An American editorial cartoonist has been fired for skewering Trump. He likely won’t be the last. ~ The Washington Post

June 15
“Oh, good lord.”

That was my reaction the day after the election of Donald Trump in November of 2016, when it dawned on me that I would be serving my year as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists during the same time as the guy who wanted to “open up” libel laws and weaken the First Amendment so he could sue journalists more easily. Instead of the usual loss of jobs for editorial cartoonists that a president of the AAEC has to address during his or her tenure, now I’d be dealing with a much more fundamental threat to our profession: a president of the United States who has no idea or respect for the institution of a free press and its role in a democracy.

I did worry that editorial cartooning would be the next target of a president so enamored of visuals. That didn’t happen. In retrospect, I’m fairly certain it’s because Trump doesn’t read; he gets all his news from the television (Fox News) and uses Twitter as his megaphone. And I’m guessing his staff doesn’t cut out cartoons and tape them to the White House refrigerator so he will see them as he goes for his regular two scoops of ice cream. But with the firing of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers, we now see that suppressing a free press can be accomplished without an authoritarian president’s orders. Michael Cohen isn’t the only “fixer” Trump has at his disposal.

Rob Rogers has been the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for more than 25 years. Most working cartoonists have had an occasional idea spiked by his or her editor. But in the past few weeks, editorial director Keith Burris and publisher John Robinson Block have refused to publish six of Rogers’s cartoons, all criticizing Trump or his policies. Block and Burris have also rejected many of Rogers’s rough sketch ideas for several months.

This wasn’t the first time Block has used his position to defend President Trump’s actions; in January he demanded an editorial run in the Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade (where he is also the publisher) supporting Trump’s use of the term “shithole countries.”

I realize now I didn’t recognize this other danger of an authoritarian president: his enablers and the willing supporters who squash dissent and help attack the free press and subvert the Constitution. The fact that Trump will use any opportunity to spread lies and whip up hatred toward journalists only enables his powerful supporters in the media to do his dirty work for him. In April, another disturbing example of journalistic manipulation was exposed when a video surfaced showing news anchors from 45 Sinclair-owned stations reciting word for word the same script criticizing the mainstream media and spouting the “fake news” accusations that Trump uses in his diatribes. While Trump used the opportunity to blast its critics and offer his support for the “superior” Sinclair Broadcasting, he hadn’t orchestrated this abuse of journalistic integrity. He didn’t have to; there were others willing to do it for him.

Through satire, humor and pointed caricatures, editorial cartoonists criticize leaders and governments that are behaving badly. The purpose of an editorial cartoonist is to hold politicians and powerful institutions accountable — and we all know how little President Trump thinks he, his family or his sycophants should be held accountable. Rogers was the first American editorial cartoonist to lose his job as a result, but he won’t be the last. Trump has many “fixers.”

This newspaper owner (on right) is behind the firing of an editorial cartoonist who dared criticize . Here are 10 of the cartoons he wouldn’t let see print.  @Rob_Rogers @thenib @laloalcaraz @TheRickWilson @davidaxelrod

Below are five recent cartoons the Post-Gazette refused to publish.

Immigrant Children cartoon:



Pardon cartoon:



Ambien cartoon:



Sensitivity Training cartoon:



Memorial Day cartoon:



