Think good thoughts for some friends on Shasa

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Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 29, 2010 - 04:51pm PT
http://www.mtshastanews.com/news/x1176897376/Search-is-on-for-two-climbers-stranded-on-Mt-Shasta

Mark's a pretty experienced guy and I hope this has a good outcome.
Edge

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Mar 29, 2010 - 05:08pm PT
Fingers crossed, prayers said for a safe outcome.

Best wishes, guys!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 29, 2010 - 05:11pm PT
Good luck guys! Prayers sent.

I hope the rangers were able to get to them today. Sounds like they are in bad shape.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 05:24pm PT
good thoughts...
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 29, 2010 - 05:38pm PT
It refers to a Thomas Bennett, from Vancouver, B.C. Does anyone know him? There are several Bennetts in the climbing community here, but none I can think of named Thomas or Tom. Not that I know everyone, but it sounds like he's fairly experienced.

Edit: Thanks, Cleo!
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 05:54pm PT
missing the guys...
L

climber
Training for the Blue Tape Route on Half Dome
Mar 29, 2010 - 05:59pm PT
Keeping positive vibes for these guys.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:15pm PT

Bump for good thoughts for both.
bergbryce

Mountain climber
East Bay, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:17pm PT
I met Mark a few weeks ago, we went cragging here in Berkeley for a morning.
He's a smart kid and from the sounds of it, in good shape.
Here's hoping they both pull through.
salad

climber
Escondido
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:19pm PT
hang in there boys...
bergbryce

Mountain climber
East Bay, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:23pm PT
http://www.mtshastanews.com/news/x1176897376/Search-is-on-for-two-climbers-stranded-on-Mt-Shasta


This article was just updated....

//Today around 2 p.m.Thomas called the Sheriff's Department on his cell phone and is currently coming down the mountain at an elevation of about 7,000 feet. He has a map and a compass with him, Gravenkamp said.

Thomas reported that his climbing partner was not doing well and he made the decision it would be best to try to make his way down the mountain today. The two Forest Service Mountain Rangers are on snowmobiles and will continue searching at the 7,000-foot elevation for Thomas.

A friend of Thomas has been in contact with the Sheriff’s Office and reports that he is an experienced climber who has climbed Mount Shasta a number of times, however, the was the first time he climbed the more technical north side Hotlum/Bolam Route, Gravenkamp said.

A base station has been established along Military Pass Road off of Highway 97. The Forest Service said that the men did not fill out a wilderness permit.//
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:29pm PT
Newspaper update: What does this mean? Are they both coming down, or just Mark?
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:30pm PT
That's a good update! Hopefully they will get out of there by tonight. At least they're out of the higher elevations.

you can do it, boys!
monolith

climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:40pm PT
Unfortunately, it's not clear that both are coming down now. Most likely just one.
eKat

Trad climber
BITD2
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:41pm PT
Oh, my!

Here's some MontanaMagic to the northern flanks of TheSleepingGiantHerself.

:-(

KEEP YOUR MAGIC ALIVE, BOYS!

eKat
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:42pm PT
I am very, very worried about Tom.

http://www.redding.com/news/2010/mar/29/two-climbers-stuck-stormy-weather-mt-shasta/
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 06:43pm PT
That article makes it sound like one climber is coming down on his own. I hope that's not the case. It sounds like the weather is going to be nasty for a few days.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:06pm PT
Positive thoughts for the lads.

Reading some of the comments from redding.com, I am sure glad they are not part of the support group. What cold and callous people. I see no humor in this episode, these are two climbers fighting for their lives.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:08pm PT
Hang tough fellas.

We've got our vibes out.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:08pm PT
Yeah, I may be wrong, after re-reading the update. Things do not look good if they can't get to him tonight. Storms are coming.

Still I send prayers.
Mike.

climber
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:09pm PT
Thinking good thoughts for the best outcome.
Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 29, 2010 - 07:14pm PT
More good thoughts.

