Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Passings

A heartfelt goodbye from Outposts

Kelly Burgess at one of her favorite Napa Valley wineries.This is the second-most difficult post I have written, and comes a little more than a year after I wrote the most painful one, on the death of my father.

Outposts is a goner. A committee has decided to eliminate this column.

I'll likely transition to the Fabulous Forum, but want to be honest -- while some of the topics I write about will fit well (pro surfing and the Iditarod come to mind), sadly, many don't seem as if they would be at home there.

While Fab Forum is a great blog, it's mostly about pro and college sports and athletes, where my focus here is on the everyday man and woman and their doings in the outdoor recreation and lifestyle sports world -- hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, etc. I enjoyed writing about their achievements and records and about the things that might be of interest to outdoor recreationists not only in Southern California but nationally and globally.

Before I sign off here I have a few folks I'd like to thank:

The Times copy editors, for making certain my syntax and punctuation were correct and for masterfully tightening headlines;

Steve Carson, who would send me his weekly Irvine Lake fishing report, and Carrie Wilson, of the California Department of Fish and Game, whose Q&A column was one of my weekly favorites to post;

Fish and Game department staffers nationwide, for taking the time to speak with me, send me images and otherwise assist in outdoor-related news to populate Outposts;

J.R. Absher from the Outdoor Pressroom and Jeff Dudas' UnderwaterTimes -- two excellent go-to sources for outdoor and marine-related news;

Pete Thomas, my friend and ex-colleague, to whom I am extremely grateful for encouraging me to start working on Outposts with him;

and Scott Bassin, my husband, who embraced my commitment to this column and, rather than just tolerating it, takes pride in the work I've done and the effort I've put into it.

Thank you for reading, and hopefully we'll meet again somewhere down the road. Until then, happy trails to you.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Kelly Burgess at one of her favorite Napa Valley wineries. Credit: Scott Bassin

Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan, 52, dies in fall

Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan, in a 1998 file photo. Loretan, one of the few climbers to reach the summits of all 14 of the world's peaks above 8,000 meters, died Thursday in a climbing fall on his 52nd birthday. Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan, one of the few climbers to have summited all 14 of the world's peaks above 8,000 meters (26,247 feet), died in a climbing accident on Thursday, his 52nd birthday.

The Associated Press reported that Loretan was leading a Swiss client up the summit ridge of the Gruenhorn, in the Bernese Alps, when the pair fell for unknown reasons at a height of 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) up the 4,043 meter (13,264-foot) peak. Police from the Swiss canton of Valais said that Loretan died at the scene, while his 38-year-old client was flown to a hospital in serious condition.

Loretan, originally from the canton of Fribourg, began climbing at age 11. He ascended his first 8,000-meter peak, Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, in 1982. It took him 13 years to climb the other 13, summiting the Himalayan peak of Kangchenjunga in 1995.

Loretan was the third person, behind Italian climber Reinhold Messner and Polish mountaineer Jerry Kukuczka, to summit all the 8,000-meter peaks.

Loretan was also renowned for his 1986 ascent of Mt. Everest in only 40 hours, climbing by night without the use of supplementary oxygen.

Loretan's acclaim was marred by the tragic 2001 death of his 7-month-old son, who was killed when Loretan shook him to stop his crying. Loretan pleaded guilty to negligent manslaughter and was given a four-month suspended sentence. The case's notoriety led to new research showing that infants can die from being shaken.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Erhard Loretan in 1998. Credit: Associated Press / Keystone / STR


Hawaiian big-wave rider Sion Milosky, 35, dies in surfing accident at Maverick's

Big-wave surfer Sion Milosky died Wednesday while surfing Maverick's in Northern California. He was 35.

Pete Thomas Outdoors reported that Milosky died after being pummeled by waves late in the day while surfing the infamous big-wave break off Half Moon Bay.

Milosky, of Kauai, Hawaii, was brought to shore by other surfers and taken by ambulance to Seton Coastside Medical Center after unsuccessful CPR efforts.

Maverick's surfer Ken Collins, who Milosky was staying with in Santa Cruz, told the Mercury News that Milosky apparently drowned after the lip of a wave he was riding collapsed on top of him, driving Milosky's board straight to the bottom. Another wave crashed over Milosky shortly after, Collins said.