I Was Fired for Making Fun of Trump

By Rob Rogers

Mr. Rogers joined The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as an editorial cartoonist in 1993. He worked there until this week. In 1999, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.


~~~  READ  ~~~

The Sensational Idiocy of Donald Trump’s Propaganda Video for Kim Jong Un ~ The New Yorker

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~~~  WATCH  ~~~

In Singapore, on Tuesday, reporters covering the summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, were surprised with a screening of what appeared to be a movie trailer. You could argue that, because tax dollars likely paid for the creation of the clip, we the people ought to share a producing credit. But the nature of the film—its grandiosity, its gaudiness, its chaotic logic, its indiscriminate idiocy—is such that we must understand Trump as its author.

The clip, a four-minute overture from Trump to Kim, is styled as a movie preview. A golden production logo announces this as a presentation of “Destiny Pictures,” and frequent stock footage finds the sun shining like a dime beyond the curve of a turning world. Is Trump inviting Kim to take command of Universal Pictures? Or join him in playing God? Does either of them know the difference?

In any case, the narrator insists that the fate of the world hangs in the balance, in sentences that combine pompous syntax, palatial rhetoric, and dodgy grammar. Flattering Kim’s vanity while reflecting Trump’s own, he says, “Of those alive today, only a small number will leave a lasting impact,” while crowds scurry as if in “Koyaanisqatsi,”and postcard images of tourist sites flow past—the Great Wall, the Great Pyramid, and also Times Square, because, according to Trump’s understanding of history, the visual noise of spectacle is a postmodern wonder to revere. These sights yield to a vast North Korean flag—an invitation to a tyrant to think more bigly and take his place alongside the men who built the Colosseum and the Taj Mahal.

“History may appear to repeat itself for generations,” the narrator says. “There comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference.” Trump appears in oratorical postures, in still photos taken at the State of the Union address and the U.N. General Assembly, manning the lectern like the Cicero of his day. Kim waves and smiles, and waves and smiles, and walks a bit and waves some more.

“Destiny Pictures presents a story of opportunity,” the narrator continues, and the viewer wonders if he’s about to hear a pitch for a time-share. It’s “a story about a special moment in time when a man is presented with one chance that may never be repeated.” The man is Kim, waving, waving. The chance is to offer his nation industrial progress and material pleasure, represented by images of a seedling, an aircraft factory, a science lab, and a double-clutch slam dunk, of course. (According to Trump’s understanding of geopolitics, his appeal to Kim as a basketball fan is the sort of personal touch necessary to achieving denuclearization.) “What will he choose?” the narrator asks. “To show vision and leadership, or not?”

The key moment of the film happens underneath that last line, at the comma. This is precisely the midpoint of the film and the fulcrum of its narrative. The prospect of Kim failing to show leadership is symbolized by the use of a burning-celluloid effect, as in Bergman’s “Persona,” or “The Muppet Movie.” We watch the film melt. The image disintegrates. The implied destruction of North Korea is figured as a disruption of the story.

“There can only be two results. One of moving back”—missiles launch, a fighter jet rises from an aircraft carrier—“or one of moving forward.” At the moving forward, the narrative is back on track, with the beep and sweep of a film leader’s black-and-white countdown. The missiles return to their silos, accompanied by what sounds like the orchestral crescendo of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” In a God’s-eye view of the Korean Peninsula at night, the lights come on across the North. In a further montage of capitalist delights, Kim is shown a future of manufacturing prowess, medical advances, out-of-season fruit overflowing shopping baskets, and even the friendship of Sylvester Stallone, seen with Trump in a photo recently taken in the Oval Office.

Could it be, this audience with Sly? The narrator is cautiously optimistic: “When could this moment in history begin? It comes down to a choice on this day, in this time, at this moment. The world will be watching, listening, anticipating. . . .” The eyes and ears of the world are represented by telephoto lenses and by TV control rooms and by a woman alone on a sofa watching TV, because this is the sum of what Trump knows of persuasion.

  • Troy Patterson is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

    Read more »



Trump Made Kim a Movie Trailer. We Made It Better. NYT

Jun. 13, 2018| 2:06

Donald Trump showed Kim Jong-un a movie trailer casting both leaders as heroes. The Times’s Opinion video team cut a more honest makeover.

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Colbert Perplexed at Trump’s New Appreciation for Kim Jong-un


Welcome to Best of Late Night, a rundown of the previous night’s highlights that lets you sleep — and lets us get paid to watch comedy. If you’re interested in hearing from The Times regularly about great TV, sign up for our Watching newsletter and get recommendations straight to your inbox.

Sizing Up the Meeting

Stephen Colbert was not particularly impressed by the results of President Trump’s negotiations with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. At the end of the meeting, the two heads of state signed a noncommittal joint statement.

“The two countries also committed ‘to hold follow-on negotiations.’ So, the result of this meeting was to agree to another meeting. It’s not exactly a nothing-burger — it’s more like a bun that says, ‘We agree bilaterally to the potential future placement of meat somewhere in the toasted zone.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

Colbert scoffed at how Trump heaped praise on Kim throughout their time in Singapore. Trump had told a reporter that he was impressed by how Kim had stepped into his father’s role as leader of North Korea at just 26.

