Skiers descending Star Pass as part of the Grand Traverse ski race; (photo T. Robson, CC) adventure news of the week
Skiers descending Star Pass as part of the Grand Traverse ski race; (photo T. Robson, CC)

Ski Teams Tackle CO’s Grand Traverse, Park Ranger Retires at 100, and More Stories to Start Your Week

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.

The Grand Traverse ski race kicked off at midnight on Saturday in Crested Butte, Colo. The course pitted teams of two against 40 miles and 6,800 vertical feet in the state’s Elk Range.

Team Smith-Gaston took first in men’s and overall, arriving at the Aspen finish line with 6:13:15 on the clock. Team Keel-Berino claimed first in women’s, with 10:00:29, and Team LaRochelle-LaRochelle clinched first in the co-ed division with 7:56:25. Results, team interviews, and more are available at thegrandtraverse.org/ski.

National Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin made the news late last year when she turned 100 years old. Last Thursday, after dedicating 16 years of service to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, Ranger Soskin announced her retirement.

In a 2014 interview, she told NPR that she’s “lived ‘lots and lots of lives,’ including writing protest songs during the civil rights movement and working for years in local politics,” experiences she drew from during her tenure at the park.

In 1995, Soskin received the Woman of the Year award from the California Legislature and later received a silver medallion from the WWII Museum in New Orleans.

A celebration of her service will be held at the park on April 16.

And, our least favorite bit to report, but hope we might all learn from — recent fatalities in the outdoors.

First, a 53-year-old hiker perished in Big Bend National Park last Monday, likely due to overheating and dehydration as temperatures in the region are already approaching 100 degrees. The fatality is an early signal to seasoned and new hikers alike: “Hikers should be prepared to carry and drink one gallon of water per day, and to plan on being off desert trails by noon,” the NPS advises.

And Joshua Tree National Park reported its second known climbing fatality in 2022. A failure in equipment and risk assessment is said to be the cause of the 80-foot fall that resulted in the death of a 50-year-old female climber last week.

Those familiar with the incident state that the climber had looped her safety system through a preinstalled nylon webbing at the anchors, which failed. No one knows how long the webbing had been exposed to the harsh desert elements.

The GearJunkie staff extends its deepest condolences to those affected by each loss.

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MTB season is in full swing. The TransRockies Moab Rocks 3-day MTB and XC stage race returned to Utah from April 2 to 4. Stage 1 saw Stephan Davoust claim a narrow first in the pro men’s division and Geoff Kabush take the top spot in Stage 2. Katerina Nash claimed pro women’s first in Stages 1 and 2, and led the field by 7 and 4 minutes, respectively.

SCARPA is winding up to kick off its second annual Athlete Mentorship Initiative (SAMI). The program pairs members of Adaptive/Disabled, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ communities with professional athlete mentors to further inclusion, diversity, and equity within outdoor sports.

In 2021, SAMI successfully saw 31 mentees complete the program, whose goals ranged from preparing to climb Mt. Everest to completing outdoor guide certifications.

Applications for SCARPA’s 2022 program are due April 17. Learn more and apply at us.scarpa.com.


 

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Jilli Cluff
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Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.