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Ice Climbing Crowns Its New Champs, a Kiwi Runner Makes History, & More Stories to Start Your Week

The UIAA Ice Climbing World Championships 2022 at Saas Fee in Switzerland; (Photo/UIAA, Kaspar Kellerhals)
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From the inspiring to the tragic, this is GearJunkie’s weekly wrap-up of top news in the world of exploration and adventure. Here’s what you missed this week and a few things to look forward to.

The 2022 Ice Climbing World Championships kicked off in Switzerland’s Saas-Fee Ice Dome over the weekend. Widely regarded as the most prestigious ice climbing comp of the year, UIAA’s World Championships pit the sport’s best elites against convoluted and long routes. To progress up any of the competition’s climbs requires crampons, ice axes, exceptional endurance, and heightened technical proficiency.

Friday showcased the Speed competition, where Mohsen Beheshti Rad (IRN) and Natalia Savitskaia (RUS) clinched first in men’s and women’s, respectively. Saturday carried the much-anticipated Lead competition, where Ladevant Louna (FRA) and Petra Klinger (CHE) reeled in men’s and women’s gold medals. Check out the Lead finals replay below, then head to the UIAA channel for more.

Stateside, professional sled dogs and their mushers are gearing up for the Idaho Sled Dog Challenge. The Challenge, which is a qualifier for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest, consists of 300-mile and 100-mile races, which are staggered. Teams of very good boys and girls running in the 300-mile race will paw the starting line on Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. MT. Hundred-mile teams will follow suit the next day, Feb. 1, also at 1 p.m. MT. Onlookers can track each team’s progress through the website’s live tracking tool.

Also, the Sled Dog Challenge relies on community donations (goods and monetary alike!) to keep it running. Follow @idahosleddogchallenge and head to idahosleddogchallenge.com, where you can track the teams in real-time.

Downhill skier and Olympic podium contender Breezy Johnson sustained a season-ending knee injury last week. In a post dated Jan. 25, Johnson affirmed her withdrawal from the 2022 Winter Games, which begin on Feb. 4 in Beijing. “I was given the option to try to compete on [the injury],” she explained. “But I don’t think that that is realistic or smart. I could do more damage, and I certainly don’t think I will be skiing my best.”

On Saturday, the indoor track and field season hit its stride right away at the 114th Millrose Games. The series of events drew some of the best runners in the world to New York City’s Armory, where beating PRs seemed to be the theme of the day.

But the headlining record probably goes to New Zealander Nick Willis, who extended a 19-year streak to 20 by running the men’s one-mile race in fewer than 4 minutes (3:59.71, to be exact). His achievement is being hailed as a world-first.

Also remarkable? Alicia Monson’s performance in the women’s 3K race, which she completed in 8:31.62 — a record-breaking time. Her time volleyed the U.S. Olympian to fourth place on the all-time U.S. performers list for the distance.

Guardianship of 523 acres of redwood forestland along California’s Lost Coast was officially returned to Native tribes by a conservation group early last week. The group, Save the Redwoods League, purchased the land in July 2020 with the explicit intention of donating it to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. Once called Andersonia West, the InterTribal Council has renamed the area “Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ,” Sinkyone for “fish run place,” said the League in a press release.

The land transfer is one of several such projects that the League has enabled through the Forever Forest Campaign.

(Photo/Creative Commons)
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