Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
By the way, just so you don't get you hiking socks in a bunch, our South Slope map in today's Gazette had some very big errors. Disregard all the red blotches. The grayish area should be a red "restricted" zone with trail corridors through it. We'll publish a corrected one Saturday.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Among the refuges the agency is suggesting for a visit:
- The 1,000-acre John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, located on the south side of Philadelphia one mile from the airport, where visitors can see blackbirds, hawks and bald eagles from the parking lot.
- Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel Md., 30 minutes from the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, with a variety of waterfowl.
- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, two miles from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport , a floodplain where bald eagles nest, herons and egrets wade and mallards swim.
And closer to home: The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Widlife Refuge, next to DIA outside Denver, with birds, prairie dogs, and deer.
For an airport-wildlife connection that's even closer? It's not a part of the national Wildlife Refuge network, but Bluestem Prairie Open Space is within walking distance of the Colorado Springs Airport. Watch for coyotes, prairie dogs, waterfowl and rattlesnakes there.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
For information call
Tickets are $10.00 and are being sold at Mountain Chalet and REI. Any tickets not presold for this event will be available at the door (while supplies last).
Additional information can be had at: http://www.banffmountainfestivals.ca/
He has an interesting property. To me, the key issue is whether the road that accesses the location can be improved and widened to extent that it could service such a ski area.
I am looking into it and will let you know what I find out."
"They will wait for a rescue, and not do enough to rescue themselves," said Leslie Brown, a spokeswoman for Access Fund, a national mountaineering group.
But more than that, it seems to me that the idea is just plain distasteful to climbers. After all, part of the joy of going out into the wild is severing the ties of civilization. Edward Abbey said "Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
Cell phones have made severing the ties harder. A locator beacon would add another binding thread. Perhaps there will eventually be a debate about how communication corridors like cell phones and GPS technology do the same thing to wilderness as transportation corridors, i.e. roads.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
A short version of a story by the AP:
Despite the feel-good story of Velvet, the black Labrador mix who helped keep three Mount Hood hikers warm and alive, some experts say taking dogs up the mountain for warmth and companionship is a foolhardy practice that could do more harm than good.
“Any sport that requires safety gear, like harnesses, crampons, ice axes and rope, is probably not an appropriate place for a pet dog to be,” and could endanger both the dog and owner, said Julie Kittams, a Portland veterinarian for sled dogs in the Iditarod.
Taking a dog on a mountain-climbing expedition, she said, is “like caring for an injured team member. It just hinders your ability to get safely off the mountain.”
The rescue prompted climbers to chatter on mountaineering Web sites such as cascadiaclimbers.com about the wisdom of bringing a dog on an expedition. Climbers noted that some dogs are bred for snowy environments, but other hikers wondered about potential risks for the animals.
Velvet’s owner, Matty Bryant, did not respond to requests for an interview Tuesday. Velvet suffered cuts and scrapes on her feet from exposure to the snow and went home with bandages, antibiotics and pain medication. She was expected to make a full recovery.
What do you think? I took my Lab on backpacking trips in the Sierras when I was a kid, but there was no technical climbing involved and no snow, either. She didn't go up Whitney with me and she never went anywhere that she couldn't easily be carried out.
"When their last snowmobile ran out of gas, the seven young men, including brothers Colton and Cody Lechnir of La Crosse, tried to blow it up. Create smoke. Signal their location. Alert rescuers.But it failed. The engine didn’t have enough gas left to flame [uh, yeah, remember guys, you're out of gas] and the blizzard on the mountain near was too thick for anyone to see through, anyway. The men began hiking through the snow drifts, at times sinking up to their armpits.“We’d go two minutes and feel like we just ran a marathon,” Colton Lechnir said."
They were able to build a fire to keep warm. A day later, they were rescued by other snowmobilers.
Here's the full story from the La Crosse Tribune.
Monday, February 19, 2007
*Route "Stash" Photos:
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*TOPO! (National Geographic GPS/Mapping Software Downloads:
Many of us use the Nat Geo TOPO! software for mapping, route plotting, and as a primary interface to a GPS unit. The files contain a route line that was plotted using a GPS unit on one or more hikes. Using TOPO!, the raw data can be converted to waypoints and uploaded to your GPS for use on a hike.
