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RIP Jim Detterline


slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

Hey everybody, would you all be on board with moving this thread to the 'Memorial' section?

Dharma Bum · · Glen Haven, Co · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 585

As the OP, I agree. I posted here originally to reach more people since most don't frequent the Memorials thread.

Pine Sap · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Feb 2007 · Points: 7,190

OK with me-

Maciej Rosa · · Brier, WA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

Wow, I came into this thread out of curiosity never having heard of this guy and I leave feeling like I know him personally and deeply saddened by his passing.

This is a beautiful thread, and frankly, quite inspiring.

MtnBabe · · Lumpy Ridge · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Jim's friends filled the huge Assembly Hall at the YMCA of The Rockies on Tuesday as we gathered to share memories and seek some kind of reassurance following the stunning news of his death in a climbing accident.

Jim was a world-class climber who defied death each time he geared up for a climb, and he risked falls and injuries of unimaginable magnitude as he traversed the high, lonesome trails that were the byways of his life. As a rescuer, he accepted incredible risks to save the lives of others, or to recover their bodies. As a law enforcement officer, he never knew when he might be a target.

His luck ran out last week when he hiked with his border collie, Annie, to an area near his home outside Allenspark, mountains called the Ironclads, to do some solo climbing, and fell to his death. He have been told that Annie stayed by his side.

Specific details haven't been released, so I'm speculating based on decades of SAR history that a search was begun when Jim and Annie didn't return on Tuesday. With the short daylight hours, his body may not have been recovered until the following day, which is when the coroner made his pronouncement. I wonder whether Annie heard searchers calling through the night.

The coroner's report states that Jim suffered severe injuries consistent with a fall. I witnessed that on Tuesday, as Jim's body was on view. Jim had recovered the bodies of so many fallen climbers that he was to some degree inured to the shock of it. I can't help thinking that he prearranged the viewing as a caution to his climbing friends: Be Careful Out There. Don't End Up Like This!

I could see as I approached the natural pine casket that Jim's face was badly discolored as a result of head trauma. Severe bruising was evident. He was dressed in jeans with a bronze star belt buckle, and a blue-and-white plaid western shirt. His shoulders seemed misplaced beneath the shirt, one too high, the other too low. What struck me most was that the reason this didn't look like Jim was that Jim's face was always animated, always smiling, flashing dimples. And his eyes, such a piercing, probing, intense blue, were now closed on the world. But I know that when I remember Jim in the years to come, my memories of him will be full of life.

Jim's dear friend Tom Hornbein spoke graciously to us. We were honored with stories of Jim's childhood by his brothers, Pete and Jon, both gifted speakers, as Jim was. Pete elicited a bit of a shockwave when he began speaking, because his voice and speech are nearly identical to Jim's. Climber Glenn Porzak also shared stories.

Highland Brass, one of the horn bands which Jim had played with, played Climb Every Mountain, beautifully.

The Rite of Christian Burial followed.

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Thanks, MtnBabe. I, too, was shocked at Jim's appearance. Not him at all, that man in the box.

A wonderful piece of his service was the ukelele playing and singing of "I'll Fly Away" by two wonderful young women. I do believe there was not a dry eye in the house at that performance. It was magically beautiful.

I am too incompetent at the use of computers to share the written information shared about Jim. If another who attended the funeral could post the write-ups and Jim's own history of his most significant rescue experiences I think folks would appreciate reading those.

Jim was The Rescuer, but no one rescued him. Thank God his pup was by his side. I hope with the fullest of my heart that he did not lie in the dirt and suffer alone long before passing on. God Bless this fucking terrible shit.

I am very anxious to read the synopsis of what went wrong. I believe he was roped-soloing when he died.

Jim burned so brightly...

Scott McMahon · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 1,425

I've spent alot of time in the Ironclads. Saddens me to hear he fell there for some reason, but if you have to leave this world might as well be at a place you love.

Thank you for your moving words.

Skip Daniel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I just discovered this terrible news today (May 2, 2017) while looking Jim up. I started climbing with him when I was in graduate school at The University of Memphis, and climbed later with him in Colorado, and on some mountaineering trips in South America. I just tried to see if an analysis of his death had been posted on Climbing Accidents in North American Mountaineering (AAC), and couldn't find one. Jim would have wanted this done. If anybody has clear information on what happened, please post it.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456
Skip Daniel wrote:

I just discovered this terrible news today (May 2, 2017) while looking Jim up. I started climbing with him when I was in graduate school at The University of Memphis, and climbed later with him in Colorado, and on some mountaineering trips in South America. I just tried to see if an analysis of his death had been posted on Climbing Accidents in North American Mountaineering (AAC), and couldn't find one. Jim would have wanted this done. If anybody has clear information on what happened, please post it.

