Issue 68

Granite Chief

Granite Chief

Tahoe’s Isolated Gem Story and photos by Tim Hauserman Photo: Tim Hauserman When it comes to world-class hiking, the Tahoe Basin is truly blessed. Desolation Wilderness and the Tahoe Rim Trail are just two well-known examples that come to mind. Lesser-known, but still quite inspiring, Granite Chief Wilderness is a worthy alternative for those looking to escape the crowds and explore new terrain. The 25,000-acre Granite Chief Wilderness is bordered on the North by Granite Chief peak, to the east by the Pacific Crest Trail above Squaw Valley, to the South by Barker Pass, and to the west by Mt. Mildred and Hell Hole Reservoir. It is a mostly volcanic land of huge firs, hemlocks, western white pines, lush meadows, giant slopes of mule ears, and sparkling streams. There are miles of trails winding through vales of trees, and climbs leading to spectacular views of the Pacific Crest. Here...
Surviving the Fall

Surviving the Fall

Alpinist and author Isabel Suppé reflects on the accident that changed her life By Haven Livingston In July 2010, Isabel Suppé was climbing the 17,561-foot Ala Izquierda in Bolivia’s Cordillera Real, when her partner, Peter Wiesenekker, slipped on a patch of ice. Gaining speed, the fall ripped out their anchor and they both tumbled over 1,100 feet down the face of the mountain. When they came to a stop, both alpinists had broken bones. With injuries and extremely cold temperatures, death seemed unavoidable. But Isabel persevered and tried to get help for both her and Peter by crawling across the glacier. She survived the first night by sitting on one tiny piece of exposed rock so her clothes wouldn’t freeze to the glacier. She leaned her head onto a trekking pole in a way that would wake her up should she start to fall into a deep sleep. The...
Yosemite Gets a Facelift

Yosemite Gets a Facelift

Ken Yager’s annual cleanup event comes of age in 2012 By Haven Livingston, Photos courtesy of Yosemite Climbing Association Ken Yager on El Cap's Muir Wall. Photo: Craig Perkins/MovingHearts.org For twelve years, Ken Yager worked as a climbing guide among the grand cathedrals of Yosemite National Park. He shared with his clients the joys and beauty of climbing in this world famous playground of rock, but as years went by, he saw this beauty increasingly marred by the carelessness of visitors and fellow climbers. From granola bar wrappers and climber’s tape to the inevitable human waste piles, trash was taking over one of the most spectacular natural wonders of our nation. On his way to climb Highway Star with a client in 2004, Yager’s tolerance for trash reached maximum capacity. “The place was full of toilet paper and poop, and here I am trying to show my client how...
Long Distance SUP

Long Distance SUP

Endurance Paddler Jodie Nelson Digs Deep for a Good Cause By Elizabeth Glazner Jodie Nelson with "Larry the Whale." Photo courtesy of Paddle With Purpose It’s not likely that Jodie Nelson will be traveling with a whale when she paddles her SUP from San Clemente to Baja. But still, the former pro surfer wouldn’t mind another close encounter with a friendly Cephalopod. Nelson, 35, received publicity two years ago during her solo SUP trek from Santa Catalina to Dana Point when a rare minke whale showed up and hung around for two of the 9 hours it took her to complete the 40-mile crossing. The first female to make the trip, the story of the girl and the whale was all over the Internet before being picked up by CNN, NBC Nightly News, FOX and MSNBC. Nelson even garnered a spot on the Ellen DeGeneres Show wearing a Larry...
Saving the Planet One Meal at a Time

Saving the Planet One Meal at a Time

Closing the Gap Between Farming and Eating Story and images by Bruce Willey Flying the Hoss Wheel Hoe. Photo: Bruce Willey For better or for worse we eat three times a day. Yet this daily but profound connection to the earth has become an act that is wholly disengaged from our perception of the world. We know our dentist, our plumber, our doctor, and our mailman far better than the farmer who grows our food. And no wonder. Our food system has become a complex industrial web of transportation, manufacturing, political, environmental, scientific, and marketing issues that are largely disconnected from the natural biology of food-giving plants and animals. Eating, it turns out, has become both easier and more complicated than any at time in human history. It’s enough to make your head spin, and render you cranky with hunger pains at the same time. And in the last...
Let the Good Times Roll

