Tragedy on Ranier


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Trad climber
Green Mountains, Vermont
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 1, 2014 - 05:45am PT
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Jun 1, 2014 - 07:30am PT
I'm sorry to hear about this. Condolences to all the families and loved ones.

Jun 1, 2014 - 09:48am PT
Pretty bad. They haven't stated the cause yet, likely culprits are a large slab avalanche, rock or ice fall, or a single climber fall with entwined rope teams.

Trad climber
Western America
Jun 1, 2014 - 09:55am PT
saying gear scattered all over which means they were camped. Stuff out of packs inside tents when they got chopped. Dead man anchors
not buried deep enough, possibly not set up yet or what hit them was so big
nothing could have save them.

Rest in peace guys.

Jun 1, 2014 - 10:05am PT
Long falls can result in dismembership, much less packs blowing apart

Trad climber
Jun 1, 2014 - 10:33am PT
seattle p-i has a better piece


Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jun 1, 2014 - 12:00pm PT
Grim. An AAI guided group, no less.

Sounds like they were bivied pretty high (12,800+)...sumthin must have slabbed 'em off, down the Willis Wall? Yikes.

Condolences to all.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jun 1, 2014 - 12:11pm PT
The Mountain Gods demand respect.

Farewell brother climbers.

To take such an experienced group.... conditions must have been... interesting. I look forward to the AINM report.

Jun 1, 2014 - 12:15pm PT
Two guides and four clients does not an experienced group make

Jun 1, 2014 - 12:22pm PT
It does indicate experince if there were 2 AAI guides there. Sorry to hear the news. Condolences.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Jun 1, 2014 - 12:36pm PT
Makes you stop and consider the wisdom of two guides taking a party of 4 clients up Liberty Ridge, even if those guides are aai certified. A party of two would have finished the route without having to bivy so high up. But who am I to say about the exact circumstances that day? A party of two might have been swept away by a slab avalanche just as easily as a party of 6. But a party of 6 on Liberty Ridge is a pretty ponderous affair.

Trad climber
Jun 1, 2014 - 03:40pm PT
I wouldn't be surprised if they were following my team's footprints the entire time. I was literally just up there. Definitely hits very close to home for me.

I'm confused by the fact that with tents visible in the debris field, they must have been camping, though their avy beacons were on. Maybe a sign that something else precipitated their camping at 12,800? Definitely anywhere past thumb rock really is exposed to the Seracs as well as prime avy terrain so I would be shocked if the guides planned to camp there.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 1, 2014 - 03:50pm PT
I can't imagine why anyone would camp higher than the usual spot unless
someone got very ill or injured. I can't think of a place higher where
a tent could be pitched without major excavation. Very sad and perplexing.
Flip Flop

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 1, 2014 - 08:24pm PT
Sad news for the community. I think that one of the guides had climbed Rainier 50 times. Really sad news.

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Jun 1, 2014 - 09:01pm PT
I read some article that stated the guides had last checked in via radio at 13k... If I recall that's right below that last heinous shrund/step.

To kill all of them in good weather, I'd have to guess something large calved off that last step and wiped the route.

To the guy that was just on the ridge.... How were the snow conditions? Pretty consolidated above thumb?

Jun 1, 2014 - 09:04pm PT
To kill all of them in good weather, I'd have to guess something large calved off that last step and wiped the route.

Or there was one single simple fall and a large rope entanglement

Trad climber
Jun 1, 2014 - 09:29pm PT
Actually, conditions were not consolidated, I would say that the snow was consolidated with a crust to 11,000', unconsolidated to the summit with some windblown sections to the summit. There were a few patches of ice between the Black pyramid and the Serac that were easily avoided. We did find one section of WI2 covered in an inch or two of snow that lasted for about 60m below the serac that we soloed.

We didn't feel there were any critically unstable layers when we went through but I can see warming really causing an issue with the snowpack. Another layer bonded to the crust could have caused a big ass slab event as well.

I really don't know much about snow, my partners are both very well versed in snow science though.

Trad climber
Jun 1, 2014 - 09:39pm PT
their avy beacons were on

yeah, that detail caught my eye.

anything can happen in a long fall like that, and we can't trust these eariy (and possibly only) accounts. but yeah.


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jun 1, 2014 - 09:49pm PT
Very sad that such awful things happen in these beautiful places that we love.

My sincere condolences to the friends and families of all these people.
Big Mike

Trad climber
Jun 1, 2014 - 09:59pm PT
Persistent weak slabs have been a very large issue here in the PNW this year. I would not be surprised if that were the culprit.

Very sorry to hear about this. My condolences to family and friends.
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