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Another Rainier Rescue

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quote:

That's pretty harsh, dude. I think people are trying for a kinder, gentler cc.com. Why would anyone want to attack people from a state where the biggest ice formation is a county fair sno-cone?

I think you misunderstood me. I was actually being a little harsh toward the members of cc.com. It seems like every time there's an accident, it doesn't take long before some folks are talking about how stupid the victims were to even be there. Plus, there are a few members of cc who think all southerners are cross-eyed, inbred hicks (unlike, say, rural Washingtonians).

 

So, I just thought it was a little unusual that those folks haven't yet made fun of those poor Alabamans.

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what's an aggressive pedestrian? [Confused]

 

are you a crosswalk painter or something? [Confused]

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AP:

 

That's pretty harsh, dude. I think people are trying for a kinder, gentler cc.com. Why would anyone want to attack people from a state where the biggest ice formation is a county fair sno-cone? [Wink]

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People think that if you write you are a scrambler you have no right to sign on this website, or you are some baby who can't wipe his or her ass. Scramblers go places climbers go only do it without ropes : [Wazzup]

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quote:

Scramblers go places climbers go only do it without ropes

Dude...it's called the approach. Climbers go where scramblers wish they could. [Wazzup][Moon][big Drink]

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We were a day behind this group, and also behind the group in which a climber was injured by rockfall. The rockfall Wednesday on lower Liberty Ridge was horrendous, by midday all lines to Thumb Rock were being hammmered on about a 10 minute cycle. In the cirque as a whole the noise was impressive and continuous - something was falling somewhere at all times. With crashed helicopters on the upper Carbon, injured climbers, a dubious forecast, and falling rock we backed off.

 

The couple that ended up in the crevasse was last seen by us just above the black pyramid, pitching it out. Another group that left Thumb at the same time that they did apparently simulclimbed and made it down to Schurmann late Wednesday night/Thurs AM. The couple must have bivied high. The clouds cam in Wednesday night and by Thursday there was more than a "cap" on the mountain. We walked out Thursday and 2 members of our group headed up the interglacier to make a run at Emmons. At Camp Curtis they hit stong wind and mixed precip, and came out Friday morning in more of the same.

 

The flying by the Chinook on Tuesday PM and on Wednesday was impressive. A thanks to the pilot, crew, and climbing and wilderness rangers who helped the involved climbers.

 

BTW -the Carbon and the Winthrop opened significantly while we were there. Do not consider the boot track on either a reliable guide for routefinding.

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I am not here to bash anyone. But in response to the original posting of the P-I article, does anyone watch the weather? The high winds and snow on Rainier were forecasted 3-4 days before they hit. A simple look at the National Weather Service website and Rainier Rec forecast would save a lot of rescuer's time and danger factor while trying to rescue people who don't even look at a simple weather forecast.

 

A week earlier with a clear and cold forecast we did Liberty Ridge in two days without a hitch. Climbing in bad weather is just not worth it. Take a longer vacation!

 

JCJ

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i'm not sure that your statements regarding the weather forecast are accurate or fair jtljohnson. the alabama team departed for liberty ridge early sunday june 23rd. do you have proof that the national weather service issued an extreme weather event for rainier's summit that morning? i seem to recall a great weather forecast for the week.

forecasters say a lot of things, but it has been my experience that you can NOT trust any weather forecast that is more than 6 hours out around this place... moreover, i would certainly NOT trust any "forecasted" weather event on rainier's summit that is 4-6 days out... period! somehow, i don't believe the weather forecast on sunday morning called for extremely high winds on rainer's summit for friday afternoon/evening. did it really say that?

the judgments about this teams' skill (and other teams that have had accidents) on this website are plain wrong. this team had all of the proper gear, they had trained on rainier before (they had even scouted out their descent route on a previous trip)and more importantly, they had climbed together on numerous other mountains and knew each others skills, strengths and weaknesses. this team did a great job under extremely tough circumstances... if they are guilty of anything, it is of climbing more slowly than they had intended... jeez, how many other teams have done that before??? does everyone here climb routes as fast as they think they can?

the alabamans story is a great one. despite extremely desperate conditions, they managed to stay focused and do what it took to stay alive. imagine how tough that decision was to rappel into a dark, cold crevasse on ranier's summit col after climbing liberty ridge. this was done without water, on limited food and with very limited fuel... they spent 3 days in that icy hole; daily, they would reset the anchors for their rope and the wands that marked the crevasse edge. if that team could have moved, they would have, but the winds were just too fierce and there was no visibility to navigate. it was an amazingly tough and desperate call to make... they lived and as we all know, others have perished in the same damn area under similar conditions... my hat goes off to these folks, i'm so glad that didn't have pull 2 more bodies off the mountain.

i see a lot of criticism posted on this site and i wonder what is to be gained over it?! correcting my grammar is one thing [Razz] , making baseless arguments about other people's accidents is rude, disrespectful and misleading to others. i would ask that you find out what really happened before going off on other climbers. think about the mistakes you've survived, and how others would second guess your decisions if an accident were to occur.

mike

ps, i will say this, next years accidents in north american mountaineering should be a good read.

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mike we would never correct your grammar, i'm too scared of that tough old woman [Wink] to tell her she's wrong

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quote:

Originally posted by iain:

old tough woman? she offered to clean my laundry for free.

and what were your shorts all stained from, [Razz] iain??

