Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby SpringsHiker » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:32 pm

So sorry for the climber, family and friends. Ian, thanks for the great report; sorry you had to experience that but you're the kind of mountaineer anyone would want on the scene when there is an accident.
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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby SnowAlien » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:36 pm

Here is a photo of SAR helicopter. Beautiful fall day and such a tragedy. Very sad.

Last edited by SnowAlien on Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:38 pm

Tortoise1 wrote:It's an interesting sequence of events - "Kelley fell when a boulder came loose", but below there was first the sound of rock slide, then a considerable rock slide, then a backpack, then the fallen climber, then more rock slide. It almost sounds like he was able to arrest the fall temporarily, or the coroner statement that he started the rock slide isn't right.

At this moment I do not want to loose sight of the loss of this man. Husband, Father, Family member, Friend and fellow Mountaineer.

That said, we solve for closure and clarity.

Most accounts were witnessed from an area lower than the "Deck of the Chimney". The accounts of what THEY heard and saw first are just that. Both statement as accurate. This tragedy began with a loose boulder in the top section of the chimney and escalated from there.

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby phil_2269sam » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:03 pm

I am deeply sorry for the loss of another climber. I was among the four climbers who entered the lower gully where he lay. We were within reach of Derek's body to perform the earliest first aid, but it was too late. One of our party spotted Derek's blue helmet as we ascended, below the spot where he initially fell but did not retrieve it.

May Derek rest in peace and my most sincere condolences go out to the family. I will continue to pray for you.

This has truly shaped my resolve to further enforce myself and others to be vigilant at the strictest safety measures while climbing and hiking in the mountains. Although this was my second traverse of the Bells - it will be my last on them. There are too many spots that are far too questionable. The experience has spooked me enough to take some time away.

Be safe.

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby bethtrombone » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:07 pm

This is a harrowing thing to read... my thoughts are with Derek's friends and family as well as everyone who was on N. Maroon that day. A month ago, I was hiking this mountain with a friend, and we met the father and a friend of a young man who died on the traverse 2 yrs ago. They were hiking N. Maroon as the father's last 14er, and to honor the young man who died. They scattered his ashes from the top. It was such a humbling experience, and an honor to be a part of this important day for those two men. I have never felt so sad leaving a 14er... or more respectful of the danger of these mountains.

I remember that chimney where Derek fell to be difficult. After such an emotional day already, I felt uneasy and had my friends pull up my pack on a rope so as to free me up to climb more easily. The whole day really took a lot out of me mentally and emotionally, and after that, I had to take a few moments to regain my focus and composure before going on. I realize after hearing of this recent tragedy just how lucky I am to have left that mountain unharmed.

The "Deadly Bells" sign at Maroon lake takes on a whole different meaning when you are pushed one degree of separation towards the death of so many who have loved these mountains....
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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby marciamallow » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:12 pm

My heart goes out to the climbers family and friends. Much love to my friend Ian. This must be very difficult. Such a tragedy. Rest in peace , our fellow climber.

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby notanative » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:20 pm

Just heard of this awful news on tv before bed. Another reminder not to take anything in life for granted, especially while enjoying the great outdoors. R.I.P. Derek

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby Gareth » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:26 pm

My sincere condolences and prayers to the Derek's family and friends. Prayers also for all the other climbers involved. R.I.P., Derek.


Your narrative of what you witnessed hit me in an oddly deep way because of a book that I just finished reading this afternoon... "The Mountain of My Fear" by David Roberts. I don't know who has read it or not, obviously, but near the end, Roberts describes an accident on a mountain in Alaska where he witnessed his young climbing partner, named "Ed", falling to his tragic, and untimely end. Your post just struck me as way too similar to what I'm still pondering from the book. It's a horrible shame that any climber is lost, or that any other climber has to witness the loss. Take care.
"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second."
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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby djkest » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:44 pm

This is chilling, surreal, and gut-wrenching. One week ago today I was downclimbing this same part of North Maroon. I very clearly remember some large 200 lb rocks near the top of the 2nd gully that moved when I grabbed them- spinning away from the side, poised to fall. I slowed down and started to lose my partners, but I had to try and be safe and careful. With the memory of Lenny Joyner heavy in my heart, we couldn't take anything for granted. RIP Derek. May your family find peace and comfort in this trying time.
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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby Tony1 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:54 pm

MountainHiker -

Good God. Imagining myself in your situation, I don't have words to respond with. That's... yeah. :cry:

Each story like this I hear of gets more and more gutwrenching. It's horrible to hear about the death of another one of us who has a great love for these mountains. My sincere condolences to everybody for whom Derek was a part of their lives - we are all here for you.

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby Crestoner » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:28 am

My nephew and I climbed North Maroon yesterday. It was a beautiful day in a stunningly beautiful place, and the climbing was sublime. We had no idea of the previous day's tragedy until speaking with another climber at the top of the second gully. We were very saddened to hear of this terrible event in this wonderful place.

My sincere condolences to Derek's family and friends.

A quick note on the route crux... The chimney can be avoided by following the cliff band to the left, approximately 50 feet. There is some breathtaking exposure at this point. Climb the brief class-3 pitch at the end of the 3-ft wide ledge (there are great hand- and footholds), take a few steps on relatively flat rock (rock face on your left), and you will find yourself at the top of the will need to do a short hop over the chimney opening. The climbing here takes ~45 seconds. Interestingly, this bypass seems easier to downclimb than upclimb. Attached are 3 photos of this crux bypass ("crux bypass exposure" is the view down from the ledge).

Stay safe.
crux bypass exposure.jpg
crux bypass exposure.jpg (267.39 KiB) Viewed 294 times
IMG_8298a.jpg (189.54 KiB) Viewed 315 times
IMG_8299a.jpg (202.47 KiB) Viewed 316 times
Last edited by Crestoner on Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:36 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: Climber Deceased on North Maroon Today.

Postby SilverLynx » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:33 am

Very sad. :cry: R.I.P. Derek Kelley. My condolences to his family.


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