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musky333

cathedral gap rockfall

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On Tuesday, July 1, while approaching Cathedral gap from Muir, we noticed a party taking a break right at the bottom of the chute before you get on the scree. They not only picked a bad spot for a rest, but were not wearing helmets. Sure as hell, a huge slide came down, several rocks the size of bushel baskets and they were in a serious game of dodgeball. How they threaded the needle, I will never know. I thought I was going to witness three fatalities for sure. And then they sat down and laughed! This is no bullshit! This was my first time up Rainier. What an education.

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the eric simonson video for how to climb mt rainier clearly states to rush past the gap. get'r done folks.

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A well-intentioned and, as it turns out, prescient post. But I would just say that wearing a helmet is a personal choice. As it turns out, some folks believe in fate...and some believe in physics.

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I don't take a helmet up there unless I am doing something technical. The only rock fall I have seen up there is shit the size of basketballs up to volkswagon size. If you get hit in the head by one of those, you are dead before you hit the snow. Probably should wear a helmet more, but I get paranoid when I do... I think i subconsciously think it is a rock/ice magnet.

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sounds like you're thinking too much! ;)

 

we don't even know if the accident victim was wearing a helmet or not. a helmet can't protect a shot to the face by a rock.

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These sort of posts piss me off. For every basketball sized rock that comes down, a lot more smaller rocks are knocked loose and are also coming down. Your attention is held by the monster rock and you don't notice the smaller rocks.

 

A baseball sized rock can kill you. A baseball sized rock probably won't kill you if you are wearing a helmet.

 

You have your reasons for wearing or not wearing a helmet. I don't much care about that. I dont' like seeing arguments against helmet use based on flimsy anecdotal evidence posted in forums that new climbers will see as a source of reliable information.

 

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Speaking of baseball sized rocks and as a postscript to my original post, as we were coming back across the Cowlitz toward Muir, I was about halfway across when a red rock the size of a baseball whistled past me about waist height and four feet ahead of me.It was late morning and snow was still hard enough for them to bounce and skip down.

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I was at Muir that morning and spoke with the fellow that came running down first. He stated that the three of them were roped and that each person on the end ran in different directions when the rock was falling toward them and that the middle man had no where to go and got smacked.

 

that being tragic enough I am wondering how others feel about this question:

 

once the alert had been received, I thought it took an extremily l o n g time to mount the 'rescue' team. there wasn't a ranger at Muir at that time so one of the guides assume control. I know there was a team of three ready to travel (fully equiped with climbing & at least a basic first aide kit) but they were called back so everyone could get "organised". it was well into the 40th minute before the first team left Muir for the 10 minute walk to the accindent scene. In my own opinon I thought a small, fast team should have gone accross with a first aid kit and radio to evaluate and report to the support team.

 

there was plenty of qualified and willing personal standing around waiting for what?? now I'm not saying anything was done wrong, I just think (and speaking from experience) that it took a long time to get going. Even amoung my team, we disagreed as to how to handle the response.

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i'm sure its hard when, in your opinion, things where not handled as fast as they could be.

 

i am just not sure that debating or second guessing what happened here is the right call. Instead, you might make a bigger impact by writing down your observations in an email or letter and mailing them to the rangers such that they communicate any protocol to the guides when rangers are not available.

 

in an emergency situation things can get bent out of shape really quickly, and its important to have everything in order. you don't want to send up an ill prepared or good intentioned but ill advised team to the scene.

 

i'm not saying that all that went down was as it should, but rather that I don't think asking for open comment on an anonymous bulletin board is the right solution.

 

it is better to engage and seek to enhance the existing protocol, if there is one. if you see a way to do it better, then let the rangers and guides know by all means. i'm sure they would like to hear such input. ask THEM why it took so long.

 

unfortunately the "fog of war" can make things take much longer than they would normally sometimes.

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Just to be clear, the incident in the original post is not related to the incident in the link posted in a reply below it - correct?

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very good point porter. I was deeply impressed that so many were willing to help in this situation and I hope for a speedy recovery for the dude.

 

and yes spotly, these were two different incidents.

 

 

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Spotly, luckily no one was injured in my original post. The incident of the injured gentleman happened about 8 days later.

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Spotly, luckily no one was injured in my original post. The incident of the injured gentleman happened about 8 days later.

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Thanks. If I'd have read your post more thoroughly, I would have noticed the date difference.

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