NOTED U.S. MOUNTAINEER MISSING IN NEPAL, AND AVALANCHE WREAKS HAVOC ~ NYT … Hilaree lived in Telluride, Colorado and was a friend many..

Hilaree Nelson, 49, appears to have fallen into a crevasse on Manaslu while attempting to ski from the summit.

The summit of Nepal’s Manaslu in 2019.
The summit of Nepal’s Manaslu in 2019.Credit…Marton Monus/EPA, via Shutterstock

By Bhadra Sharma and Emily Schmall

Sept. 26, 2022

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A noted American ski mountaineer, Hilaree Nelson, is missing after apparently falling into a crevasse on Monday while attempting to ski down a peak in Nepal.

Also on Monday, an avalanche lower down the same mountain, Manaslu, killed at least one person and injured 14, some critically, on a separate expedition, according to Nepal’s tourism department.

On Monday morning, Ms. Nelson and her climbing and romantic partner, Jim Morrison, stood atop Manaslu, the world’s eighth-tallest peak.

“Summit success!” they shouted, crying, hugging and taking photos with their three Sherpa guides, who used a satellite phone to share the good news with Jiban Ghimire, owner of Shangri-La Nepal Trek, the outfitter that organized their expedition.

Then, at the 8,163-meter (26,781-foot) peak, the couple strapped on their skis and pointed them down the slope. Fifteen minutes later, the guides radioed Mr. Ghimire once again: “big problem.”

They said Ms. Nelson, 49, appeared to fall into a 2,000-foot crevasse. Whether Ms. Nelson, an athlete and mother of two based near Telluride, Colo., survived the fall was unknown. After the incident, Mr. Morrison skied safely to base camp seeking help. He arrived around four and a half hours after the celebratory pictures were taken from the mountain’s peak.

On its website, the North Face, her sponsor, said of Ms. Nelson, “With a career spanning two decades that includes dozens of first descents through more than 40 expeditions to 16 different countries, Hilaree Nelson is the most prolific ski mountaineer of her generation.”

The incidents highlighted the extreme risks taken in Nepal by mountaineers and the local guides who support them and comprise an outsize share of injuries and deaths on the peaks. The Sherpas, members of an ethnic group in Nepal known for their skill at high-altitude climbing, fix rope, carry supplies and establish camps.

They are often the barrier between the foreign teams who hire them and death on the mountain, frequently expending their health or even lives to protect visiting climbers.

Ms. Nelson’s career has included working as a guide herself on some of North America’s toughest peaks.

Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison in Kathmandu, Nepal, after skiing from the summit of Lhotse in October 2018.
Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison in Kathmandu, Nepal, after skiing from the summit of Lhotse in October 2018.Credit…Niranjan Shrestha/Associated Press

On Monday, weather conditions on the mountain quickly changed, as they often do on Nepal’s top peaks, and an avalanche hit a separate expedition of climbers lower down the mountain, killing one and injuring 14. Four people who were critically injured were evacuated from base camp by helicopter.

On foot, “it takes three days to reach the incident site from base camp,” said Mr. Ghimire. “Weather is hampering search and rescue operations.”

He said the company would send a helicopter at first light Tuesday morning to the crevasse where Ms. Nelson disappeared. Mr. Morrison, who reached base camp in good health, will be on the helicopter for the rescue mission if the weather is conducive to flying, Mr. Ghimire said.

Bigyan Koirala, a government tourism department official, said the chance of a rescue was slim.

“Based on the briefings and difficult terrain, it’s really hard to say whether we will be able to rescue her alive,” he said.

The couple’s first major ski mountaineering expedition was in 2017, when they traveled to the Indian Himalayas to attempt the first ski descent of 21,165-foot Papsura, known as the Peak of Evil.

They did it, completing “an icy, 3,000-foot, 60-degree virgin ski descent with almost no visibility,” according to the North Face.

Ms. Nelson was the first woman to climb two 8,000-meter peaks, Everest and Lhotse, in one 24-hour push.

She returned to make history in Nepal with Mr. Morrison in 2018, when they were the first to successfully ski down Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest peak at 27,940 feet. In the wake of their achievement, they decided to ski down another 8,000-meter peak, Manaslu, according to Mr. Ghimire — a tried but still extremely technically challenging feat.

