Close calls?

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

Postby zdero1 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:03 pm

RoanMtnMan wrote:Close calls are like ex-girlfriends, better kept to yourself.

I see the value in this thread in that we can learn lessons from other people's unfortunate experiences on the mountains, but yeah won't be eagerly awaiting to read more posts here!
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Re: Close calls?

Postby milan » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:15 am

Mt. Lindsey, the awful gully full of rotten rock. I was going down and there was a big boulder, size of a small refrigerator in a steep section in a steep part of the gully and looked very stable. I decided to climb over it. I was still sticking to two handholds in the wall and had my right foot on a ledge when I put my left foot on that big boulder. I even didn't put most of my weight on it and the boulder just fell down and thumbled away of my sight. No warning before, no shaking, vibrating, no nothing. It just fell. Since then, I did the whole downclimb over the wall, class 3 on the right side of the gully.
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Re: Close calls?

Postby Derek » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:01 am

Brian Thomas wrote:Closest close call I've witnessed was seeing Derek almost get nailed by rockfall on Ice Mountain last August.

Yeah. That sucked.
"I used to think my Dad was Elvis. But I haven't told him that yet. I haven't told my Dad either." -S. Murdoch
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Re: Close calls?

Postby CampoVail » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:16 am

It's been 17 years since my close call but it haunts me still to this day.
My three climbing partners and I had decided to Traverse Mont Blanc and had chosen a route up from the Tete Rousse hut up to the Dome Du Gouter. A route notorious for a coulior that you have to cross that is bombarded with stonefall. The location is such that you always seem to hit this section at the worst time, mid afternoon.
There is a fixed metal cable strung across the steep section for added security, as we arrived here there was the occasional rock but it didn't seem too bad. The couloir itself was steep and a sideways track was cut into it from all of the foot traffic. We were not moving as fast as some as we had huge packs with sleeping bags, tents, stoves and ice gear.
A party of loud French guys were insistent that they pass us as we were moving too slow. We conceded our turn and they clipped the cable and ran the 200yd gauntlet, all except the last one in the group who just went solo.
A volley of stonefall came down like nothing I have ever seen, everyone in the couloir got hit. The unfortunate soul who was solo got hit the worst, he was knocked clean off his feet and sent sliding to his end, down the couloir and off a cliff.
In re-reading this it's hard to call this a close call, when an innocent individual lost their life.
If we hadn't given up our turn that stonefall would have been on us, the screams and the sorrows are nothing I ever want to witness again. It's strange to sit here and write this story as I have never spoken of its terrible sights and memories. In the end all you can learn from this is to clip the cable - it's there for a reason. This happened quite early in my time spent up high and is always a reminder of the darker side and how you must always give the mountain your utmost respect and attention.
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Re: Close calls?

Postby Smokey » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:35 pm

Last July I just summited Paiute Peak and was about to return home via the ridge to Audubon. It was shortly before 10am but the Monson was in full swing that week and what was a blue bird morning turned very dark, very quick. After hearing the second clap of thunder I made a quick decition to glasade down to the bottom of the valley to escape the incomeing weather. The slope was a little steeper than I felt comfortable with but I felt it was safer than being on the ridge in a storm. I had brought an ice ax for this possiblity but no helmet. Since the planned route was only a walk up. (mistake #1) In my hast to get down quickly I did not check the snow cafefully because it was mid-July and it should have been fine for what I had planned. (mistake #2) No sooner than I started to glassade I knew I was in big trubble. 50 yards from where I started I could now see that there was at least one cliff band below. The snow I was on was facing south-east and had become very soft and wet. When I tried to self arrest my ax could not find anything close to solid to slow me down. All the snow around me was moving so I gave up on the idea of stopping and flipped back around to try and steer my way away from the cliff band. I was going way to fast and soon found myself rag-dolling down the slope. Soon I was airborn and I heard a loud crack as my head made contact with one of the boulders below the cliff-band. There were a few more cracks before I came to a sudden stop when my hip made solid contact with a really big rock. When I came too I found that I had a very large cut on my head as well as some other injurys to my elbow, knee, hip, and back. I was still half way up the slope and knew the best thing I could do was to get down to where it was flat so that a chopper (if needed) could get me. Unfortunately, I still had some obsticales below me. I managed to only hit one but it was freaky because it was a large rock that had melted the snow around it so when I went over the rock I fell under about six feet of snow. After I climbed out from underneath the snow it was an easy trip to the bottom. Even though I have a spot, I felt it would be best if I could at least get back to my truck under my own power. I made it the 3 miles back to my truck and passed about 12 people, none of whom seem to notice that I was covered in blood with torn cloths. I then thought I was in good enough shape to drive 2 hours home. (mistake #3) This one I can blame of the head injury :D When I got home my wife who was 8 months pregnate at the time took me strait to the hospital. I was so loopy I did not even think I needed stickes. (I needed 9 staples) but amazingly I had no broken bones. The concuson I had lasted almost 6 months and I almost lost hope that I would ever be back to normal. Because of all this I am no longer allowed to solo anything over 13,000. So my dream of finishing the 13ers probably ended that day. :cry: I hope others will learn from my mistakes.
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Re: Close calls?

