Two surviving veterans from the Pisco Wars in South America will be guest bartenders at Provisions in downtown Ridgway tomorrow night. Tyler and rŌbert will be applying their copious knowledge and years of experience mixing their notorious and unmatched Pisco sours. Don’t be late and don’t be shy, you may never have another chance.
A camper parked along Lake Powell in Big Water, Utah. Scientists fear the lake’s water level could reach a low that would make power generation at Glen Canyon Dam halt. (Joshua Lott/The Washington Post)
PAGE, Ariz. — The first sign of serious trouble for the drought-strickenAmerican Southwest could be a whirlpool.
It could happen if the surface of Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir along the Colorado River that’s already a quarter of its former size, drops another 38 feet down the concrete face of the 710-footGlen Canyon Dam here. At that point, the surface would be approaching the tops of eightunderwater openings that allow river water to pass through the hydroelectric dam.
The normally placid Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir,could suddenly transform into something resembling a funnel, with water circling the openings,the dam’s operators say.
If that happens,the massive turbines that generate electricity for 4.5 million people would have to shut down — after nearly 60 years of use —or risk destruction from air bubbles. The only outlet for Colorado River water from the damwould then be a set of smaller, deeper and rarely used bypass tubes with a far more limited ability to pass water downstream to the Grand Canyon and the cities and farms in Arizona, Nevada and California.
Such an outcome — known as a “minimum power pool” — was once unfathomable here. Now, the federal government projects that day could come as soon as July.
Worse, officials warn, is the possibility of an even more catastrophic event. That is if the water level falls all the way to the lowest holes, so only small amounts could pass through the dam. Such a scenario — called “dead pool” — would transform Glen Canyon Dam from something that regulates an artery of national importance into a hulking concrete plug corking the Colorado River.
Anxiety about such outcomes has worsened this year as a long-running drought has intensified in the Southwest. Reservoirs and groundwater supplies across the region have fallen dramatically, and states and cities have faced restrictions on water use amid dwindling supplies. The Colorado River, which serves roughly 1 in 10 Americans, is the region’s most important waterway.
The 1,450-mile river starts in the Colorado Rockies and ends in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. There are more than a dozen dams along the river, creating major reservoirs such as Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
On the way to such dire outcomes at Lake Powell — which federal officials have begun both planning for and working aggressively to avoid — scientists and dam operators say water temperatures in the Grand Canyon would hit a roller coaster, going frigid overnight and then heating up again, throwing the iconic ecosystem into turmoil. Lake Powell’s surface has already fallen 170 feet.
Lake Powell drought threatens power loss for millions
Lucrative industries that attract visitors from around the world — the rainbow trout fishery above Lees Ferry, rafting trips through the Grand Canyon — would be threatened. And eventually the only water escaping to the Colorado River basin’s southern states and Mexico could be what flows into Lake Powell from the north and sloshes over the lip of the dam’s lowest holes.
“A complete doomsday scenario,” said Bob Martin, deputy power manager at Glen Canyon Dam, as he peered down at the shimmering blue of Lake Powell from the rim of the dam.
When Shimazu Yoshihiro (1535-1619)happened to be engaged in military affairs on Korean battlefields, from which he would return as one of the celebrated winners in 1598, he took the opportunity to take along a number of Koreans, some say more than seventy. This was an unfriendly take-over but a substantial acquisition of external knowledge. And it was needed to start the production of Satsuma wares on Kyushu. One of those Koreans was Kinkai (1569-1621). His work was of outstanding quality and greatly pleased the Daimyo, who made the potter a samurai and changed his name to Hoshiyama Chuji. His descendants continued to work until the end end of the Edo period, mid-19th century.
The most typical features of the Korean style Kinkai wares are the marks scratched into the wet glaze on the outside of the bowl and the rather high split foot. These features apparent on this bowl made one of the previous owners write Korean Kinkai tea bowl (Korai Kinkai Chawan) on the box. The fact that the bowl was produced in Hagi, another kiln founded by Korean potters is not mentioned in the inscription.
