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Bad Couple of Days on Longs Peak
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By Jim Amidon
Aug 16, 2013
J TREE
eptrail.com/rocky-mountain-nat...

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By Matt.Zia
From Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 16, 2013
I went up to climb the Diamond yesterday and we made the decision to bail off Broadway after getting stuck fifth in line behind a really really slow party. I dunno if you want to believe in a sixth sense or anything, but it was about 8am in the North Chimney when my partner and I said to each other, "I've got kinda a weird feeling about today." We were talking with one of the Colorado Mountain School guides who was also bailing and he said the North Chimney was the loosest he's seen it in years, if not ever.

Definitely a bad couple of days.

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By LawHous
From Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 16, 2013
Post climb celebration drinks with a sweet line in the background
Damn no kidding! Sad few days for RMNP climbing. I wonder what route he was climbing?

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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Aug 18, 2013
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.
I was reading about this real-time on Friday when Jim and Matt initially posted, and this morning found out it was my pal in the accident. I'm not going to write much on his condition at the moment, but just wanted to share that it happened in the North Chimney. It is suspected that rockfall hit him while he and his partner were simul-ing up to Broadway. He fell 50-60 ft (confirming the news blurb linked above).

Big thanks to all those involved in the rescue and evac.

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By Mitch Musci
Aug 18, 2013
This is very scary, especially considering a lot of climbers (with good reason) choose not to rope up in the north chimney. Yes, your rope could knock rocks loose in that chimney...but what if rock falls on the leader from above? Best wishes to all involved.

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By Tyrel Fuller
From Denver, CO
Aug 18, 2013
Big Bend
I just want to post a quick shout out to Tommy Caldwell and Jonathan Siegrist and say thanks for helping my friends out on Friday. No doubt they were instrumental in saving his life.

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By Rayna
From Westminster, CO
Aug 18, 2013
Mitch, in this case we suspect that it was a rock that hit Christian and he was the leader. The climber in this story is my fiance. He doesn't remember the fall at all and is lucky to be alive. He suffered a fractured C2, crushed T6 & T7, a skull fracture, a punctured lung, a scapular fracture, 7 broken ribs and deep lacerations. His spine was fused last night from T3-T9. He does not have any notable brain trauma or spinal nerve damage. He is a solid Climber so this is very unexpected.

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By bearbreeder
Aug 18, 2013
rockfall is something you cant really control ... only mitigate ... sadly enough

best wishes

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By Storogoth
Aug 18, 2013
Rayna, hope that Christian's healing process goes fast & smooth.

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By Tony T.
From Denver, CO
Aug 18, 2013
Getting up the Great Dihedral on Hallet Peak, RMNP.
Tyrel Fuller wrote:
I just want to post a quick shout out to Tommy Caldwell and Jonathan Siegrist and say thanks for helping my friends out on Friday. No doubt they were instrumental in saving his life.


Related, I'm posting a quick "WTF?" to the apparently 2-4 parties who came upon the scene of our friend and his partner, who was pretty severely injured, and kept climbing. This is including one supposed nurse who said he looked OK and kept going.

Luckily those people weren't the only others up there. It's pretty inspiring to know that the other parties who did stop, and even Caldwell and Siegrist who had a full film crew, managed to step away from themselves and help out a stranger.

Take care of each other out there. You never know when you might need the favor returned. <3

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By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
Aug 19, 2013
Tom-onator
Humanitarian awards to Tommy and Jonathan.

Respect.

Limp Penis award to the parties that went about their climbing day.
After all the planning and hiking it takes to even get into the Diamond, who wouldn't stop to help an injured climber?

Is the "send" more important than helping those in need?

Spot on, Tony T.

