Bella Coola, BC - Legendary snowboarder Tommy Brunner, 36, was swept
away in an avalanche in British Columbia's Bella Coola on April 21.
Brunner was alive but unconscious when rescuers found him, but The
Royal Canadian Mounted Police were unable to revive him, according to Stellarmag.com.
a member of Quicksilver Team Europe, was a snowboarding pioneer,
defining the role of the big mountain rider. The penultimate powder
hound, Brunner chased lines all over Alaska and Canada and throughout
the world. His riding was captured in many a movie and magazine and his
name firmly established with the younger crowd with his successful
video game, Tommy Brunner's Stoked Rider.
Services are being planned for Brunner in Austria.
Three sherpa were killed Friday in an ice fall at Khumbu:
"At some time close to 7 AM on Friday, April 21, 2006, a major collapse occurred in the upper Khumbu Icefall on Mount Everest. Three Sherpa climbers were lost amid substantial ice debris. An extensive search was conducted in the hours following the accident. At approximately 9:30 AM the search was ended and the conclusion reached that no hope of recovery existed. Ang Phinjo Sherpa, aged 50, of Khunjung VDC ward # 9 Phortse, Solu Khumbu Nepal, Lhakkpa Tseri Sherpa of Mende, Dawa Temba Sherpa of Thamo are presumed dead."
Luis Benitez reported more detail:
"On a section known as 'the Popcorn', two gigantic towers collapsed, smashing against another wall of ice, and raining literally tons of debris down onto the helpless victims below."
Eric Simonson of IMG reports on one of those killed:
“Phinjo was our oldest Sherpa (50) and one of our very best Sherpa friends. He went on his first 8000 meter peak in 1973 — this was his 49th 8000 meter expedition.”
You don't often get to use this cliche when it's actually not a cliche:
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - Saturday, April 22, 2006
FORKS, Wash. -- A black bear attacked and seriously injured a hunter on a road just outside Olympic National Park late Saturday, authorities said.
A second hunter shot and killed the bear before summoning help, said Larry Evans, a shift supervisor for the Washington State Patrol's office in Bremerton, on the Kitsap Peninsula between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.
The injured hunter was rushed to Forks Hospital with a compound fracture to the arm, a broken hand and several bite marks, Evans said.
The man lost a significant amount of blood, but was expected to survive, Evans said.
The attack was reported to the state patrol around 9 p.m., and aid workers arrived about 15 minutes later.
The bear had apparently dragged the man away from the site of the attack before being shot, Evans said.
Troopers said they receive occasional reports of cougar attacks in the area, but that bear attacks are relatively rare.
Forks is a small town near the northwest edge of Olympic National Park, one of Washington state's most popular attractions for hunters, anglers and other nature lovers.
Ebomb is off to surf Brazil and do volunteer work at Amazonian orphanages, leaving us here to add a little outdoor humor to your morning regime. And as I've said many times before, what's so funny about the outdoors? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. But we try to make it funny. Humorous. Sarcastic. Bring a little joy into an otherwise serious and all too boring an industry. And what appreciation do we get? None. Zip. Zilch. Just a bunch of grumpy comments from people who take things way to seriously. Except for That Wilson Girl. She has a sense of humor. Nevertheless, we still love you our ten faithful readers. Group hug. But now that I think about it, we do write about some serious sh*t damn it. So take that seriously. Laugh at the other things. Anyway, I lost myself. *Sigh. And to make matters worse, tonight I'm sober. So where was I? Ahh yes, death and mayhem on the slopes. As ski season wraps up, people will undoubtedly try and determine if there were any commonalities among the 18 (I've seen reports of 16, but I count 18) deaths in California in order to prevent a repeat next season. This article in the Venturacountystar.com puts forth a couple of theories:
No pattern whatsoever - Mike Fanelli, director of the National Ski Patrol at Northstar-at-Tahoe, said he responded to two fatalities this season. Fanelli said no pattern seems to unite the cases.
Above average snow created dangerous conditions (e.g. Mammoth tragedy) - [Bob Roberts] He speculated that the fatalities might be linked to this season's extreme weather: rain at 11,000-foot elevations during Christmas break and nearly 63 feet of snow at the Kirkwood resort. Such weather can create problems with visibility and uneven slopes.
Technology - The technology used in making skis has led to higher speeds.
Bad resort design - Terrain parks with ramps and rails cropped up with little attention to engineering or safety.
Knuckle Draggers: Snowboarders have increasingly populated slopes, riding sideways down mountains with a significant blind spot.
The first two I'll buy. Number three is suspect, but I don't know enough about it to pontificate. Numbers 4 and 5, though, are just dumb. Especially since anecdotally, as many skiers if not more died this year. Additionally, number 5 just flies in the face of basic physics I posit. When a skier loses control, they and their skis become projectiles, creating an extremely dangerous situation for themselves and others and making any eventual collision potentially calamitous. Hence the tree deaths this year. When a snowboarder crashes, the board stays on and acts like an anchor slowing the slide and reducing the danger of an out of control collision. As long as they crash before they hit the tree. Not when they hit the tree. So, show me some stats before you start blaming the snowboarders damn it. Now, one of the potential reasons that author doesn't really examine very closely and I would say has had a significant impact is the increase in skiers and riders on the slopes:
That's a 24 percent rise in injuries during the same period that visits to ski resorts statewide rose 8 percent, from 7.6 million to 8.2 million, according to the California Ski Industry Association.
