle-eye view of Glacier Peak west of Lake Chelan in a series of photos shot by John Scurlock, a Bellingham firefighter/paramedic who built his own sport plane and uses it to capture interesting aerial scenic photos.

Scurlock has developed an incredible photo gallery website where he has a large inventory of aerial views detailing winter routes and faces on North Cascades peaks and more.

Last week, Scurlock and Steph Abegg photographed Glacier Peak and Mount Stuart, two prized wilderness destinations for the region's mountaineers.

When you go to his website, be sure to click on "view map," which locates the mountains and allows you to click a bubble and see the photo. 

This photograph of upper Glacier peak  looks to the south/southeast.

Here's an interesting view of blowing snow back-lit by the setting sun, taken just as they turned the plane toward home in a steady 40-50 mph wind out of the north at altitude, "a typical clear-weather winter pattern in my experience" Scurlock said.

(Click 'original' below the images to see the largest uploaded sizes.)

  

Digitized newsreel chronicles first winter ascent of Mount Rainier

MOUNTAINEERING — Historians have digitized a newsreel film that documents the February 1922 first winter ascent of Mount Rainier by Jean and Jacques Landry, Jacques Bergues and newsreel cameraman Charles Perryman, according to historical notes by software development specialist and climber Lowell Skoog of Seattle.

In 2003, Perryman's grandson Steve Turner contacted Lowell Skoog about this film after reading about Perryman's climb in the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project. This led to an eight-year effort by Skoog to acquire the Perryman newsreel films from Turner for The Mountaineers based in Seattle. The project was completed in October (2011).

"This is a truly historic film," Skoog said. "It was the first motion picture ever taken on the summit of Mount Rainier. It shows the first winter ascent of any significant peak in Washington state, and the highest no less. It is the oldest known climbing or skiing film in Washington."

Notes about this historic ascent can be found at Alpenglow.org.

Climbing: Pays to be tough guy when self-rescue is only option

ICE CLIMBING — A climber suffers serious injuries while ice climbing in Wyoming.  Feel the pain with him and the helplessness of his partner as they focus on getting to safety.

Would you have done anything differently?

Would you have made it?

Banff Mountain Film Festvial starts three-day run at the Bing

ADVENTURE FILMS — Adventure, humor, awareness and awe, plus a   good dose of pucker factor, are coming to   Spokane this weekend in a road show of top outdoor adventure films.

And if you don't already have tickets, you may be out of luck.

The cream of the crop from the 31st annual Banff Mountain Film Festival will be traveling from Alberta to The Bing Crosby Theater tonight through Sunday.

But tickets are sold out through TicketsWest.  Call the Mountain Gear Retail Store, 325-9000, to see if any tickets are left for this popular annual event.

The World Tour shows will take the audience to extremes, from ascending to one of the coldest places on earth to rappelling into the hottest place – to take a sample of molten lava from the bowels of a volcano.

The films feature all sorts of outdoor pursuits, including climbing, wildlife, pedaling and paddling.

See above for the always popular festival film clips compiled into the exciting World Tour into segment.

Then click here for details about this year's festival as well as links for clips on many of the top films.

One-armed Everest climber debunks disabilities today at SCC

MOUNTAINEERING — Gary Guller, the first person with one arm to summit Mount Everest and the leader of the largest cross-disability group to reach the 17,500-foot base camp at Mount Everest Base Camp, brings his motivational story and message to Spokane Community College  on Monday (Oct. 17), 1 p.m.,  in the Lair-Student Center auditorium, Bldg. 6, 1810 N. Greene St.

The program is free and open to the public.

Guller, who lost his arm in a previous mountaineering accident, has continued breaking ground in outdoor adventures. He's led an expedition to the summit of world’s sixth highest mountain, Mount Cho Oyu, in Tibet and he's completed the Marathon des Sables, a six-day, 153-mile endurance race across the Sahara Desert.

Info: SCC student activities, 533-7081.

REI’s ‘Diva Night’ focuses on getting women active outdoors

WOMEN OUTDOORS — The Spokane REI store is devoting an evening to providing women with information on programs and events designed especially for getting women active in outdoor activities.

