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Death on El Diente

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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Please be respectful when posting - family and friends of fallen climbers might be reading this forum.
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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby pocketmaces » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:12 pm

R.I.P John.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby NickJ » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:28 pm

JA_son27 wrote:May God help his family. RIP.


Why don't we help his family? If each person who has posted here would donate $15, it would be enough for his widow to purchase a crib.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby MtHurd » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:39 pm

Maybe someone could adopt the dog. The news article said it was taken to the pound because the wife was going back to Guatemala and couldn't take the dog with her.

Re: Death on El Diente

Postby gonzalj » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:08 pm

I'd be willing to looking into adopting the dog and also contributing $20 towards the family. I must say, I have read a lot of posts this year about the tragedies (10 that I have heard of on Colorado 14ers) and even though I have lived out here for 12 years now (and only just started hiking 14ers this year (8 total class 1's & easy class 2's) - including 2 by myself - (Elbert & Huron, which is bringing an even more amazing love & respect for these mountains), I want to send my biggest condolences to all family and friends involved in any of these incidents and wish everyone nothing but the best.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby coloradokevin » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:12 am

It's sad to hear of another death in a year that seems to have gone particularly bad for these sorts of things. Was the victim in this case a 14'ers.com member? If so, what was his screen name? I only ask because it seems like a few folks on this thread knew him personally, and it would be nice to make that connection if he was someone I had ever talked to around here.

Regardless, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of another member of the climbing community!



mtndude3737 wrote:... I am sorry, but when are people going to stop treating the mountains like glorified treadmills with a view? Learn mountaineering skills! Be prepared for the worst! Learn to avoid terrain that is steep, loose, and dangerous! The mountains don't care whether we live or die, it is up to us!


Mtndude,

That seems like an insensitive and inappropriate direction to go with this thread. Why would you assume that this climber was treating his 14'ers like a "glorified treadmill"? Why do you speak as if all risk in the mountains can be avoided, while alluding to the idea that the deceased was unprepared for the hazards in the hills?

You are 100% correct in saying that the mountains don't care whether we live or die, but your assertion that someone's death automatically speaks to their ineptitude is a bit unfair. Certain fates may strike any of us down. It is true that some accidents may be avoidable, but we all willingly accept a certain degree of danger just by stepping foot into that wilderness environment.

To most of us the reward is well worth the risk. But, I feel that we dishonor the dead by automatically labeling them as ignorant when accidents do happen. I hope that none of us ever find ourselves immortalized on a memorial page for fallen climbers, but a life well-lived often requires us to risk someday making such a sacrifice. Risks are calculated, and everyone has a different threshold of acceptable danger.

It is unfortunate that we are often far too judgmental in our society: an accomplished mountaineer who lives through a notable epic is elevated to hero status. Conversely, the mountaineer who dies under any circumstances is then branded a fool. Life is rarely this black and white, and we shouldn't allow ourselves to be comforted by the naive view that only the foolish among us end up dead.

Just my $0.02.

RIP, mountaineer!

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby uwe » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:02 am

Heartbreaking.
My condolence and prayer for his wife, family and friends.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby mtndude3737 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:11 am

bjohnson17 wrote:
mtndude3737 wrote:Does anyone know the death count for 14ers this year?

I am sorry, but when are people going to stop treating the mountains like glorified treadmills with a view? Learn mountaineering skills! Be prepared for the worst! Learn to avoid terrain that is steep, loose, and dangerous! The mountains don't care whether we live or die, it is up to us!



I can hear your intention in this but 1) You can't assume this man was "treating the mountains like a glorified treadmill" and 2) A rock could take out Steve House as it almost took Lordhelmet. I too am disturbed by the flip-flop crowd but we don't know this about this man. May he rest in peace and may his wife find strength.


OK, I guess I sounded a bit cold, but after helping with the rescue of a man lost on Tabeguache, who spent the night on the mountain simply because he didn't have a headlamp, map, GPS, or compass, and he could have froze to death, makes me concerned that the number of deaths on the 14ers is increasing because of lack of respect on the mountains. As El Diente is a difficult mountain with steep slopes, and he was climbing the North Face of it after a recent snowfall, the melting snow is going to cause the rockfall. I would suggest avoiding North Faces of steep slopes when it has snowed or rained. The other death this year on El Diente was below the ridge of the Mt Wilson/El Diente traverse during a rainstorm. The people that died on the Crestones happened from a torrential downpour that washed them from the face. I personally avoid climbing steep, loose faces in these conditions so that I can climb another day. I think education is the key. Saying RIP is nice and politically correct, and I truly do feel for the family, but I would like to help solve the problem. If my comments invoke increased caution in ONE climber, I have done my job. I apologize if I worded it in a cold-hearted manner. I sincerely do feel sorry for this family.
What is there, beyond the mountain, if not the man? - Walter Bonatti

The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes. - Steve House

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby cbauer10 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:21 am

If someone sets up a fund, I would be willing to donate as well. I have also contacted the Animal Control about the dog to get more information. I will post it here when I hear back from them.

