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utah

wondering... take it easy... just a question

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I don't post regularly but feel need to respond. Phil, I am glad that you are engouraging discussion and asking questions rather than simply drawing conclusions based on what's in the media. But you're missing the point about weight.

 

If you read "Accidents in North American Mountaineering," which is an annual published summary of all reported accidents, and you scroll down the statistics tables, you'll see that the top reasons for accidents are: (1) slip/fall on rock; (2) slip/fall on ice; (3) falling rock, ice or object; and (4) exceeding abilities. Things like "exposure" and "stranded" are much, much further down on the list. And when you read the actual accidents, (1) and (2) diminish in more experienced climbers. Personally, I think that falling rock and ice are the greatest danger out there, particularly on a route like the one these climbers chose.

 

When a climber carries more weight, they move more slowly, with less agility, and increased fatigue over the course of the climb, much increasing your chances of (1), (2), or (3) occurring. The longer you are on any route, the more likely you are to be hit by rock/ice fall, and it happens more frequently than being lost. If you pick up any book about mountaineering, you will see how important it is to keep the weight down in order to move quickly and avoid hazards. For all we know, carrying the bivy sack, extra fuel, and food that these guys had may have slowed them down and exposed them to any of these hazards, including the incoming weather. They were smart and wise to be prepared with these items -- I am not in any way questioning their gear choice -- but every time anyone climbs, they make very carefully thought out choices about gear and weight. Both issues are EQUALLY important. Reducing the amount of weight isn't about being lazy, wimpy, careless, or a risk-taking adrenaline junkie. It's about safety -- NOT carrying stuff is like wearing a life jacket. I know that this is very repetitive of what everyone has been saying, but just trying to say it in another way.

 

Plus, my understanding is that MLU's only work on Mt. Hood, which makes them of limited value as a gear choice -- not to mention that since these climbers were from out of state, they might not have even known about the MLU's on Hood. There are also personal location devices that work elsewhere but that are very expensive ($700-?) and of questionable value as compared to other safety items that climbers carry.

 

One more pound may not sound like a lot of weight, but it is, and it adds up fast. If someone takes one more pound by carrying an MLU, there usually is a trade off for other safety gear.

 

Doesn't this club/group promote the use of MLU's to out of state climbers? If not, why not? They should at least be made aware of the availability of them, IMO.

And, one pound of dead weight may be cubersome, but I would think it would be a basic piece of survival gear.

 

There have been times when I didn't want to wear my motorcycle helmet, but I was sure glad I had one on when a truck threw a rock up that hit and cracked the helmet, ruining it forever. It was a hot summer day and I'd have loved to feel the breeze in my hair.

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...That's much better than being a human popsicle in my book.

 

You're certainly entitled to your opinions Phil, but you do come across like one of those fellows who is rather insensitive and lives life small and safe - I feel sorry for you.

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my heart goes out to those who lack compassion and respect for others.

 

I agree with griz's sentiments above. There is too much defensiveness in Phil's tone and choice of words. He is not open to hearing the knowledge, opinions, and choices of others unless they coincide with his. Most likely the speculations and doubts are fear-based. Im going to take a guess that needing to control outcomes is an important value in phil's life. I can respect and even relate to that to a degree. However, it would be more beneficial in discussions like this if that value was not pushed onto all of society. How fair would it be if I told you (or anyone else) that they were NOT allowed to wear a life jacket, a helmet while climbing or biking, a seatbelt, etc for whatever reason I felt was valid? That is taking away your choice and value/need to feel safe (whether realistic or perceived). If my values are not the same as you, then so be it. Please dont imply that mine are wrong.

 

If you ever need help due to what may appear to others as an unnecessary risk, I hope they will respect your decision and help you to get home safe, sound, and warm.

 

 

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No matter how you explain it to Mr. Jones, I don't think that he is going to understand what it is that attracts us to climbing... Or why someone would go up a mountain in the middle of the winter...

