September 7, 2012

Baintha Brakk from the air.     Photo: ISS Earthkam

Kennedy, Dempster Climb Ogre

Third ascent of notoriously difficult peak

American climbers Kyle Dempster and Hayden Kennedy made the third ascent of Baintha Brakk in Pakistan, climbing a new line up the peak's south face. "Six months ago I wondered if pulling off two big mountains in Pakistan was more than we could chew, but we did indeed pull it off," Dempster wrote in an email, referring to his and Kennedy's ascent of K7 earlier this summer with Urban Novak. Also known as the Ogre, Baintha Brakk was first climbed in 1977 by Chris Bonington and Doug Scott, both of who broke bones on the descent. The second ascent of the 23,900-foot peak didn't come until 2011, when Urs Stocker, Iwan Wolf, and Thomas Huber climbed the mountain's South Pillar route.

Via Planet Mountain


    Photo: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr

Third Hantavirus Death Reported

Linked to cabins at Yosemite National Park

Officials on Thursday announced the third hantavirus death of a visitor to Yosemite National Park. As many as 10,000 people may have been exposed to the rodent-borne disease after sleeping in the park's cabins this summer. There is no known cure for the hantavirus, which is spread through the feces, urine, and saliva of deer mice. The park concessionaire has sent out letters and emails to all guests who stayed in the Curry Village and High Sierra Camps. "We want to make sure that visitors have clear information about this rare virus and understand the importance of early medical care," Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher said. "We continue to work closely with state and national public health officials, and we urge visitors who may have been exposed to hantavirus to seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms."

Via Bloomberg News


    Photo: Franco Pecchio/Wikimedia Commons

Mt. Kenya's Wildlife to Be Fenced In

Electric fence designed to protect crops

The Kenyan government has approved the construction of an electric fence around Mount Kenya to stop animals from straying from local forests and destroying nearby crops. The project, led by the Kenya Wildlife Service and supported by the charity Rhino Ark, should take close to five years to finish. The fence is expected to run 250 miles long, 6.5 feet high, and extend over three feet underground. It will contain five electric strands and emit a shock designed not to harm humans or animals. The hope is that it will contain the wildlife within the 772 square miles of indigenous forests on the mountain, protecting food production and discouraging locals from killing the native species that have increasingly encroached on their farmland. The project, which has already begun, is expected to cost around $11.8 million. Mt. Kenya is Africa’s second-highest peak and a Unesco World Heritage Site.