Winter Cog Railway Opens New Approach to Mount Washington

The Union Leader reports there has been an increase in the number of hikers on Mount Washington thanks to the winter running of the Cog Ski Train but there have been no new problems. There is a new route to access the famed mountain in winter and early spring and perhaps an easier way up, some believe. The plowed rough, rocky and long Mount Clinton Road from Crawford Notch to the Marshfield Base Station is now a snowmobile trail, and the Base Road from Fabyan’s Station in Twin Mountain has been plowed to access parking to skiers while also allowing snowmobilers on a side trail. In the December 2004 issue of United Airlines’ on-board magazine is a historic illustration of the Cog, and an article about “The Cog that Could.” Its subheading was “A ski train ratchets up winter options on Mount Washington.”
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Lee Barry at 81 Becomes Oldest AT Thru Hiker

Centerdaily reports Lee Barry has become at the oldest person to complete the Appalachian Trail at 81. He carried a homemade pack (made from nylon with no frame) . He started Jan. 2 at the trail’s southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Ga., hiking for three weeks at a time and returning home for monthly church council meetings. When he finished walking the trail’s 2,175 miles on Nov. 20, he had turned 81. A “thru-hiker” is one who intends to complete the trail on a continual, but not necessarily non-stop, basis, according to spokesman Brian King of the Appalachian Trail Conference in Harpers Ferry.
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Fatal Avalanche on Grossglockner – Austria’s highest mountain

The AP reports an avalanche on Grossglockner – Austria’s highest mountain – swept away two Hungarian backcountry skiers killing one. There were avalanches throughout Europe. A 48-year-old German man was found dead after he and his son were swept away by an avalanche as they were skiing Sunday in the resort of Saalbach in the Salzburg province (his son survived). A Czech man was killed in a separate snow slide near the resort of Bad Gastein, also in the Salzburg province.

Proposal for $10 Million Snowdon Summit Cafe Stalls

Snowdon Hut The BBC reports officials are unable to raise nearly $4 Million to replace the Showdon Cafe which was once labelled a “slum” by Prince Charles.
The current concrete block cafe is nearly 70 years old and deteriorating. Snowdonia National Park Authority says it needs to raise the funds by June or the new cafe will not be built. The new cafe to be completed by 2007 would be a stone and glass building. It is estimated that 350,000 visitors make the trek to the top of Wales’ highest mountain every year by train or on foot. The original cafe was built in 1935 by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, the creator of the tourist Italianate village of Portmeirion on the north Wales coast.
– have all stalled because of a lack of cash. More than $8 Million has already been raise ($6 Million from the Assembly Government and $2 Million from the Wales Tourist Board, Welsh Development Agency and Snowdon Mountain Railway.

Links:
Hightrek Page on Snowdon Cafe (source of image above)

Only 3 Feet of Snow Remains at Paradise in Record Dry Year

There have been a lot of articles about the record low snowpack on Rainier and the Pacific Northwest including Hood while California is having near record excess snowpack (leading to a very rare blossoming Death Valley). AP notes the snowpack spectacularly dwarfs that last record low in 1977. For instance, the record low water content at Stampede Pass was 11.1 inches. It is now 2.5 inches. At Paradise less than 3 feet of snow remained on the meadows, with some spots having only a few inches. Normally, Paradise has 15 to 20 feet of snow in late winter.

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Philippines To Re-Open Highest Mount Apo Via New Trails

Mindanews reports that the Philippines is planning in April to re-open the country’s highest point via new trails via the highlands of Magpet and Arakan in North Cotabato. Trails leading to Mt Apo were closed for several years due to desecration and garbage problems. Policies to protect the mountain from desecration are to be strictly enforced (although the article did state what they are).

Is New Mexico Going to Sue to Take Guadalupe Peak From Texas?

Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma Tripoint on 103rd Meridian New Mexico may be in the process of suing to take Guadalupe Peak back from Texas. The New Mexico Senate voted 33-0 to sue Texas for return of 603,485 acres of land three miles east of its current border to what it says should be the correct border on the 103rd meridian. New Mexico maintains the border was the result of an 1859 surveyor mistake. The bill now goes to the House.
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Late Starting Climbers Rescued on Ben Nevis

Icliverpool reports Bob Neale and Billy Rimmer on Ben Nevis were rescued in a snow by sending a text message to a man who called 999 (the European equivalent of 911). A helicopter was dispatched to Tower Ridge but had to turn back because of bad weather. A rescue crew was dispatched and accompanied the hikers down. A spokesman for Fort William police said: “The two climbers, although reasonably well equipped, were inexperienced for the route chosen, and failed to allow adequate time to complete the route. Accident statistics show that solo climbing and starting late on Tower Ridge are the greatest hazards to mountaineers on Ben Nevis. The climbers had started their ascent at 3 p.m.

