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Climber Dies from Gear Failure/Improper Placement in Joshua Tree 03/25/17


Original Post
David Vogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 1,280

I am only posting this to help aid in the prevention of future injury or death. Original MP Thread can be found here:

mountainproject.com/v/two-a…

Location Cyclops rock, climber was roped on Spaghetti and Chili, fell to his death due to improper placement/gear failure.

News Article: ";;An investigation (...) fell because his gear failed or wasn't properly secured (...) The (...) man was with three or four people, and he was described as a beginner in rock climbing.

I was a few hundred yards away that day, could only tell from afar that the high traffic of EMS personnel and extremely low activity indicated a fatal accident. Disheartened that day, and very sad to hear of the confirmation the following day.

Reading reports...so many of them are due to human error. I've seen a lot of this kind of thing go down in the park, especially in recent seasons with the record surge in visitors. I'm not saying I am perfect here, I have certainly made my own mistakes. I have permanent damage to due my own poor judgment in climbing. Anyway, I simply want to help this kind of this from happening again. The deceased climber was 25 years old... such a bummer. Condolences to family and friends. RIP.

GTS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 0

I know you are trying to be helpful, but just how are you helping prevent future injury/death? We already have a thread about the accident. You have offered no information as to how/why the gear failed or what went wrong. Creating a separate thread to post no new information seems a bit pointless.

David Vogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 1,280

Is it pointless? Look at the other thread's title (no mention of a fatality) and also it is listed under the SoCal area forum, not under Accidents and Injuries. By posting here, more people will read the OP thread.

More information may unfold. More people will see it (tell a friend who tells another group of friends... and so on) and take it to heart. Maybe some 20 year old kid who just bought a bunch of shiny Trad gear might think twice and get off YouTube. Word of mouth is invaluable in prevention efforts. Sometimes people need to hear something 100 times before it actually 'clicks' on the inside.

Off here and On to the OP:

mountainproject.com/v/two-a…

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 275

David, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I agree about trying to learn from these threads.

Take care, glad you're getting out.

Best, Helen

Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

I understand your indirect trauma sucks. Still, reposting completely inaccurate media reports is, ahh, err, disingenuous. climber fell "because his gear was insufficent/improper..."?
sorry you were around cyclops when it happened. sorrier for the family of the deceased that this thread propagates falsehoods.

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 180

It's a bolted anchor for that route. But maybe he was leading?

David Vogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 1,280

A news article wrote that there was gear failure or gear wasn't properly secured. I assume that a news article would not make that up to propagate falsehoods. I'm not trying to spray false statements. This is not an everyday occurrence, hearing about it can help make a safer climbing community.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
David Fogel wrote:A news article wrote that there was gear failure or gear wasn't properly secured. I assume that a news article would not make that up to propagate falsehoods. I'm not trying to spray false statements. This is not an everyday occurrence, hearing about it can help make a safer climbing community.
Because the media always tells the truth? That and they really care about being accurate (about a subject they probably know jack about to begin with) more than selling ads...
Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135
David Fogel wrote:A news article
What news article? At least provide a reference to your source ...
Mary Moser · · Joshua Tree, CA · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 200

Here is the link to the Super Topo forum discussion, although it doesn't really have any additional information at this point: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2961412/1-killed-1-injured-in-Joshua-Tree

Mary Moser · · Joshua Tree, CA · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 200
Allen Sanderson wrote: What news article? At least provide a reference to your source ...
Here is the most detailed article from the Desert Sun, but it still doesn't explain much: desertsun.com/story/news/20…
mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0
Old lady H wrote:David, I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I agree about trying to learn from these threads. Take care, glad you're getting out. Best, Helen
I know what you're trying to get at OLH, but when I read this I can't help but think "What exactly did David go through?" He was a few hundred yards away. It's never a good feeling to be reminded of our own mortality, but in the scheme of things, Davids day was a lot better than several other peoples.
I can't help but agree with GTS, but it doesn't seem helpful to start a whole new thread with 0 new information. (And here I am feeding it.)
Condolences to all involved.
David Vogel · · Lake Forest, CA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 1,280

The point was to post a link in accidents and injuries so more people would read the OP via the link. The Desert Sun Article listed above was the article I was referring to.

The OP link is in the geographical forums and the title has no mention of a fatality. Over time more information may unfold and may help create safer practices. This isn't about me or my day at the park. My heart and intentions are pure. Like anything on MP, I expect the typical blowback. The fact is a grip load of more climbers will hear about the incident this way and will promote mindfulness and safety (even if more details never surface).

FWD to the OP...this is just a Link to the OP...

wing thing · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 80

Here's the link to which David Fogel was referring to: desertsun.com/story/news/20…

wing thing · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 80

Some more information on the mishap at Cyclops Rock: patch.com/california/redond…

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

Crappy reporting. At this point there is nothing to go on because there is no information on what the victim was doing at the time of the fall. They could have been on lead, hanging from their gear, being lowered. All we know is that the gear did not hold because it was not either properly placed (most likely) or it failed.

Jan Tarculas · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 808
David Fogel wrote:A news article wrote that there was gear failure or gear wasn't properly secured. I assume that a news article would not make that up to propagate falsehoods. I'm not trying to spray false statements. This is not an everyday occurrence, hearing about it can help make a safer climbing community.
You don't read enough of this incident reports from news articles I suppose. I see a lot of accidents and reports that people post here with attached "news" websites and/or articles. Many of them are very inaccurate..ie "hiker dies at red rocks" when it was actually a climber
Alex Jacques · · Burlington, CT · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 255

David's intentions seem to be from a good place. Why don't we all stop jumping down each other's throats? Internet forums are so hostile... Condolences to the deceased.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310
Alex Jacques wrote:David's intentions seem to be from a good place. Why don't we all stop jumping down each other's throats? Internet forums are so hostile... Condolences to the deceased.
Exactly...

I think Accidents should be a separate topic. They are a lot different than injuries.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 275
mediocre wrote: I know what you're trying to get at OLH, but when I read this I can't help but think "What exactly did David go through?" He was a few hundred yards away. It's never a good feeling to be reminded of our own mortality, but in the scheme of things, Davids day was a lot better than several other peoples. I can't help but agree with GTS, but it doesn't seem helpful to start a whole new thread with 0 new information. (And here I am feeding it.) Condolences to all involved.
David had a serious injury accident himself, not long ago, and, a very recent near miss I was involved in very recently was witnessed by someone who had an injury accident only half a year ago.

That's what I had in mind, and yes, I was wrong not to offer sympathies to the friends and family. Not thinking, sorry!

OLH
Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
Old lady H wrote: David had a serious injury accident himself, not long ago, and, a very recent near miss I was involved in very recently was witnessed by someone who had an injury accident only half a year ago. That's what I had in mind, and yes, I was wrong not to offer sympathies to the friends and family. Not thinking, sorry! OLH
Well with a little background that makes a lot more sense.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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