April 25, 2013

View from the Moose's Tooth     Photo: gmiphone

Lama, Arnold Climb New Route on Moose's Tooth

Two days, camp to camp

Climbers David Lama and Dani Arnold made the first ascent of a new, direct line up the Moose's Tooth in Alaska, blasting up the 10,335-foot peak and returning to camp in just two days. Their new line, Bird of Prey, travels straight up a previously unclimbed headwall on the peak's steep east face.

"There is not a particular hard pitch, but it’s very sustained and exposed," Arnold, a Swiss guide who set the speed record on the Eiger's north face in 2011, told Rock and Ice. "We needed all skills of alpine climbing. Ice, rock, mixed and aid-climbing."

Neither Arnold nor Lama had ever been to Alaska before their visit earlier this month. They didn't decide to tackle the route until the day after they flew into the area.

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George Hincapie wins the 2011 queen stage into Aspen     Photo: Courtsey USA Pro Cycling Challen

Route Announced for USA Pro Challenge

Returns to Vail Pass

The third annual USA Pro Challenge will feature a return to the iconic Vail Pass time trial, venture into northern Colorado for a hilly stage, and finish with a circuit race in Denver, race organizers revealed Thursday.

Past winners of the race include Levi Leipheimer in 2011 and Christian Vande Velde in 2012. While teams have yet to be announced for the 2013 race, most of the top riders from American peloton and several of the world's best teams are expected to be in attendance.

“We’ve set out to create the greatest professional cycling event in the U.S. and with each edition the route continues to evolve, the competition continues to be fierce, and the fans continue to come out in droves,” said the race's CEO, Shawn Hunter. “In looking at the route we have outlined, each day is a challenge, which will create some amazing racing. This year is looking like it will be the best yet.”

Held between Aug. 19-25, the race will feature two new host cities—Loveland and Fort Collins–while revisiting some of past year's most grueling roads.

Stage 1: Aspen Circuit Race. New for 2013, riders will cover only 66 miles in three 22-mile laps of a hilly circuit for a total of 9,240 ft of climbing.

Stage 2:
Aspen to Breckenridge. Riders will tackle the familiar roads of Independence Pass, the highest point reached by any professional cycling race before covering Hoosier Pass and Moonstone Road in Breckenridge.

Stage 3: Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs. After leaving Breckenridge, riders will climb over Rabbit Ears Pass and race into Steamboat Springs.

Stage 4:
Steamboat Springs to Beaver Creek. The race's queen stage finishes with a steep ascent up Bachelors Gulch with pitches up to 18 percent.

Stage 5: Vail Individual Time Trial. After last year's exclusion, Vail Pass will again be a race against the clock and a deciding stage of the race.

Stage 6: Loveland to Ft. Collins. Racers will cross the windswept plains at the outskirts of Loveland before climbing up Big Thompson Canyon to Devils Gulch, the race's last King of the Mountain Competition.

Stage 7:
Denver Circuit Race. The USA Pro Challenge will return to Denver, but finish with a fast-paced circuit race instead of with a time trial. 

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    Photo: Nickolay Stanev

Hawaii: Least Stressful State, Once Again

Also "most enjoyable"

It's no surprise, but Hawaii has once again checked in as the least stressed state in the Union. On a given day in 2012, only 32.1 percent of Hawaiians reported feeling stressed, according to the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index. Rounding out the top five stress-free states were Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa, and Wyoming.

Since Gallup began tracking state stress levels in 2008, Hawaii has come out on top every year and is the only state to place in the top five every year. Compared to 2011, stress levels were statistically unchanged nationwide with the most tensed people living in the Northeast and Midwest. West Virginians are the most frazzled Americans with 47.1 percent of residents feeling stressed on a given day followed closely by people from Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah, and Massachusetts.

Hawaii is also, unsurprisingly, the most enjoyable state, according to Gallup. 89.7 percent of Hawaiians report experiencing enjoyment on a given day compared to only 80.4 percent of people from Rhode Island, the least enjoyable state.  

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    Photo: Brian_WDW74 via Flickr

3 Hurt in Alabama Barge Explosions

Cause still being investigated

Two fuel barges on Alabama’s Mobile River burst into flames last night, finally burning out early this morning. Three workers who were cleaning one of the barges have been hospitalized and are reported to be in critical condition.

The Mobile Fire-Rescue said that the barges had been carrying raw gasoline with no additives. City Council Member William Carroll said he was told the explosion was sparked by static charges, but investigators will continue to try to verify its origin.

The ill-fated Carnival Triumph cruise ship was docked nearby for repairs when the explosions took place, forcing employees to evacuate.

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