“You don’t give dictators points for being young! That’s like saying, ‘You know, Vlad the Impaler became ruler at age 20. Nobody talks about that. Everyone gets all hung up on the impaling part, not how young he was. He was the Mozart of sticking wood through people!’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

A stone garage’s weird story ~ The Durango Herald

A ski area and religious movement once occupied Ironton Park


The concrete foundation of the original 1940s lodge can still be seen at the north edge of Ironton Park. Built as a ski lodge, the building became a retreat for the Saint Germain Foundation and “I AM” religious teachings.


This was the Saint Germain Foundation’s lodge and religious retreat, a former ski lodge, before it burned in January 1952. The group’s religious beliefs were upheld in a major U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1944, two years after the organization had bought the lodge.


The lodge burned in January 1952, and that fall members of the “I AM” religious group built a garage on the site. The garage still stands immediately adjacent to U.S. Highway 550. Leigh Ann Hunt, forest archaeologist for the Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre-Gunnison National Forest, says, “The Saint Germain group came planning to do big things and then it never materialized. The lake and garage are now landmarks in Ironton and they will be managed to preserve them.”


A water tank and wooden platform still stand from members of the “I AM” religious group whose adherents moved to Ouray in 1942 and brought new perspectives to the old mining town. After their main lodge burned, members continued to camp on the site.


Few structures remain on the 800-acre site, but one extant building is this cellar or storage area. It includes traces of yellow and purple paint on the interior.


The concrete foundation of the original 1940s lodge can still be seen at the north edge of Ironton Park. Built as a ski lodge, the building became a retreat for the Saint Germain Foundation and “I AM” religious teachings.

Forced Out Of Yellowstone/Mountain Journal ~ muy típico


Against his will, in violation of an informal “gentleman’s agreement,” and amid public outrage, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk has received notification from the U.S. Interior Department informing him that he is being forcibly re-assigned to a regional director post with the National Park Service in Washington D.C.

In the order issued Monday, June 4 by acting National Park Service Director Danny Smith and approved by David L. Bernhardt, second in command to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Wenk was told he must vacate Yellowstone and re-report to the nation’s capital by early August. Read all of the memos at the bottom of this story.
Wenk told Mountain Journal Thursday he finds the actions heavy-handed and untenable. Instead, he will step down from government service in the coming weeks.
“It’s a hell of a way to be treated at the end of four decades spent trying to do my best for the Park Service and places like Yellowstone but that’s how these guys are,” Wenk said, referring to Zinke’s Interior Department. “Throughout my career, I’ve not encountered anything like this, ever.”

“It’s a hell of a way to be treated at the end of four decades spent trying to do my best for the Park Service and places like Yellowstone but that’s how these guys are,” Wenk said, referring to Zinke’s Interior Department. “Throughout my career, I’ve not encountered anything like this, ever.”

Last week in an attempt to forestall the unwelcomed transfer after spending 42.5 years with the Park Service, Wenk make a counterproposal to retire from the top job in Yellowstone next March, providing a period of transition for both he and his successor. That proposal was rejected.
The events bring a startling end to a long and distinguished career for Wenk, who is 66.
Never in the modern history of America’s oldest national park has a Yellowstone superintendent essentially been forced out at the climax of a brilliant career. Most of Wenk’s recent predecessors voluntarily retired from Yellowstone because it is considered the premiere field position in the Park Service and a job of high honor.
Wenk’s compromise offer was seen as a gambit, a test of Zinke’s Interior Department. Would it allow a widely-respected public servant like Wenk to retire with dignity and complete the key tasks he was assigned by Zinke himself?
Or would Zinke and his political appointees, as a demonstration of their unchecked power, punish Wenk ostensibly because of his outspoken support for conservation that riled some in Republican circles?
Since late winter, Wenk has known that he was the target of a forced transfer, though no one at Interior offered him a rationale for it, he said. Initially, it came to him only as a rumor.
Soon after Zinke’s appointment to his cabinet post was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2017, he moved forward with nearly three dozen controversial transfers of top executive level civil servants, vowing that it would result in better management.
Critics claimed it was a thinly-veiled attempt to undermine a number of agencies that have a mission of environmental protection at their core.
Acting Park Service Director Danny Smith, a subject in two Inspector General investigations, promised Wenk he had his back covered, but didn't, Wenk says.
Acting Park Service Director Danny Smith, a subject in two Inspector General investigations, promised Wenk he had his back covered, but didn’t, Wenk says.


This move, insiders say, appears to have been spearheaded by Smith and Bernhardt, the latter who, through his role with the Executive Resources Board, oversees all high-ranking career employees who are part of the Senior Executive Service. Wenk is at the highest level of the SES and while the classification allows Interior Secretaries to move elite managers around with only a 60-day notice, it is seldom done in a punitive way.

The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General found that the proposed moves had no obvious justification or rationale and that they were made merely at the whim of Zinke and staff. Here is what investigators with the Inspector General concluded:
