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EWolfe

300-Foot Fall at Snoqualmie!

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This from a post on Supertopo by Dane:

 

"Heard this late last night from an eye whitness.

 

Couple of guys start up Pineapple Express yesterday. Rope runs out on the first 150' of Grade 3 ice and 50' of steep snow that is interlaced with decent size fir trees.

Leader the yells down for his second to start simul climbing. Second is a good 100' up the first ice pitch when the leader rips both picks out of a M4 mixed pitch just left of this line.

At a similar elevation and steepness from what I could see.

 

Leader falls the distance shown here..plus all but 20/30' of the first 60m pitch. He doesn't deck only because his rope hangs up on one of the trees above as all his pro rips. After seeing his leader literally go winging past him the second has to climb up just get the slack in the rope as he lowers his injured and non mobile leader to the ground. Then he rigs a rappel on their dbl ropes (one which has been nearly cut in half with only threads connecting it) to get off. Well over a 300' screamer by my calculations. Haven't heard of the injury list yet but they refused help from the two parties on the Mtn yesterday with the leader literally crawling out of the basin and down the 1000m Phantom slide. Some lucky dudes there!"

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Kevbone = first hand reporting of watching 20 foot fall

Dane = second hand reporting of watching 300 foot fall.

Who's gonna step up to the plate and give us a third hand tale of a 1000' plus fall their friend's buddy once witnessed?

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G-spotter you dumb shit.

 

I only write things I know that happen or talk about climbs I've actually done...you on the other hand....like to talk out your ass about things you haven't done or even been on. Stupid, as they are such easy things to catch. But we had that discussion in private already didn't we?

 

Craig (aka AlpineMonkey) first mentioned the fall in this thread. Later that night Craig and I shared a conversation about the route and the fall he whitnessed.

 

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/868244/TR_Northwest_Face_of_Mount_Sno#Post868244

 

Today a party was simulclimbing the first pitch of PE. The leader was up through the trees and climbing up the rock step and had both tools blow. He took just short of a full rope length fall all the way from the upper rock band to about 20 feet off the ground of the first pitch. The rope got tangled in the upper trees which prevented him from decking and getting more seriously hurt then he was. Be carefull on these mixed things.

 

For my part I intentionally didn't post any more info or speculation here @ CC. I figured if the guys involved wanted to talk about it they would, or mention the other four guys in there, besides Craig, when it happened. Be interesting to hear some 1st hand perspective on the aftermath and how the victims actually did get out and their respective conditions. Sounds like every thing worked out, amazingly.

 

I did post what I "think" happened from what Craig could tell me and having been on at least part of the route and seen much of the terrain where the guy had to have come off. Which had to be somewhere into the mixed section of pitch 2. That would be at least 300' on a 60m and maybe more if he was on a 70m rope judging by where his second was when the leader finally stopped and the Strong/Cauthorn route description. (might well have been a bit less if he was on a 50m rope but imo really hard to fall off the lower snow ramp if they were using a shorter rope)

 

 

This from supertopo:

 

"Heard this late last night from an eye whitness.

 

Couple of guys start up Pineapple Express yesterday. Rope runs out on the first 150' of Grade 3 ice and 50' of steep snow that is interlaced with decent size fir trees.

 

ace.sized.jpg

 

Leader the yells down for his second to start simul climbing. Second is a good 100' up the first ice pitch when the leader rips both picks out of a M4 mixed pitch just left of this line.

At a similar elevation and steepness from what I could see.

 

aaq.sized.jpg

 

Leader falls the distance shown here..plus all but 20/30' of the first 60m pitch. He doesn't deck only because his rope hangs up on one of the trees above as all his pro rips. After seeing his leader literally go winging past him the second has to climb up just to get the slack in the rope as he lowers his injured and non mobile leader to the ground. Then he rigs a rappel on their dbl ropes (one which has been nearly cut in half with only threads connecting it) to get off. Well over a 300' screamer by my calculations. Haven't heard of the injury list yet but they refused help from the two parties on the Mtn yesterday with the leader literally crawling out of the basin and down the 1000m Phantom slide. Some lucky dudes there!

 

SSheeeeeeeetttttttttt!"

 

Craig said it happened. Unlike some posers here, I've never doubted anything he has said. My speculation? YMMV. Like I said it is just a guess on my part from having been there and climbed much of the same first two pitches just a few days beforehand.

 

 

 

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Sorry, Dane. It sounded just so amazing - the fall, the crawl.

 

Didn't mean to step on any toes! :blush:

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No worries Wolfe, thankfully not my toes that got stepped on. And if even half of what I posted happened, it is truly amazing no one died!