Aron Ralston Completes Mission to Be First Winter Solo Climber on Fourteeners

Aron Ralston Book The Aspen Times reports Aron Ralston is the first climber to complete the Colorado fourteener winter solo project (by a count of 54, 59 or whatever). And he’s just the third climber to reach the top of all the fourteeners in calendar winter (from the winter solstice to the vernal equinox). Ralston 45 of the fourteeners in 1998-99. He had climbed all of the Elk Range fourteeners in the 2002-03 season, before the accident in Utah’s Canyonlands in the spring of 2003. He bagged two peaks last winter and the final 12 since this December, including the privately owned Culebra, wearing a 10-pound suit of plate-mail ice because of a storm. Of the 59 climbs, Ralston retreated, or turned back, only once. That was his first attempt on the relatively easy Mount Evans. Boulder resident Tom Mereness is the first climber to complete the list of winter Colorado fourteener ascents (though not as a solo project). Ralston said Mount of the Holy Cross was the hardest peak of them all. “But only because of how I ended up doing it,” he hedged. “The Halo route – it’s 32 miles for one peak, traversing over 11 summits over 13,200 feet.”

Is Wyoming’s Tallest Structure a Dormitory or a Coast Guard Tower Aimed at Helping Great Lakes Navigation?

The Casper Tribune has an article on the highest structures in Wyoming. Most believe 12-story McIntyre Hall at the University of Wyoming is the tallest in the state. However the Wyoming Almanac notes the Jim Bridger Power Plant in Sweetwater County is 24 stories high — although it’s a smoke stack. Ironically, though the tallest manmade structure is a 700-foot tower near Gillette owned by the Coast Guard nominally aimed at helping navigation in the Great Lakes! The tower part of the LORAN-C network is based on 1950′s military technology for providing precise navigation radio signals (LORAN = LOng RAnge Navigation) . The towers are be retrofitted so they will compliment and provide an emergency land-based backup to GPS.

Wikipedia reference to LORAN
Wikipedia List of Tallest Structures By State

Poles Upset Over Plan to Give Native Name Targangil to Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko

News.com.au reports that Poles are concerned over a proposal by New South Wales, Australia, to give the country’s highest point a native name. Officials said Mount Kosciuszko would still be the dominant name for the peak even if they add an Aboriginee name to it. Mount Kosciuszko was named by the Polish explorer Sir Paul Edmund de Strzelecki. Strzelecki and James MacArthur, who ascended the mountain together, decided to name it after the Polish freedom fighter General Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Tadeusz Kosciusko was a hero of the US War of Independence and the Polish Army Commander in Chief of a famous Polish uprising in the late 1700′s. The article did not give the new name however Wikipedia says the name is Targangil. There are numerous Google references to the name — especially a ski resort by the name in Australia’s Snowy Mountains.

Dehydrated Girl Rescued in Heat at Hawaii Volcanos National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HI)
Shorthaul Rescue of Dehydrated Hiker

The park received a cell phone call via 911 reporting an unconscious girl on the switchbacks on the backcountry Kaaha trail below the Hilina Pali Road around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 7th. Rangers and Hawaii County FD paramedics responded. The 12-year-old girl was a member of a school group that had walked down a difficult trail during the heat of the day. Many in the group were out of water and had difficulty getting back up the hill. The girl was conscious but very weak when rangers arrived. One of the paramedics started an IV and rangers shorthauled her to a waiting ambulance. She was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment. [Submitted by Paul M. Ducasse, Chief Ranger]

Skiier Swept 1,000 Feet in Teton Avalanche

THe NPS Morning Report Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Backcountry Skier Seriously Injured in Avalanche

On March 7th, rangers assisted Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) ski patrollers in rescuing an injured backcountry skier from Granite Canyon. Andy Bergin, 24, of Jackson, Wyoming, received multiple serious injuries after he triggered an avalanche which swept him over rocks and carried him about 1,000 feet downslope in an area called Northwest Passage. Bergin, an employee at JHMR, was skiing with friends in the backcountry of Granite Canyon when the incident occurred. Teton Interagency Dispatch was notified at 11:50 a.m. by a JHMR ski patrolman, who reported a possible avalanche occurring in Granite Canyon that involved some backcountry skiers. Teton County dispatch called minutes later, confirming that they had just received a 911 call by cell phone from Granite Canyon with the same information, adding that one skier was reported to be seriously injured. Park rangers immediately began to coordinate rescue efforts, contracted for the use of Teton County’s rescue helicopter, and flew rangers with medical equipment and additional rescue gear to the scene. Two JHMR ski patrollers reached the injured Bergin first and provided emergency medical care while other skiers in the area prepared a landing zone for the helicopter by packing down the snow with their skis. Once on the scene, rangers provided additional medical evaluation and care, then placed Bergin in the helicopter and attended him during the flight to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming.
[Submitted by Jackie Skaggs, Public Affairs Specialist]