Let the Good Times Roll

The Hammerstein 24 hour MTB Race, June 8-10, Laguna Seca Story by Matt Niswonger • Photos by Michael Horn Race director Jim Northey prepares the riders for the starting gun. Photo: Michael Horn When I first heard that Jim Northey was hosting his Hammerstein 24-hour MTB race in Laguna Seca, I took it as a sign. Laguna Seca is one of the birthplaces of 24 hour mountain biking. This was meant to be. I had to do it. For anyone unfamiliar with the format, “24” is usually just a hundred or so mountain bike riders screaming around a ten to twelve-mile loop, all night long. The race starts at noon on a Saturday, and it’s “pedal to the metal” until noon on Sunday. Some do this as a team relay event, taking turns through the night, and other particularly masochistic individuals try to ride for the whole 24 hours...
California Trails

California Trails

Three Great South Bay Trails By Derrick Peterman Almaden, Quicksilver County Park. Photo courtesy of Santa Clara County Parks One of the best things about living in the Bay Area is how easy it is to get away from it all. Here are three recommended trails in South Bay parks that offer a great getaway for folks in Silicon Valley. Visitors enjoy running, biking, horseback riding, or just plain walking on these beautiful trails. Almaden Quicksilver County Park (San Jose, CA) San Jose’s first high tech industry was mercury mining to support the gold extraction east of Sacramento in California’s Gold Rush days. You’ll find remnants of this history in Almaden Quicksilver County Park, whether it is mining camp ruins, an old smelting furnace, or two contaminated reservoirs at the edge of the park. If you’re not there for a history lesson, there are plenty of physical challenges in...
Roadtrip Diversions

Roadtrip Diversions

Highway 299, the Trinity scenic byway By Haven Livingston • Photos by Heather Heartgrave Trinity River rapids near Hwy 299. Photo: Heather Heartgrave The landscape along scenic Highway 299 between Redding and Arcata is a perfect example of treasure hidden in plain sight. Driving straight through this corridor that follows the Trinity River provides some inspiring scenery, but you have to stop and explore to truly strike it rich. Diversions off Hwy 299 down to the river are an excellent way to escape the summer heat. Fishing, kayaking and rafting are popular options for both private and guided exploration. As the second largest sub-watershed of the Klamath River, the Trinity River has runs accessible to every type of river rat, from tube floaters to class V experts, and its waters are home to steelhead, salmon and brown trout. Detour up the North Fork to check out the ghost town...
Backcountry Medical Guides

Backcountry Medical Guides

Backcountry Medical Guides By Scott Surface John demonstrates CPR hand positioning on a manikin. Photo: Jeff Howard It’s a Saturday morning in early June, I find myself on my knees, arms locked and fingers intertwined, as I thrust downward with concentrated intensity on the rib cage of a cold, gray torso. Sweat starts beading on my forehead as I count 22, 23, 24… to 30, then administer two rescue breaths. “Faster guys!” exclaims John Taussig, founder and lead instructor of Backcountry Medical Guides (BMG), “you’ve only got ten seconds between each set of compressions before the organs start to fail due to lack of oxygen.” After two minutes of simulating CPR on the manikins, Taussig cues us to stop and launches into a story about his first EMT call in response to a heart attack. “I arrived on the scene to find an elderly man on the floor at...
Lessons From Everest

Lessons From Everest

Paul Romero’s family trip to the “death zone” By Matt Niswonger, Photos courtesy of Paul Romero Karen, Jordan, and Paul training in Joshua Tree. Photo: Scott Hoffman In May of this year, ten people died while attempting to climb Mt. Everest. There were no particularly severe storms or remarkable events to account for these deaths. Reports from the mountain cited everything from exhaustion to hypothermia, but many people, climbers and non-climbers alike, were still left scratching their heads. If Mother Nature’s fury was not the direct cause, then what gives? Why did so many people die this May on Everest, even though the weather was mostly benign? Beyond this, just what is it that makes Everest so alluring that it causes prospective climbers to leave the comforts of civilization to willingly suffer and even die on her slopes year after year? Armchair mountaineers love to debate the question over...
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