*More Flexible Route "Print" Pages: Make it easier for you to customize and print out the routes you want.
We aren't looking for the proposed Beaver Creek alpine slide to have any Ford designations. The late president was among BC residents who opposed that attraction.
GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Rescuers who camped out on MountHood set out at daybreak Monday to try to reach three climbers who fell from a snowy ledge and were huddled in sleeping bags and cuddled with a dog amid ferocious winds and blowing snow.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Here's a link: http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20070215/NEWS/102150072
If you happen to be in Summit County tonight, there's a lecture on the slide.
When and Where: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18; The Village in Breckenridge, Forest Room.
What: Nick Logan and Brad Sawtell of the Summit County Office, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, will present a slide show on the Peak 7 slide that killed four people in 1987.
Friday, February 16, 2007
What a timely article. My wife and I just returned from a ski trip to Utah. I have to tell you, the reason we go there is that there is no comparison. Colorado's ski freeways, with the over-developed base areas, are resorts made to take money from people from Ohio and Texas. I can enjoy a day here, and appreciate some of the discounts the resorts offer locals in the pre-season, but the challenge of the actual skiing is very limited in Summit County.
In your sidebar you declare Colorado harder based on the number of black runs. First, I'll point out that there is no objective standard. To that end, I've skied double-diamonds at Vail that would be blue runs at Snowbird or Alta. At least you admit later in your article that Utah is steeper. I suppose the real difficulty in Summit County is dodging rocks in the moguls.
The availability of a variety challenges is why I make an annual trip to Jackson, Salt Lake City, or Taos. Crested Butte and Steamboat are nice if they get 70+ inches of base (and the 'Boat usually does), but they aren't a day trip.
Colorado has some enjoyable skiing. but the difference between Colorado and Utah is the difference between McDonalds and a burger I'd grill at home.
“It’s a very dangerous undertaking, but that’s part of the beauty of it,” Dave Sauerbrey, a leader of the Mazamas climbing group, said of mountaineering.
By Jeremy P. Meyer Denver Post Staff Writer
The Colorado State Parks Division will not receive $8.5 million in lottery funds until officials clear up accounting issues and explain why they want to build luxury cabins in a new park.
Great Outdoors Colorado has not released 2007 money to the parks because board members are concerned about the lack of information on how the lottery money is being spent. Board members are particularly concerned about the newly opened Cheyenne Mountain State Park in south Colorado Springs.
"How can you give someone new money if they can't account for how they are spending it?" said GOCO's executive director John Swartout. "The door to the park isn't even open yet, and they want to build the Taj Mahal."
I can personally attest that the snow in the highcountry is (in the parlance of our time) dope. (See my post below.) And it just keeps getting better. Snow yesterday. Snow today. And it's s'posed to be warm Saturday. Anyone without a fear of crowds should go skiing this weekend. Wear a helmet, the yahoos are afoot.
According to the AP, the Boulder outdoor school has filed a suit against the estate of Dave Buschow, who died, to bar his family from suing the school over his death.
Buschow died in the first 24 hours of what was to be a month-long trek in the Utah desert. His death occurred during a period called "impact," when the only food and water allowed come from sources found in the desert.
An autopsy report concluded that Buschow died of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, according to the lawsuit.
The suit contends that a series of lengthy release forms Buschow signed prevents his relatives from suing the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, or BOSS.
Buschow's family has not yet filed a lawsuit and could not be reached for comment.
Buschow died the evening of July 17 after a day of hiking. His group found water at least once during the day, according to the lawsuit, and course guides regularly checked students' vital signs. That night, guides noticed Buschow was not breathing and called for a rescue helicopter.
Heading to the high country to hit the fresh powder? Plan ahead for a little apres ski action and join one of many Mardi Gras celebrations. (That's a Mardi Gras parade at Crested Butte, above.)
Breckenridge plans live music, Cajun cuisine and beads, beads, beads!
Join the parade at Keystone, and then sample gumbo and other foods, listen to music and dance in the streets.
