Chris Davenport, Christy Mahon, and Ted Mahon took nine years to complete their Centennial Peaks Project.     Photo: Christian Pondella/Red Bull Cont

Mountaineers Complete Centennial Peaks Project

Three-person team took nine years

On Wednesday, a three-person team of ski mountaineers successfully completed the Centennial Peaks Project by climbing the 13,824-foot Jagged Mountain, according to the Aspen Times. The project involved scaling and skiing the 100 highest peaks in Colorado.

Skiing champion Chris Davenport, along with Christy Mahon and Ted Mahon, had climbed Jagged Mountain in the past, but prior to this month hadn’t experienced it in spring snow. “We weren’t jumping for joy yet because it’s really complicated getting off the mountain,” Ted Mahon said of Jagged Mountain, according to the Aspen Times. “The saying is, ‘Getting to the top is just half the day.’”

As Outside wrote in May, Davenport’s passion for big-mountain skiing previously led him to try skiing all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks in a single year, a feat he completed between January 22, 2006, and January 19, 2007. (Ted Mahon followed suit the following year, as did Christy Mahon in 2010.) 

For the project, the group’s skiing goals were foreshortened only at Wetterhorn Peak, Teakettle Mountain, Dallas Peak, and Jagged Mountain, where skiing from the absolute summit of the mountains was impossible. But the three alpinists successfully reached each summit before carefully descending to the ski line.

The mountaineers, who have returned home safely, have not ruled out the possibility of climbing and skiing the next 100 highest peaks in the state in the future.


Climber Dies on Nose of El Capitan

A climber fell 200 feet and died while descending the Nose of El Cap.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Climber Dies on Nose of El Capitan

22-year-old fell 200 feet

A 22-year-old climber died from his injuries Wednesday after a fall on the face of El Capitan in Yosemite, Climbing reports.

The climber, who has not been identified, and two other teammates had reached Camp VI, about five pitches from the summit, when he decided to return to Camp V to retrieve some gear. He tied into his single rappel rope but didn’t clip his Grigri to the rope properly and fell 200 feet, hitting ledges near Camp V.

Yosemite Search and Rescue retrieved the body and the two climbing partners by helicopter on Wednesday.


Everest Glaciers Could Virtually Disappear by 2100

Glaciers in Nepal's Dudh Koshi basin, home to Mount Everest, could shrink by more than 70 percent by 2100, according to a new study.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Everest Glaciers Could Virtually Disappear by 2100

Lost 15.6 percent of ice since 1961

A new study published in the Cryosphere on Wednesday details how, over the next century, glaciers in Nepal’s Dudh Koshi basin could shrink by more than 70 percent. The 1 million-acre basin is home to some of the world’s tallest mountains, including Everest.

Researchers at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMD) in Kathmandu and Utrecht University’s Department of Physical Geography in the Netherlands carried out the study. Lead author Joseph Shea of ICIMD told Discovery News that the region is ideal for studying glacial changes over time. Nepal gets most of its snow during the monsoon season, which brings 77 percent of all annual precipitation, and that snow is critical for maintaining the glaciers. While wet spells may be increasing in intensity, according to a study published last year in Nature Climate Change, some signs point to an overall decrease in the amount of precipitation.

The study predicts that rising temperatures due to climate change could raise the freezing line on the mountains, meaning that snow would fall in a smaller area and more of the glaciers would be exposed to melting. Shea and his co-authors estimate that the freezing line could rise as much as 3,900 feet by 2100, leaving the majority of the region’s glaciers in temperatures higher than 32 degrees during summer.

The Dudh Koshi basin has already seen an estimated 15.6 percent loss in ice volume since 1961. High-end estimates from Shea’s study indicate a 99 percent glacier loss by 2100, essentially wiping them out from the region.

“I want to caution that this is a tool,” Shea told Discovery News, since this was the first modeling done in the region and there are a few uncertainties. “But what we see is that glaciers are really sensitive to temperature changes.”


Japanese Zoos Vote to Stop Buying Taiji Dolphins

The controversial Taiji dolphin hunt was made famous in the 2009 documentary “The Cove.”     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Japanese Zoos Vote to Stop Buying Taiji Dolphins

Amid mounting international pressure

After years of external scrutiny, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) has banned the buying and selling of dolphins from the controversial Taiji hunt, National Geographic reported Wednesday. 

Under threat of expulsion from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), JAZA voted last week to approve the Taiji dolphin ban. The vote came on the heels of WAZA suspending JAZA in April for “issues involving JAZA member zoos and aquariums taking dolphins from the Japanese drive fishery,” according to a press release

 The Taiji hunt was made famous through the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary The Cove.