Diva Night is set for Oct. 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 1125 N. Monroe.   That's a week a way, but the first 30 women to pre-register for Diva Night will receive a complimentary gift bag of fun prizes!

Topics to be covered range from  health and wellness to camp cooking, backpacking, climbing and more.

 Participating groups include the Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Souper Bowl, Emde Sports, Belles & Baskets, Gals Get Going, the YWCA, Jazzercise, Fitness Center, Rossignol, Superfeet and Moving Comfort, Petzl, Columbia, Black Diamond, Asics and ZipFizz and Girl Scouts.

The REI climbing wall will be open for women to try out.

Walla Walla man oldest to climb Kilimanjaro

MOUNTAINEERING — A man from Washington state has set the world record as the oldest person to summit Mount Kilimanjaro on foot, according to a KING 5 TV report.

Richard Byerley, 84, of Walla Walla, summited Kilimajaro with his two grandchildren, Annie, 29, and Bren, 24, just before sunrise on October 6, after a six-day trek on the Machame Route.

Kilimanjaro, elevation 19,340 feet, is in northeastern Tanzania near Kenya.

Byerley didn't suffer any altitude sickness on his journey, but he did say his hands were cold when he reached the summit.

Byerley spends time between Sun Valley and Walla Walla, Wash., where he owns an alfalfa farm. He trained for the climb by hiking mountains in both Washington and Idaho, bicycling, running and occasionally moving 40-foot pipes in the fields on his farm.

Read on for more details from the KING 5 report.

Climber goes big, no strings attached, on 60 Minutes

ROCK CLIMBING — Pro climber and soloist Alex Honnold appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes last Sunday — and he scared the crap out of just about everyone who hasn't already voided after seeing his free-climbing exploits in the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Is he the next big thing in modern climbing or a suicide mission in sticky shoes?

Climbing writer David Roberts addresses that question in this Outside magazine report.

Act now for FREE tickets to Reel Rock Film Tour

CLIMBING — Some of the year's top climbing short-films are coming to Spokane in a film tour — REEL ROCK VI.

Watch the trailer..

The show is a screaming deal — it's free!  But you must think ahead or get left out.

The films will be shown starting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20 at the Mountain Gear retail store, 2002 N. Division.

"The show is free but space is limited to about 150, so attendees need to stop into the store and pick up their FREE ticket in advance," said Phil Bridgers, Mountain Gear events coordinator.

Among the films are epic cold shots of mountaineering Gasherbrum II, big-wall ascents at Yosemite, ice climbs and the skill of an inspiring elementary school-age rock prodigy.

Read on for the film list and details. 

BLM seeks public comment on climbing ban in two Idaho counties

ROCK CLIMBING — The Bureau of Land Management is proposing a ban on rock-climbing at Cedar Fields near Burley, Idaho, to protect cultural resources in that area and would also ban climbing on BLM lands in the Castle Rocks Inter-Agency Recreation Area.

The federal agency is taking public comment on the plan until Oct. 28.

See story.
  

NIC seeking climbers to spruce up Q’emiln Park

Who:  For local climbers and outdoors enthusiasts, organized by North Idaho College Outdoor Pursuits

What: Adopt a Crag climbing area cleanup

When: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10

Where: Q’emiln Riverside Park in Post Falls.

How: Free and open to the public. Call to sign up. (208) 769-7809.

Record number of rescues logged in Tetons

MOUNTAINEERING —  Major searches and rescues at Grand Teton National Park hit a single-year record last week.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that park officials aren’t sure yet why there were so many rescues this year.

The record was eclipsed Aug. 20 when climber Lauren McLean of Lake Oswego, Ore., became the 31st major rescue since the park’s fiscal year began Oct. 1. McLean fell 20 to 30 feet because her belay system failed.

The busy year started right away for the Jenny Lake Climbing Rangers. Twelve major rescues were performed during the winter and early spring months.

Full-time ranger Chris Harder told the newspaper rangers normally perform three to four major rescues during the winter.

Expedition Idaho survivors headed for finish at Silver Mountain

ADVENTURE RACING — The end is in sight, at least figuratively for competitors in Expedition Idaho, the 6-day adventure race — 528 miles, 137,000 vertical feet – night and day through North Idaho.

