Obama Officially Declares Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

President Barrack Obama on August 24 officially declared the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The 87,500 acre monument is east of Katahdin which remains in Baxter State Park. The proposal has stirred controversy for more than a decade after Roxanne Quimby began assembling land for a national park.

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Melissa Arnot and Maddie Miller Claim 50 Highpoints in Record 41 Days

Melissa Arnot and Maddie Miller said they completed visiting the 50 state summits in 41 days, 16 hours and 10 minutes — breaking the previous record of 43 days, 2 hours, and 8 minutes. They began their quest on Denali on June 27 and completed on Mauna Kea on August 7.

Over the course of their 41-day adventure, the two hiked 268 miles and ascended over 84,000 feet while summiting the highest point in every state. The team, accompanied by a van driver and cook, traveled over 19,594 miles across the United States. The team was set back by several mechanicals as well as a painstaking reroute last minute due to forest fires in Wyoming.

It should be noted that the Highpointers Club does not verify these claims and uses the honor system.

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Mount Mitchell State Park Celebrates 100th Anniversary August 26-27

Mount Mitchell State Park will be celerbating its 100th Anniversary August 26-27. So the events:
*Ascent of the Century – Hike 6 Miles, 4,000 vertical to the summit (the event includes two nights of camping and a descent by tour bus)
*Centennial Celebration – Traditional mountain music and modern bluegrass will be featured during the day, along with dancing, folk artists and sounds of the mountain dulcimer. Performers will include the Mountain Laurel Band, Nitrograss, Pete and Kim McWhirter, Don Pedi and the Bailey Mountain Cloggers.
*Hiking for a Century – Guided hikes from the summit.

Check the linked items as there are restrictions and costs — including parking restrictions.

According to HCPress:

North Carolina legislators, at the urging of Gov. Locke Craig, launched an effort in 1915 to protect the mountain’s summit from intensive logging, and by the end of 1916, 795 acres had been acquired to create what would become Mount Mitchell State Park. North Carolina now has 41 state park units open to the public as well as a network of protected state natural areas, state lakes, rivers and trails that encompass 230,591 acres. During 2015, the parks system served a record 17.3 million visitors.

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Book Recounts 1959 Earthquake That Probably Killed Granite Climber

Larry Morris has published a book about the August 17, 1959 7.5 Yellowstone earthquake that killed 28. A climber on Granite who is believed to have been buried in an avalanche. His body has never been recovered and he is not in the official list.

Morris dedicated the book to the memory of Ernest Bruffey, the 29th victim of the earthquake. Morris said Bruffey, a Havre resident, had told others of his plan to hike Granite Peak in the Beartooth Mountains between Aug. 16 and 19. Bruffey was never heard from again.

Strong shocks were recorded in the area after the initial quake and there were slides on Granite Peak, Morris said. Searchers never found Bruffey’s body and his name was never included on official victim lists, he said. But evidence suggests Bruffey was a victim of the earthquake and deserves to be remembered, he said.

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Feds Rename Harney Peak To Black Elk Peak

In a move nobody expected the U.S. Board of Geographic Names voted Thursday, August 11, to rename Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.

The discussion has gone on for years and even the South Dakota Board as well as the South Dakota Department of Tourism and the Department of Game, Fish and Parks earlier this year did not support the move.

South Dakota Senator John Thune issued a press release opposing the move.

I’m surprised and upset by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names’ unilateral decision to rename Harney Peak, one of South Dakota’s most well-known landmarks,” said Thune. “The national board’s choice to reject the state’s recommendation to leave the name as-is defies logic, since it was state officials who so carefully solicited public feedback and ultimately came to their decision. I’m also disappointed the board grossly misled my office with respect to the timeline of its decision, which wasn’t expected until next year.

The minutes of the Aug 11 meeting have not been posted yet. When they are they will be posted here.

82-year-old Basil Brave Heart, who lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, who started pushing for the name change in 2014, said the decision “represents compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation.William S. Harney had massacred Sioux in 1855 in the Battle of Ash Hollow

Black Elk was known for his visions and was a second cousin of Crazy Horse.

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2 Rescues in 2 Weeks on Borah

Windrows in the Sky
Kenneth Lissner of Tampa was airlifted from Borah on Wedneday, August 10 after he used his satellite phone to report he was hypothermic at 12:30 a.m. Two Bear Air Rescue from Kalispell, Montana picked him up at 6:15 a.m. and was taken to McKay where he was treated for exposure.

Emergency crews on July 31 crews rescued a 57 year old who fell 300 feet on ice but suffered minor injuries.

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3 to 4 Mile Long Lines to Enter Mount Rainier Via Nisqually

Mt Rainier
Mount Rainier is reporting 3-4 mile long entrance lines to get through the Nisqually entrance. Rainier has increased its busiest entrance from 2 lanes to 3 but the lanes still go back to 2 to go past the entrance sign. June was reported to be the busiest at the park since 1992.

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15 Air Force Related Climbers on Granite in USAFsummits 50 Highpoint Challenge

15 members and civilians from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base attempted Granite Peak on August 4-6 as the part of the USAF Summits 50 Highpoint Challenge.

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19-Year Old Granite Peak Climber in Critical Condition

Thomas Craig Pfeifle, 19, of Rapid City, was airlifted near the summit of Granite Peak on Monday, August 8, following an accident and is in critical condition after being moved to Seattle.

He was rescued at 12,200 feet of the 12,808 mountain by Gallatin County high-angle rescue team and flown by Rocky Mountain Rotors after his climbers borrowed a satellite phone from another group.  He was flown to  Sky Top Lakes then another hospital in Bozeman and ultimately to Billings before being moved again to Seattle.

KRTV has video and adds a note about a second helicopter rescue at about the same time:

As this team was responding, rescuers received an update that the first call for help was a separate incident.

A 71-year-old man with a suspected cardiac event was taken from Sky Top Lakes to Cook City. The rescue crew was met by an ambulance to take the man to the hospital.

The Deputy-Medic then responded back to the Granite Peak area by helicopter to tie in with the high angle rescue team.

The patient from the first SAR mission was taken by ground ambulance to a hospital in Cody, Wyoming.

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Proposal to Limit Humphreys Peak Hikers to 50 A Day

Humphreys is Peaking_8008472

The Arizona Daily Sun has suggested limiting Humphreys Peak climbers to 50 a day.  The paper made the proposal in response to the July 20 lightning strike near the summit that killed 17-year-old Wade Young on July 20.

The paper notes that the heavily used Humphreys Peak trail does not have proper signage warning people about dangers.  It notes that a tent at the trailhead which warns hikers about dangers is not staffed during weekdays (Young was killed on a Wednesday).  The heavy usage has also let to trash along the route.

It notes that hikers should be warned to leave the trailhead during monsoon season by 7 a.m. and should be coming down off the mountain by 11 a.m.



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