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joekania

Climbers stuck on Glacier

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Mr. Lambone,

 

I agree the guys in the helicopters get a kick out of it. I helped a banged up guy get lifted off the summit of Stuart once and they were stoked.

 

Then there are the guys who die or lose appedages chasing down wankers.

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quote:

Originally posted by Lambone:

Your points are well taken, and I respect those who chose not to bring or use a cell phone when climbing. Sure, maybe we jumped the gun...who is to say.

 

Plus they said they enjoyed the practice and were relieved to participate in a succesfull effort. The army guys in the Chinook wre way serious, but grinnin the whole time!

I think you made a relevant point in your TR that it was better for you to call 911 than your parents. If your parents had called, they would have been looking for you all over the mountain. That alone probably significantly reduced the risk to the rescuers.

 

But too many copters have fallen out of the sky this year on rescues already. No matter how much 'fun' it is for the pilots, they should stay home unless absolutely needed.

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quote:

Originally posted by RURP:

This is RURP:

 

I suppose that we can all learn by the Lambone's epic. Here are some questions to explore:

 

Mr. Lambone says:

"I let the members of my party aware of the implications of such an action, and told them that I did not support the idea of asking for assistance. At that point I stepped out of the leadership role and let the group decide how to go about it."

 

Why did you leave the decision up to the two inexperienced people in your party???

Aren't you supposed to be the [more] experienced guy on this trip?

Democracy is over-rated in such situations.

Your choice of equipment also seems pretty poor considering the group and the objective.

911 means "save our lives", not "I'm gonna be late for dinner".

It sounds like you indeed were rescued and needed it. Still, I would have walked out instead of riding that helicopter.

 

These things do happen. Good to see that neither the "climbers" nor the rescue-guys got hurt.

Good luck next time; you know doubt learned a lot.

Have this beer...
[big Drink]

Maybe a few more are in order:
[big Drink][big Drink]

[big Drink]

 

RURP has spoken.

Rurp,

Thanks, I think that is the first time you have ever "sort of" been nice to me on this web site...

 

One question for you, have you ever been stuck in an I-tent in fierce winds with too feminists who are best friends, one of which is about to be your wife? If not I am not sure you can relate.

 

And I can assure you that we did not call for help be cause we were missing dinner, work, class, or whatever else. Bottom line is there was a thin thread of todd-tex between us and death from exposure...and that was real fuckin scary for all of us. We were all to aware that we made a few bad descisions, but the people who came up to the summit to help us down said that calling them in was the best descision we made.

 

I insisted on walking out. Not out of pride or accomplishment, I was just tired of risk. But it was 35 to 1, and I didn't feel like I was realy in the position to argue with them.

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I think what would be more interesting to find out is why the weather system came is so quickly and why the weather people weren't able to predict such a large system? Not that I'm trying to point a finger at the weather folks, but it would be interesting to know what sort of conditions facilitated such a rapid deterioration.

 

[ 07-31-2002, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: TimL ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Attitude:

But too many copters have fallen out of the sky this year on rescues already. No matter how much 'fun' it is for the pilots, they should stay home unless absolutely needed.[/QB]

I agree, we told the dispatcher that we did not want a helicoptor sent up, and we would not board one at the summit. But we weren't the ones calling the shots. I was upset about the chopper the whole time. But I do have to admit that it was kinda fun to ride in it. [smile]

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quote:

Originally posted by Lambone:

 

One question for you, have you ever been stuck in an I-tent in fierce winds with too feminists who are best friends, one of which is about to be your wife? If not I am not sure you can relate.


i knew there was a reason my gut feelings told me not to go!! feminists....shudder to think!!

 

[laf][laf][laf][big Drink][Cool][smile][Razz]

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Since Lambone is being such a good sport about this, I have a gaper question.

 

Did you attempt to build a wind break (snow blocks, rocks, empty beer cans).

 

I've rode out a couple of good (although shorter) storms snuggled in my Walrus behind a good snow wall.

 

PS: I get real conservative when climbing with my wife and make decisions I wouldn't make with my regular climbing partners. I think you did the smart thing.

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Thanks Bronco.

 

We set up the tent and bivi behind a previously established windbreak made of rocks. It was about two feet high.

 

After the first night we decided to beef it up, so we made it thicker and higher. In the ten minutes it took to do so we were soaking wet to our bottom layers and freezing. It took a couple hours to fully warm up again in the tent.

 

Or bigest concern was that our tent would fail in the night. I have to hand it to Bibler, they make some good shit. But throw away the guy-lines that come with it.

 

The wall may have helped a bit, but I think it was mre of a mental thing. Monday and Tuesday morning we woke up with at least 1 to 3 inches of ice covering evrything exposed to the elements. I think that is when the tent stopped breathing and we got really wet from our own condensation.

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quote:

We did notice high wispy clouds blowing in, but they looked non threatening. They were probably a sign of the changing preasure system, but we didn't know how to interpret that.