 

But thats fine, because while he is busy not becoming "a popsicle" and posting stupid comments on a website, I will be skinning my new spitboard up some new snow tomorrow, and hopefully get some good turns in. I guess I will be able to see the helicopters and planes serching for these guys, as I think I am gonna skin up to palmer... (I hope that part of the mountain is not closed??!)

 

Actually, I'm not against climbing mountains. I just think those who do it owe it to themselves and the people who may have to rescue them to make it easy to locate them.

 

 

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my heart goes out to those who lack compassion and respect for others.

 

I agree with griz's sentiments above. There is too much defensiveness in Phil's tone and choice of words. He is not open to hearing the knowledge, opinions, and choices of others unless they coincide with his. Most likely the speculations and doubts are fear-based. Im going to take a guess that needing to control outcomes is an important value in phil's life. I can respect and even relate to that to a degree. However, it would be more beneficial in discussions like this if that value was not pushed onto all of society. How fair would it be if I told you (or anyone else) that they were NOT allowed to wear a life jacket, a helmet while climbing or biking, a seatbelt, etc for whatever reason I felt was valid? That is taking away your choice and value/need to feel safe (whether realistic or perceived). If my values are not the same as you, then so be it. Please dont imply that mine are wrong.

 

If you ever need help due to what may appear to others as an unnecessary risk, I hope they will respect your decision and help you to get home safe, sound, and warm.

 

 

Perhaps my defensiveness comes from having been attacked viciously here for having voiced my opinions.

 

And, if I ever take an unnecessary risk that causes others to risk their lives unnecessarily, then I will expect to be criticised for it.

 

 

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...That's much better than being a human popsicle in my book.

 

You're certainly entitled to your opinions Phil, but you do come across like one of those fellows who is rather insensitive and lives life small and safe - I feel sorry for you.

 

Actually, I have slowed down somewhat and I confess to enjoying my creature comforts more than I used to. But, I have ridden a motorcycle from Alaska (before the AlCan was paved) to the Midwest, to the top of Pike's Peak, across country and back and flown in small airplanes. I've hiked in California, Oregon and Washington wilderness areas. I've snowmobiled and skiid both downhill and cross country. I've body surfed in the ocean. But I can honestly say I have never endangered anyone else's lives by any of my actions.

 

 

 

 

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i'm curious. I’ve been a climber - not "hiker" since 1985. just relocated to the NW and found this site because of the "news". back in the day - a good friend and climbing partner (everest) once told me. "if i'm ever lost get the guys together and come get me" the last person in the world i want looking for me is SAR. look's like that is not the sentiment here in the NW. care to comment?

 

It's a valid question - I'll try and answer it. I think it depends on the area, but your friend would definantly want this group of SAR involved if it’s an accident on Mt Hood. I feel I'm too old and inactive in mountains to be in SAR or Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR) right now. Don't live in Hood River where the Crag RAts are out of either.

 

Oh, I'm not a total weak-assed pussy. I can climb the odd 5.10+ crack or an occasional 5.11 on rock still at 52 years old. My endurance isn't bad, I've done 2 routes close to 2000 feet long this year, Epinphedrine 3 weeks ago for instance, where we were on a couple of young 20 –something year old asses (both certified AMGA guides) all the way up and despite having to follow a slower party, finished in @ 10+ hours car to car. I don't get into the mountains hardly at all since I've had kids in an attempt to minimize my objective risks. BUT, I use to do a hell of a lot back in the day. So with that quick preamble to introduce myself and qualify the spray and opinions about to follow, this is my opinion and I'm pretty damn sure I'm right.

