Image
(Photo: Casey McCallister/Stocksy)

What You Missed

The stories we're watching today, from our daily newsletter

Image
Image

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Tom Morey, the eccentric inventor of the boogie board, died Thursday at age 86. Morey created the famed foam board in 1971, but he sold the business four years later, missing out on the profits of the product’s future popularity. Morey, who later changed his name to “Y,” considered himself “the spirits of Einstein, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Bob Simmons, taken possession, temporarily, of the innocent body known here on earth as Tom Morey.” So long, and thanks for all the bodyboards. [Beach Grit]

Here’s your chance to win an Olympic marathon without actually going pro. The 2024 Games in Paris plan to hold the first-ever mass-participation marathon on the same day and the same course as the Olympic race. All runners have to do to qualify is beat marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in a 5,000-meter race. Don’t worry: you’ll have a head start. And if facing off against a two-time Olympic gold medalist isn’t your speed, there are plenty of other ways to qualify for the public event. [The Washington Post/Paris 2024]

An experienced 29-year-old hiker died after a fall from Kit Carson Peak, a fourteener in Colorado, earlier this week. The woman texted a friend for help when inclement weather threatened her descent, her aunt said, but she apparently fell to her death in the Class 5 terrain. Searchers have found her body, but adverse conditions have prevented them from recovering it. [Fox 21 News/KDVR]


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Gary Paulsen, the author of Hatchet and an inspiration for countless young adults to fall in love with the wilderness, died Wednesday at age 82. When Elizabeth Royte profiled the foul-mouthed outdoorsman for Outside in 2013, Paulsen estimated that he had about a year left to live. “When I’m ready to go, I’ll just drop over the side,” he said during a boat ride off the Southern California coast. “The sharks can finish me off.” Read our full profile for all the late novelist’s life lessons. [Outside*]

Get ready to say goodbye to plastic water bottles in national parks. A new bill, if passed, would reinstate a lapsed Obama-era rule allowing the National Park Service’s regional directors to ban single-use water bottles, which ultimately eliminated the need for an estimated 60,000 such bottles. The Trump administration overturned the rule in 2017 “to expand hydration options for recreationalists.” [Backpacker]

Race directors have unveiled the 2022 Tour de France Femmes route, which will take riders nearly 640 miles over eight stages from Paris to the Vosges Mountains, in eastern France. The highly anticipated race will be the first women’s Tour since an ill-fated 1980s iteration that struggled to obtain funding. Now women will finally have their shot at the famed yellow jersey. [VeloNews]


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The sign-wielding spectator who caused a massive crash at this year’s Tour de France will face charges of “endangering others” and “unintentional injury” in a French criminal court this week. If convicted, the 31-year-old could face a fine of 15,000 euros (more than $17,000) and up to a year in jail. [VeloNews]

Kenyan runner Agnes Tirop was found stabbed to death in her home today; police are treating her husband as a suspect. Tirop, 25, broke the women-only 10,000-meter road record last month after coming in fourth in the 5,000 meters at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She also held two world-championship bronze medals in the 10,000 meters. [BBC]

Talk about canaries in a coal mine: wildfire smoke could be disrupting bird migration in the West, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. The study used GPS to track the migration of four geese as they encountered thick wildfire smoke, and found that the birds altered the direction and altitude of their flight and expended more energy in response to the adverse conditions. Birds are notoriously affected by even minor changes in the environment, but there’s one simple step you can take to ease their passage: turn off unnecessary lights at night. [USGS/National Audubon Society]


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Last week, President Biden restored Bears Ears National Monument’s original boundaries, marking a major victory for Native tribes and conservationists. But there’s a lot of work left to be done to protect and honor the 1.36-million-acre swath of land. In a joint op-ed for Outside, Utah Diné Bikéyah cultural resources director Angelo Baca reflects on the historical trauma of the United States government’s seizure of Bears Ears, while climber Tommy Caldwell shares insights on how to respectfully interact with the sacred space. [Outside]

When the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, dozens of young female cyclists were faced with the prospect of being unable to continue practicing their sport. VeloNews has the inside scoop on how a journalist and a billionaire jump-started a daring rescue operation that brought 165 Afghans to safety. [VeloNews]

Many people, including the writer of this newsletter, have been quick to call wildland firefighters heroes. But in a new opinion piece, former firefighter Emily Shepherd flips the popular narrative on its head, arguing not only that firefighting isn’t particularly risky, but that people need not be commended for addressing a routine and preventable issue. [Undark]


Monday, October 11, 2021

A Utah ultramarathon took a turn for the worse this weekend when a freak snowstorm forced 87 runners to be rescued from the Wasatch Mountains. Weather forecasts had predicted rain and a dusting of snow, but conditions deteriorated about eight miles into the debut DC Peaks 50, when racers encountered winds up to 40 miles per hour and more than a foot of snowfall. No one was seriously injured. [The New York Times]