They were far from alone on the mountain this fall. Hundreds of aspiring climbers were drawn to Manaslu after Mingma Gyalje Sherpa rediscovered the mountain’s true summit, the place at the top of the mountain just above the fore summit, which mountain researchers said had not been reached in autumn since a Japanese expedition in 1976.

Among those with permits this year were members of a rarefied group of climbers who have successfully climbed the world’s 14 highest peaks, and who had counted Manaslu as a successful summit until Mingma G., as the Nepali climber is known, found the true peak.

Manaslu is among the world’s most treacherous mountains, and dozens of people have died over the hundreds of recorded attempts to reach the summit. In 2019, an avalanche on the mountain killed nine climbers.

A primer for the upcoming winter from Joe Ramey, former NWS forecaster

Joe is part of the Mountain Weather Masters crew

Dear CPR,

Colorado Matters is a great show I try to listen to everyday. Thank you.

I am a retired NWS forecaster from the Grand Junction office, and was the Climate services focal point from 1999-2016. So I have spent some time trying to resolve Colorado climate patterns, but from the West Slope perspective.

On this Monday’s show, Mike Nelson talked about the winter outlook. I have written before about Mike’s seasonal outlook comments. He still has some inaccurate information for all of Colorado. And it seems Mike has a Front Range bias.

First, ENSO (El Nino/La Nina) has a complex impact on Colorado. 

La Nina winters favor much of the Colorado mountains with snowfall, as far south as Telluride. Crested Butte has a good snow response to La Nina. That snow response increases to the north. La Nina does not favor the Front Range or the southern portion of the San Juan mountains (and further south into NM-AZ). La Ninas are good news for the northern and central mountains including the headwaters of the Colorado, Arkansas, South & North Platte, and Yampa rivers. Therefore La Nina winters most often provide the best results for Colorado water use.

El Nino winters tend to have positive snow impacts as far north as the Highway 50 corridor. El Ninos are often good news news for the southern mountains, including the headwaters of the Rio Grande and Animas rivers. El Nino winters definitely favor the Front Range.

Extreme events.  La Nina winters tend to be the most stable ENSO pattern, with fewer extremely dry events. Both El Nino and ENSO Neutral winters show greater tendency for extreme events.

ENSO winter patterns. Colorado has a bimodal precipitation distribution with a wet fall and a secondary wet spring. El Nino tends to enhance this bimodal pattern bringing heavier rain in the fall and spring. La Nina, on the other hand, tends to diminish the fall and spring wet periods and enhance snowfall in the heart of winter. In monthly climate data, La Nina Januarys stand out as a snowy period.

Finally, ENSO only explains some 15-25% of Colorado’s winter weather. That leaves a lot to the impacts of random winter storms, but ENSO remains our best winter-outlook tool.

Thank you for letting me respond to the winter outlook portion of your show.

Joe Ramey

REPUBLICAN ATTEMPT TO DESTROY DEOMCRACY IN AMERICA ~ NYT

~~~ WATCH ~~~

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Video by Johnny Harris and Michelle Cottle

Mr. Harris is a video journalist. Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

~~~

For the past two years, Americans have been overwhelmed by a deluge of headlines suggesting democracy in the United States is under threat: Voter suppression. A shortage of drop boxes. Election deniers seeking key state offices. It can be difficult to gauge what stories suggest a truly terrifying threat to democracy, and which are simply disheartening or even petty. The Opinion Video film above aims to unpack one of the most dire threats to democracy, which includes a sophisticated plot to control not only who can vote, but which votes get counted.

One thing is certain: The 2020 race was not stolen. But Mr. Trump and his Republican enablers have been working to rig future elections to their advantage. (Of course it’s the people shrieking most loudly about fraud that you really need to watch.) The former president has convinced his followers that the electoral system has been so corrupted that the only way to save America is for MAGA patriots to take over the system to ensure that the “right” candidates win going forward. His allies have been busy engineering such a legal takeover, and key pieces of the plan are already in place.

In this short film, we shine a light on those machinations, so that those who care about democracy can act to stop them.

For our Democracy to survive, we need to agree on a shared reality and for the losers — that is those who lose in honest and fair elections — to accept defeat.