FYI, the appearance of broad, high, cirrus ("whispy") clouds is very often the first visible sign of an incoming weather system in this area...best bet is to assume bad weather will start to roll in in the next 3-6 hours.

 

A good lesson/reminder for all of us-

 

Glad you all made it back safe n sound!

[big Drink]

 

[ 07-31-2002, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: sayjay ]

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This is RURP:

 

Mistake No. 1:

Beware the stubborn feminist(s) who will not back down even in the face of reason.

 

"Todd-tex"??? Next time maybe you should take a tent made out of 'bone-tex, and leave the female social philosphers at home! [Razz]

 

You need a few more: [big Drink][big Drink][big Drink]

 

RURP has spoken.

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big wall betty, don't you have something to say about this???

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Lambone,

 

If you had wands, would you have felt confident to try to get off the mountain?

 

Now to the important question you didn't answer.....

 

What flavor Cliff bars were they? [big Grin]

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plexus,

 

I don't know how wands would have helped considering that our line of ascent was different than our planed descent. The Sitcum is such a mellow descent and I feel like an idiot for not just going for it. But it was really fucking cold. Like going out to piss was epic in itself. We'd get all spsyched to charge out in the storm, pack up and head for the top and down, then one of us would go out and piss to test it out, always returning with, "Fuck that I'm staying here..."

 

I considered going back down Frostbite (easy routefinding, just stay on the ridge), but decided it was too long and technical to be done before someone would sucomb to the cold.

 

Ciff Bar Ice- the chocholate mint flavor with Caffine...the only way to go! I guess no one can feel bad for us considering we had one each for three days. They rock. We tried to get inspired by the gnarly ice climber on the packaging, but just wern't feeling like Will Gad.

 

[ 07-31-2002, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: Lambone ]

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quote:

Originally posted by plexus:

If you had wands, would you have felt confident to try to get off the mountain?


Phffftt! Real climber only use hunks of shaped colored plastic for routefinding.

 

Either that or colored tape.

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Two thoughts on this thread:

 

Regarding cell phones: When Bob Davis, Jim Nelson and I climbed the N.E. Buttress of J'Berg in mid-July 1999 (see pictures in Jim's second book), we tried it as a day climb. At 5:30 p.m., sitting just below the top, we realized we were not going to be home that night. No chance of even making the CJ Col before dark. Had we brought a phone, we could have called and prevented the rescue attempt the next day. Completely our mistake for telling our wives we'd be home late on day one, instead of the next day. We were very embarrassed on day two, in the late afternoon, watching the helicopter land at the Cascade Pass picnic area with rangers on board, dressed for a rescue. We were changing our clothes by that point. They were glad we were fine, but had lots of questions. We could have used a cell phone on day one to simply say "we are fine, but this is taking longer than we thought." No phone meant no way to communicate, and panic back home. Cell phones are not bad things when used responsibly.

 

Regarding sudden changes in weather: Bob Davis and two other guys and I were caught by a bad storm this June in the steep gully on the upper portion of the Ice Cliff Glacier route on Mt. Stuart. The storm was 100% not predicted. The four of us have a combined experience climbing of about 100 years, and we were not happy campers once the storm hit. The point being that the forecast can be dead wrong, and anyone can get caught. I think that Krakauer guy wrote a book that touched on this topic.

 

Anyway, good for the Glacier Peak group for recognizing the situation and dealing with it in a level headed fashion. Nothing to be ashamed of, in my opinion.

 

Cheers all,

 

John Sharp

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quote:

lambone said:

We did notice high wispy clouds blowing in, but they looked non threatening. They were probably a sign of the changing preasure system, but we didn't know how to interpret that.

 

...and I said:

FYI, the appearance of broad, high, cirrus ("whispy") clouds is very often the first visible sign of an incoming weather system in this area...best bet is to assume bad weather will start to roll in in the next 3-6 hours.

let me qualify this a bit:

if you see broken up cirrus clouds, it probably doesn't mean much, especially if they are intermittent / coming and going.

if you see a pretty solid "line" or wall of cirrus coming towards you and the wind is picking up, probably bad weather is coming in. certainly if you are in the mountains it is best to assume this is the case, even if the forecast was for decent weather. if the height of the cirrus deck is descending with time as well this is a pretty sure-fire sign you've got weather coming in. how long before the weather comes in depends on the wind speed but if you want to be safe i'd assume 3-6 hours.

 

as to the question of where the forecasters went wrong....

i just asked one of the forecasting gurus in the UW atmos sci dept and the gist of it is this:

- there really was no big storm that came through.

- what did come through on sunday then again monday were two very weak fronts

- the forecast for sunday was for nicer weather than what we got because the airmass that hit us on sunday was both cooler and moister than they thought it would be, so instead of broken clouds we got thick clouds. the conditions were very similar to what you might expect on a typical winter day (only warmer), with clearing on the east side and everything. unfortunately, we don't have a lot of instruments offshore measuring the air temp and moisture content so sometimes the air is carrying a lot more moisture than you'd think by looking at other indicators.