 

From what I know about the folks who are up there right now trying to find these guys, and I only know a few and talk to a couple others on this site (who I haven't been out with yet), but if you get up on the mountain you'll bump into some of these dudes occasionally cause they are all pretty active (I'm basing lots of my opinions on the random bumping into people out there someplace). This group of people is THE group of people I'd want coming after me if I was stuck up there. They are damn strong climbers, and I suspect that if I was in there company I would be the weakest one in the group currently in regards to stamina. They have extensive technical skills and are craftsmen when it comes to heading into the wild and wooly unknown, like this situation dictates. They know the mountain like you know your cars backseat. However, it takes more than being a strong climber with solid technical skills, which they have in spades. You have to be mountain smart and able to get your dumb ass up and down the mountain in shit conditions, while looking for a needle in a haystack while planning and organizing your group to avoid causing a worse disaster. If you can find that needle in that haystack, then there is a whole ‘nother skill set you need, which this group has, in spades, as well.

 

These are the dudes you want. Period.

 

Backing them up is a well known military rescue group that can employ state of the art Flir and other SAR equipment. I’ve drank with some of these PJs and can tell you that they are tough strong dudes who you’d want on your side in a bar fight. They are cool smart professionals and by every account ever made: damn good at what they do. I think the recent book "The Perfect Storm" has a description of PJ's in it.

 

You friends comment could not be further from the truth concerning a Mt Hood rescue.

 

Now Smith Rocks, I don't know what the hell they have going on over there currently. It use to be, say mid 80's, that Redmond Fire Dept was in charge of SAR. I believe that they were volenteers. Your friends comment, and then some, would certainly apply. Some of these guys, furthest they would or could climb was from a bar-stool to a pickup truck. They didn't even hike. You broke your ankle or needed an assist, and these overweight dudes would come puffing along the trail, in cowboy boots, beer guts and flannel shirts.....it was...well, better your buddies.

 

One time, I was over there guiding, (must have been @ June 1986 I think) we had a group by Dancer and were toproping, when a young man came running over screaming at us to follow him and people needed help. NOW!!!!!!!!!!! After trying to understand what the kid was saying, we sorted out who was doing what and knowing that a sprinter was heading to the rim to get the "authorities" 2 of us left our charges with a couple of remaining guides and followed the kid over to Trezlar, a 2 pitch 5.10 and one of the best lines in the park. He had indicated that somebody was 4 feet off the ground and needed help immediately and he couldn't do it and we needed to followhimoverthere NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We get over, and a young couple (later determined that they were both Outward Bound instructors) had fallen from the top of the route and were both hanging from a single line on Trezlar. The guy 4 foot off the deck was dead, the girl, dangling 35-40 feet higher up like a macabre marionette looked dead. She appeared to have had him on belay, and was hanging face down, bleeding like a spigot was turned on, from her head, but as we weren't positive: we discussed what we were going to do which was to quickly scramble our asses up above them to the anchor and figure out how to lower them STAT. We had no gear. NO rope. No shoes or harness's. That girl might be alive and we needed to act fast, without killing ourselves in the process. I pulled dead guys shoes and put them on. At the belay, 160 feet off the deck, we see their single rope cloved into a single #2 friend, then the rope headed 90% right for 25 feet and useless - where it was run through the anchor, as if to rap. They had both fallen a full rope length onto this single shit cam 1/2 way into a shallow crumbly Welded Tuff crack so shallow that the cams were sticking out, hit a ledge on the way down and died. We had debated waiting for the "authorities" and decided not to in the uncertain slim chance that the girl may be alive. Once up there and on the ledge, we grabbed their gear and tried plugging in a couple of things, eventually figured it out, had a figure 8 on the rope, cut the cord on the friend and lowered them to the ground. It took a lot longer than I described it. We crept down and I’m saying that my balls were in my throat from fear, despite the easy class 5 descent which I would have cruised unroped and unprotected easily any other day, that day, in my size 8-1/2 feet which had someone elses size 12 Fires on them, I was afraid.

