Gotta Watch: Living without limits
Kyle Maynard trains to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro.
January 26th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Living without limits

Today’s video of an armless Colombian man who repairs electronics inspired us. He says that he doesn’t want people to feel sorry for him. He’s in good company in these people who are doing great things despite their disabilities. Watch their stirring stories.

Climbing mountains – Kyle Maynard was born without arms or legs, but he hasn’t let that stop him from going for his dreams. CNN followed him as he trained to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Maynard reached the summit on January 15th, according to his website.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch • Health • Hikers
Lawyer: American hikers' release in Iran could come soon
U.S. hikers Shane Bauer (L) and Josh Fattal (shown in February) are reportedly near to being released from prison.
September 17th, 2011
05:56 AM ET

Lawyer: American hikers' release in Iran could come soon

A lawyer for two American hikers held in Iran for more than two years told CNN on Saturday that Iranian authorities are close to signing documents that could mean the pair are released on bail from Tehran's Evin prison.

Masoud Shafiee, attorney for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, said he was "very hopeful" they might be released Saturday.

On Tuesday, the lawyer raised hopes that the pair might soon be freed. Shafiee said the two men could be released after a $500,000 bail was paid for each of them.

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Filed under: Hikers • Iran • Uncategorized
Iran to release U.S. hikers after they pay $500,000 bail each, attorney says
Hikers Shane Bauer, left, and Josh Fattal are shown in a picture release by state-run Iranian TV in February.
September 13th, 2011
06:03 AM ET

Iran to release U.S. hikers after they pay $500,000 bail each, attorney says

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, two American hikers accused of being spies in Iran, will be released from an Iranian prison after a $500,000 bail is paid for each of them, the two men's attorney said Tuesday.

The lawyer said he has spoken to the two men's family and the are trying to get the money quickly.

If the two men walk free this would be the end of an international tug-of-war between Iran and the United States that has stretched on for over two years.

More than two years ago, the two men along with Sarah Shourd - Bauer's fiancee - were hiking in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region along the Iranian border.

Iranian police arrested the three Americans, saying they illegally entered Iran. They were also charged with spying.

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Filed under: Hikers • Iran
August 3rd, 2011
02:26 PM ET

Woman survives 50-foot fall off wilderness cliff

Pamela Salant

A Oregon woman was in a Portland hospital Wednesday after falling 50 feet from a wilderness cliff, breaking her leg in two places and surviving more than three days on wild berries, caterpillars and creek water.

An Oregon National Guard helicopter pulled Pamela Salant, 28, to safety Tuesday afternoon, more than three days after she fell from the cliff after going on a hike in the Mount Hood National Forest, local media reported.

"She's beat up but she's alive, and she's going to be OK," Salant's boyfriend, Aric Essig, told CNN affiliate KATU-TV in Portland late Tuesday. "She had moments of being scared, but she said she had moments where she was just very determined. ... It was down to survival. She thought she was going to die."

The two had gone in separate directions around noon Saturday in search of a better campsite near Bear Lake, according to the TV station.

"I walked all around the lake expecting to meet up with her at some point, and I walked all the way back to the camp and just didn't see her," Essig told KATU. He called the sheriff's office after she hadn't showed up by Sunday morning.

Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler told KATU that searchers used two shoe prints found over the three days to determine the direction Salant traveled and narrowed their search from there.

A copter spotted her Tuesday afternoon sitting on a log near a creek. She had no camping equipment or survival gear with her when she got lost, deputies told CNN affilate KOIN-TV in Portland.

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Filed under: Hikers • Oregon
July 21st, 2011
02:51 PM ET

Yosemite tragedy underscores dangers of deceptive rivers

The Merced River's unusual force for this time of year made wading near a waterfall particularly deadly for three Yosemite visitors.

Three hikers are presumed dead after being swept over Vernal Fall, a 317-foot waterfall at Yosemite National Park, on Tuesday, according to a National Park Service news release.

Witnesses said the visitors climbed over a guardrail to put their feet in the water about 25 feet from the waterfall's edge. The hikers have been identified as Ramina Badal, 21, and Hormiz David, 22, both of Modesto, California; and Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock, California.

Park officials announced Wednesday that they were presuming the visitors to be dead and will intensify search efforts as soon as the  river reaches a level low enough to look for bodies.

The Mist Trail, where the visitors were hiking, sees about 1,500 guests each day, according to the Park Service. In May, another hiker slipped from the popular trail into the Merced and drowned. Counting Tuesday's accident, there have been six water-related deaths at Yosemite this year.

Western rivers have been at record levels this summer due to large snow packs and a cool spring.

At this point in the year, the Merced would typically be at about a “trickle” at Vernal Fall, said Dave Steindorf, California stewardship director for American Whitewater. Instead, the water is still gushing at levels that are rarely seen past June. Steindorf said this is great news for experienced paddlers but can create especially dangerous situations for hikers, bathers and waders who are less familiar with river hazards.

“Walking out into a river, if you’re up to your knees, that’s about as far as you can go with being able to maintain your footing, even with just moderate force,” Steindorf said.

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Filed under: California • Hikers • Nature • Travel • U.S. • Uncategorized
Hikers climb five mountain summits in one day
Mission complete: Hike five mountains, in five states, in one day
July 12th, 2011
04:30 PM ET

Hikers climb five mountain summits in one day

Hikers from the Atlanta area completed a climb to the summit of the five highest peaks in five Southeastern states in one day.

The leader of the trip, Charlie Cottingham, said the group has applied to GuinnessWorldRecords.com to have the feat recorded as a hiking world record.