If a blizzard during a Utah ultramarathon sounds rough, imagine surviving 29 days lost at sea with nothing to eat but oranges and coconuts. That was the case for two men from the Solomon Islands who got lost off the coast of Papua New Guinea last month when their GPS tracker stopped working. One survivor’s takeaway? “I guess it was a nice break from everything.” [The Guardian]

Women have been climbing in Yosemite since climbing in Yosemite has been a thing. Still, they’re rarely the centerpieces of depictions of the sport in popular media. In her forthcoming book Valley of Giants: Stories from Women at the Heart of Yosemite Climbing, Lauren DeLaunay Miller seeks to shed light on women’s experiences on one of the world’s most famous climbing areas. In an interview with Climbing, Miller shares some of the unique insights she’s gained on women’s contributions to the sport. [Climbing]


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

All hail Otis, the fattest of the fat bears. The burly brown bear in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve has earned his fourth such title in the tournament of public opinion, as area ursines pack on the pounds in preparation for their winter hibernation. Congrats, Otis. You’ve earned it. [Twitter/Outside*]

In 2020, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold created a new climbing feat: the Continental Divide Ultimate Linkup, a 35-mile endurance challenge including 65 pitches and about 20,000 feet of elevation gain over 17 named peaks in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Now they’ve got company. Alpinists Ben Wilbur and John Ebers, both in their twenties, took on the challenge over 58 hours in late August, completing the CDUL’s first repeat. [Climbing]

Rescuers removed the body of a 57-year-old hiker on Colorado’s 14,345-foot Blanca Peak last week, nine days after he fell while descending a technical ridgeline. Search operations were suspended after a dislodged rock injured a team member’s leg, and the man’s body was ultimately found by two of his friends who began searching for him on their own. [Gym Climber]


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Climbing, once the realm of rebels and rule breakers, is succumbing to more and more regulation, from reservation systems for popular outdoor routes to mandatory permits for overnight ascents. The changes may vex old-school climbers, but as Climbing editor Matt Samet points out, they’re better than the lawless alternative. [Climbing*]

Noom brands itself as a diet-free weight-loss app that helps users redefine their relationship to food without restricting what they eat. Sound too good to be true? Yep. The app tends to promote drastically low daily caloric intakes under the guise of cognitive behavioral therapy. [Bustle/Outside]

To cope while mourning his sick wife, 81-year-old Nick Gardner started climbing mountains—177, to be exact. The bearded octogenarian is now well on his way to completing climbs of all 282 of Scotland’s mountains above 3,000 feet in 1,200 days, a challenge that’s raising money for Alzheimer Scotland and the Royal Osteoporosis Society (and garnering a sizable Instagram following). [Reuters]


Monday, October 4, 2021

Trails are closed and picnics are banned in portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina, after a black bear attacked a couple and their unleashed dog last week. The couple escaped with minor injuries, and the bear will be euthanized if positively identified, according to the National Park Service. The incident appears to have occurred after the dog barked at and ran toward the bear, underscoring the need for dog owners to leash or completely voice-control their pets while enjoying public lands. [Backpacker/Outside]

A group of female cyclists made history in France this weekend when they skidded over the finish line at the first-ever women’s Paris-Roubaix road race. The brutal one-day event, nicknamed “Hell of the North,” led riders more than 70 miles over wet, muddy cobblestones. While 129 participants began the race, only 61 recorded an official time, with British rider Lizzie Deignan reigning victorious. [VeloNews]

You’re familiar with drone cameras, drone strikes, and drone Amazon delivery fleets. Enter drone surfboards, scientists’ newest tools for capturing hurricane data on the open ocean. When Hurricane Sam began forming over the Atlantic, a company called Saildrone and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sent the aquatic device into the sea near the eye of the storm, where it captured jaw-dropping footage of 50-foot waves. [Beach Grit]


Thursday, September 30, 2021

In a monumental win for environmental activists, the British Columbia Supreme Court effectively barred police from arresting protesters who are fighting to protect old-growth trees from logging at the Fairy Creek watershed on Vancouver Island. More than 1,100 people have been arrested at the site since May, but on Tuesday, a judge denied a timber company’s request to extend an injunction against the protesters, meaning law enforcement is no longer allowed to detain and remove them. [Outside]

Maryland just became the 18th state to open an office of outdoor recreation, with Maryland Department of Natural Resources veteran J. Daryl Anthony as executive director. More governors are giving the green light to recreation offices in an effort to make their states more attractive to both residents and tourists, and to cash in on the economic power of the outdoor industry. [Outside Business Journal/Outside]

