Debate is still hot on the “Hidden Gems” wilderness proposal. A lot of people have realized that you can’t mountain bike in legal Wilderness, nor build mountain huts using special use permits, nor in some instances (policy is still being made) put up rock climbs with fixed anchors, nor in many cases have a dog off a leash, nor can you do wildfire mitigation to protect watersheds, and so on.
Mountain bikers in particular are feeling particularly pressed by the Wilderness issue, and many are saying we’ve got enough legal Wilderness in central Colorado and let’s now conserve our backcountry by other, more recreation friendly methods (many methods of which actually do exist, contrary to myth). It’s an interesting debate — and somewhat amusing (though sad) to see wilderness activists attacking bicyclists.
I usually get the impression that when recreation type accidents happen in Europe, people tend to do the finger pointing routine a lot less than we do. That might be the case, but nonetheless those EU folks have got plenty of lawyer action going on regarding a military rafting accident and the death of six soldiers in an avalanche. Involuntary manslaughter charges no less. More here.
One of the weirdest things in skiing is that women are not allowed to compete in Olympic ski jumping. The best theory I’ve heard as to why? Certain men with weak egos are afraid women with wider hips will fly better. Whatever the case, it looks like things might be changing. Petition here.
Wilderness debate in Colorado got me thinking about another thing that you’ll never see in legal wilderness. The “via ferrata” is a system of cables and fixed anchors that’s become incredibly popular in Europe. Though not something we’d want to have gracing every peak, enjoying a good variety of these in the U.S. would be cool. Check this Canadian one out. Perhaps something like this will be invented for skiing avalanche slopes?
South America’s ski season has of course been in full swing. But watch out if you choose to swing a lift chair down there. It’s not exactly like they’ve got safety regulations. More here.
Have a good weekend everyone!
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.