Free Climbers Finish 19-Day Scamper Up El Capitan: In a sporting achievement for the ages, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson finished their 19-day free climb of El Capitan's Dawn Wall yesterday. John Branch explains in the New York Times why this is a big honking deal: "They are the first to free climb every inch of the 3,000-foot Dawn Wall in a single expedition, long considered impossible, using only their hands and feet to pull themselves up. Ropes were merely safety devices to break the occasional fall. By virtue of its scale and difficulty, the climb was considered by some to be the most difficult ever accomplished."
Clif Bar Drops Sponsorship of 5 Climbers Over Risks They Take: Clif Bar, the nutrition bar maker that has long supported the sport of climbing, has dropped sponsorship of five well-known climbers. "We concluded that these forms of the sport are pushing boundaries and taking the element of risk to a place where we as a company are no longer willing to go," the company wrote in an open letter to the climbing community. "We understand that some climbers feel these forms of climbing are pushing the sport to new frontiers. But we no longer feel good about benefiting from the amount of risk certain athletes are taking in areas of the sport where there is no margin for error; where there is no safety net."
How (Not) to Survive the Running of the Bulls: A coauthor of the book Fiesta: How to Survive the Running of the Bulls was badly gored on Wednesday in the morning bull run at Pamplona's San Fermin festival. Bill Hillmann, 32, tripped and fell when a bull gored him in his right thigh, according to festival website SanFermin.Com, which has photos of the incident. There have been 14 fatalities over the past century at the fiesta, which dates to the 13th century.
Jon Krakauer: Sherpas, Death and Anger on Everest: Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air, assesses the situation on Mount Everest after 12 sherpas were killed April 18 by an avalanche. A detail from the story: "The astounding number of climbers who now attempt to reach the summit on the limited number of days when the weather is favorable presents a new kind of hazard. A notorious photo shot by Ralf Dujmovits in May, 2012, showed more than a 150 people attached to a series of fixed ropes as they ascended the Lhotse Face toward the South Col of Everest, jammed together so tightly that they had to move in lockstep. The static weight of all these people and their gear was well over 30,000 pounds. If some mishap had occurred that caused more than a handful of the climbers to put their full weight on one of the ropes simultaneously, the shock to the anchors securing the ropes to the ice could easily have caused them to fail, resulting in the climbers falling two thousand or more feet to the base of the Lhotse Face. If such an accident should come to pass in the future (which isn't far-fetched), the death count for both members and sherpas would be horrific"
Deep-Water Diver Dies Seeking U.S. Record: At the Vertical Blue free diving championship in the Bahamas, a 32-year-old American seeking to set his second national record died this weekend. Nicholas Mevoli was hoping to reach 72 meters on a single inhalation Sunday when he had trouble at 68 meters and seemed to turn back, reports the New York Times. Instead, he dove deeper seeking the record depth and fell unconscious after his climb back to the surface. "Diving to that depth with no fins, that's a hard, physical dive," said Mike Board, the British record-holder. "I was thinking, OK, he's going to have a hard time getting up." Resuscitation attempts for 90 minutes were unsuccessful. In May, Mevoli became the first American to dive below 100 meters using a monofin.
Ben Saunders is finally following Captain Scott: After a few false starts, Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere are underway in their Antarctic expedition. SportsFilter discussed the original expedition plans back in '05 and is a sponsor of mile 27 (thanks to worldcup2002).
'Remember, You Signed a Death Waiver': "With 70 scheduled events in 13 countries, the rapidly growing Tough Mudder series will attract 700,000 competitors in 2013," the New York Times reports. "Openly mocking of traditional marathons and weekend 5K’s, the Tough Mudder embraces danger as part of its allure, posting signs at each course that remind competitors, 'Remember You Signed a Death Waiver.' Courses can include open fires, live electrical wires and hazards with fearsome names like Cage Crawl and Electroshock Therapy." Last April, Avishek Sengupta, 28, became the first Tough Mudder contestant to die during the competitions.