Milosky, who is survived by his wife and two young children, is only the second surfer believed to be killed at Maverick's. The first was Mark Foo, also of Hawaii, who drowned in 1994.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video: Sion Milosky's biggest wave. Credit: abstractlines.tv via Vimeo


Jeremy Lusk memorial ride Wednesday at Pala Raceway [Updated]

Jeremy Lusk Wednesday marks the two-year anniversary of the death of freestyle motocross star Jeremy Lusk, who died Feb. 9, 2009, as a result of head injuries sustained in a crash during a competition in Costa Rica.

To celebrate the memory of the popular rider, Metal Mulisha will be hosting the second annual "Lusk Memorial Ride Day" from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pala Raceway in northern San Diego County.

[Updated, 5:06 p.m.: An earlier version of this post stated this was the inaugural Ride Day. This is actually the second year it is being held.]

Metal Mulisha has a flyer available on its website, which can be printed for a $5 entry discount to the event.

"Jeremy impacted so many different people's lives in a positive way," said a statement posted on the Metal Mulisha site. "Come ride with the Metal Mulisha and friends to celebrate 'The Pitbulls' legacy."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Jeremy Lusk. Credit: Metal Mulisha

John Olguin public memorial service, celebration to be held Saturday at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

John Olguin and his wife, Muriel.

A public memorial service and celebration for John Olguin, director emeritus of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, will be held  Saturday at 1 p.m. at the aquarium, located at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive in San Pedro. Olguin passed away on New Year's Day at the age of 89. A private family burial and funeral service was held earlier this month.

The public service, being coordinated by FRIENDS of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in collaboration with the Olguin family, will be held in a large tent in the aquarium's parking lot.

"People should arrive early for parking and seating inside the tent, or come prepared with their own beach chairs," recommends Paula Moore, FRIENDS executive director. "John was loved by so many in our community; we are anticipating quite a crowd."

The service will be officiated by Olguin's minister, Pastor Neal Neuenschwander of First Presbyterian Church of San Pedro. Speakers include L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Director Mike Schaadt and Stefan Harzen, the author of Olguin's soon-to-be published biography. San Pedro High School's marching band and Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps will also participate.

At the conclusion of the memorial service, guests will move to the nearby inner beach for an L.A. City fireboat water display, a tall ship change-of-watch ceremony complete with cannon shot, and the appearance of the City of L.A. lifeguard boat named the John M. Olguin.

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South African teen surfer killed in shark attack

Fin A 16-year-old surfer died after being attacked by a shark Saturday at Second Beach, Port St. Johns, on the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Zama Ndamase, a surfer for Border Surfriders Assn., was surfing with his brother and other members of the local surf club when the attack occurred, according to a report in the South Africa Daily News. It is not known what species of shark was involved.

According to reports, Ndamase managed to catch a wave after being bitten and attempted to reach the shore but bled to death in the water before he could be reached by lifeguards and rescue craft.

"He was a young guy, full of spirit and always ready for a laugh. He was always willing to help his teammates and enjoyed giving the younger surfers encouragement and advice," said Border Surfriders Assn. spokesman Malcolme Logie. "Border was looking to him to play a leading role in our team this year. His passing leaves us numb and with a huge sense of loss."

Ndamase was the fifth shark-attack victim at the beach in the last three years, four of which have been fatal.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: the dorsal fin of a white shark. Credit: Caterina Gennerao


Missing Alpine Meadows snowboarder found dead

The search for a 25-year-old snowboarder missing since Tuesday afternoon near Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe area came to an end Thursday when her body was discovered in a tree well.

The Sacramento Bee reported that rescue helicopter crews spotted the body of Shawnte Marie Willis of Tahoma, Calif., Thursday morning on a part of the mountain that previously had been off-limits to rescue crews because of inclement weather.

"The news is tragic," Placer County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Ausnow said in a news conference, adding that authorities believe Willis might have hit a tree while snowboarding.

Ausnow described the U.S. Forest Service land where Willis was found as "treacherous" and said 80- to 100-mph winds had been blowing there. "The weather would not allow us to get there," he said.

Search and rescue efforts were hampered by high winds and low visibility that prevented the use of air- and ground-search vehicles, and ground search crews were called off Wednesday because of the threat of avalanches. Blowing snow had also covered any tracks.

-- Kelly Burgess

Outposts looks back at 2010: Passings

With the year ending, it is worth looking back at memorable posts of 2010. Each day this week through Friday, Outposts will recount some of the records broken, the achievements reached, the notable passings and the downright unusual during 2010 in the outdoors, action and adventure world.

