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Dennis_Harmon

death in the mountains

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There is hardly any reason whatsoever that any-one should ever die up there. Yet, every year we continue to do it. Why is that? At the risk of sounding pretentious I'd suggest that very few people any more have any real appreciation for any thing or, any one, besides themselves. Perhaps that's the nature of America. Dennis

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for me its not the danger....but the purity of the outdoors and accomplishing something that took a lot of work and determination....the fact that it is dangerous has nothing (well mabe a litte) to do with the reason that i love this sport.....

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I disagree that here is hardly any reason that anyone should die. In fact there are a number, both objective (bad luck) and subjective (low intelligence or at least poor decision making).

 

The rewards I get from the mountains relate directly to the level of confidence, confidence, and control ( the three C's) that me and my partners overcome challenges. And the best rewards seem to have SOME level of risk associated with them.

 

Of course each of us has our own level of acceptable risk, and therefore different levels of "hardcoreness", but no matter what technical or risk level we participate on, within each of us we are getting rewards. A beginner climber filled with apprehension but a whole lot of motivation might get very much the same emotional experience from an easy Grade I climb as a hardman (or woman) might get from a scary, committing Grade V alpine route where death is very much a possibility.

 

Al Alvarez, in his book "Feeding the Rat" summed it up -- the need to get out, to flush out the system, to court discomfort, and to prevail. For each of us that need is fulfilled at different levels of risk.

 

Getting back to your point about needless deaths, the very fact that participate is a risky sport means that there will be accidents and deaths, becaus the line between safe and unsafe gets thinner as we push our limits to get the same rewards.

 

Whew. [Cool]

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quote:

Originally posted by Dennis Harmon:

I'd suggest that very few people any more...(clip)

Mt. Hood took plenty of lives in the early 1900's and onward. How early are we talking when you say "any more"? [smile]

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You can die driving home from work. You can die any time when you are alive. It's going to happen. When I am climbing, I am the one deciding my fate. Objective hazards (rock fall, avalanches, lightning, etc.) are something I am aware of, yet I choose to put myself in that scenario, a much better choice than getting mowed down by a drunk driver.

 

You are right, people die needlessly....it's called war.

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we're all dead anyway...shouldn't we enjoy the hell out of ourselves while we can? the greatest mistake in life is taking life too seriously...

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Awright! First post and its a total troll. Give us some more clues so we can figure out which one of the jokers are you.... We spend our whole lives looking for a reason to die, be patient, sooner or later it will present itself.

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quote:

Originally posted by RedMonk:

for me its not the danger....but the purity of the outdoors and accomplishing something that took a lot of work and determination....the fact that it is dangerous has nothing (well mabe a litte) to do with the reason that i love this sport.....

You can "accomplish something that [takes] a lot of work and determination" while surrounded by "the putity of the outdoors" by setting up a stationary bike at the Paradise Visitors' Center and pedaling in complete safety. No need to risk your neck and an expensive rescue/funeral if the risks of mountain climbing don't appeal to you. Or you could "climb" at Exit 38.

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"At the risk of sounding pretentious I'd suggest that very few people any more have any real appreciation for any thing or, any one, besides themselves."

 

[Roll Eyes]

 

Where or how did you arrive at this conclusion? What does this have to do with death in the mountains?

 

[sleep]

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quote:

Originally posted by plexus:

[QB] a much better choice than getting mowed down by a drunk driver.QB]

yeah, you hear that, you Pube clubber drinkin' drivers. [big Drink]

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What have these lonely mountains worth revealing?

More glory and more grief than I can tell:

The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling

Can center both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.

 

-Emily Bronte (who died young, of tuberculosis)

 

It seems to me most strange that men should fear,

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

 

-William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)

 

And lastly I'll paraphrase William Carlos Williams, who said "poems" where I'll say "mountains":

 

It is difficult

to get the news from mountains

yet men die miserably every day

for lack

of what is found there.

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Originally posted by Rodchester:

[QB]"At the risk of sounding pretentious I'd suggest that very few people any more have any real appreciation for any thing or, any one, besides themselves."

 

[Roll Eyes]

 

sham.gif

Hey bud, time to head off to the training center

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At least climbing you depend on your skillz first and gear second... unlike skydiving frinstance where you got to trust your gear 100%

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Dennis; without attacking you personnally, I think that your veiws and attitude are pure myopic pessimistic bullshit.

