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fern

MT Hood Continued

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This is a normal time of year to ascend this route. I would never do this route anytime between March and end of September or early October. At some point the route does become very avy prone from the windload above, so it is a timing issue every year. In 2004/2005 (drought year), this route could have been done well into December or early January or even February. This past year, they were right on the verge of it going out of shape (not known before they astarted their climb as it only went out of shape when the recent storms hit), but who knows, the route may come back in depending on precip and compaction of current snow? It just depends, but typically this route is best climbed when most people are not on the mountain...

Edited by ryland_moore

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Something folks might find of interest. In the fall of 92 or so I did a solo climb of Cooper's Spur it was a mix of snow and pretty hard ice. During the climb I found many sections of 1" diameter goldline rope. It was rotten as all get out. Some sections were buried in the ice others melted out. I pulled on one section which easily broke. I watched it fall to Elliot glacier below. The mountian has lots of stuff on it.

 

 

The rope I found was probably used in ascending the mtn. to the lookout. Copper's Spur is the most direct and quickest way up the mtn. It is also one of the most unforgiving if you fall.

 

You can find stuff on Cooper Spur that probably goes back to the Langille Brothers 100+ years ago. The route has painted guide rocks, cables, and bolts that could be that old.

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Speaking of finding stuff, you can go to the Trip Reports page and look up North Face Mount Hood Routes to see previous parties climbing the route (there are several variations). You will also note that the dates of the climbs for this route are typically in the fall winter or early spring.

 

Here is the link:

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/tripreports/

 

Type in Location: Hood

Route: North Face

Location: Oregon Cascades

Photos: your choice, but the ones with photos are pretty sweet

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Could someone tell me what are acceptable questions-posts-comments to be made on this forum?

 

I have been so interested in the expert answers of those climbers who are regulars on this forum as I have followed this story for the last several days. I have asked no questions and made no statements, stupid or otherwise. But many veterans are very critical of our newbie questions. I would be very willing to "follow the rules" if I knew what they were.

 

So far, here's what I have gathered are unacceptable questions and comments:

 

1)no conjecture about what might have been done differently (very understandably unacceptable under the circumstances)

 

2)no questions or conjecture about the injuries sustained by Mr. James.

 

3)no questions about the weather, or how to find out answers to questions about the weather (thus the response "its called a search engine").

 

4)no synopsis of news reports for those of us who do not have tv and highspeed internet access.

 

5)no questions or comments about news reports that we are able to get, since the news commentators are ignorant

 

I believe one veteran poster said that he just wanted us to go away. Is this forum basically a closed forum that has unfortunately been breached by those of us who are too stupid to ask the right questions? If not, please let me know what the right questions are.

 

I have really benefitted from what info I could glean from this site. It's just hard to wade through all the rude comments.

 

Thanks.

 

hi,

first of all: post count probably acounts for a computer geek who cannot find love. has nothing to do with being a expert. there are many very experienced climbers on this forum. most of them will have softer tones to their posts. it is difficult to determine who they are without some semblance of common sense.

 

so let me trow some info out for you. this route i ideal conditions has been done and reported on (this website) in about 16-17 hours round trip on the path that these guys planned on taking. that is pretty quick. these guys were not making some fast trip on the mountain, i think they were well prepared. anyone who carries bivvy gear on hood is not fast and lite. speculating is a waste of electrons. when mr james called his family 8 days ago he was in trouble. throw in 5-6 days of some of the worst winter weather and there is virtually nothing anyone could have done.

 

lastly, to the family, please dont beieve anything you read on this iste except for the outpouring of sympathy. there are too many losers in life and this site is a reflection of that at times. my deepest sympathy to you all.

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I don't want to kick off or feed more argument about what is appropriate here but I would like to say that I don't fully agree with Batso that only locals or only "real climbers" have a right to speculate about what may have happened or discuss decisions made on the ground or that they inherently have more right to do so. In fact, some of the comments from those proclaming to have expertise have probably been the most insulting of all.

 

Carry on, and let's use this thread to try to help share information, news, and support here. As we've stated several times, there are other ares of this bulletin board for debating the team's preparedness, or the competence of the rescuers, or wehther the activity of mountain climbing should be more heavily regulated.

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post count probably acounts for a computer geek who cannot find love.

