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Overdue Climbers

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: Overdue Climbers

Postby alpenglow » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:58 am

Thank you Michael for sharing your information at such a great time of loss. My condolences to you, your family, and all of your friends. My husband and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary on Huron Peak last week, because of our mutual love of the mountains. I'd like to think that your parents are continuing on their journey together in a different way. May you find peace.

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby jhobby » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:52 am

Our local newspaper had a pretty fair report in it yesterday with a couple of images, this is the link if anyone would like to read:

http://wetmountaintribune.com/

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby cbauer10 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:53 am

I am confused. What 14ers.com posting confirmed that they summited? I thought that Michael said they were pretty sure they didn't? Hmmm.

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby MtHurd » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:58 pm

cbauer10 wrote:I am confused. What 14ers.com posting confirmed that they summited? I thought that Michael said they were pretty sure they didn't? Hmmm.


Nobody on the topic said they summitted. It's called very poor reporting. The Arete doesn't have an elevation gain of 3,150 feet either.

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby TomPierce » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:10 pm

Barry Raven wrote:Nobody on the topic said they summitted. It's called very poor reporting. The Arete doesn't have an elevation gain of 3,150 feet either.


Agreed. If they had topped out they no doubt would have descended the much faster standard route vs. the couloir it is suspected they descended. Such a shame, RIP.
-Tom

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby jhobby » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:25 pm

Easy does it on our home town newspaper, enjoy the very NICE picture of the couple ...

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby tommyboy360 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:25 pm

Barry Raven wrote:Memorial set for Friday at 3:30, Jonsson Performance Hall, UT Dallas campus.

http://www.utdallas.edu/news/2010/8/3-4681_Memorial-Friday-for-Duane-and-Linda-Buhrmester_article.html



This has been on my mind today. I still cannot stop seeing their smiles when I approached them on the trail. I know I’m still quite inexperienced and I realize this the more I learn and the more I get out there and meet people in the mountains.

I never even knew how to correctly pronounce the word “arête” until I spoke with Duane and Linda that day. We joke about things like that this here on this site and sometimes we are quick to judge and flame the bad choices and ill prepared. The mountains don’t always offer a second chance to learn from your mistakes. A big thanks to Bill and 14ers.com, to SAR, CFI, CMC and all the other experienced mountaineers who take the time to mentor and share their experiences to help EVERYONE travel safely in the high country. Much thanks to Michael Buhrmester who took the time to share the details regarding his parent’s tragedy. The maturity and strength to do what he did is ABOVE and BEYOND. We are blessed both with the Rocky Mountains and a great community of people who share a common passion.
Last edited by tommyboy360 on Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby cbauer10 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:43 pm

Barry Raven wrote:Nobody on the topic said they summitted. It's called very poor reporting. The Arete doesn't have an elevation gain of 3,150 feet either.


That was my point.

TomPierce wrote:Agreed. If they had topped out they no doubt would have descended the much faster standard route vs. the couloir it is suspected they descended. Such a shame, RIP.
-Tom


That is what I thought I remembered Michael saying. That they were planning on descending the standard route from the top.

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby mattpayne11 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:38 pm

Alpinista wrote:
cjolly wrote:I want everyone to know that God is real and he is good. Our party (four experienced climbers) got stuck on the needle and had to wait out the storm. Yes we saw it coming but there was no time to bail out from where we were at. We had lightning strike our bodies through the mountain twice. We had to spend the night in the gullies at about 13,700 feet due to the fog we couldn't see 10 feet in front of us. The conditions were terrible. There was rocks flying off the mountain (huge boulders). The storm came so quick and we were so high up that we decided to wait it out. I am so sorry that the two climbers passed away on the mountain. My prayers go out to there families. I do want to say to some of the people posting blogs that you should not criticize these climbers for "maybe" making bad decisions. They may have made great decisions and it still didn't work out for them. Tragedy can happen in a split second, weather can turn on you no matter what the forecast. God blessed us and surrounded us with angels on that mountain. Thank you to everyone that searched for the two climbers and thank you for being on standby to come rescue us. My wife and family members were extremely worried when they did not here from us but the rescue team and Bob especially helped them through it and they all remained calm and prayed for our return. Thanks again to God, he is real and he is good.


