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shaoleung

Ranger Dies during Rescue on Rainier

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Depends on what the rope is protecting against, i.e. crevasse fall or steep slopes. If rope is deployed primarily to guard against crevasse hazards, then placing pro is often unnecessary and cumbersome. On steep slopes w/ firm snow, then pro is often the only realistic chance of stopping a fall if roped. If you choose not to place pro in that situation, then you may choose to unrope and let each individual take their chances. This is situationally dependent and a judgement based on the hazards presented and the experience of the party involved.

 

"Rules of thumb" don't supersede situational awareness and good judgement.

“Two members of the group slipped and fell into a crevasse on Emmons Glacier. They were all tied together.” Is “No pro, no rope” a good rule of thumb?

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Nick Hall...

 

I simply cannot believe it. It is so devastating.

 

A former North Cascades park ranger and then the Mt. Rainier climbing ranger (2008-2012). RIP.

I knew him well and climbed with him.

 

He was registered as "OrangeVan" on CC but being too modest, he did not post much.

 

This was buried in the MRNP forum: New ice line on the Sunset Amphitheater headwall

 

cc41.jpg

 

Nick on the headwall:

cc34.jpg

 

 

Later on Shuksan:

7421299790_ee960b0508_c.jpg

 

At Baker seracs:

7421300180_e1234a91c4_c.jpg7421300526_04c6307b25_c.jpg

 

Here is Nick on Beacon rock during the vid shoot for Jim Opdycke last August:

7421300688_2522bcabd0_b.jpg

 

 

 

During his duty on the Emmons gl, July 2011:

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1028983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rest in peace, Nick. You took the best possible death we all wish - by serving your duty to rescue the life of others...

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Thank you for digging up and posting the pics, Nastia. Seemed like a wonderful guy - huge loss.

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It keeps happening over and over again on Rainier and Hood. Those people who called themselves (quote) “experienced climbers” should learn how to descent steep terrains and self-rescue, instead of calling a baby-sitting park service and put other people’s life at risk. Nick didn't deserve to die and had a stellar carrier ahead of him.

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I never knew Nick, but I have known more than a few people in mountain rescue units, and I don't think any of them would sit on the sidelines, no matter how irresponsible the circumstances that led to their being called in for help. It seems the nature of such people to foster a compassion that compels them to action, often times in complete odds to self-preservation. Maybe it is because climbers are a small tribe, and we "take care of our own". I don't know. I won't make the usual asinine statement that "he died doing what he loved", because that is total bullshit. No rational person wants to die in the mountains or truly believes that he will. However, the time approaches when we can no longer escape the law of averages and so must face our own certain and imminent death. While it is no consolation to the family members left behind, Nick's death stands as a statement of sacrifice and selflessness that few of us will be able to achieve before our lights fail. I hope that his family can find that small measure of peace afforded to the grieving after the shock of his passing fades.

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If you read the stories about him, his family is all in the rescue/ems/fire business. Helping others is part of his DNA.

 

We weren't there. No one should blame the rescuees. The first rule of rescue is to ensure your own safety. If you feel compromised, don't do it. That is easy to say and hard to do.

 

Some of this party ended up in a crevasse. They had enough going for them that they did not die or go off the mountain. We do not know if they were physically able to self rescue at that time. As a rescuer, I would much rather that you call when you are in trouble but not totally screwed. Those are much easier to do.

 

No one intends to get in trouble in the wilderness - experienced, new, well equipped, ill-equipped. Sometimes we think we know what we are doing, and then we have an educational experience. There but for the grace of God goes you or I. Blame is unimportant. Learning is.

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""Conditions were unusually slick and changing quickly on the 14,411-foot peak, said John Race, a mountain guide from Leavenworth, Chelan County. He'd been leading clients up the Emmons Glacier but turned back because he considered the route unsafe.""

 

""I've worked on Rainier since 1989, and it was really primed for big sliding falls," Race said. "The surface was quite firm and icy, so we bailed.""

 

It was icy. Like I've said before several times. Your crampons and axes had better be sharp (carry a file) and your crampons had better have a bomber secure fit to your boots. You also need to be competent on 40 degree ice. The Emmons is the easiest route on Rainier but when it gets icy it's like a tilted ice skating rink that's thousands of feet to the bottom.

 

Another thing that can happen is it can be nice going up, soft and easy to climb and then a front can come in suddenly and everything freezes up. It's harder to go down than it is to go up when it's icy.

