Give And Take – Joe Grant confronts tragedy on Longs Peak

A mix of emotions swirl inside of me. It is strange to think of how I was out enjoying my day, while in the exact same context a tragedy was simultaneously unfolding.

by Joe Grant, Special to

A couple of days prior to the March Equinox, I set off from the Longs Peak trailhead around mid-morning, hoping to summit the mountain before the official end of winter. The weather is exceptionally mild for the season, and other than the calendar stating it as such, you would have a hard time believing it is still winter.

Jogging up through the woods, the snow is mushy, making it hard to find a good rhythm. Every so often I punch through the packed surface up to my knees, leaning heavily on my poles so as to not fall over. I roll up my tights, and am down to a t-shirt under my windbreaker, yet still sweating profusely.


Source: Give And Take

Body of Missing Climber Found on Longs Peak | Colorado News | US News

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (AP) — The body of a climber missing on Longs Peak has been found.

Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson says the body of the 39-year-old man from Thornton was discovered by searchers on Sunday and flown down by helicopter.

He was mountaineering with two acquaintances on Saturday when he reportedly decided to descend the challenging and popular mountain by himself. When they returned to the trailhead’s parking lot later in the day they saw the man’s car was still there.

At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest mountain in the park and the 15th highest in the state.

Source: Body of Missing Climber Found on Longs Peak | Colorado News | US News

Story of survival: 90 mph gusts blast Colorado man off Rocky Mountain National Park trail

“If it wasn’t for Jim, I wouldn’t be alive today”

by Oscar Contreras, 7NEWS Denver

DENVER – An experienced Colorado mountain climber is recovering after he was blown off by 90 mph wind gusts at Rocky Mountain National Park earlier this moth.

Alan Arnette, 60, and his long-time hiking buddy, Jim Davidson, were on the Twin Sisters Trail on Feb. 10 training to conquer higher mountains when the increasing winds forced them to head back.

As they came down from the mountain, Arnette describes 90 mph wind gusts coming out of nowhere, sweeping him off his feet and pummeling him into the rocks.

“I went airborne about 8 feet and downhill about 20 before coming to rest on my left side, head uphill, in the most sharply intense, indescribable pain of my life,” Arnette described in a Facebook post three days following the fall.

He didn’t know it yet, but he had broken his tibia in three different places and his fibula in another. “It was a debilitating pain that I’ve never felt any time in my life,” Arnette said.

In his anguish, Arnette recalls it was his friend who helped him through the whole ordeal.

“I’m here with you, you’re not alone,” is what Arnette remembers Davidson saying to him as the 60-year-old lay on top of the rocks with broken bones and a bloody face.

“If it wasn’t for Jim, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Arnette told Denver7.

Davidson was able to get a hold of 911 and first responders were able to get him in touch with the National Park Service.

Search and rescue teams from both RMNP and Larimer County helped Arnette reach safer grounds. In total, about 40 volunteers helped in the rescue, according to Kyle Patterson, a spokesperson for Rocky Mountain National Park.

“I’m grateful for these people,” Arnette told Denver7, adding that he was in tears after realizing how many people came to his rescue.

It took about four hours for search and rescue crews to reach Arnette, who was battling not only intense pain, but also strong, cold winds that Friday afternoon.

It took another five hours for crews to sled him down and reach the trailhead and for Arnette to be sent to Estes Park Medical Center for treatment.

After spending five days in the hospital, Arnette was released and is undergoing physical therapy to get back on the trails within the next year.

“There are 1,000 reason to give up, and only one to keep going,” Arnette wrote in a Facebook post. “Find your 1.”

Source: Story of survival: 90 mph gusts blast Colorado man off Rocky Mountain National Park trail – 7NEWS Denver

Runner’s foot impaled by nail purposely placed on trail, 40 total found in park

The 1,100-acre Pinnacle Park west of Asheville remains closed after a runner’s foot was impaled by a nail purposely placed on a popular trail that leads to the Black Rock Summit.

by Karen Chavez, Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times

The 1,100-acre Pinnacle Park west of Asheville remains closed after a runner’s foot was impaled by a nail purposely placed on a popular trail that leads to the Black Rock Summit.

Brian Barwatt, an engineer with the Department of Transportation, and the race director of the Assault on Black Rock, a trail race in Pinnacle Park in March, was at the park Monday with the Sylva police chief Davis Woodard, town maintenance workers and other volunteers scouting out more nails.

Since Saturday, 40 nails hammered into tree roots and logs have been found, Barwatt said.

“On Saturday we found eight in an isolated area and thought we had it contained, but when we explored more, we found it was more than we could handle ourselves and I called the police chief,” Barwatt said.

