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Close calls?

Have an interesting or epic climbing story? Post it here.
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Re: Close calls?

Postby MountainHiker » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:01 am

I had a scare on El Diente a few years ago. A sofa cushion size rock shifted and was pressing against my torso. Everything else I was on felt like it was moving also. I was afraid it was going to push me off the side of the mountain. MountainHikerette was right below me and I was afraid she could get hit as well. Fortunately when I backed away things stayed in place. Often things will happen too fast to get scared. This was my biggest scare because I had moments to ponder how I would move without knowing what would then happen.

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=6446&parmuser=MountainHiker&cpgm=tripuser
Red, Rugged, and Rotten: The Elk Range - Borneman & Lampert

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Re: Close calls?

Postby Rcizzle » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:19 pm

Case: Mt. Massive on June 2, 2012, Unusual, abnormal, and unprecedented (in my short climbing career) freak thunderstorms developed over the region at 9:30 AM on my return to main summit from North Massive. Lightning producing clouds built in a 25 minute period as regained the main summit. As I was sprinting the main trail on ridge, lightning struck the ridge close to my location. I then sprinted directly off the summit face of Massive to get to some snow to glissade. Fell into a moderately deep snow cave, more or less postholed to my neck. Used my ice axe to get out sought a small depressed area to take cover. Lightning dropped at a rate of 1 strike per 2-8 seconds. It was nuts and the squall lasted a total of 10 minutes and then I progressed to run down to treeline before the second squall.
Lesson: the weather pattern in May and June is much different than the traditional Monsoon pattern of July-September (or whenever it ends). A weak cold front was forecasted for the Northern Rockies for that saturday, but the moisture reached all the way into the central rockies. Moral, the 12 0'clock rule (off summit and ridges by 12) might not necessarily be applicable outside the monsoon season and the weather certainly deserves more respect especially in the springtime morning.
Bad decisions make good stories.

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Re: Close calls?

Postby iamthemarmot » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:49 pm

I don't remember the mountain, but it was in the San Juans. I'd been hiking and stopped to take a rest and a quick bite. I wasn't that far up (9000'), and the grade was about 30 degrees. I was about 20 feet away from a ravine and a 200' drop off. I got ready to get up, and the soil gave away on me, and started sliding down the end. I had my axe with me and made 2 feeble attempts in the rock to stop, to no avail. About 5 feet from the edge, was a pine tree, and as I slid by, I swung my axe around the trunk. I stopped with my feet dangling over the edge, close enough that I could look down. I pulled myself up using the axe around the trunk, got my feet under me, and climbed back up to the path, making sure that the tree was between me and the ledge.
I believe there's something to be said for exploring beautiful places. It's good for the spirit. David Scott

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Re: Close calls?

Postby blazebo » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:50 pm

had a rope snap while rappelling down to a waterfall for ice climb in spearfish canyon. took a 30 footer that left my ankles the size of basketballs. to this day i wont climb a purple rope.
had an avalanche take our tent for a ride on the west rib on denali. thankfully we were not in it!
had my ropemate fall into a crevass on the same trip that was probably the closest i have come to being done. 2 man teams and glaciers i have since decided are no Bueno! all of this fun was nothing compared to the Marine Corps and the "Fun" that entailed. [-o<
"Come on, you sons of bitches-do you want to live forever?"
-Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, USMC, 1918.

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ridge wreckage

Postby Marmot72 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:57 pm

One of my close calls was on a ridge...and I can't remember where at the moment, but it was not in the Elks nor the San Juans, where you expect rotten rock. The rock on these mountains felt pretty solid. I relaxed too much, maybe. I was standing on the ridge, pausing for breath, my right arm leaning on this jagged edge of the ridge, and the whole piece just began to fall. The piece falling from the ridge was between three and four feet high and ranging from 8-18" wide...it just peeled right off and feel down. I reacted as soon as it splintered and didn't lose my balance, but it was unsettling to have a piece of the mountain 2/3 my size just jettison from my side.