 

a few thoughts:

1) forecasting in the pac nw is very difficult -- because small changes in the location of the jet stream can drastically alter the weather; because we have so little data (relative to other parts of the country) about the air upstream of us; because of mountain effects...to name a few reasons -- and we should go into the mountains prepared for bad weather no matter what, even in the summer.

2) forecasts, even for the mountains, are not really geared to 10,000'. the mtn forecasts look at what they expect at 4,000 or 5,000'. the winds lambone and co. encountered at the summit of glacier were not surprising, if you'd looked at a model forecast for that altitude.

3) for a multi-day trip such as lambone's you're forced to look at 3-4 day forecasts, which are vastly less reliable than a 1-2 day forecast. decisions made on day 3 or 4 of a trip should take into account that the weather may not be at all what was forecast. in this case, by saturday they were actually forecasting pretty heavy cloud cover for sunday (at least here in atmos sci they were; i don't know what whopplerdopplerman was saying...).

 

none of this is meant to slam lambone on decisions that were made.

just trying to squeeze some learning from his experience-

 

hope this is helpful to someone and not just a bunch of geek-drivel!

 

[ 07-31-2002, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: sayjay ]

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Lambone’s story has given me a lot of pause. Had this storm occurred 8 days previous, I would have been caught. Same route, same bivi spot, same forecast, but I was solo without a cell phone. Although I had high winds during the night, it was followed by a quiet and clear morning. It is a wonderful spot.

 

Speculation is easy seated in front of a computer. IMHO, Lambone and party did the right thing, and are here to joke about as a result. Kudo's to all the SAR folks who responded.

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Some FRS radios now also have NOAA weather radio reception. We used one on Sahale a few weeks ago and it worked out reasonably well (reception is somewhat poor that far into the Cascades, but it was intelligible).

 

Also, I find the NWS forecast discussion pretty useful. It's a fairly technical, qualitative analysis of the current weather picture. If you know a bit about meteorology, it gives you a much better idea what the forecast is based on, and how much confidence the staff meteorologists have in that forecast.

 

That said, I still don't trust any forecast more than 12 hours out [smile]

 

[ 07-31-2002, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: Peter Baer ]

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I've nothing aganinst cell phones to call friends to let 'em know what's up. It's just the "I got myself into this mess, no one's hurt and I want to go home" syndrome. I did help board two folks on a copter on Denali who had called in a rescue. One was tired, the other a sprained wrist from a hard arrest. Is this what we want rescue folks to risk their necks for? Maybe you do, I don't. It's the increased reliance on someone to bail you out that I don't care for. Sounds like if it were his choice, Mr. Lambone would have chosen otherwise.

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I posted this morning about being the designated person for someone who came back late, and for whom I nearly initiated a search.

 

What I failed to mention is that the reason I didn't call is that I was contacted by cell phone, and found out that they were OK and on the way out.

 

My thinking is that as many SAR attempts are not initiated because people had their phones with them, as SAR attempts are initiated by people with cell phones.

 

Having said that I have mixed feelings about them, and typically only carry one when I'm solo in the woods.

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Kudos to all of "us" for having restraint and attempting reasonable conversation.

 

Lambone, you are a brave soul to lay it all out as you have.

 

Good decision making is difficult when we are in fear. I will submit that wise decisions were made by you and your party as the outcome proves. I believe that you made an excellent choice by leaving the decision to call up to the group.

 

Ego has no rightful place in decision making. You may not see it now, but I believe that you demonstrated your ability to lead and care for those less experianced. It will become apparent to them with time as well.

 

None of us can predict weather (even the paid ones) so there's no sense asking what if's.

 

I guess the only point I would make, and I was not there so I'm not second guessing your choices,

is this- With an altimeter, compass and topo the Sitcom route is navigatable. But you must be competent to do so otherwise you will get lost and that would be a worse choice than the choices you made.

 

Yeah it is scary to travel that way for long stretches but, for me personally, since I choose not to carry a phone it requires that I get out and move, navigate and roll the dice. For me treeline = fire and warmth. Wet and moving has always been ok for me. Wet and standing (laying) around = not good

 

Too bad you didn't have good weather, the longest glissade I have made was on the Sitcom route. Just below the summit all the way to high camp!

 

Maybe next time!

 

Smoker

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I like to take my phone to check my stocks, chat with friends about the M's, call the wife to tell her how beutiful she is and I won't be home for another day or 2 but, don't need a rescue. Very handy, I've made that call once myself. It happens.

 

Lambone's conditions sound epic to me, 3" of ice and only light raingear is a suckfest for sure. Glad I was at home in bed those three nights.

 

Lambone: you know it's the mountain gods punishing you for all of those bolting and sport climbing trolls, right? [Razz]

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