Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Threads related to Colorado mountaineering accidents but please keep it civil and respectful. Friends and relatives of fallen climbers will be reading these posts.
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Re: Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Postby polar » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:11 pm

broncotw wrote:I read and studied Matt's reports each year as they were published on his 100 Summits website. I had read this thread and comments over the last year and chose not to respond, but having been on Capital Peak on Sunday and having later learned of the tragic case of the fallen climber from the day before, the incident has reignited my belief that the work that Matt put into his site regarding deaths in the Colorado 14ers is crucial information. With the consent of the family of course, I believe that detail accounts of such incidents should be published for every such incident. The climbing community is a brotherhood and every time we lose someone, we all feel the pain. Through that pain and experience there is an opportunity to learn and possibly prevent future mistakes and tragedies through the analysis of the event itself. By no means should this be viewed as disrespectful or inconsiderate to the family, but rather a learning opportunity so that such things can possibly be avoided in the future. Knowledge is power, and the more we as a climbing community educate ourselves, hopefully the fewer tragic incidents we will see. I know this topic has not been active lately, but this topic having hit me personally this week, I thought I would voice my opinion and applaud Matt for his efforts.

While I agree that it is important to learn from accidents, I don’t think every single accident should be dissected and analyzed, especially not on an Internet forum. Have you seen the pissing match people get themselves into over trivial things on the Internet (not just this forum)? It is just the nature of the Internet. Any sort of learning will be buried under a mountain of BS.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of the books “Accidents in North American Mountaineering”. I feel that is a sufficient resource to learn our lesson from accidents, as they usually have a pretty good selection of different contributing factors in an accident.
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Re: Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Postby droidly » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:15 pm

I don't think any subject can rely on one definitive source for information. We all benefit from having as much analysis as possible, but if a new survey is just a rehash of previously known data, without new details or perspective, then what is the purpose?
we're at the end of the map. there be monsters here. ~barbossa
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Re: Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Postby kushrocks » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:02 am

For the love of god if I ever die in a climbing accident please DONT EVER discuss or analize it here or any other forum. I would hate for my family to see the banter that goes on here and people arguing over what I did wrong or right. It would kill my mom especially. Remember the good times, share some laughs, lots of drinks, some great stories and pics and move on enjoying your life.
“The best climber in the world is the one who is having all the fun.” – Alex Lowe
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Re: Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Postby RunnerJuliePierce » Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:18 am

I was Jim Nelson's first wife, and we have three children together, two of whom are adults. I can't speak for anyone but myself, so my remarks and questions are mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts of Jim's widow, any of his children, or any of his other family members.

I spent many, many hours in the mountains with Jim (or driving to an end-point trailhead and/or waiting for him somewhere) over close to two decades. As the years passed, he became more deliberate in how he planned and executed his outings. He had summits on most of the 14ers in Colorado, Denali, the Eiger, Ganett, and numerous other peaks in the U.S. and Europe, maybe a majority of which were solo outings (with the obvious exceptions). I would personally like to obtain insights from anyone who is familiar with the location where he fell on Saturday. His GoPro was found, and my sons watched the videos on it from Saturday. There was no video of the fall. But based on what they did watch, he was being very cautious that day. I watched some video in which he was carefully choosing each foot and hand placement. Also based how and where he was traveling on the video segments, we are thinking he was probably at the ridgeline when he fell, although we of course don't know for sure. It might not be possible to ever know.

If anyone in the forum is able to help me understand what the most likely cause or causes of Jim's fall would have been, I would be very grateful. If the appropriate protocol is to contact me off-forum, that would be completely okay with me. Just reply to this and let me know. Thanks very much in advance.
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Re: Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Postby tbaileymd » Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:34 pm

My wife witnessed a rockslide death below the summit of K2 back in 1999 while waiting for me to return across the knife edge. In that particular location the mountain is made up of loose rocks and dirt, and the section the man was on just slid. Although the chance of having a serious incident goes down with experience and care and deliberateness of thought and movement, it probably also goes up again with spending massive amounts of time on mountains that have inherent risks that can't really be mitigated.
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Re: Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Postby Broken Knee » Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:55 pm

Peace be with you and yours, Julie.
When life gets you down, climb!
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Re: Deaths, Accidents and Analysis

Postby RunnerJuliePierce » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:06 pm

Just a quick thank you to tbaileymd and Broken Knee for the information and thoughts. I'm grateful to the 14ers community for the collective contributions that led to Jim's body being recovered in a very short amount of time. Best to all of you, and maybe I'll see some of you (won't know it, but still...) up in the mountains sometime.

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