June 6, 2013

    Photo: raduionescu

Deep Water Soloing Comes to U.S.

Utah will host first competition

Park City will play host this summer to the U.S.'s first deep water soloing competition, a type of climbing event where athletes scale a high wall without ropes, with a pool or other body of water to catch them if they fall. Organized in part by Chris Sharma, who helped popularize the discipline with his deep-water-solo ascent of Es Pontas, a rock arch off of Mallorca, the Psicobloc Masters Series will take place on a 50-foot-high artificial wall built over an training pool in the Utah Olympic Park, with competitors squaring off for a $20,000 purse.

Sharma, who helped raise the profile of deep water soloing with his ascent of Es Pontas, a rock arch off of Mallorca, has long been a proponent of the discipline, even suggesting that it could be climbing's ticket to the Olympics. "For years we've talked about how this format will be the way of taking climbing to the mainstream," Sharma said in a press release. "I’m really excited to be bringing this new and exciting form of climbing competition to the Olympic Park in Park City and am sure this will be an unforgettable experience for everyone who attends.”

Timed to coincide with the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, the Psicobloc Masters will begin on July 28, with finals taking place on August 1.


    Photo: Youtube.com

WATCH: Olympic Sprinter Loses to Robot

Adam Gemili loses by .1 seconds

Adam Gemili, a British sprinter training for the 100m, lost a race this week to BRIAN the Robot, who edged out his human opponent with a time of 10.1 seconds. The 19-year-old runner, who reached the 100m semi-finals at last summer’s London Olympics, posted a 10.2. The promotional race began when Gemili and the robot (more likely an intern) disagreed on Twitter over which one was the fastest. Video of their race can be viewed here:

In Gemili’s defense, BRIAN does appear to begin forward motion before the start, and exhibits poor sportsmanship with his smug dismissal of human ability. Gemili will race at next month’s World Athletics Championships in Moscow, where he is expected to shine against human competition.


Wildwood Trail in June 2008.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Man Found in Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Car had tumbled down a cliff

A California man whose vehicle tumbled down a steep mountainside in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was found alive five days later. Family members of the 63-year-old man reported him missing on May 28, but with little information available about his plans or where he disappeared, the search was effectively stalled, the National Parks Traveler reports.

Late Thursday of last week, the man's family members suggested officials search the Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Video records confirmed he had entered the park's southern entrance, and a full-scale search was begun.

By June 1, a total of 42 park employees were deployed when a searcher aboard a helicopter spotted the man's car 300 feet down a mountainside near a popular vista. The vehicle was essentially invisible from the road due to the thick brush. After a rescue aided by helicopter, the man was transported by ground ambulance to a hospital.


    Photo: Jan Kratochvila via Shutterstock

World's Happiest Country: Australia

United States comes in sixth

It’s been another good year for Australia. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that the land down under is overall the happiest of 34 developed countries.

The OECD compiles a yearly index of happiness factors, from job opportunities to reported life satisfaction. If all factors are given equal weight, Australia comes out on top—followed by Sweden and Canada, with the U.S. coming in at number six.

A strong economy and beautiful surroundings certainly help, but Australia won’t be everyone’s idea of bliss. Though the country ranks exceptionally high in health, civic engagement, and safety, it’s fairly average when it comes to work-life balance. And the country where citizens actually say they’re most satisfied with life? Switzerland. Just goes to show, it’s hard to put a number on happiness.