Shogufa Bayat, an Afghan refugee, poses with a client during a trek to Everest Base Camp in April with Ridgway mountaineer Danika Gilbert, right, who mentored Bayat in Afghanistan several years ago. Gilbert spent years teaching young women like Bayat how to climb and explore Afghanistan’s mountains. Today she works with the women as they navigate life as refugees in lands far from Afghanistan. (Courtesy Danika Gilbert)
Danika Gilbert traveled to Afghanistan for the first time in 2015. The Ridgway mountain guide had one goal: to teach young women from Kabul how to rock climb and mountaineer in remote mountain regions with the organization Ascend Through Athletics.
Over the span of four years, she led dozens of adolescent girls on mountain expeditions. She also taught them much more than mountain skills — she helped them become leaders in their conservative culture.
Last summer, Gilbert found herself helping dozens of young women she had met over the years in a new way as they navigated to safety following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“If you told me in 2015, that this would be what I was going through with the girls right now, I’d never believe you,” Gilbert said. “I really had hope early on that things were getting better — and so did most of the girls.”
It all started when Gilbert was on a flight to Germany last August. After pandemic restrictions loosened, she planned a vacation to visit three young women she instructed in Afghanistan. All three had relocated to Europe a few years earlier as tensions escalated in their home country.
During the flight, Gilbert had a sinking feeling that Kabul might fall to the Taliban. Her instincts weren’t far off, and a few days after she landed in Germany, Kabul erupted into chaos. Gilbert and the three young women immediately shifted their energy to helping other young women and families who were trying to flee Afghanistan. They worked around the clock for 10 days taking short breaks to sleep three to four hours a night. They communicated by phone and WhatsApp, wired money and relayed information they confirmed from outside sources.
“We were helping people in real time on the ground in Afghanistan making choices,” said Gilbert, describing how she sent girls money and helped them find the right bank using thermographic images sent from a helper on the ground in Afghanistan showing where Taliban were checking all passers-by.
More than a year after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, most of the young women’s dreams of climbing mountains in Afghanistan have disintegrated. But Gilbert continues to provide support to many young women and their families in any way she can. Whether it’s supporting them as they navigate their lives in new countries, providing emotional support to those who remain in Afghanistan or helping those who remain passionate about climbing find a way to get outside in the mountains near their new countries.
“There’s 10 of them that call me mom,” Gilbert said. “And there’s a wider network now, there’s about 40 that I’m actively supporting — Afghan men and women.”
After 10 days in Europe, Gilbert returned to her home in Ridgway. She immediately started an email newsletter to everyone in her network. She provided step-by-step instructions on how to call congressional representatives to advocate for Afghan refugees. She also directed her readers to organizations supporting Afghans on the ground so they could provide financial support or volunteer.
She also raised her own funds through Western Colorado Friends of the Himalayas. The money directly supported Afghans who were evacuating and resettling. She reserved some of the funds for those who are hopeful they might be evacuated in the future. Nearly a month after returning to Colorado, Gilbert found a new way to help four of the young women she helped evacuate by creating a website to sell their artwork.
So far, she’s raised thousands of dollars and she distributes funds based on the requests she receives. To date, she’s sent money for food, passports, visas and hospital bills.
“So I have all these donations that have come in,” Gilbert said. “And right now they’re focused on helping Afghans restart their lives wherever they are.”
She sent a computer to a young woman who sat stuck in a refugee camp in Abu Dhabi. With a degree in computer science, she used the computer to help stave off boredom and maintain her technical skills. Another young woman based in Canada started seeing a therapist to talk through her trauma.
“I got the sweetest email from her not that long ago,” Gilbert said. “She’s like, ‘You literally saved my life, I was so depressed and suicidal, and I reached out to you and you got me connected.’”
Prior to the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover, Gilbert established a nonprofit called Hamdeli, which translates to “with heart.” The goal was to offer “graduate level” training in climbing and mountaineering to the young women who wanted to continue beyond the basics they had learned through Ascend.
In addition to teaching more advanced skills, Gilbert hoped Hamdeli could connect girls and women mountaineers across Asia.
“So the plan with Hamdeli was to bring together girls from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and Tajikistan to do first aid training and climb mountains together,” Gilbert said. “And the goal was to build community.”
While the original vision of Hamdeli remains on hold, Gilbert still provides smaller mentorship opportunities to several of the young women so they can continue to build their technical mountain skills.