The endangered black-footed ferret, the one ferret native to North America, survives only in small, genetically fragmented populations, due to the decline of prairie dogs, their main food source. But Elizabeth Ann, a clone of another ferret that died more than 30 years ago, could be the key to increasing genetic diversity and ultimately rebuilding the ferret population. [Backpacker]


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A 16-year-old driver who ran over six cyclists with his truck outside Houston this weekend has not been arrested or charged with a crime, prompting outrage from the cycling community. Witnesses say the driver attempted to roll coal on a group of cyclists before plowing into them, injuring four. It’s unclear whether the teen will be charged in the future, but the lack of repercussions thus far reflects a broader American indifference toward casualties inflicted by reckless drivers. [Chron/Outside]

Bad news for bird lovers: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that 23 species, including 11 birds and eight freshwater mussels, should be declared extinct.. While many of the species were nearly wiped out by the time the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973, the extinction of creatures like the ivory-billed woodpecker is likely a harbinger of greater biodiversity loss to come due to habitat destruction and climate change. Scientists say conservation has helped save many species from extinction, but much more needs to be done to preserve biodiversity on a changing planet. [The New York Times]

American Alpine Club CEO Mitsu Iwasaki has lived in the United States since he was six, but being an assimilated American hasn’t shielded him from racism in the climbing community. In a new essay in Climbing, Iwasaki calls for greater diversity and inclusion in the sport he’s loved for 30 years. “It is where I have found my closest friendships,” he writes, “yet it has also been the source of my deepest pain.” [Climbing]


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A California woman has been charged with felony arson after allegedly starting the 8,500-acre Fawn Fire, providing a cautionary tale for what not to do in the wilderness. While attempting to hike to Canada from Northern California, the 30-year-old tried to start a fire to boil water she believed was contaminated by bear urine, according to a criminal complaint. It’s unclear exactly what happened next, but the woman was arrested after Cal Fire officers found her near where the fire first broke out. The Fawn Fire has destroyed more than 184 structures. Authorities believe the woman may be responsible for starting another fire in the area. She has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, she could face up to nine years in prison. [The Washington Post]

A sudden blizzard killed five climbers on Russia’s Mount Elbrus last week. At 18,510 feet, Elbrus is the highest peak in Europe, but it tends to draw less experienced climbers than many of the other Seven Summits because it doesn’t require technical skill. Of the large commercial group that attempted to summit, four died of hypothermia, one died after falling sick during the ascent, 11 were hospitalized with frostbite and other injuries, and three walked away unharmed. [Explorersweb]

Former World Surf League CEO Sophie Goldschmidt has been appointed president and CEO of U.S. Ski and Snowboard, ahead of the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Goldschmidt, who has held a number of executive positions for different sports associations, has been a powerful advocate for equal pay in athletics, though she’s received criticism from some surfers over her dedication to inclusion. [TownLift/Outside]


Monday, September 27, 2021

A stunning set of stairs in Hawaii is in its final days. The Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, were built by the U.S. Navy in 1942 and remain a popular hiking Honolulu destination, despite having been officially closed to the public since 1987. To combat trespassing and reduce the risk of visitor injuries, the city’s mayor recently ordered the stairs’ removal, which could begin as soon as next year. [Backpacker]

Shalane Flanagan set a goal of running six marathons in seven weeks this fall, and she’s off to a stellar start. The U.S. Olympic medalist aims to finish each in less than three hours, and she completed her first race of the season, the Berlin Marathon, in 2:38:32, with a nearly nine-minute negative split. [Women’s Running/Twitter]

Just what we need: more rattlesnakes. Climate change could lead to larger snake populations, a possibility if the critters spend less time overwintering each year, a new study suggests. While poison centers have yet to notice an uptick in bites, it’s still important for hikers to be familiar with best practices upon encountering any type of snake. [Backpacker]


Friday, September 24, 2021

Freediving is about as extreme as a sport can get, requiring participants to push their lungs to the limit while training their mind not to panic at ocean depths of hundreds of feet. New video footage shows Russian champion diver Alexey Molchanov’s record-breaking July plunge, in which he descended 430 feet below the surface of the Atlantic in a single breath lasting four minutes 33 seconds. See if you can read his GQ profile without getting light-headed. [Outside/CBS/GQ]

You don’t need to be a freediver—or any sort of elite athlete—to experience the benefits of daily motion. In his new release The Practice of Groundedness, Outside columnist Brad Stulberg explores the scientific research behind exercise’s effects on mental health. The book is currently more than 40 percent off on Amazon. [Outside]