Three-time world surfing champion Andy Irons, 32

Andy Irons Legendary surfer Andy Irons died at the age of 32. The three-time world champion passed away during a layover in Dallas en route from Puerto Rico to his home in Hawaii. His body was discovered in a hotel room Nov. 2, after he failed to respond to a wake-up call.

Irons, who was raised on Kauai, became ill during an ASP World Tour event in Puerto Rico. He was apparently suffering from symptoms similar to those associated with dengue fever.

Photo credit: ASP

Capt. Phil Harris, 53, of 'Deadliest Catch'

Capt. Phil Harris Phil Harris, the hard-talking captain of one of the crab-fishing vessels featured on the Discovery Channel series "Deadliest Catch" died Feb. 9 after suffering a stroke Jan. 29 while in port offloading his boat, the 128-foot Cornelia Marie. Harris was 53.

Harris captained the Cornelia Marie for 18 years and had two sons, Josh and Jake, who worked as deckhands on the vessel.

Photo: Discovery Channel


Extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson, 35, falls to his death scaling K2

Fredrik Ericsson Fredrik Ericsson, one of the world's leading high-altitude skiers, fell to his death Aug. 6 while attempting to scale and then ski from the 28,251-foot summit of K2. Ericsson was 35.

Featured in a June Outposts item, the extreme skier was on a quest to ski down the three highest peaks on the planet -- K2, on the border between China and Pakistan; the Himalayan peak of Kangchenjunga; and Mt. Everest, on the border of Nepal and Tibet.

Photo: FredrikEricsson.com


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Snowboarder dies after hitting trees at Mountain High Resort

A 24-year-old snowboarder has died after crashing into a stand of trees at Mountain High Resort in Wrightwood, Calif.

KTLA reports that the accident was reported around 6 p.m. Monday, and that it's not known what caused the snowboarder to go into the trees.

The unidentified Fullerton man was transported to Community Hospital of San Bernardino, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

-- Kelly Burgess


Teen snowboarder dies at Oregon ski resort

A 15-year-old snowboarder died Wednesday at Oregon's Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort after being
found facedown in the snow.

The unidentified male, from Portland, Ore., was discovered Wednesday night near the North Canyon trail by members of the resorts ski patrol, who were clearing the slopes after the lifts closed. After beginning resuscitation efforts, they transported the snowboarder to a resort medical clinic, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

According to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, the victim was with family members at the resort, though there were no witnesses to what happened.

The cause of death is still undetermined and is under investigation by the county medical examiner's office, however the victim was not wearing a helmet when found.

The Oregonian reports that this is the fourth snowboarder to die at Mt. Hood Meadows this year -- the most ever for that duration.

-- Kelly Burgess


Body found is believed to be that of missing Mt. Baldy hiker

Sad news in the search for a Mt. Baldy hiker missing since Saturday. A body believed to be that of Michelle Yu, 49,  has been found by search crews.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said a rescue-team member spotted what was believed to be the body of Yu, an experienced hiker from Venice. Officials are still waiting for positive identification. The ID and cause of death will be determined by the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

Because of the terrain, crews could not remove the body Wednesday evening but planned to do so early Thursday.

For more on this story please visit the L.A. Times breaking news blog, L.A. Now.

-- Kelly Burgess

Remains of U.S. balloonists missing over Adriatic Sea since September are found

Balloonists Carol Rymer Davis, left, and Richard Abruzzo launch for the Gordon Bennett balloon race at Bristol, England. An Italian fishing boat pulled the remains of the two Americans from the Adriatic Sea on Monday, ending a two-month hunt for the pair's bodies. The remains of two American balloonists who disappeared over the Adriatic Sea while participating in September's Gordon Bennett International Gas Balloon Race have been found.

Associated Press reports that the Italian fishing vessel "Sharon" pulled the remains of Richard Abruzzo, 47, of Albuquerque, and Carol Rymer Davis, 65, of Denver, from the Adriatic Sea on Monday, ending a two-month hunt for the pair's bodies.

The boat hauled in the balloon and its gondola with the bodies still inside while it was out fishing 11 miles north of Vieste, Italy, before dawn, said Cmdr. Guido Limongelli of the Vieste port, located on Italy's eastern Adriatic coast. He said that documents found in the gondola confirmed the identities as those of the missing balloonists.

As soon as those aboard the fishing boat discovered what was in its nets, it alerted Vieste port officials, who sent out a patrol boat to escort the vessel back to port, Limongelli said. A coroner was performing an autopsy and officials were investigating to determine what might have caused the balloon to crash.

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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.