“The Executive Resources Board reassigned 27 senior executives without a written plan or clear criteria, and without consulting with the departmental leadership who oversaw the affected senior executives or with the affected SES members. With no documented action plan for the reassignments and inconsistent statements from the ERB regarding its rationale, we were prevented from making a clear determination whether or not the DOI met the legal requirements. The [board’s] failure to document its decisions and to adhere to [government code] guidance…resulted in the perception by a majority of the affected SES members that the reassignments were prompted by political or punitive reasons, or were related to their proximity to retirement.”

Colorado utility plans to retire coal plants, add renewables ~ The Durango Herald

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DENVER – Colorado’s largest electricity provider said Wednesday it wants to retire two coal-fired units a decade early and nearly double the share of power it gets from renewable sources.

Xcel Energy said the changes would reduce its carbon pollution in the state by 60 percent and increase its share of renewable energy to almost 55 percent, up from about 28 percent now.

Xcel said the plan would save consumers $215 million by 2054, citing the “historically low” cost of renewables.

Colorado regulators would have to approve the proposals before they go into effect.

“Our recommended plan secures long-term and low-cost renewable power, stimulates economic development in rural Colorado and substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions – all at a savings to customers,” said Alice Jackson, Xcel’s president for Colorado operations.

Excel, based in Minneapolis, provides electricity to 1.5 million customers in Colorado.

The coal-fired units affected are at Xcel’s Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo. One would be retired in 2022, 11 years early, and the other in 2025, 10 years ahead of schedule. A third would remain in operation.

Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said the retirements would eliminate about 80 jobs. Some of those workers are expected to retire before the shutdowns, and Xcel would try to find new jobs within the company for the others, he said.

Some of the new solar farms would be built in Pueblo County, which includes the city of Pueblo, but it wasn’t immediately known how many jobs they would provide.

Xcel’s plan calls for purchasing two existing gas-fired generating plants in Colorado and adding five solar farms and three wind farms. Xcel would also renew its contract to buy power from an existing solar farm.

Three of the new solar farms would include battery storage.

The company said building and buying the natural gas plants and solar and wind farms will cost $2.5 billion. The facilities would be located in Adams, Baca, Boulder, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Morgan, Park, Pueblo and Weld counties.

The plan calls for adding 1,100 megawatts of generating capacity to Xcel’s system from wind, 700 from solar, 380 from natural gas and 275 from batteries. One megawatt can power 1,100 typical Colorado homes, Xcel said.

Environmental groups praised the proposal but said they need to analyze the details.

“Xcel’s Colorado Energy Plan is a true testament to how fast the cost of clean energy is dropping,” said Zach Pierce of the Sierra Club. “This plan makes clear that we can power our communities with reliable, affordable, and clean power made in Colorado for Colorado.”

Erin Overturf of Western Resource Advocates called the plan encouraging.

“Xcel’s plan would significantly reduce air pollution in our state, save customers hundreds of millions of dollars and create clean renewable energy jobs in Colorado communities,” she said.

Landmark Climb: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell Scale El Capitan In Under 2 Hours

The first time a group of humans managed to scale El Capitan, a granite monolith rising 3,000 feet sheer from California’s Yosemite Valley, it took 45 of climbing over the course of about 18 months. In the six decades since, those who followed in their footholds lessened the time it takes to reach the top — but, with some rare exceptions, even the most seasoned climbers generally take several days to complete the trek.

On Wednesday, two men did it in under two hours.

Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell needed only 1 hour, 58 minutes and 7 seconds to scale El Capitan along the Nose, the best-known of the climbing routes and the same one used for that first-ever climb back in 1958.

“It was slightly emotional when we finished it,” Honnold told The Associated Press by phone afterward. “I had a wave of, ‘Oh wow.’ I’m pretty proud we saw it through.”

Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold pose for a portrait Sunday at the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Within days, the pair would go on to break their own record twice, including once in under 2 hours.

Corey Rich/AP


The climb marks a speed record for the world-famous route, but it’s not the pair’s first — in fact, it’s not even their first this week. They set the Nose record on May 30with a time of about 2 hours, 10 minutes; then they went and set it again on Monday, this time finishing nearly two minutes shy of the two-hour mark.

But even though they shaved less than four minutes off their time from Monday to Wednesday, and even though both records share the same names, breaking the two-hour barrier Wednesday carries a symbolic weight quite unlike their previous marks.

Climbers have compared the feat to the four-minute mileor “breaking the two-hour marathon barrier, but vertically.”

“It’s the proudest speed climbing ascent to have happened in the history of U.S rock climbing,” Brad Gobright told Outside Magazine. It was Gobright and his partner Jim Reynolds who had held the record, with a time of just over 2 hours, 19 minutes, and they watched from the meadow below as Honnold and Caldwell claimed it from them in late May.

“I’m proud Jim Reynolds and I held the record for a bit of time, but in all honesty our time is nowhere close to their time,” Gobright continued. “The level of talent and confidence required to climb El Cap that fast is hard for me to grasp. Part of me would be excited to see someone try to break it but deep down I hope no one tries. At least not in my lifetime.”

