Ear to the Ground

Ear to the Ground: Issue 96

Ear to the Ground: Issue 96

News & Notes Climbing Pioneer Royal Robbins Dies at 82 Royal Robbins, legendary rock-climbing pioneer, died March 14 at the age of 82. As an early proponent of pitonless climbing, Royal was instrumental in inspiring a new generation of ethical, low-impact climbers. He was especially known for his first ascents in Yosemite. He authored Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft, and founded outdoor apparel company Royal Robbins with his wife Liz Robbins. After developing arthritis in 1978, Royal went on to become an established adventure kayaker. Endangered Species Act at Risk In the current political climate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is at risk. The Act, signed in 1973, was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction. In December, Rep. Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, stated “I would be happy to invalidate the Endangered Species Act.” A February hearing to “modernize” the ESA included criticism...
Ear to the Ground: Feb/March 2017

Ear to the Ground: Feb/March 2017

News and Notes Squaw Valley Ski Patroller Dies in Accident Joe Zuiches, a 42 year-old resident of Olympic Valley and a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012, was killed in a fatal accident prior to regularly scheduled operations, during avalanche control activities at the top of Gold Coast Ridge. The team at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows is deeply saddened by this tragic event, and ASJ extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends affected. Joe will be survived by his wife and infant son. If you would like to make a charitable donation to the Zuiches family today, check out Joe’s GoFundMe page here. Photo: Contributed California Drought Update Pacific Institute reports that Pacific storms in January have brought widespread, intense precipitation to California, providing relief to some drought-stricken regions but also flooding. According to the US Drought Monitor, about 35 percent of the state...
Ear to the Ground: Dec 2016 / Jan 2017

Ear to the Ground: Dec 2016 / Jan 2017

News & Notes Surf Dog Ricochet to Star in 3D IMAX Film Surfing dog Ricochet is one of five dogs who will be starring in the new 3D IMAX film Superpower Dogs, a family adventure film presented in association with the California Science Center being released worldwide in the spring of 2018. Ricochet’s role in the film will showcase how she balances boards … and lives. As the canine Ambassador for Surfers with Disabilities, she’s the only SURFice dog on the planet who provides therapeutic assistance while creating unique surfing experiences that empower kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors & veterans with PTSD. Learn more about Surf Dog Ricochet in our article here and learn more about Superpower Dogs at superpowerdogs.com. Photo courtesy Surf Dog Ricochet Partners with Chris Burkard on New Line of Adventure Photography Packs Mountainsmith – which crafts iconic backcountry equipment and...
Ear to the Ground: Oct/Nov 2016

Ear to the Ground: Oct/Nov 2016

Outdoor News and Notes Mountaineer Kim Schmitz Killed in Car Accident Kim Schmitz Jun 26, 1946 – Sep 19, 2016 • Photo: Kim in Nepal 1979 (John Roskelley). On September 19 legendary Yosemite climber and mountaineer Kim Schmitz died in a single car accident while returning to his home in Jackson Hole from a river trip in Idaho. He was seventy years old and still guiding clients and sharing his love for the mountains on a regular basis. Schmitz first came to Yosemite in 1965 and quickly became one of the leading climbers along with Valley legends like Royal Robbins and Yvon Chouinard. In 1967 he climbed El Capitan in the very fast time of two and a half days, a remarkable achievement for the late 1960s. After perfecting his big wall techniques in the Valley, Schmitz brought his skills to the Himalaya. In 1977, he made the first ascent...
Ear to the Ground Aug / Sept 2016

Ear to the Ground Aug / Sept 2016

Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region Red Bull Heavy Water Kicks Off in San Francisco The Red Bull Heavy Water stand up paddleboard race is scheduled to take place in San Francisco in September. The exact date is TBD and depends on conditions. Requiring the perfect mix of paddling skills, ocean knowledge, supreme fitness and the courage to take on one of the most intimidating stretches of coastline in the world, the Red Bull Heavy Water will test the best stand up paddleboarders in what promises to be a dramatic challenge. An intense 12km course will see athletes leave from San Francisco’s notorious Ocean Beach to battle their way in and out of the surf towards the Golden Gate Bridge for possibly the most challenging race the sport has ever seen. Once the laps through the surf have been completed the athletes will be in the open ocean,...
Californians Climbing Kilimanjaro for Needy Kids

