Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,138 feet
Date Posted:  11/08/2015
Modified:  04/16/2021
Date Climbed:   09/14/2014
Author:  AnnaG22
Additional Members:   katbiette, Hobbes301, mtn_nut
 Capitol- When Rock Crumbles   

In September 2014, my friend Hobbes301 and I were caught in rockfall on Capitol Peak. I escaped unscathed, while he survived a huge fall and a shattered left arm and other injuries. I learned a valuable lesson about geology that day. He gave me permission to share this story. It isn't short, but I would file it as Fairly Long; Do Read.

Thank you Hobbes301, for letting me write about the incident from my perspective. Thank you to mtn_nut for the part he played in rescuing Hobbes301 and for helping me ensure accuracy on details I didn't remember clearly. Thank you BenfromtheEast and Dillon Sarnelli for use of photographs to accompany my writing- though I didn't use them all, they were enormously helpful in visualizing the scene.

*Necessary note: I changed the name of the professional guide and another responder who helped with the rescue, as I was unable to contact them regarding what I have written.

Text at this link:
When Rock Crumbles

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

Comments or Questions
need help with link
11/08/2015 15:56
error message says page cannot be displayed.

What Gene said...
11/08/2015 16:05
I get the same message....

Here it is
11/08/2015 16:39–rock–crumbles.html

Oddly enough, if I make it a URL link, it doesn’t work.
You can cut and paste the link, that works.

Wow, what an experience, for all involved.
I need to think about this a bit, let it "soak in" before I can really comment.
Thanks for posting - this must’ve been very difficult to write, although it seems going through the process may also aid healing by telling the story.

No luck....
11/08/2015 17:21
Even with that link, I get "Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist". But when I click on the "Home" link on that page, it takes me to where I can click on a workable link... (sometimes I just HATE the internet.... )

11/08/2015 17:40
EDIT: doesn’t take you direct to story, but click ’home’ and it will. Jay, you’re kind of right except it’s the internet that hates some of us. ;)

Gene and Jay
11/08/2015 17:49
Thanks for the notes about the link. It should be fixed now. Just checked and there was a stray html character (yay internet :/ )

11/08/2015 23:07
That was a powerful read. Really glad to hear Justin made it out that day, and I wish him the best in his road to recovery. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for posting.
11/09/2015 06:45
This story resonates with me do to the timing of the incident and Justin. I happened to do Capitol in Aug. 2014. Then I did the Bells Traverse with Justin in Sept. 2014. To have been on Cap a month before hanging out with Justin only to have this incident one month later was very unsettling. So thankful both of you are all right. I talked to him for a bit afterwards and hope he’s doing well. Glad to see you are able to process this and move forward.

What a captivating ...
11/09/2015 08:50
... and well–written account. So happy that it had a relatively happy ending and everyone including Justin seems to be OK. Sounds like some bad luck mixed in w/ some incredibly good fortune!

Amazing. Simply amazing.
11/09/2015 11:30
I can’t find any other words...

Rocks and Luck
11/09/2015 13:36
awilbur77– the first picture from my ascent from September 2014 (showing Justin and katbiette), while the one on the right is from September 2015, showing BenfromtheEast (dillonsarnelli was kind enough to let me use it). I looked at several different angles of K2, and in some pictures from below (on the class 2 boulder field) it’s difficult to tell that the area has changed at all, which is mind–bending for me to consider. I think most of the rock that moved is directly under Justin and then below on the left of the first picture. When my boyfriend noticed the crack in the first picture (outlined in blue in both photos), it was quite disconcerting.

To those mentioning luck, I agree. As I wrote, I feel that many factors came together for Justin’s survival. That said, I am somewhat spiritual. I feel very blessed that I was somehow untouched by the rockfall, and that Justin was only hit by one or two rocks– had the rock that shattered his arm impacted a different part of his body, the outcome likely would have been different. He is an incredible person; his recovery moved faster than the doctor’s predicted timeline.

Thank you
11/09/2015 17:06
Anna – thanks for sharing this. I remember this happening last year and wondered the outcome and details.

Justin – So glad you seem to be recovering, and so sorry you had to experience this. You sound like one heck of a great guy.

11/09/2015 20:25
1. I’m glad Justin is still kicking.
2. You are a captivating writer.
3. Your summary and conclusions were nicely stated.

11/10/2015 07:49
As others have said, excellent write–up and a scary read. I was one of the two climbers that exchanged pictures with Ted on the knife edge. I remember hearing loud rockfall while hanging out at Capitol Lake, and then Ted confirmed that was Justin’s fall. I might have a picture of your group in my Capitol TR.

Again, thanks for writing this up, and I’m glad everything ended well.

Good Joss.
11/10/2015 08:55
Your piece is a valuable reminder for me that we are only visitors in these beautiful, alien places. Thank you for this.

11/10/2015 09:04
I remember that we passed at least two people who were finishing up their 14er quest that day, and I remember that one was a young guy (which would have been you DanielL?) and there was also a middle-aged gentleman finishing up. Congratulations! Yes, that picture is of my group.

Stratosfearsome– yeah, it definitely drove that point home for me. Hell of a reminder.

To Analyze is to Learn
11/10/2015 10:57
For all the folks who say we should analyze accidents in order to learn, this is a must read.

08/08/2019 18:42
Hey Anna,

I know i'm late to this, but is the link still out there anywhere? It looks like the blood is down.


08/09/2019 17:16
I'll work on updating it. I'm making some changes to my blog, the links may be broken. here is the new link: When Rock Crumbles . I'll update it in the report too.

09/16/2022 18:11
Thanks for sharing Anna!

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