My other close call was trying to make the easy descent from West Apostle in the dark after the traverse from Huron over the Three Apostles. I cliffed out and a head lamp just doesn't provide enough light -- it's in my trip report "Hail Mary in the dark."
I have phenomenal route-finding abilities. Specifically, I have an uncanny knack for selecting the path of most resistance.

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Re: Close calls?

Postby shredthegnar10 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:54 am

Avalanche/snow slide in the Bell Cord in 2009 that carried me what seemed like halfway down the couloir, finally managed to move over to the side and out as it started to lose velocity on the shallower snow below the couloir.
In Pyramid's amphitheater (below the ridge but still pretty high) in a thunderstorm; two lightning strikes hit somewhere pretty close to us.
Descended the wrong side of San Luis after summitting alone in a snowstorm.
And, not a 14er (or really a "close call"), but summitting Cotopaxi in a blizzard was probably one of the most dangerous decisions I've made in my life -- literally everything was covered in frost, my carabiners were frozen shut -- it was friggin' cold -- if something had gone wrong (like if either me or my partner was injured), we would have been screwed.
There's a fine line between being a badass and being a dumbass.

ACONCAGUA STYLE

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Re: Close calls?

Postby DenneyR » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:26 am

This was a close call in that it could have been worse.

While descending La Plata I slipped on some scree, my feet shot out from under me, then caught a boulder and snapped my ankle.

SAR had to bring me down (thanks guys, you are awesome)

Eight screws and a 10 inch piece of metal and my ankle is now fine.

I probably should do a trip report on this.

Remember, most accidents happen on the descent.

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Re: Close calls?

Postby OnyourLeft » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:15 pm

I've got you all beat. I forgot toilet paper when I really needed it. Turns out snow works pretty damned good when necessary.

Another stupid one. I took my wife 1/2 way up Kelso Ridge before realizing that it was a huge mistake (100% on my part) and going further would have been even worse due to serious exposure issues. Trying to down climb we ended up going off the ridge onto the opposite side of the trailhead side which looked feasible. The slope of the scree was deceptive and at some point we could not avoid going down it as opposed to following the base of the ridge around. It took me coaxing my wife for about 2 hours to get down without creating a dangerous rockslide with the risk of getting underneath it. At one point I actually had my hand on my phone contemplating whether or not I wanted to be that guy that called 911. I didn't. Once down there was no place to get back over onto the TH side because of the steep angle of the scree. We hiked for hours through the woods to a 4x4 road and finally caught a ride in the back of a jeep who kindly took us back to the the TH. A series of small but poor decisions and you can quickly end up s..t creek without a paddle.

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Re: Close calls?

Postby summitridge » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:22 pm

A few years back on the Cooper Spur route of Mt. Hood a few hundred feet below the summit, a TV-sized rock came over the cliff above us. I flattened against the rock face with the Elliott Glacier pulling at my heels. My climbing partner reported that the rock narrowly missed my backpack as it passed by. I surely would have been ripped off the face and been sent thousands of feet down to the glacier if it would have hit me.
"What an odd sport we inhabit, where bits of obscure rock in remote locations are recognizable." — Richard Pawlowicz.

Re: Close calls?

Postby lordhelmut » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:25 pm

Oh last but not least, had a blind date last week, it was worse then all the above and frankly Id take the avalanche again over a second date.


haha, thats sayin somethin

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Re: Close calls?

Postby MtHurd » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:31 pm

Oh last but not least, had a blind date last week, it was worse then all the above and frankly Id take the avalanche again over a second date.


How did she go blind? :)

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Re: Close calls?

Postby Randy » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:03 am

Barry Raven wrote:
Oh last but not least, had a blind date last week, it was worse then all the above and frankly Id take the avalanche again over a second date.


How did she go blind? :)


I didnt ask, but it made it alot easier to sneak away. =D>

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