May 20, 2013

    Photo: Mike Murphy

Climber Dies on El Capitan

Fatal rockfall to blame

Rockfall killed one climber on Yosemite National Park's El Capitan on Sunday. Mason Robison of Montana pulled loose some rock, severing his rope and causing him to fall 230 feet.

My Mother Lode reports that his climbing partner was not injured.

Rockfall is commonplace in the park but fatalities are a rarity. The last death was reported in 1999 when a Colorado climber was killed by falling rocks on Glacier Point Apron; in 1996, a hiker was killed by a falling boulder. The largest accident occurred in 1980 when thousands of tons of granite came crashing down the Yosemite Fall Trail, killing three people.



Alpinist Found Alive on Aiguille Verte

Went missing last Tuesday

A 21-year-old French alpinist was found alive in the Mont Blanc massif on Saturday after spending four days lost in the Alps.

According to PlanetMountain, Gaelle Cavalie planned to solo Couloir Couturier, a moderately difficult snow route up the north face of the Aiguille Verte, when she wandered off route and became lost last Tuesday.

On Saturday, a rescue helicopter spotted the climber just below the summit of the mountain. Cavalie, who spent the four days and nights in a snow cave, suffered mild hypothermia, but is otherwise healthy.


    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

McAfee's Belize Home Burns Down

Software tycoon suspects foul play

In the most recent chapter of John McAfee’s humdrum life, the software tycoon’s $500,000 Belize property was burned to the ground in a fire on May 16. While local news agencies pinned the incident on a small bush fire that burned out of control, McAfee, ever the center of mystery, suspects foul play.

In a post on his personal blog, McAfee pointed to the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Oliver Barrow as a possible culprit:

As mentioned in an earlier post, the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Oliver Barrow has enormous power and puts into action whenever he needs to... today was another good example...

This afternoon my compound in Orange Walk was burned to the ground, my sources confirm that barrow was livid over the fact that my employees were acquitted of all charges last month and that an investment group was about the purchase the property (sale was supposed to close over the next few days).

Another source at the U.S. Embassy called me to confirm that the fires were not accidental...

McAfee, 67, famously went on the run last November after authorities in Belize declared him a person of interest in the fatal shooting of his neighbor, Gregory Viant Faull. He was eventually detained in Guatemala and deported to the United States. Faull’s murder remains unsolved.

Read about Jeff Wise's bizarre encounter with John McAfee here.


    Photo: MarculescuEugenIancuD60Alaska via Flickr

Anchorage Snow Season Sets Records

Longest period of snowfall in over 30 years

It’s still cold and snowy in Alaska in the middle of May, but at least Anchorage has something to show for it. May 17 marked day 232 of measurable snowfall for the city, the longest snow season in over 30 years. The last record, set back in the 1981-82 season, was 230 days. 

May 17 also set new daily records for coldest maximum temperature and liquid precipitation in Anchorage, with as much as six inches of snowfall in some parts. Time to summon JP Auclair:


    Photo: lluis Cabarrocas Ribas

Chinese Climber Dies on Lhotse

Altitude sickness to blame

A Chinese climber, Xiaoshi Li, died while attempting to summit Lhotse, the world's fourth-highest mountain, on Monday.

"Li died due to sickness on his way to Lhotse peak," Nivesh Karki of the expedition organizer Seven Summit Treks said.

Li fell ill on Saturday at 8,000 meters while attempting to approach the summit.

"The rescue operation by the helicopter was operated for two days but could not be successful due to bad weather at the height where Lee had fallen sick," the mountaineering section of Nepal's Ministry of Tourism told Xinhuanet.