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Denver Post Story on David's Rescue

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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2nd guessing

Postby GV14 » Sun May 13, 2007 12:17 pm

We all second-guess other's decisions. We like to Monday morning quarterback the Broncos games and wonder why Shanahan didn't call a certain play. It is human nature to relive things in our mind and wonder how things would have been different if only...

The Denver Post article will certainly spur on plenty of second guessing. Talus Monkey made a bad decision when he decided to glissade. We can all agree on that. Most of us will be quick to say, "I would never glissade in that situation." But, let's be clear. We all have made bad decisions in our lives where we got lucky. For example, we have all driven or driven with a friend who had too much to drink and then felt fortunate the next morning. That is just one example. I tell my boys to look both ways when they are playing and need to cross the street to chase after a ball. They usually do look both ways. However, there are times when they don't and get lucky.

TalusMonkey and USAKeller even discussed glissading prior to the summit. They both agreed it wasn't a good idea. We have all done that as well where we have agreed or decided we shouldn't do something and then later went ahead and did it.

We were all reminded this week that hiking/climbing 14ers is a serious undertaking. There are no "easy" 14ers. We all have to be prepared when we decide to hike. Accidents and bad decisions will happen. This is just a sad reminder what can happen. Yes, he should have had an ice axe if he wanted to glissade. We all know that. But, let's just move on and not second guess the decisions. File it away and remember to make good decisions on 14ers and in life.

Talus Monkey will be missed by all of us on here. I also never met him in person. However, he was a rock star in my book. I loved his enthusiam and zest for 14ers. Let's just remember the positive but file the lesson away. Be careful up there. Just my 2 cents.

Bart
TalusMonkey - you will be missed.

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Postby Two Headed Boy » Sun May 13, 2007 12:18 pm

It's funny because I just PMed Bill yesterday saying how I am a predominate technical rock climber and knock of fourteeners just whenever it becomes easily avaliable to me and I actually prefer corrisponding with the members on this site (all you 14er peak bagging machines) far more than I do with technical climbing sites like RC because it rarely becomes a pissing match on this site and it almost always does on other sites. The ego is much lower over here but I still use those other sites for technical route information.

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Postby Aspen Summit » Sun May 13, 2007 12:33 pm

Thanks for the article, Bill!

I've been on a few great hiking/climbing trips and have written about them with photos. I'm always shy about posting them up here on 14ers.com cuz I think it's too detailed. I'll post one up someday and hope the critics will be kind :)

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Re: 2nd guessing

Postby USAKeller » Sun May 13, 2007 12:42 pm

GV14 wrote:We all second-guess other's decisions. We like to Monday morning quarterback the Broncos games and wonder why Shanahan didn't call a certain play. It is human nature to relive things in our mind and wonder how things would have been different if only...

The Denver Post article will certainly spur on plenty of second guessing. Talus Monkey made a bad decision when he decided to glissade. We can all agree on that. Most of us will be quick to say, "I would never glissade in that situation." But, let's be clear. We all have made bad decisions in our lives where we got lucky. For example, we have all driven or driven with a friend who had too much to drink and then felt fortunate the next morning. That is just one example. I tell my boys to look both ways when they are playing and need to cross the street to chase after a ball. They usually do look both ways. However, there are times when they don't and get lucky.

TalusMonkey and USAKeller even discussed glissading prior to the summit. They both agreed it wasn't a good idea. We have all done that as well where we have agreed or decided we shouldn't do something and then later went ahead and did it.

We were all reminded this week that hiking/climbing 14ers is a serious undertaking. There are no "easy" 14ers. We all have to be prepared when we decide to hike. Accidents and bad decisions will happen. This is just a sad reminder what can happen. Yes, he should have had an ice axe if he wanted to glissade. We all know that. But, let's just move on and not second guess the decisions. File it away and remember to make good decisions on 14ers and in life.

Thank you very much, Bart. I think this is very well stated. People do make bad decisions. But, as I stated, I would/will never have glissaded without an axe. PERIOD. That's why I'm here right now. I know it seems like we had issues with our climb based on what I wrote in the trip report, but, I'd like to say that it was no different of a day or any different conditions that you would normally see during the winter/spring time. The other things like my glove missing and sock being wet are MINIMAL items that were simply fixed when we had the chance. I wrote this trip report as either he or I would have written it- giving beta on what happened, how it went, and current conditions. A lot of people feel tired when hiking, experience windy days (much worse than what we had), etc...and THEY report on the same things as well. We got up there doing something we both had wanted to do and did it, and David made a bad decision. I feel like I'm in a 'negative' spotlight for the "8 things" that jason.wichman and others would question. People have asked me why we didn't turn around, and I will keep saying what I've been saying: the weather/conditions we had aren't any different that what you would see on any other winter/spring day in the mountains. Please everybody, I know the outcome of this climb is the target for such comments and questions, but understand that most everyone else who writes trip reports does, in fact, report very similar conditions.

