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Many of our glaciers will be gone in 10 years

Photo: Michal Klajban, Creative Commons
Photo: Michal Klajban, Creative Commons

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

It’s been well documented that New Zealand’s glaciers are on the decline. But to learn that many will actually be gone by the time we’re all a decade older might come as a shock.

Yet that’s the assessment of Dr Andrew Lorrey, a principal scientist at the National Institute of Weather and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). He says that up to 20 of the 50 glaciers being monitored since the 1970s will have soon disappeared, adding that smaller glaciers in the lower areas of the Southern Alps were shrinking especially quickly.

“In a decade, we predict that many of our beloved and important glaciers will be gone,” says Dr Lorrey. “This will have far-reaching impacts, such as altering our beautiful landscape, affecting the livelihoods of people who rely on these natural wonders for tourism, and flow on effects from decreased meltwater during periods of drought.”

For trampers retreating ice makes accessing glaciers far more difficult, as well as more dangerous, as the land surrounding them becomes less stable. Read more on this at Stuff

Could you run a half-marathon… pushing quintuplets?

Chad Kempel is an inspiration to all those who are supposed to take part in a run but can’t find anyone to babysit the kids.

The 40-year-old from California completed the Oakland half marathon, pushing his four-year-old quintuplets the whole way in a stroller.

He completed it in 2:19:54, and his wife Amy rode alongside them in case she was needed.

It makes Chad a Guinness World Record holder for the third time, having already run the Modesto Marathon and a 10K in Idaho while pushing the kids. But he’s now decided to retire from stroller-pushing races! Read more here

Aspergillosis hopefully not to blame for kākāpō death

Conservationists were shocked to discover the unexpected death of Ra the kākāpō on Anchor Island in Fiordland.

The news came just a week after another female, Jemma, died from aspergillosis, a disease caused by inhaling spores of the Aspergillus fungus, which are particularly prevalent in hot dry summers like this one.

Back in 2019, nine kākāpō were killed by the disease but the fact that Ra had been eating normally until her death suggests it isn’t the cause on this occasion. But it’s not yet known what is responsible.

Any kākāpō death is a serious event, as there are less than 200 in existence. Read more at 1News

Pressure still building at Mt Ruapehu, think volcanologists

The volcanic alert at Mt Ruapehu might have stayed at level 2, but the aviation colour code around the North Island’s highest summit has risen to yellow.

This is because there continues to be evidence of a partial blockage in the vent beneath Crater Lake, which could result in pressure building up inside the volcano.

“Gas is still able to go through but not particularly quickly,” explains GNS volcanologist Geoff Kilgour. “If that pressure build-up continues…that’s when we might expect an eruption to occur.” Read more about this at Stuff

Four-day motorway madness

One of the great joys of climbing is being able to escape to a peaceful world with clean air and amazing views.

But no one told Brits Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, who spent four days and three nights climbing along an 800m crevice under a road bridge on the M5.

The crack along which they inched would vibrate and flex as large vehicles drove past, and they needed to wear ski goggles as debris fell through it. “The bridge was actively contracting and expanding so it took a while to get used to it and not freak out,” Tom told The Mirror.

They spent the nights on a portaledge which dangled from the bridge, and when they needed the toilet they used bottles and bags.

But there was one great perk about this choice of destination – a friend was able to bring them a pizza; not a luxury you normally get on a climbing adventure!