C'mon dudes!
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:20pm PT
edit - for privacy:
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:21pm PT
edit - for privacy.
snaps10

Mountain climber
Visalia, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:23pm PT
Damn,
I'm supposed to be attempting Black Kaweah with Mark right now. I had to bail on the trip because of work issues, he chose Shasta this weekend instead.
Praying for you buddy.
Kurt Ettinger

Trad climber
Martinez, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:29pm PT
Sending out my positive vibes as well. Hopefully Mark is hanging near one of those warm volcanic off-gasing areas where John Muir did many years ago when he was stuck up top.
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Mar 29, 2010 - 07:40pm PT
Best of luck to all, the two climbers and any involved in a rescue. Mt. Shasta while often a mild climb can, and often does, bear her fangs. If I recall correctly, Vern Clevenger many many years ago had a rough night or two up near the Thumb. Winds rip up there somedays. Again, I wish all involved a safe return.
rhyang

climber
SJC
Mar 29, 2010 - 08:23pm PT
Some updates posted in this thread -

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=52497
snaps10

Mountain climber
Visalia, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 08:23pm PT
Looks like Mark walked out today. No word really on anything other than that.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Mar 29, 2010 - 08:28pm PT
Man I hope this turns out for the best.

Best wishes to the other climber and the SAR team, they got a tough one here.

Mucci
monolith

climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 08:30pm PT
This 5:07pm update says one was found returning two miles from their trailhead, search for the other continues now with better info on location:

http://www.redding.com/news/2010/mar/29/two-climbers-stuck-stormy-weather-mt-shasta/
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Mar 29, 2010 - 09:19pm PT
the fukin world sometimes spins just contrary to yer strides.
no matter how hard you try, you cannot displace.

im thinking with joy regarding both of these young guys up on that beautiful mountain playing out the middle of their lives.

sans souci.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 09:37pm PT
Debbie was watching the news when I got in from work today and said that the local news reported that one on the mountain had high altitude sickness. I don't know how good that information is, but that's the report locally (at least on that news channel).

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/state&id=7357298
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 29, 2010 - 09:39pm PT
F*#k! this isn't good.

http://kdrv.com/page/167923

Hang in there dude, the one still up there. Somebody has to go up there. It seems like a SAR team should be able to go up there in a storm, no? It would take a series of camps, but f*#k, try!!!

Things ain't looking good and it sounds like time is limited.
Dirka

Trad climber
SF
Mar 29, 2010 - 09:40pm PT
Best wishes and prayers to him and his kin.
slobmonster

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
Mar 29, 2010 - 10:30pm PT
Ugh.

I can't help but remember living at the base of Mt. Washington during the winter of 1994, and receiving a call from the Weather Observatory to: Call MRS (the local Mountain Rescue Service) and NH State Fish and Game. NOW.

Jeremy Haas had just walked through their door, having left his partner Derek Tinkham near the summit of Jefferson.

That was a debacle.

My thoughts are with these guys, both of them, and the hardy folks trying to help.
snaps10

Mountain climber
Visalia, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 10:47pm PT
I'm mountain rescue, and can tell you, it isn't necessarily up to the MR teams. The agency coordinating the search is the one who gives it a go. We go out training in storms as much as possible, but that doesn't mean they'd let us go out in one.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 29, 2010 - 10:54pm PT
I hear ya, Snaps, and I had a feeling that's the way it works.

I'm just frustrated, sitting here on a computer while some dude is dying, waiting for help...
mokunz

Sport climber
Louisville, KY
Mar 29, 2010 - 10:59pm PT
Here's another update:
http://www.redding.com/news/2010/mar/29/two-climbers-stuck-stormy-weather-mt-shasta/
snaps10

Mountain climber
Visalia, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 11:07pm PT
I know what you mean bluering. I was antsy waiting to get called out all day today. They rarely call us to that area (5 hours away) but just the thought that I'm able is killing. Especially when it's a buddy.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 29, 2010 - 11:22pm PT
It almost begs the question of a need for an independant/unofficial group of qualified people to be ready to respond to sh#t like this. People who aren't bound by 'officials'.

I know I'll get flamed for this, but I'm flamed all the time. And yes, I don't know Shasta, never done it. But with a large 'militia' of capable volunteers with a a sole goal in mind, it would seem that a capable response could be conjured. As I said, large group with good radios, and other equipement, could ascend the mountain establishing many 'safe camps' while others continued on. Daisy chain effect.