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If you read the stories about him, his family is all in the rescue/ems/fire business. Helping others is part of his DNA.

 

We weren't there. No one should blame the rescuees. The first rule of rescue is to ensure your own safety. If you feel compromised, don't do it. That is easy to say and hard to do.

 

Some of this party ended up in a crevasse. They had enough going for them that they did not die or go off the mountain. We do not know if they were physically able to self rescue at that time. As a rescuer, I would much rather that you call when you are in trouble but not totally screwed. Those are much easier to do.

 

No one intends to get in trouble in the wilderness - experienced, new, well equipped, ill-equipped. Sometimes we think we know what we are doing, and then we have an educational experience. There but for the grace of God goes you or I. Blame is unimportant. Learning is.

 

+1

 

Also great info buckaroo haven't been on that mountain yet. I often find myself forgetting about the big picture and focusing on the small issues. This is a sad reality check for all of us.

Edited by chris54

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""Conditions were unusually slick and changing quickly on the 14,411-foot peak, said John Race, a mountain guide from Leavenworth, Chelan County. He'd been leading clients up the Emmons Glacier but turned back because he considered the route unsafe.""

 

Unsafe for guided clients. Check. John made the right call for his group. That's his job.

 

Unsafe for other competent, well prepared parties? I would caution against making judgements about others (yeah, even Texans) deciding to climb on in such conditions. We don't really know how/why they ended up in their situation.

 

Buck's point is well taken that proper preparations are very important when alpine climbing. ALL gear needs to be field tested and checked.

 

Seamstress' post is right on IMO. Sometimes things happen in the mountains that are unpleasant. Not saying anything about what may or may not have happened in this case but the fact remains we are imperfect. We pursue our avocation with utmost caution, preparations, and yet, sometimes, bad things happen... If we're lucky, we live, and learn...

 

It's terribly unfair that this young Ranger perished. I'm very sad for him, his family, and friends. Let's not dishonor him by second guessing the group he was intent on helping.

 

d

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Yesterday was the coldest June 22 on record. I'm not saying anyone was incompetent, just that the icy conditions was maybe more than they expected. You can be really tired coming down and it takes additional effort to come down hard on each step to get the points to dig in, and it's worse if they are a little dull.

 

Lower down you can also cross some rock depending on which approach you take, which can dull points. This is especially true on the Disappointment Cleaver route, most people don't take off their crampons to ascend it, something to consider. Also rental crampons aren't always that sharp or tight fitting. I was with a guy once with some rentals and they came apart, we had to McGiver some straps to get them to hold.

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Yesterday was the coldest June 22 on record. I'm not saying anyone was incompetent, just that the icy conditions was maybe more than they expected. You can be really tired coming down and it takes additional effort to come down hard on each step to get the points to dig in, and it's worse if they are a little dull.

 

Lower down you can also cross some rock depending on which approach you take, which can dull points. This is especially true on the Disappointment Cleaver route, most people don't take off their crampons to ascend it, something to consider. Also rental crampons aren't always that sharp or tight fitting. I was with a guy once with some rentals and they came apart, we had to McGiver some straps to get them to hold.

 

Buck, if my post implied you were being critical it was unintended and I apologize. You make very good points above.

 

One of my regular climbing partners was on the Emmons that day and had encountered the group prior to their getting into trouble. He had positive comments about this rope team, how they were going, and their equipment looked to be well put together...

 

His comment on surface conditions of the route that day up to 13.5k were that they were "not that bad" in his opinion. He had "good purchase" with his crampons. I trust his judgement on this but understand that it is subjective.

 

I can relate to the fatigue that can visit a well conditioned climber on this route. While descending, tired, June 5th of last year, I caught a crampon heel point on my opposing calf (gaiter) and couldn't unhook it in time and fell forward at around 12,5k. I arrested my own fall but it was awkward and there was that crevasse just below where I stopped... My partner executed a textbook arrest above me in case I did not stop sliding too. So, all ended well that time...

 

Yeah, all kinds of weird shit can happen up there...

 

d

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The Memorial Service for Nick Hall was very nice, fittingly in Paradise. The opening Rescuer’s Prayer:

 

When I am called to duty, God, wherever people fall, give me strength to save a life, whatever be the call.

 

Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

 

Enable me to be alert, and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and effectively bring my neighbor out.

 

I want to fill my calling, Lord, and to give the best in me, to bring my every neighbor back to their family.

 

And when it happens on same day - my earthly life does end, please bless with your protecting hand, my family and my friends.

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