 

 

So we cautiously crept down: unroped. By the time we got down SAR was showing up with a litter. I was having misgivings, as the authorities generally don't like you moving dead people. We had just acted. One of the SAR dudes comes right over to me, I can’t run away as my friend is still there and plenty of other people who know me too. I figure I’m gonna get my head bit off, but he says: “Thank you so much for getting those people down”. (The girl was dead and grey matter from her brain was at the base.) I cautiously and quietly say “really”? Then he explains that they are pretty much out of their element, they are volunteer firemen, not climbers at all, and that just last week one of them had been badly injured in a safe easy part of the park just training on the previous weekend. They had taken this call, and like the hero’s they were, were going to come out and face their fear and do their duty, despite the fear they were feeling. Looking up at the cliff, the guy was real appreciative. I do not believe they could have gotten them off the wall.

 

It might have changed; I don’t get to Smith a lot. Your friends comment would have been true for Smith Rocks back then.

 

 

Thats what I know for certain.

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:moondance:

 

Apologies to art-school for inadvertently deleting his post while removing FFOC's tasteless processed meat-product marketing from this thread.

Edited by JayB

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...I have ridden a motorcycle from Alaska (before the AlCan was paved) to the Midwest, to the top of Pike's Peak, across country and back and flown in small airplanes. I've hiked in California, Oregon and Washington wilderness areas. I've snowmobiled and skiid both downhill and cross country. I've body surfed in the ocean. But I can honestly say I have never endangered anyone else's lives by any of my actions.

 

So, if you lost control of your motorcycle whilst speeding and crashed into a car killing the driver...if you slipped/fell while hiking and required medical assistance from SAR-Techs...if you banged your head on the ocean bottom surfing necessitating a life guard to come to your aid...

 

I know your hypocritical holier than thou kind Phil.

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...I have ridden a motorcycle from Alaska (before the AlCan was paved) to the Midwest, to the top of Pike's Peak, across country and back and flown in small airplanes. I've hiked in California, Oregon and Washington wilderness areas. I've snowmobiled and skiid both downhill and cross country. I've body surfed in the ocean. But I can honestly say I have never endangered anyone else's lives by any of my actions.

 

So, if you lost control of your motorcycle whilst speeding and crashed into a car killing the driver...if you slipped/fell while hiking and required medical assistance from SAR-Techs...if you banged your head on the ocean bottom surfing necessitating a life guard to come to your aid...

 

I know your hypocritical holier than thou kind Phil.

 

I always hiked and surfed with others who could have helped me. And, in nearly 40 years of motorcycling, I've never had an accident. That's because what I did, I did safely. Sure, accidents can happen, but that's why I wore a helmet, life vest and carried an emergency kit.

 

So, call me what you will, but I hope I don't have to read about you dying in a snow cave on Mt. Hood some day.

 

 

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I have heard there are some very dangerous downdrafts near Mt. Hood that can cause an airplane to lose lift and plummet to the ground.

 

 

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Yeah, I just don't understand that line of thought. It seems overly selfish and irresponsible.

 

After I read about the avalance potential in the "3 climbers" thread below, I thought those rescuers are literally risking thier lives in a very dangerous situation. I'm sure they are equipped with avalance alerts, but that would be little consolation if you're buried under 20 feet of heavy snow.

 

 

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i'll ask again since no one can chime in...

 

watching the news conference? just wondering why SAR would not dig in/camp/bivy where they are on the south side. weather report looks good for tomorrow - nice warm night in a well constructed tent site/snow cave would save a bunch of redux tomorrow... thoughts?

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i'll ask again since no one can chime in...

 

watching the news conference? just wondering why SAR would not dig in/camp/bivy where they are on the south side. weather report looks good for tomorrow - nice warm night in a well constructed tent site/snow cave would save a bunch of redux tomorrow... thoughts?

 

Perhaps because of avalanche dangers, and perhaps to get the team back to regroup and de breif them and send up a fresh team in the morning.

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A C130 is reported flying 24x7, into the black of night, in frigid temperatures, rotating two air crews, risking all, as I write, searching for signs of life.

 

If these victims had a PLB, then far less air time, and risk to life would be incurred. Their position would be known.