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Can the world’s largest rewilding project restore Patagonia’s beauty?

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Can the world’s largest rewilding project restore Patagonia’s beauty?

Purchasing huge tracts of land in Chile and Argentina, former clothing tycoons Doug and Kristine Tompkins have led a quarter century-long effort to reintroduce threatened and locally extinct species to the wilds of South America

by in Valle Chacabuco, Chile

During an elegant dinner in the wilds of Patagonia, Kris Tompkins suddenly remembered the fresh guanaco carcass down the road. She rose from the table and drove us to the nearby grasslands of Patagonia national park, gushing about the possibility of staying up all night with a torch in hope of spying a mountain lion come to feast on the dead llama-like creature.

As she drove, Tompkins narrated her quarter century-long effort to reintroduce threatened and locally extinct species to the wilds of South America – ranging from giant anteaters and jaguars in northern Argentina to Darwin’s rhea, a species of ostrich native to southern Patagonia. When Conservación Patagónica – the NGO she helped found – bought the land that became this park, the guanaco population was struggling to compete for food and space with an estimated 25,000 sheep. But since the sheep were sold and the fences removed, native guanaco herds have flourished from an unsustainable population of several hundred to an estimated 3,000.

After purchasing a 222,000-acre property in 2004, Tompkins and her partner Doug, who died in a kayak accident in 2015, dedicated the following years to their conservation effort. Using hundreds of volunteers, Conservación Patagónica has converted these overgrazed sheep ranchlands into a world-renowned example of ecological restoration by reintroducing and breeding native species as part of a comprehensive rewilding programme.

First coined in the 1990s by environmental activist Dave Foreman, rewilding– large-scale wilderness recovery that allows natural processes and native wildlife to flourish – has migrated from fringe fantasy to the mainstream of conservation biology. Scientists increasingly believe the complex web of life thrives in the absence of human intervention and is often heavily influenced by mountain lions, wolves and other “apex predators”.

“I am a big non-human advocate. I get along better with the non-human world probably than the human world,” said Tompkins. “I would like to change the way national parks look at rewilding everywhere in the world where there are extirpated species, [and to] make it one of the goals of national parks everywhere. As they say, landscape without wildlife is just scenery.”

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Former Aspenite Charlotte Fox, survivor of Mount Everest disaster, dies in Telluride home accident

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Scott Condon

Charlotte Fox and her dog Gus earlier in May: 

Fox was a longtime Aspen-area resident who served on the Snowmass Ski Patrol from 1982 through 2007.


Charlotte Fox survived a harrowing incident on Mount Everest in 1996 and became the first American woman to climb three 8,000-meter peaks, so irony wasn’t lost on her friends when the longtime Aspenite died Thursday from an apparent accident on the steep steps of her house in Telluride.

Alison Osius, executive editor of Rock and Ice magazine and a friend of Fox’s, wrote in an online piece Tuesday that house guests found Fox on the floor of her home when they arrived Thursday night. She apparently slipped on the hardwood stairs in her four-story house, fell and suffered fatal injuries. She was 61.

“Charlotte had survived so much up high, it was stunning and profoundly sad that she died that evening of May 24 in a household accident,” Osius wrote on

Fox was a fixture in the Aspen climbing and skiing scene from the early 1980s until she moved to Telluride in 2007. She worked as a ski patroller at Snowmass from 1982 through the 2006-07 season, according to Aspen Skiing Co. She also worked on the Telluride ski patrol but was retired.

San Miguel County Coroner Emil Sante said Tuesday he is waiting for results of a toxicology report and hasn’t yet released the cause and manner of death.

“We have no reason to believe that it was suspicious at all,” he said.

A representative of the funeral home serving Telluride said Tuesday that family members were arriving this week and arrangements for a memorial service or services were yet to be made.

Even though Fox left the Roaring Fork Valley more than a decade ago, she still has a lot of friends from her days here.

“I just looked up to her,” Andrea Cutter, a longtime friend and climbing partner, said Tuesday. “She was a mentor to me, for sure.”

Among the lessons Cutter learned from Fox was to live life uninhibited.

“She had a go-for-it attitude,” Cutter said. “With climbing there’s a sense of fear that would hold people back. I would see her get scared but she would work through it.”

When word spread among Fox’s friends that she died from an apparent household accident, there was a sense of disbelief, according to Cutter.

“It made me think, ‘Jeez, it’s just so wrong,'” she said.

Fox will forever have a place in climbing lore as a member of a party that ran into disaster on Mount Everest in May 1996. She and then-boyfriend Tim Madsen were in an expedition being guided by Scott Fischer. Fox and Madsen summited but a number of calamities affected the group’s descent. They were eventually part of an exhausted group that huddled in a blizzard, desperate to find their camp.

Everybody’s oxygen had run out and the wind chill exceeded 100 degrees below zero, according to Jon Krakauer’s best-selling book about the incident, “Into Thin Air.”

Fox is quoted as saying the cold had just about finished her off by the time they huddled.

“The cold was so painful, I didn’t think I could endure it anymore,” Fox said in the book. “I just curled up in a ball and hoped death would come quickly.”

Aspen’s Neal Beidleman was one of the guides on the mountain at the time and he attempted to get Fox and her group to safety. She was among four clients who were incapacitated. Madsen volunteered to look after them while Beidleman and others went to summon help in what was a do-or-die situation.

