USARA Nationals 2021_Finish Line-48

Adventure Racing Season Kicks Off, Janja Climbs to 32nd Career Gold, & 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.

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The defending U.S. Adventure Racing Association (USARA) National Champion adventure racers have a new team name but maintained their winning ways at the Berryman Adventure Race over the weekend. Members Mari Chandler, Justin “Biz” Bakken, and Brian Mayer of Team Toyota Tundra won the 18-hour race on Saturday, April 9, their first race together in the 2022 USARA National Point Series and their first race since their win as WEDALI at the 2021 USARA National Championship.

“[The Berryman Adventure Race] was a tough race with good competition, but the course was beautiful,” said Brian Mayer in a post-race interview. “There was ice forming on the boat as we paddled.”

They traveled 92 miles and crossed the finish line in 17 hours 46 minutes. Their next race is the Chasin’ the Bone AR in Greenbush, WI, on the USARA NPS Calendar, and they plan on racing the Maine Summer Adventure Race regional championship.

Olympic gold medalist and climbing’s single most decorated competitor of all time, Janja Garnbret, clinched her 32nd career gold at the IFSC World Cup opener in Meiringen. U.S. star Natalia Grossman claimed silver, and little-known Swiss climber Andrea Kümin took bronze. On the men’s side, Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki and Yoshiyuki Ogata took gold and silver, respectively. France’s Mejdi Schalck took bronze.

To the surprise of some, Garnbret announced that Meiringen will be her last World Cup Boulder competition for the year, though she will return for the Lead competitions later on in the season.

“The Olympics last year were a pretty hard take on physical and mental preparation, so I feel that I need a little time off from comps and this year is the perfect year to do that,” she announced. “I already have [the Olympic Games in] Paris in mind!”

Janja Garnbret (SLO) competes in the women's Boulder final April 9 2022 (photo Jan Virt IFSC)
Janja Garnbret (SLO) competes in the women’s Boulder final on April 9, 2022; (photo/Jan Virt IFSC)

The highest altitude road cycling race in the world took off on April 10. The second annual GFNY Peru road cycling race covered 80 miles and gained nearly 5,700 vertical feet. The event in Cusco is just one of the 30-plus GFNY global cycling events slated for 2022.

GFNY’s whole shtick is that anyone can “be a pro for a day” by participating in a GFNY race. At every GFNY world event, the top 10% of finishers in each age group qualify for the Racer Corral.

2022 GFNY Road Cycling Race Calendar; (image/GFNY)
2022 GFNY Road Cycling Race Calendar; (image/GFNY)

A 34-year-old man was killed in an in-bounds avalanche on Whistler Mountain on Tuesday, April 5. The incident occurred in the West Ridge area of the Whistler Blackcomb resort and involved a reported Size 1 avalanche — putting it between 30 and 100 feet in length with a volume near 3,500 cubic feet.

The snow shed followed a fresh dump of powder late Monday and into early Tuesday, and Avalanche Canada has listed the danger in the area as “considerable,” according to CBC. The man’s identity has not been released.

Legendary alpinist Marc Batard and his team departed Kathmandu for the Everest basecamp on April 8. They aim to forge a new, less dangerous route up Mount Everest, one that bypasses the Khumbu Icefall.

Though less risky, the proposed route is “a serious climb with sustained steepness,” per ExplorersWeb. If successful, Batard, 70, will be the oldest person to summit the world’s highest peak without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Marc Batard atop Everest following his 1988 speed record (photo Wiki Commons)
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The High Fives Foundation’s 7th Annual Retro Shred-A-Thon will come to Winter Park, Colo., April 16. Much like a walk-a-thon, the Shred-A-Thon encourages fundraising through donations and sponsorships of participating individuals and teams. Show up, ski and ride all day, raise funds, plus win prizes while you’re at it. Learn more and sign up here.

The High Fives Foundation focuses on injury prevention and resource provision for athletes and veterans. It has helped more than 400 individuals across the U.S. and Canada since 2009.

This article is sponsored by Toyota. Find out more about the 2022 Toyota Tundra here

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Jilli Cluff

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.