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If you fail to summit Everest, don’t try and sue your guide

Dozens of guided groups head to the summit of Everest each year. Photo: Mario Simoes, Creative Commons

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world.

You can’t claim for not summiting

That’s the happy outcome of a legal battle that could have dramatically increased the pressure on Everest guiding companies had things turned out differently.

The case was between respected guide Garrett Madison and client Zac Bookman. The group failed to reach the top of the world’s highest peak when Madison realised a serac (a large block of ice) above the route made it too risky.

But Bookman decided the decision was actually made because another member of the team who worked for a sponsor of Madison’s guiding company had become too exhausted to continue. To make himself even more popular with the climbing fraternity Bookman also called the Sherpa lazy and inefficient.

He sued Madison Mountaineering for US$100,000 (NZ$148,000), but the two have just settled, with Madison the successful party and Bookman apologising for his comments about the Sherpa. Read the full story in the Adventure Journal.

Rein supreme

A massive thanks to Rein, a Hungarian Vizsla who found no fewer than 1700 kiwi in her 11 years as a DOC conservation dog, and is now looking forward to a happy retirement on the sofa.

Among her many achievements was helping to boost the population of rowi – the rarest species of kiwi – from 160 to 600 birds. She worked as part of Operation Nest Egg, where eggs were removed from spots vulnerable to predators, to hatch in safety.

She also managed to find a population of Tokoeka kiwi no one had realised was there.

Read more about this wonderful dog on Stuff.

Time to remove these pesky pines

Almost half a million dollars is being spent to further reduce the number of wilding pines you might see across the Central North Island. 

Large areas of Tongariro National Park, Tongariro Conservation Area, Erua Conservation Area and Rangataua have been over-run by invasive species of tree. But over the past 20 years, there have been serious efforts to reduce the spread.

The $467,000 from the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme will be spent either on ground based tree culling or aerial spraying. Read more on DOC’s website.

Ancient history destroyed in US national park

Vandals have graffitied over ancient art in Big Bend National Park, Texas. They scrawled names and the date (Boxing Day) over work thought to be up to 8,500 years old, and the artwork can’t now be returned to its original state.

It’s the latest attack on sacred Native American sites after racist obscenities were carved into petroglyphs in Utah in April.

A climber also managed to hammer a bolt into a rock face in Utah featuring ancient pictographs.

Read more from CNN.

Bumper summer for sea lions

Those walking along the coast of the Otago Peninsula might be amazed at the number of sea lions they spot. 

This summer is predicted to break records, with around 20 new pups expected. If that number doesn’t sound impressive, consider the whole population on the peninsula is descended from one mum, who first had pups there in 1994. This year there are 28 females of breeding age.

Sea lions were thought to have been hunted to extinction from the mainland at around the same time as the moa, but the playful mammals are now making a comeback. Read more from RNZ.