PIKES PEAK OPENS TO CYCLISTS YEAR-ROUND
Never underestimate a cyclist’s desire to suffer. When Colorado’s Pikes Peak opened its 19-mile road to riders in September for a trail program, more than 1,000 threw themselves at the 14,115-foot sufferfest. Previously, the road was only open to organized pedaling groups and tours. But now, with riders voting with their sweat, the Forest Service got the message and beginning New Year’s Day the pavement is there for the 7,000 feet of climbing. The only pothole — it costs $10 if you’re over 16 (or you can buy an annual pass). “January is a dry month, so imagine it: a dry road, clear blue sky, snow piled up along the roadway, experiencing that on your bike,” said cycling advocate Al Brody, who plans to ride it first on two wheels and then on one, a unicycle. Via Gazette.com.
FEES FOR SEARCH AND RESCUE? NEW HAMPSHIRE WANTS TO MAKE IT LAW
Hikers, skiers, climbers and anyone else who gets rescued in New Hampshire’s backcountry could be in for hundreds of dollars in fees under new legislation. The amount of the fee could be on a sliding scale based on the cost of the rescue, up to at least $1,000 per incident. The bipartisan law is being spearheaded by a New Hampshire state Senate leader named Jeb Bradley, an avid hiker, who says he’s tired of seeing ill-prepared hikers in sneakers and jeans on snow-covered trails who look to the state to bail them out. “If you’re getting rescued, there should be an expectation you’re going to participate in the cost of that rescue,” he said. State legislators are also looking at an annual hiking pass fee similar to one in Colorado, but in this case it would buy an insurance policy so that cardholders wouldn’t have to pay a rescue fee. New Hampshire officials conducted 954 search and rescue missions over the past six years that cost $1.8 million. Via The Republic.
MOST BEAUTIFUL UNCLIMBED LINE IN PATAGONIA IS CLIMBED
Lise Billon, Pedro Diaz, François Poncet, Jeremy Stagnetto, and Jerome Sullivan have made the first ascent of Sol Naciente, a 3,000-foot pillar on Cerro Murallón in Patagonia, with sections as hard as 5.14c. Rolando Garibotti described the climb on his website Pataclimb.com as “the most beautifully striking unclimbed line in all of Patagonia.” It was attacked using portaledges over nine days, placing 15 bolts, all at belays. Garibotti continues: “This line is remote, completely independent, and darn hard. A truly creative ascent that implies a significant departure. If there was a line in all of Patagonia that begged to be climbed this was the one.” Cerro Murallón was first climbed in 1984 by the Italians Cassimiro Ferrari, Carlo Aldè, and Paolo Vitali via a route which, thanks to its beauty and the style of ascent, is recognised as a historic Patagonian ascent. Via Planet Mountain.
SALAZAR VISITS TAOS TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR NATIONAL MONUMENT
A standing-room-only audience turned out in Taos this weekend overwhelmingly in favor of protecting a huge swath of public lands know as the Rio Grande del Norte, a 236,000-acre chunk of BLM land in the northern part of the state that members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation want given national protection. The lawmakers have introduced legislation that would create a monument on both sides of the Rio Grande Gorge. During the two-hour meeting at the Kachina Lodge with Salazar, dozens of local residents spoke about the environmental and cultural importance of the area. While the legislation has made little progress getting through Congress, Salazar told the Taos News after the meeting that he would be working on determining how best to get some sort of protection in place, be that through legislation or through a presidential proclamation. Via Taos News.