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Bronco

geeky question of the day

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So I finished reading Peter Potterfield's story of his epic on Chimney Rock. When I got to the end I expected a full explanation of what caused the belay to fail and rapidly drop him 150'. No such detail leaving me to assume his partner somehow failed to stop the rope from zipping through the belay device unitl it reached the end of the rope where it was tied into the anchor.

Anyone have any further info on this accident???? I am really curious. confused.gif" border="0

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There's been a discussion of this on cc.com before. Might want to search for Potterfield.

He alludes to his partner using a new belay device he wasn't familiar with earlier in the story. But that's it. I think the general feeling is he doesn't want to explain what happened, because his partner probably screwed up, and he doesn't want to dis him publicly, 'cause it's his friend?

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shit i'll diss all the foo's i go climbing with and they know that. ask me i'll tell you. then i guess when you are a jackass you are a jackass.

no explaination needed.

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right Phil - that's the same conclusion I came to.

I searched on potterfield and came up with 20 threads to read with regards to mountainzone.com, potterfield presentations at rei, and several references to the nelson/potterfield guidbook but no accident report or discussion of his belay failing. I wonder if the AAJ would have a record of it?

Anyone have the American Alpine Journal from 1988?

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Bronco, There was a bunch of discussion mixed in recently with hollyclimbers post, "what do you read" (?)web page

[ 11-19-2001: Message edited by: carolyn ]

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gotit. Thanks carolyn. I'm still going to look for a AAJ from 1988. tongue.gif" border="0

[ 11-20-2001: Message edited by: Bronco ]

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Maybe you should check ANAM 1988 instead of AAJ 1988? Best place to look for old journals is often in climbing club libraries, the clubs all send each other comp. copies.

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quote:

Originally posted by erik:

shit i'll diss all the foo's i go climbing with and they know that. ask me i'll tell you. then i guess when you are a jackass you are a jackass.

no explaination needed.

Who's that ugly bastard on the bill? Diss dis, diss dat, diss my ass mf.

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Theres like a documentary about that accident, a made for TV version. Its pretty good, A couple old skoolers from wenatchee helped in the rescue, As far as where to get a copy I dont know but its out there. nic

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So what's the verdict? Does any one know? Equipment failure? Operator Error? Un-mitigated Stupidity? [Wazzup]

Part of why I read mountaineering epics, is to learn from the mistakes of others ( or to dream that I would be as tough). So, I felt robbed by Potterfields lack of explanation.

[ 11-28-2001: Message edited by: Terminal Gravity ]

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tg,

did you get my email? i've never tried off a link here before you so i'm wondering if it went through.

Lots o' fresh in your area?

e

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perhaps it has not occurred to any of you that Potterfield may not know for sure what caused the belay failure - and hence might be unwilling to "guess". I don't know - I don't know the man, and I haven't studied this particular incident in depth, but I have worked on numerous rescues over the years, and I have to say that even the "most obvious" errors are actually rarely so. My experience has been that when the shit hits the fan, it is most often damn near impossible to say for sure what truly occurred. An example from my own history: In 1977 I made a new-years' ascent of Oregon's Mt. Washington. On the descent of the north ridge, I came last (being one of the two strongest alpinists in our four-person group). After belaying my companions down an overhanging ice-bulge, I began to downclimb that bulge. I got the pick of my ice-axe stuck at the lip, and in my effort to free the tool, I popped off and fell about 10' to the ledge where my companions waited.

They did not see the fall (conditions were really ugly..., blowing whiteout, yada-yada), though they saw me get up where I landed...

Years later, one of those companions, now "famous", describes that incident in her autobiography, where she states that I had become disoriented in the whiteout, and simply walked off the bulge!!! I would not even know about this (having not read my old friend's book), except that a partner who had read it asked me in a bar a couple of years ago "so, what REALLY happened on that climb?"

My point is - Potterfield may not know exactly how/why his belay failed - even though he was there.

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