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 from Republicans who are concerned about the the Act encroaches on states’ rights and is unfair to landowners, among other concerns.

The ESA has saved the bald eagle, the California condor, the gray wolf, the black footed ferret, the American alligator and the Florida manatee from likely extinction.


Big Sur Marathon Course Not Affected by Highway 1 Closure

Storms that wreaked havoc on Highway 1 in California this winter will not affect the 26.2-mile route of the April 30 Big Sur International Marathon (BSIM). Multiple mudslides, shoulder collapses and irreversible structural damage to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge are all significant issues on the highway between the Big Sur Village south towards the San Luis Obispo County line. The marathon start line, however, is a half mile north of the road closure, allowing the iconic race to be held as planned.

Named as one of the world’s top destination races, the BSIM draws runners from all 50 states and more than two dozen countries. The organization has set up a fundraising page for race participants and others to voluntarily contribute to the Big Sur relief, via the Coast Property Owners Association, a 501(c)3 organization. Learn more and donate at crowdrise.com/bsim-bigsurrelieffund.


Tepui Tents Awarded Rooftop Tent Design Patent

Tepui Tents, a leading manufacturer of rooftop tents and a long time supporter of ASJ, announced it was awarded a utility patent for its innovative rooftop tent system. “Tepui has always been at the forefront of innovation for roof top tents and we couldn’t be more pleased to have been issued a patent on our Zipper Gimp. Our newest innovation will forever change the way our customers purchase roof top tents,” says John Griffith, Director of Sales and Marketing. The new patented Zipper Gimp system couples the tent’s base with the tent’s canopy allowing for interchangeable sheltering systems. The Zipper Gimp system will roll out to Tepui’s entire product line over the coming year. Tepui tents are available at Tepuitents.com and retailers nationwide.


Red Rock Suffers Setback in Fight Against Urban Sprawl

Photo: Tom Moulin

Hundreds of residents gathered at the Clark County courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 22 to testify in opposition to developer Jim Rhodes’ plan to build more than 5,000 homes on property adjacent to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. A majority of the County Commission ignored the overwhelming outcry from the public, disregarded testimony from experts, and voted 5-2 to allow Rhodes to proceed with his proposal. Grassroots organization Save Red Rock is determined to continue their battle to preserve the area, which is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts across the globe.

Learn more at SaveRedRock.com.


Freeskier Josh Daiek Bags Second Tahoe Ten Expedition

Professional freeskier and South Lake resident Josh Daiek recently bagged his second Tahoe Ten expedition, along with snowboarder Abe Greenspan. The Tahoe Ten links up multiple Lake Tahoe summits with steep technical skiing, powder, ice, and everything in-between, all the while racking up on 10,000 feet of vertical. Read a Q&A with Daiek online and watch the edit of his journey at adventuresportsjournal.com/josh-daiek.


Margo Hayes Becomes First Woman to Climb 5.15

Photo: Greg Mionske

On February 26th Margo Hayes of Boulder Colorado became the first female to break into the coveted 5.15 club when she clipped the chains on La Rambla in Siurana, Spain. Hayes, 19, spent the last year climbing over a dozen routes rated 5.14 or harder to solidify her technique and put her in a position to surpass many of the strongest climbers in the world by ticking a consensus 5.15a. In 2016 Hayes won Climbing Magazine’s Golden Piton award for her meteoric rise  in sport climbing.


High Fives Awards Empowerment Grants

Photo: Trevor Clark

The High Fives Foundation is awarding Tahoe residents Taylor Fiddyment, Jason Abraham, and Jeff Andrews board-approved Empowerment Grants totaling $14,820 to aid in their respective recoveries.

High Fives supports injured mountain sports athletes through grant funding to be used towards reaching their recovery goals. Since the High Fives Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment program service has assisted 146 athletes from 27 states in nine respective funding categories which include: living expenses, insurance, travel, health, healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, programs and “stoke” (positive energy, outlook and attitude).

In January 2017 the High Fives Foundation disbursed over $35,000 in board-approved grants to ten athletes in five states.

Learn more at highfivesfoundation.org.


Bell Expands Joy Ride Women’s Mountain Bike Program

Following the Bell Joy Ride program’s broad success across the country in its initial year, Bell has expanded the program from eight to 12 markets for 2017, helping continue its mission to get more women mountain biking. Created for all women who love mountain biking, the Bell Joy Ride program continues its mission with the addition of six new ambassadors and four new regions.

“In only the first year of the program, everyone involved at Bell has been amazed by the dedication, growth and enthusiasm of the Joy Ride ambassadors,” said Heather Cooper, Brand Director for Bike and Powersports at Bell. “As Joy Ride moves forward at full-speed, the team can’t wait to see what 2017 holds.”

Bell provides ambassador support that includes a guidebook, digital tool kits, promotional gear, and budget to empower and cultivate riding programs in their local areas.

Learn more about the Bell Joy Ride program and its 2017 ambassadors at bellhelmets.com.


OluKai Partners with REI Outessa to Adventures for Women

Lifestyle footwear OluKai today announced its sponsorship of REI Outessa, a series of immersive, three-day outdoor adventures designed to connect women with the outdoors in a supportive learning environment. Now in its second year, these women’s getaways are filled with activities and inspiration, offer access to coveted gear and products, serve up great food and wine, and create the environment for making new friends and lasting memories. The three summer events in California, Oregon and New Hampshire help women be their sweatiest, dirtiest, happiest selves.

Learn more at REI.com/Outessa.


California Enduro Series Announces CES Live!

Photo: Called To Creation

The California Enduro Series (CES) announced the debut of CES Live!, a live race tracking system featuring live race results, live Instagram feed, and live Twitter feed to follow all the CES race action as it unfolds.

Celebrating its fifth year, the series introduces two new venues and welcomes back an old favorite from the 2015 lineup. The upcoming season also sees the return of the successful Golden Tour with a $24,000 cash purse for Pro categories. ASJ is a proud founding sponsor of the California Enduro Series. Check out the 2017 race lineup at californiaenduroseries.com.


Chris Bertish SUPs across Atlantic

Photo: Brian Overfelt

On March 9th South African surfer Chris Bertish pulled off one of the most remarkable feats of human determination, perseverance and sheer grit of all time. The 4,000 mile journey alone on a paddleboard took Bertish 93 days on a specially customized board with a front hatch that allowed for sleeping. Bertish averaged 44 miles a day – mostly at night to avoid exposure to the sun – and alternated between resting and paddling every two or three hours.

“You can feel very inconsequential at sea,” Bertish told the New York Times. “When that happens, you have to tune in and get in sync with what’s around you and go with the flow. Bertish won the 2010 Mavericks big wave competition.

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