Lightner, Miller Win Sport Climbing Championships

Kai Lightner, 15, was competing in the adult nationals for the first time this year.     Photo: brooklynboulders/Instagram

Lightner, Miller Win Sport Climbing Championships

Miller captures third title in as many years

Delaney Miller and Kai Lightner were named 2015 Sport Climbing National Champions following a dramatic two-day competition at Central Rock, Boston, according to Rock and Ice

The two young athletes (Lightner is 15, Miller is 19) overcame an unusually deep field of competition to win their respective titles. Participating climbing studs included Alex Puccio, an eight-time National Bouldering Champion who took fourth place at this year’s event, and Sasha DiGiulian, a 2012 Golden Piton Award winner who placed second in 2014, but neither made it to the podium this year.

“I'm very excited to have won SCS Nationals,” Miller, who captured her third national title in a row, wrote on Instagram. “I still can’t believe how incredible this past weekend was!”

This year was the first in which Lightner competed in the adult nationals. As Outside wrote in September, the native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, began climbing at age six and went on to pick up seven USA Climbing youth national championships. Lightner’s first win in a pro competition, at the three-event Ring of Fire series in Glastonbury, Connecticut, took place in March 2014.

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Perisher

Perisher is Australia's largest and most visited ski area.     Photo: Steve Cuff/Perisher Media

Vail Resorts Buys Australian Ski Area

Marks company’s first international purchase

Vail Resorts said in a statement Monday that it has purchased Australia’s Perisher Ski Resort for $136 million. It’s the Colorado company’s first international acquisition. Once the New South Wales government approves the sale, Perisher will be added to the 2015–16 season’s Epic Pass, meaning pass holders can take advantage of both Northern and Southern Hemisphere winters.

Australia’s largest and most-visited ski area, Perisher operates on seven mountains, encompassing 47 lifts, 3,076 skiable acres, and more than 100 groomed trails. It’s located in Kosciuszko National Park, near Australia’s southeast coast, and holds a long-term lease and license with the New South Wales government until 2048.

Australia is also a large market for Northern Hemisphere ski resorts, generating more than 1 million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan, and Europe, said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz in the statement. Vail bought Perisher from Murray Publishers and Transfield Corporate. Murray Publishers is a subsidiary of the company owned by James Packer, head of Crown Casino in Melbourne, the Australian reports.

Perisher will reopen sales of its Freedom Pass for the upcoming season, which starts June 6. It now includes unlimited skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Park City, and Kirkwood. Holders also get 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek, according to Curbed Ski. This means Epic and Freedom Pass holders will be able to ski from November to April in the United States, and then from June to October down at Perisher.

“This acquisition is part of Vail Resorts’ continued strategy to drive season pass sales and deepen ties with one of our most important international markets,” Katz said in Vail’s statement. Vail sold more than 400,000 season passes last year, according to Curbed Ski, and bought Park City for $182.5 million last September after a drawn-out battle over an unrenewed lease.

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Solar Impulse Plane Lands in China

The Solar Impulse plane has already set two world records for manned solar-powered flights.     Photo: Courtesy of Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse Plane Lands in China

Completes fifth leg of around-the-world flight

The Solar Impulse plane touched down in Chongqing, China, on Monday.

The record-breaking aircraft is on its way to become the first solar-powered flight around the world. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg left Mandalay, Myanmar, 20 hours earlier and traveled 1,500 kilometers to China.

The pilots will remain in China until a weather window allows them to continue on to Nanjing, the BBC reported. They will then head to Hawaii in the plane’s first major ocean crossing.

“Maybe we have to wait a few days,” mission director Raymond Clerc told the BBC. “We’ll have a first image from the meteorologists [on Tuesday].”

It has been three weeks since the plane began its flight from Oman. The project has already set two world records for manned solar-powered flights.

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Zero Runners Finish Tennessee Ultra

Participant Jamil Coury tweeted this photo of the race course on Tuesday, saying, "The Barkley wins but I'll be back."     Photo: Jamil Courry/Twitter

Zero Runners Finish Tennessee Ultra

First time since 2007

None of the 40 competitors who entered the 100-mile Barkley Marathons this past weekend finished the race.

The race requires entrants to complete five laps around a 20-mile loop in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, according to Bloomberg. When the 60-hour time limit passed on Monday, not a single participant had finished.

“I was pleased with the outcome,” the event’s creator, Gary Cantrell, told Bloomberg. “It’s a competition between the humans and the mountains. The mountains won.”

In 30 years, just 14 of approximately 1,100 runners have completed the race, leading many to label the Barkley as the world’s hardest race. This year’s event marked the first time since 2007 that the race had no finishers, and no woman has ever completed the event.

Nicki Rehn, a 40-year-old Australian woman, was able to complete 1.5 laps before giving up. 

“You don’t come here to be victorious. You come here to be humiliated,” Rehn told Bloomberg. “It’s lonely out there. It’s eerie. You have to be comfortable being inside your own head. Everyone comes back pretty broken. That’s the goal.”

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Annual Meeting 2011

Kumi Naidoo has been executive director of Greenpeace International since 2009.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo to Resign

Will step down by end of 2015

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo announced on Tuesday that he will step down from his post by the end of the year, according to a statement from the organization.

"Part of my plan is to return to South Africa and lend my support to the growing struggle for a just energy future,” Naidoo said in the statement. “My country is arguably facing one of the most pressing challenges since the end of apartheid. With the government putting as much as a trillion Rand (US$ 85 billion) on the table for Russian-built nuclear power plants, this would commit my country to a dangerous path that will do little to provide clean energy services to the roughly one-in-five South Africans who have no access to electricity.”

Naidoo has helmed the environmental advocacy group since 2009. During his tenure, he oversaw “the largest reorganization in Greenpeace’s 44-year history,” according to the group’s statement. As Outside reported in the April 2015 issue, Naidoo has "pushed for an ambitious restructuring to move people and money away from traditional European environmental strongholds to places like China, Brazil, and India."

In December 2014, Greenpeace activists entered a protected area near the Nazca Lines. The incident sparked international outrage. "Conservative media in Peru denounced the act as a violation of cultural heritage, and news outlets from the BBC to NBC followed," contributing editor Abe Streep wrote in his April 2015 feature. 

For more on Naidoo, read our April 2015 profile of the human-rights activist

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