 

I'm sure the airmen and pilots who operate the C130s year round at Eielson AFB just outside Fairbanks, Alaska would be shocked, SHOCKED I say! to know that someone is operating one of these craft in cold and dark conditions. BTW, low temps in that neighborhood typically run -20 to -40F this time of year with just under 4hrs of possible daylight.

 

Furthermore, you are assuming that if they'd carried a MLU that:

 

1. The thing would have been activated and the batts would hold up this long,

2. It would be able to send a clear/receivable signal from inside a snow cave, i.e. from underneath a few feet of snow cover.

 

Finally, there is a neat invention you might look into called a "come-along" that might be useful for pulling your cranium from your rectum.

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...I have ridden a motorcycle from Alaska (before the AlCan was paved) to the Midwest, to the top of Pike's Peak, across country and back and flown in small airplanes. I've hiked in California, Oregon and Washington wilderness areas. I've snowmobiled and skiid both downhill and cross country. I've body surfed in the ocean. But I can honestly say I have never endangered anyone else's lives by any of my actions.

 

So, if you lost control of your motorcycle whilst speeding and crashed into a car killing the driver...if you slipped/fell while hiking and required medical assistance from SAR-Techs...if you banged your head on the ocean bottom surfing necessitating a life guard to come to your aid...

 

I know your hypocritical holier than thou kind Phil.

 

And, in nearly 40 years of motorcycling

Oh Phil, you're such a stud. :ass:

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:moondance:

 

If I remember correctly the helecopter that crashed was not searching for anyone, the location of the victims was already known, and a PLB would have done nothing. In this case making up facts to support your opinion that climbers are reckless and selfish is like spitting on the graves of the climbers who died that day.

In the case of the three climbers up there now, a PLB might tell SAR where they are, but it would not change the fact that the weather and avi conditions have been too bad to get anyone up there.

Edited by JayB

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Phil, your argument is that they should have taken one shared MLU or PLB with them to minimize the risk to SAR, right? Instead they brought a cell phone.

 

For argument's sake, let's pretend they did bring an MLU/PLB instead of a cell phone. What do you think Brian and Nikko would have done with the MLU/PLB when they left Kelly in the snow cave to get help? Of course they would have left it with him. Duh.

 

Which would leave SAR in EXACTLY the same position as they are now. They know Kelly's location but cannot reach him due to the conditions near the summit while they have no idea where Brian and Nikko are hunkered down.

 

And actually, now that I think this through further, the phone was more useful than an MLB/PLU. If they had brought one, they likely would have left the cell to minimize weight. When the beacon was turned on, SAR might have assumed they were together and only focused on reaching Kelly's snow cave. The cell allowed Kelly to report that they had separated AND provided SAR with his position. When SAR finds Brian and Kelly, that cell phone will be the reason.

 

On a side note, what kind of tool wears a life jacket while boating?

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A C130 is reported flying 24x7, into the black of night, in frigid temperatures, rotating two air crews, risking all, as I write, searching for signs of life.

 

If these victims had a PLB, then far less air time, and risk to life would be incurred. Their position would be known.

 

I'm sure the airmen and pilots who operate the C130s year round at Eielson AFB just outside Fairbanks, Alaska would be shocked, SHOCKED I say! to know that someone is operating one of these craft in cold and dark conditions. BTW, low temps in that neighborhood typically run -20 to -40F this time of year with just under 4hrs of possible daylight.

 

My thoughts exactly, Will. I'm sure the Hurricane Hunters would gladly trade duties with either.

 

My guess is FFOC is the sales manager at PLB Rentals.

 

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On a side note, what kind of tool wears a life jacket while boating?

 

An old, live tool.

 

 

 

Edited by Phil Jones

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For argument's sake, let's pretend they did bring an MLU/PLB instead of a cell phone. What do you think Brian and Nikko would have done with the MLU/PLB when they left Kelly in the snow cave to get help? Of course they would have left it with him. Duh.

 

If they'd had an MLU/PLB, they could have all stayed in one snow cave and been rescued more quickly. Duh.

 

 

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