Female Bullfighter Patricia McCormick Dies: Patricia McCormick, the first woman in North America to become a professional bullfighter, died in a Del Rio, Texas, nursing home on March 26 at age 83. McCormick performed in hundreds of bullfights in the 1950s from Mexico to South America. She was not able to climb above the apprentice rank of novillera because no male matador would give her the required sponsorship. McCormick was gored six times, most brutally in 1954 in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, across the border from Del Rio. "The horn went right up my stomach," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1989. "The bull carried me around the ring for a minute, impaled on his horns. They gave me the last rites there. The doctor said, 'Carry her across the border and let her die in her own country.'"
X Games Snowmobile Rider in Critical Condition: Although he walked away from the huge snowmobile crash he suffered Thursday during the Winter X Games and was diagnosed with a concussion, Caleb Moore developed bleeding around his heart and brain complications and is hospitalized in critical condition. The 25-year-old athlete crashed while doing a backflip and his 450-pound Polaris snowmobile landed on him. "The prognosis is not good at all. It's almost certain he's not going to make it," his grandfather Charles Moore told the Denver Post. No competitor has died during the 17-year history of the Winter X Games.
Musher Gives Fallen Iditarod Dog CPR: Iditarod musher Scott Janssen, an Anchorage funeral home owner, was making his way down the Dalzell Gorge Monday night when one of his dogs collapsed. A nine-year-old husky named Marshall fell during what was planned to be his last race. "I know what death looks like, and he was gone. Nobody home," said Hanssen, who began chest compressions and breathed into the dog's nose to attempt CPR. "I'm like c'mon dude, please come back."
Ocean Adventurer Makes the Final Crossing: John Fairfax shot up a scout campsite, ran away from home to the Amazon, lived as a jaguar and ocelot trapper, tried to commit suicide by jaguar, spent three years as a pirate, rowed alone across the Atlantic Ocean, rowed with a girlfriend across the Pacific Ocean, was thought lost as sea and made a living as a baccarat player. Other than that, his 73 years of life were uneventful.
Mom Climbs Rocks with Baby on Board: A photo of a rock climber in Wales shows the 26-year-old single mom ascending a cliff with her toddler daughter in a carrier on her back. Menna Pritchard is wearing a helmet but her daughter Ffion isn't. "There was no risk of any rock fall," Menna said. " I knew 100 percent it was safe ... I had a mountain climbing instructor there too and I'm pretty confident of my own competence." Pritchard is an outdoor enthusiast who writes about babywearing, taking a young child in a sling, on her blog. "I have been a fan of 'babywearing' since before Ffion was born, doing lots of research," she writes. "I probably bought her first carrier when I was around 6 months pregnant."
Extreme Athlete Invents World Triathlon: In words and video, ESPN presents the story of Charlie Wittmack, an extreme sportsman who invented the World Triathlon -- swimming the English Channel; riding 9,000 miles from the spot to Calcutta, India; running 1,000 miles to Mount Everest; then climbing the mountain -- all so he could be the first person to do it. "This is the new marathon, the new Ironman. This is what people are going to strive to do," he said a year ago. "We're setting the groundwork for history." See if you think the price paid by his wife and young son is worth it.
Kiwi Lands First Triple BMX Backflip: Jed Mildon, a 24-year-old from Taupo, New Zealand, landed the world's first triple backflip on a BMX bike in competition Saturday. "I was still really nervous rolling in for my attempt, but once I was in the air it felt like time stood still and I could see each rotation perfectly," said Mildon, who performed the jump at an event in his hometown.
Thirty years ago today, the longest game in professional baseball history was started.:
"I've been watching for the bunt for 23 innings now."
John McCain Wants to Ban Ultimate Fighting: Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) wants to ban mixed martial arts, according to a recent report on Fox Business. He's written letters to state governors urging a ban, referring to the sport as "human cock-fighting."
Landis wore hidden wire to aid doping probe: report: Disgraced American cyclist Floyd Landis used a hidden wire and secret camera to gather audio and video evidence for a US federal probe into doping in cycling. Landis used the equipment for a meeting earlier this year with Michael Ball, owner of the Rock Racing team that featured Tyler Hamilton and other former Lance Armstrong teammates.
