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Bad situation climbing at Jackson Falls
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By Ryan Kramer
Jul 5, 2014

My friend and I were climbing this weekend at Jackson Falls and were just finishing up our second climb of the day. It was some time around 5 pm. For those that are not familiar with the terrain of Jackson Falls, it is basically a gully with trails running along the top of some of the routes. Its not at all uncommon to hear the voices and activity of people above you while climbing. We had never given this much thought or believed it be any cause for concern... until now.

Both of us being safely on the ground, we heard the voices of some kids directly above us. We are guessing between the ages of 10 - 13. Seconds later we heard yelling and some sticks came tumbling down over the edge landing about 30 feet from us. We immediately yelled up at them in a non-threatening manner and asked them to please be careful as there were people below them. (Silence..) A few seconds later some rocks came over the edge in a different spot about 20 feet away. Again we yelled up at them, this time a little more sternly, and told them to knock off the horseplay and people were below them. (Some laughter and commotion..)

After a few minutes we didn't hear anything so we went about discussing what we were going climb next. All of the sudden we heard more commotion and our eyes feverishly started to scan the top of the wall. A few seconds later we watched as a rather large stone (slightly bigger than a baseball) came flying through the air. It ended up landing about 5 feet from us. At this point my self defense system kicked in and I let out a very load yell filled with profanity. We then heard what sounded like people running away.

I was frozen with both disbelief and rage. I immediately sprang for my approach shoes as my first thought was to get up there as fast as possible and figure out who the hell was doing it and make them stop. My friend was much cooler headed and pulled me under an overhang to calm me down. We stayed there for about 10 minutes as I steamed and we discussed what to do. We quickly gathered our gear and began the climb up the trails to the top of the wall. We passed by another climbing party on the way who said they had things thrown at them too. (Rage growing) It took us about 10 minutes to get to the spot where the rocks were thrown at us. No one was around. We even traveled to nearby campsites to see if anyone had seen anything. No luck and no kids around. We both were pretty rattled by the whole experience. Needless to say our climbing experience was ruined for the day.

Sorry for the long post. But I wanted to share this story and find out what the appropriate coarse of action for this type of thing would be. I mean the stone that hit close to us was big enough to cause some serious damage. And us climbers have enough to worry about (like natural falling stones!!!) and do not need the added danger of other people trying to cause us harm. I consider this a very serious matter in which someone could have been really hurt.

The whole situation caught my friend and I completely off guard. We debated whether to call the parking service and report the issue. But the people who had done it seemed to be long gone. Any advice or experience in this type of matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Ryan


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By Zappatista
Jul 5, 2014
Book me, officer.

What are you going to do, really? Either you whoop some idiot stranger's ass or not, once they know you're under them and are chucking off rocks, big or small, you have to come to a decision about whether people cavalierly risking your painful death is something you are willing to swallow and move on.

I've erred on the side of pacifism at times and been glad, and gone off like a firecracker and been glad I did. It's situation by situation, doubtful there's any real formula to follow. Life is short, wear a helmet.


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By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
Jul 5, 2014
Day Lily.

Zappatista said: It's situation by situation, doubtful there's any real formula to follow.

I totally agree. I've faced your (the OPs) situation more than a few times and it totally depends on the situation; the stone throwers and their motivations, attitudes, understanding, maturity, etc. 100% of the time in my experience it's been young teens and some have responded/stopped by us asking kindly for them to stop, some only stop after my friends violently threaten them and start charging up to where they are throwing stones from. Your rage is totally understandable; its a life threatening situation sometimes for sure, thats no joke.

Hopefully it never happens to you again! But if it does assess the situation and do what you feel you have to do (maybe walking away and getting the proper authority is the "right" thing to do?). I'd start non-violently and politely and escalate from there as would be needed to stop the impeding threat. Whooping a teens ass if you're over 18 isnt advisable, thats for sure. Hopefully your lifes not threaten to the point where violence is the only way to feel comfortable again!


