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  1. a quickie translation follows. Looks like South American journalists are no better than their N American counterparts at getting all the details right. Plus this was as told by Skoog's Canadian companion to the police, who in turn told the reporter, so garbling is quite possible. =========================================== A NORTH AMERICAN DIES SKIING ON EL MERCEDARIO In the 26th squadron of the Gendarmerie, there is no record of any similar action on El Mercedario, the fourth-highest peak in America. Therefore, the version of a fatal accident to a north american alpinist while skiing in the most dangerous sector of that mountain, the south face with very vertical stretches, is limited to this: one account, of the surviving canadian, which ought to be recorded with other evidence. This Canadian, identified as Allxn René Crawshaw, 33 years old, said that after two successful descents, of this risky slope, they tried a third ski descent, and it was then that his companion suffered an accident, and crashed with his head against a rock formation, said sources close to the investigation. The victim was identified as Carl Warren Skoog, 46 years of age. The mishap occurred last monday around midday, but the news arrived tuesday afternoon to the 26th police detachment, via the Canadian. Yesterday, very early, a group of seven experts from the detachment left in vehicles toward the patrol base Santana which is about 70 kilometers south of the headquarters, explained the chief of the detachment yesterday, commander Eduardo Miguel Paludi. According to Paludi, once his men get to their base, they will continue some 3,400 meters on muleback to the cerro Mercedario base. From there, they will continue on foot to the place where the body is supposed to be, an area of the south face near the encampment at around 4,000 meters of elevation, said the commandant. Sources said that Crawshaw and Skoog arrived at Barreal on october 2nd, and left for the mountain the other day. Their stated objective--for many, madness--was to descend that dangerous slope on skis, which during the winter, and until the date, is covered in ice because it receives no sunlight, explained local alpinists. The Canadian apparently told the investigators that they had intended to finish the expedition today. Those who are following the case closely are sure that the foreigners were experienced. But in the Gendarmerie they also believe that the tourists lacked a good assessment of the real conditions on the south face. "It seems that they evaluated the mountain through internet pages, but that information must be complemented, or confirmed with other information. It is advisable to arive at the headquarters of the 26th squadron of Gendarmerie and consult. The season for alpinism generally extends from the second half of november to the end of february", explained Paludi yesterday. The commandant assured that the rescue experts expect to spend two days arrving at the accident site, and another two in returning. When they ascend, they will collect the body as soon as they gather all the evidence, so that a forensic doctor can confirm the cause of death. With all this evidence, the third [some official title or other] will decide if it was an accidental death or a criminal act.
  2. If it's not an official current trail, which it's not, this is illegal. Equivalent to building your own trail, also illegal. In practice, you are not likely to be caught. But why do it? There are reasons for such prohibitions. It's not like you can't get there with the gate closure. It's just marginally less convenient. BFD.
  3. Burntboot Creek, unbridged on the Middle Fork trail, can be a significan obstacle at high water. In addition, I expect a road walk, or ride, is probably faster and more idiot-proof than a trail walk, or ride of equivalent length. But essentially I agree with you. It's a questionable use for that much money. I speculate that implicitly is is a sweetener or quid-pro-quo to Goldmyer to get them to go along with the closure. Not that anybody would admit that.
  4. You forgot about keeping warm in blizzards by slitting open their bellies and diving into the entrails. If movies are to be believed, this is pretty common...
  5. Nah. The parts of climbing that are really growing are the "safe" parts--bolted sport climbing--rather than the more arduous and dangerous parts, like alpine climbing. And as for "adventure travel", that's a laugh. "adventure travel" is all about the appearance or fashion of risk without the actuality. Bungee jumping? c'mon. Most truly high-risk activities are spectator sports, not participant sports.
  6. Thanks for the pics. Your evidence seems conclusive. I was relying on stuff on their website, which mentioned 4 checkpoints, the highest of which was 5500'. It could be that they fiddled with the route to make it more sporting after the Easton glacier excursion was scrubbed. If they did, somebody's probably bitterly regretting it about now. The skill requirements of getting up and down a 3rd/4th class scramble are arguably onsiderably higher than a glacier stroll, even if you don't get to use sharp-pointed equipment.