Barry,

Could you post a link to the article where you saw that the dog was not being accepted by the wife? The two articles I have found have not said anything about that. Just curious if there are updated articles somewhere that I have not read yet.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby Johnson » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:22 am

mtndude3737 wrote:
bjohnson17 wrote:
mtndude3737 wrote:Does anyone know the death count for 14ers this year?

I am sorry, but when are people going to stop treating the mountains like glorified treadmills with a view? Learn mountaineering skills! Be prepared for the worst! Learn to avoid terrain that is steep, loose, and dangerous! The mountains don't care whether we live or die, it is up to us!



I can hear your intention in this but 1) You can't assume this man was "treating the mountains like a glorified treadmill" and 2) A rock could take out Steve House as it almost took Lordhelmet. I too am disturbed by the flip-flop crowd but we don't know this about this man. May he rest in peace and may his wife find strength.


OK, I guess I sounded a bit cold, but after helping with the rescue of a man lost on Tabeguache, who spent the night on the mountain simply because he didn't have a headlamp, map, GPS, or compass, and he could have froze to death, makes me concerned that the number of deaths on the 14ers is increasing because of lack of respect on the mountains. As El Diente is a difficult mountain with steep slopes, and he was climbing the North Face of it after a recent snowfall, the melting snow is going to cause the rockfall. I would suggest avoiding North Faces of steep slopes when it has snowed or rained. The other death this year on El Diente was below the ridge of the Mt Wilson/El Diente traverse during a rainstorm. The people that died on the Crestones happened from a torrential downpour that washed them from the face. I personally avoid climbing steep, loose faces in these conditions so that I can climb another day. I think education is the key. Saying RIP is nice and politically correct, and I truly do feel for the family, but I would like to help solve the problem. If my comments invoke increased caution in ONE climber, I have done my job. I apologize if I worded it in a cold-hearted manner. I sincerely do feel sorry for this family.


Your concern is valid and I respect your comments. It does seem as though precipitation has played an issue. Thanks for your comments...I have a lot to learn myself and will definitely heed your advice.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. - Psalm 95:4

"I would be doing myself a disservice and every member of this band if I didn't perform the hell out of this." - Gene

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby mtndude3737 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:36 am

Good, my intention was not to anger the masses. Like your photo - sometimes we just need a little more cowbell. Life is too short, as evidenced here. Enjoy every precious moment we have.
What is there, beyond the mountain, if not the man? - Walter Bonatti

The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes. - Steve House

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby I fall a lot » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:50 am

cbauer10 wrote:If someone sets up a fund, I would be willing to donate as well. I have also contacted the Animal Control about the dog to get more information. I will post it here when I hear back from them.

Barry,

Could you post a link to the article where you saw that the dog was not being accepted by the wife? The two articles I have found have not said anything about that. Just curious if there are updated articles somewhere that I have not read yet.


Here it is...apparently she's headed back to Guatemala and couldn't care for it.

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16200722

It's heartbreaking when I read about dogs not wanting to leave their deceased owner.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby Trudger » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:52 am

cbauer10 wrote:If someone sets up a fund, I would be willing to donate as well. I have also contacted the Animal Control about the dog to get more information. I will post it here when I hear back from them.

Barry,

Could you post a link to the article where you saw that the dog was not being accepted by the wife? The two articles I have found have not said anything about that. Just curious if there are updated articles somewhere that I have not read yet.


She's leaving the country according the article, which is tough to do in some cases with dogs.

Image

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16200722

"Merrill had been hiking with his dog, Oof, an Alaskan malamute mix, who survived the slide. The dog refused to leave Merrill's side and was rescued from the mountain Monday after staying the night, Dempsey said.

San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters told the Telluride Watch newspaper that Merrill's wife directed that the dog be taken to the pound in Cortez but that the search-and-rescue team plans to find the dog a new home.

One of the rescuers has reportedly offered to adopt Oof.

Merrill's wife, Delmy, is returning to her family home in Guatemala and couldn't care for Oof, a family friend said. Dempsey said Merrill's body may be sent to Guatemala for burial.

Retired Army Col. Peter Topp, 59, of Colorado Springs died in a July 26 rock slide while hiking with a party of seven in the same rugged part of the San Juan Mountains. Two others were injured in the slide."

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