Opinion  Finally, a billionaire willing to smack back at capitalism ~ The Washington Post

By Christine EmbaColumnist|Follow

September 16, 2022

People walk past a Patagonia store on Greene Street on Sept. 14 in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) 

There’s rarely a good reason to cheer for a billionaire. But for Yvon Chouinard, it might be worth suspending that rule.

Chouinard, founder of the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia — valued at $3 billion — has given his company away for the cause of protecting the Earth.

According to a remarkable statement released by Chouinard on Wednesday, titled “Earth is now our only shareholder,” 100 percent of Patagonia’s voting stock will be transferred to a trust created to protect the company’s values, and 100 percent of its nonvoting stock has gone to a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating climate change and protecting undeveloped land around the world. The Chouinard family (his wife and two adult children were involved in and supported the decision) will end up paying $17.5 million in gift taxes on their donation.

It’s an unusual move — exceptional, really. And the exception highlights an unhealthy reality of our wealth-obsessed, capitalist system: It often requires more intention and effort to give away money than to passively amass billions.

Why is unloading a fortune so unusual, in a country that has minted 50 new billionaires in the past year alone?

Structural forces, for one. Our economy allows firms to grow and accrue capital with fewer and fewer restrictions, and to extract huge profits. The small number of people who have equity in these companies see their wealth swell at near-exponential rates, often faster than they know how to spend it or give it away.

Liquidating stock or equity has its risks, too. Chouinard didn’t want to take Patagonia public because he knew the market doesn’t usually reward efforts to do the right thing. As he explained in his statement, “Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.”

In other words: Capitalism holds neither employees nor noble missions in high regard.

And of course, having money is nice. It provides ease, access, the experience of luxury. But even the most indulgent billionaire would have trouble spending down their fortune in a lifetime — or several lifetimes.

Yet these are, largely, secondary matters. The reason most of the ultrawealthy don’t give away their fortunes is because they simply don’t want to.

“The sad truth is that lots of really wealthy people are reluctant to let go of their wealth, even if they claim they aren’t,” Benjamin Soskis, a historian of philanthropy at the Urban Institute, told me. “Their identities are so tied up in their status as ‘wealthy people’ that it adds a weight, puts the brakes on the speed of their dispossession.”

Especially in the United States, which runs on a mythology of self-creation and individual achievement, money and status intertwine at a deep level. We mistakenly equate wealth with worth, assuming the more of it you have, the smarter and more special you must be. While we nominally celebrate generosity, we goggle at the Forbes billionaires list every year (which, yes, includes Jeff Bezos, owner of The Post).

~~~ CONTINUE READING THE WASHINGTON POST ~~~

Breaking news in FAT CITY! STREET WEST IS BOOMING IN ASPEN WITH NEW CROP OF ELITE RESIDENTS ~ Bloomberg …

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Aspen, a ski destination known for its exclusivity and cultural cachet, has been luring a new crop of part- and full-time residents.Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg

With remote work untethering executives, the tony mountain town has become even more inundated with wealth.

By

Heather Perlberg

August 30, 2022

Aspen’s Willoughby Way reads like a game of billionaire Monopoly, dotted with mansions owned by the likes of hedge fund king Dan Och, leveraged-finance titan Bennett Goodman and the parents of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

They’ve long sought refuge in the wealthy Colorado mountain town. But they’re increasingly getting some company.

Aspen, a ski destination known for its exclusivity and cultural cachet, has been luring a new crop of part- and full-time residents. The old-time crowd is calling them parvenus — newcomers to the highest-ranking class of wealth. 

The list is long, weighted heavily with members of New York’s finance elite, with some tech and SPAC millionaires sprinkled in. You might spot Dan Zilberman of private equity shop Warburg Pincus, or spouses John Eydenberg of Citigroup Inc. and Darin White Eydenberg of Korn Ferry. Nat Zilkha, a former partner at KKR & Co., bought the house of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Solomon in 2019.

relates to Wall Street West Is Booming in Aspen With New Crop of Elite Residents
The wealthy residents of Willoughby Way include the parents of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.   Photographer: David Williams/Bloomberg

The Covid-19 pandemic and its remote-work mentality has elevated Aspen beyond a tony mountain escape and into a kind-of Wall Street West. Not unlike Palm Beach or Miami, it’s facing an influx of ultra-wealthy business bigwigs who are no longer tethered to New York and California. Schools are harder to get into, luxury real estate is in even higher demand and a whole collection of restaurants and retailers have sprung up to cater to the rich newcomers.

Even as many finance firms demand workers return to the office, the Aspen elite have the means to set their own schedule — or simply commute. There’s enough of a critical mass that finance power players have formed WhatsApp groups to offer each other seats on private jets flying back east to New York and Miami, according to some members of the chats, who asked not to be named talking about the group.

“The great majority of people in Aspen were buyers of second and third homes,” said Steven Shane, a broker with Compass Inc. “But the last couple of years have brought lots of people in finance and tech that have moved here permanently.”

relates to Wall Street West Is Booming in Aspen With New Crop of Elite Residents
Steven ShanePhotographer: David Williams/Bloomberg 

A low inventory of homes has helped drive prices sky-high. The median single-family house price hit $13.2 million this year through July, up 35% from the same time in 2021, according to the Aspen Board of Realtors. This week alone, a 7,500-square-foot (700-square-meter) home owned by Wrigley gum heir William Wrigley Jr. sold for $30 million. 

Shane is currently the listing agent on a $100 million slope-side mansion, which would be the most expensive home ever sold in the town. The record for now is a $72.5 million estate on Willoughby Way that sold last year sold to Patrick Dovigi, the former Canadian hockey player and current chief executive officer of solid-waste company GFL Environmental Inc.

