Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   11/10/22

      Help keep cascadeclimbers.com going!  Please consider donating so we can keep this site going.   We have set expenses right now but no revenue.  We do hope to getting a sponsor to help out, but for now we just need funds to upgrade the site and pay for hosting and licensing. See the "DONATE" tab in the top menu.
Sign in to follow this  
David_Parker

Deadliest Mountains in US?

Recommended Posts

well, has this cheerful conversation seen its end?

 

 

Jake,

 

when you participate in a potentially fatal activity, unless you can look the 'cheerful' facts in the eye, absorb them, understand them, accept them, and make them part of your ongoing judgement set, you're just playing Russian roulette. i had personal experiences 25 to 30 years ago that opened my eyes to the extent to which i was 'climbing blind', and i changed the way i thought about, and participated in, my climbing activities. i'm still alive in large part due to luck and good fortune, but an active engagement with risk assessment deserves some credit too.

 

any and all conversations that pass information around amongst the climbing community can contribute to keeping people alive. and the 'uncomfortable' subjects are often the ones most useful to talk about...

 

 

also, mountains don't kill people.

 

 

you're right, people die on mountains, the mountains don't kill them in the way people kill people. my use of the phrasing 'killer' mountains is a combination of anthropomorphism, poetic licence (again), and sensationalism. mea culpa.

 

on the other hand, mountain DO present objective hazards: bad weather, rock-fall, avalanches, serac collapses, altitude illnesses, etc. the mountains can indeed 'kill', in an absolutely impersonal but very active way. it's tempting to personify these attributes in an attempt to understand them. this is an error in intellectual rigour, and dangerous: i reckon the danger comes from following a logic path that runs something like "these activities have some 'live-ness'; therefore they are susceptible to reason; therefore i have some degree of control (or at least a better chance of accurate analysis) than if they were fully inanimate."

 

that, of course, is flatly not true.

 

but it IS possible to improve your ability to analyze mountain hazards, and to therefore increase your chances of survival. exposure to information about risk factors is important in this process, so again, I'd defend discussion of uncomfortable aspects of our sport. fact is, I reckon it's crucial. if the act of personifying the outcome is labelling as 'killer' mountains Himalayan peaks where your chances of death are about 1 per 20 successful ascents, perhaps the impact is worth the illogic. the big peaks are superbly attractive, but they're also hideously dangerous. if you're headed off to climb in places such as these and you haven't thought thru and come to terms with the possibility of your death (and prepared for the consequences and impacts on those around you), you're not 'living right'.

 

apologies for the thread drift...

 

cheers,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good info and comments Don.

 

Worth pointing out that Mt Blanc is a very complicated massif.

You death totals are for the massif not Mt. Blanc specifically.

 

While your Mt. Blanc summit numbers are correct the numbers of deaths include things like the toursits falling off the Midi for example or climbing major routes that are part of the Mt. Banc massif but have their own summits.

 

Only added this post for clarities sake. 30 deaths in a month is common but a lot of climbing going on in the Massif as well. No other alpine area has as much difficult ground in such a compact area and such easy access.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on your purpose, it's more or less useful to compare casualty rates on Washington to that of mountains without road access.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as always, thanks for your contribution Don. I have just found this whole topic moribund, i prefer to think of climbing as an activity of humans who are experiencing the heights of existence rather than risking death.

 

keeping any and all alive is of course an important endeavor that this board can actually help with.

 

I don't mean to silence the conversation. I have never seen Mt. Hood as a a "killer mountain". It has certainly claimed its victims, but for me it is strange that it has been the big magnet for discussion about the regulation of climbing risk. Perhaps it should not be so, but regardless it is.

 

it was the first pnw volcano i climbed, and i'm sure it was for many others.

 

If you think you can make the experience safer for others, have at it. I just would like people to also remember the positive side of ascending.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I lived and climbed in NH for two years back in the mid-80's and was 'lucky' enough to experience one the wild weather swings while on Canon in '86. We were doing Reppy's/MG and started out in t-shirts under a bright, sunny, and blue mid-August sky. I don't recall what pitch we were on when it all when hell in an instant. But at one anchor we literally had to sink more pro and lash ourselves together and to it for about an hour while an incredibly windy and extremely cold freight train roared through. Fortunately it motored past and returned to near the conditions we had started in, had it kept up and gotten worse we might have died. I believe at the time I heard folks had died of exposure on Washington in August and after our experience I have every reason to believe it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think the mountains in Europe, Being really where mountineering was born, would have a higher death rate. Is it handicapped for history of attempts? I would think Europe mountains have been attemped for longer then say the cascades or Asian mountains. At least in RECORDED history. Am I wrong? Perhaps I am. I know the post says U.S. I am commenting on the list. In the U.S. I do believe it is Washington.

