Yosemite Rockfall Alters El Capitan, Monarchs Make a Comeback, and 6 More Stories to Start Your Week


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Home » Adventure » Yosemite Rockfall Alters El Capitan, Monarchs Make a Comeback, and 6 More Stories to Start Your Week

A weekly wrap-up of adventure news. From the inspiring to the tragic, here’s some of what you missed and a few things to look forward to.

Big changes in Yosemite this week. First, reports that a major rockfall has forever altered a climbing route on the Valley’s iconic El Capitan. The route in question is called ‘Plastic Surgery Disaster,’ a well-respected, extremely sketch big-wall climb.

Yosemite climbers familiar with the route believe that the rockfall wiped out a crucial, surfboard-sized flake on pitch six. The slough was captured and posted to Facebook by Valley climber Scott Eubank.

And Yosemite officials have closed three major campgrounds for long-term remedial work: Tuolumne Meadows, Bridalveil Creek, and Crane Flat. It’s unclear how long the restoration will last, but the park estimates Tuolumne Meadows will remain shuttered through 2023 or 2024.

California’s monarch butterfly population is on the rebound in a major way. A recent report by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation indicates that more than 50,000 monarchs have arrived at overwintering sites, up from just 2,000 this time last year.

“This is certainly not a recovery but we’re really optimistic and just really glad that there are monarchs here and that gives us a bit of time to work toward recovery of the Western monarch migration,” Xerces’s endangered species director, Sarina Jepsen told AP.

Charles F. Sams III Confirmed as First Native American Director of the National Park Service

The U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Charles “Chuck” Sams to serve as the first Indigenous National Park Service Director in the agency’s 105-year history. Read more…

The 2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail took off over the weekend. Its course winds up, down, and over 72 miles of the Portugues archipelago and gains 23,000 vertical feet. Both the men’s and women’s divisions saw a 40-minute spread between first and second finishers.

Hannes Namberger broke the tape with a baffling time of 14:00:36. Hillary Allen took her decisive lead just 8.7 miles in, crossing the finish line with 17:18:26 on the clock. Check out iRunFar’s in-depth coverage of this year’s Madeira Island Ultra-Trail, including pre- and post-race interviews with the ultramarathon’s stars.

Hillary Allen took women’s top podium at the 2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail on Nov. 20; (photo/Bryon Powell for iRunFar)

An unseasonably late forest fire claimed the life of an aerial firefighter and thrashed a community near Estes Park this week. The pilot of the single-engine air tanker was dispatched to the area Tuesday evening on a first-of-its-kind nighttime aerial mission.

The Kruger Rock Fire was first reported on Nov. 16 at 6:50 a.m. local time; 12 hours later, the fire had consumed 133 acres and was 15% contained. Later investigations revealed high winds had blown a tree into a nearby powerline, igniting the burn. On Nov. 19, the U.S. Forest Service and Larimer County officials declared the fire 60% contained and had lifted all evacuation orders.

Larimer County and USFS firefighters battled the Kruger Rock Fire southeast of Estes Park. High winds and a powerline sparked the fire the morning of Nov. 16, 2021; (photo/Larimer County)

Blizzard Tecnica is seeking applicants for the 2022 Women2Women Education Scholarship. Now in its second year, the Blizzard Tecnica W2W program “aims to empower women through their passion for mountain sports.”

In addition to scoring a pair of Blizzard skis and Tecnica boots, winners will receive financial support for coursework and certification opportunities in avalanche safety, ski instruction, outdoor guiding, health/wellness, and other areas within the snowsports.

Women in the U.S. and Canada have until Dec. 20 to submit their applications. Blizzard Tecnica will announce recipients and award funding in January 2022. Learn more and apply at Blizzard Tecnica’s W2W Education Scholarship page.

U.S. Olympian, World Cross Country bronze medal champion, and marathon runner Magdalena Boulet has been promoted to President of GU Labs. “Magda fully embodies the GU spirit and we couldn’t be more excited about her promotion,” wrote GU. Boulet began her career at GU in 1999, left to pursue her professional running career, and then returned in 2013 as GU’s Vice President.

Forget Black Friday. This year, go for Blue instead. Starting Nov. 26 and running through Dec. 10, United by Blue is encouraging customers, employees, and volunteers everywhere to take part in its sixth annual Blue Friday DIY Cleanup Campaign. UBB also encourages volunteers and partners to track and report cleanup data at its Cleanups Impact Data page.

Learn more and join a cleanup at UBB’s Join A Cleanup page.

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