Bart, your statement is what I like to hear at this time- not all of this quarterbacking crap.

I also thought that the Denver Post article was going to be more "celebratory" of David's life.... oh well.
Rise and grind. Every day.

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Postby Scanner » Sun May 13, 2007 1:52 pm

Hiking Mike wrote:
Lady T wrote: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 can definitely see where you're coming from, but it didn't seem like it portrayed Talus Monkey too badly. A newspaper article could have never done justice to the person you remember without sounding artifical.


I'll join the ranks of those who initially wished the article had been more about David, but agree that they could never have gotten it right. I mean, how could they? They never met him or understood him as a person, and would only have his writings and the opinions of others to guide them in that sort of story. We're all far more qualified to write that article than any outsider. I'm glad they didn't attempt such a task and get it wrong. We'd all be a lot more upset by that than by the perceived slight.

I still think they did a good job with about the only story they could objectively write: discussing group dynamics of online forums and their reaction to tragedy.

I'm disappointed that they appear to have been trying to coax a different story out of some of our members. Maybe they've been so inculcated in a different climbing forum's culture that they suppose all must be the same, and were trying to "bring the truth out" when it just wasn't there. When they were rebuffed a number of times, you'd think they'd leave it out of the story. Or maybe they're just letting the reader draw their own conclusions, who knows? You could certainly argue that they've raised awareness of the danger of one-upmanship, even if we're not guilty of it.

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Postby ChloeBlue » Sun May 13, 2007 2:32 pm

USAKellar,
I have watched this unfold from afar...I was out-of-town last week have just now been able to go through the all of the posts. I am very familiar with death and yet I have been affected more than I woulld have ever imagined by the loss of TalusMonkey.

I am very sorry for your loss and would ask that you remember what I said at the memorial service yesterday: you did an amazing job in the most extreme of circumstances; don't ever second-guess yourself. You are to be commended for remaining calm and doing what was best for both yourself and David. Your actions in the recent days have demonstrated that you are an amazing woman. No one on this forum blames you in the slightest for what happened.

For everyone else,
We are a strong community and we will get through this together. Second guessing is useless and merely hurts those left behind...we all make our own decisions on when and how to climb. It's called free will.

And don't talk to any more reporters...they ALWAYS have an agenda, regardless of how "nice" or well-intentioned they seem. :evil:

Peace.
B.

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Postby hikenski » Sun May 13, 2007 2:57 pm

USAKeller, you are right on that there is no point to monday morning quarterbacking at this time. Do not doubt yourself, you did the right thing.

jason.wichman wrote: where he was standing under a cornice. A co-worker and I started to question this as this is probably one of the most unsafe places to be[/url]


IMO, I take a bigger risk when I drive up the Georgetown Incline or thru Clear Creek Canyon in the Spring.

I don't understand why people have such a need to show their brilliance. This does not add to the conversation. Couldn't you have better spent the time you used digging up mud to tar this person we are mourning for?

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Postby zacob » Sun May 13, 2007 3:58 pm

That article was typical print media crap more bent on sensationalism than paying respect, or telling the story.

USAKeller, Those who tell you that you did everything right are RIGHT. You did everything that you could everything that anyone could. Here is a stupid hypothetical question for you. If David had been climbing with Ed Viesturs would the out come have been any different? The answer is no, SAR would have gotten to him at the same time. You did an awesome job in a tragedy. The measure of a man or woman is not found when things are going right, but rather when all hell breaks loose that is when you find out what a person is worth. That old saying of you have been tested and found wanting, does not apply to you. You have been tested and found Strong. We all know that you did everything possible to save David and most of us realize that for many years maybe even your lifetime you will always ask yourself could you have done more. Hopefully at some point you come to accept that you did nothing wrong and did all that you could.