Edited by Alewarrior

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i contributed to this thread earlier, but have to agree with porter, this is a morbid topic that doesn't yield much constructive to take away. we could discuss the most deadly intersection in america too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What is the most attempted/summited mountain in the US/North America/world? How does Fuji in Japan compare?

 

I've heard Mt. Fuji has the most climbers/hikers per year with Mt. Hood in 2nd place. No comparison between the two in any way though. Fuji has a wide switchbacking trail with little huts (stations) all along the way and is hiked my people of all ages and abilities. I saw a few guys ride their bikes down its scree slopes when we were there - crazy kids. Plus, Fuji has a nice little eatery at the top for those who forgot to bring food :)

 

Actually, I was always told that Mt. Fuji and Mt. Monadnock, a small 3,000+ft mtn in southwest NH were in a constant tie for the most summited mountains. Its possible my facts are wrong, but I know first hand how many people hike monadnock because I used to live in the neighboring town of Keene, NH.

 

Monadnock is certainly not very dangerous, although it does have an alpine summit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've climbed both Mt. Washington and Mount Monadanock a bunch. Popular summits. Scary places when the weather is shitty. One of only a few near death experiences for me happened on Mount Monadanock. Lost the trail coming down in a blizzard at night fall. Had to crawl in the wind back up towards the summit to find it. We almost didn't hold it together. At least on Fuji you can get ramen.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monadnock is certainly not very dangerous, although it does have an alpine summit.

 

do not underestimate the monadnock! it is beastly, trecherous, danger is too light of a descriptive word....

 

seriously though, i almost died on monadnock when i broke away from the main group and did some exposed scrambeling on a grade school feld trip...

Edited by danhelmstadter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have just found this whole topic moribund, i prefer to think of climbing as an activity of humans who are experiencing the heights of existence rather than risking death.

 

Sorry pretty naive' imo. Few other sports have the kind of risks involved that we take for granted on almost any outing at any level. There was a reason Hemmingway thought there were only three sports.

 

There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games."

 

The reason is the opportunity to die is very high in each..then and now. Knowing the fact and we choose to do it anyway.

 

Ignoring that fact is naive and dangerious imo. Talking about it is a good thing...keeps us all honest.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Long standing misquote....generally accepted as Hemmingways. Although the point is the same.

 

The chance of getting killed in the mtns is a part of climbing...ignore it at your own peril.

 

"This is one in a long list of quotations mysteriously attributed to Ernest Hemingway. While the general public seem to agree that this is in fact a Hemingway quotation, scholars have some reservations and for good reason. The early Hemingway did not believe that bullfighting was a sport. For him it was a tragedy. See his October 20, 1923 article titled "Bullfighting A Tragedy" reprinted in By-Line: Ernest Hemingway Selected Articles and Dispatches of Four Decades edited by William White. Hemingway reiterates his beliefs regarding the tragedy of bullfighting in his 1932 book, Death in the Afternoon.

 

In July of 2006, Gerald Roush, a visitor to Timeless Hemingway, provided a possible source for the "three sports" quotation. He cited a story titled "Blood Sport" by Ken Purdy, which originally appeared in the July 27, 1957 edition of the Saturday Evening Post. The story is reprinted in Ken Purdy's Book of Automobiles (1972). Gerald provided a scan of where the quotation appeared and it reads as follows: " 'There are three sports,' she remembered Helmut Ovden saying. 'Bullfighting, motor racing, mountain climbing. All the rest are recreations.' " Gerald noted that the character of Helmut Ovden is modelled after Ernest Hemingway. This could explain why the quote has been so widely attributed to Hemingway over the years.