 

Is he talking about.... :o

Edited by ZimZam

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The sheriff just said in a press conference that Kelly had injured his arm some time during the climb.

 

I will not guess but provide some context. I have seen multi-system trauma patients in my training and work (usually alcohol related). This can occur in falls, MVA, ATV accidents; work and play. Falls can result in long bone fractures, internal hemorrhage, closed head injuries (CHI); alone or in combination. Of course the more injuries the more complicated and increased chance of morbidity and mortality. Coupled with environmental extremes, fluid loss, baseline functioning, heat loss and distance from definitive care and outcomes grow worse.

This pretty much can be anywhere; cold Everglades, hot humid south, Death Valley, elevated and glaciated peaks, Escalante, etc, etc. I hope Mr James didn't suffer much or alone. God rest his soul. And may his partners emerge from a hole alive and in one piece.

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Could someone tell me what are acceptable questions-posts-comments to be made on this forum?

 

I have been so interested in the expert answers of those climbers who are regulars on this forum as I have followed this story for the last several days. I have asked no questions and made no statements, stupid or otherwise. But many veterans are very critical of our newbie questions. I would be very willing to "follow the rules" if I knew what they were.

 

So far, here's what I have gathered are unacceptable questions and comments:

 

1)no conjecture about what might have been done differently (very understandably unacceptable under the circumstances)

 

2)no questions or conjecture about the injuries sustained by Mr. James.

 

3)no questions about the weather, or how to find out answers to questions about the weather (thus the response "its called a search engine").

 

4)no synopsis of news reports for those of us who do not have tv and highspeed internet access.

 

5)no questions or comments about news reports that we are able to get, since the news commentators are ignorant

 

 

post count probably acounts for a computer geek who cannot find love.

 

Is he talking about.... :o

 

zimzam,

 

there are many ways to get carpal tunnel syndrome....

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A good resource for those wanting more all-around information on Mt. Hood, including a lot of historical information and also information on past incidents and rescues, is a book by Jack Grauer called Mount Hood: A Complete History. ISBN number is 0-930584-09-0. Unless you're in Portland, it's probably not available in your local bookstore, but you can probably find it at powells.com.

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Iain ,

Thank you for the insight and clarification.

As a climber , I am always sad to see fellow climbers lose their lives. Never a good thing and most sad for the families and loved ones.

When these accidents ocurr , we as climbers are compelled to know exactly what happened. I sure do , any one of us could find ourselves in a bad situation ( many of us have and got lucky). We need to know , maybe it helps in dealing with it. We also learn from these tragedies. Climbing is and always will be dangerous, it claims lives every year. We lose our own and need to understand how and why. It is never meant to be disrespectfull or insensitive to any who have suffered loss.

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A little off topic, but I am just hoping to learn.

 

I understand that the news isn't the best source for information, and even what I read on CNN isn't necessarily matching what the sheriff is stating. And although I COMPLETELY understand this is a good time of year for this ascent, why are we hearing from crews at Hood River that this climb is normally made during May-July season and rarely at winter? Is this another misnomer caused by more speculation?

 

My focus on learning about climbing have been Washington State alone, (my father and uncles climbed Mt. Rainier in their younger days) so this is something I was just curious about in overall learning. My husband and I have expressed a desire to venture to Oregon when we become very experienced, so its just a piece of information I was hoping to learn.

Edited by KitCatherine

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From the following thread I thought some clarification would be good. In Oregon, as in most Western States, the county sheriff has jurisdictional responsibilities for SAR incidents (in Oregon it is ORS 401). This is different in National Parks where the NPS has authority. During incidents such as this, the sheriff utilizes "experts" for consultation (PMR/Crag RATs for alpine stuff, AMR RATS for medical stuff)

Locally on Hood we have teams that play roles:

1)Clackamas & Multnomah Sheriff - ultimate responsibility in their respective counties

2)PMR - mra group primarily responsible for SW side of Hood and technical rope rescue outside of fire department jurisdicition in Clackamas County

3)Crag Rats - mra group primarily responsible for NE side of Hood and technical rope rescue outside of fire department jurisdiction in Hood River

4)AMR RAT TEAM - medical hasty team of paramedics who respond to alpine/trail/water incidents in any county as requested - normally first unit dispatched for Clackamas region calls

5)Pacific NW SAR - ground sar (below timberline) team

6)MULTNOMAH Post 631 - ground sar (below timberline) team

7)Army 1042nd - air evac unit from Salem, not well versed in alpine arena

8)Air Force 304th - defunct team (they have no helicopters and have to hitch rides with the Army) but have members locally and much gear - assists as needed

As you can see, a lot of players, but each have their own role. The question of utilizing only the PJ's is a risk/benefit question. Are helicopters worth the risk (refer to hood 2004) for a broken leg? Probably not. The ground teams are more than adquate to do 99.9% of the searches they are called upon to perform.

