The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Oct 2012

Young Kayakers Paddle to Save Chile's Endangered Rivers

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Chilean Patagonia is home to some of the wildest and most stunning rivers in the world. The largest, the Rio Baker, is renowned for its clear, turquoise water and Class V rapids and has become a magnet for expedition kayakers from around the world. But perhaps no one knows it better than a group of young, local kayakers who are lucky to have the Baker in their backyard. For the past 13 years, the Club Náutico Escualo has been teaching kids ages four to 18 to surf, roll and run the Áysen region’s most pristine rivers. Many of these children are first-generation kayakers, the sons and daughters of ranchers and farmers in the remote village of Cochrane.

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Now these young paddlers have become the rivers’ most ardent, persuasive advocates. The Spanish electric company Endesa is proposing to build five hydroelectric dams on the Rio Baker and Pascua, as well as the Futeleufu, and transport power 1,200 miles away via high-tension transport lines, turning wild rivers into lakes and forever changing the landscape and way of life in the Áysen region. Not surprisingly, according to the National Resources Defense Council, 74 percent of Chileans oppose the project.

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Summits Made on Manaslu

6344830076_219ef21c8f_bManaslu. Photo: Switchback Travel/Flickr

Multiple expeditions reported Monday that they summited Manaslu. The successful bids come a little more than a week after an avalanche swept through Camp III and left at least 11 dead or missing. Earlier today, Mountain Professionals posted a dispatch—"From Camp IV, with our boots still on and probably looking a bit rough at this point with crazy things still frozen to our beards, noses, and who knows where else"—that said everyone on their team reached the summit. Altitude Junkies said that one climber and two sherpas did not make the final push this past weekend, but that 15 others did bag the 26,759-foot peak.

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Berlin Marathon Ends in Controversy

Geoffrey Mutai edged out his training partner Dennis Kimetto by one second to win the 2012 Berlin Marathon in what was one of the closest races of the season—maybe. The Kenyan pair matched each other stride-for-stride for the first 26.2 miles, but over the closing straightaway it didn’t appear that either Mutai or Kimetto gave a final kick. Mutai finished with a time of 2:04:15, and Kimetto came in at 2:04:16. Race announcers questioned whether the finish had been pre-planned and LetsRun.com went as far as to say, “The integrity of our sport is at stake.” Why? The victory gave Mutai the 2011-12 World Marathon Majors title, which carries with it a $500,000 purse. (Second place in the WMM earns $0.) Kimetto didn’t stand to win anything—other than the race—by finishing in first rather than second. The top finishers in the Berlin, New York City, Boston, London, and Chicago marathons earn points toward the two-year World Marathon Majors series.

Via Stride Nation

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Grizzly Kills Leashed Dog in Banff

Several trails in Banff National Park are closed following a fatal attack on a dog by a grizzly bear last week. Leo Mitzel was hiking with his Jack Russell terrier on Thursday when the adult bear approached them and killed the dog, which was on a leash at the time of the attack. Mitzel, who runs the nearby Skoki Lodge, was not harmed. In response, officials immediately closed Merlin Meadows and Red Deer Lakes campgrounds; they have since closed additional trails and campgrounds at Hidden Lake and Bear Lake. Parks Canada wildlife conflict specialist Brianna Burley called the incident "abnormal." As of Sunday, the closures remained in place.

Via Ottawa Citizen

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Heli-Skiing Group Illegally Cut Trees

Washington's Methow Valley Ranger District has issued a notice of noncompliance to a heli-skiing company that cut more than two dozen trees on a high ridge in the North Cascades. Mazama-based North Cascade Heli-Skiing illegally cleared and topped the trees in at least two areas in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in order to create better landing sites. Backcountry skiers took pictures of the stumps of whitebark pine, subalpine larch, and fire trees, some of which were around 300 years old. “They are a very slow-growing species on a very harsh site, so to reestablish trees is tough,” said Jennifer Zbyszewski, recreation manager for the Methow Valley Ranger District. The Forest Service and the district will work to determine a penalty for the outfit, which normally charges $985 for a day of skiing.

Via Seattle Times

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