Yukon River Quest : A steam boat’s whistle – the Yukon version of a starter’s pistol – echoes through Rotary Park on the east side of Whitehorse. Men and women stampede across a soggy field and leap into canoes and kayaks laden with Advil and Red Bull, fanning out on the rain-spattered river as spectators shout encouragement. It's noon. The Yukon River Quest has begun.
World Sauna Championships End with Death of Finalist: The annual World Sauna Championships in Finland will no longer be held after this year's final ended with the death of one of the finalists. Russian Vladimir Ladyzhensky, competing to stay in a 230 degree Fahrenheit sauna for as long as possible, collapsed after suffering severe burns and died in a hospital. The event had been held since 1999, but organizers said it would never be held again. Background on the event is available from ESPN Magazine and a short documentary on YouTube. "We went in, and it was so instantly, shockingly, insanely hot, my brain just stopped working," writes Rick Reilly, who competed in 2006. "It was like walking into a bonfire and pulling up a chair in the middle of it."
Underwater Photographer Wes Skiles Dies During Dive: Renowned underwater photographer Wes Skiles died Wednesday while undertaking a "routine filming dive" off West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 52. His personal site contains examples of his work. One of his shots of Bahama's Blue Holes appears on the cover of this month's National Geographic along with a online gallery. "He was very enthusiastic about the sport, worried about conservation and did documentaries on the river, and had a great love for the water," said longtime friend Rick Crawford. "Every picture you see of him, he is working with his camera with a big smile."
Teen Sailor Defends Round-the-World Attempt: Sixteen-year-old solo sailor Abby Sunderland, back on dry land for the first time since her Indian Ocean rescue, is pushing back at criticism of her parents for allowing her to embark on the record-attempting journey. "Any sailor that goes out to the water knows that being hit by a rogue wave is a risk, no matter where you are," she said on Reunion Island, where she met her brother Zac. "That was a risk that I was willing to take."
Wheelchair Athlete Excels at 'Hardcore Sitting': Aaron Fotheringham practices Hardcore Sitting. Indestructible wheelchair by Colours in Motion. Previously, previously (after a manner of speaking). Aaron's motto on MySpace: "Pain is temporary. Glory is forever" (via MetaFilter).
Bull Gores Matador Through Mouth: At the Las Ventas bullring in Madrid, Spain, Friday, Spanish bullfighter Julio Aparicio was gored through the neck and out of his mouth by a bull during the San Isidro Feria. (Warning: Extremely graphic images and video.) Aparicio has been hospitalized in "very serious" condition.
13 Year-Old's Everest Quest : Thirteen year-old Jordan Romero, who has summited the highest peak on 5 of 7 continents, is currently in the process of making an attempt at the summit of Everest, an attempt that has set off some debate in the climbing community.
2-Year-Old Girl Catches 20 Lb Muskie With Barbie Fishing Pole: Not your everyday fish story when you have a muskie, a two-year-old girl and a Barbie fishing pole.
South Korean Woman Climbs 14 Highest Peaks: By reaching the summit of Annapurna in Nepal, Oh Eun-sun of South Korea has become the first woman to climb the 14 highest mountains in the world. Oh, 44, took 13 years to accomplish the task. She carried a photo of rival Ko Mi-young, a fellow South Korean who fell to her death last year descending Nanga Parbat.
That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stranger:
Jure Robič goes crazy during his endruance biking races.
In a 2004 race, he turned to see himself pursued by a howling band of black-bearded men on horseback. "Mujahedeen, shooting at me," he explains. "So I ride faster."’
America Wins the America's Cup: The wing sail came down before some really strong winds came up, software tycoon Larry Ellison hopped on his private jet to get back to his day job and the sailors who reclaimed the America's Cup for the United States were still groggy after partying until just before dawn.
Legendary Big-Wave Surf Competition Held in Hawaii: For the first time in five years, the conditions on Oahu's North Shore were right to hold a legendary big-wave surfing contest -- the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau. The event only takes place when waves are at least 40 feet tall. Greg Long, 26, won in the last heat over nine-time world champion Kelly Slater. The competition is named for a legendary surfer and lifeguard who saved numerous people in conditions no one else would attempt, inspiring the catchphrase Eddie Would Go.
