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Stay at least 2km from Mt Ruapehu’s Crater Lake

Photo: Jason Pratt, Creative Commons

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

DOC has closed a 2km radius around Mt Ruapehu’s Crater Lake after the mountain’s volcanic alert was raised from one to two.

The closure is due to an increased risk of eruption, as strong volcanic earthquakes take place. Experts believe there might be a partial blockage that’s preventing the level of gas flow they’d expect to see.

“Despite an increase in gas flow, the lake temperature is only responding slowly, suggesting a partial blockage may exist in the vent beneath the lake,” duty volcanologist Craig Miller told RNZ. “This could allow pressure to build up within the volcano.

“There’s something getting in the way in the middle that’s blocking this gas flow and that’s what we’re concerned about, that it could be building up a pressurisation which, if that failed catastrophically, it could lead to an eruption. But it could equally dissipate as well.” Read more at RNZ.

Why your favourite outdoor gear might not be in stock…

The outdoor gear industry is in the middle of a supply chain crisis. New Zealand is feeling it badly and you may have noticed the piece of kit you’ve been looking for has been more elusive than the South Island kōkako.

But the problem is worldwide, as highlighted by this article in US-based Outside, which warns that things don’t look as if they’re going to get better any time soon.

The ongoing problems with the global Covid pandemic combined with an increase in people getting outdoors means there’s continued high demand and shortage of supply.

Even the giants of the industry with strong buying power are struggling. Vista Outdoor, which owns numerous outdoor gear companies, says 10 per cent of its goods and materials are stuck in transit at any one time.

“It is absolutely crazy,” says the company’s CEO Chris Metz. “We’ve never seen anything like this in our entire careers or lives.”

Decisions on stewardship land shouldn’t be rushed

There’s an interesting critique of the government’s plans to quickly reclassify all of New Zealand’s remaining stewardship land. It comes from The Conversation (which provides comment from academic experts) and published by RNZ.

They’re concerned that putting speed before care could lead to land of high conservational value being sold to those with mining interests.

When DOC formed in 1987 it was allocated all the land that had been classified as conservation land, plus stewardship land – land that is believed to have conservation value, but had yet to be reclassified.

But the article says it’s not clear why such important decisions need to be rushed, and the authors are particularly concerned that the national panels created to make these assessments have been instructed by the minister to prioritise “the assessment for reclassification of any stewardship land where applications are sought for mining access arrangements”.

Should Russian climbers be allowed to ascend overseas summits?

This is a question that’s been sparked by renowned Ukranian mountaineer Irina Galay, who told Outside: “I hope that Russians won’t be permitted to approach any single mountain this year. I hope they won’t be allowed to raise the flag of their country on any mountain in the world.”

But others are concerned that the Russian climbing community could be isolated for reasons that are totally out of their control.

The US has already advised that people don’t travel to Russia’s (and Europe’s) highest summit, Mount Elbrus.

Adrian Ballinger, owner and head guide of Alpenglow Expeditions, who run guided trips up Everest, said: “My choice is that I don’t want to bring money into Russia right now, and I won’t run trips there even if it stays open, and I support steps our government can take to short circuit this war. But I would not turn away a Russian climber if I had one on my team right now.” Read more here.

“My foot was literally just flopping around at the end of my leg”

A Nelson tramper has described the ordeal of breaking two bones in her leg while on a three-day tramp in the Richmond Ranges.

Naomi Strain got her foot caught in tree roots, but managed to stay calm even though her foot seemed as if it was only being held on by skin alone.

She initially tried to reach the nearest hut (Slaty Hut), but realised she needed more urgent help, so found her way to a clearing and called emergency services.

Naomi took a silver survival blanket out of her pack to wave at the helicopter that picked her up and took her to hospital. “Turns out that I broke both fibula and tibia and displaced the lot,” Naomi told Stuff. “So basically pulled my foot off.” Read more at Stuff