Eight climbers died on the mountain that day.

Osius wrote in her online Rock and Ice piece that Fox didn’t talk much, even with her friends, about the Everest experience.

Beidleman said he wouldn’t necessarily say the experience brought them closer, but he definitely knew her better from the incident. He said he had a “healthy respect” for her and believed she held him in the same regard.

“The Everest thing was very, very difficult for everybody,” he said Tuesday, “but Charlotte handled it with poise and grace.”

Beidleman knew Fox before the expedition on Mount Everest. Their paths crossed while climbing on Independence Pass east of Aspen.

“Eventually everybody’s paths crossed during that kind of thing,” he said. “She’s been a fixture in the climbing community.”

Fox was a native of Greensboro, North Carolina. She could “turn on the Southern charm” yet could also live the climber’s life out of a van, according to Beidleman.

“Charlotte could be quite fiery,” he said. “That’s part of being a good climber.”

Fox went on to accomplish several climbing feats, usually hiring guides to tackle the highest peaks. Osius wrote that Fox made her final Seven Summits ascent of Mount Elbrus in 2014.

Her bio on said she climbed Cho Oyu and was the first American woman to reach the summit of Gasherbrum II. In South America she climbed Aconcagua, Hauscaran and Chopicalqui, along with several 18,000-foot peaks throughout Peru, her bio said. “She has climbed Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, and made many alpine ice routes in the Canadian Rockies. In America she has climbed the West Rib on Denali, Mt. Rainer and all of Colorado’s 14ers.”

Fox served as a board member on the American Alpine Club and on the Access Fund, which strives to preserve access to climbing areas.

Fox was married to Reese Martin, who was killed in 2004 in an accident during a paragliding competition in Washington.

Beidleman said Fox was “accomplished but humble.”

Her apparent manner of death was “shocking,” he said.

“It’s not one I ever would have thought of.”

Amy Denicke was a friend and climbing and skiing partner with Fox for 18 years and served as her personal trainer for a while. She said Fox had the unusual characteristic of getting stronger as she climbed higher in altitude.

“She was almost like a freak of nature,” she said.

Fox was fun to hang with because she was always up for adventure and trying new approaches, Denicke said, but she also will remember her friend for traits outside of climbing and skiing.

“Charlotte had this huge belly laugh,” she said. “You could always hear her laughing.”

Fox was known for her generosity to her friends, for always remembering birthdays and for sending thank-you notes, according to Cutter and Denicke.

“I felt like she was family,” Denicke said.

They were so close that Fox gave her an angel pin she had on the pack she used on Mount Everest. Fox told her it saved her life and she gave it to Denicke to provide safety and good fortune when undertaking an eco-challenge.

Fox also gave her a bracelet with the saying: “Leap and the net will open.”



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Telluride Daily Planet




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Charlotte Fox, one of the climbers who survived a disaster on Mount Everest in 1996, arrives at Kathmandu airport on May 15, 1996. (Binod Joshi/AP)

Charlotte Fox’s eyes were frozen behind her contact lenses. The snow had begun falling as she and her fellow climbers descended from the top of the world, the peak of Mount Everest, where she could see for 100 miles in every direction. But now, trapped in the middle of a blizzard with the force of a hurricane, in temperatures somewhere south of 40-below, she couldn’t see anything. She was out of oxygen. Her feet were numb with frostbite. No longer able to stay moving, she scrunched herself into the fetal position, huddled with her climbing mates in the ice and snow, and waited for it all to end.

“I didn’t see how we were going to get out of it alive,” Fox told Jon Krakauer in his book “Into Thin Air,” which recounted the famous 1996 blizzard that stranded climbers for one freezing night, leaving eight dead. “The cold was so painful, I didn’t think I could endure it anymore. I just curled up in a ball and hoped death would come quickly.”

Instead, she would survive through the night and live 22 more years to scale myriad mountains around the world. The experience on Mount Everest the night of May 10, 1996, may have made Fox and her fellow climbers celebrities for a time, but for Fox it was but a rung on the ladder in a life of great heights.

That’s why, when she died last week at home in Telluride, Colo., from an apparent fall from the top of her stairs, her friends were in disbelief. She had turned 61 on May 10.

“Charlotte had survived so much up high,” her friend Alison Osius wrote in a tribute for Rock and Ice magazine this week, “it was stunning and profoundly sad that she died that evening of May 24 in a household accident.”

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Atlas of A Lost World ~ Craig Childs ~ Book Reviews

I helped Craig review/edit this work before he submitted to his publisher. The NYT review below seems a little cranky and the other reviews were solid.  I surely enjoyed Craig’s writing & working with him.  rŌbear


Craig Childs

Seeing America as Our Ice Age Ancestors Did Image ~ NYT

By Brian Fagan

Travels in Ice Age America
By Craig Childs
269 pp. Pantheon. $28.95.

Traveling in ice age America, now almost a vanished landscape, strikes me as a strange topic. After all, the first Americans of 15,000 years ago belong in the realm of archaeology, not travel. Undeterred, the adventure travel writer Craig Childs journeys to experience ice age America, beginning his exploration on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Strait, the highest point of what was once the Bering Land Bridge between Siberia and Alaska. He sees wolves and gazes out over the water, imagining a plain teeming with big game. Next we join him on a canoe trip down the Yukon River, a formidable journey, and venture to the Harding Icefield to experience what it would have been like to trek over the great North American ice sheets during the late ice age — if anyone ever did. Childs does indeed get ice and snow blowing in his face, but there’s little about first settlement in these passages, except for a brief discussion of the Bluefish Caves in the Yukon, where some humans camped briefly some 23,000 years ago. Almost certainly they were summer visitors, perhaps from the warmer refuge area of the Land Bridge.

