Friday, January 30, 2015

What's It Like To Climb Mt. Rainier?

Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend an RMI Expeditions seminar at a local outdoor shop. The folks at Rainier Mountaineering Inc. gave us (mostly hikers and backpackers) an in-depth explanation on what it's like to climb Mt. Rainier, the highest mountain in the state of Washington. RMI also described to us on what prospective climbers can expect on the two-day expedition to the 14,410-foot summit - including several hours of training, such as self-arrest techniques on snow. Ever since attending that seminar this "little adventure" has simmered on the back burner of my bucket list.

Below is short video from Backpacker Magazine that provides a quick overview of what it's like to climb Mt. Rainier:

Back in 2013 Kathy and I had the opportunity to visit Mt. Rainier National Park for the first time. Although we didn't climb the mountain, we did hike the famous Skyline Trail in the Paradise Valley, just below the southern slopes of Rainier. We have a trip report with several photos posted here.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rangers Are Attempting To Locate Man Last Seen On Trail Ridge Road In Rocky Mountain National Park

On Monday, January 26, park rangers contacted Jay Starr Jr, 34, from Cohoes, New York. Starr had entered Rocky Mountain National Park on foot and indicated he was planning to walk westbound over Trail Ridge Road. Rangers advised him against this based on his behavior and his lack of preparedness for winter alpine conditions. Starr was wearing tennis shoes, jeans or tan canvas pants, a black/blue jacket, no hat or gloves and was carrying a plastic grocery bag.

Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, with its highest point reaching 12,183 feet. Over ten miles of the road are above 11,500 feet. The road closed to vehicles for the season on November 4, 2014. The closures are located at Many Parks Curve on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side. The road is not maintained during the winter. Conditions on the road range from bare wind-blown asphalt to deep snow drifts.

On Tuesday afternoon, January 27, park rangers on skis contacted Starr above Many Parks Curve on Trail Ridge Road.Rangers were concerned for his welfare and were attempting to assist him. Starr fled from rangers up a dry section of the road. Starr continued to elude rangers until darkness fell.

Beginning early on Wednesday, January 28, two teams of rangers attempted to locate Starr again on Trail Ridge Road. One team came from the east side of the park and the other team came from the west side of the park. Rangers faced wind gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour. These high winds and blowing snow hampered following Starr's footprints. Aerial operations were not possible due to high winds. The entire road corridor was checked. Starr was not located.

Today, Thursday, January 29, rangers are again attempting to locate Starr in areas around Trail Ridge Road. Aerial operations may be used if conditions allow. Park rangers have been assisted the last two days by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer with an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) equipped with snow tracks. Today's operations are also being aided by an over-snow tracked vehicle and operator from Estes Park Power and Light. The motorized equipment is only being used on Trail Ridge Road.

Park rangers would like to hear from anyone who might have information on Starr's whereabouts. Please call (970) 586-1204.


Throwback Thursday

If you worked at a lonely outpost in the middle of the Glacier National Park wilderness, how would you protect yourself against grizzly bears? At the Numa Ridge Lookout the fire lookouts use a heavy wooden panel with 200 spikes driven into it. With its sharp points sticking out three inches, the panel is dropped in place on the stairway each night in order to prevent grizzlies from climbing the stairs and entering the sleeping quarters! One of the lookouts to experience Numa Ridge first hand was Edward Abbey, the author of the Monkey Wrench Gang. After spending the summer of 1975 manning the lookout, he summed-up his experience by saying: “Bears, beans, bores and bugs: Numa Ridge Lookout.”

You can read a short history about Glacier’s lookouts by clicking here.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

National Parks To Be Theme Of 2016 Rose Bowl Parade

The National Park Service and Tournament of Roses Association have recently announced that they will be partnering to kick off the National Park Service centennial during the 2016 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

The theme for the January 1st parade, “Find Your Adventure,” is a nod to “Find Your Park,” the two-year public engagement campaign aimed to increase awareness and excitement about the National Park Service centennial.

