June 16, 2011

Mauricio Soler in 2007     Photo: McSmit/Wikimedia

Serious Crash at Tour of Switzerland

GC contender Soler airlifted with brain trauma

Colombia's Juan Mauricio Soler has been hospitalized after colliding with a spectator on stage six of the Tour of Switzerland. Soler, 28, is reported to have suffered skull fractures and cerebral edema, or bleeding on the brain, and was transported by air to a hospital in St. Gallen, Switzerland. At the time of the crash, near kilometer 33 of the 157-kilometer stage to Triesenberg/Malbun, Soler was riding second overall in the general classification, less than a minute behind Italy's Damiano Cunego. On Sunday, Soler won stage two over Cunego and took the overall race lead, which he later relinquished. Soler is in the midst of a mid-career comeback after a 2007 Tour de France that saw him take the best climber's polka dot jersey. A series of crashes, including a head-on collision with a car last year, have kept Soler from entering the Tour since then. Multiple reports indicate that doctors are treating Soler in intensive care. The Netherlands' Steven Kruijswijk won today's stage over American Levi Leipheimer.

Read more at CyclingNews.com

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The American Alpine Club     Photo: Courtesy of the American Alpine Club

Alpine Conservation Grants Announced

$25,000 in infrastructure money available

Climbers with a favorite local climbing area can propose infrastructure improvements through the American Alpine Club’s new Cornerstone Conservation Grant. Designed to help preserve and protect climbing resources, the grants make $25,000 available to build trails, improve or place fixed anchors, develop “human waste management solutions” (see the CMC and Alan Arnette's blog post), and generally make alpine areas more earth- and user-friendly. To apply for the grants, which range from $1,000 to $15,000, alpinists can visit americanalpineclub.org/cornerstone before August 15—but applicants must have the support of the local climbing community, propose a sustainable project, and run on volunteer labor. There are more guidelines on Black Diamond Equipment’s blog, and an application form at the club’s website.

Read more at the American Alpine Club

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Timberland Boot     Photo: DeclanTM/Flickr

Timberland Sells to Gear Giant

North Face parent to buy boot maker

Timberland, the New Hampshire-based, family-owned boot and apparel company, will likely accept a $2 billion buyout offer from the VF Corp, owner of the North Face, Wrangler, Reef, and other retail brands. Timberland is best known for its ubiquitous tan workboots but has recently emerged as a leader in sustainability. In 2009, the company released a recyclable boot and has pledged to lower its emissions by 50 percent. VF Corp is paying a 43 percent premium on Timberland's Friday closing stock price and will finance the deal largely in cash. The Swartz family controls 73.5 percent of the company and has until the end of July to entertain other offers, which could come from Nike or another footwear giant. Headquarters will remain in Stratham, New Hampshire.

Read more at The Boston Globe

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Alex Honnold in 2010     Photo: Tom Evans/El Cap Reports

Honnold Solos The Phoenix

Ropeless ascent of world's first 5.13

Climber Alex Honnold made the first ropeless ascent of The Phoenix in Yosemite Valley earlier this week, notching one of the hardest free solos ever done in the park. The route, established by Ray Jardine in 1977, was the first in the world to be graded 5.13; Honnold, a 25-year-old Californian who's known for his solos of long, difficult routes like Half Dome's Regular Northwest Face and Zion National Park's Moonlight Buttress, reportedly rappelled to the base before climbing his way out. "I thought I could do it, so I figured I might as well," Honnold said in an email to Climbing. "It's a pretty amazing route, and the waterfall below it is raging right now. It's a special place." On Tuesday, Honnold soloed the 15-pitch Chouinard-Herbert route on the Sentinel with a camera crew filming; the footage will appear on 60 Minutes.

Read more at Climbing.com

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A white-tip shark (Triaenodon obesus).     Photo: Dr. Dwayne Meadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR/Flickr

Sharks Killed in Record Swim

Machete used to protect swimmer

Open-water swimmer Penny Palfrey set a new world record for the longest unassited ocean swim on Sunday night, but it came steep cost: Palfrey's support crew killed three white tip sharks who the crew says were behaving aggressively. Palfrey, a 48-year-old Australian and a grandmother, took 40:41 to cover 67.25 miles between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman islands. She also encountered four white tip sharks, three of which her support crew drew away with dead fish and then killed with a machete, claiming they were aggressive and would have continued threatening Palfrey. After the swim, Palfrey checked into a local hospital, suffering from dehydration and severe swelling of her face and tounge. "What she endured was a very brutal swim which left her traumatised from pushing herself too hard," her husband, Chris, told The Australian newspaper. Others felt the sharks were more the traumatized party.

Read more at the CayCompass

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