“We’re literally blowing every leaf off trail, and following behind with metal detectors. “It was a deliberate effort. Someone hammered 4-inch long galvanized nails and left them sticking out a half- to 1 inch, and at an angle so they’re like spikes.”

One person was hurt and another stepped on a nail that went through his shoe but didn’t hurt his foot.

“It’s hard to believe someone would do this and put a lot of effort in to doing this,” Barwatt said.

The East Fork and West Fork trails, each 3.5 miles long, lead to the Black Rock summit on a mixed gravel road and single track terrain, completely surrounded by woods in a remote area of town.

“We want to assure people we’re taking this very seriously and taking care of it swiftly,” he said.

There is a $1,000 reward leading to information about the case. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sylva Police Department at 828-586-2916.

Source: Runner’s foot impaled by nail purposely placed on trail, 40 total found in park |

Texas hunters claimed they were shot by ‘illegal aliens.’ Authorities say they shot each other. 

bu Derek Hawkins, The Washington Post

Hunting guides Walker Daugherty and Michael Bryant were leading a hunting party in southern Texas in early January, when they claimed immigrants illegally crossed the nearby Mexico border, converged on their camp in the middle of the night and tried to rob them.

Gunfire erupted. When the smoke cleared and the fight was over, Daugherty was bleeding from a shot to his abdomen. Another member of the party had been shot in the arm.

After being airlifted to the hospital, the men told authorities that immigrants who crossed the border from Mexico wanted to steal an RV some of the hunters were using. In statements made through friends and family, they went further, suggesting that the assailants wanted to kill everyone in the party, as the Albuquerque Journal reported.

A GoFundMe page set up by a family friend to cover Daugherty’s medical bills raised $26,300 from more than 200 donors.

The story was harrowing, to be sure, not to mention rife with political implications. The Texas Agriculture Commissioner even shared it on his Facebook page, saying it underscored the need for President Trump’s proposed border wall.

But authorities say it was all a lie.

Daugherty and Bryant were indicted last week on one count each of using deadly conduct by discharging firearms in the direction of others, according to CBS 7. Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez told the station that an investigation had found Daugherty and the other injured hunter were struck by friendly fire. There was no sign, he said, that anyone else was involved.

It wasn’t clear whether Daugherty or Bryant had retained attorneys or entered pleas.

Daugherty, Bryant and a group of their clients had been hunting at the Circle Dug Ranch, a 15,000-acre tract of valley land just a few miles from the Mexico border in Texas. On the night of Jan. 6, a deputy in the sheriff’s office responded to a call for a shooting, and when he arrived he found Daugherty and 59-year-old Edwin Roberts suffering from gunshot wounds.

Authorities were suspicious from the beginning. Prompted by the group’s claims that illegal immigrants were responsible, U.S. Border Patrol dispatched 30 agents to sweep the area, aided by expert trackers and thermal imaging technology, Big Bend Now reported. Daugherty and his fiancee claimed to have previously seen immigrants crossing the border and through their property, according to CBS 7.
Within days of the shooting, however, the sheriff ‘s office said there was “no evidence that suggests cross-border violence” and “no sign of human pedestrian traffic leading to or from the ranch that night.”

“There were no bullet casings or projectiles from weapons other than those belonging to the individuals hunting on the ranch nor in the RV belonging to the hunting party,” the sheriff’s office told Big Bend Now in mid-January.

By then, however, the rumors had already spread. A rancher and family friend in Arizona released a statement based on the Daugherty family’s account, describing the incident as a brutal, calculated attack by “illegal aliens.”

“The attack has the family concerned that the attack was not just an attempt to rob the property,” the statement read, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “They believe the assailants intended to kill all the party. The attackers were strategically placed around the lodge, and the men were fired upon from different areas.”

Sid Miller, the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, shared the story with his 400,000-plus followers on Facebook.

“This is why we need the wall and to secure our borders,” Miller wrote in a since-deleted post that was shared more than 6,500 times. “There are violent criminals and members of drug cartels coming in and it must put a stop to it before we have many more Walker Daughertys.”

What really happened, Sheriff Dominguez said, was much simpler and less nefarious: Daugherty shot his client, and Bryant shot Daugherty.

Dominguez told CBS 7 that the hunters may have become paranoid from reports of violence crossing over the border from Mexico. But he said they need not worry.

“Border Patrol are experts in tracking in this area,” Dominguez said. “We trust what they say because that’s all they do on a daily basis, and they didn’t find no sign, no indication that there was anybody in or out of that area that night.”

Source: Texas hunters claimed they were shot by ‘illegal aliens.’ Authorities say they shot each other. – The Washington Post

26-year-old Skier Dies on Advanced Run at Breckenridge Ski Resort

A 26-year-old Mexican man who died after a ski crash Friday at Breckenridge Ski Resort had severe head trauma, according to the Summit County Coroner’s Office.

by Jesse Paul, The Denver Post

A 26-year-old Mexican man who died after a ski crash Friday at Breckenridge Ski Resort suffered severe head trauma, according to the Summit County Coroner’s Office.