Californians Climbing Kilimanjaro for Needy Kids

Badjao Bridge Helps Kids in the Philippines Go to School by Meiling Zhang Unfortunately, not all children are fortunate enough to have access to free education like kids in the US. Castro Valley’s Dan Johanson was heartbroken by the poverty and lack of opportunities available for children during the ten years he spent living in the Philippines as a missionary. “There were sea-dwelling people living in abject poverty and would hence find it impossible to break the cycle of poverty, so when I saw what was happening among those sea-dwellers, we decided to start an effort to address those pressing needs,” said Johanson. In 2009, Johanson took matters into his own hands and founded Badjao Bridge. Badjao, meaning man of the seas, is an ethnic group in the southern Philippines with an unique culture and relationship to the sea. “I came back with photos and stories of these...
Ear to the Ground: June / July 2016

Ear to the Ground: June / July 2016

Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region IMBA and STC Join Forces The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and the Sustainable Trails Coalition (STC) recently announced a partnership agreement that emphasizes the importance of a collective voice in support of trail stewardship and improved mountain bike access. While the two organizations remain distinct, with different approaches to bicycle access in federally managed Wilderness areas, they report great respect for one another and urge mountain bikers to get engaged in each group’s separate missions and advocacy efforts. The organizations point out that although they are alike in their desire for a united and stronger collective voice amongst mountain bikers, they each have different governance and mission strategies. IMBA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is legally limited in its ability to directly lobby elected officials. IMBA’s approach will continue to emphasize building partnerships and promoting bike-friendly management policies for all forms of land...
Ear to the Ground April / May 2016

Ear to the Ground April / May 2016

Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region Wildflower Voted Top 10 Destination Race Photo: Kaori Photo. Tri-California Events has earned yet another title for their iconic Wildflower Triathlons. Complete Tri, a leading triathlon apparel website, recently listed Wildflower as one of the top 10 destination races in the United States. Complete Tri awarded the ranking to triathlons that offer a variety of racing distances, have also stood the test of time, and offer a special venue. This year’s Wildflower Triathlons, held throughout the weekend of April 30-May 1 offer all of this and much more. “Wildflower’s setting in the active Central Coast of California is one of many reasons athletes travel to this special race,” says Colleen Bousman, President of Tri-California. “Athletes and spectators attending the festival will never be at a loss for things to do. The outdoor venue includes live bands, as well as Yoga in the...
Ear to the Ground: February / March 2016

Ear to the Ground: February / March 2016

Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region Photo courtesy United States Forest Service (USFS). USFS to Plant Trees in Rim Fire Burn Area The US Forest Service is enlisting the help of all available stakeholders and members of the public to help plant 90,000 trees in the Rim Fire burn area this spring. In partnership with Tuolumne River Trust, the Stanislaus National Forest hosted public meetings in January to inform and recruit volunteers for tree planting days scheduled to take place seven days per week throughout the spring. 2013’s Rim Fire burned over 257,000 acres on the Stanislaus National Forest. Forest scientists/specialists estimate that without reforestation it is highly unlikely the forest would grow back in our lifetimes. Anyone interested in helping to reforest the area is welcome – individuals, groups, families. For more information, call the Stanislaus National Forest at (209) 532-3671 or the Tuolumne River Trust at...
Ear to the Ground

Ear to the Ground

Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region Californians optimistic for a white winter Photo “Look ma! First snow!” A backcountry skier takes advantage of early snow dumps, with plenty more forecast to come. (Photo courtesy Bear Valley Ski Resort). With a good start to snow level and more storms in the forecast, Californians are hopeful for a wet winter ahead. The latest forecasts call for well above average precipitation throughout California this winter. Dynamical models suggest a large-scale atmospheric pressure pattern that is remarkably like that from California’s wettest historical winters (including the 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 El Niño events). Due to an unusually super-warm North Pacific, there’s potential to add even more moisture to the atmosphere this winter. That, along with an increase in storm frequency due to El Niño, makes a case for a very active winter ahead overall. That all said, even a very wet winter is...
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