Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New - School of Rock
Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Bad Couple of Days on Longs Peak
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 2 of 4.  <<First   <Prev   1  2  3  4   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Half Dome

Is the Crack of Delight any safer due to the fact that it is still below Broadway? I can only assume so given the amount of choss all along the North Chimney.

Best of luck recovering Christian. Sounds like a long, painful road back, but could have been worse.


FLAG
By Monty
From Golden, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Just a teaser

pepperluff wrote:
So the second should have: * Untied * Called his leader down * Told the party (who called the accident in) on Broadway to bail down ?? Tough situation with many variables, IMO party in question did the best they could. No easy way out of that gully with no easy bail from the leader position above as far as i know.


My thoughts exactly


FLAG
By kirkadirka
From Boulder
Aug 19, 2013
turkey rocks

Tony T. wrote:
Related, I'm posting a quick "WTF?" to the apparently 2-4 parties who came upon the scene of our friend and his partner, who was pretty severely injured, and kept climbing. This is including one supposed nurse who said he looked OK and kept going. <3


Tony, it sounds like you weren't even there. In that case I think your comment is inflammatory at best.

Hope Christian makes a full recovery.

Be careful in the North Chimney folks.


FLAG
By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Aug 19, 2013
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Paul Hunnicutt wrote:
Is the Crack of Delight any safer due to the fact that it is still below Broadway?


I rappelled Crack of Delight once and it appears to be very clean by comparison. It also looks like a nice climb in and of itself.


FLAG
By kirkadirka
From Boulder
Aug 19, 2013
turkey rocks

The crack of delight is more or less the rappel route off of Broadway. It would be a good alternative as the rock is much cleaner- however it is harder and pretty much 5th class the whole way. It would also be much more difficult to pass slow parties.

People will always probably tend to the North Chimney as it is much easier technically, easier to pass, and really only 4th class for >80% of the terrain.


FLAG
By 1rsties4life
From CO
Aug 19, 2013

I think the most important thing to look at in this situation is that the injured climber is recovering from his injuries and it sounds like he is going to be ok in the end. We can always look back at should haves and could haves but in the end the important thing is that he is going to fully recover.

I was not there that day but will say, in the moment emergent judgement calls in the back country can be difficult to make, and every situation is different from the next.

I can recall a rescue I was a part of 10-12 years ago in the black Canyon when a guy on the route next to us fell and did a considerable amount of damage to himself. His partner along with myself and my partner, rescued him back down the wall then hiked him out of the S.O.B. with 2 shattered ankles. In that situation 2 parties climbed up to us from below and continued climbing, one of which was a nurse. IMOP, those parties that day did the right thing by continuing upward climbing above us as we had the rescue under control and more people would have ruined the efficient nature of it.

Point I'm making is we all assume the risks of climbing, especially in the North Chimney and when someone gets injured the most important thing is that they heal from their injuries. My thoughts are with all those involved.


FLAG
By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Seems to me that bag was saying that he/she did not know what his/her simuling partner was up to.
In that case, what can you do?
Well, all things considered, it seems like we, reading this, have a lot of things to consider and move forward with, should we ever end up facing a similar situation.


FLAG
By David.J.R
Aug 19, 2013

This is David and I usually do not post on forums of this type. However, I was on the belay stance about 20ft below where Christian's fall finally ended. The fall happened near the top of N. Chimney. Both my partner and I saw the last few moments of the fall and were the first team on scene -- others were there pretty quick to offer an assist. I was personally in the N. Chimney assisting for 7hrs of the 9hr rescue. I feel that I might be able to offer something to the community and to this particular conversation. I am only speaking for myself and cannot speak for anyone else that was there.

The N. Chimney is a chossy pile and can be something of a bowling alley if people are climbing above you (as many here already know). Being cautious is necessary, but sometimes that is not enough. Things happen and climbing in the alpine is a dangerous game. Frankly, it could have been anyone of us up there on Friday needing a rescue. I am grateful for everyone who did stop and help. We do suspect rock fall kicked down by a climber from above as the initial cause, but there is no way to confirm this. Christian seemed a rather experienced climber and the #1 cam placement that saved his life was adeptly placed.

