August 30, 2011
Grizzly bear

Grizzly bear     Photo: ilashdesigns/Flickr

Bear Behind Yellowstone Death

Second fatal mauling in two months

Rangers in Yellowstone National Park confirmed Monday that the hiker found dead last week was killed by a grizzly bear. Two hikers discovered the body of John Wallace, 59, on Friday on the Mary Mountain Trail, a section of the park previously closed to the public. Rangers later found bear tracks and scat at a campground where they believe Wallace had stayed, but were unsure whether a bear was responsible for his death or had disturbed Wallace's body postmortem. An autopsy later confirmed the cause of death as traumatic injuries from mauling. Park spokesman Al Nash said that because nobody witnessed the attack, it's "just not possible for us to determine why this bear attacked Mr. Wallace." The mauling is the second fatal mauling in Yellowstone this summer. In July, a 57-year-old California man was killed when he came across a grizzly sow and her cubs. Park managers found no evidence of bear cubs near Wallace's body and do not believe the same bear is responsible. Until July, Yellowstone had not seen a fatal bear mauling since 1986.

Read more at CNN

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    Photo: Bsabarnowl/Flickr

Woman Reels in Lost Limb

Angler returns missing prosthetic leg

A Minnesota woman who lost her prosthetic leg in a lake three years ago now has it back, all thanks to a curious fisherwoman who pulled it out of the water in July. Beth Krohn was fishing last month near her vacation house on Lake Ida in Alexandria, Minnesota, when she felt her line snag underwater. She had caught a prosthetic leg. Krohn told the Associated Press that she worried it was a dead body. Not quite. The limb belongs to Pam Riley, from Morris, Minnesota, who lost it three years ago while swimming. Krohn later found Riley and returned the leg after locating the company that built it.

Read more at Chicago Tribune

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Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon     Photo: Steve Dunleavy/Flickr

Body Found in Grand Canyon

Missing hiker died on Tanner Trail

On Sunday, park rangers recovered the body of a man who went missing last week in the Grand Canyon near Tanner Beach. Two backpackers had observed the man as he was hiking out of the canyon on Friday and, finding him distressed by the heat, urged him to return with them to the river. When the pair returned to the trail on Saturday, they found only the man’s abandoned pack and no sign of the hiker himself. They later alerted rangers, who launched a search operation by helicopter. The crew spotted and recovered the man's body in a wash above the trail on Sunday. His name has not yet been released. Arizona Hiker lists the Tanner Trail as one of the most remote and difficult trails in the Grand Canyon, calling the uphill trip a “death march” because it gains 5,000 feet in elevation and lacks easy access to water. The organization's guide recommends avoiding the trail altogether in summertime. Temperatures in the canyon reached as high as 108 degrees over the weekend.

Read more at NPS.gov

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Kelly Slater     Photo: Karen Chan 16/Flickr

Slater Wins Billabong Pro Tahiti

Tactical surfing yields Slater 2nd title

Kelly Slater took his second pro tour title of the season yesterday, out-surfing Australia's Owen Write in the final of the Billabong Pro Tahiti and moving into the top spot in the ASP World Tour rankings. Slater's win, a demonstration of unspectacular but sound tactical surfing, came only minutes after a tribute to late surfer Andy Irons organized by event sponsor Billabong and Irons's brother, Bruce. Andy Irons won the Billabong Pro Tahiti last year, two months before he died suddenly in a hotel near Dallas, Texas. "Andy won last year and it feels really special to win this year knowing that," Slater said. Slater also won in Tahiti in 2003 and 2005, and now owns 47 career pro tour titles. Though 39, Slater's two wins this summer and his new position atop the pro tour may portend trouble for other surfers aiming for the ASP world title. Transworld Surf wrote that the performance has left them without words: "There’s nothing new to report, Kelly is simply the most dominant surfer ever. Period."

Read more at ESPN Surfing

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Mont Blanc's Voie Royale

Mont Blanc's Voie Royale     Photo: Al@ce/Flickr

Rockfall Hits Popular Alpine Route

Mont Blanc tramway partially closed

Climbers are shying away from the Voie Royale, Mount Blanc's most popular route, in the aftermath of a massive rockfall last week that has left the Couloir du Goûter dangerous and unstable. The fall occurred on Wednesday after days of dry conditions and above-average temperatures loosened blocks of rock. A guide for British Mountain Guides who was reconnoitering the couloir when the slide occurred called it "totally unbelievable. Blocks were flying past us as we sprinted into the campground." France's Office de Haute Montagne, which oversees mountaineering on the peak, classified the Voie Royale as "fortement déconseillé," or "strongly discouraged," although it is not formally closed. The rockfall also shut down part of the Mont Blanc Tramway; that closure is expected to continue until 2013.

Read more at Planetmountain.com

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