If you’ve been following the rescue epic on Mount Hood you know it’s a rough situation up there. Three guys are stranded high on the mountain by a storm. Kelley James was able to make a cell phone call from a snowcave, while his friends had apparently left the cave and tried to ski out for help. The authorities then lost cell phone contact. A rescue effort is in process, but a storm with 90mph winds has made the search difficult.
This situation reminds me of the 1986 Oregon Episcopal School tragedy on Mount Hood, when seven of the school’s teen-age students (and two adults) died while stranded in a snow cave during a storm so strong it blew out snowcat windows during the rescue effort. We pray the outcome of this latest event is much much better, and all the climbers are hunkered down with good gear and food, waiting out the storm.
Greg Hill is at it again. He’s going for another one million vertical foot backcountry skiing season, only this time he’s planning on doing 100 days in a season, with 10,000 verts logged each of those days! How in the world does one pull that off? No mystery, just check out his blog. As a blogger myself, I have to admit that if I skied 10,000 vertical in a day, I’d probably not be blogging that evening — I’d be searching for a hot tub and popping ibu like candy. Same the next day. More power to Greg!
Saga of Teton Pass continues. The USFS and other entities have funded a “Winter Ambassador” to hang out on the pass for 15 hours a week and help educate users. When such workers are helpful and unbiased they can have a positive effect on situations where public land users are crowded together, such as with Teton Pass parking and the ski slopes closer to the road. So good. But we’d still like to see a shuttle bus run up there from the valley.
Arapaho Basin, a high altitude ski resort in Colorado, has won approval from the USFS to expand into backcountry terrain. The expansion will nearly double their available terrain — all at altitudes where shoulder season snowpack may be much less affected by global warming than that of Colorado’s lower elevation resorts. Smart move, but it is kind of a land grab as well, since the expansion area is somewhat a backcountry skier’s destination. Oh well, one only has to move on to the other zillion acres of public land that are not part of the resort, perhaps by walking more and not riding ski lifts.
This year’s North American randonnee racing schedule is announced, here is the PR word:
The United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA) 2007 ski mountaineering race series will consist of 6 venues spanning the United States and Canada. This year marks the seventh season of ski mountaineering races in the United States. The growth of this sport is very apparent when you see how many homegrown races are springing up this year. The 2007 USSMA sanctioned series will travel from the west coast to the east coast and include a new venue in Canadaâ€? stated John Scott USSMAâ€™s Executive Director.
The 2007 series welcomes Sunshine Village in Banff, Canada as a new venue that will kick off the series race schedule with the Arcâ€™teryx Sunshine Village race on February 3rd. Greg Hill, three-time winner of the Whistler, Canada race, will organize the Sunshine race. The series will then travel to Vermont and the Mountain Hardwear Sugarbush/Mad River Glen race that will take place on February 4th. Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Crested Butte, Colorado is the next race on the schedule on February 10th. The Series then travels to Kirkwood, California for the Marmot Kirkwood Mountain Resort race on March 3rd. Alpental, Washington and the Outdoor Research Alpental Race is next on March 18th. This race will be organized by Martin Volken, well know mountain guide and retailer in the Seattle area. The Race Series finishes up with the Life-Link North American Championships at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on March 24th
Sponsoring the series this year are: Life-Link, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Arcteryx, Outdoor Research, Couloir Magazine, Back Country Magazine, Off-Piste Magazine, Buff, Croakies, Clif Bar, Suunto, Adventure Medical Kits, Honey Stinger.
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.