To us All: I don't think we need to have the Monday morning QB session online but I do think that each one of us owes it to ourselves and our families to learn from this tragedy. It seems in climbing when push comes to shove there are very few accidents, i.e. a climber doing everything right but just in the wrong place at the wrong time. So often deaths occur because of a climber’s judgment error, not retiring a harness, rapping off the end of the rope, pushing to hard for a summit like those who litter the slopes of the Himalayas’, climbing along an avalanche path and failure to have proper equipment (guilty here I hate my helmet). My Point is simple don't blame David for mistakes he made but learn from them and honor him by not repeating them. and Sure as hell don't blame Caroline after reading her trip report and everything else I have read about her she is one amazing girl and someone most all of us would be honored to tie in and share a rope with.

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Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun May 13, 2007 5:12 pm

Yes, plenty of sensationalism. I do find it interesting that he tried to coax at least four of us into saying something that wasn't true. Gee, I wonder why we didn't all fall for it.

Still, I'm glad the Denver Post released the story.
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Postby skier25 » Sun May 13, 2007 5:26 pm

Cruiser wrote: TGR is a community made up mostly of backcountry skiers who live for steep lines in deep powder.
Does that mean I have to go over to TGR!?!! :shock: NOOOOOOOOOoooooooo.......

This website is unique in that Bill has posted such detailed route descriptions that are unlike anything else on the internet (or any other media for that matter). Yesterday, I was searching for a description of the Owen-Spalding route up the Grand Teton. I was amazed by the various trip reports' nonchalant attitudes given towards climbing the Grand. They made the climb seem as if it were only a small hike to the saddle, a few easy technical pitches, then a scramble to the summit. Unfortunately, I could niether find quality picture documentation, nor substantial route descriptions.* It was disheartening to find such a prominent and dangerous peak being regarded as an easy, no worries climb. I'm glad that 14ers.com is so 'down to earth' in its trip reports section. Thanks Bill for such a wonderful site.

*If anyone knows where there is substantial route description up the Owen-Spalding route, it would be greatly appreciated.
Carry an ice axe and a clear mentality; they can both save your life.
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Postby zacob » Sun May 13, 2007 5:36 pm

something else I wanted to say and Bill's comments brought it back to mind. I think you (Bill) have done an excellent job of setting the tone in this site. I have noticed over the years that this site has an interesting personality. It would be interesting if you one day choose to post the demographics of the users.

It seems that when it comes to climbing that this site is a pretty conservative and cautious bunch. More often than not you find that people give honest answers and often try to talk lesser experienced climbers out of dangerous routes. even to the point of being brutally honest.

it seems that the only one ups man ship here comes from our non-climbing debates...politics, guns, environment and my favorite dogs :lol:

I think the tone was set by you Bill and the way you monitor and mentor this site Hats off you have done an incredible job

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Postby paully » Sun May 13, 2007 5:59 pm

gsliva said:

All I have to say is something bad could happen on any climb or hike in the mountains. How many of you have had near misses. I have and lots.


Others have echoed similar sentiments. This aspect of the incident has really affected me, I think because I can empathize with it. I have to agree that David made a mistake, but then I look back at every outing I've ever had and I don't think I can find one where I was mistake-free. I've made my share of corner-cutting, lazy, or just plain irresponsible mistakes, and I always look back after a trip and go through in my head how a slight difference in the way things unfolded could have resulted in a far different outcome. As I think about David's Humboldt descent and try to put myself in his shoes (with my share of assumptions of course), I witness a scene that I've seen in my head countless times, a scene where a questionable decision I make leads to disaster instead of a simple 'lesson learned'. I count my blessings every time I make a mistake and come out ok, but I also try to learn from what I do. I guess the summary of these ramblings is that while I will always try to learn from other's mistakes, I'll never judge that person based on what happened. It's too easy for me to see myself in their shoes.

As to the comments on how people post advice and trip reports that mislead novice climbers into getting in over their heads...

I agree that the inherent danger of this sport can not be over-emphasized. What should be preached is that you should never climb anything without multiple sources. At least one of these sources should be an official route description from an official guide book, if possible. I love reading people's trip reports to glean details on a route, but I'll always look to see that it follows the general description from the guidebook. You should never blindly trust someone's trip report alone unless you know that person and can trust them. Also, it's true that easy for me may not be easy for you (or vice versa). That's just the way it is. That's why we have grades and classes. Know them, know what they mean, and know what the route is. Know if the route is exposed. Know whether the steeper pitches are infrequent or sustained. Data gathering is one of the most vital steps in completing a difficult or technical climb.

I'm sorry if I've been too personal (or impersonal) in portions of this post.

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