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See Hot Flashes No. 164 for the boy wonder Chris Sharma's amazing six-week tear -- seven 5.14s in three weeks. One thing we left out: in mid-July before leaving for Logan Canyon, he fired Slayer (5.13d) at Cave Rock, Nevada, in a day.

In Yosemite Valley, Thomas Huber made the third free ascent of the Salathe Wall (VI 5.13b). Thomas' brother Alex made headlines last year with the second free ascent. Todd Skinner and Paul Piana made the first in 1988.

On Baffin Island, Mark Synnott, Warren Hollinger, and Jeff Chapman spent 40 days on the north face of Polar Sun Spire. Their Great and Secret Show (VII A4 5.11 WI 3) is a testimony to the risk, suffering, and perseverance required to ascend a wilderness big wall.

In the Bugaboos this summer, Topher Donahue and Kennan Harvey freed All Along the Watchtower on the west face of North Howser Tower at V 5.12.

Sparks fly in Terrebonne: a National Park Service worker was responsible for the fire that devastated Smith Rock.

The annual Outdoor Retailer Show moved to Salt Lake City this August, a pleasant change from Reno. What's the buzz? Knockoffs and takeovers. The outdoor industry is consolidating. The North Face bought A5, Black Diamond acquired Bibler Tents, and OIG (Outdoor Industry Group) now controls Quest, Moonstone, MontBell, and Wild Roses, while K2,, holds among others Dana, Basic Designs, Garuda, and Wilderness Experience.

According to the August 1996 issue of SNEWS (an outdoor-industry watchdog publication), Climbing Magazine is the best-selling magazine in outdoor specialty shops, "by a substantial margin, then Backpacker, Rock & Ice, Outside ..." Thanks, folks.

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