~~~ CONTINUE WITH BLOOMBERG ~~~

Chileans have rejected a new, progressive constitution ~ NPR

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JOHN OTISLISTEN· 3:54

3-Minute Listen

Chile spent the past two years writing a progressive new constitution, but the document was so soundly spurned by voters on Sunday that the result was clear less than two hours after the polls closed.

Nearly 62% of Chileans rejected the draft Magna Carta that was designed to replace the current one written during the country’s military dictatorship while just 38% voted to accept it, according to official returns

Although nearly every public opinion survey suggested the draft constitution was in trouble, Sunday’s results were shockingly lopsided and a huge blow for President Gabriel Boric, a leftist elected last year largely on his pledge to shepherd through passage of a new constitution.

“As president I receive this message with a lot of humility,” Boric, who is 36 and is Latin America’s youngest president, said in a TV address Sunday night. “You have to listen to the voice of the people.” 

News that the “rejection” vote had prevailed sparked celebrations in Santiago, the capital, where lines of drivers honked their car horns and people gathered outside to chant and toast victory. 

Sponsor Message

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“We’re happy because, really, we all want a new constitution, but one that is done right and this one didn’t fulfill the expectations of the majority,” Lorena Cornejo, 34, told the Associated Press, as she waved a Chilean flag. “Now we have to work for a new one that unites us. This one didn’t represent us and that was clear in the vote.”

The proposed constitution was considered too liberal for a conservative country

In a traditionally conservative country — married couples couldn’t get divorced in Chile until 2004 — many voters considered the new constitution too liberal. It was written by an elected special assembly dominated by leftists and progressives while only about one-third of the 155 delegates were conservatives.

The text called for legalized abortion, gender parity in government offices, the abolition of Chile’s senate and the establishment of autonomous Indigenous territories. It included vast new protections for the environment that, according to critics, could have put the brakes on the country’s lucrative copper mining industry. It also called for universal health care and the right to decent housing, education and pensions, which would have required steep tax increases.

“We don’t have the financial capacity to pay for all of these things,” said Mitzi Rojas, an architect in Santiago who voted against the constitution.

The effort to remake Chile’s governing guidelines stems from a deep political crisis. For decades the country was viewed as an economic powerhouse and a Latin American success story. But frustration over inequality and the high cost of health care, education and public transportation sparked violent protests in 2019 that nearly brought down Chile’s right-wing government.

WORLD 

‘Historic Opportunity’: Chile Holds Vote To Replace Dictatorship-Era Constitution

To address protesters’ concerns and convince them to call off their demonstrations, Boric — who was then an opposition congressman — helped cut a deal to begin the long, complicated process of writing a new constitution. 

