Account of Obelisk Accident

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haishan

Trad climber
CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 21, 2009 - 02:17am PT
A first-hand account of the recent fatal accident on the Obelisk as been posted here:

http://supertopo.com/Trip-Report/10484/Account_of_Obelisk_Accident

Our dear friend, Ishun Chan, lost her life in this accident. Her many friends and loved ones have created a memorial website here:

http://www.ishun.org

For those seeking more detailed information beyond what is provided in this report, please feel free to contact me off-line.

Thank you,
Patrick Callery
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 21, 2009 - 02:21am PT
http://supertopo.com/Trip-Report/10484/Account_of_Obelisk_Accident"]http://supertopo.com/Trip-Report/10484/Account_of_Obelisk_Accident
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 21, 2009 - 04:05am PT
hey there say, thank you so very much for posting the memorial site...

may god bless you, during this hard time and the years that follow...

god bless...
T H

climber
. . . not !
Nov 21, 2009 - 04:46am PT
" complaining of a sore neck "
. . . that could explain why she trended to the right instead of looking / climbing directly upwards . I for one can attest to the almost impossibility of raising your head when you got a CRIK in your neck like that . Well written accident report - 'sorry' to you guys , and thanks for all you did .
Tradmedic

Ice climber
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Nov 21, 2009 - 07:49am PT
Thanks for posting this.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 21, 2009 - 08:28am PT
Very very tough situation.
Thank you Haishan for putting such a well written report out for us to digest.

Ishun certainly was a well loved person.
b.p.

climber
bishop
Nov 21, 2009 - 09:36am PT
Haishan,
you and Dave did the very best you could...do not blame yourself for anything. I know it is easy to think one could have done better or different...my mind still concots thoughts about..if only I had gone climbing with John that day, he might still be alive...But, it was their time to go and things are as they are.

My heart goes out to you and those who loved Ishun.
paola
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Nov 21, 2009 - 09:55am PT
the mountains, they invite us into their grasp
with mystery and magic. they never break their promises.

deadicating oneself to their pursuit is life changing.

one last blink, and one last heartbeat upon the steep flanks of your dream is the best way to conduct the encore of your life.

i wish you strengh in your processing and continued restlessness in your shoes.
Pate

Trad climber
The Lost Highway
Nov 21, 2009 - 12:38pm PT
Thank you for this important post. I offer my sincere condolences to Ishan's family, and friends as well as to her climbing partners, who did absolutely everything right and should never second guess their actions in this tragic accident. You guys performed beyond admirably in the face of multiple dangers and executed a safe descent and extrication in which no other injuries were sustained.

It can definitely be learned from by everyone. It is a strange method of trauma, but not an unheard of one.

I have heard twice about friends who have fallen on low angle routes (both were alpine routes) and had their gear slings catch and pin their arm vertically and choke them. On each occasion they thankfully managed to extricate themselves by getting their feet under them and unweighting the sling. One did result in a dislocated shoulder.

On low angle or slab, we are leaning over the rock, and the rack hangs down in front of us, causing us to toss it back over our backs occasionally. As you fall on slab the rack, if it has slipped to the front, scrapes across the rock or snow and the chances of it catching are greatly multiplied. The falling party may even be on top of the rack, therefore actually pushing it into the rock with body weight.

When teaching low angle or alpine climbing techniques I always recommend to my students clipping the rack back to your harness so that it does not fall in front of you. This not only keeps it from becoming a pain in the ass, but if you should fall, it does not have the ability to tighten around your shoulder/neck. A strong, well made double gear sling also reduces the chances of tying the faller up. It does not matter wether you are the leader or the second- you only need to slide the length of the sling to get tied up.

If you can deal with the weight of the whole rack on your hips, then I always recommend racking on the harness alone.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 21, 2009 - 12:40pm PT
Haishan has done the climbing community a great service by showing how a prompt and comprehensive response brings closure to these tragidies, which unfortunately are part of climbing. Letting such sad things strectch out over weeks does nobody any good and only triggers waves of excuses, accusations, cross talk and remorse.

Per the accident itself - that was just fluke, and almost certainly unavoidable. What's more, Haishan's and partners response was complicated and heroic, period.

I'm very sorry to all involved.

Sincerely,

John Long
Redwreck

Social climber
Echo Parque, Los Angeles, CA
Nov 21, 2009 - 01:23pm PT
Thanks for posting this. A horrible, tragic incident that everyone involved in handled as well as was possible.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Nov 21, 2009 - 08:09pm PT
Patrick, I'm sure that was tough to write, but thanks for taking the job on. I didn't know Ishun but from your words and many others, she clearly had a wonderful spirit.
Trad

Trad climber
northern CA
Nov 21, 2009 - 09:37pm PT
Thank you for posting what must have been a tremendously difficult report to write. My sincerest condolences go out to you and all of Ishun's family and friends.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Nov 21, 2009 - 09:39pm PT
Thank you for the report. You guys did everything you could, and everything right. I wish you both peace in your lives forward.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Nov 22, 2009 - 12:02pm PT
Thanks, Patrick, it was nice to meet you too.

Steve..


Rest in peace now, Ishun....God bless you.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Nov 22, 2009 - 04:02pm PT
What was the cause of death.....strangulation,broken neck or...?
BoKu

Trad climber
Douglas Flat, CA
Nov 24, 2009 - 01:27pm PT
Patrick, thank you very much for writing this report.

Bob "BoKu" K.
susu

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
Nov 24, 2009 - 03:26pm PT
Patrick, Thank you for the detailed report and everything you and David tried to do for Ishun. No doubt you guys did your very best, and it sounds as though there was absolutely nothing more anyone could have done to alter the outcome. Knowing Ishun, I'm sure she would sincerely hope you both rest assured and find peace again and only joy in future outdoor ventures.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Nov 24, 2009 - 05:43pm PT
Surprisingly, the rope did not come taut. In this brief moment I rationalized that she had either caught her fall or stopped on a ledge. David and I called up to see if she was OK. There was no reply. We shouted a few more times and heard nothing.

This tragedy is just unfathomable, and I extend my condolences and respect. The scenario described above could happen to any of us and turns my blood cold as I imagine being tied into that belay with you, confronted by something so terrible as what you went through. Not all of us could respond in such a heroic way.

RIP Ishun and strength and love to the survivors.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 24, 2009 - 10:35pm PT

So sorry for your loss and in awe of your efforts to help your friend. Try to take comfort from the fact that no one could have done more. Also please continue climbing in Ishun's memory.
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