June 15, 2012
El Capitan

El Capitan     Photo: Mike Murphy

First All-Disabled Ascent of El Capitan

Amputees use prosthetic climbing limbs

Over the weekend, climbers Jarem Frye, Pete Davis, and Craig DeMartino completed the first all-disabled ascent of Yosemite Valley's El Capitan, taking five days and four nights to scale the 3,000-foot wall. Davis and DeMartino led the 16-pitch route Zodiac (5.9 C3+) with Frye between them. “It’s a total ass-kicking, even if you have four limbs,” DeMartino said. “You have to go slow and take your time.” Frye, who lost his legs to bone cancer, designs prosthetic limbs for action sports, which he and DeMartino both use. The two climbers attempted the route last summer before turning back when Frye broke his prosthetic leg.

Read more at Climbing


    Photo: Flickr

'Kindness' Writer Admits He Shot Himself

Hitchhiker claimed he was drive-by victim

A man writing a book on kindness who claimed to have been shot hitchhiking through Montana last weekend confessed Thursday to having shot himself. Ray Dolin, 39, was thumbing his way across the country to gather material for his memoir titled Kindness in America when he reported having been shot in a drive-by on June 9. Dolin told authorities he was attacked after approaching a man in a truck, thinking he was being offered a ride. A suspect was arrested based on Dolin's description of the vehicle, but all charges have since been dropped. Dolin has declined to answer questions about his self-inflicted injury, citing the ongoing investigation.

Read more at Associated Press


    Photo: Allan Hack/Flickr

River Guide Loses Hand Feeding Gator

Animal killed, hand reattachment fails

A Florida tour boat captain lost a hand in the Everglades on Tuesday after enticing an alligator with fish and marshmallows. Airboat guide Wallace "Wally" Weatherholt, 63, intended to give the six tourists on board a thrilling photo by baiting nearby alligators. As he slapped the water, a nine-foot gator lunged from the water and bit off Weatherholt's left hand, swallowing it whole. Authorities euthanized the alligator and were able to retrieve the hand from its stomach, but efforts to reattach the body part failed. Weatherholt faces fines and even prison time if Florida Fish and Wildlife officials prove he illegally fed the animals. "You embolden them when you feed them.... They've been taught that people mean food," alligator expert Jim Nesci said.

Read more at The Los Angeles Times


Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin     Photo: Teveten/Wikimedia Commons

Olympic Uniforms to Lower Sprint Times

U.S. kit could make medal difference

U.S. track and field athletes will wear uniforms at the 2012 London Olympics that Nike says can shave up to 0.023 seconds off 100-meter sprint times. The speedsuits, unveiled Thursday evening in New York, are designed with dimples that mimic the aerodynamic efficiency of a golf ball. Nike said the gear's tests showed an unexpectedly big advantage in sprint times. "We couldn't believe the numbers," said Martin Lotti, Nike's Olympics creative director. "That's not just the difference between first and second place, it's about making the podium." The company says the sprint uniforms are also greener, made of nylon from 13 recycled plastic bottles.

Read more at the Associated Press


    Photo: Berlin Police

'Forest Boy' Revealed to Be Hoax

Teenager is 20-year-old Dutch man

A young man who showed up a Berlin's city hall last fall claiming to have spent five years living in the wilderness is really a 20-year-old Dutch man, German police say. Robin Van Helsum, of Hengelo, Netherlands, told authorities that he had lived in the woods with his father until the older man died in August. Investigators began to doubt his story after failing to find his father's grave and noticing that Van Helsum's backpack and tent looked suspiciously new. A former girlfriend in the Netherlands identified Van Helsum after police broadcast his picture. "He had personal problems and that was his way of beginning a new life," a friend was quoted as saying. German authorities may charge him with fraud over the charade.

Read more at the Boston Herald