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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 cbauer10 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:56 am

I am not going to get involved in the person feelings about these post, but I thought I would correct some misstatements so that the facts don't get skewed.

mtndude3737 wrote: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.


He was not on the North Face, but rather the South Slopes route from Kilpacker. That is something that both articles I have seen agree upon.

mtndude3737 wrote:The other death this year on El Diente was below the ridge of the Mt Wilson/El Diente traverse during a rainstorm.


The accident you are referring to earlier in the year was not during a rainstorm. The weather that day was actually good. I will say that is had been raining a lot in the weeks prior and therefore the ground was loose around the rocks and whatnot that surely aided in the dislodging of the rockfall, but they were not up there in a rainstorm.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby cbauer10 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:58 am

Thanks for posting that Trudger. And the picture too.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby hatidua » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:06 am

Let's hope that dog doesn't get sent to the pound, one death in this incident is already too many.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby cbauer10 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:15 am

hatidua wrote:Let's hope that dog doesn't get sent to the pound, one death in this incident is already too many.


I heard back from the Telluride Sheriffs office and they are looking into the details on the dog right now. The article posted by Trudger says that a SAR volunteer was looking at adopting the dog. So that is good. I will let you know if I hear anything else.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby NickJ » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:26 am

mtndude3737 wrote: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.



Well stated, no need to apologize, IMO.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby MtHurd » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:27 am

mtndude3737 wrote: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.


The couple that were on the Crestones were not climbing the mountain intentionally in the rain. They were caught by surprise. It's happened to me many times over 33 years. They were just unlucky in that the storm that hit them was unusually intense. Mountain climbing accidents don't always happen to the inexperienced. This man on El Diente was probably just unlucky. It could have been anyone.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby susanjoypaul » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:38 am

So sad... another tragedy.

My heart goes out to his wife. Being a single mom (or dad) can be the toughest job in the world, under any circumstances. When it's due to the unexpected death of your life partner, the added grief - on top of the enormous responsibility of raising a child - must be overwhelming, and devastating. It's unimaginable. I sure hope she has family in Guatemala that can provide the support she'll need now and in the coming years.

I am glad to hear the dog will be adopted by someone who's not likely to keep him penned up in the back yard, or try to make him a "house dog." Those dogs need to run. Thank goodness for that.

And thanks for posting the photo, Trudger. I didn't know John, but it looks like he and Oof had a good time of it out there.

I'm also glad to see people on this thread clearing up the facts in regard to previous tragedies. The bravest thing I ever read on this forum was the account by that young man from Texas, who had just lost his parents on Crestone Needle. The newspaper botched that story, and the TV coverage didn't even get the name of the peak right. But that young man set the record straight. Not that we all deserved it, but the truth is important to some people, and it was obviously important to him. The character he showed in that response reflected the kind of parents he must have had. I think they would have been so proud of him!

RIP John, and peace to your family and especially your wife and unborn child.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby csmcgranahan » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:53 am

One of my good high school friends died unexpectedly a few years ago (not from climbing) leaving a wife with two young boys and pregnant with a little girl. We found out later that she hadn't told him of the pregnancy but was planning to tell him later that day. Attending the funeral service and burial has been one of the most difficult experiences of my life and I am tearing up now writing this. I still remember his wife taking each boy one at a time up to the coffin prior to them lowering it into the ground and there not being a dry eye anywhere. My heart goes out to his family and I hope they can get some comfort in knowing he died doing something he loved.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby Ned-man » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:24 am

Condolences to his family......
I did the N route on ED this spring and had a TV sized block slide right by me in the couloir; wearing crampons on snow there is no way to "dodge" rocks and my helmet wouldn't have helped at all. It's 100% luck that it didn't hit me, I guess when your number is up, it's up.
I hope someone can give Oof a good home, he sounds like a great dog.

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:35 am

Barry Raven wrote:The couple that were on the Crestones were not climbing the mountain intentionally in the rain. They were caught by surprise.

In fact, the rainstorm happened after their accident. They were probably hit by rockfall while bailing off their route early.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby IHikeLikeAGirl » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:23 am

My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. Especially to his wife and unborn child...I can't imagine how she is holding up through this.

It breaks my heart that I've written so many of these messages this year....
"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit."
- Mitch Hedberg

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Re: Death on El Diente

Postby MtHurd » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:31 am

Jim Davies wrote:
Barry Raven wrote:The couple that were on the Crestones were not climbing the mountain intentionally in the rain. They were caught by surprise.

In fact, the rainstorm happened after their accident. They were probably hit by rockfall while bailing off their route early.


They were buried by a huge mud/rockslide caused by the heavy rains, so no, the accident happened during the rainfall.

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