May 6, 2013

Climbers at Lhotse.     Photo: Garrett Madison

Sherpa Dies on Everest (UPDATE)

Falling rocks injure another Sherpa on Lhotse face

Reports are breaking from Everest that a Sherpa with International Mountain Guides died today at upper Camp III. While the details are still trickling in, the cause of death was likely altitude sickness.

Meanwhile, a Sherpa with Asian Trekking was hit in the back of the head by a falling rock 500 meters up the Lhotse face. Climbers with Alpine Ascents International, who were descending the face, managed to walk him down to Camp II. He was flown out of Camp II after Adrian Ballinger's doctor diagnosed him with a probable skull fracture.

UPDATE: The cause of death was likely not altitude sickness. Here's why.

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Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine     Photo: Peter Stevens/Flickr

Froome to Lead Team Sky at the Tour

Gets nod over Wiggins

Team Sky have confirmed that Chris Froome will lead the team's title defense at the Tour de France ahead of defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins.

After Froome's early season wins at the Tour of Oman, Criterium International, and the Tour de Romandie, Team Sky principal Sir David John Brailsford told CyclingNews that the decision to pick last year's runner-up over Wiggins was "evidence-based."

"Given Chris's step-up in performances this year, our plan, as it has been since January, is to have him lead the Tour de France team."

After the announcement of a Tour de France light on time trials, Wiggins chose to target the Giro d'Italia instead, where he currently sits in second after two stages. But ahead of the race, he caused controversy by announcing a desire to defend his Tour title. "The Tour de France is my focus, it's just that I'm doing the Giro before."

Despite Brailsford's assurances otherwise, fans continue to speculate that Wiggins is racing the Giro d'Italia as training before making a run at the Tour de France. In recent years, riders like Lance Armstrong and Cadel Evans have used the Giro d'Italia as a volume and intensity boost ahead of their main targets. With a poor start to his season, Wiggins may be hoping the Giro d'Italia brings back his 2012 form.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Dorian Takes Home 'Ride of the Year'

Billabong XXL awards announced

Shane Dorian proved that paddle-in is the way to go this weekend when he took home “Ride of the Year” at the 2013 Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Dorian snagged the award, and the $50,000 purse, with this nifty drop and tube at Peahi/Jaws, Maui.

"It was an epic swell, a real late-season swell,” said Dorian of the wave. “I didn't really catch a lot of big waves throughout the whole year. I was just stoked the swell came my way, near my house in Maui, and we scored.” Dorian also took home the title for “Best Tube.”

Shawn Dollar was awarded “Biggest Paddle Wave” and “Biggest Wave” for his efforts at Cortes Bank, 100 miles off the California Coast:

Other big winners included Chris Shanahan, who took home “Best Wipeout” for his physics-adhering free fall from a wave in Western Australia. 

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    Photo: The Knowles Gallery

BLM to Ban Climbing at Castle Rocks

After complaints from tribes

A popular crag is Idaho is facing permanent closure after complaints from tribes who consider the area to be sacred. Castle Rocks, a 400-acre area near Oakley in the southeast portion of the state, has been closed intermittantly since 2003, and Bureau of Land Management officials say that they plan to shutter it for good this summer.

Both the Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute tribes have expressed concern that artifacts in Castle Rocks could be destroyed if climbing is allowed to continue. Mike Courtney, a BLM field manager in Idaho, said that the agency had determined that any climbing at the area would put cultural resources at risk, at least to a degree.

"We kept running into resource issues with the locations of the trails and the potential climbing routes," Courtney told the Associated Press. "We inventoried the entire area, and a lot of the areas at risk are the most desirable (climbing) areas."

In response to the BLM's announcement, the Access Fund, a non-profit tasked with protecting climbing areas around the U.S., said in a statement that the agency was ignoring a climbing management plan that they and representatives from several other agencies developed in 2003.

"They reversed course really quickly and went from considering the climbing management plan to coming to a decision that banned climbing right away," said R.D. Pascoe, the Access Fund's policy director.

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Three Missing in San Bernardino Mountains

Hikers lost since Sunday

Search and rescue personnel continue to look for three hikers who went missing in the San Bernardino Mountains Sunday. The hikers planned to reach the peak of San Gorgonio Mountain Sunday but didn't return.

Four men initially set out on the hike, but one turned back around two hours into the day. He called the sheriff's deputies when the others didn't return.

The search was halted overnight after rescue personnel spent hours looking sunday. "They searched until sunset last night and they're back out again this morning," San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller told The Sun.

Authorities found a vehicle belonging to one of the men near the trailhead and plan to call in aircraft to aid in the search..

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    Photo: Plan for Opportunity via Flickr

Teen Dies in Waterskiing Accident

Another missing; both were football teammates

Two Pascagoula High School students were caught in strong currents while waterskiing on the Pascagoula River Sunday, leaving one dead and the other missing.

Heavy rains had brought the river to flood levels when the teens decided to go waterskiing with friends. Sophomore Caleb Sweeten drowned after being pulled under a moored barge in a strong current, and rescuers have not yet found his friend, senior Brandon Rich, also taken by the current.

Sweeten and Rich were teammates on the Pascagoula Panthers football team. Rich had just accepted a scholarship to play football at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the fall after overcoming a serious heart condition last year. His family is still holding out hope that Rich, a strong athlete who was wearing a life vest at the time, survived the accident.

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