Legality of Mount Washington Ban on Bicycles (private road built via eminent domain)

Bob Mionske in Velonews has a discussion on the legality of prohibiting bicycles on the Mount Washington Toll Road. The argument has always been that the road — even though it is on a state park — is privately owned. But Mionske argues that since the road was initially obtained via eminent domain then there could be a challenge to whether bicycles are permitted — especially since other New England roads with similar 15 percent grades (Mount Greylock, Mount Acutney in Vermont and Cadillac Mountain in Maine) do not prohibit bicycles.

However Mount Mansfield Toll Road and the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive in Manchester, Vermont prohibit bicycles.

French “Spiderman” Plans Climb of Taipei 101

The Taipei Times reports Frenchman Alain “Spiderman” Robert plans to climb the world’s tallest building, the 508m-high Taipei 101 before the skyscraper’s official opening on Dec. 31. The building’s management extended the offer to him to climb it. Taipei 101 also holds the record for the highest occupied floor (at 438m) and the highest roof (448m) — taking three of the council’s four official height categories. Robert, 42, will climb Taipei 101 up to its spire, equipped only with a safety belt of the type used by high-rise window washers.

Study: Yellowstone Earthquakes Peak in Late Spring/Early Summer (snow melt cause suspected)

An AP article published in the Billings Gazette and other publications notes that most of Yellowstone’s earthquakes occur in late spring and early summer. The study by Lizet Christiansen of the U.S. Geological Survey suspects that snow melt is responsible. Most of the earthquakes that shake Yellowstone National Park happen during the busiest time of year – but hardly anyone notices. The study analyzed earthquakes between 1984 and 2004 at Yellowstone, the Long Valley caldera in eastern California, and Mount Lassen, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier.

South Carolina Buys Sassafras Summit

The Carolina Channel reports the South Carolina Natural Resources Department has bought two acres at the top of Sassafras Mountain from Duke Energy for $50,000 earlier this month. SC land next to Sassafras’ peak was protected seven years ago in the landmark Jocassee Gorges agreement that protected 32,000 acres. But the top of Sassafras was left out of the $21 million deal. Utility officials said the peak was not included because of surveying questions that have since been cleared up.

There had been several articles recently expressing concern about future of the highpoint and efforts by a developer on the North Carolina side to buy surrounding property.

Hiker Rescued After Stranded 4 Days on AT Near Inadu Knob in Smokies

The Maryville Daily Times reports 62-year-old David Dinwiddie was rescued after spending four days in a sleeping bag. The hiker, stranded in 2 feet of snow at 6,000 feet in subfreezing temperatures, was carried six miles down the trail. Rescuers had been looking for the man since receiving a garbled cell phone call Tuesday morning. The rescue occurred after hikers reported his GPS coordinates at the Appalachian Trail and Maddron Bald Trail near Inadu Knob.
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Here’s the NPS Report:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Lost Hiker Rescued After Nearly Four Days Lying In Snow

On Saturday, December 18th, David Dinwiddie, 62, of Knoxville, left his vehicle at Cosby Campground and began a hike up the Appalachian Trail to Tricorner Knob, a distance of more than eleven miles. On Tuesday morning, three days later, Sevier County dispatch center picked up a 911 cell phone call from Dinwiddie; although the call was broken, he sounded distressed and the dispatcher was able to make out the words “Appalachian Trail,” “frostbite,” and “fall.” The 911 center employed a data triangulation procedure to obtain the coordinates from which Dinwiddie had called. They revealed that he was in the park between Greenbrier and Cosby, but about three miles north of the Appalachian Trail. A hasty search of the Maddron Bald and Old Settlers trails was conducted immediately, but no sign of Dinwiddie was found. The number of trails in the area made it very hard to determine just where he was located. Around 10 p.m., three hikers returned to the vehicle at Cosby Campground, contacted rangers, and advised that they’d come across Dinwiddie on the AT near Inadu Gap. He had severe frostbite and was hypothermic. When they left him, he was only semi-conscious. Although he had very little food, water or gear with him, he was inside a sleeping bag and lying on a foam pad. Preparations were made throughout the night to rescue Dinwiddie. At 4 a.m., a hasty team comprised of rangers Pat Patten, Gene Wesloh, and park medic Joe Pond began hiking to Dinwiddie with the objective of stabilizing him until he could be flown or carried out. Two Tennessee National Guard helicopters – one with hoist capabilities – were launched at 8:30 a.m. Sustained winds of 40 mph with gusts to 70 mph forced a halt to this operation after the first attempt to extract him. A litter evacuation team comprised of NPS and state park employees hiked to Dinwiddie and carried him six miles out on the Snake Den Ridge trail. A winter storm warning was in effect, calling for precipitation and high winds, and it had begun to rain at lower elevations and spit snow at higher elevations, increasing the urgency of the rescue. At 9:30 p.m., the litter team reached the trailhead at Cosby Campground and Dinwiddie was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by a LifeStar medical helicopter. During the period between December 18th and 21st, temperatures ranged from a high of 33 to a low of – 14 degrees. A snow storm on December 20th dropped an additional 10 inches of new snow, making a total of 25 inches of snow on the ground. Dinwiddie laid in the snow in frigid conditions for three-and-a-half days before being rescued. Dinwiddie was treated at the hospital for hypothermia, severe frostbite of both hands, and moderate frostbite of the feet. In interviews, Dinwiddie told rangers that he’d lost the trail on the 18th due to deep and blowing snow, then had slipped and fallen down a steep embankment and had been unable to get back to his feet.[Submitted by Rick Brown, District Ranger]