If sh#t got bad, go back to last camp, or last camp is in somewhat of an easy distance to retrieve rescuers in distress.

I'm just pissed off and thinking. Flame on.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 29, 2010 - 11:29pm PT
From a distance of nearly 1,000 km, and given the weather and conditions report, I'd guess that there is high avalanche hazard. That, plus nightfall, high winds, and heavy snow fall, create significant risks for rescuers. They're probably doing everything they can to be ready to move at first light Tuesday, if conditions allow, either on foot or by air.

The rescuers' main challenge is to determine where to look on a large mountain, so that when conditions allow them to look, they can. So they're probably interviewing the climber who got down, learning everything they can about what happened, and where. The only other physical locators they have are his tracks down, which may be snowed and blown over quickly, and (possibly) a signal from a phone, either from yesterday or more recently. Unless Bennett is conscious and has a working cell phone or PLB.
nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
Mar 29, 2010 - 11:39pm PT
I've done the route they did. at 14K on that route there isn't a lot of mountain left. But if he's unresponsive that's not good. of course getting to anywhere near that spot won't be easy.

wishing for the best possible outcome....
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 29, 2010 - 11:41pm PT
A SAR team is a lot like a militia. Here in Inyo County, I think we are offically on paper somewhere as a posse, which is cool.

I bet the rescuers are doing all they can.

Having a good location report from the one that walked out is good, but weather can be bad. Altitde sickness, the kind that floors you, can be real bad too.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 29, 2010 - 11:53pm PT
wouldn't his partner have marked his location on the map, which you should be able to find in a whiteout if you use a compass properly.

t*r, map / compass requires visibility. Sometimes you can make a decent guess, but finding an unresponsive person in a snowcave on a mountain in whiteout with a map / compass would be hard.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:00am PT
Bluering, your anger is understandable. I'm sure the decision to hold back is not an easy one. I'm hoping that the 'officials' make the call based primarily on the risk to the rescuers...

I don't know Shasta either. I'd guess that part of the danger is avalanche and high winds.

I wish I knew how to be of much help. I'd be a liability up there.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:17am PT
let's take this to email

Yes, you are right.

I sure am hoping for the best.
nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:17am PT
FortMental... have you ever hung out it Redding? Try it some time (actually, don't). You'd understand the ignorant hateful comments you read a little better.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:17am PT
From this link..

http://tiny.cc/6nu6a



Eric White, the lead climbing ranger on Mount Shasta for the U.S. Forest Service, described a scene that did not appear conducive to a quick search and rescue.

Winds on the mountain were blowing 60-70 mph, dropping overnight temperatures at the peak to well below freezing. The wind was so forceful it was blowing snow and creating whiteout conditions while turning the mountain's surface into hard-pack ice, he said.

The conditions forced White to turn back Monday after reaching the 9,000-foot level, well below the summit.

"There's no visibility and very high winds right now and just very high risk trying to get up to that elevation," he said.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:25am PT
Man, I hope this thing isn't what we experienced today in Vancouver. The wind was walking like a predator and there was a lot of fresh snow on the lowly North Shore.
I hope there's a good story after and not a bad one.

With Love
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:34am PT
Geez, i hate seeing these threads. I hope this one turns out OK, climbers are unnaturally tough individuals.
rhyang

climber
SJC
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:36am PT
Been up and down Hotlum-Bolam Ridge a number of times over the years during the summer. A friend has a story about going up with a group one August and getting surprised by a snowstorm.

Mt. Shasta is not like the southern Sierra -- it's in the Cascade range; treeline is lower and weather is colder and wetter.

Here are some shots from last June .. we did HBR the first day of summer.

Bluebird skies at the trailhead


Whiteout came and went as we headed up to northgate high camp




We camped around 10800' -- the whiteout gave way to snow, occasional rain and thunder.

Next morning on the route




It was in the 20's when we set out from camp at 4am-ish. It was probably in the teens later in the day as we climbed higher.