He was rope-soloing and something went wrong - never heard any specific details or what system he was using to do it.

Walt Fricke · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 0

As interested as Jim was in the causes of accidents, I don't think we are being ghoulish in wondering if anyone has any more specific information.  I had thought he was free soloing, in which case there would be little evidence beyond the ultimate facts, but it seems I was wrong.  The sad but moving memorial didn't seem the right place to go around trying to quiz everyone.  So maybe by now someone has learned a bit more? 

Andy Novak · · Bailey, CO · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 370

Hello Walt. I climbed with Jim a few times and he fondly mentioned you when talking about planning the Longs Peak Reunion in 2015. I've also enjoyed reading your guidebook over the years.  

 Anyway, Jim was indeed rope soloing. He had his harness on and it seems he was either in the process of setting up his system or taking it down. Something caused him to fall when he was not tied in to the anchor. An autopsy was performed but I don't believe they found any evidence of a heart attack, stroke, etc (its been a few months so I might be wrong on that). Maybe it was a gust of wind or another distraction, or maybe it was just a simple momentary loss of balance. Only Annie the dog knows what happened up there. Either way, I think of him often and carry a little part of him with me wherever I go. May his memory live on forever.   

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456

I also rope solo a great deal and Jim asked about the system I used when we met and we talked about what all it entails as a more or less regular practice. Knowing how uber-competent he was it's still hard for me to imagine how he ended up unsecured but, as suggested above, there are a number of possibilities even if such speculation is pointless now.

Skip Daniel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I myself have done a good bit of roped-solo climbing, and even put up an aid climb ("Mortarfied") (pounded in railroad spikes in keeping with the spirit of the railroad) on an abandoned 90-ft-high railroad bridge trestle ("Mt Trestle") on the Tar River North of Raleigh, NC. (Jim let out his typical, gutteral laugh when he read this on my "climbing resume" I put together in order for the Argentinian government to give us permission to climb Aconcagua.) I talked with Jim's mother-in-law on the phone this morning. She said the autopsy revealed no stroke or heart attack, but internal organ damage (e.g., ruptured spleen, collapsed lung) consistent with a fall. (Also, Jim was wearing his climbing helmet.) While not a climber herself, she said that Jim appeared not to be attached to one of his ropes, and that Jim, although meticulous, may have gotten distracted by something as simple as a bee. - Skip

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Please dont die, yall. It sure does suck for those who love you.

Arthur von Boennighausen · · Westcliffe, colorado · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 15

Friends:

* There is only One Soul running through all of us and what happens to one of us affects all of us….. Those people out there are all YOU.  They are not your neighbors, cousins, strangers or friends but YOU……


* One day the East Indian who called himself “ Siddhartha “ was sitting on a bridge watching the river flow underneath.  Using the Imagination he realized that the river was like the Soul containing the consciousness of everyone alive or ever lived flowing toward the Ocean we know as God….

Thinking Allowed.....

Arthur Gerard Michael Baron von Boennighausen

Skip Daniel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
Stiles wrote:

Please dont die, yall. It sure does suck for those who love you.

Thanks, Stiles. Yes, this is terrible shit that I am, for some reason, having a hard time letting go of. I wonder how Bebecca (his widow) is doing. But I keep thinking that all of this is just not right. But obviously I don't understand it, and having to, just for my own mental health having to let go of it and heat myself. I am debating sending Rebecca a card and a poem I wrote about all of this called "Mystical Climber," but the last thing I want to do is to "re-open a scab that has healed a wound.....Yes, indeed, we are ALL going to die, especially when we reach the age of 60, where multiple organ systems start to go downhill secondary to the fact that humans are wired to replicate cells just 50 times, etc. 

Yes, death sucks lagoon water.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456
Stiles wrote:
MtnBabe · · Lumpy Ridge · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Skip, I'm thinking that Rebecca will welcome your card and thoughts. The passage of a few months can ease some of the pain, and the contemplative words of your poem, even if they generate tears, can mean so much. Maybe you will share your poem with all of us someday.

I think of Jim each day when I see Longs, and am looking forward to hiking the Longs Peak trails again this summer, where I will undoubtedly feel his presence.

Skip Daniel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Guys - I just accidentally found this American Alpine Club's analysis of Jim's accident and subsequent death. I feel that this is a good analysis/write-up:

http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/search/solr?all=James+Lee+Detterline+2016&article_publication=both

MtnBabe · · Lumpy Ridge · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Thank you for posting this, Skip. As you know, Jim wrote the reports in ANAM analyzing accidents in Rocky for many years. It is fitting that his accident was covered in ANAM. Jim was such a talented writer. I believe he had completed his book at the time of his death and was looking for a publisher. I truly hope those stories and that history will not be lost.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Memorial
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