UPDATE – White Rim Trail wash out may erode Moab bike business

White Rim Trail wash outs

Now the trail is even tougher

Here is the response we were given from the NPS reservations office in Canyonlands as of 11/27/10:

Thanks for writing. As of this time, the 14 mile section of road between the top of the Mineral Switchbacks and Potato Bottom is closed to all motorized traffic, and open only to foot or bicycle traffic. It isn’t yet known when the Mineral Switchbacks will be repaired and reopened; there is a “hike-a-bike” trail through the switchbacks right now but it will be closed once they begin reconstruction of the road. Springtime White Rim visitors should anticipate having to enter and exit on the east side via the Shafer or Potash roads.

The reservation office is assisting those who already have permits with reorganizing their campsites to better support in/out travel. You may contact them at the phone umber or email below if you would like to pursue this option, or for more information.

Good luck, and we hope to see you next spring!

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Back in August, just outside the mountain bike Mecca of Moab, a couple of days of violent desert rain blasts managed to test the holding limits of a cliff-edge retention pond. Water flowed furiously above its banks and with the same sort of force that created the epic canyon landscape and so much of the surrounding region, devastated from the cliffside several portions of the Horsethief Trail switchbacks along the White Rim Trail.

It’s amazing just how impatient Mother Nature can be. Normally, she’ll wait thousands of years to finalize such an act. But some times, she just wants it done.

The folks at Poison Spider Bikes in Moab have been keeping updates of the trail’s status on their blog (it’s still not even close to becoming a loop again). Here is the first post after the main event. Another local outfitter managed to carve some walkable switchbacks around the new swath of erosion. But support vehicles have to double back.

What hurts most is that many of Moab’s adventure guides count on the White Rim Trail trip to generate substantial year-round business. While no doubt an alternative will be created, it will certainly result in trip cancellations and altered experiences for clients so wanting to check this unforgettable trail from their life-lists. Myself included.

Last night, camping permits in hand, I started to come up with some alternatives for a planned April ride. While we weren’t hiring a guide, I’m certain the Moab business community would love to still have our Jeep rental, beer, bed and breakfast and grocery money. So maybe we’ll make it out there. It’s not like there isn’t much to see.

Here is the National Park Service’s update page.

New record set on the Nose; what does this mean for climbing?

El Capitan

Another record. Soon to be broken.

I’ve touched on this topic before; the morphing of traditional outdoor adventure into adrenaline-driven feats of one-upsmanship. The biggest wave, the steepest ski run.

Climbing for speed isn’t anything new and by all means, the history of mountaineering is filled with tales of those trying to be first. However, even for guys as accomplished as Dean (I’ll free slackline over anything) Potter and Sean Leary, and their competitors, no good will come from turning 3,000 foot vertical monoliths into the proverbial catch-all urinal for a speed-climb pissing contest.

Does being the fastest to the top really measure a climber’s skill? Or merely the depth of their Karma? These guys don’t need to prove anything. The entire climbing world knows their names.

Maybe I’m just a purist, hating on the idea of outdoor recreation becoming competitive among its participants. Can’t it just be about us learning to embrace, not beat, Mother Nature? I don’t know; maybe this is just the natural progression of mankind’s contemporary propensity to turn everything into a statistic or record, a throw-away commodity to be put on a shelf for a while, only to be soon neglected under dust and disposable memories. Like bowling trophies and bronzed baby shoes.

I don’t know, maybe I just like to climb.