Fresh from his glacier experiences, Childs turns to the once-exposed plains of the Pacific coastal route. He and his family kayak at first, then take a coastal ferry south, hardly an effective way of puzzling out a series of ancient population movements. He talks of computer models that estimate it took 2,267 years to paddle from Seattle to Monte Verde in Chile, the earliest known archaeological site in the far south. The prose here oozes drama. Childs writes of people who couldn’t stop paddling, of small numbers of adventurers who ended up at Monte Verde because it was like their homeland.

Inevitably, the journey moves on to large ice age beasts, starting with the highly controversial 130,000-year-old Cerutti mastodon site near San Diego. Clearly Childs favors first human settlement tens of thousands of years earlier than the conventional estimate of around 15,000 years ago, sweeping aside scientific concerns over Cerutti as seemingly irrelevant. He prefers a “march of bone smashers from the north,” who arrived in a predator-rich land teeming with saber-toothed tigers and other creatures. This is, to put it mildly, an imaginative scenario. He visits Paisley Cave in Oregon, with its fossilized human feces from 14,000 years ago. Next we jump to “a Dangerous Eden,” in Florida, with its sink holes and swamps, occupied at least 14,500 years ago. We learn that an ice age hunt would have involved “musky gore,” with “projectiles sailing.”


Childs’s account of his journey is fueled by his misleading vision of a hazardous ice age America teeming with large, ferocious predators. But his own travels are routine, and on the whole experiences any fit traveler can replicate. His writing style is overly dramatic, smacking of today’s restless television programming, and remarkable only for rare moments of vivid description. “Atlas of a Lost World” is neither a successful travel book nor, with its promiscuous use of good and bad science, does it represent scientific reality.



Scenarios of glacial and postglacial environments in the Americas.

Toward the end of the last glaciation, when there was still a land bridge between what was to become Siberia and Alaska, humanoids started to migrate from northeast Asia across the bridge and into the Americas—right? Not so fast. As Childs (Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth, 2012, etc.) points out in this useful and transporting tour d’horizon of the prehistoric Americas, that theory has lost its authority despite its continued usage. In chapters that hopscotch around in time—45,000 years ago, 13,000, 20,000, etc.—and geography (the Bering Sea to Florida), the author brings readers to prehistoric sites, pointing out where artifacts have been found. He presents each site like a diorama, describing what it would have looked like eons ago, what animals would have roamed the land, and what flora would have been available to eat or to fashion as clothing or a boat. “First people,” he writes, “wildly outnumbered by animals, would have found themselves tossed and trampled by tusks and hooves or torn to pieces by the scissoring teeth of scimitar cats.” Throughout the text, Childs projects a high degree of infectious fascination, pulling readers into his prehistoric scenes. Readers will be impressed by his hardiness as he attempts to experience what an ancient traveler may have experienced. Some of the boats and other conveyances are still used today by far northerners, including the “umiaq, the traditional skin boat…made out of walrus skins stitched together around a wooden frame, eyelets cut through the inch-thick hide and secured with rope.” The author backs up his theses with the latest in archaeological research, and he is clearly thrilled when he hits on some new nugget of information.

A tight weave of professional findings, anecdotes, site visits, and explanations behind ancient artifacts make this book both engaging and indispensable for those with an interest in prehistory.


Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America

Travels in Ice Age America
by Craig Childs illustrated by Sarah Gilman
In this captivating travelogue, Childs (Apocalyptic Planet) treads the late Ice Age with the first migrants to the Americas—adventurous and canny explorers who traveled amid disappearing glaciers and “a cycle of animals of all sizes from voles and falcons to some of the largest mammals seen in human evolution.” The first human inhabitants of North America likely crossed a land bridge from Siberia to Alaska some 30,000 years ago, and Childs follows their path down the coast of California, across to Texas and Colorado, and as far as Florida. The migrants not only left their tools and weapons of survival behind, but mysteries, too: “How [the first people] got to Florida no one knows,” whether they came down the Atlantic coast or “somehow across the Pacific,” he writes. Childs’s walk-in-their-shoes account takes on pinpointing “the world’s most contentious prehistoric problems”—how and where humans came to the Americas. The evidence suggests, however, they “came along multiple routes and at different times, before, during, and after the height of the Ice Age,” he writes. With simple, beautiful sketches by fellow traveler Gilman, Childs’s account will fire the imagination of ordinary readers as well as anthropologists and prehistorians. (May)
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About halfway between Georgetown and Killeen, near the banks of Buttermilk Creek, lies a place where people once lived, worked and did their best to dodge sabertooth cats. If you’d been there more than 13,000 years ago, near the end of the last Ice Age, you might have been knapping stone tools from the chunks of gray chert that litter the ground, or butchering a mammoth for dinner. Either way, you would have had a lot of company.

This place, known today as the Gault site, was a popular gathering spot for some of the first Americans. Archaeologists have unearthed traces of those lives — stone flakes, bits of charcoal, the remains of campsites — stretching back as much as 15,500 years ago. It is one of the most significant places from Ice Age North America.

