The Outside Blog

Adventure : Jan 2011

Moments of Truth

The Sundance Film Festival, January 20–30 in Park City, Utah, gets back to its indy roots this year with 40 of 115 features by rookie directors. Some of our favorite films of late—Riding Giants, The Cove, Restrepo—have broken out here. These are the documentaries we'll be watching this year.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front:
Filmmaker Marshall Curry tails Daniel McGowan as he stands trial along with other ELF members for burning an Oregon logging office in 2001. The picture debates whether the ELF's crimes were mere arson or terrorism and, thanks to archival footage, provides a history of the real monkey-wrench gang.

The Last Mountain:
Three West Virginia waitresses lead a small group of citizen activists trying to prevent the multi-billion-dollar Massey coal company from ripping up a mountain in their backyard. Soon enviro heavyweight Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pitches in, and David fights Goliath to a standoff. Directed by Bill Haney.

Project Nim:
Among the most hyped of the festival, this film by James Marsh—Man on Wire—tells the story of Nim, a chimpanzee reared by humans. Marsh interviews the people who helped raise Nim and airs rare archival footage. "Nim's reaction to seeing a member of his own species is truly remarkable," says Marsh, "and actually quite upsetting."

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Preparing For Aconcagua: Gear and Training

IMG_8007 Having been home from my successful Vinson summit a few weeks now, my attention has shifted from reflection to planning. The next climb is Aconcagua in mid January. There are two major activities at this point: gear review and continued training.

This will be the second climb in The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything. Of note, this one has the second highest vertical gain of all the climbs at 14,377 foot gain second only to Everest.

First a bit on Aconcagua. It is both well-known and unknown at the same time. The primary claim to fame is being the highest mountain outside the Himalayas at 22,841′ or 6962 meters. Also being one of the 7 Summits as it is the high point for South America.

It is located in Argentina near the border with Chile. It is not part of the Andes mountain range but on an adjacent range thus stands out prominently above the surrounding peaks. I will fly into Santiago, Chile then to Mendoza, Argentina to meet the rest of the IMG team. From there we will take a bus to Puente del Inca to start the trek to the high camps.

I have summited Aconcagua twice, 2005 and 2008 both times via the False Polish route using the Vacus Valley approach. I used both climbs primarily as means of staying in high-altitude shape or for Everest training. Aconcagua has a reputation as an “easy” climb not requiring significant technical skills. That said, every year there are multiple deaths including two already in the 2010/2011 season.

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Free Entry to National Parks This Weekend

Nps Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced last Wednesday that the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 selected dates throughout 2011. The first fee free days will be this weekend, January 15-17, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

While winter is typically low season in the national parks, there's still plenty to do outside. Consider these four national park winter weekend getaways:

Hiking in Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Skiing in Yosemite National Park, California

Backcountry Skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

And keep these other national park secrets in mind for upcoming fee free days, which for 2011 will be: National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13).

--Michael Webster

Photo from zieak on Flickr

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Kelly Slater and Quiksilver Announce 10 for Ten Campaign

Photo from advencap on Flickr

The Quiksilver Foundation, in recognition of Kelly Slater's tenth ASP World Surfing Championship, announced Tuesday the 10 for Ten campgain, in which $10,000 will be given to ten non-profit organizations of Slater's choosing, Surfersvillage reports.

"Ten $10,000 donations is really special," Slater said. "As a kid I could not have fathomed being able to give such a nice gift to charities I believe in and it was totally unexpected!"

Ryan Ashton, director of the Quiksilver Foundation, said, “All of his selections fall in line with the Quiksilver Foundation’s mission to support environmental, educational, health and humanitarian projects.”

The ten beneficiaries are:
$10K – Mauli Ola Foundation
$10K – Na Kalai Wa’a Moku O Hawai’i
$10K – Kokua Hawai’i Foundation
$10K – Space Coast Early Intervention Center
$10K – Best Friends Animal Society
$10K – Boys and Girls Club of San Clemente
$10K – Smile Train
$10K – Waves for Water
$10K – LA Surf Bus Foundation
$10K – SurfAid

For more on Slater and a gathering of the world's top surfers, check out the February issue of Outside.

--Michael Webster

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