Photo: Vertical Limit publicity still. Sony Pictures Corp.
Greetings campers! It's 10 days since my hip surgery (see below). I no longer have any homework excuses, so here's a catch-all blog of several random highlights from the outdoor world.
Female winter Denali climber has left the building
20,320-foot Mt. Mckinley is one cold berg. But in winter, it's interstellar cold, triple-digit cold, Minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit cold. And damn dark too. While about 750 people climb Denali every year, only 16 people have ever pulled it off in winter. Four aspirants died trying. Two summiters died descending. That makes your average 8,000 meter peak sound like a sure bet. Now, Frenchwoman turned Alaskan Christine Feret is holed up in a snowcave at 10,000 feet, waiting for a break in the weather. Go girl. Super tough. And better you than me. Brrrr.
Hiker still missing after four nights in Oregon mountains
Hiker Katherine Heuthner, 24, has now spent four nights missing in the Table Mountain/ Bonneville Dam area near Portland, Oregon. On Thursday afternoon, March 4th, she texted friends that she was setting out on the Pacific Crest Trail and would be back by 8 p.m. that night. As of Monday night, March 8th (her birthday), she remains missing. Thirty-eight ground searchers, three dog teams and two helicopters are now involved. Most trails have been eliminated, but the only clue searchers have found thus far is a credit card receipt with Heuther's name on it, near Table Mountain, roughly four miles in from her starting point. Here's hoping she's OK, and just hunkered down against recent bad weather.
The next wave in peak-bagging: Cheeseburgers
Now that every notable mountain's been bagged forward, backward and naked, what's next? Simple: How many summits you can eat cheeseburgers on top of. That's the ostensible subject of new website summitcheeseburger.com. It may sound ridiculous to some, but personally, I find this a laudable pursuit. I once had a friend who regularly brought Big Macs on ski tours in Utah's Wasatch Range. He'd buy them the day before, stick 'em in the fridge overnight, and pull 'em straight from the foam clamshell on lunch breaks, horrifying his hippie vegan health food compadres. However, I sniveled him into giving me a bite once, and it was awesome. Mmmmm, salt, fat, cheese, special sauce, and 100% pure meatwad - the five basic food groups. Hint for type A listers: No one's yet cheeseburgered all 53 Colorado Fourteeners, the Seven Summits, or Everest. There's your chance for Guinness record fame. I won't be competing. "Me, I can't usually get 'em, cause my girlfriend's a vegetarian, which pretty much makes me a vegetarian. But mmmm, I dooo love the taste of a good burger."
For you morbid readers following my recent hip surgery, check out this three-part Youtube video of the procedure. Warning! It's graphic, especially the "cheese grater" and "apple core" drill bits. It's probably good I didn't watch this before going in for the op. As a side note, even with all this drilling and grinding, I went off all painkillers - painlessly - three days after implantation. The human body is an amazingly resilient thing. If you wanna skip to the best gore, just navigate to Part III and hang on for dear lunch.
Until next time, stay hip.--Steve Howe