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By Keithb00ne
From Las Vegas, NV
Jul 6, 2014
Grand Teton

That's why I climb with a trebuchet, so I can throw rocks back!


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By Tug
Jul 6, 2014

You lost me at "Jackson Falls".


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By Healyje
Jul 6, 2014
girl40

You are talking about rural Southern Illinois. And unless something about local education in the area has changed radically for the better in the ensuing forty years since I was climbing there then I'd have to say 'same as it ever was'...


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By bearbreeder
Jul 6, 2014

www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/climbing/rock-climbi>>>

Herlihy was tired and ready to head down to camp. But Absolon wanted to nail the last pitch, and Herlihy agreed that it didn't look like much trouble, particularly with Pete in the lead. But right in the middle of their conversation, something came hurtling down from above. There was no warning, Herlihy recalls. Just a sudden crack!—and then a kind of white noise buzzing inside his head.

As soon as he heard the sound, Herlihy instinctively curled up next to the wall. But whatever had ripped through was already gone, leaving silence in its wake. When Herlihy looked up, he saw Pete hanging from the ropes, staring straight ahead. His eyes and mouth were open, but he was absolutely still.

Herlihy reached up. His hand went to the back of Absolon's neck and felt a warm dampness. He turned his friend around and saw the shards of his white helmet, the blood, the crushed skull. "His face was perfect," Herlihy says, "but I just knew he was dead."

.....

Herlihy retrieved his dogs and dunked his head in the lake, trying to wash off the blood and spitting to get rid of the pungent, metallic taste in his mouth. He looked around in the twilight, not sure what to do. He was startled to see four young men running toward him. The first one was crying.

"I'm so sorry for your loss," Aaron Rodolph said. He was panting after the long run down from the rim.

"What happened?" Herlihy asked.

A pale, lean young man, more subdued than the first, approached him. "I threw a rock," he said.

Herlihy stared at him. "Did it hit another rock or something?"

"No," Luke Rodolph said. "That was the rock."


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By Kennedy O'Donnell
From McLean, VA
Jul 6, 2014

Had a similar experience at great falls, VA where i could see kids (age ~15) throwing rocks off the maryland side.

Yelled to them "stop throwing rocks!" and they just yelled back "fuck you!" and continued doing it. Chipping away at slabby rock faces.... I really don't see the appeal.


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By Ryan Kramer
Jul 6, 2014

Wow, I had no idea this was such a common issue. It saddens me this is something I may have to deal with again. One of the biggest reasons I climb is to get away from the BS and idiotic people that seem to thrive in our society. I guess its not that easily escapable. But I will keep trying. Thanks for your responses and stay safe out there.


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By alpinejason
From Eau Claire
Jul 6, 2014

Healyje wrote:
You are talking about rural Southern Illinois. And unless something about local education in the area has changed radically for the better in the ensuing forty years since I was climbing there then I'd have to say 'same as it ever was'...


Yup. Lots of stories about the local yocals. Sorry about your experience Ryan. Hopefully it doesn't deter you from climbing there in the future. It's a great venue with some great climbs.

Try to keep cool next time. It's a skill we all need to work on but the more they rile you up the more likely they'll do it again.


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By michaelp
Jul 6, 2014

I've had it happen in Southern Illinois as well, though it was at Cedar Bluff rather than Jackson Falls.

Zappatista wrote:
Life is short, wear a helmet.

+1


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By Dane Burke
From Seattle, Washington
Jul 6, 2014
midway up Mt. Formidable's NE Face

I'd have run up there and done my best to have a calm face-to-face with them, explaining the seriousness of their actions and erasing the anonymity that allows normal people to be such assholes. They probably would have walked off feeling pretty stupid.


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By FlyHigh
Jul 11, 2014
Good wall for those hot days

I always try to find a secluded spot for this reason. Here at crowders mountain, nc people usually throw objects off of the practice walls. Numerous occasions I've had things land near me, but luckily nothing has made contact. The park services have recently posted signs in the parking lot and on trails warning everyone not to throw anything and making them aware of climbers present at the base of walls. Maybe it will help, maybe not. But I always tend to keep a keen eye out for flying objects. It happens way to often and has serious consequences.