Utah really, really, really wants Outdoor Retailer back. The Beehive State’s governor, Spencer Cox, released a video this week pleading for the outdoor industry’s largest trade show to return to Salt Lake City, where it was held for 20 years before moving to Denver in 2017. The event will continue to be held in Colorado’s capital city through 2022, but its location after that is to be determined. [Outside Business Journal]


Thursday, September 23, 2021

One former national-park ranger is dead and another is missing after the two highly experienced outdoorsmen embarked on a four-day backcountry canoe trip in Yellowstone. Search crews found the dead ranger’s body on the shore of Wyoming’s Shoshone Lake on Monday, while his companion is still missing and presumed dead. [Backpacker]

In a win for conservationists, a federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider extending Endangered Species Act protections to Joshua trees, which are threatened by habitat loss and could lose up to 90 percent of their range within Joshua Tree National Park by the end of the century. Under the Trump administration, Fish and Wildlife determined that the trees didn’t need to be listed as threatened or endangered because of their long life spans and expansive ranges, but a California judge issued a sharply worded opinion this week calling the 2019 decision “arbitrary and capricious.” [Outside/E&E News]

Patagonia continues to take a stand not only on environmental issues but on social and political ones as well. This week the California-based company signed a statement denouncing the new Texas new law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allows citizens to sue doctors who perform the procedures. And last month Patagonia pulled its products from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort after the Wyoming ski area’s owner held a right-wing fundraiser. [Outside Business Journal]


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest active National Park Service ranger and a powerful advocate for diversity in the outdoors, celebrates her 100th birthday today. Soskin became a ranger in her 80s after speaking up, at a planning meeting for the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in California, about her “love-hate relationship” with the white icon, which she felt excluded her experience as a Black woman working in a segregated unit of the Boilermakers union in World War II. [The New York Times]

Before you hit the slopes this year, make sure you have all the relevant information on COVID precautions. Vail Resorts’ health guidelines for the upcoming season include indoor mask mandates, vaccine requirements at quick-serve and cafeteria-style restaurants, and reservation-only seating at many on-mountain restaurants. Read the full list of procedures on Ski. [Ski]

Kenyan marathoner Mary Keitany, who holds the world record for the women’s-only event, announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday because of a back injury that has plagued her since 2019. The 39-year-old won the London Marathon three times and the New York City Marathon four times. “Now is the time to say goodbye—if only as an elite runner—to the sport I love so much,” she said. [Associated Press]


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The KNP Complex Fire—a fusion of the Paradise and Colony Fires in the southern Sierra Nevada—has forced the closures of large parts of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Yet despite the danger the blazes pose to some of the world’s largest trees, Forest Service chief Randy Moore maintains hope that prescribed burns and congressional action on climate change can save America’s forests. [Twitter/Los Angeles Times]

Football isn’t the only sport that can cause traumatic brain injuries. In the most recent episode of Surfline’s Late Drop podcast, Derek Dunfee discusses the dizziness and nausea that plagued him for months after one of his worst wipeouts—and how his repeated concussions pushed him to look further into the hidden dangers of chasing big waves. [Surfline]

When Christopher Blevins won the Mountain Bike World Cup in Snowshoe, West Virginia, on Sunday, he broke a 27-year losing streak for American men at the event. The 23-year-old Coloradan’s victory is a milestone in the history of mountain biking and could usher in a new era of American dominance in a sport that was once pioneered right here in the States. [Outside]


Friday, September 17, 2021

In a final blow for Alberto Salazar, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced yesterday that it will uphold the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s four-year ban of the former Nike Oregon Project coach. Salazar will be able to return to coaching track and field in October 2023, but a lifetime ban from the U.S. Center for SafeSport will still prevent him from working with USA Track & Field athletes. [Women’s Running/Outside]

Wildfires in the U.S. have charred an area the size of New Jersey this year, spewing microscopic particles into the air we breathe. The EPA’s AirNow app can tell you the air-quality index where you live, but what should you do with that information? Here’s how to know when you should stop exercising outdoors. [Vox/Outside]

Almost a year after a wildfire burned through the Ice Lakes Trail near Silverton, Colorado, damaging a campground and closing one of the state’s most popular areas to the public, the 3.75-mile trail has reopened. Forest Service crews have worked to make the path safe for hikers and anglers again, but the agency encourages visitors to stay on trail and be aware of tree snags and other hazards. [Backpacker]


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Gabrielle Petito, a 22-year-old #vanlife influencer with more than 150,000 Instagram followers, left for a cross-country adventure with her fiancé in July and never came back. Now her partner, Brian Laundrie, 23, who returned to his home in Florida, is being considered a “person of interest” in the case. Petito and her fiancé often expressed their love for each other in Instagram posts and shared numerous smiling selfies throughout their road trip. But on August 12, police in Moab, Utah, responded to a report of a “domestic problem” and separated the couple for a night. [The New York Times]

