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Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

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: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby tjerasdave » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:05 pm

Wow, I hope she has a speedy recovery.

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby ameristrat » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:29 pm

tjerasdave wrote:Wow, I hope she has a speedy recovery.


+1. the article says she fell 1500' below the summit which is somewhere near the top of that road to Montezuma Basin. Bizarre that it should happen there - wonder if that number was a misprint. Regardless, I hope she recovers quickly!
You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. - Rene Daumal

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby Barb4rian » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:49 pm

The article is missing a few key points or has them incorrect. GregMiller, Doug, and I aided her friends in the early part of the rescue to get her to safety. She actually fell about 200 feet down a snow field on the upper head wall above the parking lot at 12,700.

She was then helicoptered to the hospital in Aspen from Montezuma basin.

I would rather not say more but those mistakes were bothering me. The news has a bad habit of doing that!

Last we heard (this morning) she was doing well. I wish her the speediest of recoveries!

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby mkrier » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:14 am

Glad to hear she is doing well, she seemed so nice.

Barb4rian - Nice meeting you guys, I was wearing the bright yellow shirt and helped out near the end.

I saw a couple people ascending/descending the right side (looking up) of that steep slope, which reminded me of Challengers North Slope. I would recommend going up near the middle/farther to the left, much easier. This is Photo # 9 of Castles NE Ridge Route.

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby GregMiller » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:36 am

mkrier: Thanks for the assistance, every set of hands was good to have. Also, to anyone else who helped - thank you, it was good to see all the good will and assistance that can be found in our fellow mountaineers.

Most accurate article so far:
http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/159123
Although as said above, I'd put it at between a 100-200 ft fall, not '30' feet.

Last I heard she had been released from the hospital, and was doing well.

A couple thoughts coming out of this:

1) The 'emergency beacon system' used was a Delorme InReach, and I can't sing its praises enough. We were able to exchange messages with the emergency coordination center about half the time (15ish minutes on, 15ish minutes off as satellites were passing over) from between the end of the 4WD road, and halfway up the headwall. Considering the high angles to the ridgelines all around us, I would doubt that we'd have been able to get a message out with a SPOT. No one was able to get cell reception there (I wasn't able to get any until just a couple miles from the highway), and the only way rescue personnel were able to get a radio call out was with the more powerful transmitter in the sherriff deputy's truck - they weren't able to raise anyone on their handheld radios. Plus, the two-way communication was key in getting the right resources - first on the scene was a Pitkin County Sherrif's Deputy (probably the closest resource), shortly followed by Mountain Rescue Aspen on 4-wheelers with a towable litter which could have been used to evacuate her, had they not called for flight for life.

2) BUY A CORSAR CARD - It turns out that you don't even have to be the injured party - if you're involved in the rescue your CORSAR card can be used to help defray costs, even if at a lower level.

3) Something I wish I'd done sooner to help diagnose - as soon as you suspect a head injury, ask a couple questions - what's your name, how old are you, what day is it, etc., and see how they respond - in this case the responses were out of order, or didn't make sense. This would have clued us in a couple minutes sooner to the level of her injuries, and would have sped up the call for SAR.
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby ulvetano » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:47 am

Wow, I sure hope that she recovers ok. Nice work gents.

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby Buckshot Jake » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:02 am

Does anyone have a picture of this location? It doesn't even sound like it is on Castle.

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby SurfNTurf » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:13 am

Wishing the fallen climber a speedy recovery, and kudos to the rescue party. You find out a lot about yourself in those types of situations. It sounds like this young lady had a group of stellar folks by her side. And, as always, MRA proves why it's among the best.
Last edited by SurfNTurf on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Many Miles to Go (Blog)

“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby GregMiller » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:30 am

I don't have pictures on me, and would honestly prefer to not put pictures to this - don't want to add public scrutiny to the already experienced injuries. If you'd like to know more, feel free to PM me, but I'd prefer to keep it private.

Also - can't believe I didn't say this before - BIG KUDOS to the Pitkin County Sherriff's office, Mountain Rescue Aspen, the helicopter crew from St. Mary's Hospital, and the International Emergency Response Coordination Center for the fast and professional response - you can't believe how good it was to get quick responses on the InReach, then to see the Sherriff's Tahoe driving up the road, followed shortly thereafter by the MRA 4-wheelers, and finally the flight for life helicopter. Thank you!
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby Buckshot Jake » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:41 am

GregMiller wrote:I don't have pictures on me, and would honestly prefer to not put pictures to this


Ok no worries. In previous posts there was discussion about the article not being very accurate so I was just wondering if the "Accident on 14er Castle Peak" was more to grab headlines than factual.

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Re: Non-fatal fall from Castle Peak

Postby GregMiller » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:46 am

The described area is accurate - looking up from the 'parking lot' at the end of the 4wd road up Montezuma basin, the fall took place on the headwall above that. So, maybe not what some would view as Castle Peak 'proper', but close enough for me.
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

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