Denver Post Story on David's Rescue

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Denver Post Story on David's Rescue

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun May 13, 2007 5:28 am

It's in the Denver Post today (Sunday, 5/13) and here is the web version:

Mountain rescue plays out on web

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Postby Scanner » Sun May 13, 2007 5:48 am

An interesting story, with the purpose of examining the group dynamics of a virtual community. Good reading! I'd say they got it about right.

It's interesting to see how the behaviors and reactions of our forum members to all of the discussions and arguments we had were judged by an objective outsider. Food for thought for me, anyway.

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Postby elkheart22 » Sun May 13, 2007 5:56 am

I thought it was well written,
Interesting that our cyber-space community
became front page news.
Lakes below the mountains
Flow into the sea
Like oils applied to canvas,
They permeate through me. --- Jimmy Buffett

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Postby alanlipkin » Sun May 13, 2007 6:28 am

I am an occasional visitor to the site, and have posted on the forums on rare occasions - mostly I have sent in photographs. The trip reports and route information have been a tremendous help. The forums are entertaining and can be extremely informative.

This does not necessarily have anything to do directly with the recent tragedy, and I am not criticizing any specific individual, but as I read the postings I too have been concerned about the nonchalant nature and bravado that people use in dealing with climbing mountains. None of the fourteeners are simple or easy, but you would get that feeling from some of the postings. Those of us who are less experienced or agile may get the mistaken impression that these mountains can be taken lightly or without preparation.

I am a physician who has seen the bad outcomes of mishaps on the mountains. I understand that everyone assumes some element of risk every time they get out of bed in the morning, but I would hope that in the future, forum posters at least consider the effect that their words may have on an uninitiated reader.

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Postby Two Headed Boy » Sun May 13, 2007 7:32 am

alanlipkin - That is interesting because just yesterday I was telling a friend of mine who is going to do the Kieners route with me this Summer the exact opposite about this route. It is a very serious undertaking (as is anything you do in the mountains), however most of the trip reports overexaggerate the difficulty of the climbing. It's a 5.3, grade III and that is it. I think what I am trying to say is that some peoples realities are diffirent than yours or mine. To me Kieners is 5.3, grade III and that is all, to others it is the scariest most difficult climb they will ever do.

Here is a quote from a famous person that fits in nice here

" Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that... It is the witness to your state of mind, the outward picture of an inward condition. As a man thinks so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the World, but choose to change your mind about the World.

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Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun May 13, 2007 7:44 am

You're right. is an open forum that attracts people of all skill levels. While we can't make everyone listen to our safety concerns, it's always a good idea to make them known. This is a dangerous hobby and I think most people realize that fact. Many, many of us share your concern. I spend a lot of time climbing and skiing year-round and have seen a lot of people make foolish mistakes, in all seasons. I often wonder how there are not more incidents on our peaks.

I applaud you and SarahT for voicing your safety concerns - all users should feel comfortable posting their views on this topic. Personally, I wish there was more of it.

Thanks for posting.

As for the Denver Post article:
Having talked with the writer (Jason, Devins) before and after the story was released, it's clear that he was trying to include the fact that sometimes web sites contain trip reports and threads that border on bragging and have the potential of putting newcomers at risk on a mountain. I don't think this happens much on, but there are other sites - Teton Gravity Research (TGR) comes to mind - that have some ridiculous trip reports and plenty of one-upsmanship between members. If you are new to climbing or bc skiing, do your homework first, and don't over-extend your skills. Mountaineering is dangerous, especially in winter when additional skills and knowledge are required.

Be careful out there...


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Postby AzScott » Sun May 13, 2007 8:12 am

Bill, interesting you pointed out TGR. The guy that wrote the article for the Post is a member of that site, who kept trying to get me to agree that members could potentially put their peers at risk by promoting their own exploits in the mountains.

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Postby CODave » Sun May 13, 2007 8:18 am

AzScott wrote:Bill, interesting you pointed out TGR. The guy that wrote the article for the Post is a member of that site, who kept trying to get me to agree that members could potentially put their peers at risk by promoting their own exploits in the mountains.

Jason also tried to get me to agree to this on several occasions. Typical sensationalist reporting.

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Postby Cruiser » Sun May 13, 2007 8:20 am

Bill makes a good point here. There is some potential for folks to read these trip reports and make decisions about a route based on a very limited amount of information. Sometimes folks get into a situation where they underassess risk due to reading a TR that worked out well for the climber or skier who wrote it. This tradgety has served to further highlight the risks that we all take everytime we go out into the mountains. The trick to mountaineering safely is to decide how much risk you are willing to take to achieve your goal, and then determining how much risk is involved in attaining your goal. It's easy to figure out how much risk you are willing to take, it's a more dificult thing to figure out how much risk is inherrent in the task.
Where ever you are... There you are.

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Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun May 13, 2007 8:21 am

Absolutely. Jason tried to talk me into thinking there was a parallel with TGR also. I made it VERY clear to him that was not like TGR and that threads and trip reports were down-to-earth and simply trip reports. After doing more research on, hopefully Jason realized that the sites are very different.

I get the impression that his story started out as one about how online bragging, etc. can put people at risk for disaster - to be published in his Extreme Outdoors column. Then the story changed to the mountain rescue of David. That appears to be why there are a couple of isolated paragraphs about the potential risk of people getting in over their head after visiting an online forum.

I was also a bit surprised that the writer got ahold of my unlisted home phone number for a phone interview, and then tried to tell me he got it from Information. The DenverPost must get a discounted rate with US Search or something. :) Oh well, I don't have anything against journalists, but sometimes they practice what I would consider "questionable tactics." Anyway, I still think todays Denver Post story was ok.

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Postby Lady T » Sun May 13, 2007 8:39 am

I was a little dissapointed that the article focused on the accident and made allusions to David's "complete inexperience" and focusing on the bad instead of what a wonderful person David was and how much he meant to his friends. I just signed up yesterday so I could tell my personal stories about David when he visited AzScott and I, and become a part of this community. I think David might have objected to several of the assumptions made about his hiking skill, his judgement, and the implied carelessnes that caused his death.

David was a wonderful friend for me, Kate, AzScott, and CODave among others. He was the most considerate and lively friend and hiking companion, who infused his excitement for being alive and having such friends into all those he touched. Nothing will ever replace the wonderful friendships. I will always be trying to think about the wonderful vibrant spirit that was David. I hope that one of the newspapers steps up and focuses on the important parts of this story; perhaps the wonderful man and the down to earth community he found. Thank you Bill for everything you have done for all of us- I may have joined yesterday, but I have heard about this site almost daily from the time scott joined it. I know Scott, Dave, Kate, and I would never have met David if it weren't for you!

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Postby ThinAir » Sun May 13, 2007 8:47 am

Personally, i find the second guessing that always accompanies an incident to be pretty perverse. Especially in the immediate aftermath. It just reaks of an innapropriate rightousness. As if we dont know mistakes were made, or cant glean what went wrong w/o the aid of some self-designated Safety Overlord. Granted, we're lucky enough to have some very experienced people on this board, and im sure we all value it when they pipe up w meaningful council, but that isnt Carte Blanche for any O.B. grad to start preaching from the soap box. What happened to David was a tragic result of one poorly considered decision. He wasnt in over his head, he wasnt trying to prove anything to anyone, he'd summited and spent the night w/o incident(for the most part). Bragging rights never entered the equation. I have found the trip reports on here to be informative and distinctly without ego, the ego tripping starts with the second guessing.


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