More than 20 years ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved Lymerix, a Lyme disease vaccine that was soon removed from the market over safety concerns. Researchers are now considering a revolutionary antibody shot that could prevent the disease, even after a tick bite. Andrew Zaleski, who wrote about the innovation for Outside, discussed the science behind the pre-exposure prophylaxis shot on the latest episode of the New Republic’s The Politics of Everything podcast. [Outside/The New Republic]

The nonprofit responsible for mapping out the world’s longest cave announced this month that researchers had discovered eight additional miles of tunnels in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, bringing the system’s total length to 420 miles. Nice. [Backpacker]


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The pioneering, mohawked skier Glen Plake is the latest superstar to sign on with Pit Viper, the company known for irreverent branding and a recent campaign with another athlete fan—pro football’s Gronk. Because Pit Viper shades are particularly popular among skiers, snowboarders, and colorful personalities, Plake’s addition to the team was a no-brainer. [Town Lift/Outside]

U.S. Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore emerged victorious in the World Surf League’s first-ever one-day final in Southern California yesterday. Moore’s win marked her fifth world title. Stephanie Gilmore, the Aussie who was hoping to clinch a record eighth title, was surprisingly eliminated in the first round. On the men’s side, Brazilian Gabriel Medina earned his third win, but only after a great white shark sighting paused the competition for 15 minutes. [The Guardian]

For the first time in Ski’s 85-year history, an image of a Black skier shot by a Black photographer graces the magazine’s cover. For the 2022 Gear Guide, Stan Evans photographed Olympian Errol Kerr—as well as a cast of other Black skiers, including 2017 NCAA National Championship ski-team captain Lauren Samuels—on Utah’s Powder Mountain. The issue hits newsstands this week. [Ski]


Tuesday, September 14, 2o21

In 1948, a 29-year-old veteran named Earl Shaffer became the first person to complete a solo thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. At least that’s how the story goes. But new research suggests that the AT legend may have been a fraud. [Backpacker]

The organizers of England’s Brighton Marathon apologized this weekend for accidentally making the course 568 meters—about 0.35 miles—too long. Here’s the rub: the winner overtook the second-place finisher in the last 200 meters of the race. The mistake, according to event officials, was attributed to a “human error in laying out a cone line.” Luckily, participants are invited to follow an algebraic formula to estimate their time for the proper marathon distance. [CNN]

Alex Honnold, one of the world’s most famous free soloists, has an unlikely climbing partner: Cedar Wright, who is ten years Honnold’s senior. On the latest episode of the Outside Podcast, listen to the two friends banter as they take on 5,000 feet of sandstone in Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon. [Outside]


Monday, September 13, 2021

The California ski resort once known as Squaw Valley has a new name: Palisades Tahoe. For decades, members of the American Indian Movement have been pushing for the ski area to remove the word squaw, a slur toward Indigenous women, from its name. After widespread protests against racial injustice in 2020, the resort finally took action. [Outside]

Acts of Indigenous resistance—from physically blocking the construction of fossil-fuel infrastructure to legally challenging projects—have staved off greenhouse-gas pollution equivalent to 25 percent of the annual emissions of the U.S. and Canada, according to a new report by the Indigenous Environmental Network. That number is based on Indigenous-led opposition to 21 fossil-fuel projects over the past decade. The protests have halted projects expected to produce 860 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, and are fighting projects that would produce 882 million tons of greenhouse gases every year. [Grist]

Less than an hour after crossing the finish line in the Vienna Marathon on Sunday, Ethiopia’s Derara Hurisa was stripped of his victory for wearing shoes with a 50-millimeter midsole height. Hurisa’s is the first known disqualification under a 2020 World Athletics ruling stating that running shoes can’t exceed a 40-millimeter stack height. [PodiumRunner/Outside]


Friday, September 10, 2021

Zion National Park is getting an upgrade. The Utah Department of Transportation recently approved a $10.8 million grant to create a 12-foot-wide, 18-mile paved trail from St. George to the park’s Springdale entrance, allowing hikers and bikers premium access to the destination. But don’t get too excited: it’ll be years before the path opens to the public. [Backpacker]

Pro surfing has undergone a sea of change over the past year, thanks in no small part to its Olympic debut. The World Surf League’s championship season now ends in September rather than December, and includes a new bracketing system and a one-day format. The idea is to create intrigue by pitting the top five men and the top five women, respectively, against each other in an exciting winner-take-all event. But not all surfers are happy about the changes. [The New York Times]

If you’re itching to see a movie this weekend, consider The Alpinist, which documents the life of free-solo mixed climber Marc-André Leclerc—and his pursuit of a sport famous for killing its practitioners. The hair-raising documentary opens today in theaters nationwide. [Climbing/Outside]