There were a number of impressive folks on scene almost immediately after the initial incident. I am particularly taken aback by Christian and his partner's resilience/courage during the extended rescue. The partner I was with was amazing in setting anchors and getting Christian to safer ground in the first few minutes of the rescue. Caldwell and Siegrist were ready with fixed lines, contacting rangers, and hauling gear – thank you for stopping. The climber EMT that stopped was awesome and so too was his partner. Thanks to all the climbing rangers, park rangers, and rescue personnel that showed up. All told, the experience reaffirmed my faith in humanity and the ability for people to combine efforts to help out in a horrific situation.

For those who did not stop, it is a tough call and there were a number of other parties crowding the same area. I can appreciate how difficult that decision making may have been in the moment – I'm not convinced I would have acted differently in your situation – no hard feelings. Things were crowded and confusing during the initial rescue. There was a nurse that continued to climb up, but did say she would call in the rescue from Broadway – I trust that she made good on that promise. Reception from the belay ledge was terrible and a call from higher up was necessary. We were being pelted with rocks for the entire ordeal and fewer climbers going up would have made things less stressful and dangerous for everyone involved.

One thing that I learned from this experience is that even if you cannot personally help, offering some piece of extraneous gear in assistance may make the difference. We had 6-7 climbers offering the assist before mountain rescue arrived. Between us, we were still short warm clothes, hand warmers, and other equipment that could have made Christian more comfortable while he waited for rescue. You certainly don't want to put yourself in danger in those situations, but additional gear you might not need can make a massive difference.

This was my first experience with the consequences of climbing in the alpine and the take away for me is that you need to be prepared and cautious. Although mountain rescue is only a call away, you may be in such an area that it can take time for rescuers to arrive – have what you think you'll need to help yourself or another person during this time. Many of the risks can only be managed, but cannot be eliminated. Even the best climber might find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am grateful that we were able to get Christian down, the people we were with, the role I was able to play, and just to be alive.

My thoughts are with you Rayna and Christian. I am pulling for a quick recovery. Please let me know if I can offer any additional assistance in the healing process.


FLAG
By Tony T.
From Denver, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Getting up the Great Dihedral on Hallet Peak, RMNP.

kirkadirka wrote:
Tony, it sounds like you weren't even there. In that case I think your comment is inflammatory at best. Hope Christian makes a full recovery. Be careful in the North Chimney folks.


You're right I wasn't there. However, and it's a big however, I work with Christian's climbing partner involved in the accident. I will leave his name out because it is still a very recent and traumatic event. Anyway, his partner came to work the next day and explained what happened to a few of us. What he explained was the terrifying sensation of holding his friend, who was bleeding profusely on the snow, and wondering if he was going to die in his arms. He went on to explain that several parties passed them by before the rescue was even initiated. Maybe from a distance it didn't look bad. I'm not sure and I don't feel like bringing it up with my co-worker. He mentioned that one party included a person who claimed to be a nurse who said Christian looked OK, even though he clearly wasn't. I think my co-worker, like any of us, was likely also in a state of shock and maybe didn't communicate in a way that made it clear to the passing parties that they needed help, but it's still our duty to stop and evaluate the situation. Then again, maybe he made it very clear that they did need help, and I find that more likely knowing how he communicates very clearly in every situation I've seen him in.

He then explained that Caldwell and Siegrist were essentially making up for the lack of help from other parties. Apparently Caldwell jugged or soloed to the top (not sure if that was the top of the Chimney or the Diamond) to get a cell signal and called SAR. There were other parties that did stop and assisted the rescue. They are to be commended and I would buy them a beer any day for their actions.

I don't begrudge anyone who came upon the rescue scene already in progress, offered to be of any kind of assistance, and decided to proceed when instructed by SAR that they have the situation under control. Maybe it wasn't the best decision to climb up the loose chimney with even more possibility of showering rocks down above the evac in progress, but at least you stopped to evaluate the situation.

I do definitely begrudge climbers who were somehow too caught up in their own goal for the day that they felt it necessary to not thoroughly investigate the situation and help out. I know how it is. It would be a disappointment to miss the only decent weather window we've had in a month to go help out, but FFS, you have an obligation as a human being to put in some real effort to help your fallen comrades out.

I don't want this to be inflammatory, I just want people to know that this kind of behavior, if this is the correct interpretation of the story as told by his partner, is not OK.


FLAG
By Tony T.
From Denver, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Getting up the Great Dihedral on Hallet Peak, RMNP.

David, thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like it was a rather chaotic situation, and I don't blame my co-worker for not being in the best state to recount all of the details of the accident.