Who says the relationship has to be linear? Since most skiers ride the same over populated runs, an 8 percent increase can create potentially dangerous bottlenecks that are exponential not linear. Believe me, I know these things. I've failed statistics in both undegrad and grad school. So that, my faithful readers, is my entry for today. Enjoy. And don't forget to tell me how much you love me. Otherwise I'll continue my downward spiral into alcoholic self loathing.
Two men were killed in unrelated accidents at Heavenly last week bringing the year's death toll to 18 for California ski resorts. From Outdoor News Wire:
Stateline, NV- Two men were killed last week in unrelated accidents at Lake Tahoe's Heavenly ski resort. The first, according to the Reno Gazette Journal, was Stateline resident David Koskin who ran into a tree on Meteor Ski Run. Ski patrollers attempted to resuscitate Koskin, who was not wearing a helmet, but were unable to. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The second fatality at the resort was a 68-year old Wisconsin man who fell down on Dipper Knob Trail. The man reportedly hit head on the fall. Ski patrol revived the man, who was then helicoptered to a Reno hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
The two men are the 17th and 18th fatalities in the Sierra this season.
Steve House, the 2006 winner, along with Vince Anderson, of the prestigious Golden Piton from Climbing and the lesser-known Piolet d’ Or for their alpine-style ascent of the Rupal Face on Nanaga Parbat, seriously injured his left index finger in late March at Smith Rock State Park, Oregon, specifically on the area’s notoriously drilled sport climb, Churning In The Wake (5.13a).
“It was a rookie mistake,” House said. “I wasn’t warmed up and there wasn’t any sport climbers around to tell me what I was doing was wrong.”
Has it come to this? Do we now treat the climbing community's finest as celebrities whose every move needs to be reported and documented for their adoring fans? Did House actually give a quote for this? Is he becoming the Lindsay Lohan of the outdoors? Should we expect Climbing.com to roll out something similar to Gawker's Stalker Maps, where we can follow the every move of our favorite outdoor celebrity? Hey, look, Beth Rodden was climbing down at Mission Cliffs in a tight little sports bra yesterday. Pssst, did you see Caldwell sipping coffee and Starbucks? Wow, Ed Viesturs at Scores. Who would have thought? Inquiring minds want to know. Dougald? Climbing? More of the same? Let me know so I can start rolling out the Outdoor Stalker Maps.
Climb_Ca Outdoor Celebrity Stalker Maps
NOTE: Before people get all carried away, this was obviously an April fools thing on Climbing's part. As is my Stalker Map. Though I kinda like the idea and might launch it soon. Funny thing is there no timestamp on the Climbing post, so I'm sure a lot of people are worried. Perhaps a Fix Steve's Finger Fund?
Just a brutal season for California resorts in terms of fatalities, Mammoth especially. They had five people die in 7 days last month and now this:
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Thu Apr 6, 2006 8:36 PM ET) - Three members of the Mammoth Mountain ski patrol were killed on Thursday when the snow around a natural gas vent they were fencing off collapsed and sent the crew tumbling 21 feet into the opening.
One member of the ski patrol survived the accident that occurred as the team was inspecting the mountain after heavy storms that have brought more than six feet of snow since the beginning of the month, the ski resort said in a statement.
Mammoth officials said they would provide further information after the victims' families were notified.
The deaths come after winter storms have dumped record amounts of snow on California resorts. Mammoth, located in the Sierra Nevada range about 260 miles southeast of San Francisco, broke its all-time snowfall record of 51.4 feet on April 4.
During the past 10 years about 38 people have died each season skiing or snowboarding in the United States, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
Earlier this year, five skiers were also killed on or near Mammoth in a one-week span. The deaths included three accidents, a heart attack and an avalanche fatality.
Doug Coombs, big mountain ski pioneer, adventurer, husband and father was killed yesterday while skiing in La Grave, France. Rescue services told the website Pistehors, that Coombs and another man, age 32, were in the steep Couloir de Polichinelle and both were killed in the accident.
Initial reports stating that Coombs’s died in an avalanche appear to be incorrect. According to the website TelemarkTips.com, Coombs was reported to have been skiing with four friends when the younger man from Colorado hit any icy patch in a “no-fall” zone, was carried over the cliff and out of view. What happened next is unclear and unconfirmed, but TelemarkTips, based on a source in La Grave, is saying that Coombs may have fallen off the same 600-foot cliff while trying to assess his friend’s situation. The remaining two skiers called for help, but Coombs had already succumbed to injuries sustained in the fall by the time the CRS des Alpes helicopter arrived. The Colorado man was still breathing when rescuers arrived but died later in the hospital.