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.
Bummer start to the season for gravel cycling extraordinaire and up-beat chiller Payson McElveen. The reigning Mid South 100 champ looked primed to win Saturday’s race until a rut at mile 90 sidelined him with a fractured collar bone and thumb.
Almost predictably, McElveen took to Instagram with an upbeat sense of humor shortly after the collision, joking that he’d “give this weekend one frail thumb up” and thanking his fiancée, Nichole Baker, for being his social media “ghostwriter.”
Winning this year’s Mid South 100-miler were Cole Paton in the men’s division and Lauren De Crescenzo in women’s.
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Busy week in the world of climbing; here’s just some of went down (or up, technically speaking).
First, the kind of info you hate to report — on March 6, one climber was killed and another critically injured while attempting to summit the West Face of Mt. Hood. Per the local sheriff’s office, Pradnya Mohite and Lei Wang fell some 200 feet from the Leuthold Couloir. Mohite perished in the accident. Though immobilized, Wang was able to signal for help via his Garmin inReach device.
Winds up to 70 mph and two avalanches pushed search and rescue efforts into late Monday night. Wang was airlifted to a nearby hospital.
“Mt. Hood is … completely exposed to the weather and the elements with no buffer at all, and so the mountain is dangerous,” volunteer rescuer Dr. Christopher Van Tilburg told Climbing. “My recommendation is don’t be a first-time alpine climber on Mt. Hood; go guided.”
In lighter news, British climber Hazel Findlay sent her first 5.14d sport climb, “Esclatamasters,” in Lleida, Spain. She’s only the second British woman and one of the very few female climbers in the world to climb the grade.
“Esclatamasters” (9a/5.14d) is but the latest mega feat in Findlay’s decade-long climbing career. She’s ticked some of the hardest big wall routes in Yosemite, nabbed the overall FA of Squamish trad line, “Tainted Love” (5.13d R), and became the first lady Brit to send E9 trad.
Meanwhile, in Austria …
Olympic gold medalist Janja Ganbret bagged her first outdoor V14 boulder. The highball problem, “Bügeleisen,” became the world’s second V14 when Klem Loskot established it in 2001, and only one boulder, Fred Nicole’s “Dreamtime,” V15, was harder.
Ganbret also became the first woman to onsight 5.14b in November 2021.
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The California Outdoor Hall of Fame recently announced a legend-studded list of inductees for 2022. See the lineup below, and then head to cohof.org for more information about each inductee’s accomplishments in and contributions to the great outdoors:
- Heather Anderson – Renowned ultrarunner, thru-hiker, mountain athlete, and 2019 Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year. Anderson holds the overall self-supported Fastest Known Time (FKT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), as well as the female self-supported FKT on both the Appalachian Trail (AT) and Arizona Trail. Notably, she’s the only woman to have completed the AT, PCT, and Continental Divide National Scenic Trail three times each.
- Jessie Benton Frémont – Key player in the establishment of Yosemite National Park. Adventure Journal writes: “In 1864 at the height of the Civil War, following her personal entreaties … Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, the first instance of land being set aside specifically for its preservation and public use by a national government.”
- Bill Jennings – Celebrated angler and advocate for fishery conservation. Jennings has received a litany of awards and recognition for his wildlife advocacy.
- Greg LeMond – Multitime Tour de France winner (and the only recognized American TdF champion) and Olympic cyclist. After retiring from racing, he founded LeMond Cycles and LeMond Composites — cycleries that were (and continue to be) key players in the carbon fiber revolution. In 2020, LeMond expanded into electric carbon fiber bikes.
- Bob Simms – Decades-long radio host of The Outdoor Show with Bob Simms. Simms uses his media pulpit to advocate for wildlife conservation and stewardship, public lands access, and sustainable resource management. His show has long served as more than just an outdoor news special — it’s also a thorough resource for anglers, backcountry trekkers, campers, hikers, and hunters.
Powder season is still in session, and the 2022 Red Bull Raid is here for it. On Friday, March 18, hardcore mountain athletes from all over will coalesce at Palisades Tahoe resort. Red Bull describes the Raid as “part hike-your-line sufferfest, part big-mountain freeriding” and “the most complete snowsports competition in the Sierra.”
Learn more and, if you dare, sign up to schlep it up and down the mountainside at redbull.com/red-bull-raid-2022.