Hearing him recount the story left a lot of his co-workers really upset at other climbers. Our co-worker was distraught at what he saw were others passing without helping. However, it sounds like it was just a general cluster, and people didn't want to get in the way. David, you're right that at the other parties should have at least stopped to offer anything they had.

A lot of things could have been worse that day, and we're all just glad he got the help he did. We wish him a speedy recovery and strength for future endeavors.

Edited to add at the request of my co-worker involved in this accident: This isn't to come down on anybody or out people personally. I just want to make it clear that if you come upon an accident scene, make an effort. That's all I am going to leave it at. He doesn't want this thread to turn into what it's starting to turn into. Please respect that and just wish Christian good health.


FLAG
By JLP
From The Internet
Aug 19, 2013

IMO, the only person with an obligation to help you is your partner, and maybe the person who kicked the rock, if this is how it was triggered. You can debate everyone else until the end of time in your philosophy classes.


FLAG
By David Barbour
From Charlotte, NC
Aug 19, 2013

JLP wrote:
IMO, the only person with an obligation to help you is your partner, and maybe the person who kicked the rock, if this is how it was triggered. You can debate everyone else until the end of time in your philosophy classes.


You wouldn't feel obligated to help a climber with life-threatening injuries?


FLAG
By PatrickV
From Albuquerque, New Mexico
Aug 19, 2013
mexico

A previous poster mentioned the injured climber was on snow, so maybe this happened towards the bottom of the chimney where mills weaves up into it? In this case I don't think it was wise for people to conintue past. Towards the top of the chimney it might have been a good idea to keep going and stay away from being directly over the rescuers, after offering assistance.

Was the rock dislodged by a climber?


FLAG
By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Aug 19, 2013
tanuki

JLP wrote:
IMO, the only person with an obligation to help you is your partner, and maybe the person who kicked the rock, if this is how it was triggered. You can debate everyone else until the end of time in your philosophy classes.


I would agree that you don't have an "obligation" to help, but not doing so is just about the biggest dick move ever.


FLAG
By Ari Kantola
From Raleigh, NC
Aug 19, 2013
Yiihawww

Remember JLP is from the internet. Obviously a pompous ass. Shame on anybody that feels that obligation has anything to do with helping a fellow human being. And shame on anybody that climbs choss above a rescue.


FLAG
By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

JLP wrote:
IMO, the only person with an obligation to help you is your partner, and maybe the person who kicked the rock, if this is how it was triggered. You can debate everyone else until the end of time in your philosophy classes.

Obligation? Well, technically you may be correct, if even those people.
But if we ever happen to meet in person, remind me that there are better people to make friends with out there and not waste my time talking with you further... and I'll grab my gear or beer and quietly move over a few places on the crag or at the table.


FLAG
By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Aug 19, 2013

I'm not a fan of the JLP persona, but there are more than one way to interpret what he said:

You can interpret it as you are under no obligation to help an injured climber. Or you can interpret it as you shouldn't assume other climbers are obligated to help you if you get injured. This distinction is important, IMO. Because if you assume the latter, then you may assume it's OK to elevate your risk taking in the company of other climbers, since help would be more immediate & plentiful if you fuck up. This goes again the trad motto of being self sufficient and is also incredibly selfish. That said, in this instance, I have no reason to believe this to be the case.


FLAG
By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Aug 19, 2013
modern man

Ari Kantola wrote:
shame on anybody that climbs choss above a rescue.


you are correct


FLAG
By JLP
From The Internet
Aug 19, 2013

reboot wrote:
Or you can interpret it as you shouldn't assume other climbers are obligated to help you if you get injured.

That's what bothers me about this thread. You don't know the state of other climbers and they don't know yours. I do know it's a big deal to get up to the base of that thing with good weather. To expect the cumulative time and energies of dozens of other climbers to suddenly stop and revolve around you is, IMO, kind of selfish and naïve. NOT that I wouldn't possibly drop everything and give 110% of everything I had to a situation - or just walk away - it's always complicated and just depends and I've done both. When things are actually serious and emotions are high among many involved, everything gets super complicated.


FLAG
By Nick Nystrom
From Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 19, 2013
The start of pitch 3 of Ecstasy

I'm not going to get into the discussion of possible rescuers and what they did or didn't do, other than huge kudos to Tommy and Jonathan.

What's important now is best wishes for Christian to make a full recovery. Rayna, please relay those... it's been a long time since I climbed with Christian at TCW, but friends here haven't forgotten him.


