December 17, 2014

"The Court may have judged his actions, but there's no judgment here. … Cause at the end of the day, aren't we all just a bunch of derelicts?"     Photo: Marie Callaway Kellner/GoFundMe

GoFundMe Raises Money for Grand Canyon Litterer

Rafter who dumped food scraps gets a crowdfunded boost

Money is being raised via a GoFundMe page for Nicolas Niemi, a 75-year-old Alaskan who was ordered earlier in December to pay $1,500 for dumping food scraps into the Colorado River and illegally harvesting firewood during a raft trip through the Grand Canyon. The fund was set up on December 12 by Marie Callaway Kellner, who describes herself as a friend of Niemi’s.

While recognizing that Niemi was in the wrong, the page celebrates his love for rivers while asking friends to chip in. “It’s about recognizing what he’s done not just for the Colorado, but for rivers all over the world,” says the GoFundMe organizer. The page has raised more than $2,900 of its $3,000 goal in just five days.


MacAskill's latest video finds him riding along the Alpe Adria Trail.     Photo: FVGlive/YouTube

Danny MacAskill Drops New Video

Hops his way across 400 miles and 3 countries

Scottish rider Danny MacAskill is known for performing jaw-dropping street trials riding in picturesque locations. Whether it’s in a deserted Argentinian village, a childhood dreamscape, or a road trip to his hometown, the 28-year-old sees terrain in a way that no one else does. His latest clip, a ride down the Alpe Adria Trail, is classic MacAskill.

Spanning more than 400 miles, the Alpe Adria is a popular hiking route that wends its way through Austria, Slovenia, and Italy. MacAskill’s eye takes him up, over, and on top of obstacles both man-made and natural. True, it’s a little tamer than his average segment—no backflips this time—but the stunning natural beauty of the trail and his signature interpretation of its terrain make this video well worth seven minutes of your time.


Reaching the peak is never easy, but bad storms during peak season made Mount McKinley a more difficult summit than usual this year.     Photo: U.S. Army Alaska/Flickr

2014 Was the Year of Mount McKinley Summit Failure

Lowest success rate since 1998, weather to blame

If you failed to climb Mount McKinley this year, you’re in good company. A report published this week found that only one in three climbers summited the highest point in North America in 2014, down from an 11-year annual average of one in two, Alaska Dispatch News reports.

In its 2014 Annual Mountaineering Summary, Denali National Park and Preserve (DNP) reported that 36 percent of 1,204 mountaineers (a total of 433) reached the summit, the worst success rate since 1998. This is in stark contrast with 2013, when 68 percent of climbers got their moment of glory.

Rangers attribute the big dip to bad weather. While climbers who got out early in the season completed their journeys in record time, a slew of wet days and snowstorms from late May to July compromised all of the peak climbing season.

To be fair, DNP called 2013 “a year for the record books” in its previous summary (PDF). That year, McKinley saw its highest-ever number of individual summits—783—and the highest success rate since 1977. The conditions that season were prime for climbing, with little new snow and warmer weather.

The bad weather cut down climbers’ ascents, which resulted in fewer cases of high-altitude illness. It also caused climbers to become caught in snowdrifts between camps. Cold-related injuries in 2014 increased to 30 percent from 18 percent in 2013.

For a deeper analysis, including stats on climber demographics and notable achievements, read the full report here.