September 29, 2011
By Tom Evans/ ElCap Reports

El Capitan rescue     Photo: Tom Evans/ ElCap Reports

Dramatic Rescue Documented on El Cap

Austrian man stranded after severing thumb

An Austrian man took a fall on Monday afternoon near the summit of the Nose Route on El Capitan and severed his thumb, setting in motion a dramatic rescue by helicopter. The man, whose name was not released, was lead climbing some 1,000 feet from the mountain's 7,569-foot summit when he fell and tangled his right thumb in his rope. Incredibly, the digit fell only 80 feet and landed on a small ledge, near enough for his partner Richard Edelsbacher to recover it. Yosemite search and rescue dispatched a helicopter and evacuated the man to California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where doctors successfully put hand and thumb back together. Yosemite blogger Tom Evans was on site to take pictures as the climbers pulled two rescuers dangling from a helicopter onto the rock ledge where they were stranded. In more than four years of reporting from the mountain, the audacity of the rescue surprised even Evans. "I have never seen such a mission," he wrote.

Read more at National Parks Traveler

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Solar Farm

Solar farm at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island     Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory/Flickr

World's Largest Solar Farm Goes Live

Facility built on mine in three months

Saferay, a solar power plant company, added 78 megawatts worth of solar panels to its existing solar plant in eastern Germany this week, making its facility the largest solar park in the world at 166 megawatts. The new section, built in just three months, was constructed on a former pit mine. Saferay also builds solar farms for other companies and has a further 26 megawatts under construction. Even that won’t be enough to keep up with National Solar Power’s plan to fund a $1.5 billion, 400-megawatt solar farm in northern Florida, though. That project, according to National Solar Power, will be large enough to power 32,000 homes.

Read more at Treehugger.com

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Trango Tower

Trango Tower     Photo: Maria Ly/Flickr

Russians Climb New Route on Trango

New route is 2nd up tower's northwest face

A four-man team of Russian climbers has established a new route on Pakistan's 20,500-foot Trango Tower, which is home to the world's tallest near-vertical cliff. It is only the second route up Trango's 3,670-foot northwest face and comes more than than a decade after a group of Basque climbers set the only other northwest route, known as Insumisioa, in 1995. Led by mountaineer Viktor Volodin, the four-person team from the Moscow Mountaineering and Climbing Federation attacked the route in siege style in early August and summited after eight days of climbing. The men are calling the new route "No Fear" after the motto of their climbing club in Russia.

Read more at Alpinist

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Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan     Photo: Kevin Coles/Flickr

Swimmer Breaks Manhattan Record

Australian circumnavigates island in 5:44

Australian swimmer Oliver Wilkinson on Wednesday broke the record for fastest swim around Manhattan island during the Manhattan Match Race and Record Attempt. The 36-year-old completed the 28.5-mile loop in five hours, 44 minutes, and two seconds, breaking the previous record of 5:45:25 set by Australia's Shelley Taylor-Smith in 1995. Rondi Davies, 41, also broke Taylor-Smith's time, setting a new women's and American record with a 5:44:47. Swimmers have been circumnavigating the island—albeit in small numbers—since the early 20th century. Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad, who has recently made headlines for attempting to swim from Cuba to Florida, became the first person to complete the circuit in fewer than eight hours in 1974. The Manhattan Match Race and Record Attempt is an invitation-only event, although NYC Swim hosts a variety of open-water swimming races, including June's Manhatten Island Marathon Swim, in the New York area. This year's race began and ended at the 103rd Street Footbridge on the Harlem River and circled Manhattan in a counterclockwise direction.

Read more at ESPN

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Grimsstaðir     Photo: bonus1up

"Eco-Resort" Meets Resistance In Iceland

Tycoon would buy .3 percent of the island

The Icelandic parliament is deciding whether to allow Chinese billionaire Huang Nubo to buy 158 square miles of land to build an "eco-resort" near Iceland's remote Vatnajokull National Park. The deal would sell off .3 percent of Iceland's landmass and would make Nubo the biggest foreign landowner in Iceland. Huang has said that he wants to develope an airport, golf course, luxury hotel, and horse-riding facilities. In a press conference earlier this month, Huang said the purchase would create the largest nature preserve in Europe because the resort would sit between two national parks. Huang, a former government official, is listed by Forbes as the 129th richest man in China and has climbed Mount Everest three times. Icelanders are concerned that the land would ultimately help secure a launchpad for future Chinese deepwater drilling in the Arctic. “In talks with Icelandic authorities, (the Chinese) have made a point of saying it was very plausible” that China would use its foothold in Iceland as a trans-Arctic shipping port, said Icelandic official Arni Thor Sigurdsson. The land Huang seeks is near the Vatnajokull Glacier, which covers eight percent of Iceland year round and is the largest glacier, by volume, in Europe.

Read more at Forbes

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