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By VARMENT
From Boulder, Colorado
Aug 19, 2013
base of castelton
The Crack of Delight (5.7) lies just climbers left of the north chimney and while often very wet (so is the north chimney) and is easily protected. I've always felt uncomfortable in the north chimney, that thing's a choss pile

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By Charles Vernon
From Tucson, AZ
Aug 19, 2013
Tony T. wrote:
Related, I'm posting a quick "WTF?" to the apparently 2-4 parties who came upon the scene of our friend and his partner, who was pretty severely injured, and kept climbing. This is including one supposed nurse who said he looked OK and kept going. <3


Are you kidding me? Is this really true? I find this really hard to imagine unless there was some misunderstanding about whether assistance was needed. Did they bow out because your friend was already receiving assistance and additional parties would just make it a clusterfuck?

If it's as you say, makes me real sad.

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By Tank Evans
Aug 19, 2013
The TANK!!!
This is the Diamond, not Everest. I will give the benefit of the doubt to the parties that continued, assuming that the man was already being helped and no more assistance was needed. To many people results in a more dangerous situation. If the comments regarding the other 2 parties leaving the man are true then they need to be outed in the community. There is no excuse for that, they are terrible human beings, and deserve to be acknowledged and treated as such.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Aug 19, 2013
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
I too really don't want to condemn anyone from not joining in the rescue. If someone had contacted SAR and/or was going for help and someone with medical knowledge was attending the patient, there is little else to do for other bystanders.

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.
Rayna and Christian -

Heal well and quickly. I'm glad to hear that there is no apparent head trauma - that's the tough one. If it helps to know, I broke several lumbar vertebrae almost 30 years ago, and even with the comparatively simple technology available then the surgery to repair and fuse the spine was successful, though healing took a while. I was climbing again a year later, and I live a pretty normal life now.

As for the situation,
I've never seen an accident where the person was not walking away that I went on from and climbed instead of putting myself on standby.

#1) You never know when help is needed and if you will be the right person to do the job (IE litter team is 1x person short of a carry - or injured party's stuff needs carried out, etc...

#2) I'd be too creeped-out the rest of the day (week) to have a good time climbing anyway.

I'm not in a place to judge what happened up there, but I'd offer that as a suggestion for this sort of a predicament in the future to those weighing options.

That said, I do know a few people that have been made unwelcome at a rescue scene, self included. When Sylvia W. was taken out from the Chasm View Wall with a broken pelvis, her partner got punched in the face by a rescuer who thought he was in the way. A Rescue crew chased Gary S. away from an upside-down-hanging (at the time live, but bleeding profusely from the head) body on Calypso in Eldo 16 years or so ago. This case was heard in public meetings. And I was once shooo-ed from a scene myself, when I offered to stand-by for help. I've also been welcomed and asked to help in a few events. It seems that anything can happen, but it sure would be nice if people offered to help while not interfering.

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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Aug 19, 2013
tanuki
Tony T. wrote:
Related, I'm posting a quick "WTF?" to the apparently 2-4 parties who came upon the scene of our friend and his partner, who was pretty severely injured, and kept climbing. This is including one supposed nurse who said he looked OK and kept going. Luckily those people weren't the only others up there. It's pretty inspiring to know that the other parties who did stop, and even Caldwell and Siegrist who had a full film crew, managed to step away from themselves and help out a stranger. Take care of each other out there. You never know when you might need the favor returned. <3


Seriously?! Maybe I don't understand the situation, but it is really hard for me to fathom the lack of empathy necessary for someone to meet a seriously injured person in the outback and just continue on without rendering assistance. That is some seriously cold and disgusting behavior.

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By nicelegs
From Denver
Aug 19, 2013
There is more to this story. I guarantee it.

Put down the pitchforks.

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By Monty
From Golden, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Just a teaser
I've always been terrified of loose rock pouring down the North Chimney. The last time I was up there this summer we hurried to pass a few parties who were simul-ing only to have rocks knocked down from a party traversing broadway after the Chasm View rappels.

This is a HUGE reminder that no matter what way you go, you have to be incredibly mindful of loose rocks and your fellow climbers.

My heart goes out to those affected by this accident.

