Mountain News 

Canmore man ends upright

CANMORE, Alberta - A Canmore man got lucky recently when caught in an avalanche on Mount Sparrowhawk, a 10,000-foot peak south of Canmore. He was alone when caught by the slide, and shoved against a tree.

He was only buried to his armpits, and his hands ended up outside the snow. The latter may not seem important, but you must understand that snow after an avalanche sets up almost as firmly as concrete within just a few seconds. Not cement but concrete. And third, he had a cell phone and cell phone reception.

"If any one of those things were different, it could have possibly been a different ending," Mike Koppang, a public safety assistant for the provincial government, told the Rocky Mountain Outlook. As it was, the man was hypothermic when search crews arrived by helicopter.

 

Aspen explores tax on plastic shopping bags

ASPEN, Colo. - Aspen is moving in the direction of public policy that would discourage use of plastic bags for shopping. The city council did not take a formal stance, but indicated support for a tax of five or 10 cents a bag.

This would be different from the law in Telluride. There, officials have banned non-biodegradable plastic bans altogether.

Why not voluntary recycling? Nathan Rutledge, director of a non-profit called Community Office of Resource Efficiency, said only three to five per cent of plastic bags get recycled. And, at least in Aspen, recycling is a labour-intensive effort and because of Aspen's distance from Denver, where recyclable goods are taken, the carbon footprint for plastic bags is fairly high. "So your net energy gain is probably negative, which is not the goal," he said.

 

Public, outdoor funeral pyres in mountain town

CRESTONE, Colo. - The Associated Press tells of a public cremation of a 48-year-old woman in Crestone, a small town at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado. Funeral industry officials say that Crestone is the only place in the United States where public, outdoor funeral pyres are performed for people regardless of religion.

Only a 100 people live in Crestone, but 1,000 in adjoining areas, which is located north of the great Sand Dunes National Monument and at the foot of five 14,000-foot peaks. It has become a very unusual community with a broad mix of religious faiths and lifestyles. The woman who died of a heart attack was no exception.

The AP report said the woman lived with both her husband and boyfriend, in apparent harmony. "We had a friendship between the three of us that very few people could share," said her widower. She was described as a giving if stubborn person who loved motorcycles, the outdoors and smoking pot. During the cremation of her body, somebody dropped a bag of marijuana

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