Outdoor News and Notes for the California Region

Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell after free climbing the Dawn Wall on El Capitan (Patagonia).

Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell after free climbing the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. Photo courtesy Patagonia.

First free ascent of the Dawn Wall sent by Caldwell and Jorgeson
Patagonia climbing ambassador Tommy Caldwell and partner Kevin Jorgeson made history free climbing the Dawn Wall, the hardest route up El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. They summited after 19 days on the wall on January 14. Caldwell first conceived the idea of the climb in 2007 and has been working towards it ever since.

The Dawn Wall, considered to be one of the hardest climbs in the world due to its extremely blank face, has never been free climbed.

“When we first climbed the North American Wall on El Cap in 1964, we thought, ‘Well, that proves that any big wall in the world can be climbed.’ We never dreamed they could be climbed all free!” notes Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder and owner. “Sending the Dawn Wall leaves Pope Francis with no choice but to admit our closest relative is the chimpanzee.”

Bay Area skier receives grant for new prosthetic leg
High Fives Foundation awarded over $7,000 to Winter Empowerment Athlete Patrick Lonsdale who lost his leg in a skiing accident. Lonsdale, a resident of Ben Lomond, was skiing at Squaw Valley in January 2013 when he suffered a crash that would change his life forever.

Approaching the Siberia lift, Lonsdale went to stop and his feet came out from under him, causing him to slide into the lift line divider. The crash resulted in a compound tibia / fibula fracture and a severed artery. After seven months of surgeries and battling to keep his leg, Lonsdale had his left leg amputated below the knee in August 2013.

The High Fives Foundation’s Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved a grant for Lonsdale in the amount of $7,700 to be used for a new prosthetic leg from Prosthetic Solutions in Santa Clara.

Since the Foundation’s inception in January 2009, the Winter Empowerment program service has assisted 66 athletes from 19 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 2014, the High Fives Foundation set a budget of disbursing $196,000 via board-approved grants through the Winter Empowerment Fund. For the 2014 calendar year, 28 High Fives athletes and two organizations have been awarded a sum of 38 board-approved grants for a total of $249,000.

High Fives Foundation is a Tahoe-based, national 501.c.3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community. highfivesfoundation.org


Santa Cruz Paddlefest under new management
Almost three decades ago the Santa Cruz Paddlefest (SCPF) was started by Dennis Judson of Adventure Sports Unlimited. In 2014 Judson announced that he was retiring from hosting the event. With a world of expectations surrounding the SCPF, Mathew Hoff (Local International Surf Kayak Competitor) and Dave Grigsby (owner of Kayak Connection) shouldered that weight and decided to keep the contest alive.

Through the years the SCPF has held multiple World Championships for surf kayaking. These events have drawn  competitors from all over the world; Ireland, Scotland, England, Portugal, Basque, Brazil, Costa Rica, Canada, Australia, Jersey, are just to name a few.

Today the event has three distinct classes of surf kayaking: International Class Kayak, High Performance Kayaks and Waveski; as well as a SUP surfing competition at The Lane and a SUP race that starts at Cowells Beach, heads out towards the fabled Steamer Lane, and then loops back towards the Boardwalk.

This year’s event is the weekend of  March 13-15. santacruzpaddlefest.com


Photo courtesy Kevin Joel, TAMBA.

Photo courtesy Kevin Joel, TAMBA.

Global Fat Bike Summit gets land managers and mountain bikers together
The Global Fat Bike Summit presented by QBP and IMBA was just held January 22-25 in Jackson Hole, WY.  The purpose of the summit was to bring together land managers, resort operators and fat bike riders to share information on making groomed riding areas successful.

Representatives of Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) and the Forest Service in Lake Tahoe Basin were in attendance and hope to share some of the knowledge gained with Tahoe resorts interested in accommodating fat bikes.

Several public land managers and resort operators shared their successes of opening groomed Nordic ski trails to multiple use. The preconceptions of trail conflicts and trail damage were non-issues with good planning and signage. Fat biking on groomed singletrack was very popular due to its simplicity of building and the fun factor for the riders.



Live Oak School District’s Shoreline Middle School brings music and charity to Yosemite
Live Oak School District is home to one of the largest music programs in Santa Cruz County. Shoreline Middle School Advanced Band and Piano students participate in a myriad of local fundraising events, and one of the most exciting for the young musicians is sponsored by Yosemite’s Rotary and Lions Clubs.

Every spring Shoreline students travel by bus from the Pacific Coast to the High Sierra with their instruments and sleeping bags in tow. Many of these teens have never had the opportunity to visit this treasured national park. The Yosemite School staff and students, house them overnight in their gym and provide dinner, snacks and their beloved valley to explore. For the last ten years, this journey has been led by Shoreline’s musical director and avid through-hiker, Caleb Murray.

Field trips, performances, hikes in the great outdoors, and visiting other parts of our states—especially national parks—are often not a part of a teenager’s life, which is why Shoreline’s Yosemite trip is so unique. This experience is a life-affirming and transforming event for many who participate; students have the chance to understand that they are part of a world that is larger than themselves. They make beautiful music, fond memories, and help raise funds for Yosemite School. For some Shoreline students, it is the chance of a lifetime to experience Yosemite National Park and by the end of this trip, these musicians come away with a better understanding of charity, teamwork and music as well as nature.



ASJ editor starts radio show dedicated to solar power
ASJ founder and editor Matt Niswonger and ASJ Roadshow manager Steve Shaw have started a radio show devoted to the solar movement in California. Called Solar Uprising, the show airs on Tuesday evenings on KSCO AM 1080 from 8pm to 9pm.

The show explores the booming solar movement in California as well as the technology, environmental, and economic aspects of the story. “Many people hear all the solar ads on TV and wonder what all the fuss is about. Solar Uprising delves into the deeper story and how solar is transforming California on many levels,” said host Matt Niswonger. “As California stares into the teeth of one of the worst droughts in state history, rooftop solar is a way to mitigate our collective carbon footprint while aknowledging that energy reform is the most important part of any efforts to address man made climate change.”

So far guests on the radio show have included Santa Cruz solar companies like Solar Technologies and Allterra Solar, with plans to include climate experts in the works. For more information check out facebook.com/solaruprising.