Coroner Regan Wood said Ricardo Cohen, of Mexico City, was wearing a helmet when he slammed into the snow on an advanced run. His death has been ruled an accident.

Wood called the incident a “skier versus snow crash.” Cohen was visiting Colorado from Mexico.

“Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest’s family and friends,” John Buhler, vice president and chief operating officer of the resort, said in a statement over the weekend.

The resort says Breckenridge Ski Patrol responded to the crash, but after medical care and evaluation, Cohen was pronounced dead.

Officials have not said what trail Cohen was skiing on when he crashed.

Cohen is one of three people who have died in skiing-related incidents this season at Breckenridge.

Kevin Pitts, a 48-year-old Longmont man, died from blunt force trauma after striking a tree at the resort in December. Sean Haberthier, a 47-year-old Denver man, died after striking a tree at Breckenridge in January.

Kelly Huber, a 40-year-old mother from Texas, died Dec. 29 after she and her two young daughters fell from a chairlift at Ski Granby Ranch. While lift malfunction is suspected as the cause, the case remains under investigation.

Source: 26-year-old Mexican man killed in Breckenridge ski crash is identified, suffered severe head trauma – The Denver Post

The Debate Over Drug Use in Mountaineering 

Are climbers who use prescription medications, supplemental oxygen, or methamphetamines during extreme ascents cheaters?

by JOHN O’CONNOR, Gear Patrol

Before Hermann Buhl’s first ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1953, the 26,660-foot peak in the western Himalayas was synonymous with death.

Thirty-one climbers had died on summit attempts, including 10 in an infamous 1934 debacle. Many more had been thwarted by impossible conditions. But Buhl, a “small and delicate” (his words) 29-year-old Austrian, did it with a faulty crampon and without supplemental oxygen, Sherpa support, or Gore-Tex gloves.

On his descent, he was forced to spend the night standing up in a notch below the summit, hallucinating while drifting in and out of consciousness. Then, at the end of his tether, as he recalls in his memoir, Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage, he remembered his methamphetamine pills, Pervitin: “It was the only chance; its brief renewal of my strength might last long enough for me to get down to the tent.” Pervitin — prescription speed, basically — was well known among German and Austrian climbers then for inducing superhuman energy and focus. It had been distributed during WWII to Nazi infantry, who called it panzerschokolade, or “tank chocolate.”

Buhl popped two. Later on, he took some Padutin, a blood-flow agent that wards off frostbite, and eventually three more Pervitin; he had also been drinking tea brewed from coca leaves, the raw material for cocaine. Buhl survived. And as he hints in Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage, without the drugs, he wouldn’t have.

Source: The Debate Over Drug Use in Mountaineering – Gear Patrol

Survivors Recount Banff Avalanche

I held on. I was freaked out, but I was also super calm and rational. I remember consciously avoiding over gripping, so that I could brace for the bigger impacts of the larger debris chunks.

On Jan. 28, a big avalanche fell on two climbers who were nearing the end of the ice climb Polar Circus WI5 700m north of Banff. Gripped Magazine caught up to the party to hear what happened.

Source: Words with Climbers in Epic Polar Circus Avalanche – Gripped Magazine

Lindsey Vonn avoids more serious injury in downhill training crash – The Denver Post

By Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press 

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Lindsey Vonn avoided more serious injury when she fell and crashed into the safety netting during a World Cup downhill training session Friday.

The American, who returned this month from nearly a year out with knee and arm injuries, lost control after getting too much air at a tricky left turn on the upper portion of the Olympia delle Tofane course.

After pausing to collect herself, Vonn skied down to the finish area.

“I just caught a lot of air off this jump between the turns and I landed and hit another bump and just went in the fences in a little bit,” Vonn said. “But I’m fine.”

Vonn added that her right arm — the same one she broke in a training crash in Copper Mountain, Colorado, in November — “might be a little sore tomorrow.”

A downhill race is scheduled for Saturday, followed by a super-G on Sunday.

Source: Lindsey Vonn avoids more serious injury in downhill training crash – The Denver Post

Proposed Colorado law would allow cyclists to roll through stop signs, red lights

A Colorado lawmaker wants to change the laws governing the types of stops cyclists must make at stop signs and traffic lights.

State Sen. Andy Kerr (D-22), an avid cyclist himself, is sponsoring the bill. He rides his bike most days from Lakewood to the state Capitol.

The proposed bill would allow cyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. Cyclists would also be allowed to stop and then go through traffic lights.

Source: Proposed law would change rules for cyclists at stop signs, traffic lights |