Ear to the Ground: Issue 103

News & notes from the outdoor industry


Southern California’s Big Rock Re-Opens to Climbing
adventure news

Photo: Suzanne Steiner

After being closed to climbing for nearly four years, Big Rock at Lake Perris State Park is again open. Southern California climbers have visited the area since the 1950s, but it was closed to all forms of recreation during the Perris Dam remediation project.

The Access Fund worked with Southern California Mountaineers Association (SCMA) and local climbers to ensure the integrity of the rock feature was maintained during the four-year construction project. In March, the organizations hosted an “Adopt a Crag” event to clean up trails prior to the area being reopened to the public.

Over the course of this summer and early fall, a dedicated group of volunteers will work with Access Fund, SCMA, and American Safe Climbing Association to replace aging bolts at the historic crag. With this area being closed to climbing for several years, the current condition of bolts and rock is unknown. Climb and use bolts at your own risk, and use your best judgment. Bolt replacement is expected to be completed by this fall.

Mammoth Mountain Allows Full Access to E-Bikes
adventure news

Photo: Peter Morning

The United States Forest Service (USFS) has approved e-bike usage in the Mammoth Bike Park, making it the first bike park on USFS land to allow complete e-bike access on all trails, lifts and gondolas within the park. This historic turn of events will make the park more accessible to more riders. Learn more in our Q&A with Mammoth Mountain’s marketing manager Gabe Taylor here.

Speed Climber Hans Florine Injured in El Cap Fall
adventure news

Photo: Hans Florine’s Facebook

World-renowned speed climber Hans Florine was rescued from Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan by helicopter Friday after spending a chilly night on top of the famous rock when he fell and injured both legs.

Rescuers reached Florine and his climbing companions by helicopter Friday morning because it was too late and too dark to do so Thursday evening, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said.

Florine, 53, and partner Alex Honnold set a speed-climbing record in 2012 for ascending the vertical Nose route of El Capitan in two hours and 23 minutes. The record was beaten in 2017.

“Hans taught me much of what I know about the Nose, and about speed climbing in general, and the idea of him being in so much pain on his most beloved route really saddens me,” Honnold wrote on Instagram.

Follow Florine’s recovery here.

Webber Lake Campground Opens to Public

Less than an hour north of the hustle and bustle of Lake Tahoe, the serene Webber Lake Campground is open to the public for the first time in many years. Quietly sitting unnoticed for a century, spectacular forests, meadows and wildlife thrive, and surrounding peaks and ridges give the small lake a secluded feel.

The 45-site campground, now owned and operated by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, offers access to hiking, fishing, paddling and cycling. It’s the perfect base camp to explore nearby Perazzo Meadows, Mt. Lola, Independence Lake, the Pacific Crest Trail, Webber Falls and Sierra Valley.

“Webber Lake is a really special place, and once you’ve spent a couple nights there, you’ll understand why,” said Perry Norris, executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. “We’ve been eyeing this property for 20 years — we’d heard stories about it, but it was more on our fantasy wish list than a realistic acquisition.”

Learn more at here.

High Fives Foundation Hosts Adaptive Mountain Bike Camp
adventure news

Photo courtesy High Fives

Truckee-based High Fives Foundation hosted its first adaptive mountain bike camp in April, taking five adaptive athletes to Moab, Utah to ride the region’s renowned high desert terrain and slick rock. Each of the five athletes were paired with a coach who oversaw their safety.

Jeff Robertson, High Fives Foundation’s camp director and founder of Le Grand Adventure tours, mapped out the rides and handled logistics. He says, “Our first Moab adaptive mountain bike camp was not only a huge success for the athletes but it opened up new doors for next year’s camp. Next year we’ll look to bring on more athletes and provide opportunities for new people to start mountain biking again.”

In 2018, the High Fives Foundation will host ten camps helping up to 86 individuals get back to the following passions: mountain biking, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, fly fishing and camping.

Learn more here.

Glenwood Preserve Trails Project Moves Forward
adventure news

Photo courtesy MBOSC

Three miles of new public multi-use trails are coming to the western portion of the Glenwood Open Space Preserve in Scotts Valley. The Scotts Valley City Council recently approved a plan that will provide local schools and the community a new resource for recreation and connection with the environment. The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, responsible for stewarding the property, has partnered with local mountain biking trail stewardship organization Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) to perform the trail design and construction.

“We are excited to bring new, fun, and sustainable trails to the Scotts Valley community,” says Drew Perkins, MBOSC Trails Program Director. “These trails will be a great recreational resource for local hikers, runners, and mountain bikers, and they will provide Scotts Valley High School with an ideal, safe place for their cross country and mountain biking teams to practice and train.”

Trail work volunteers are welcome; training will be provided. Learn more here.

Free Skills Clinics Offered at Enduro Race Events
adventure news

Photo: Called To Creation

California Enduro Series (CES) has teamed up with pro rider Brian Astell again this year to offer free skills coaching and course previews. Astell will lead group pre-rides of each course and help racers with line selection and riding technique. He will also advise on training, nutrition and fitness.

Astell says, “I’m excited to be at all the CES races this season. Sharing the love of health, fitness, nutrition and the outdoors is what drives me everyday when I get out of bed. Conquering challenging terrain takes more than just skill and more than just fitness. It’s a precise combination of both. I can teach you how.”

CES Director Steve Gemelos says, “Our series is all about getting more riders out racing enduro, and feeling confident in doing so. It’s great having Brian’s generous support at our races.”

Learn more about California Enduro Series here and Astell’s mountain bike skills clinics here.

REI to Donate up to $1 Million to National Forest Foundation

As part of a multi-year partnership with the National Forest Foundation (NFF), REI will donate up to $1 million to the nonprofit in 2018. Funds will support 11 projects that steward the country’s National Forests and Grasslands and restore access in areas damaged by natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes.

The partnership is part of a larger effort to invest in nonprofits and community organizations that share the REI mission to protect public lands and ensure access to the outdoors for all, said the retailer. In the past year, REI invested $8.8 million in 400 nonprofits across the country.

“The National Forest Foundation is a vital partner in our work to invest in the future of the outdoors and to make our public lands more accessible for all,” says Taldi Walter, REI community and government affairs manager. “While our national forests are enjoyed by millions of Americans every year, trail restoration and maintenance can lag when natural disasters or other environmental factors cause damage. We’re grateful for partners like the National Forest Foundation who make trail maintenance, restoration and access a priority.”

National forests offer more than 158,000 miles of multi-use trails and 4,300 campgrounds in 43 states.

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