"After an unbelievable week, where at times, we never thought we could pull everyone back together, the race has come together perfectly," said organizer David Adlard of Athol. "And it looks like our grand scheme for the Blues and Brews finish (which many told me wouldn’t work/you’re crazy) is going to work perfectly, despite the forest fire near the Silver Mountain Resort which almost got to the gondola!"

Read on for Adlards just posted in-the-field report.

Record-setting helicopter rescue saves Canadian climbers

MOUNTAINEERING — Two climbers were plucked from the summit of South Goodsir Tower in Yoho National Park on Sunday in the highest helicopter rescue on record for the Banf, Yoho or Kootenay national parks.

Parks Canada spokesman Omar McDadi said two climbers who used a SPOT satellite beacon to call for help from the top, were heli-slung down off the mountain's 3,600 meter summit: that's 11,810 feet.

“The elevation doesn’t reflect the difficulty of the rescue, it’s just that the higher you go the less performance you get out of a helicopter,” he said to the Calgary Herald.

Expedition Idaho teams near Hiawatha Trail

ADVENTURE RACING — I can't report where the coed teams are going in Expedition Idaho, the North Idaho adventure race that started Sunday — that's a secret that even the racer's don't know until they find their next clue on whether to hike, bike, climb, paddle or slog.

But I can tell you that a couple of lagging teams currently are near the Route of the Hiawatha Trail. Those teams are being directed to the "short course," since they can't meet cutoff times for certain segments of the six-day, 500-mile route.

They may not complain.  It might give them a chance to catch a nap before the race ends this weekend at the the Blues and Brews event at Silver Mountain.

Expedition Idaho adventure race underway: 5 days, 400 miles to go

ADVENTURE RACING — Starting from Silver Mountain, the Expedition Idaho adventure race is off and  running/biking/paddling for 500 miles around a mostly uncharted course in North Idaho.

Two of the 13 registered teams are less than 50 minutes apart heading into segment three partway through the first 24 hours, according to this morning's report from race organizer David Adlard of Athol.

The first day found them traveling in the dark toward Lookout Pass and rapelling off cliffs at Stevens Lakes (map above).  The racers go day and night, resting for maybe two hours a day during the six-day event. They'll end at the Silver Mountain Brews and Blues fest.
 
"We are still looking for some volunteers later in the week for 'Survival Quest,' so please call to help!" Adlard said, noting that the racers go to some incredible remote terrain.

 Check out the Expedition Idaho website for live leaderboard, stories, videos, photos and more. 
  

From the Boy on Top of the World

   It takes some getting used to when your children grow up and leave home. After years of living according to their schedules, from 2 a.m. feedings to a 2 a.m. curfew, even when they’ve been on their own for a while, it still feels odd on occasion to realize days have gone by and you haven’t heard from them.


    I have four children and two are out of the nest and settled into their own lives and homes. The third is only home when she’s not in school and the “baby” is edging closer to the door. I think of each of my children every day. Something - a song, the sound of the back door, the sight of outgrown boots on a shelf in the garage or a glance at the photos hanging on the wall - will bring them to mind. Other times, the best times, are when they reach out to me.


    I heard the chime indicating a text message on my phone the other day and I picked it up expecting to see a note from my husband to pick up cat food on the way home, or a message from the dentist reminding me of an appointment.
    Instead, in the palm of my hand, was the image of my son on top of the world. He was standing in the snow on the summit of Oregon's Mt. Hood at daybreak and the sun was just rising, tinting the sky. A friend had snapped a photo capturing the moment.


    I gazed at it for a long time, trying to reconcile the tall slender man in the photo with the memory of the sturdy toddler I carried on my hip. The boy with a headful of curls and the habit of wrinkling his nose and tipping back his head whenever he laughed.  Where have the years gone?


    Looking at the photo on my phone, imagining him standing at that elevation, exhilarated after the before-dawn climb, I could hear the familiar sound of his voice. I could see the energy in his stance, the pride in his smile. He was there, I am here, but he’d found a way to bridge the distance and include me in his happiness.


    Too often we complain about the way our phones and computers enslave us. They interrupt our thoughts and fracture our ability to concentrate. But there are times the tools that torment us turn about. They soothe and comfort us. They bring us closer to the ones we love.