Postby Winter8000m » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:03 pm

Brian C wrote:Noah! Remember when I almost ate the big one on the 4th rappel from the summit on that random tower in New Mexico by accidentally not clipping my belay device to my harness and almost leaning back? Oh boy! What a day that was! I've always checked my ATC about 4-5 times more now on rappels because of that.

:shock: What a horrible prospect that would have left me in. Many many many many feet up and many many many miles away from anything. Remember that 110+ foot run out on rock quality out of the sandbox and it wasn't easy!....or aiding those pitons hanging out what seemed several feet (flex, flex)......or climbing mud protected by nine inch nails.....or the 15 foot fall in a horrible Tri cam in a mud pin scar....or almost falling off the summit of the Seal after to many beers.....and the sad thing is, I think I'm missing some things...Maybe not close calls but more of character building exercises. I guess you can take it as sort of a confession on how I just love choss.

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Re: Close calls?

Postby Mtn Geek » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:02 am

I had a close call while attempting to summit all 4 of the Four Peaks Just outside of Phoenix AZ. I think there was about 13 of us on this hike. While heading up the southern one, which was our first of the day, we were in a narrow gully. I watched one of the guys ahead of me knock a rock loose which was about 15 inches across and 4 inches thick. They guy ahead of me was able to easily get out of it's way. Where I was standing, I was stuck. I could not dodge to the left or the right, and it was heading right at me gaining speed. All I could do is put my trekking pole up and hopefully deflect it. It hit a rock about 5 feet in front of me and rickorshade (sp?) around me hitting my pinky (which freaking hurt!). The few guys behind me were able to get out of its way. The guy behind me said, "Man I don't know how that rock missed you, it went completely around you." The man in front of me was also amazed it missed me. The force of the rock would have messed me up pretty badly if it hit me.
That was my closest call.
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Re: Close calls?

Postby HuskyRunner » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:26 am

jimlup wrote:Descending the Kautz Glacier route on Rainier. There was a huge icefall in the Couloir next to ours. Scary as hell!

Was the huge ice fall that somebody caught on video four years or so ago?

Climbed Kautz with a good friend and my wife, we had topped out the second ice slope and were trudging up toward the ridge and ice fall there. Still before sunrise so it's dark, we were still roped up and fortunately moving a little to the right side of the slope. Out of the dark we hear a 'whooshing' sound, then about 50 feet in front of us we see a fridge sized block tumbling towards us. Fortunately that block and the rest of the ones raining down on us for the next minute or so all missed us, if one had come directly as us I don't think all three of us on the rope would have been able to dodge it. After that the whomphing snow bridge near the crest was just business as usual.
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Re: Close calls?

Postby rijaca » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:55 am

I almost forgot to bring a beer once.

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Re: Close calls?

Postby mtnduck9 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:23 pm

Coming down from Princeton I was crossing a rock slide area on the std route. As i stepped over boulders, one moved under me and down I went, slipping about 6 ft off the route. Unfortunately the boulder that moved under me now began rolling down hill right towards me. It was the size of a flat screen tv only thicker, must have weighed several hundred lbs. Laying on my belly I was able to push one end of it with my trekking pole and alter its path or it woulda rolled over me. Don't know that it woulda killed me, but it woulda messed me up considerably!

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Re: Close calls?

Postby Mountain Ninja » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:32 am

d_baker wrote:you first....

This for one:

I climbed up Lindsey's NW ridge, no problems. Then I decided to downclimb it on the descent. On the crux class 4 section, above me probably 30 feet, a large rock randomly came loose and plummeted full speed in my direction. No one was above me, no animals that I saw or heard. I probably loosened it just enough when I was climbing down.
It bounced and tumbled and about 10 feet above me, it hit the mountain so that it ricocheted to my left, missing me by like 5-7 feet. "ROCK!!!" Thankfully no one was beneath me, either.

Now you, Mr. Baker? ;)

I'm also very eager to hear some more experienced mountaineers' experiences, so that we can all learn from them before repeating mistakes!
A little pain never hurt anyone.

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Re: Close calls?

Postby Randy » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:43 am

I rode an avalanche for over 800ft and got spit out at the end of the run, guess I didnt taste good. Ive been in 3 major rockfalls on Cannon Cliff in NH, all times every rock missed me, some were the size of a wheel barrel. Dodged rockfall on Pokomoonshine in the Adirondacks while my buddy screamed like a@#$!. Broke my ankle on a solo trip, 7 miles in on the other side of a 2 peak traverse. 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.

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