Showing posts with label Half Dome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Half Dome. Show all posts

Video: Yosemite Half Dome in 360º

One of the more exciting innovations in technology over the past year or two has been the rise of 360º videos. These clips are made with special camera set-ups that can shoot footage in every direction at once. Than, when viewed in a supported browser, the viewer can actually pan around the video to get a look at the scene from different angles. The effect is even more enhanced if viewed with a set of virtual reality goggles, such as the Oculus Rift.

The video below is a good example of this type of technology, as it takes us on a climb up Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The result is quite an experience, particularly if you view it in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Opera. Enjoy!

Iconic Sites in Yosemite to be Renamed

Anyone familiar with Yosemite National Park probably also knows all about this Ahwahnee hotel, Yosemite Lodge, and Curry Village. These places are iconic in the valley, and have been serving visitors to the park for decades. But now, a dispute between the National Park Service and one of its concessionaires is causing these famous places to change their names, which in some cases have been in place for more than a century.

The dispute began last year when Delaware North – an independent contractor that had been hanging the park's facilities – lost the bid to continue operating within Yosemite. That bid was said to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion. The company says that when it initially won the contract back in 1993, it was forced to purchase the rights to the intellectual properties within the park from the previous concessionaire. Representatives of Delaware North say that those intellectual properties include the names of the hotels, lodges, and restaurants that it managed. Now that they are no longer managing them, the names are going away too. That is unless the Park Service or new concessionaire – Aramark – pays them $50 billion.

With such a steep price tag coming along with the names of the iconic Yosemite locations, the parties involved have decided to rename the facilities instead. So, starting on March 1, the historic Ahwahnee hotel will become the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, while Yosemite Lodge at the Falls will be renamed Yosemite Valley Lodge and Wawona Hotel will change to Big Trees Lodge. Curry Village will become Half Dome Village, while the Badger Pass Ski Area will be renamed Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area.

While this is troubling to a lot of Yosemite fans, it is only half of the problem. Delaware North says that it also holds the copyright to the name "Yosemite National Park" too, and isn't about to give it up. That means that come March 1, all Yosemite merchandise in gift shops and other stores will either disappear, or royalties will continue to flow to DN instead. That particular trademark is in dispute however, and you can bet that the NPS is going to take every measure possible to reclaim it.

At this point the entire situation smacks of sour grapes on the part of Delaware North. They didn't win the contract to retain Yosemite as a managed property, so they're going to make it as difficult as possible for the NPS and Aramark to operate. It seems the Park Service is finding ways to continue on simply be renaming the landmarks, but for those of us who know Yosemite's colorful history, it will be sad to see these places become something else. Worse yet, the thought that a private company holds the copyright on the name for the park is troubling to say the least. Lets hope this situation gets resolved fairly.

New Speed Records Set on Matterhorn and Half Dome

Continuing my attempt to catch up on some of the bigger adventure stories that took place while I was away, I have details on attempts at speed records on two of the most iconic mountains in the world – the Matterhorn in Europe and Half-Dome in Yosemite National Park.

First, back on April 22 Swiss climber Dani Arnold successfully set a new record on the 4478 meter (14,692 ft) Matterhorn when he raced up its North Face in just 1 hour, 46 minutes. That bests the previous record set by fellow countryman Ueli Steck by 10 minutes. To put that time into perspective, ExWeb says that most good alpinists will require approximately 8-10 hours to complete the same route.

Arnold took the Schmid Route to the summit, free-soloing without ropes the entire way. The climber says that while he didn't feel he was going particularly fast, he was able to find a good rhythm on the ascent, which allowed him to speed up the mountain at a steady pace. That seems like an understatement when you consider his accomplishment. Climbing the Matterhorn is a classic mountaineering challenge, but to do so in record time is impressive indeed.

This speed record is another reminder of just what a force Arnold is on the mountaineering scene. Back in 2011 he broke another record of Steck's by going up the Eiger 20 minutes faster than the "Swiss Machine." While Dani hasn't gotten the same level of attention from the press that Steck has, he is certainly one of the best climbers working today.

Meanwhile, Dean Potter faced an entirely different type of challenge on his attempt to set a new speed record on Half Dome. According to the Adventure Journal, the climber/BASE jumper used a combination of trail running, fast hiking, and rock climbing to reach the top, and descend back down, in just 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 52 seconds. That effort shaved six minutes off the previous record set by Kyle Williams just last September.

While on his speed attempt, Potter carried no food or water with him, but instead simply went up wearing just a pair of shorts, socks, and running shoes. That is outdoor adventure in its purest form, and is also an impressive feat on a route that almost any reasonably fit person could follow.

Both of these speed records are impressive and inspiring in their own right. Congratulations to both Dani and Dean for completing these challenges.