The cost involved in having a "paid SAR team" like they have in the Alps and Canada is too high for this region. These large scale incidents don't happen that often to warrent such a program. Also - accidents on Hood happen - it's part of the game. This one happen to spike the public's interest and get media attention, but it's no different than the broken leg off the Hogsback we ran last year.

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Great shots. You really captured the beauty of winter.

 

Winter does make available some routes not really doable in summer and it also closes off some routes due to avi danger.

 

 

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The sheriff just said in a press conference that Kelly had injured his arm some time during the climb.

 

I will not guess but provide some context. I have seen multi-system trauma patients in my training and work (usually alcohol related). This can occur in falls, MVA, ATV accidents; work and play. Falls can result in long bone fractures, internal hemorrhage, closed head injuries (CHI); alone or in combination. Of course the more injuries the more complicated and increased chance of morbidity and mortality. Coupled with environmental extremes, fluid loss, baseline functioning, heat loss and distance from definitive care and outcomes grow worse.

This pretty much can be anywhere; cold Everglades, hot humid south, Death Valley, elevated and glaciated peaks, Escalante, etc, etc. I hope Mr James didn't suffer much or alone. God rest his soul. And may his partners emerge from a hole alive and in one piece.

 

I can not agree more with the way you put it in context.

 

Getting even a sprained ankle is a signal event that could complicate your situation, no matter how ideal the conditions when you're in that environment. The weather and temperature extremes as well as the altitude can compound the seriousness of a sprained ankle, by a lot. This is a simple but common accident at sea level, but on a mountain, it could be a much more severe situation.

 

The number one injury in mountaineering is falling. Many people twist or sprain ankles if not break legs. I've seen plenty of helicopter rescues even in great summer weather, on Hood.

 

Mt. Hood can throw serious situations at any time of year.

Mountain climbing IS inherently dangerous.

 

The SAR folks have been incredible. I can see their pain in knowing the window of opportunity to find survivors is closing.

They made every effort to find climbers who made plans any experienced mountaineer might have made. It looks more and more like an accident happened and we will have to wait the final report from the sheriff.

 

 

Edited by Clavote

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And although I COMPLETELY understand this is a good time of year for this ascent, why are we hearing from crews at Hood River that this climb is normally made during May-July season and rarely at winter? Is this another misnomer caused by more speculation?

 

The Cooper Spur route is "usually" done as part of the "normal" May-July season. The north face routes are not. They're usually late fall or early winter. I think it's just the usual confusion over route names and so on.

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I’m not a climber, so I’ll apologize in advance for “invading” your site. Like many others reading here, I’ve found cascadeclimbers offers the most educated and informative insights into what may have transpired over the last week. So thank you.

 

It is inevitable, of course, that people will question the cost associated with this rescue effort—and as someone posted, maybe even the right to climb. I guess it’s human nature for some to question and criticize things they don’t understand—whether it’s climbing or skiing or whitewater kayaking or dozens of other pursuits—when they go wrong. And truth is, they’ll never understand.

 

But I, for one, can’t think of a better use of our nation’s technology, military muscle, manpower and money than to try and save the lives of our citizens in need of help. I’ve never felt more proud of my Hood River County, my country and my fellow Oregonians than I have this last week watching those crews trudging up the mountain and those helicopters and planes hovering above it. It’s really an amazing and touching display of humanity.

 

Rather than questioning these efforts, I’d like to think our society could become inspired by them: that even in our high-tech, fast-paced, often-anonymous world, an entire community has rallied and risked their lives for the lives of three strangers. There truly is a positive message to be taken from this horrible tragedy.

 

My deepest condolences to the James family, and my heartfelt best wishes and hopes to the families and rescue parties.