Thursday, September 9, 2021

In 2018, manomin—the wild rice sacred to the Chippewa people—was granted legal personhood based on the concept that nature should have the same rights as humans. As a result, manomin is suing to stop construction of a Minnesota pipeline that threatens the groundwater where the wild rice grows. [High Country News]

While the fate of Minnesota’s oil pipeline remains uncertain, environmentalists concerned with the future of the world’s largest sockeye salmon run can rest easy knowing that the Environmental Protection Agency has blocked the construction of a gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. On Thursday the EPA said that it would invoke the Clean Water Act to preserve the pristine bay, reversing the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw federal protections for the area. Environmentalists and Alaska Natives have been joined by an unlikely coalition of hunters, anglers, and conservative personalities, including Donald Trump Jr. and Tucker Carlson, in their opposition to the mine. Due to initial Republican support for the preservation of Bristol Bay, the Trump administration denied an essential permit for the mine to move forward in 2020. While the EPA’s announcement could be reversed by future administrations, the mine likely doesn’t have the traction or the political support to come to fruition. [The Washington Post]

Italian climber Stefano Ghisolfi made history in August when he became the second person ever to ascend the world’s hardest grade, Bibliographie, a proposed 5.15d. But two days after his send, he took to Instagram to downgrade the climb, suggesting it was really a 5.15c. [Climbing]


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Bluebird Backcountry, the chairlift-free ski resort in northern Colorado, is undergoing a significant expansion in time for its second season at Bear Mountain. Plans include four uphill skin tracks and a dozen new downhill trails. The resort expects to open for the season in December. [Outside/Ski]

Long live Eagle Creek! In June the iconic Colorado-based travel-gear brand announced that it would cease operations by the end of the year. Today, however, Eagle Creek’s parent company, VF Corporation, revealed that EC will get a new lease on life after being acquired by Travis Campbell, VF’s former president of emerging brands, for an undisclosed amount. [Outside/Outside Business Journal]

Maricela Rosales, a Puerto Rican climber from a marginalized area of Los Angeles, overcame cultural and physical barriers to pursue her sport. Now she’s advocating for better public-lands access for similar communities in L.A. and beyond. [Gym Climber]


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

In Colorado, the Aspen Skiing Company will charge $69 for an uphill ski pass this season—the first time it has put a price on uphill access in its 75 years of operation. The change comes in response to an explosion in the popularity of backcountry skiing, but the decision to charge for skinning access isn’t without its critics. [Ski]

All travelers to Mount Everest Base Camp this fall will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19, local authorities announced last week. Still, it’s unclear how much the requirement will be enforced, if at all. [The Adventure Blog]

Courtney Frerichs’s track season didn’t end in Tokyo. After taking home silver in the Olympic steeplechase and finishing the recent Prefontaine Classic in under nine minutes, she hopes to win the Diamond League final on September 9 in Zurich. Frerichs caught up with Women’s Running about her whirlwind season and her plans for the future. [Women’s Running]


Friday, September 3, 2021

As the Caldor Fire ravages the area near South Lake Tahoe, California mountain bikers are mourning the trails and sense of community that they’ve lost. Some of the trails in South Lake Tahoe took thousands of hours to design and build, while others were backcountry staples for decades. [Beta]

A hiker fell 50 feet to his death while maneuvering a narrow slot in the Grand Canyon on Saturday. The man, a 48-year-old fire chief from Oregon, became the 18th person to die in the canyon in 2021; a dozen people typically die there in an average year. [Backpacker]

A month after climbing’s Olympic debut, the Lead World Cup will begin tomorrow in Kranj, Slovenia. While none of the United States’ Olympians will be competing, the star-studded lineup will include Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret and the Czech Republic’s Adam Ondra. [Gym Climber]


Thursday, September 2, 2021

The closure of California’s national forests could make southbound thru-hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail impossible for the remainder of the season, and would-be backpackers in the state likely have a disappointing Labor Day weekend ahead of them. [Backpacker]

This week a federal judge invalidated the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which, contrary to what the name suggests, eliminated clean-water protections for streams and wetlands across the country. The judge found that the Trump policy threatened access to clean drinking water and violated Indigenous tribes’ rights. [Outside]

New auto-belay technology catches climbers after they fall, allowing them to continue working the problem without starting over from the ground. Trublue’s iQ Series, featuring catch-and-hold technology, will be available in 2022. [Gym Climber]


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Athletics Integrity Unit announced today that the Court of Arbitration for Sport is upholding 2016 Olympian Shelby Houlihan’s four-year ban from competition; in December she tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. The American record holder in the women’s 1,500 and 5,000 meters claimed that her positive test resulted from a pork burrito she’d eaten the night before, but a three-member disciplinary panel found that the odds of this scenario were “close to zero.” [Women’s Running]

