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Couloir

Climber death on North Side of Hood

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I was unimpressed by Mr Rollins pontification, it seems a little out of line. How inconsiderate to be killed and require that 12 SAR folks put themselves at risk. :rolleyes: Yes, helmets are a good idea, but of little avail against a watermelon sized rock, and who climbs from that side to descend down to Timberline with all the car shuttle hassle?

 

Those current photos of the spur do look ugly though.

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A few very ordinary climbing photos. Had to smile, looking through these.

 

Frankenstein Cliffs, 1979:

 

79_GaryLee_StandardFrankenstein_1b.jpg

 

 

Last Chance, Pokomoonshine, 1980:

 

80_GaryLee_LastChance_Poko_3b.jpg

 

 

Otter Cliffs, Acadia, 1981:

 

81_GaryLee_OtterCliffs_1b.jpg

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I can agree that a helmet probably wouldn't have saved his life, but to quote his wife: "But Gary Lee, who had summited Mount Hood more than 40 times, knew the mountain "from all angles . . . and at all times of the year," said his wife, Dr. Stephanie Harris"

If that is the case, it does seem a bit careless to climb that area this time of year, especially to down climb that particular route when there is a significant lack of snow. Also, it was my understanding that they were on the route rather late in the day which would contribute to rock fall.

I know that people still have enjoyed these climbs late in the season, but if your life depended on it, I guess the hassle of a car shuttle to the South Side doesn't sound too bad.

I don't mean to sound insensitive, I DO grieve along with his family, but lets not be hard on the rescuers that do put their lives at risk to help out a fellow climber. Especially these days when the media and public is out to claim that climbing is a reckless and dangerous activity. Also, the media may have taken Rollins quote a bit out of context.

Edited by lbeam

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BTW, LHamilton:

Thanks for sharing those photos of Dr Lee. My prayers are with you and his family.

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Offwhite:. I was on the mountain over the w/e camped at base of snowdome and saw the two climbers climbing the Sunshine route.

 

Regarding Steve's comment on the missing helmet. The fact that the helmet may not have saved the climber from injury is a mute point. The fact that they did not have helmets means that they did not consider rockfall to be a issue and that speaks to their perception of the exposure present on the mountain at the time.

 

I am very familiar with the route they chose to descend and I saw it from the summit on the Thursday and in my opinion it was totally out of climbing condition, (up or down). I am simply stating facts and I am just sad at another unnecessary death on the mountain.

 

 

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Aren't all of us aware of the risks associated with climbing? Don't we all take those risks to some extent? Isn't that part of the "unexplained" that unites us as climbers? Where would we be as a climbing community if we didn't take risks?

 

Sure a helmet would have been my choice on that route. But who knows if a helmet would have made a difference in this situation? We can only speculate. Climbing is about a series of choices, risks, suffering, elations, failures, and great personal successes that some will never experience or know. What we can realize is that this man spent his life helping others and died tragically, but doing something he loved.

 

May his family find peace (and can the media bug off?)

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I don't like to participate in threads like this. That this man spent a good part of his life seeking and discovering himself on Mount Hood is enough. As one with a comparable number of Hood climbs, all I can say is that this particular mountain has an aura all its own. Whether it be alpenglow on rime-encrusted Steele Cliffs, sheltering against a howling blizzard in the wind cirque at Illumination Saddle, standing on the top and watching the sun rise, stepping carefully along the corniced summit ridge above the Queen's Chair, the smell of sulfur, the roar of river cataracts, Hale-Bopp Comet on a star-filled night, tears for The White River Glacier, or reading a book about mountain adventurers here--long since passed--next to the big stone fireplace as a storm rages outside in the night. This place is magical. Even though I never knew you, I believe I understand you a little. I'll think of you when I'm there again.

 

 

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I don't like to participate in threads like this. That this man spent a good part of his life seeking and discovering himself on Mount Hood is enough. As one with a comparable number of Hood climbs, all I can say is that this particular mountain has an aura all its own. Whether it be alpenglow on rime-encrusted Steele Cliffs, sheltering against a howling blizzard in the wind cirque at Illumination Saddle, standing on the top and watching the sun rise, stepping carefully along the corniced summit ridge above the Queen's Chair, the smell of sulfur, the roar of river cataracts, Hale-Bopp Comet on a star-filled night, tears for The White River Glacier, or reading a book about mountain adventurers here--long since passed--next to the big stone fireplace as a storm rages outside in the night. This place is magical. Even though I never knew you, I believe I understand you a little. I'll think of you when I'm there again.

 

:tup:

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Like others have said the decision of a helmet is probably moot. As for the descent route I will not question their decision as I have no idea of the current conditions.

 

However and although it has been 15 years since I did this it is certainly possible to climb a route from Cloud Cap, descend the south side, and return to Cloud Cap without doing a shuttle or awful hike. Simply descend the south side until it possible to traverse below the Steel Cliffs and cross the Newton-Clark. Again though this is condition dependent. When I did this traverse, I climbed Cooper's Spur in mid October. Excellent conditions with hard ice and snow from top to bottom. The Newton - Clark was bare ice.

 

Either way sad to see such an accident.

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I will not participate in second guessing the man's decision on climbing this mountain.

 

I must admit I was surprised by, but very much appreciated Fairweather's poignant post. Well said indeed...

 

I'll be back on one of those cascade "slag piles" very soon, with my helmet on, taking my chances like I have for many years, and I'll take time to think of Dr Lee and his family as well...

 

d

 

 

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I don't like to participate in threads like this. That this man spent a good part of his life seeking and discovering himself on Mount Hood is enough. As one with a comparable number of Hood climbs, all I can say is that this particular mountain has an aura all its own. Whether it be alpenglow on rime-encrusted Steele Cliffs, sheltering against a howling blizzard in the wind cirque at Illumination Saddle, standing on the top and watching the sun rise, stepping carefully along the corniced summit ridge above the Queen's Chair, the smell of sulfur, the roar of river cataracts, Hale-Bopp Comet on a star-filled night, tears for The White River Glacier, or reading a book about mountain adventurers here--long since passed--next to the big stone fireplace as a storm rages outside in the night. This place is magical. Even though I never knew you, I believe I understand you a little. I'll think of you when I'm there again.

 

 

That is all that needs to be said...amazing the mountains are and will always be the beginning...

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My regards to the family. It is always sad when one of our kind is lost to the mountains.

 

I think we have almost all been guilty of cutting corners and risking things from time to time. The older I get the more I scrutinize my own risks. Each climber has to weight the risks for themselves, I think that assessment is a big part of the appeal to climbing. Therefore I will seldom critize experienced climber's choices. Again, I give my sorrow to the family and I hope that they will remember this man for his adventurous spirit and character.

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