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Jul 11, 2014

Throwing down rocks after being informed of people below becomes a form of assault. Next time sneak up to the top and read them the riot act. If they give you lip, make sure their lip becomes fat. Being nice to such folks after asking kindly not to throw things down on people is just stupid. They are trying to hurt you at that point, so hurting them back is OK in my book. Perhaps then they won't come back to cause trouble.


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By Jcweinsx
From Beaverton, Oregon
Jul 11, 2014

Pacifism = greater quantity and severity of problems in the future. Be ready to scuffle with the parents if you have any negative interaction with kids. I'd rather kick dad's ass than the kid anyway.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jul 11, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

DOME ROCK ...... a sign is posted at the top of this walk up/ drive up dome...

Still.... rocks keep flying from the top.

Its to far to yell at the folks....

One of my friends was ready.....

A .12 guage, #8 bird shot.... and one round pointed straight up.

Rock throwing stopped


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By Zappatista
Jul 11, 2014
Book me, officer.

^^^^^incimplete s ntenc s


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By Rick Mix
From Nederland, Colorado
Jul 11, 2014

A few years ago I was fishing at a near by lake. Shore fishing, until I down-climbed a forty foot wall to a small ledge just out of the water. Moments later someone began throwing rocks into the lake. I yelled that I was below and please stop. I heard a 'sorry' and thought all was well. That's when my 'spidey senses' kicked on. I turned and looked up at a microwave sized block coming right at me! I also saw the guy that threw it watching. I was able to get out of the way but was plenty upset. Dude didn't expect me to be standing beside him seconds later. I went totally ballistic. So much and so loud that a ranger showed up and demanded an explanation. He then asked if I'd like to press criminal charges. I did. The punk is now doing time for attempted murder.
This happened shortly after my mentor and dear friend Pete Absolon was killed in a similar incident.


DON'T THROW ROCKS!


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By Dylan B.
Jul 11, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008

Jcweinsx wrote:
Pacifism = greater quantity and severity of problems in the future. Be ready to scuffle with the parents if you have any negative interaction with kids. I'd rather kick dad's ass than the kid anyway.


Nonsense. In my experience most of the time if you approach people politely and explain why what they are doing is dangerous, they will stop.


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Jul 11, 2014

D.Buffum wrote:
Nonsense. In my experience most of the time if you approach people politely and explain why what they are doing is dangerous, they will stop.

Really? The OP asked at least twice to no avail. Should he have asked "pretty please'? I've asked people politely at first and if they keep doing it, well take action rather than being passive. Most people that continue to endanger people after being requested to stop it are just too stupid to give a shit. Therefore, their dangerous actions should result in a response they will not forget anytime soon.


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By Dylan B.
Jul 11, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008

Tradster wrote:
Really? The OP asked at least twice to no avail. Should he have asked "pretty please'? I've asked people politely at first and if they keep doing it, well take action rather than being passive. Most people that continue to endanger people after being requested to stop it are just too stupid to give a shit. Therefore, their dangerous actions should result in a response they will not forget anytime soon.


Oh no. By that time being polite is useless. I was responding rather to the general principle annunciated in the quoted post. Most of the time I find being polite works just fine and should be tried first. When it doesn't work, move on to your next tactic.


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By Peter L Scott
Jul 12, 2014

Many years ago I was climbing at Taylors Falls, MN. We were climbing in an area where the road passed close to the top of the crag. There was a small parking area and overlook. We were having a great day climbing when suddenly a 55 gal. drum garbage can crashed down very close by. No one was hit. We all started screaming at the idiots at the top. Three of us quickly scrambled to the top to confront the perpetrators. At the top were a dozen or so bikers, beer bottles in hand. This is before the coming of the Yuppie bikers. When people had good reason to fear bikers. We walked past them like nothing happened.

Sometimes confrontation is riskier than a thrown object.


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