From the inspiring to the tragic, this is GearJunkie’s wrap on exploration and adventure news of the week. Here’s what you missed and a few things to look forward to.
On Feb. 22, two Canadian adventure athletes began their 684-mile ski traverse of Ellesmere Island. The experienced team of Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely plan to complete the trek entirely unsupported and within 40-50 days.
If successful, they’ll be the third contingent to ski the length of Canada’s northernmost island, but the first to do it in such minimalist style, according to ExplorersWeb. It’s been 30 years since anyone has undertaken the Ellesmere Island ski traverse.
A 22-year-old British man is well into his #17marathons17days charity challenge for Alzheimer’s Research U.K. Louis Alexander aims to raise £17,000 in memory of his grandfather, who lived with dementia for 17 years, and he plans to do so by — you guessed it! — running 17 marathons in 17 consecutive days.
By Feb. 27, he’d notched his 12th marathon; that’s 70% to completion, but the charity pot isn’t quite as full. You can support Alexander’s effort from anywhere in the world by donating to his JustGiving fund.
An arrest warrant is pending for former Krabloonik Dog Sledding musher Paul Staples after evidence of animal abuse surfaced last month. “In the video, Staples kicks a dog, pins the dog to the ground, ‘uses a hammer fist’ and ‘stomps’ on the dog and ‘lifts (the dog) into the air slightly before slamming (the dog) into the ground,'” reported The Snowmass Sun.
A recent assessment of the almost 200 dogs held at Krabloonick revealed numerous widespread health issues and Pet Animal Care Facilities Act violations. It isn’t the first time the “adventure travel” company has come under fire for animal abuse and negligence. Authorities first intervened in 2015; in 2017, they charged select Krabloonick personnel with several counts of animal cruelty.
Understandably, many in the Aspen-Snowmass community do not believe the Paul Staples incident is isolated. It’s led some to call for Krabloonik’s closure.
“Closing this inhumane facility is long overdue. These wonderful animals should be released from the prison they are in, found loving homes, and the whole operation needs to be closed permanently,” one community member wrote.
On Feb. 25, two major climbing organizations canceled all events scheduled for Russia. It affects the final two competitions of the 2021/2022 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season, as well as the IFSC Moscow Boulder and Speed World Cup. The decision is in step with the IOC’s call for international federations to move any events from Russia or Belarus to different host nations.
Ride for Ukraine is a humanitarian aid initiative organized by Czech cycling training company ROUVY. Launched on Feb. 25, the campaign will run indefinitely and is open to anyone with an indoor bike trainer, set of wheels, and the ROUVY app.
National Parks officials are celebrating two anniversaries this week. First, Grand Canyon National Park celebrated its 103rd on Feb. 27. And Yellowstone National Park will turn a big ol’ 150 on Mar. 1.
Looking ahead, the World Surf League MEO Pro Portugal Ripcurl Tour is just around the corner. Elite surfers like 50-year-old GOAT Kelly Slater will board up for some of the best waves north of the equator starting March 3. Check out live coverage, interviews, and recaps at worldsurfleague.com.
And the 30th US Extremes skiing championship comes to Mount Crested Butte this week. From March 3 to 6, average powder hounds can carve it up and throw back a few cold ones with some of the world’s best freeskiers.
This year’s wild rumpus is hosted by the Snowsports Foundation, which means proceeds from ticket sales and donations support local snow sports programs for youth. See the reunion weekend schedule and purchase tickets here.