Forget taking a sabbatical to hike the Appalachian Trail. Five-year-old Harvey Sutton completed the thru-hike before he entered kindergarten. Fueled by Skittles-and-peanut-butter tortillas, “Little Man” trekked more than 2,000 miles in 209 days—though he didn’t quite break the record for youngest AT finisher. [Backpacker]

Good news for people who have managed to stay active throughout the pandemic: exercise increases resiliency to COVID-19, according to a new study. Research based on more than half a million people found that those who exercised regularly were 31 percent less likely to contract serious respiratory illness from COVID and 37 percent less likely to die. But that doesn’t mean they were less likely to catch the virus in the first place, so it’s still wise to get vaccinated and mask up. [Triathlete]


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Forest Service has closed all national forests in California to protect visitors from the threat of wildfires and to prevent guests from accidentally starting new fires amid dangerously hot and dry conditions. The closure will last through September 17. [Beta]

Meanwhile, California’s Caldor Fire is rapidly encroaching on Lake Tahoe, threatening several ski areas at its southern end. At Sierra at Tahoe, snow cannons have been repurposed as firefighting devices, shooting water at the oncoming blazes. The resort has been evacuated, and Cal Fire and the Forest Service are using the area to strategize their fire-protection plan. [Ski]

We’re not encouraging you to stop buying backpacking gear entirely. But if you rely on retail therapy to reduce sadness in your life, it might be time to consider how your gear obsession relates to your mental health, and to think about ways to cut back on those impulsive REI shopping sprees. [Backpacker]


Monday, August 30, 2021

One climber died and another was seriously injured while scaling the Wind Tower formation in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado, last week. The two men fell more than 100 feet after the belay anchor apparently slipped off a boulder. In interviews with Climbing, both the surviving climber and the bystander who helped rescue him shared their accounts of the fatal accident. [Climbing]

This year’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc has come to a close, with France’s François D’Haene winning the 100-plus-mile marquee event in 20 hours 46 minutes. American Courtney Dauwalter won the women’s race in 22 hours, 30 minutes, and 55 seconds—breaking the women’s course record and coming in seventh place overall. [Outside/Trail Runner]

The United States continues to rack up medals in the Paralympics. Last week, Brad Snyder, who lost his sight while serving in Afghanistan in 2011, won gold in the paratriathlon. Over the weekend, American Kendall Gretsch won the Paralympics’ first women’s paratri wheelchair competition by less than a second. [Triathlete]


Friday, August 27, 2021

The Caldor Fire is suffocating Lake Tahoe, and tourists and residents who once came to the area for its fresh air are fleeing. Fires and smoke are now an inevitability for anyone who recreates outside in the American West. Before you decide to pitch a tent and spend a few days in the woods, check out our guide on how to hike during wildfire season. [The New York Times/Outside]

Evidence of the efficacy of bear spray: a 55-year-old solo hiker in Alaska’s Denali National Park survived a brown bear attack on Sunday thanks to his proper use of the deterrent. The sow likely attacked to protect her two cubs. The man walked away with only minor injuries. [Backpacker]

The Tokyo Paralympic Games are on, and public support for the event is high in Japan. Still, with the city reporting more than 4,000 new COVID cases daily since the Games began, the logistics of keeping Paralympians and medical support staff safe are more complicated than they were just a few weeks ago. [Triathlete]


Thursday, August 26, 2021

A team of mountaineers is aiming to make history by becoming the first all-Black American expedition to summit Mount Everest. While Black climbers from other countries have successfully ascended the peak, only one Black American climber, Sophia Danenberg, has done so. The Full Circle Expedition team of seven men and two women will attempt the feat in 2022. [Outside Business Journal]

Telluride just became the first U.S. ski area to offer free accident insurance with its lift tickets. Skiers will be covered by Spot accident insurance for up to $25,000 in case of injuries sustained on the mountain. [Ski]

When Army captain Luke Bushatz returned from deployment in Afghanistan, he began suffering short-term memory lapses, then resorted to alcohol and sex to cope. Ultimately, Luke and his wife, Amy, sought refuge in nature to recover their marriage and help overcome their trauma. [Outside]


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

World-famous ultrarunner Jim Walmsley is keeping a low profile ahead of this year’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), which he’s hoping to become the first American man to win. For Walmsley, avoiding the public eye means staying off social media and donning an incognito getup while out and about in Chamonix, France. Still, he’ll be hard to miss when he steps onto the 171-km (roughly 106-mile) course on Friday evening wearing bib number one. [Trail Runner]