Winter Park plans a Crawfish Boil at Doc's Roadhouse and a Low Country Shrimp Boil at Club Car. There'll be beads, beads, beads, hurricane specials and live music by Jean-Pierre.
Snowmass celebrates its 25th Fat Tuesday bash with an uphill race, bead and prize throw, crawdad boils, parade, music and more. (See "Entire Resort Calendar" at the link. They're not making it easy to find.)
Another parade, more music and food and fun will take over Copper Mountain. style with parades, music, parties and more.
Grab your baubles, boas, masks and beads and join the party at Crested Butte. Parade? Oh, yeah, there's a parade.
Vail goes all out, stretching parties, a parade, food, music and other fun over three days.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I didn't go to work today. I went to Breckenridge instead (which sometimes is going to work, but not this time.) The mountain has recieved 2 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. I was expecting good, but not great snow. How wrong I was. I decided to go all the way to the top of the mountain on the T bar. There was no line. The wind was howling so much on the way up that I often couldn't see the T bar in front of me. By the time I got to the top, I was expecting horrible storm-scowered hardpack. And that's what it was on top. But just over the lip lay deep, deep untracked powder that had been stashed in the bowl by the wind. It was heaven. I didn't cross another ski track in the entire 1,000-foot run. By the time I got back up to the top to hit the freshies again, the wind had filled in my previous tracks. It was the same way all day. And it will probably be the same way Friday. If you can disappear for a while, get thee to the T Bar.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
What is this group working toward? Focusing local efforts for maximum results; applying for LAB's Bicycle Friendly Community Award, gathering support for local events.
How can you get involved? Attend the meeting; man a table at Earth Day; work and/or ride the Starlight Spectacular; help build the freeride area at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. There are plenty of ways to get involved, have fun, and make a difference.
Here's the rest of the AP story: “The poles were effective across the board, with or without the pack,” says lead author Michael Bohne, an assistant professor of biomechanics at Western Illinois University.
The story was about British Columbia columnist G.D. Maxwell's impressions on a recent visit to Vail.
In Vail, he found the trail map hard to believe: 53 percent of terrain
rated most difficult. "It's a feel-good, better-than-you-are marketing spin. Either that, or it's a paranoid fear of litigation," he reported. Blue Sky Basin he described as a "panorama of hero blacks, braggin' blacks, blacks in
name only. In fact, anything that doesn't get groomed in Vail gets tagged
black diamond. Virtually nothing in the Back Bowls gets groomed. Ergo, all
men are Socrates. So much for the theory that diamonds are a hedge against
So... is there slope inflation? Is what used to be a blue now a black? Or does it just seem that way because lighter, shaped skis and drastically better boots have made skiing easier. I was talking to a woman who taught skiing for 32 years a few days ago. She said "You hardly need to teach anymore. With today's skis people can just get on and go."
On the other hand, there are black slopes at Vail that are pretty clearly blue.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The bill is up for hearing at 9:30 Thursday.
Ski Country USA is urging miffed ski commuters to send an email voicing support for the bill (House Bill 1229.) Include your first name and the name of the city or town where you live. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dogs can at least become afflicted with acute mountain sickness (AMS). A dog with AMS "goes off its feed, becomes listless, doesn't want to do much," signs very similar to those exhibited by humans, according to the societies president, Dr. Peter Hackett. One indicator that he pointed to was tongue color. The tongues of afflicted dogs, much like humans, would become "mildly dusky." The dogs all responded well to returning to lower elevations.
Monday, February 12, 2007
If I'm keeping count right, he is the 5th death this year. Almost all of them have been tree related. No word on whether he was wearing a helmet.
The Pike and San Isabel National Forests are drawing up a new management plan, and Colorado Springs Residents finally will have a chance to comment. The Forest Service scheduled a handful of meetings this winter, but none were in Colorado Springs. The closest, in Black Forest, was so overpacked that organizers turned away 50 cars.
Now Colorado Springs-area residents will get a second chance to weigh in on how the Pike and San Isabel forests will be used in decades to come. A workshop will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. March 6 in the Grand Ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel at 1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.