Ummm... so the logical conclusion of your statements is that God likes you better than he liked them??? Or he was too busy saving your butts to worry about them??? Or...???? But then again God created the storm in the first place so...??? Maybe to test your faith and the Texas couple were collateral damage??? An interesting conundrum; good things (your butts being saved) are attributed to God, but bad things (the storm which killed (perhaps) two other people) was a random tragedy. Or perhaps Satan did it... and your omnipotent God was powerless to stop him????

I am SO confused.

Of course, trying to apply logic to fundamentally flawed propositions is probably the first mistake.


I'm so glad that I'm not the only one that thought the exact same thing, although it feels somewhat rude to share that opinion in such a forum topic. I digress...

This was tragic. I do believe that many people have already shared my own opinions quite well, but wanted to chime in none-the-less. It would seem that more and more climbers are taking risks that they should not be taking this year. Although, I suppose, that climbing in its own right comes with high risks and those that participate in the activity do so for that very reason - they enjoy taking risks.

Just last month I found myself 1/2 way Wham Ridge at 9 AM when a storm quickly approached that was just like the previous days' storm in consistency etc. My climbing partner asked me what I wanted to do - I told him we should bail. We down-climbed and watched as the storm ripped through Vestal and Arrow, producing lightning and rain for a good 2 hours. We climbed it the following day with no weather problems whatsoever.

The point is - you need to be able and willing to bail, regardless of your level of committment due to travel, expenses, etc. No mountain is worth dying for. I tend to be more cautious than most when it comes to evaluating weather, and I still find myself in lightning storms and rain storms quite frequently. Just last year tmathews and I found ourselves down climbing from Kit Carson when a storm approached quite quickly. We were well on our way back over to Challenger Point by the time the storm moved over Kit Carson, but we passed SEVERAL climbers (some of which I could name on this forum) that chose to continue to the summit of Kit Carson, despite the obviously perilous weather conditions. While none of these climbers were struck by lightning or died, it does paint a good picture of just how lulled into a false sense of security a lot of us really are. No matter how experienced or confident you are as a climber, the weather can and will kill you. There are MANY psychological reasons why people do this sort of behavior, and I have analyzed much of those reasons in an article I wrote if anyone is interested. Its on my website - Mountaineering Safety.

I'm definately no expert on weather or even Mountaineering for that matter (I know enough but I have a lot more to learn), but a cool head and good judgement can go a long way to keeping you alive in the mountains. Know the risks. Make good choices.

Hope to stay safe this weekend, and hope all of you fellow climbers do as well. Happy trails.


EDIT - after reading the response of the family member ---

Thank you for providing that information - very valuable for ALL of us to be able to learn from this. It sounds to me like they were down-climbing a non-technical section when the weather quickly moved in on them and sent them to their demise. I don't know about other people on this forum, but I truly believe that this kind of thing could have happened to any of us, regardless of caution, expertise, etc. Sorry for your loss.

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby unclegar » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:15 am

Just ran across this as I have been out and about for quite a few days recently. Michael and family, thank you for the informative post about the scenario. I'm sure this was a difficult post to write. I'm sorry for your loss and the loss to the mountaineering community. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.
...the mountain peaks belong to Him. -- PS 95:4

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

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Re: Overdue Climbers

Postby CCSARCAP » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:57 pm

I just wanted to clear a few things up after reading the last few posts on this site. I'm Bob Pruiksma and team Captain of CCSAR. I became involved with the mission about 1800 on Saturday evening. I stayed involved the next 24 hours along with many other members until the mission was complete. We had a total of 21 CCSAR members involved along with three members from Douglas County who were in the area. The evening of the 31st we sent 4 members of our team who would spend the night after trying to find clues and interviewing anyone in the area etc. Our team did find the empty tent that night. Based on info we had, the area where the bodies were found was one of the first areas to be checked. We had five teams at the time in the field. It was remarkable the bodies were found so quickly.

The time line that Michael gave us concerning what he knew about his parents timetable for that day I would say that Duane and Linda died Tuesday before lunch. How far? We don't know. Weather related or not? We do not know. Did they get caught in a mud/rock slide. Yes. What day was the slide? We do not know. And the paper reporting that they summited? Where they got the information? We do not know.

This morning I spoke to a family member. We do know that two young men have no parents, that they have wonderful support amongst family and friends, that Duane and Linda were thought of as wonderful people by thousands and that yesterday's memorial went well.

On a lighter note, thanks to the guys from Douglas County. I know you guys were a big help and my offer remains. Next time in Westcliffe ribs are me.

Thanks,

Bob Pruiksma
CCSAR Capt.
Bob

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