In grim UTMB news, a male runner from the Czech Republic died early Wednesday after suffering a fall on a technically challenging descent in the TDS, the roughly 90-mile event in the UTMB race series. His is likely the first death in the race’s 19-year history. [Trail Runner]

The FBI has joined the investigation into the deaths of two women who were shot dead at a campsite in Utah’s La Sal Mountains last week. The newlyweds were van lifers well acquainted with the Moab area. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released many details, due to the active investigation, but it doesn’t believe the general public is at risk. Friends who met up with the couple the weekend before the murders said the women repeatedly mentioned that they were planning to move their campsite because of a man who made them uncomfortable, but it’s unclear whether this person was responsible for their deaths. A friend found the couple’s bodies last Wednesday. [Scripps Media]


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Lael Wilcox had to cut her Tour Divide time trial short last week due to smoky conditions, but her 700-mile journey down the Rockies from Banff, Alberta, to Butte, Montana, was still one for the books. After coming face to face with a mountain lion, spending a night in a church, and encountering a slew of hospitable fans, the ultra-endurance cyclist realized that an FKT on a trail that paralleled a largely uncontrolled wildfire just wasn’t possible—and that intense smoke would be a permanent reality in the American West. Wilcox currently holds the women’s record on the Tour Divide: she completed the 2,700-mile trail from Canada to Mexico in 15 days and 11 hours in 2015. This time she hoped to break the overall FKT of 13 days, 22 hours, 51 minutes, set by Mike Hall in 2016. [Bikepacking.com]

A new study conducted by Gatorade Endurance found that safety concerns, family obligations, and lack of free time were the three biggest barriers to minority athletes’ involvement in endurance sports. Thankfully, inclusive sport communities and increased representation among endurance athletes can help improve access for people from marginalized communities. [Trail Runner]

In some national parks, temperatures are becoming too hot for helicopters to fly, posing serious issues for search and rescue teams already overburdened by record-breaking crowds of inexperienced hikers. [Backpacker]


Monday, August 23, 2021

In her first race since being suspended from competition for 30 days over a positive marijuana test, Sha’Carri Richardson posted a disappointing time of 11.14 seconds in the 100 meters at the Prefontaine Classic, finishing last in a crowded field that included the three Jamaican women who medaled at the Olympics. Still, the fan favorite vowed that her best performances were yet to come. “I’m not done,” she said after the race. “You know what I’m capable of.”

Richardson is setting her sights on the 2022 and 2023 world championships, as well as the 2024 Paris Olympics. But she’ll face tough competition: Elaine Thompson-Herah, who placed first at the 100-meter dash both in Tokyo and at the Prefontaine Classic, finished the race in 10.54 seconds this weekend, faster than Richardson’s PR and five-hundredths of a second off Florence Griffith Joyner’s world record. [The New York Times]

Ski mountaineering and road racing via bike make strange bedfellows, but for skimo pro Anton Palzer, the crossover from snow-covered terrain to paved mountain passes made perfect sense. With very little competitive road-racing experience, he’s now taking on the Vuelta a España. [VeloNews]

Longtime Outside writer and mountaineer David Roberts died on Friday at age 78 after a long battle with throat cancer. Roberts continued to climb as much as possible in the final years of his life, and even when he couldn’t, he’d join his old climbing gang on yearly expeditions. [Outside/Boston Globe]


Friday, August 20, 2021

Sha’Carri Richardson may not have been able to run in the Tokyo Olympics after her one-month suspension for a positive marijuana test, but she’ll be competing in the 100- and 200-meter races at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, this weekend. Other stars to watch include Sifan Hassan, the first person to medal in three distance events at the Olympics; Athing Mu, the 19-year-old who won gold in the 800 meters in Tokyo; and Allyson Felix, the most decorated American in track and field Olympic history. [Women’s Running]

Investigators suspect that a toxic algal bloom may be to blame for the deaths of a Northern California couple, their baby, and their dog while hiking on a remote trail in the Sierra National Forest earlier this week. The family died under mysterious circumstances, with no signs of trauma and no obvious cause of death.The group was found dead on Tuesday, a little more than a mile away from their vehicle, at the Devil’s Gulch area along the south fork of the Merced River, according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. A family friend had reported them missing the night before.

Investigators remain baffled by what could have happened. The area where the family was found was initially considered a hazmat site, but that declaration was lifted Wednesday. Mariposa County sheriff Jeremy Briese said he didn’t think that gas from nearby abandoned mines was a factor. The bodies are undergoing autopsies and toxicology exams, which could shed light on the cause of death. [NPR]

The Ironman World Championship in Hawaii has been postponed until February 2022, in response to the surge in Delta-variant infections. The event’s 2022 championship, however, is still expected to take place that October. [Triathlete]

Lead Photo: Casey McCallister/Stocksy
sms