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Missing Hiker in Yosemite

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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby susanjoypaul » Wed May 08, 2013 12:46 pm

osprey wrote:Hi Susan
Thank you for your post. Apologies for misinterpreting you words.

No worries. I understand your concerns, actually, and I don't think anyone really meant to insult the man. I commend you for coming to his defense... we all feel pretty awful when something like this happens, regardless of the circumstances.

Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby Steve Climber » Wed May 08, 2013 12:58 pm

osprey wrote:From the Wild Snow critique of the avalanch deaths:
The approach trail goes through a DANGEROUS spot with OBVIOUS avalanche slope to your right and TERRAIN TRAP ( emphasis added) to your left.
So: if the avalanche 5 blatantly disregarded the backcountry equivalent of a safety railing they had no business or reasoning to approach due to their high level of experience then why are their deaths treated differently than the elderly gentleman's when he disregarded his railing?
Please do not misinterpret me - I am not critical of the avalanche 5 - I will not question the judgement of either group - the question is why we treat certain deaths with a degree of compassion vs scathing judgement of other deaths.


Point taken, but I think BC "warning signs" (no matter how apparent they might seem in hind-sight) are far more open to interpretation than an actual, tangible, steel guardrail. Avalanche 5 made a decision based on conditions presented. They were proceeding with what they thought to be the proper practice given those conditions. Obviously, in hind-sight it turned out to be the wrong choice, but I wouldn't fault them as reckless. There is no hind-sight needed to judge the poor choice of someone being swept over Vernal Falls. EDIT: In the BC there is an element of unknown and even with the best choices, you can still end up losing. With a waterfall, there is very little ambiguity in how it will behave.

If someone had witnessed the avalanche 5 marching up the slope and kicking the bottom of a cornice, yes...I would probably call them stupid or reckless. Conversely, if Mr. Stensby had been hiking along side the river and had tripped and fallen in somewhere, or a flash flood came through and caught him ANYWHERE other than where it looks like he intentionally went past a rail, I would be defending against speculating on his death.
Last edited by Steve Climber on Wed May 08, 2013 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby speth » Wed May 08, 2013 1:01 pm

Just stop. You've passed into the realm of being an ass instead of making your point.
I'll be damned if I feel like I will ever know anything, but if we don't keep moving on that last hill, we'll never know what's on the other side.
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Sarcasm or not, it's not even funny to post something like this. Not at this time. Reported.
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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby osprey » Wed May 08, 2013 1:05 pm

Thank you aboynamed margrettte.
My point was not to call any one's death stupid or reckless. We should be compassionate to all.
We will never know all the details regarding the decisions any one makes before their deaths in the back country or on hiking trails.
Thanks to all who have given their opinions regarding my query.
Peace to all.

Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby Steve Climber » Wed May 08, 2013 1:10 pm

speth wrote:Just stop. You've passed into the realm of being an ass instead of making your point.


My bad if I'm beating the horse. Not my intention. Only trying to have a respectful dialog with Osprey and anyone else interested in contributing anything other than "you're an ass"
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby Jim Davies » Wed May 08, 2013 1:24 pm

Read this (second letter) if you want to see how the public views the avalanche deaths.
One thing that would help is putting up signs in the backcountry at locations where bad avalanches occur and where people regularly visit. Yes, there are thousands of such locations, and this may be a 100-year effort, but it’s worth it to reduce the deaths. When people are in the backcountry and see the signs at avalanche locations, they will observe, learn, respect, and hopefully be less likely to cut corners. It’s more effective than reading a book or taking a class.

I'd say this is a lot like the discussions of the railings around the waterfall.

As for tippy-toeing around criticism of accident victims, that happens here a lot when there is a climbing accident. It's just a matter of courtesy to the victim's friends and family - the nastiest comments usually happen in forums that are more removed from the victims (like the Denver Post comments, which are always full of ill-informed criticism whenever someone dies in the backcountry). Since we're fairly distant from the Vernal Falls accident, I'd guess that people feel more liberated about making unkind comments than if they might be speaking about a friend-of-a-friend.
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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby osprey » Wed May 08, 2013 1:33 pm

Jim -I think you are correct.

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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby steelfrog » Wed May 08, 2013 1:34 pm

Look, I think we have to recognize that part of the fun of what a lot of us do is that we are tip toeing on the edge. We are many many times just a shifting rock or momentary loss of balance away from death or serious injury. So for that reason I choose not to judge this dude. He lived a long life and died in a fantastic place doing what he loved, not in an antiseptic hospital or hospice. So there are worser ways to go for sure!

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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby osprey » Wed May 08, 2013 1:37 pm

Agreed - yes!

Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby Steve Climber » Wed May 08, 2013 1:39 pm

+1
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby peter303 » Wed May 08, 2013 1:52 pm

A fair number of national park deaths are obvious suicides according to the NPS Morning Report and the "Death in XXX" books. Often gunshots or jumps. People may be joining the transcendent experience of a very beautiful place with the passing to the next life. And/or they dont want to leave a mess at home. And many times we dont know for sure. Suicide one of the top 3 causes of death for males 50-80.

Re: Missing Hiker in Yosemite

Postby MonGoose » Wed May 08, 2013 2:17 pm

osprey wrote:I am a little amazed by the contrast of the criticism of the individuals going to their deaths over the falls vs the almost prohibition of criticism on this site of back country skiiers or climbers who go to their deaths in avalanches. I am not criticising any of the people who have died. My question is why do some people consider some deaths almost noble and while other deaths are considered stupid when somewhat similiar mistakes in judgement were made by the deceased.



I am also surprised by the difference in tone between the Yosemite incident and the Loveland Pass avalanche. I personally don't view one incident different than the other, as I wasn't there for either event and I know very few of the details. We don't know this man's reasoning or mental state at the time of his passing. What I do know is that people have lost a family member, a friend and a companion. While I think the facts speak for themselves, our criticism has the potential to add additional hurt for the survivors.

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