FLAG
By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Aug 19, 2013
modern man

Tony B wrote:
And I was once shooo-ed from a scene myself, when I offered to stand-by for help. I've also been welcomed and asked to help in a few events. It seems that anything can happen, but it sure would be nice if people offered to help while not interfering.


damn dude, I've been climbing for 20 years and have never once been around even one rescue(besides a body recovery on El Cap) and 15 out of those 20 I was climbing almost daily.

I think all the points have been made now though, a clusterfuck at a rescue could NEVER help the situation, climbing above a hurt climber on a chossy climb could be really bad and asking if you can do ANYTHING should be first. did I miss anything?


FLAG
By Matt.Zia
From Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 19, 2013

From the picture Jonathan Siegrist posted on twitter, it *looks* like Christian fell down to the major grassy ledge just below the exit dihedral on the left.

Regarding the climbers who continued on with their day, while I don't think they're required to help, they should stay the fcuk out of the way until the rescue is clear of any sort of rockfall zone. When I was on the Diamond the day before the accident, the gear hanging on my harness got clipped with a rock while standing below the rappels on Crack of Delight.

As a WFR, the first thing you learn is do not make yourself another victim. Performing a rescue in a chossy chimney with parties climbing above you is a real easy way to turn a one victim rescue into a two or three victim rescue. That's not on the rescuers to keep themselves safe. That's on everyone else above them to do their absolute best to minimize the objective danger to the rescue team.

If the rescue team clearly informed the other parties that they had the situation under control and did not need any more help, that's one thing. But, as David said, so long as they respect the rescue party, more hands are never a bad thing. I was part of a rescue on Mt Washington a few years ago and as we came down the trail, many other hikers offered to help, even if it was only carrying a backpack of a litterbearer or running ahead to make sure we had a clear path. While we could have completed the rescue with the original group we had, having those extra support hands made everything much smoother because those of us directly involved with the rescue didn't have to worry about the little things, we could focus on carrying the litter.

Be safe out there.

Best wishes to Christian.


FLAG
By Jake L
Aug 19, 2013

I want to start by wishing Christian a smooth recovery. I was in the north chimney when he fell. My climbing partner John posted above as “bag.” My partner and I were one of two parties on the Diamond after the fall and during the rescue. I want to give a full account of my perspective of the situation and I want to run through every decision that I made.

I was near the top of the north chimney but on the left side when Christian fell. He was near the top but on the right side. There was a rock pillar blocking my view of the entire fall, including where he landed. His climbing partner was somewhere below me but off to the right. There was another party going up the same general area as Christian and his partner. The leader of this second party was the first to respond to Christian after he fell. He had no hesitation to go up and assist. I will call him Responder #1 below. I believe this second party was pitching out the north chimney because they were very close to each other and it appeared to me that the lower person was anchored to the rock. From where I was when Christian fell I could hear everything – the fall, the communication afterward, the response.

When Christian fell a huge amount of rock went down the chimney. Rock had been tumbling down the chimney the entire time I was in it. In addition, before he fell, there was a third climbing party's rope in front of me. I could hear/tell that the follower from that party was close so I was standing still on a ledge when Christian fell. After he fell I watched Responder #1 go up. He was focused on helping and identifying the rope for the follower below. I listened as Responder #1 assessed the situation and built an anchor to secure Christian with. It was clear that the injuries were serious and that outside help would be needed. It took several minutes (maybe 10?) before Responder #1 was able to get Christian to say anything. I am not sure is he was unconscious for a period of time. While I was standing on the ledge I pulled my phone out to see if I had enough signal to get a call out for help. I did not get a signal.

My climbing partner was below me and had been standing still for a while. Rocks were tumbling down the chimney before the fall during the fall and after the fall. A grigri and a helmet also went tumbling down the chimney after the fall. There was lots of yelling and I had no way to communicate with my partner to see if he had been hit at all. Since Responder #1 was with Christian, my priority was to ensure the safety of my partner. The last thing you want in this situation is to have two people who need to be evacuated because someone else got hit by a rock.