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I was with Craig G. Sat. morning, and we were the first ones at the scene after the fall. The leader has 20 years leading experience and was quite thankful to be alive. He took a long fall and possibly pulled tendons in one of his ankles. Other than cuts and bruises he was alert and responsive. We and another party offered to assist, but once he was given a ski pole he insisted on evacuating on his own (with his partner). If he had difficulties enroute, the plan was for him to call out on his cell phone to the ski patrol at Alpental.

When we got done with the climb around 4:00 pm, I checked with the ski patrol and they hadn't received any call. So they were alerted to look for them. We hope he got out okay, and after several months of rehab will be out there again.

Edited by Kyle_Flick

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Awesome! Way to be self-sufficient too. Here in Utah, a couple climbers had trouble (an ankle sprain) 1 pitch up the great white icicle. Instead of lowering and hobbling out, they waited 4 hours for SAR and get this, "ate their lunches while they waited".

 

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They should be getting the local "tough guy award", no question and some serious style points for distance on the fall and the retreat 41.gif

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They should be getting the local "tough guy award", no question and some serious style points for distance on the fall and the retreat 41.gif

 

you're joking, right?

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you're joking, right?

 

You ever taken a winger like that and walked, crawled or hobbled away?

No, I am not joking. Anyone can fall off....getting out by yourself after something like that is admirable. Few have the stones required to pull it off.

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Thank you, Dan/Dane. I appreciate your comments considering I am the person who fell and, in a very humble manner, limped out of there. I have always felt, as a climber, that if you get yourself into a situation you need to have the willpower and the abilities to get yourself out rather than endanger the lives of others who may come to aid. The fall was around 9:00am on Saturday and my partner and I were back at the car around 1:00pm.

 

I have a broken left ankle along with spraining every tendon/ligament in that area. My right ankle suffered some damage as well. The rest were superficial scrapes and bruises (though I scared my youngest daughter with the nasty shiner on my left eye). Other than a cut above my right eye from a 40 lb ice block that I once knocked loose this has been the only damage that I've done to myself in 20+ years of climbing at a reasonable level and the only major fall that I've had.

 

I feel that it is up to the people who make a living professionally climbing to write the stories so I've always been uncomfortable "spraying" - I don't feel that sharing past exploits is what climbing is about - climbing is deeply personal. But I'm not an inexperienced climber that made a stupid mistake either so I'll say that I've climbed WI7, have sportclimbed to 5.12d (though I've always preferred ice/alpine), have done the Kautz route on Rainier car-to-summit-to-car in 7:30 and Liberty Ridge in 8:35, the north ridge of Stuart (direct) in 6:30, etc. Granted - the above was in my youth and I'm no longer capable of these things.

 

To set the record straight the ropes were 60m. And I clipped into the normal tree belay at the end of P1. As leader I intentionally headed off the normal route as the far left side seemed to hold more ice and that was the point. My partner and I were tuning up for a trip to ice climb in Banff in the next couple of weeks. I worked over a bulge, set a knifeblade, continued to work up toward a solid tree belay - I didn't find the climbing difficult. Finding limited protection opportunities I clipped a small tree from which I worked up and to the right. Both ice tools were placed in one patch of ice - one above the other by about two feet. Both had passed the "Lowe" tug so I comfortably moved my left foot up - at this point the ice popped. The movement moved me right over a lip which pulled the plant, then pulled the knifeblade (due to angle of fall). It was a heck of a ride though I never once doubted that I'd survive (the statement lucky to be alive might be an exaggeration), the tree at the end of P1 is solid and even hitting the snow at the bottom at such a steep angle wouldn't have been that bad (ever drop a 60' ski jump - most guys just land on their ass on steep landing like that). Needless to say, it could have been worse and I sincerely appreciate the people that were on that side of the mountain that day. Very competent, compassionate people that make this sport as special as it is. Again - thanks for the comments and concern.

 

 

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To reiterate what others have said: Bravo! For sucking it up and taking personal responsibility.

 

It's an attitude that compliments the demeanor of our undertakings, yet is often minimalized by those faint of heart and strong of cellphone signal.

 

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Erik

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Thanks for chiming in, I was going to stay out of this unless your party was going to respond. Since you have, I must say thank you for sharing your story. I am grateful to learn from every experience worth learning from . This is something that could happen to anyone on this medium and it is nice to know something like it is survivable. I am a veteran of huge falls too they are not easy to go through or talk about. Glad to hear that your party is fairly sound, and heal fast, Wayne

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