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well, choose from the following:

 

1) I interacted w/ Steamer recently on cc.com. [Wazzup]

 

2) Chubnook was overanxious for lunch. [chubit]

 

3) I had a horsecock malfunction on me. (damn newfangled technology!) [hell no]

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The news reports we hear give verry little info so we make incorrect assumtions. The news reports are written by non climbers. When Gator posts we get the real story.

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I have asked myself many times why people don't seem to heed the weather forcast. I wonder why people from out of state don't have a back up plan- like cragging on the east slope when the weatther is shitty in the mountains. Maybe they don't belive it can snow in the summer? We are lucky to be able to cancel and try agaiin when the weather is good. With tight vacationn schedules people are unwilling to turn around. There schedule is more important than saftey. ther are many things to do in this state, when planning a vacation in the mountains flexability is important for bolth fun and saftey.

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It's really easy to say from hindsight in your office how the weather forecast was right on when those people got hit. But let's get real. A 3-4 day forecast in WA, especially the West side is almost worthless. How many times have you looked at the weekend forecast on Tuesday and seen it look like crap, only to have it slowly morph to "mostly sunny" on Friday afternoon? I've headed up many times with a forecast, THAT MORNING, of partly sunny, and had it piss on me the whole day. Plus, almost any day here in the PNW, especially in June, I can find a forecast on the web that'll tell me just about anything I want. Maybe they looked at Accuweather, while you guys were looking at NOAA. And, Dave, maybe you are easily satisfied, but I'd find it pretty hard to bail on Liberty Ridge for Vantage.

 

Yes, you can bail everytime it sprinkles, everytime the weather forecast says mostly cloudy, OR you can use the information knowing its limitations. I went climbing when the weather looked bad 3 times in the last week. We got shut down just once, and that day we got 5 pitches in. I don't know what the people in question did exactly, but weren't these the people that got out OK? Maybe the forecast 'caused them to pack a bit more bivy gear?

 

Finally, a slight tangent that will allow me to bitch out some (and compliment others) at the Leavenworth Ranger station...

 

Not only is a hindsight forecast much better than NOAA, it is also not as easy to get any weather information when you are out on the road as when you are at your home innernet command center.

 

When we went up to Dragontail last week, we got permits for Colchuck Lake (morning lotto, real easy) from two very nice ladies. I bought some trinkets for my kids and the nice ladies loaded us up with all sorts of cool, gratis, Smokey Bear paraphenalia. I got a yellow USFS antenna ball on my truck right now thanks to them. (Maybe that's why someone broke out my window up at Liberty Crack [Confused] ). Anyway, back to the point,...when we came out from Colchuck we still had many days on the road trip and we were wondering what our options were so we stopped by the RS to try to find out about weather on the West side. Unfortunately, different clerks now occupied the office. One looked like my mental image of Larry the Tool. When I asked if they knew the forecast they responded mutely by pointing at their little conditions board. I redirected them to my query for west-side info and they just said "no". [Vee know nuttink!!!] I asked them if they could look it up on that computer they had right there on the desk and they refused, "NO", without explanation. Losers [Mad] !

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Criticizing the couple's decsionmaking (with benefit of a retrospectroscope) may be easy but ignores the extent of information that was available to those in the field at the time.

 

We left White River Tuesday. The forecast as of Monday looked great through Thursday. How much value does any forecast have in mountains 3-4 days out? Certainly not much in Eastern mountains. Is Washington different? The Alabama couple presumably had this information, for what it was worth. If that information alone tells you to stay home you may never climb on Rainier.

 

We camped Tues PM at Curtis Ridge. There were two others there and they had a NOAA radio. Wed AM the general area forecast was for 20% chance of occasional showers (not steady precip) beginning Thursday. No wind was forecast in the flatlands. An "uppper level disturbance," not a front was on the way. No mountain-specific information. The only current problem was, it was way too warm! We talked it over and decided to head up the Carbon but to keep an eye on things. (Seattle weather =/= Rainier weather) The group of 2 choose otherwise and headed out.

 

Wednesday morning we were at the base of Liberty Ridge (with a crashed helicopter and Tyler ??? and one other ranger there). The obvious, almost constant rockfall and recent injury turned us around before we headed up the ridge. Again, the current problem was it was too warm and sunny and the mountain wa falling at a good clip. The weather forecast from the rangers (whiteout and precip possible-probable but not certain Thurs-Fri) was an additional factor. Would we have backed off absent the rockfall? Maybe but it's hard to say - we did not have to make that decision. We would not have gone above Thumb given conditions Thurs AM, but the Alabama couple was already bivied in a crevasse by then. Had we climbed to Thumb Wednesday we would have faced a long wait or an unappealing retreat Thursday from the same location. And had we been in the field on the same schedule as the Alabama couple, I am confident we would have headed up from Thumb Rock Wed. AM as they did. Would we have been fast enough to make it down before the weather hit? Apparently one group was, but for us, ask me after next year when we come back to take another try at Liberty Ridge, a little earlier and with a lot of respect for the route. Then I'll tell you how long it will take to go up and over, except the conditions won't be the same. The ONLY thing we did different from them "before" is we had a 2-3 days extra fuel. So we would have had plenty of tea while battling up on top of the mountain.

 

Echoing what Mike said, I would not take potshots at decisions made by people who were in the field, (not at a desk), who had not the benefit of hindsight. A day or two earlier and it might have been the four of us taking a 3 day break in a crevasse in a storm. A thanks to those who are willing to bail us out when we guess wrong, as we all have more than once, is the only comment that need be made.

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