News and notes from the outdoor industry

Climbing Legends Tom Frost and Jeff Lowe Die on Same Day

Photo of Jeff Lowe on Ama Dablam in 1979 taken by Tom Frost.

August 24 was a fateful day for the climbing community as both Tom Frost and Jeff Lowe passed into legend. Frost was 82 when he lost his short battle with cancer at a hospice near his home in Oakdale, CA. He was a Yosemite pioneer in the 1960s, and established some of the most famous routes in the Valley while climbing with Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt, Yvon Chouinard, and others.

Lowe was widely regarded as the finest American alpinist of his generation; he passed at 67. His daughter, Sonja, announced his death on Facebook, writing, “My father, Jeff Lowe, to put it in his words, ‘moved on from this material plane to the next.”

Both climbers were influential in different ways. Tom Frost will always be associated with the Golden Age of Yosemite big wall climbing, while Jeff Lowe was a hardcore alpinist who excelled on dangerous, mixed terrain and frozen waterfalls. Read more at

#SafeOutside Initiative Launched to Combat SHSA

#SafeOutside is an initiative to learn more about the prevalence of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse (SHSA) within the climbing and outdoor community. Sexual harassment and assault exist at local crags, in climbing gyms, and on international expeditions. Organizations from climbing and outdoor communities around the world have joined forces to collect data, drive conversation, share best practices, provide press coverage and address the issues. Learn more at

Equal Pay for Female Surfers

Photo: Fred Pompermayer

In a move that has shocked and inspired the surfing world, the World Surf League announced equal prize money will be awarded to men and women at all WSL controlled events. This will include the Mavericks Challenge to be held this winter at the spectacular big wave break in Half Moon Bay.

Sophie Goldschmidt, the WSL’s first female CEO, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It was simply the right thing to do. We want to be at the forefront of pushing for equality in all walks of life, starting on the waves.”

Bianca Valenti, Co-Founder of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing (CEWS) has been working tirelessly for years for this day and has even faced retaliation for speaking in support of gender equality at Mavericks competitions. Upon hearing the news, Valenti said, “Paying men and women equally is about accountability. I’m glad the WSL is choosing to be on the right side of history.”

Stay tuned for more coverage on this story and the upcoming Mavericks season.

New Lake Tahoe Water Trail Website Keeps Tahoe Safe

Photo: Lake Tahoe Water Trail

The Sierra Business Council has recently  launched a new Lake Tahoe Water Trail website to help paddlers safely navigate Lake Tahoe and practice good stewardship. As the only paddle resource for Lake Tahoe, the site includes a lake access mobile mapping tool and real-time weather conditions. Paddlers can also play it safe by emailing paddle itineraries to friends and family with the “File A Float Plan” tool.

The Lake Tahoe Water Trail is a 72-mile water route along the shoreline that links public launch/landing sites, giving paddlers access to lakeside bistros, historic sites, paddle shops, campgrounds, and lodging. Learn more at

Free Solo Documents Alex Honnold’s Daring Endeavor to Free Solo El Capitan

Photo: National Geographic/Jimmy Chin

Free Solo is a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock — Yosemite’s 3,200-foot El Capitan — without a rope.

The film, created by award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, is an edge-of-your seat thriller. It’s an inspiring portrait of an athlete who challenges both his body and his beliefs on a quest to triumph over the impossible, revealing the personal toll of excellence.

Vasarhelyi and Chin succeed in beautifully capturing deeply human moments with Honnold as well as the death-defying climb, with exquisite artistry and masterful, vertigo-inducing camerawork. Free Solo is due to be released this fall.

Learn more and watch the trailer at Plus, check out our interview with Honnold in our current issue:

Supporting Mavericks Safety and Footage

Photo: Euan Rannachan

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support Powerlines Productions with its PWC (aka Jetski) operational overhead in preparation for the upcoming Mavericks season. Expenses include storage, launch ramp fees, fuel, maintenance, and miscellaneous equipment.

Powerlines, founded by Curt Myers, has been documenting Mavericks from a PWC since the late 1980s and has set the bar for sharing video clips, footage, and water support to the hundreds of surfers that come to enjoy Mavericks from around the world. Powerlines does this at the most soulful level, based on appreciation for the surfers and Mavericks.

If every surfer who has received video clips, pictures or water support from Powerlines gives a little, this campaign will be a success. Even if you just enjoy watching Powerlines footage consider donating a little as it will go a long way towards keeping them in the lineup. Learn more and donate at

1Climb’s New Climbing Wall to Support Los Angeles Children

A brand-new rock climbing wall was recently donated to the Variety Boys & Girls Club in downtown Los Angeles by the non-profit organization 1Climb. The wall serves 2,500 kids of all ages from in and around the Boyle Heights area of LA.

Led by pro climber Kevin Jorgeson, 1Climb’s objective is to introduce 100,000 kids to rock climbing by installing climbing gyms in Boys & Girls Clubs across the US. The Los Angeles facility is the third installment, joining walls in Santa Rosa, CA and St. Louis, MO. Funds were raised by donations from TOMS shoes, So iLL Climbing, and private donors including actor Jason Momoa. Learn more at

Spotlight: Digital Well Being

Earlier this month, Facebook and Instagram announced new tools for users to set time limits on their platforms, and a dashboard to monitor one’s daily use, following Google’s introduction of Digital Well Being features. In doing so the companies seemed to suggest that spending time on the internet is not a desirable, healthy habit, but a pleasurable vice: one that if left uncontrolled may slip into unappealing addiction.

Read more at and stay tuned as we explore the costs vs. the benefits of our increasingly digital lifestyle.