(from Outside magazine)
“We’ve scoured the gear archives and the history of sport across continents and eras to compile our first attempt at an authoritative list of the 100 most important outdoor inventions ever…” Link to the article here.
A spork? Really, a spork on the top 100 list?!
Ventura County, California
“If life imitated art, it would be a simple matter to follow the dotted line and snip a 200-foot dam near Ojai off the face of the earth. For years, an alliance of environmentalists, fishermen, surfers and officials from every level of government has called for demolishing the obsolete structure.”
“Matilija Dam was built in 1947 for flood control and water storage. But officials say it was flawed from the outset. For decades, it’s been holding back silt as much as water, depriving beaches 17 miles downstream of the sand they need to replenish themselves. It’s also been deemed a huge obstacle for steelhead trout, an endangered species that was once a trophy fish luring anglers from across the country.”
“Now, an anonymous band of artists has weighed in, apparently rappelling down the dam’s face to paint a huge pair of scissors and a long dotted line. The carefully planned work… is, no doubt, Ventura County’s most environmentally correct graffiti by a dam site.”
Read the full story from the Los Angeles Times here. More about Mantilija Creek and the dam here.
Climbers in the Alps can now spend their nights sleeping in a tube that cantilevers over the edge of a mountain. New Refuge Gervasutti provides an optimal combination of comfort, safety, and respect for the environment. Installed in mid October on the Freboudze glacier (in front of the spectacular East face of the Grandes Jorasses of the Mont Blanc Range) this alpine refuge is now ready for use by mountaineers and climbers.
This innovative survival unit was designed by Italian architects LEAPfactory, who specialise in modular accommodation for extreme environments. The tube was prefabricated off-site and airlifted to the site by helicopters. The living area is lit in the daytime by a big panoramic window facing towards the valley and contains a kitchen, a table, and seating. The sleeping area is equipped with bunk beds and spaces for the storage of gear.
The comfortable wooden interior finish recalls a traditional mountain hut and is intended to make a stay in the module a pleasing and relaxing experience. A red pattern (inspired by the shaved straight stitch of mountain pullovers, to evoke warmth and comfort) decorates the structure’s exterior and aids visibility to climbers and mountaineers approaching from a distance.
Owner: Italian Alpine Club CAI Turin
30 square metres of usable space
6 contact points with the ground
2500 kg. total weight
12 bed spaces
2.5 Kwh of solar energy produced
2 days to install unit
For a full description of New Refuge Gervasutti, including drawings, interior images, links, and full creative credits, visit dezeen.com (Thanks to designer friend Oliver Oike for putting this lovely shelter on my radar).
(sage cautions worth heeding in these troubled times)
—Geoffrey Winthrop Young (1876-1958), climber, poet, educator, author, and conscientious objector
Geoffrey lost a leg during World War I… though he continued alpine climbing for years thereafter, using a specially designed artificial leg that accepted a number of attachments for snow and rock work. He even climbed the Matterhorn in 1928. Following is a poem he wrote that references his struggles over his loss…
I have not lost the magic of long days:
I live them, dream them still.
Still I am master of the starry ways,
and freeman of the hill.
Shattered my glass, ere half the sands had run,—
I hold the heights, I hold the heights I won.
Mine still the hope that hailed me from each height,
mine the unresting flame.
With dreams I charmed each doing to delight;
I charm my rest the same.
Severed my skein, ere half the strands were spun,—
I keep the dreams, I keep the dreams I won.
What if I live no more those kingly days?
their night sleeps with me still.
I dream my feet upon the starry ways;
my heart rests in the hill.
I may not grudge the little left undone;
I hold the heights, I keep the dreams I won.
Banff National Park, Alberta
I’ve just returned from a week-long road trip to the splendid Canadian Rockies with Bettie Blue, my trusty Westie companion—more rest, reading, and reflection than climbing this year, but a splendid time of refreshing renewal nonetheless.
You can see more photos in a Facebook gallery, here.