    I send my son photos of home. He takes me to the top of the mountain. And love, unspoken, travels on invisible waves between the two.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review and is the editor of Spokane Metro Magazine. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

Countdown to North Idaho adventure race; volunteers needed

ADVENTURE RACING — Only 10 days remain before the start of Expedition Idaho, the 400-mile uncharted adventure race teams from all over the world will be trying to cover in six days.

The photo above shows a course official sampling portion of "the trail."

North Idaho organizer David Adlard said more volunteers are needed to help in remote locations on the course that will be covered by food, raft, kayak, mountain bike and through roped rappels.  Call 208-664-0135 or email funnflip@msn.com

Meantime, read on for interesting details from Adlard and experts who've been helping him set up waypoints for the cross-country route.  You'll be amazed.

Classic climb: Catherine Destivelle solos sandstone in Mali

CLIMBING — Take time out to enjoy this 1987 film that set a standard for climbing pictures.  Not only is the climber a beauty with bulletproof shoulders, the film is as masterpiece of staging and arrangement.  Very cool.

French climber Catherine Destivelle was 28 at the time she was featured here in Africa soloing a sandstone cliff in the Mali desert. 

One of the top climbers in the world at the time, she performed for the camera as well as for the local people, the Dogons of Sanga, scaling unroped to their ancient cliff dwellings and the skulls and skeletons in their ancient graveyard caves.

Late snow blocks climber’s 10 peaks in six days attempt

MOUNTAINEERING — Near the top of Eastern Oregon's nearly 10,000-foot Sacajawea Peak, Steve Kominsky of Medford found himself staring at an all-too familiar barrier between himself and Oregon mountaineering history.

A 25-foot snow cliff, slickened under the mid-summer sun, shouldn't be there in July. But there it was, the last impediment to reaching the top.

OregonOutdoors on Facebook

To see two short videos shot by Steve Kominsky, on Steen Mountain and South Sister, go to the Oregon Outdoors Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Oregon-Outdoors/162141490490326

One slip and he'd tumble 1,300 feet or more. He thought of his pregnant wife, Heather, his 15-month-old son, Dawson.

"It was one of those moments of, 'What do I really need to do here?' " Kominsky, 28, told Mark Freeman, outdoors writer for the Medford Mail. "No summit is worth that risk."

Indeed, the elements, not his mettle, have kept Kominsky from reaching his goal of climbing Oregon's 10 tallest peaks in six consecutive days.

His personal "Oregon 10-in-6 Challenge" ended Friday atop Mount Hood as something of a bust, with the uber-athlete able to reach the summit at only four of his high-altitude quests.

Gnarly, way-above-average snowpacks have forced him to turn back at six others, even when he stood as close as 300 feet from the top of Middle Sister on Wednesday, Freeman reported.

"It's honestly disappointing," Kominsky said Wednesday as he climbed down South Sister after reaching its summit. "There's no doubt in my mind that the 10-in-6 is completely doable.

"Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about the conditions," he says.

See a his short video from the summit of South Sister near Bend, Ore.

UClimb: learn to have a life on the rocks

ROCK CLIMBING – A fun-oriented, low-key weekend event to introduce people to the sport of rock climbing is set for July 23-24 at Q’emiln Park in Post Falls.

The annual UClimb  (www.uclimb.org) sponsored by Mountain Gear recruits professional climbers who teach and encourage beginners to scale vertical rock cliffs in safe rope-supported stations.

The group will camp out at the park picnic shelter, where Saturday’s barbecue dinner will be served followed by Sunday’s pancake breakfast.

“It’s a friendly setting where people can learn a lot and become comfortable with the sport,” said Phil Bridgers, Mountain Gear spokesman, noting that UClimb events also are scheduled in Western Washington, Nevada and Kentucky.

Cost for the full weekend:

  • $199 if you have your climbing gear.
  • $329 for the weekend package ($179 for youths) that lets you keep nearly $300 worth of gear, including shoes, harness, belay device, helmet, locking carabiner & chalk bag.

Local info: (509) 340-1165. Preregister online.

Climber’s body found on Mount Baker

MOUNTAINEERING — Searchers have found the body of a woman who fell and was missing Saturday while climbing on Mount Baker on northwestern Washington.