Near 13000' -- Hotlum Headwall on the left .. I believe there is a loose multipitch 5.8 somewhere on that thing


And below it is a glacier .. with deep crevasses and flowing ice.

Looking down from ~13500'.. fortunately the clouds stayed low most of the day


After we summitted & came back down, the skies cleared for a while


We broke camp and headed back to the car. We noticed that there was snow still in the trees from the storm the night before.



First day of summer. Imagine what it's like in the winter !
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:36am PT
Praying for the guys tonight.
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
Mar 30, 2010 - 02:57am PT
listening to the wind outside down here in the flatlands,

remembering how fierce it can be up there on Shasta in a storm.

sending good thoughts and hopes that Bennett has shelter, safety and the will to survive this night
nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
Mar 30, 2010 - 11:00am PT
bump for positive vibes
Lambone

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Mar 30, 2010 - 11:04am PT
The weather really sucks up here now. :(
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 30, 2010 - 12:48pm PT
Damn, I'm feeling really sad. Tom is new to the community here in Berkeley, but he struck me as the kind of guy you really want as a climbing partner. Helpful, kind, experienced, good-humored, down-to-earth, and enthusiastic. He is somebody I'd have tagged to go rescue somebody else, not the other way around.

I never realized HACE could progress so quickly and severely at "only" 14k.

Still holding out hope that they can get to Tom today, and that he still has a chance. I can't imagine being in Mark's position - I know he did everything he could for Tom. Staying with Tom for 2 days and 2 nights, dragging him into snow caves. Mark is someone I'd want as a partner if I were in trouble.
snaps10

Mountain climber
Visalia, CA
Mar 30, 2010 - 03:38pm PT
Mark, via SP:

Dear everyone. I'm down safe and well.

I disagree with some of the important details in the news reports (regarding permits, weather advisories, and closures at the time of our departure) and will be responding to those as soon as appropriate.

While I'm touched by the outpouring of support from you all, in respect for Tom and his family, please limit your messages to me to be via e-mail or PMs for now. My phone battery is dead, so I won't be accessible by phone.

 Mark
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Mar 30, 2010 - 03:48pm PT
I get the impression that Thomas will be fine.
Bennett will survive if he is able to keep fluid and food in him.

I think eerything is going to be just fine due to the experience of Thomas.

This is all based on the news report posted to the OP.

This is also my good vibes going out to the survivors.

Wheather seems to be breaking in my area (central valley area) so I see a happy ending here.

Keep the good thought comin'!
Kurt Ettinger

Trad climber
Martinez, CA
Mar 30, 2010 - 03:58pm PT
FYI: Weather watchers live camera for Shasta found at:

https://www.snowcrest.net/camera/

nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
Mar 30, 2010 - 04:25pm PT
Uh... Jingy... did you read the report at redding.com?

Media hype aside the last two reports on that site both state that Mark stated Thomas was unresponsive when he decided to descend. Though I have all the best hopes this looks grim.
Gene

Social climber
Mar 30, 2010 - 05:29pm PT
While a sliver hope still remains, it appears we have lost another brother.

http://www.redding.com/news/2010/mar/30/weather-continues-hamper-mt-shasta-rescue/

"The current weather conditions in Siskiyou County continue to prevent any type of rescue or recovery efforts," sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp said in a news release issued this morning.

Officials believe Thomas Bennett, 26, may have died sometime Sunday as he and his climbing partner, Mark Thomas, 26, of Berkeley made their way down the mountain in a storm.

{SNIP}

Thomas began his descent after Bennett appeared dead Sunday, Thomas told rescuers Monday. Thomas spent Sunday night alone in a snow cave he dug into a glacier on Mt. Shasta's north face.

So sad. Godspeed.

g

EDIT: Summitpost discussion on this:
http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=52497&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=shasta&start=0&sid=415020855465726b9b5bacd145013eef
slobmonster

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
Mar 30, 2010 - 06:22pm PT
Channel 2 is here (@ my shop in Berkeley) looking for comments.

It makes me a little ill to consider opining before any real news has come from the north. Anything we know down here is third-hand at best, and nothing more than morbid filler.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 30, 2010 - 06:30pm PT
Severe AMS is no joke. 14,000 feet is plenty high to be fatal.

