The Champlaign Channel reports two ice climbers on Vulture Mountain in Vermont airlifted after a 30 foot fall. Jason Osbourne, of Quechee, was airlifted to Darmouth Hitchcock Medical Center with a broken leg. His companion Bill Proft, of Bethel, had hypothermia after spending more than five hours in the cold.
The Transcript reports that the Mount Greylock Advisory Council is very concerned about a proposal to place more of Mount Greylock’s 12,000 acreage in forest reserve. Trees in a forest reserve cannot be touched. Councilman John Kirby of Lanesboro said he was concerned that forest areas that cannot be trimmed will be subject to forest fire hazard. Half of the acreage is now in reserve. Authorities say need more land in reserve to accurately understand the impact on the mountain. Council members said the matter should be investigated further.
Update Feburary 3, 2004:
This is being discussed in our Forum and it was reported to Snopes to see if it is an urban legend. Snopes still calls it “undertermined” but notes there earlier was Czech story along the same lines that was mailed across Europe. A Slovak News Agency has never heard the story.
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The New York Times and other newspapers have released dramatic photos of the Nuclear Submarine USS San Francisco which collided head on at top speed (30 knots) with an uncharted undersea mountain 500 feet below the surface 360 miles southeast of of Guam on January 8. The crashed killed one and injured 60. Still it survived thanks to its inner hall. Authorities say the mountain was on Russian charts for five years. It noted the U.S. had not updated its chart since 1989 even though satellite photos had shown the mountain. The photos of the sub show a destroyed front end of the sub with hull peeled backed to the inner hull. Authorities say the fiberglass front dome which has sonar gear was designed with flooded water and that cushioned the blow. The Navy has reassigned the sub’s captain while they investigate. The sub was built in 1981 and overhauled in 2002.
The New Zealand Herald reports a Christchurch forensic psychiatrist has rocked the climbing world by publishing a study saying you have an 8.2% chance of getting killed while climbing in New Zealand. Dr Erik Monasterio said the figure is based on four climbing deaths, including two guides, from among the 49 participants in the four-year study he was conducting. The participants were mostly experienced climbers tackling difficult routes. Ironically none of the four deaths occurred in the 2003/04 climbing season, a bad one for fatalities. Thirteen people died in the Mt Aspiring area and in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, including three guides and a client in an avalanche on Mt Tasman. In 2001, another study published in the journal calculated the fatality rate in the Aoraki/Mt Cook park was 1.87 deaths for every 1000 days spent climbing. A 1988 study estimated a death rate of 4.3 per cent for British climbers on peaks over 7000m – more than 3000m higher than Aoraki/Mt Cook.
THe Herald Sun reports that 40 to 50 rescuers planned to form a human chain to relay down a man injured on Queensland, Australia’s highest mountain 1,615m Mt Bartle Frere near Babinda, south of Cairns. However when weather cleared the man was airlifted.
The Scotsman reports that a Chinese women’s mountaineering expedition are going to remeasure Everest to determine if it is shrinking or growing. In 1975 the Chinese concluded it was 8,848.50 metres (29,029.35 feet) high. In 1999, a U.S. team with GPS measured it higher at 8,850 metres. Some climbers have reported receding snowlines. However scientists note that Everest’s natural state is for it to be pushed up. It would take major rockfalls for Everest to decrease in height. The Himalayas are uplifting at a rate of about one centimetre a year due to the collision of the Indian continental plate with the Asian plate. The Chinese call the peak Chomolungma, meaning mother goddess of the earth.
The Anchorage Daily News reports a moose on the Denali Highway stomped to death the lead dog of an Iditarod musher. Ramey Smyth’s as he zipped the dog into his sled basket with the early evening fading into a 50 degree-below-zero night.
“I told him I loved him and not to forget me,” Smyth said. Mushers have reported numerous such encounters with moose in Alaska. The moose, Smyth said, “came down on him with both front feet, and then it just started with the rest of the team.” As the dogs rolled on, the moose came racing up the gangline, hooves flying, until it got to the sled. Smyth grabbed the only thing he had to defend himself — the ice hook used to anchor the team. “I smacked him with the ice hook,” Smyth said. And then the attack was over. Smyth watched the moose depart.
The Statesman Journal reportsthat Kim Braasch was airlifted on Sardine Mountain after spending the night following a fall on slippery rock. One of her hiking companions (Kris Richardson ) hiked out to get help and then hiked back rescue crews. Because of darkness the crews spent the night and placed boughs around Braasch to keep her comfortable.
WLBZ reports that Rep. Henry Joy of Crystal has introduced a bill demanding that Acadia National Park be turned over to the State of Maine. The bill is aimed at blocking Roxanne Quimby’s proposed Maine Woods National Park. Jym St. Pierre of RESTORE-The Maine Woods, the group seeking to establish a new national park in northern Maine, said Joy has a history of putting in silly legislative bills. He called Joy’s move “political posturing.”
The Denver Channel reports Efron Roque de la Cruz was killed in a 100 foot fall while hiking with his brother and two friends Monday in Cheyenne Canyon near Colorado Springs.
The AP reports Damian McDonald and Susanna Saarkangas of New Haven were rescued while ice climbing Damnation Gully in Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington. They had ben reported missing by the caretaker of the Harvard cabin. They were reported to have hypothermia and frostbite but were able to walk out.
The Daily Press reports that 11 Boy Scouts and 3 rescuers were hospitalized with frostbite and hypothermia after being caught in a blizzard with subzero temperatures at Grayson Highlands State Park. Rescuers had to cut the laces off the Scouts frozen shoes to get their boots off. The Troop is from Gaston County, NC. Chief Deputy J.B. Johnson of the Grayson County, Va., sheriff’s department was quoted as saying, “Apparently, they didn’t think about the mountains being as treacherous … and apparently, they were not aware of the weather,” Johnson said of the troop’s adult leaders. “I have a comment I could make, but I’m going to keep it to myself.”
Trails.com has issued its list of most popular (and presumably most downloaded) trails. The downloaded trails are heavily weighted to the Northeast and the New York City metro area in particular with Breakneck Ridge Trail being #1. You might recall my last reporting about being escorted at gunpoint in January 2003 after missing the trailhead and wandering too close to New York City’s water supply tunnel which crosses the Hudson from the Catskills. So, it probably is a good idea to have a map even if the Metro North train actually drops you off at the trailhead (the only trail in the NYC metro area with such specific connections).
The Fort Smith Times Record reports Richie Hudson was killed Saturday when he fell from a bucket truck during construction of the new lodge atop Mount Magazine which is replacing the one that burned in 1971.