The 21 hikers are part of the Atlanta Outdoor Club. They climbed South Carolina's highest peak, Sassafras Mountain at 3,564 feet, Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet, Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet in Tennessee, Brasstown Bald in Georgia at 4,784 feet and Cheaha Mountain in Alabama at 2,413 feet.

"It was a perfect day because it was in the 70s in all five places," Cottingham said.

Cottingham said the idea for the trip dates back to 1992 when a group from the Atlanta Ski Club climbed four summits in four states. He was part of that trip and always believed it was possible to hike a fifth summit between sunrise and sunset on the same day.

The group used private vehicles on Sunday to travel between the mountains and "obeyed all traffic laws" during their journey. Cottingham said the five summits are near trailheads, which saved time.

"I'm proud of our achievement and it offers proof of what the spirit of friendly cooperation can do," Cottingham said.

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Filed under: Georgia • Hikers • Mountain climbing • North Carolina • On CNN.com today • South Carolina • Sports • Tennessee • Travel • U.S.
September 24th, 2010
04:24 PM ET

American hiker Sarah Shourd meets Iranian president

[Updated 4:23 p.m.] Freed American hiker Sarah Shourd and her mother, Nora, met Friday with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York, a family spokeswoman said.

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[Updated 9:16 a.m.] Sarah Shourd is happy to be back in the United States after being held for 14 months in an Iranian prison. The homecoming, as welcome as it was, is still bittersweet. Her companions, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are still being held. The three were arrested last year when they were hiking near the Iran-Iraq border. Sarah Shourd talked on CNN's "American Morning" about her ordeal and efforts to get her two friends free.

Kiran Chetry: I can't imagine the emotion you're going through. How are you physically and mentally after the release?

Sarah Shourd: Well, it is hard to explain. I mean, of course, I feel grateful. I wouldn't be free if it wasn't for a huge groundswell of supports of governments and people across the world from Desmond Tutu in South Africa to a homeless woman in San Francisco donating money for us. It is incredible. I know that the same people are doubling their efforts and no one's going to give up until Shane and Josh are with us.

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Filed under: Hikers • Iran • TV-American Morning
September 24th, 2010
09:42 AM ET

On the radar: Hiker pleads, comedian takes Capitol Hill

Freed hiker wants audience with Ahmadinejad - Sarah Shourd, the American hiker recently released from an Iranian prison, told CNN's "American Morning" on Friday that she would like to speak to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

Shourd said she would like to appeal to the Islamic republic's president to release her fiancée, Shane Bauer, and friend, Josh Fattal, who are still being held there. She would ask him to show the same mercy he showed in releasing her earlier this month.

Ahmadinejad told CNN's Larry King on Wednesday that he suggested Shourd be released but that he had no influence over the legal process. He said there was a chance Bauer and Fattal could be released, but it would be up to a judge to make that decision.

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Filed under: China • Courts • Hikers • Immigration • Iran • Japan • Lindsay Lohan • Mexico • On the Radar • Stephen Colbert • United Nations
September 15th, 2010
09:51 AM ET

Hiker's mom: 'Its our turn to have our kids back with us'

Cindy Hickey, left, and Laura Fattal ask for Iran to release their sons from a Tehran prison.

The mothers of two U.S. men still being held in Iran told CNN they are hopeful their sons will soon be able to join recently released detainee Sarah Shourd and enjoy their freedom too.

"What we really want of course is there release," Laura Fattal said on CNN's American Morning. "We're so happy Sarah's home - but its our turn to have our kids back with us."

Laura Fattal appeared on CNN with Cindy Hicky to appeal to Iran to release their two sons who have been detained for more than a year. They spoke out a day after Sarah Shourd was released from Iran and reunited with her mother in Muscat, Oman after Iranian authorities released her from a Tehran prison where she had been held for 14 months.

The three Americans were detained after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Iran accused the three of spying, a charge the United States and the hikers have denied.

Shourd, 32, left behind fellow Americans Shane Bauer, 28, who is her fiance, and their friend, Josh Fattal, 28.

Laura Fattal made a plea to Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toelease the two men to end a situation that she says should have been avoided from the beginning

"Iran knows they have three innocent hikers, one of which they released," Fattal told CNN.

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Filed under: Hikers • Iran
September 11th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Iranian lawyer 'upset' that hiker's release canceled

The lawyer for three U.S. hikers accused of spying in Iran is "upset" that Sarah Shourd's planned release has been canceled and said her family's emotions are "being abused."

"Put yourself in her mother's shoes.," Masoud Shafili said on Saturday. "It's been more than year and she has no idea why her daughter was arrested and what will happen to her."

Iranian officials had said on Thursday that Shourd, one of three American hikers held in Iran for more than a year, would be released this weekend. But Friday, prosecutors said the release had been "canceled" because the judicial process has not been completed.

Shourd, 32, along with Shane Bauer, 28, and Josh Fattal, 28, were detained July 31, 2009, after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region.

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Filed under: Hikers • Iran • World
September 9th, 2010
08:09 PM ET

Iran to release 1 of 3 jailed Americans, official says

Sarah Shourd, one of three American hikers held in Iran for more than a year, will be released Saturday, Iranian officials said Thursday.

An official at Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said earlier Thursday that one of the three would be freed this weekend, after the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, without specifying which one. But Bak Sahraei, a representative for the Iranian mission to the United Nations, told CNN that Shourd was designated for release "very soon."

The Culture Ministry official said one of Iran's vice presidents will be present when the hiker is released at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Shourd, along with Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were detained July 31, 2009, after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Tehran has said the three hikers were spies, and Iran's intelligence minister has hinted the country may consider releasing them in exchange for the release of Iranian prisoners, according to state news outlets.

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Filed under: Hikers • Iran