This collaboration showcases the common interests of the National Park Service and the Tournament of Roses Association – to engage America’s youth, support an ethic of volunteerism, and embrace the diversity of American culture. The Rose Parade is a great opportunity to introduce the National Park Service and its programs to a broad, and large audience of participants, attendees, and viewers (80 million watched on television internationally and 700,000 watched in person in 2014).

Parade entrants (floats, marching bands, and equestrian units) will take inspiration for “Find Your Adventure” from the work and mission (i.e., parks and programs) of the National Park Service. But, the opportunities extend well beyond the two-hour parade. Over the course of 2015, the National Park Service and the Tournament of Roses Association will create opportunities for parks and programs to engage with communities across the country to help achieve the centennial goal, such as connecting with each of the marching bands representing high schools across the nation with their nearest national park units and/or programs.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Grand Teton National Park From The Air

Below is some absolutely stunning aerial video footage of Grand Teton National Park, Mount Moran and Jenny Lake. The footage was taken by Skyworks during recent filming of the state of Wyoming. Enjoy:

If this film has inspired you to visit this wonderful park this summer, be sure to visit our newest hiking trail website first to find out what the best hikes are - in order to get the most out of your visit. Simply click here.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy Birthday! Rocky Mountain National Park Turns 100 Today

On January 26, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation creating Rocky Mountain National Park.

The culmination of over six years of advocacy, Rocky Mountain National Park was created to preserve the high elevation landscapes and wilderness character of the southern Rocky Mountains for the benefit and enjoyment of this and future generations.

“The people of Colorado have many things to be thankful for at the beginning of this new year”, wrote the Rocky Mountain News, “but perhaps none of them…means more to the future of the state than the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. The passage of this bill is the crowning result of one of the best organized and most efficiently managed campaigns ever conducted by Colorado people to obtain a benefit for the state.”

An official public dedication was held later that year on September 4, 1915. Thousands of people gathered in Horseshoe Park to hear Enos Mills, Stephen Mather, F.O. Stanley, and many others express their joy and support for the creation of the country’s newest national park.

One hundred years later, Rocky Mountain National Park attracts over three million visitors annually and is one of America’s premiere wildlife watching destinations. Ninety five percent of the park enjoys elevated protection as designated wilderness, and Trail Ridge Road allows visitors to view the alpine tundra on the country’s highest continuous paved road. Human and natural history continue to provide inspiration and wonder to new and returning visitors.

On September 3, 2014, Rocky Mountain National Park began a year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary. Continuing through this coming September, special programs and events throughout the park and the surrounding communities will celebrate the wilderness, wildlife, and wonder that millions of people have come to appreciate and enjoy. The celebration will culminate on September 3rd and 4th with rededication events on both sides of the park.

On September 18th and 19th, Rocky Mountain National Park will host an employee/alumni reunion at the YMCA of the Rockies. Former employees and past interns of Rocky Mountain National Park are invited to return to the park and celebrate the centennial with new and old friends alike.

Please visit the park’s centennial website for more information on events and how to get involved.

For more information on hiking in RMNP, please click here.


Colorado Mountain Club Video: Navigation

So you're heading out into the backcountry. You think you know exactly where you are going and that it will be easy to get back. But is it? What if clouds roll in? What if you get caught out after dark? What would you do if you really did get lost?

Below is the 4th video in the Colorado Mountain Club's series focused on backcountry education. The series was made possible by the CMC Steve Gladbach Memorial Fund. Steve Gladbach was a beloved Colorado mountaineer, a long time member of the Colorado Mountain Club and belonged to the community. He loved climbing. In the summer of 2013 he lost his life while descending Thunder Pyramid Peak.

One of Steve's passions was mountaineering education and safety. Through the generosity of family and friends, the Steve Gladbach Memorial Fund was created to promote Colorado mountaineering education.