Steve House, who I think is the best alpinist right now, said, regarding Tomaz Humar's climbing Katrina on Nanga Parbat that asking for a rescue is not shameful. Ok, I agree to a point, but if the option is there, there is no edge to climb completely unsupported. It doesn't make sense to me at all. When you climb, and climb solo, there is no safety net, there is no mobile phone, there is no helicopter rescue, and the fact that if you are carrying a mobile to begin with is inherent assumption that someone will pick it up when you call, i.e. a rescue. This is the same as mobile phones, recco tabs, gps in the outdoors, it creates a false sense of security and installs a safety net where one should not exist. Tomaz set out on this climb solo, unfortunately, millions of people were following him via his mobile communication to his base camp and then to his website. Ridiculous. A recipe for failure. Now back to Steve House. Absolutely it is a shame to ask for a rescue when you attempt something that you should not have. What I'm looking at here is the means - if you are doing a daring line, unattempted in a remote area, and you bring a mobile for backup, what's the point? My assumption is this when you climb solo: you do it, you are self-sufficient, you rescue yourself. Steve is most likely deflecting any blame thrown his way, but I think he thinks what I do: there is no rescue if you can't rescue yourself, in the words of the late Rob Slater, 'summit or die, either way you win.'
In the adrenaline-fueled, hard-partying, intense world of extreme sports, Carl Warren Skoog was as much an anomaly as a pioneer.
A relative elder at 46, the easygoing and clean-living local
backcountry skier quietly made a name for himself over several decades
as one of the Northwest's most skilled outdoor athletes and
It was during one of his signature travels -- "partly a personal
adventure (and) partly a photojournalism trip" -- that Skoog died in an
accident while climbing and skiing in the Andes Mountains of Argentina
on Oct. 17, said his brother, Lowell Skoog.
The sneaky devil. And here we thought he had cremated all the remains. Turns out he snuck out a few pieces of his brother and has had them tested, according to an article in The Guardian:
The decades-old mystery over the fate of Günther Messner - the lost brother of the mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner - was resolved yesterday after DNA tests on a smuggled piece of big toe.
Messner said the tests confirmed that pieces of bone found in a Himalayan glacier had come from his missing brother. Günther disappeared more than 30 years ago while following Reinhold down Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth highest mountain. Ever since their ill-fated 1970 expedition Messner has been haunted by persistent allegations that he abandoned his brother to die as they struggled - frostbitten and delirious - down the mountain's treacherous western slope.
Now if you read the article carefully you see that the DNA test was done by a professor from Innsbruck. Isn't Innsbruck in Austria? Isn't Messner the biggest thing to hit Austria since Vienna coffee, Mozart, and the Blitzkrieg? Hmm, I'm just saying, there might have been somebody just a little more impartial? Like pretty much anyone NOT in Austria.
If any of you followed the media event that was Tomaz Humar's rescue off of Nanga Parbat this summer through our blog (scroll down the page to see all the posts here), you know we viewed the whole constructed drama through a cynical eye. Particularly in light of the tragic and little publicized deaths of Trevor Stokol and Erica Kutcher in the Himalayas. We also wondered out loud whether this type of high profile rescue was portentous of even worse things to come in the mountaineering world. With copters being landed on the summit of Everest, Ed Viesturs appearing and then refunding our money for his 15 seconds of fame in the climbing Hindenburg of a movie Vertical Limit, and Hollywood Hans taping himself on top of El Cap after speeding soloing El Cap, climbing seems to be turning into yet another branded, corporate driven, meaningless, pro sport . Well, it's nice to know we're not alone, finally. At least about questioning Tommy's "false heroics." Dougald MacDonald, whose journalistic and writing credentials make us look like Judith Miller to his Edward Murrow had a great post in his blog, reminding us that climbing in this day and age is more about "market positioning" in your "core target audience."