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By Patrick Vernon
From Albuquerque, NM
Aug 19, 2013
mexico
Did the rescue take place inside the north chimney itself? Too many people might have been a safety issue. It would be weird for people to just walk past and not offer assistance though.

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By Dustin Drake
Aug 19, 2013
There are plenty of good and rational reasons not to stop and help.

As someone else already said, put down the pitchforks.

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2013
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.
Stich wrote:
If someone had contacted SAR and/or was going for help and someone with medical knowledge was attending the patient, there is little else to do for other bystanders.

PS - well, not climbing above a rescue party is better form than climbing above a rescue party, but I'm not sure what actually happened.

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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Aug 19, 2013
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.
Right now I'm just happy my friend is alive, that he has no brain/spinal issues, and that his partner and all the rescuers made it out safe. I have zero doubt that any climber going up to do the Diamond would not stop in heartbeat to help a fellow climber in need, unless specifically instructed to stay away by people in charge at the rescue/triage scene. So yeah, I doubt anybody just walked on by. We climbers are a tight community, folks going to climb the Diamond all the more so.

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By bag
Aug 19, 2013
My name is John Steinbauer. I was one of the people who was in the North Chimney on Friday morning and continued on above Broadway.

I was simulclimbing the chimney when Christian's fall occurred, and my partner was leading somewhere higher in the chimney, closer to the incident. At this moment, here at work, I don't know the details of where my partner was initially to comment on that.

When I was finally able to get up to the location of Christian and see what was going on, there were already several other people on the scene, some of whom had greater training and/or experience than I do in emergency medical care and rigging. I offered to contribute my trail line to the rescue and was willing to help, but people were focused on the patient and my offer was ignored in the midst of it all. I'm not putting blame on others about this - I probably should have been more persistent in my offer at that point. SInce I had not even communicated with or seen my partner since the chaos had begun, I continued to follow my belay up to Broadway to make sure he was not also injured and to figure out what we should do.

The four of us who were there (me and my partner, plus one other party of 2 who had placed the phone calls) discussed at great length what to do. 911 and NPS had been called and the rescue was underway. There were already a lot of people on the scene, in my view at the time probably too many people. As others have commented, sometimes too many people can just make things more dangerous, and that was our thinking at the time.

In the end we decided to continue up the Diamond. Most if not all the things other posters have said about this went through our heads as well, in terms of weird juju, being on standby, etc. But we felt that we could do little to help and it would be best to remove ourselves from the scene.

I understand that many people will feel that we abandoned a person in need. Other than giving you my side of the story, there is little I can say to that. In the past, I have been first or second on the scene of other emergencies and have put everything else on hold to help. Had I thought I could help him get to safety faster, I would have stayed put for sure. It was a complex situation and from our perspective, at that time, we thought it was the right choice.

My biggest regret as I have replayed the scene many times in my head is that I did not try harder to offer our assistance and make sure there was nothing we could do to help before leaving the scene.

I wish Christian the best possible recovery from his injuries.

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By Darin Berdinka
Aug 19, 2013
Seems like CLIMBING ABOVE an ongoing rescue situation, particularly in a chossy gulley, is at least as significant a consideration as to whether additional assistance was needed or not.

My armchair judgement would be that everyone who continued above the scene added an unnecessary amount of additional objective danger to the victims and the rescue party. Nice work.

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By pepperluff
Aug 19, 2013
Darin Berdinka wrote:
Seems like CLIMBING ABOVE an ongoing rescue situation, particularly in a chossy gulley, is at least as significant a consideration as to whether additional assistance was needed or not. My armchair judgement would be that everyone who continued above the scene added an unnecessary amount of additional objective danger to the victims and the rescue party. Nice work.



So the second should have:

  • Untied
  • Called his leader down
  • Told the party (who called the accident in) on Broadway to bail down

??

Tough situation with many variables, IMO party in question did the best they could. No easy way out of that gully with no easy bail from the leader position above as far as i know.

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