  7. It looks like the route didn't go to the top of Ilabot, but to 5500'. The top is 5944'. No ropes involved, certainly not more than 3rd class terrain. The guy was killed by a rock, set rolling by one of the other members of his party. It's the kind of mishap that actual mountain climbers get very attuned to avoiding instinctually, since they have moved on so much chossy rock and talus. Compare the amount of talus that a novice sends rolling down a loose gully compared to someone who'se been doing it for a long time. Was it participant error? Don't know, but I kind of suspect that inexperience played a part. I mean, they didn't check the participants for knowing how to move on talus. My original assesment of the route was that it was essentially a very long, sleep-deprived endurance race, heavy on the logging road mountain biking, with some amount of garnish of other activities added, largely so that, as at a fashion show, and a bid to widen the sponsor base, the participants could model various sorts of gear. The skill requirements as regards paddling and climbing were purposely kept really low. What climber would regard jugging up a rope as an appropriate test of mountains skills? And those kayaks they were paddling, my god, what tubs. Real beginner boats, graceless and slow, but forgiving of skill deficits. And I suspect that the participants are largely endurance athletes and triathlete sorts. Of course they will not cancel the race. They will make some pious throat clearing, and then they will come to the conclusion that "he would have wanted the race to continue". And in fact, it's probably marketing gold, exactly the sort of stuff to give the race the enticing patina of real risk, which has largely been designed out of it. In case you think this is a "citizen's race", it costs $7500 per team to enter. There is one actual off-trail thrash segment of this race, which goes S along the W bank of the Sauk from the whitechuck crossing, and turns up the swift creek valley, to reach the Twin peaks-Forgotten saddle, over a shoulder of twin peaks, and out the Buck creek valley to the S Fk stilly. Upper Swift creek is pretty brushy. I think one could get good entertainment value sitting up on twin peaks for a couple of days watching the hapless contestants blundering around in the brush.
  8. estivate


    Uh, exactly what Pacific Crest Trail would you be referring to? It certainly isn't the one in Washington state. "won't see anyone for days and days". right, that's a good one. Constructed flagged route or trail access leads to more people, and more usage. Lots more. That ought to be an entirely obvious and non-controversial statement.
  9. estivate


    "leave no trace" says it all. Don't flag. Don't make trails. Don't mark routes. No exceptions. They destroy wilderness values and encourage concentrated use. If you can't find your way around without marked routes, there's a new skill you need to master. The absence of a flagged route can make it harder to find your way there and back. It can cost you time. You might not get to your objective. You might get back late. So? That's what wilderness climbing is about. If you don't like it, pick a more accessible objective. There are plenty out there. I remove flagging wherever and whenever I find it on public lands.
  10. Nah, they can't rebuild on the original alignment because it is now river. They want to put it up the hillside, which is decidedly NOT stable. I bet you haven't walked the flagged re-route alignment. It's not short, it's a half-mile of new road, through old forest, over a good deal of steep ground. Most everybody who does walk that road alignment thinks its a bad idea, even if they didn't think so before they looked.
  11. looks like rattlesnake orchid, goodyera oblongifolia The recommendation by others for the Pojar and MacKinnon book is a good one. By far the best EZ field guide for W side plants.
  12. Nothing wrong with the Downey Creek trail. The FS just says it's inaccessible because the road bridge across Dwoney ck at the trailhead is out. But you can 1) get onto the bridge span with a ladder that someone placed there, or 2) ford downey creek. Remember, FS's opinion of what is dangerous or impossible is not to be taken seriously. It's not calibrated for the capable.
  13. I believe some intrepid soul put up a makeshift walkway or ladder to the bridge deck from what's left of the embankment, so this may be a complete non obstacle, with no fording or log-walking needed. But no guarantees of course.
  14. Still a big question mark. Why. Do you want it to be? The lower washout, at mile 14, will be fixed more permanently. The Suiattle bridge, the one that goes to rattrap pass and is of little interest to climbers, may never be re-built.
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