Shogufa Bayat was a student of Gilbert’s through Ascend starting in 2016. Last August, Gilbert spent hours on the phone with Bayat as she navigated violence at the Kabul airport with her husband and sister. She eventually fled the country, and after eight weeks in a refugee camp, she finally settled in Germany with her entire family: her grandmother, mother, father, two brothers, two sisters, husband and nephew.
Bayat is 22 and her goal is to become a mountain guide like Gilbert. Since Bayat settled in Germany, Gilbert has helped her connect with alpine clubs and climbers as she adapts to her new life in a new country. Over the past year, her main focus has been on resettling, taking language classes and looking for work. These responsibilities have left little time for climbing and hiking. But she’s grateful that Gilbert continues to offer her support and direction.
“I think I’m very lucky having Danika in my life,” Bayat said. “Right now she knows that these girls — their heart is broken, she knows that we want to become a mountaineer, and she is putting all of her energy to do something for us.”
In April, Gilbert offered Bayat the opportunity to work as her assistant guide on a trek to Everest Base Camp. It was difficult for Bayat to leave her family in Germany so soon after they arrived, but the opportunity created the space she needed to focus on her career goals. A longtime client of Gilbert’s, Eve Arias, footed the bill for the trip.
Arias saw supporting Bayat’s journey as a way to give back — much like she’s seen Gilbert do countless times over the years. “I just thought it inconceivable all they’d been through,” Arias said. “I think one of the reasons for taking her was that it kind of shows her that leaving Afghanistan wasn’t the end, and she could still continue with her dreams.”
Bayat learned that guiding clients in the mountains isn’t easy. “You have to have more patience,” Bayat said. “You have to think about each single thing, you have to prepare a lot of things, you have to be ready for any issues.”
The group trekked for 18 days through Nepal’s high-altitude mountains. When they arrived, they celebrated by standing on the massive rock that towers above base camp while waving the Afghan flag. Gilbert said she is 99% sure Bayat is the first Afghan to make the trek to Everest Base Camp.
In addition to learning the ins and outs of guiding a high-altitude mountain trek, she also found inspiration for a new adventure. Bayat wants to return with Gilbert and a team of Afghan girls to climb Everest. If they make it, they’d be the first Afghans to climb the world’s tallest mountain.
Gilbert said although she’s not motivated to climb Everest on her own, she is interested in helping Bayat and the other girls achieve this goal.
“People have always asked me about Everest,” Gilbert said. “If the right opportunity comes up where I’m needed, and I can be a value, I will gladly climb it — and this could be it.”
Gilbert and Bayat plan to assemble a team of roughly five or six girls with the goal of getting one or two to the summit. Gilbert recognizes it’s a lofty goal — many of the girls are busy looking for work and navigating their lives as refugees. But, she thinks it’s possible with dedicated physical and mental preparation. She knows the girls are tough enough and determined enough to make it to the top.
Gilbert continues her work from Colorado supporting Afghans. Many remain in Afghanistan, including two young women from Gilbert’s first mountaineering expedition with Ascend in 2015. And while she hopes Hamedeli can someday return to its original vision, for now, she’s directing her time and energy where it’s needed most.
“Right now what I feel like I’m doing is just like holding out my hand,” she said. “Let me sit with you or let me lift you up for a little bit and give you a chance to breathe — because life is so hard.”
You fucking Pirate, In your “darkness” you have abandoned us, your followers , you have cut us free, left us adrift – The tattler’s tongue and the bloggers blunder , we miss you – Correspondence with the expat Canmore cowboy . . . concerning your insatiable urge to host the Pisco bash.
Señor Berg, We spoke of the pirate, rŌbert and his endless Pisco ritual. We spoke of the adoring flock that returns to his fold with gift bottles from Chile and other SA Pisco nations. If I were to make my way to his “distilled spirit temple” I would gift “HijoPuta” It’s a fitting libation for liars and raconteurs . When mixed or poured straight, it would unleash and bring forth the telling of tales we love to share . I think of HijoPuta, shared and enjoyed under the seasonal palapa or the awning covered deck; the one up front with the Desperado Cimarron view. Rōbert would surely get over his disdain and admit HijoPuta to his shelved bottle collection, once it passed his sensitive taste test and after he sees the pleasing look on the faces of his guest tasters. Viva HijoPuta ! Mateo