A new constitution is considered long overdue

The current one was written in 1980 under dictator Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile for 17 years and calls for private sector involvement in education, pensions and health care. Democracy was restored in 1990. But even though most nations that undergo momentous political transformations write new constitutions to reflect these new realities, Chile never got around to it.

“The original sin of the current constitution is that it was written during the dictatorship,” said Rodrigo Espinoza, a political science professor at Diego Portales University in Santiago. “It has gone through reforms but is still seen as illegitimate.”

In a 2020 referendum nearly 80% of Chileans voted to draft a new one. 

However, experts say the best constitutions are usually short and to the point. By contrast, the document produced by Chile’s special assembly was a confusing collection of 388 articles, said Claudio Fuentes, a Santiago political analyst. Another problem, he said, was a vast disinformation campaign that spread lies — including claims that under the new constitution the government would disarm the police and confiscate people’s homes. 

Boric acknowledged these problems in his TV address but he also vowed to lead a new constitutional rewrite process. 

“I commit to put my all my energies into building a new constitutional process alongside congress and civil society,” said Boric, who plans to meet with the heads of political parties and both houses of congress on Monday.

Boric added that whoever drafts the next version — whether its Congress or a special assembly — they will have to produce a constitution that unites Chileans rather than divides them.

THE CONTENTIOUS VOTE IN CHILE THAT COULD TRANSFORM INDIGENOUS RIGHTS ~ NYT

The proposed constitution would enshrine some of the world’s most extensive Indigenous rights. But those reforms have become the focal point of the campaign to reject the new text.

Dancing the traditional Mapuche “purrun” during a rally last week in support of the new constitution in Santiago, Chile.
Dancing the traditional Mapuche “purrun” during a rally last week in support of the new constitution in Santiago, Chile.Credit…Tomas Munita for The New York Times

By Ana Lankes

Sept. 2, 2022, 5:00 a.m. ET

TEMUCO, Chile — The Mapuche people beat back Inca invaders. They fended off Spanish colonizers. And centuries later, they have continued to wage a battle for the recognition of their territories in modern Chile.

Now, in what could be one of the biggest victories for Indigenous groups in modern history, the Mapuches are on the verge of achieving much of what they have been fighting for.

On Sunday, Chileans will vote on a new constitution that, if approved, would enshrine some of the most extensive rights for Indigenous people anywhere in the world, according to experts. If the text is approved, more than two million Indigenous Chileans, 80 percent of whom are Mapuche, would be able to govern their own territories, have their own courts and be recognized as distinct nations within Chile, a nation of 19 million people.

But those changes have also become the most contentious part of the proposed charter, and a focal point of the campaign to reject it. The campaign’s efforts appear to be working: The option to reject is leading the polls ahead of the referendum. Even the governing left-wing government recently promised to narrow down some Indigenous rights if the constitution is approved, though how, or if, that would happen is unclear.

A protester wearing a Mapuche flag demonstrated in Santiago as riot police officers looked on.
A protester wearing a Mapuche flag demonstrated in Santiago as riot police officers looked on.Credit…Tomas Munita for The New York Times

“When we started this constitutional process, we never imagined that this would be the topic on which the outcome of the plebiscite will probably be defined,” said Javier Couso, a constitutional expert at Diego Portales University in Santiago, the capital.

The convention that was elected last year to write Chile’s new constitution was heralded as one of the most inclusive political bodies anywhere. It had gender parity and 17 of its 155 seats were reserved for Indigenous representatives. Its first president was Elisa Loncón, a Mapuche linguist who wore traditional dress to the plenary sessions and often greeted other convention members in Mapudungun, the Mapuche language.

The Indigenous representatives left their mark on the draft text. The first article of the new constitution would declare Chile a “plurinational” state, meaning that multiple nations would be recognized within Chile’s borders.

It would enshrine quotas for Indigenous people in all elected bodies, including at the national, regional and municipal levels. Indigenous people would have their own autonomous territories and gain protection over their lands and the natural resources on them. Most controversially, a parallel Indigenous justice system would rule in cases that do not affect fundamental rights or international treaties signed by Chile.

~~~ CONTINUE WITH NYT ~~~