"Something of which the watching public — the audience for mountaineering — often seems unaware is that there is no intrinsic merit, no heroic value, in the mere struggle for self-preservation, however prolonged it may be.... As mountaineers, if we want to touch the void, we should make sure that, in the event of our falling into it, we get ourselves out; and having done so, we should not pose as heroes, should never believe in the constructs and the erroneous values that a public...may put on our actions. To get through by dint of our own efforts is why we choose to climb."
Perrin's words made me think of Tomaz Humar and his helicopter rescue on Nanga Parbat in August. As a reporter, I strove for balance and objectivity in my write-up on Humar's escapades, which appears in the new issue of Climbing (No. 244). I've never met Humar, but by all accounts he's a super-nice guy, and I can't fault him for calling for help when his situation proved dire. I can't even blame him for starting up the mountain alone and in atrocious conditions, though his decision put others at risk and I wonder if he wasn't pressured into an ill-advised attempt by the arrival in basecamp of Vince Anderson and Steve House, who were intent on the same line (and subsequently climbed it). Most of us have made poor choices in the mountains and just been lucky to get away with it. But Humar crossed a line by posing as a hero—or at least by failing to quash or object to the media-driven (and perhaps sponsor-encouraged) hero-worship that followed his rescue. The pilots who saved him surely are heroic; Humar should only be embarassed by his ignominious retreat. Instead, he has launched a lecture tour and a book undoubtedly will follow, and thus he fails to heed Perrin's words of wisdom.
Kinda interesting. A group of climbers found the frozen body of a WII airman last weekend in Mendel Glacier at the base of Mt. Mendel. What was he doing there? Well:
During World War II, many military training centers were situated in California's Central Valley and used training routes over the Sierra Nevada. Flight training sometimes was fatal -- during the 1940s and '50s, up to two dozen planes crashed in the craggy backcountry of Kings Canyon and the adjoining Sequoia National Park, Lyle said.
Some speculate that the man's fate could be tied to an AT-7 military training plane that crashed in the Mendel Glacier area Nov. 18, 1942. Four bodies were recovered from the wreck after it was found by a hiker in 1947.
In addition, the parachute pack discovered on the man's back is stenciled with the words "U.S. Army Air Corps.," which preceded the formation of the U.S. Air Force in 1947. The ice climbers cut a small piece of fabric from the man's parachute and showed it to Inyo County Sheriff's Department officials when they reported the find. It appeared to be silk, which largely was replaced by nylon in the manufacture of military parachutes when the United States placed an embargo on Japanese silk in 1941.
So this python walks into a bar with an alligator under his arm and says, "Do you serve lawyers here?". The barkeep replies, "Of course". "Then get me a scotch on the rocks and a lawyer for my friend here." There are so many things disturbing about this report and picture from the NPS & AFP:
MIAMI (AFP) - The tail of an alligator protruding from the ruptured gut of a python, which had swallowed its foe alive, bore witness to a fierce and unusual battle between two of the deadliest predators in Florida's swamps.
Park rangers, who photographed the remains of the two huge reptiles in the Everglades National Park, say the clash demonstrates the threat to the fragile swamplands posed by a growing population of non-native Burmese pythons.
Pythons, thought to have abandoned by pet owners, have been multiplying in the large swath of swampland, and environmentalists fear the exotic intruders threaten to overrun the national park, preying on native species.
The latest find suggest the huge pythons might even challenge alligators' leading position in the food chain.
Park officials have removed dozens of Burmese pythons from the Everglades over the past years, and are training a Beagle, nicknamed "Python Pete," to track the exotic invaders.
First of all, I always thought an alligator could take a python in a fair fight. I'm going to have to change who I am when I wrestle my kid. Second, don't the Everglades have enough environmental problems without rednecks throwing their Burmese pythons in the water? I mean seriously, where do these rednecks even find a Burmese python? They're smarter than I give them credit. And fiinally, what was Everglades National Park thinking when they publicized the fact that they have 13 ft. pythons running amok in their park? You thought you had budget problems before this? Wait till Congress finds out you've got snake problems. That and the fact that you're now going to have every redneck between Miami and Tallahassee in your park trying to wrestle themselves some dinner. If they can read, that is. Problems, I tell you. Big problems.