March 9, 2012
Gasherbrum I

Gasherbrum I     Photo: The Real Kvass/Flickr

First Winter Ascent of Gasherbrum I

Polish team tops out on 11th highest peak

Polish climbers Adam Bielecki and Janusz Golab made the first ascent of Pakistan's Gasherbrum I on Friday morning, topping out in clear weather after an eight-hour push. Bielecki and Golab struck out for the summit late Thursday night after making camp at 23,100 feet Thursday afternoon with Pakistani climber Shaheen Baig; the Polish mountaineers reached the top of the peak at about 8:30 a.m. At 26,470 feet, Gasherbrum I is the eleventh-highest mountain in the world, and is only the second of Pakistan's eight-thousanders to see a winter ascent. Simone Moro, Denis Urubko, and Cory Richards made the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II last year.

Read more at the BMC


Whaling sabotage

Two ships collide during a 2009 Sea Shepherd blockade     Photo: guano/Flickr

Japan Halts Poor Whaling Season

Whalers say activists, weather to blame

Japan ended its whaling season this week after catching less than one third of its allotment under international law. Japan's Fisheries Agency blamed anti-whaling activists and weather for the season's total of 267 whales, well short of the country's 900-whale quota. Sabotage by one anti-whaling group, Sea Shepherd, included throwing stink bombs at whaling boats and tangling their propellers with rope. "I think it's been a very successful campaign," Sea Shepard President Paul Watson said. Japan is allowed to hunt whales for scientific research, although commercial whaling has been illegal since the 1980s. Similar harassment by environmental groups last year forced Japan to cancel its season after 172 catches.

Read more at BBC


Gila National Forest

Gila National Forest     Photo: Samat Jain/Flickr

Missing Hiker Found Alive in Gila NF

Woman stranded for nearly a month

On Wednesday, rescue crews located a missing Albuquerque woman and her cat in New Mexico's Gila National Forest nearly a month after she was reported missing. Margaret Page, 41, was found huddled in a sleeping bag with her cat and was barely able to speak, authorities said. After becoming stranded during a hike above a popular trailhead, she survived by rationing food and drinking from a nearby stream. Page, who had told her family she was travelling in Florida, was reported missing in mid-February. Family members say she has a history of mental illness. A Forest Service official indentified her car in the park in late February, and authorities are investigating why it took rescuers weeks to launch a search and rescue operation.

Read more at the Washington Post


Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn     Photo: (c) 2010 U.S. Ski Team

Vonn Clinches 4th World Cup Title

Skier surpasses Phil Mahre's U.S. record

Lindsey Vonn clinched the fourth world cup overall title of her career with a victory in giant slalom on Friday in Are, Sweden. After overall world cup titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and narrow second-place finish in 2011, Vonn surpasses Phil Mahre for most World Cup titles by an American and trails only Luxemburg's Marc Girardelli (five) Annemarie Moser-Proell (six) for most overall titles in skiing history. Vonn, a speed specialist, has already claimed discipline titles in downhill and super combined and had not expected a win in Friday's giant slalom, which is only her second career title in the event. "I felt like I had nothing to lose and I was having fun," she said. Vonn has amassed 1,808 points, 554 more than her nearest competitor, and looks poised to become the first woman ever to exceed 2,000 points in a single season with five races remaining. Vonn lost the 2011 World Cup title to Maria Hofl-Riesch by three points after poor snow conditions forced ski officials to cancel the final race of the season.

Read more at ESPN