 

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Thanks for the comments Matt. I know CC tends to be Cascade-centric, but just because someone is from the flatlands, doesn't mean they're a yokel. I don't think anyone would consider Scott Backes uninformed (born in Iowa, grew up and lives in St. Paul).

 

Mark-Minnesota yokel

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Kit, every route is somewhat different. There are some that hold heavy snow loads for avalanche and some do not. Some you need covered with snow/ice otherwise there is too much rock fall. Some are rotten rock, that the only real way they can be climbed safely is if there is ice/snow covering to hold the rock together. Some routes you don’t want to be on with other people climbing above you as they can kick stuff loose on you. Some routes crowd up in the “season” so much that the crowd itself is the danger. Sometimes you weigh the extra issues of weather in the off season against the crowd in the on season. Sometimes you want to ski, sometimes you want to ice climb, sometimes you want mixed rock/ice. Picking the season and picking the conditions is a decision for each climber and each route; and everything else are merely factors to consider and risks to weigh. Does that make sense?

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Kit, every route is somewhat different. There are some that hold heavy snow loads for avalanche and some do not. Some you need covered with snow/ice otherwise there is too much rock fall. Some are rotten rock, that the only real way they can be climbed safely is if there is ice/snow covering to hold the rock together. Some routes you don’t want to be on with other people climbing above you as they can kick stuff loose on you. Some routes crowd up in the “season” so much that the crowd itself is the danger. Sometimes you weigh the extra issues of weather in the off season against the crowd in the on season. Sometimes you want to ski, sometimes you want to ice climb, sometimes you want mixed rock/ice. Picking the season and picking the conditions is a decision for each climber and each route; and everything else are merely factors to consider and risks to weigh. Does that make sense?

 

It does, thank you. I had several friends who "ice climbed" in the vantage area in the winter, and then what I remember growing up as a child (and what I have read here for a few months) but when that comment was made on the news, I was going "well, is it based on route, or is it just the mountain is not normally climbed?" Thank you for clarifying!

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That's pretty much the way you would climb a Mt. year round. Some Mts get really cruddy in summer because there is not enough snow to keep rocks from falling on you.

 

I like ridge routes in winter myself. The snow makes the uneven rock surface of the ridges much smoother and easier to walk on and you do get to avoid some avi danger.

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bears repeating,

 

1) The NF route that was chosen and climbed is generally considered a technical "winter" route - ie it needs skill, ice and settled snow to be safe to climb. They had all these, Good decision on their part.

 

2) The climbers gave themselves an adiquit and acceptable weather window in which to complete their climb of this particular route. The weather was very good on Friday - Good decision on their part.

 

3) Something (a fall perhaps) caused the climb to become a self-rescue situation. "..It" happens to the best of us.

 

4) The climbers attempted a self-rescue and/or to go for assistance. Good decision on their part.

 

5) The climbers were unable to self-rescue or get assistance in time before unfavorable weather moved in. This could have been because they were slowed down tremendously due to trying to gain a secure position with an injured party before attempting self-rescue/assistance, OR IMO, it is likely that the two who went for help likely fell somewhere. Given the circumstances, it seems like a "reasonable decision" to attempt to get help for a seriously injured partner.

 

I personally believe that they surely would have been able to self-rescue or get assistance to Kelly had a "second fall" by the Nikko and Brian not occurred. Yes I know thats speculation.

 

I post this because it does bear repeating, even to some of the so called "experts" who have been in the media lately saying things like "I would never climb in December" etc.. (you know who you are, and shame on you for letting the media distort your intent). These guys were climbing a technical route and had technical experience apparently enough to do the route. They were not ignorant of winter climbing technique, winter routes, winter weather etc..They did not go wrong by "deciding to climb in December in the Cascades" Thats just silly and you experts should know better. These guys are/were not "hikers" who underestimated mother nature. They are/were technical climbers on a technical winter route - period. We attempt to distance our selves from tragedy by looking for ways to say "that would have never happened to me because..what ever, if you do this kind of climbing, this could have been you too.

 

D

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I don't know if you're aware of this, but Brian Hall posted on this board quite frequently, using the name of Fuggedaboudit. I believe that his last post was 11/25/06, and he did inquire about Mt. Hood.

 

My condolences to the family of Kelly. So sorry about your loss.

 

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