An image from 2011 shows some of the items researchers discovered at the Buttermilk Creek site in Texas.(Image courtesy Michael R. Waters/DMN file)
An image from 2011 shows some of the items researchers discovered at the Buttermilk Creek site in Texas.
(Image courtesy Michael R. Waters/DMN file)

Which naturally makes it appealing for Craig Childs, a writer and explorer who has followed the steps of some of these earliest Americans. In Atlas of a Lost World he aims for nothing less than a history of this continent, captured in an epochal shift as humans migrated into it.

It’s remarkable that Homo sapiens didn’t make it into the Americas until relatively late in human history. From our ancestral birth in Africa some 200,000 years ago, our species spread across Europe, Asia and Australia. Only the Americas remained without humans, isolated by oceans and thick northern ice sheets. When temperatures finally began to moderate, the ice sheets retreated and exposed the way forward: across a land bridge that spanned what is now the Bering Strait, between Siberia and Alaska.

Many archaeologists and writers have documented what happened next, as people walked or boated their way along Alaska and down into the North American interior. Childs stands apart by exploring not only how humans got here, but why they did. He pushes to bring a personal perspective to what might otherwise read like a musty museum diorama.

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Booklist Review

Childs (Apocalyptic Planet, 2012) takes readers on a scintillating dual journey through the geography of modern and Ice Age America in this survey of some of the lands reached by the first voyagers across the Bering Sea Ice Bridge. With fully half the book set in Alaska, Childs provides a fascinating mash-up of scientific history and present-day travelogue as he journeys across the state’s various regions, surveying the land; visiting with scientists and Native scholars; and seeking out the place where anthropology, archaeology, and cultural history meet. While exploring the American West and ultimately embarking on a trip in a north Florida swamp, Childs maintains a self-deprecating humor and a boundless enthusiasm for his subject that makes this narrative an unexpected page-turner. His curiosity is infectious, and the lessons he learns about how Ice Age people lived, what we can learn from them, and who they became resonate with serious staying power. “These first people,” Tlingit writer Ernestine Hayes tells him, “were not becoming Americans, but becoming Tlingit, becoming Navajo, becoming Lakota.” Childs has found history deeper than politics, and in rich, evocative prose, he makes it startlingly relevant to readers. A science title with broad and enduring appeal.— Colleen Mondor


Her Father Loved Tequila. Now She Runs a Company That Makes It. NYT

merlin_137342415_ee2ba81e-b5cd-489d-b932-110a80b8231a-superJumboBlue agave, grown for tequila, in Ms. Barajas Cárdenas’s fields. When she started, she said, “I had to get up early in the morning and drive from one agave field to another to search for the agave I wanted.” Credit  Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock for The New York Times


More than two decades ago, when Melly Barajas Cárdenas and her father were on vacation in Mazamitla, Mexico, he told her that he wanted a tequila made in his name. At the time, Ms. Barajas Cárdenas was a clothing designer in Guadalajara, where she is from.

“I didn’t know anything about tequila,” Ms. Barajas Cárdenas, who declined to give her age, said in a recent telephone interview conducted in Spanish. “But it was my father’s wish.” So she decided she would find a way to fulfill it. She knocked on doors, asking various tequila producers for help, and eventually found one who produced a line of bottles for her.

Ms. Barajas Cárdenas quickly realized she wanted to do more.

“At first, it was a goal I had to accomplish, more than something that I wanted to do,” she said. “My clothing business was very comfortable. I went to the office, went home, it was easy. But once I was in the tequila industry, I loved it. The smell, the taste, it was marvelous.”


In 1999, she opened her own distillery, Raza Azteca, in Jalisco. At the time, according to an estimate from Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council, which certifies tequilas with designations of origin, eight or nine of the 79 tequila producers were women. (Today, the number is 12 of 152, or 8 percent.)

“She’s one of the few female master distillers down there,” said Andy Coronado, the owner of La Gritona, a Los Angeles company that works with Ms. Barajas Cárdenas to produce and bottle its tequila. He described Ms. Barajas Cárdenas as protective of her people, knowledgeable about her craft, tough and sometimes eccentric.

“She always has a Coca-Cola and has a steak when we go out to eat,” Mr. Coronado said. “She pushes the vegetables off her plate and says, ‘That’s the food of my food.’”


The lab and office of Vinos y Licores Azteca, Ms. Barajas Cárdenas’s company. “We are a little distillery, not a big brand on the market,” she said. “We have to make things very differently.” Credit  Lindsay Lauckner Gundlock for The New York Times

Raza Azteca produces 100 percent tequila, which is not mixed with sugar or chemical flavors, for three in-house brands — El Conde Azul, Espectacular and Leyenda de México — as well as for other companies, such as La Gritona, Sino Tequila and La Quiere.

“To be a woman in this industry requires a lot of work,” Ms. Barajas Cárdenas said. “It’s a man’s world. When I started, people told me: ‘A woman in this industry? You will not make it.’ I grew off of those comments.”

And she did not focus on advancing only herself. From the early days, Ms. Barajas Cárdenas hired primarily women to work for her company, Vinos y Licores Azteca, which operates Raza Azteca.

Ms. Barajas Cárdenas with her staff on the porch of the distillery. “Most men could do this faster,” she said. “But it’s not something women can’t do. It just takes a little bit more time.”CreditLindsay Lauckner Gundlock for The New York Times

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