Spider-Man Scales Petronas Towers in Malaysia: French daredevil Alain Roberts has succeeded on his third attempt to scale the 1,483-foot Petronas Towers in Malaysia. On previous attempts in 1998 and 2007, security guards grabbed him on the sixtieth floor. Using just his hands and feet, Robert ascended the building in around two hours, standing atop the pinnacle in triumph.
Skydiver Survives 10,000-Foot Fall with Failed Parachute: Paul Lewis, a 40-year-old freelance cameraman from Britain, survived a 10,000-foot skydive Friday after his main chute didn't open and his reserve failed to work properly during a jump in Whitchurch, England. "The roof of the hangar broke his fall and flexed sufficiently to reduce the impact," said Colin Fitzmorris of the Parachute Centre. "He has no fractures but some neck injury, and we are sure that he will make a full recovery. He is very lucky."
Champ Mountain Biker Caught with 400 Pounds of Marijuana: The life of Missy Giove, the holder of 14 national titles and one world championship as a mountain biker, is going downhill fast. She was busted last month with 400 pounds of marijuana and $1 million in cash. Longtime friend and fellow biker Craig Glaspell said the arrest is "not surprising" given her problems with authority, but added, "The fact she might be involved in some pretty heavy drug trafficking is the crazy thing." Giove was a unique figure in her sport with her dyed hair, known for wearing a dead piranha around her neck and putting her dead pet's ashes in her sports bra. She made the cover of Girlfriends Magazine in 2003, which named her to its "lesbian athlete hall of fame."
Legendary Rock Climber John Bachar Dies in Fall: Rock climber John Bachar, 51, fell to his death Sunday from a rock formation near his home in California, the New York Times reports. Bachar climbed for years without protection, sustaining his only serious injuries in a car wreck. "To critics, Bachar cut a stubborn, self-righteous figure, uncompromising on matters of daring style and minimal gear," writes Michael Brick. "To admirers, he represented the vanishing purity of a simpler age, a time when rocks and mountains were to be ascended only from the ground up, without advance rigging." Here's an interview with Bachar and a photo of him ascending Crack-a-go-go.
Joey Chestnut Sets New Hot Dog Eating World Record: Joey Chestnut ate 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes, breaking his own world record by nine dogs, to retain the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Championship today at Coney Island, N.Y. Rival Takeru Kobayashi ate 64 1/2 dogs for second place. On this holiday, the Mustard Belt, the most coveted prize in world gluttony, remains in American hands.
The Perils of Climbing Yosemite's Half Dome: Although it looks in pictures like something any hiker could do, climbing Half Dome at Yosemite National Park is a lot different when you're halfway up the 425-foot sheer granite dome. "On June 13, 2009, a hiker climbing up the Half Dome cables in Yosemite National Park fell to his death," writes R.L. Miller in a diary on Daily Kos. "I climbed Half Dome for my 40th birthday. I've hiked all over the West in all sorts of conditions, and I believed that I had no fear of heights. ... if you fall to your right, you die, and if you fall to your left, you die. About a third of the way up, I realized -- I can't do this!"
When is enough, enough?: Big-mountain skier Shane McConkey - the father of extreme skiing - was killed during a failed ski-BASE that prevented him from utilizing his wingsuit and pulling his parachute. For these athletes, high risk is everything and they leave themselves no room for malfunction and no plan B. Shane is survived by his wife, Sherry, and their 3 1/2 year old daughter Ayla. It was reported that at the funeral, "the kids all had a look on their face like Superman had just died."
Top 30 New Extreme Sports: Bored with those age-old extreme sports? Maybe you can try your luck with Human Powered Hydrofoil Water Scooting or Batman Rope Ascending. But before you do, maybe you should get an additional life insurance policy. (Includes photos and/or videos)
Skijoring anyone?: It sounds like the ultimate extreme sport, but for Ryan Lakovitch, a rider from Jackson, Wyo., (pop 8,647) who won the sport's national championship in 2000 with his partner, skier Cody Smith, there's more to skijoring than sheer adrenaline. It's also about teamwork, cooperation, and skill of the horse, rider, and skier.