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.
Two of the U.S. Adventure Racing Association (USARA) Regional Championship events took place over the weekend in Georgia and Indiana.
The Blue Ridge AR, hosted by AR Georgia, started at 6 p.m. on Friday night and featured 10-hour and 24-hour versions. Soon after the start, racers were already facing the added challenge of darkness as they navigated the rhododendron-thick hillsides of Northern Georgia, and then bombed down the singletrack of Bull Mountain to a paddle the Toccoa River, and toward the finish in downtown Blue Ridge.
And at the Mission AR in Indiana, GearJunkie’s own Team Toyota Tundra reigned supreme. Team member and GearJunkie founder Stephen Regenold reported:
“The bluff-riddled landscape of southern Indiana served as the venue for a USARA Regional Championship race this past weekend. Teams set off on the Mission AR event to find 30+ checkpoints hidden across a course with trekking, mountain biking, and paddling legs.
“Navigation with compasses (no GPS allowed) on USGS maps proved tough for teams bushwhacking trail-less stretches through the unrelenting topography of the region. Racers faced an 18-hour time limit to find checkpoints and get to the finish line.”
Team Toyota Tundra, including Andrea Larson, Brian Mayer, and Stephen Regenold, managed to take first place overall, clearing the course in 13 hours, 55 minutes on the clock.
“The segmented structure makes it more of a surprise and an adventure,” Mission Race Director Brian Holzhausen said. “You never really know what’s coming up next.”
The biggest challenge of the race was its vertical gain, according to Holzhausen. “People think of Indiana as being flat and a lot of it is, but this area has the steepest terrain in Indiana. There are some shockingly steep hills and ridges that make this race very tough and likely one of the most physical races we’ve had,” he said.
Live coverage and satellite tracking of both races was available courtesy of the 2022 Toyota Tundra, the primary sponsor of USARA.
It’s the Access Fund’s 30th birthday, and to celebrate, the climbing organization is hosting a virtual auction and two in-person events. The auction, which anyone anywhere can take part in, is live from May 9 to 13. A wide range of high-quality climbing gear, apparel, and accessories are up for grabs, and the group is adding new items daily.
Those of you near Denver on Thursday, May 12, can drop in for the 30th Birthday Gym Bash at Movement’s Baker location. Climbing, food trucks, gear demos, cake, and more are on tap. RSVP to the event via Eventbrite.
And to finish off the week, the Fund will host a Friday night dinner. The event is all sold out, but with emcees like Meagan Martin and Tommy Caldwell, it’s sure to be a night attendees won’t soon forget.
Late last week in Seoul, speed climbers smashed the standing men’s and women’s world records. First, Kiromal Katibin of Indonesia reclaimed his status as the fastest speed climber in the world by completing the speed route in 5.17 seconds, an improvement on the previous record by three-hundredths of a second.
Then Aleksandra Miroslaw of Poland beat her own time set at the Olympic Games in Tokyo by slapping the pad with 6.64 seconds on the clock. The time is two-tenths of a second faster than her standing record.
The IFSC event in South Korea wrapped up on May 8, with Natalia Grossman (USA) and Kokoro Fuji (JAP) clinching gold in women’s and men’s bouldering competitions, respectively.
The United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USA Skimo) named 31 athletes to its 2022-2023 National Team. The qualifying races included the ISMF World Cup circuit, USA Skimo National Championships in Vail, Colorado, Wasatch PowderKeg, which was also the Junior National Championships, in Brighton, Utah, and the North American Championships at Kicking Horse, British Columbia, Canada.
USA Skimo is a 501(c)(3) and relies on donations to help support the next generation of ski mountaineers bound for the world stage. Those interested in contributing to the fund can do so at usaskimo.org/donate.
Via Ferrata fans, take note: the route in Ouray, Colorado is officially open for the 2022 season. Located just minutes from downtown Ouray, the Via Ferrata departs from the Ice Park Loop trail, follows the Uncompahgre Gorge, crosses the Uncompahgre River on wire cable bridges, and scales more than 4,000 linear feet of cliff walls.
New this season is the “Upstream” option, which offers more of a technical challenge and should appeal to the more experienced Ferrata enthusiasts. Learn more and book your trip at mountaintrip.com.