It’s May in Rocky Mountain National Park, but on a mountainside 10,829 feet above sea level, snow is falling. It’s pelting Jim Cheatham, a biologist with the National Park Service. Shrugging off the cold, Cheatham seizes a teachable moment. This snow, he said, holds more than just water.
“Chances are it’s carrying the excess nitrogen we’re talking about,” mused Cheatham.
For the past eight years, the biologist has spent most of his time thinking about how nitrogen pollution is changing the park’s forests, wildflowers, and alpine lakes. He’s also been looking for a way to stop it.
Taking advantage of warm autumn weather and newly rebuilt roads, more than 3.4 million people spent time at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2014. That’s the highest number of annual visitors since 2000.
Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said pent-up demand following the September 2013 floods could be a factor.
On their 19th day of climbing, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the top of El Capitan in California's Yosemite National Park at 3:25 p.m. PT. The Los Angeles Times reports the climbers' families were waiting for them at the summit. From The New York Times:
Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 8:00 pm
Right now, two men are hanging out on the side of a 3000-foot cliff in Yosemite National Park, hoping to make history. For the last two weeks, they've been free climbing the Dawn Wall of El Capitan. If they succeed, it will be the most difficult climb ever completed.
Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson are midway through the adventure of a lifetime. The professional climbing partners have spent the last 10 days making their way up the Dawn Wall of El Capitan, the granite monolith in California's Yosemite National Park.