The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Feb 2012

How Much Does It Cost to Climb Mount Everest?

DSC_3360How much does it cost to climb Everest? This is probably the most popular question I get asked. The short answer is the price of a a car. The long answer is that it's personal decision that depends on several factors.

Everest is not the place to save money. There are real costs involved, and you could be putting yourself in danger by skimping. However, with guided expeditions charging from $30K to $100K, figuring out what you should pay can get confusing.

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L.A. Unpaved a Parking Lot, Put Up a Wetland

La-wetlands-seth_stronginA rainless winter means little water at the new wetlands park. Photo: Seth Strongin/TheCity Project

In South Los Angeles, a former bus and rail transit station has been replaced by a nine-acre park that includes native trees and plant gardens, walking trails and ponds that will filter storm water, using bacteria and plants to pull out pollutants before the water is fed into a storm drain.

The park, a former Metropolitan Transit Agency yard at Avalon Boulevard and 54th Street, was unveiled earlier this month and is the result of a three year, $26 million project. Some of the funding came through a bond measure that voters approved in 2006. Residents say the South Los Angeles Wetland Park offers a welcome change to the highly industrialized neighborhood, and an official with the Environmental Protection Agency calls the park a model for other cities that need new ways to safely treat polluted stormwater runoff.

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Vintage Gear That's Tough and Reliable

Even if you dad chucked his old wafflestompers and canvas backpack before you were born, you can still have legit heritage gear that's as functional as it is cool looking. Here are four of our favorite old-is-new pieces:
100thAnniversarySnowShoe_560x421px
LL Bean Maine Snowshoe: To celebrate its 100th birthday, LL Bean is bringing back key pieces on which its name and reputation were built. Top of the list: a classic Maine-style snowshoe. Made from steam-bent ash and a traditional leather H binding, this snowshoe is an exact replica of the one your grandfather wore, if he happened to be a trapper or one of Thoreau's pals. There are no fancy underfoot claws on these high float raquettes—just cowhide strapping to bite into the snowy ground. Available February 2012, $329, llbean.com

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In the Wayback Machine, Some of Yosemite's Wonders Were Manufactured

Dual_firefall

Left: Horsetail Falls, 2011. Photo: Joe Azure Right: The Firefall. Photo: National Park Service

The window is closing on a yearly glimpse of a natural phenomena at Yosemite National Park, during which the angle of the sun and the flow of water off the park's Horsetail Falls commingle in such a way that the waterfall glows, as if aflame. On the ground, photographers come from all over the world to freeze the image on their cameras, as in the photo above, left.

But for nearly 100 years, from 1872 until 1968, a flow of actual fire descended off the the park's Glacier Point, a vista point some 3,000 feet above the valley floor, as in the photo above, right.

The Firefall, as it was called, was set each night during summer. Park officials would collect Red Fir tree bark and set a large bonfire at Glacier Point each day. At 9pm, park workers would take long-handled rakes and push the embers off the cliff, to create the illusion of a waterfall of fire. This was all done to the delight of park visitors, who would convene in Curry Village in the valley to view the spectacle. 

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Spring Adventure Preview: Redwoods, Black Hills, Tetons & More

IMG_0092_2Shred ready [photo: Mark Sevenoff]

The other day a couple of emails from my friends in the travel industry landed in my inbox—a welcome relief from the deluge of hair restoration and debt relief ads—which reminded me that spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start plotting warm-weather adventures. Here are a few guided trips to get you in the mood for summer—while someone else does the organizing. 

Moab-based outfitter Western Spirit Cycling may be best known for its classic multiday routes like the Kokopelli Trail and Colorado singletrack—both burly enough to brag about—but it also caters to the kid crowd, too, organizing half a dozen family trips each summer that blend backcountry camping and riding with quality time in the National Parks. Western Spirit’s rental fleet—from bike trailers, trail-along-bikes, and 20” and 24” mountain bikes—opens up a ton of territory for families with children as young as three, and because they staff their trips with an extra guide, you can ride longer distances while the kids chill (under adult supervision, natch) in camp.

IMG_6680_2Camp life is good [photo: Mark Sevenoff]

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