 

First, it is obvious that most people care about things other than themselves...especially people that enjoy outdoor pursuits.

 

Secondly ( and a much bigger subject), risks exist in the mountains, and every part of life for that matter. To get to zero risks in the mountains, stay home, watch TV and eat potatoe chips.

 

Do you really think that ( just to name two) Boukerev and Lowe died because they were being stupid. NO, they had more skill and smarts than we can hope to ever have. They have turned back on more climbs than most of have even attempted. The subjective exposure just called their number.

 

An extremely skilled climber, climbing dog routes, with excellent gear and very conservative weather/condition choices may make the risk approach zero. But that sort of climbing is the equivalent of spending the day on a stairmaster watching nature videos.

 

I for one have some skill, good gear and am not afraid to turn back if things aren't right. That being said, my passion is to climb hard committed routes in the mountains. It is only when I push the envelope a bit that I feel truly alive. It is then that my life is the finest, my focus is the most pure and my life has the most value. To me that is what is valuable about climbing. I engage in careful risk management but know that risks exist. Jeez, a serac that has been stable for a decade could pick the moment I am under it to collapse. Oh well. The only thing that I can do is minimize my time under one or stay home and eat potatoe chips ( and drink, a lot). I choose not to eat a lot of potatoe chips.

 

All of the above not withstanding, I think that in some of the better or more prolific climbers there is a bit of a psycosis involved. The drive to push ever harder is there for some. It is only when that drive is balanced by reasonably safe practices that great routes are accomplished in the mountains by people that survive to talk about it.

 

I deal with this balance regularly. After my recent solo of an easy and straight forward route on Rainier that pushed my personal envelope because of the storm, I felt sated and accomplished...for about a week. Two days ago I found myself pouring over Mike G's guide and thinking about soloing the Mowich face or even dreaming about soloing the Willis Wall. I'll end up doing it sooner or later. I'll try to move fast and be conservative but it WILL envolve risks.

 

We'll see if I survive, so that I can climb something harder.

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"for" him or to get away from him?

 

Climbing is a weird sport to get into "for the chicks" (im all for chix getting into the sport tho, 'hey ladies' [Wink] ) cause the gender ratio seems skewed towards males. Figger 8 if you want to meet girlz I would think the chick factor is higher in beach volleyball or grass hockey. Or ringette!!! [big Grin]

 

[ 06-05-2002, 10:45 AM: Message edited by: Dru ]

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Terminal Gravity, Thanks for your response and I'm hearing you, but until you bury a climbing partner and deal with the grief of the family and the void your terminal absence creates, you'll never understand. Until you do that the risks we run in the hills are just a fucking game, something to be laughed at over beers in the pub afterwards. But once you see the flip-side of the coin the "game" becomes all too real and maybe then you'll understand just how much sorrow you can inflict on the very people who love you the most. Dennis

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quote:

Originally posted by Dennis Harmon:

Terminal Gravity, Thanks for your response and I'm hearing you, but until you bury a climbing partner and deal with the grief of the family and the void your terminal absence creates, you'll never understand. Until you do that the risks we run in the hills are just a fucking game, something to be laughed at over beers in the pub afterwards. But once you see the flip-side of the coin the "game" becomes all too real and maybe then you'll understand just how much sorrow you can inflict on the very people who love you the most. Dennis

I can forgive your ignorance this once, DH.

 

But your being self righteous making assumptions about what I've experienced.

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Read up bub, TG's buried a child, which is a damn sight worse than a partner. I've lost several partners over the last 25 years, and I don't agree with you at all. Sure, the sport is trivial in the big picture, but so are most of the things we all do, and you can die at any of them: work, driving, playing in the ocean, or mowing the damn lawn. I'm no fan of death in the mountains, the romantic charm of that wore off with my youth long ago, but I'm more opposed to life without joy, and out there is one of the many places I find it. Do you have some personal trauma behind you blanket statements? I don't think anyone here will shit on you for sharing your story, but pontificating in generalities seems to paint a target on your ass...

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Dennis sounds like Andrew Todhunter who wrote the whiney book about wishing he could be Dan Osman or whatever. Dude obsessed with death in the mountains instead of having a good time climbing.

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