I thought about and actually began to build a belay right where I was but changed my mind because the rock quality was not great and I was standing on a ledge full of more loose rock. The follower on the rope that crossed my path (a nurse, who later was able to get on the phone with emergency personnel while on Broadway) passed by me and cleared up a path for me to get up to Boadway. (To defend the nurse, she was the follower and her top rope was leading her up and left from the accident. She would have had to untie or have her belayer let out slack to move right to where Christian and Responder #1 were.) I was on the left side of the chimney and felt that climbing out of the chimney to the left would put people below me at minimum risk. It was a short vertical face above ledge and I was not above the injured climber. He and Responder #1 were actually above me, but far off to the right. During the time I was on the ledge, I made sure to listen to the situation and I offered my help. I could not actually see anything that was going on. Since Responder #1 was with Christian and my climbing partner was at risk of getting hit by one of the many rocks falling down the chimney, I decided I would climb up the vertical face to Broadway and try to get a cell signal. It would not have been easy to get over to Christian's level without knocking more rocks loose and he had several people already responding to him.

Once on Broadway I built an anchor and brought my climbing partner up. We were on Broadway with one other party. They managed to get a cell signal and talk to emergency personnel. We were told that a rescue was being put into place. At this point we knew of 6 people in the north chimney (injured climber and his partner, Responder #1 and his partner, Tommy, and Johnathan). The four of us on Broadway discussed our options. Help had been called for. We had been told that Christian could not move so we knew he would need to be taken out in a litter. There was a helicopter in the area because of the events from the day before. One option we ruled out was going back down into the chimney. We would have to repel which would mean likely knocking more rocks down on the people below us. Repelling the crack of delight and then going back up the north chimney to help also did not seem like a viable option because rocks were still tumbling down the chimney. At this point we felt that it was unsafe for us to return to the scene. There was rockfall and there were already a handful of people in the chimney. It was a matter of, if we went back down, we would likely make the situation worse.

We felt that we had done everything we could while keeping ourselves and others safe. A rescue was on the way. We decided to climb. Our route was left of the accident scene and no longer on loose rock so we would not be putting people below us at risk of rock fall.

As I said at the beginning, I wish Christian the best recovery. I am relieved that he has no brain trauma or spinal nerve damage. I also want to commend Responder #1 and the rest of the rescue team on the job that they did.


FLAG
By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

TR purist wrote:
damn dude, I've been climbing for 20 years and have never once been around even one rescue(besides a body recovery on El Cap) and 15 out of those 20 I was climbing almost daily.

Lucky you.
I guess I've been less fortunate - there are accidents weekly in any major destination, and I guess I have been in the wrong canyon at the wrong time. It is few enough times that I could probably count all of the accidents I have been around on my fingers and toes, but it is many enough that I'd probably forget a few if I tried to.
People goof up sometimes. I guess I'm one of the types that runs towards the screams, so I've seen everything from a girl who swung into a corner and broke an ankle to a guy who got dropped on belay to a guy who fell off the Boulderado and landed on Hwy 119. (We diverted traffic until the situation was in control.) And then there's the times you are at a cliff and someone gets flipped and hits their head and your partner just happens to be an ER doc...
Got rope behind your leg in a fall? Willie H. did! Doctor Alex T. (note helmet) inspects the damage after the accident on "Andromeda Strain (10a)" on Roadside Wall of RRG, KY. Photo by Tony Bubb, 1994.
Got rope behind your leg in a fall? Willie H. did! Doctor Alex T. (note helmet) inspects the damage after the accident on "Andromeda Strain (10a)" on Roadside Wall of RRG, KY. Photo by Tony Bubb, 1994.


People get hurt. My point was if you know where you stand with it, you won't make an impulsive decision about what to do. You'll have thought it through already - Are you committed to doing anything you can? What can you offer? How do you best avoid the scene if you can not contribute?


FLAG
By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.

kirkadirka wrote:
The crack of delight is more or less the rappel route off of Broadway. It would be a good alternative as the rock is much cleaner- however it is harder and pretty much 5th class the whole way. It would also be much more difficult to pass slow parties. People will always probably tend to the North Chimney as it is much easier technically, easier to pass, and really only 4th class for >80% of the terrain.

IMHO The North Chimney is 80% 5th class and I just pitched it out in 3- 5.6/7 pitches the other day, starting left of the gulley central where rockfall is the highest risk.
The Crack of Delight is wet, grassy, climbing with runouts- good luck with that start.
The Chasm View raps are easy, with only minimal rockfall risk from your rappelling partner above and I've passed most parties in the N. chimney >30 times by doing these raps. A bit more walking but by avoiding the falling rock risk of the shit chimney, you've eliminated much of the risk on the Diamond.


FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 2 of 4.  <<First   <Prev   1  2  3  4   Next>   Last>>