Ear to the Ground : Issue 104

News and notes from the outdoor industry


Yosemite Legend and Five Ten Founder Charles Cole Dies

The founder of the climbing shoe company Five Ten, Charles Cole III, died at his home in Redlands, California on July 14 at age 63. Cole was a bold Yosemite climber with multiple El Cap first ascents and also held two college degrees — one in mechanical engineering and the other in business. When Cole was 30 his father died and he knew he had to do something to help support his family.

Cole turned to his love of climbing and what he had learned in engineering and business school to invent what Five Ten is famous for — Stealth Rubber.  This new compound was durable and sticky, perfect for climbing on slick rock. Stealth Rubber has come to be regarded as one of the stickiest rubber formulas in the world and Five Ten is now, in addition to the climbing industy, one of the leaders in the mountain biking category.

Cole is survived by his wife and three children.

Charles Cole, photo courtesy Five Ten.


California’s Proposition 68 Approved

Proposition 68 authorizes the state of California to borrow $4.1 billion for investments in outdoor recreation, land conservation and water projects. The measure passed with 56 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. The measure lets California issue general obligation bonds to fund parks in underserved neighborhoods and provide money for flood-prevention and clean drinking water projects. It also includes $200 million to help preserve the state’s largest lake, the Salton Sea, which has been evaporating since San Diego’s regional water agency stopped sending it water.


GU Energy Labs Leads Death Ride Clean Up

“When it comes to trash, GU Energy Labs likes to put its money where its mouth is, which means putting waste where it belongs,” says Yuri Hauswald, the sports nutrition company’s community development manager.

Four years ago, Hauswald launched the Death Ride post-event “clean up ride” with the help of fellow cyclist Colby Pastore and some junior Bear Development Team riders Hauswald sponsored.

This past weekend, Hauswald again led clean up efforts, scouring the course with four teams that collected eight bags of trash. Hauswald noted that most of the trash “was NOT left by cyclists.”

With Deathride event organizers being consistent in their messaging about litter, and riders becoming more responsible and conscientious with their sports nutrition waste, the amount of trash collected after the event has been diminishing over the years.

Photo courtesy Yuri Hauswald.


Californians Vote for Cycling License Plate Design

California cycling enthusiasts can chime in on the design featured on a new DMV California Specialty License Plate (SLP) promoting cycling in California.

Funds generated will benefit the California Department of Public Health’s Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB). Funds will be awarded as grants to state-wide coalitions, community-based organizations, non-profit organizations and county health departments that promote cycling as “a form of physical activity with an emphasis in physical literacy and in relation to the prevention of chronic disease.” Grants will also focus in creating safe places to ride bikes, earn-a-bike programs for at risk youth, cycling as an alternative mode of transportation and safety education for cyclists and drivers of automobiles.

Take the survey and learn more about this project here.

Lindsay Overton and Kendall Overton. Photo: Kevin Shannon


Hopper Adventures Gives Back to Lost Coast

Cycling race organizer Hopper Adventures has committed to making its Usal Hopper event “carbon neutral” by planting 200 redwood trees in the Usal Redwood Forest. Founder Miguel Crawfords says, “I’ve always believed in the importance of viewing the social and environmental impact of our travel and recreation. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world and need to make the connection between our lifestyles and the impact on carbon emissions.”

Crawford points out that the planting of the trees will offset the carbon footprint of 125 people driving to and from the Bay Area. “What better way for a ‘carbon credit/tax’ than to plant trees in our own backyard!”

The Usal Hopper is presented by Hopper Adventures in partnership with Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. (RFFI) and Usal Redwoods, and offers a unique opportunity to ride this remote area in Northern California’s “Lost Coast.”

Learn more about the event here.

Coastal redwoods.


Patagonia and Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Expand Partnership

Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (SBTS) recently announced an expanded partnership with Patagonia, Inc., including environmental support grants, employee volunteer trail days and signing on as a major sponsor of the 23rd Annual Downieville Classic mountain bike race on August 3-5, 2018.

Patagonia’s Reno Service Center has been a long-time supporter of SBTS, organizing volunteer work days with their employees as well as awarding annual environmental grants. In addition to being the Adopt-a-Trail sponsor of Long Lake Connector trail since 2010, last fall Patagonia awarded SBTS a $13,500 grant to conduct watershed protection and habitat restoration in the Lakes Basin region of the Plumas National Forest – Beckwourth Ranger District.

Read the full story about this partnership here.

Patagonia team, photo courtesy Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship.


Chantel Astorga Joins Mountain Equipment Team

Mountain Equipment — designer and manufacturer of outdoor apparel and accessories — recently welcomed Chantel Astorga to their pro athlete team. Astorga follows an illustrious line-up of alpinists who have chosen to work with the iconic British climbing brand throughout their 57 year history including Nick Bullock, Andy Parkin and Stephen Venables.

Described as currently one of the best female alpinists in the world, Astorga has a list of ascents from Alaska to the Himalaya to Yosemite that stand out not just for their difficulty but also for their style and levels of commitment.

Her impressive feats include first female ascents of routes on Denali as well as the first female link up of El Cap and Half Dome. She previously held the women’s speed record on the Nose and she has climbed El Cap alone 19 times in all including the first female solo of Mescalito.

Read more about Astorga in our profile here.

Chantel Astorga, photo courtesy Mountain Equipment Team.


REI Invests Over $600,000 in Rewilding Five US Cities

Five US cities will see urban and suburban areas transformed into areas for outdoor recreation, thanks in part to more than half a million dollars in grant funding from REI this year.

REI is investing a total of $603,000 in nonprofit partners, as part of the co-op’s rewilding efforts to provide better access to the outdoors in cities. This year’s investment marks the third year of a multi-year effort to increase outdoor recreation opportunities in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Since 2015, the co-op has contributed over $1.6 million to rewilding efforts.

“With our rewilding grants, our goal is to reimagine how people connect with the outdoors while living in large metropolitan areas,” said Kristen Ragain, REI philanthropy and community partnership manager. “As more of the population moves to urban areas, and cities continue to develop, it’s important to ensure there are outdoor spaces for people to enjoy the rewards and benefits of a life outdoors.”

Since 2015, REI has partnered with local nonprofits to help city-dwellers reconnect with nature. REI funds have supported the rewilding projects in Los Angeles (San Gabriel Mountains National Monument) and San Francisco (the Bay Area Ridge Trail).

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