An article in Columbian.com notes that the official snow measuring station on Mount Hood shows 30 inches of snow which is 21% of average for this time of year. Statewide Washington shows snowpack 38% of normal and Oregon is 46%. Forecasts are calling for more extended dry weather.
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.
An AP article in the Mercury-News reports that 46-year-old James Aldrich of Homer, NY, did about everything wrong in an ill-fated Shasta climb. He climbed alone, went even though weather was predicting a big snow storm, didn’t have snowshoes and left his campsite after being told not to after calling 911. He was climbing the mountain as a fundraiser. Luckily he survived.
The AP published on WNBC reports 16-year-old Allen Glick of Englewood, N.J. lost his footing and slid 400 feet on Mount Coldon where he broke his leg. His party called 911 and transported him to Lake Arnold where rangers evacuated him.
Ireland On-Line warns that hikers should be prepared for winter weather for the traditional St. Stephens Day Hike of Carauntoohil which attracts thousands of hikers.
Seacoastonline has an article by Lisa Marie Pane (of the AP) on the climbing the Northeast 4000 peaks (the 4k’s) and specifically on her bagging the New Hampshire 48.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Ã¢â‚¬Å“Appalachian Trail,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“frostbite,Ã¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“fall.Ã¢â‚¬Â 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 theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one with hoist capabilities Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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 heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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]
Blake Cicenas has passed along a couple awesome photos of the Mount Rogers ponies a couple weeks ago in the snow. You can see them at the Virginia Gallery.
Jean Trousdale reports that Paul Zumwalt, first winner of the Jack Longacre and Vin Hoeman awards, guidebook author, and definitive friend of highpointers passed on Monday, Dec. 19.
Following is the funeral arrangements and obituary informatio for Paul Zumwalt (provided by his daughter Judy Zumwalt)
KSL TV reports Ken Gygy died after falling several hundred feet in Ogden Canyon where he was soloing. Gigy was reported to be the best local climber. The TV has a video report.