 

In May of 2007, Rocky Entriken wrote to Timeless Hemingway with another possible author of the "three sports" quotation:

 

"As I am told, the quote belongs to Barnaby Conrad, a writer of the same era as Hemingway and a San Francisco raconteur of some note. Mostly he did magazine articles but his books include The Death of Manolete. My source is Dan Gerber, yet another writer of the era."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm surprised to see Mt. Fuji on that list. With the most ascents per year of any mountain, and those being mostly on semi-groomed trails, I wouldn't think the math would add up. If the accidents being reported are tramplings or headaches then maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the U.S. I do believe it is Washington.

 

not so. I know my initial posting was rather long, but if you read it thru you'd have noted that there have been 135 deaths on Mount Washington (over the past hundred and fifty or so years) while there have been 323 deaths on Mt Rainier (in just over the past 100 years).

 

cheers,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one more comment, if I may: it's not pleasant to contemplate the various disasters that have befallen others in the mountains, but i truly believe it is necessary, if one wishes to avoid a similar fate. which brings me one of the few maxims that I've used to direct actions in my life:

 

from Synge, in 'The Arran Islands', quoting an old fisherman:

"A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drownded [sic], for he will be going out on a day when he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we do only be drownded now and again."

 

I put conscious effort into staying afraid of the mountains...

 

Over and out

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

discussing the specifics of accidents seems extremely necessary, from my pov, to learn about mistakes and pure freak accidents and try to use that knowledge to anticipate potential situations when heading out.

 

But thats not whats going on here at all. We're talking in generalities about what mountains have the most deaths (such as, the most deadly intersections in the world--does nothing to help driving or pedestrian technique--maybe just tells us where to avoid?). it is both useless (unless we are planning a trip to said mountains and aren't aware of the 'general risk' (i hope not)) - and its still morbid.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The original post is certainly related to the recent Mt Hood accident, and the portrayal of that peak as "deadly" in the media fueled conversation about risk, rescue, regulation, and responsibility. To that end, its certainly of value to determine some facts regarding deaths in the mountains rather than just carrying on about how one feels about the risk associated with any given peak. Knowing the statistics will allow any of us to counter the uninformed arguments others might make. That makes the generality of the subject quite useful, and I don't think its morbid..

 

 

Edited by Off_White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

off_white:

I'm practically as fresh as they come. I have enjoyed Don's contributions and recognize his emphasis that the rigors and consequences of this sport require intense self-examination and the ability to learn from others.

Edited by Water

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
in the winter you may 'hike' washington, but there are also technical routes up it. and a winter hike could well be harder than volcanos out here.

 

look at the weather yesterday

conditions.png

 

i think that compares to anything you'd find most other places. The temperature continued to drop, down to -25 last night, while the winds were sustained around 60-70mph. thats some serious shit

 

Ya well SO WHAT! For cryng out loud there is a weather station on top of Mt. Washington. There are plenty of mountains in the coastal ranges, or even Rockies that have terrible conditions. Only difference is that 50 million people don't live within a stones throw of them.

 

So can Mt. Washington be dangerous? Of course it can be. But so can alot of other peaks. The fact that people drive and ride their bike to top means that there are going to be alot of victims.

 

Edited by XXX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so i posted the stats of the weather and said its serious.

whats the big deal?

 

was it wrong that i didn't put estimated conditions of the top of rainier or hood during a storm? :rolleyes:

 

didn't mean to ruffle you feathers with that

Edited by Water

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One of only a few near death experiences for me happened on Mount Monadanock.

Having lived in Francestown, I'd have to say I'd be considerably embarassed to die on Monadanock, soloing at Joe English Hill maybe, but Monadanock? That would be tough to live down, even for a dead person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
so i posted the stats of the weather and said its serious.

whats the big deal?

 

was it wrong that i didn't put estimated conditions of the top of rainier or hood during a storm? :rolleyes:

 

didn't mean to ruffle you feathers with that

 

Hehe not trying to be a meanie =). Just saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Having lived ..... I'd have to say I'd be considerably embarassed to die on..... soloing....maybe, but ..? That would be tough to live down, even for a dead person.

 

Pardon my editing :)

 

But after almost dying while climbing 2 years ago I have had pause to think and rethink similar comments. If I bite it while climbing my considered wish is everyone from CC.com stop by my grave and give be a little kick and say..."dumb shit"!

 

Buddies have already split up my gear.

 

'Cuz no way I can live down the embarrassment by then..mistake or just freak accident. It is obvious in our game, shit happens :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×