Another climber dies in RMNP

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gonzalj
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby gonzalj » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:54 am

RIP and my condolences to his friends and family.
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby mountRMN » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:43 am

This is so crazy! Me and my climbing partner had just made it to the top of andrew's glacier, when the climber had fallen on taylor. We argued back and forth to go left (1/2 hour) to taylor peak or follow the continental divide to hallet and down bear lake trail. If we would have turned left we could have rescued the 2 stranded climbers and gotten to the fallen climber within an hour. We had all the rescue equipment with us on saturday. Something inside of me was telling me to go to taylor glacier, but we didn't. I wish i'd known.
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby coloradokevin » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:05 pm

The deceased climber has been identified as 54-year-old James Patrick of Littleton, in case you guys didn't see the updated article:

http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=158512&provider=top
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby myrone » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:30 am

My deepest simpathy and regrets to all family and friends...........
Rough year indeed. Lets be careful out there; always.
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Kevin Baker
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby Kevin Baker » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:14 am

Wow, Taylor Glacier is a sheet of ice this time of year. I think the slope angle reaches the low to mid 50's at the top. So sad to hear of yet another death.
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby jimlup » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:48 am

First my condolences to the family and friends.

So this is an ice climb I assume? Similar maybe the Kautz route on Rainier?
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby TomPierce » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:15 pm

Jim: 50-ish degree alpine ice. Once the snow melts off the bed of ice is exposed. Similar to Lamb's slide and some of the higher angle snowfileds in the Indian Peaks area. Not clear to me why the other two were stranded.
-Tom
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby gurlyclimber » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:04 pm

Tom I wondered the same thing. If this is not the place for speculation, I apologize. Perhaps he was carrying the rope and never actually broke it out, thus taking it down with him when he fell. I could see the other 2 being gripped with fear after watching their partner fall. It was probably best that they anchored in and waited for help.

My sympathies to his partners, family and friends.
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby jimlup » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:19 pm

TomPierce wrote:Jim: 50-ish degree alpine ice. Once the snow melts off the bed of ice is exposed. Similar to Lamb's slide and some of the higher angle snowfields in the Indian Peaks area. Not clear to me why the other two were stranded.
-Tom

Yeah, that would be very much like the Kautz route on Rainier. I also wonder why he had the rope with him. 1000' is a long fall - damn! Guess they incorrectly decided anchors weren't needed at that position or they hadn't set one yet.
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby TomPierce » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:20 pm

Jim/Gurly: I've been debating a response given that the ethics of this site now seem to be split on digging into the specifics of an accident vs. just bidding the fallen climber farewell. I'm in the middle...if the family is involved I'll quickly bow out, but there are so many lately that have fallen, how else to stem the tide than to learn from mistakes? If the retort is to instead learn from the AAC's Accidents in North American Mountaineering? Well...guess what? We are collectively the feeder pool for AINAM. There is no independent objective body investigating and collating accidents for the AINAM, it's just a mish-mash of SAR group reports, along with mountainproject and Supertopo reports near the forefront.

That aside, the information from this accident is pretty lean. Based only on the press reports there's no indication of anchor failure (eg he was carrying the rope). So apparently the group ran it out unroped and the fall occurred. Unclear why the other two did not move, and/how they anchored in. So much speculation that it's not really that helpful, ie we can all think of a dozen scenarios.

All that said, heartfelt condolences to the family and friends.

-Tom
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby d_baker » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:34 am

jimlup wrote:1000' is a long fall

I've read two articles on the accident. The one given on this thread said 1000' but one from an Estes Park paper reported 350'.
Either way, it sucks.

My condolences to the family, friends, and partners.
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Re: Another climber dies in RMNP

Postby Andy » Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:37 am

For those that haven't been there, here's an idea of what the terrain looks like. I'd say 50 degrees is a fair estimate of the maximum steepness (at the top). It's some of the steepest snow I've climbed. Late in the season it would be virtually impossible to arrest a fall.

Image
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