The Whatcom County sheriff’s office says 34-year-old Sheryl Costello, of Golden, Colo., had reached the summit of the 10,781-foot mountain on Saturday with her boyfriend. They were on their way down when he lost sight of her near Heliotrope Ridge. 

Bellingham and Skagit mountain rescue teams spotted the body Sunday in a hole that develops in the snow just west of the ridge, the Bellingham Herald reports today.

Deputy Mark Jilk says they were unable to reach the body because of extreme snow conditions. The Herald said conditions will have to improve before the body can be removed from the mountain.
  

Fathers Day treat: Dad-daughter highlight on Mount Whitney

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OUTDOOR FAMILIES — A few years ago, as he sensed the inevitable changes ahead, Edwyn Hill of Spokane planned a challenging outdoor adventure with his oldest daughter, Whitney.

He wanted to end the teenage chapter in her upbringing with an exclamation point before she moved on to college.

I had the pleasure of tagging along with them to California as the Hills climbed Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states.  The trek was a high point in Wyn's and Whitney's relationship.

Turn up the sound on your computer and check out the video slide show as I document how the Great Outdoors prepared Wyn for an even bigger transition that transpired five years later.

Experienced Olympia climber assumed dead after fall on Rainier

MOUNTAINEERING — A search for an ailing climber left high on Washington’s Mount Rainier was suspended late Tuesday due to strong winds and evidence that he likely fell 2,000 feet, the Associated Press reports. 

National Park spokeswoman Lisa Lombard told The News Tribune of Tacoma that Rob Plankers, 50, of Olympia, would not have been able to survive such a fall.

An aerial search showed a 2,000-foot slide path leading down a steep ice-and-snow-covered slope from the point where Plankers was last seen, park spokeswoman Patti Wold said. The aerial search found no sign of the man, although ground searchers found some of his equipment where his companions left him, at 13,600 feet on the 14,411-foot mountain. 

The operation “is now considered a body recovery,” Wold said in a statement. 

Read on for details.

Richland man summits Mount Everest 15th time

MOUNTAINEERING —  Ang Dorjee Sherpa reached the 29,036-foot summit at 4 a.m. May 13, marking the 15th time he has completed the feat.

“This year wasn’t that great, until May 1,” Ang Dorjee said Tuesday after returning to his home in Richland, Wash. “It was very windy and snowy.”

Ang Dorjee, a world-renown mountaineering guide, was the second of three teams from the New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants to reach the summit.

The first team summited May 11, Ang Dorjee helped guide three climbers in his team to the summit Friday the 13th, and the last team reached the top May 19.

Read on for more details from a Tri-City Herald story.

Tetons search and rescue costs soar

NATIONAL PARKS — Search and rescue operations are costing Grand Teton National Park millions of dollars topped by last month's $115,000 search for missing backcountry skiers.

In 2009, the last year figures were available, the National Park Service spent about $5 million performing search and rescue operations. The recent search for Walker Kuhl of Utah and Gregory Seftick of Montana, who went missing on a backcountry ski trip, cost the park $115,000, nearly double of any previous search and rescue operation.

The debate over who should pay for such operations increases along with the costs, according to this story on Wyofile.com.


  

Readers comment on death of 82-year-old Everest climber

MOUNTAINEERING — After reporting last week's death of an 82-year-old Nepalese man attempting to become the oldest to climb Mount Everest, my post read: "I could go either way on this: What the hell was he doing up there? - OR - What a great way to go!"

Readers were less likely to straddle the divide:

"Beats lying in a hospital bed dying of nothing!" said George, with apologies to Redd Fox.

"I think people should consider the risks to the rescuers, porters, and fellow team members," said Eric. "They suffer a harsh burden when tragedies like this occur…. The choice affected the lives of others."

"Keep reaching for the stars," said Von.

"A very sad story," said Tracy. " Not only did he lose his life, but the loss of his life negates the goal he was after, "to raise awareness about the capabilities of elderly people by scaling Everest". At 82, and in good enough health to attempt the climb, he had a lot of life in him that he can no longer experience or share."

"There are many, many exciting and stimulating wilderness sport activities that challenge me and make me feel alive without risking death," said Alison.