Last summer there were two fatalities in Inyo County due to HAPE. I think the first was around 11,000 feet near cottonwood lakes,and the second was about that height or maybe lower near Paiute Pass.

In both cases, the HAPE came on real fast and killed the victims in a matter of hours, not days.

I claim no knowledge of the current situation on Shasta, but my point is that it can happen to people below that altitude, and it is very serious.


Edit- I just read the comments on the Redding website- many say that the lesson is to stay off the mountain in a storm.

I think that's the wrong lesson. The weather almost seems incidental to the serious effects of AMS, which can seemingly happen to anyone.

I'm sorry for the loss of this man. He sounds like a good guy.

cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 30, 2010 - 06:40pm PT
Seth - I trust you'll make appropriate comments. Email me if you like. The news are sniffing around UC Berkeley too, and I'm pretty sure it is because nobody up north is talking yet.
nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
Mar 30, 2010 - 07:06pm PT
Tom, thanks for that input. As a far as reading the comments on the redding.com site take it with a grain of salt. I read many comments and nine out of 10 are disgusting, inappropriate and downright ignorant.

still hoping of for a positive outcome..... positive vibes....
bonin_in_the_boneyard

Trad climber
Oak Land, California
Mar 30, 2010 - 11:01pm PT
Bump for everyone's prayers.

A friend and I were planning on climbing Shasta this past weekend, but called it off because of illness. I'm not sure we would have bailed due to the forecast. This is very, very sad. I'm sorry to everyone touched by this tragedy.
Binks

Social climber
Mar 30, 2010 - 11:13pm PT
Hope he makes it. It can get rough up there.

I've been up there in a storm before. I was "ice cragging" in the seracs with a partner on the hotlum. We woke up with a couple inches over the bivy sack and the stuff pouring down. We couldn't see a thing, felt lucky just to get down safely, then couldn't find the parking lot (north side). Managed to get a gps signal and had marked the lot. In the time it took to descend, more than a foot of snow fell.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 30, 2010 - 11:24pm PT
God bless him. Sometimes miracles happen. But his condition when he was left was bleak.

I still pray.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 31, 2010 - 12:16pm PT
Friends and local climbers: please contact me if you're interested in details, debriefings, and community gatherings.
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Mar 31, 2010 - 03:28pm PT
nature - "did you read the report at redding.com?"

no.. but now I have...

bad news from up north...

my thoughts are with the family and friends of the lost climber.



couchmaster

climber
pdx
Mar 31, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
bluering It almost begs the question of a need for an independant/unofficial group of qualified people to be ready to respond to sh#t like this. People who aren't bound by 'officials'.

Nahh. Been there done that and that's not the way it really works. Here's a version.

I got the 10pm call from my regular partners wife @ 25 years ago. Essentially she was saying in many ways "Bob is over due and I'm worried" (she said this while bawling her eyes out) At first I thought it was a joke. The weather was rugged bad - sure, it was the dead of winter and the Pacific Coast storms rolled hard over Mt Hood in the winter. This was one of those occasions. Bob was suppose to be up there with a bad-assed Kiwi dude he'd climbed with while he was down under climbing the New Zealand Alps. I don't remember his name, but lets call him Bozo. 2 more hardy, skilled and experienced dudes probably couldn't be found easily. I asked if she'd called the Sheriff, and yup, not just that but she'd called the local Mountain Rescue too, but the weather was so horribly bad - and would be for a couple of days, that they were not going to initiate a rescue. Once I'd ticked off the list of questions I had (when he left, when he was suppose to be back, which route they should be on, what car did he have - etc etc) I finally started calling my buddies at 11pm. I found exactly 2 who would accompany me. Everyone else had begged off. One was a Mt. Guide and the other was a buddy I rock climbed with who tended to get altitude sickness at @ 8500-9000 feet. Sh#t, we were going there for sure. I took him anyway, he was a strong lad and could carry weight - so we got our sh#t organized, figured out where to meet, what we were going to carry etc etc and off we went to the mountain.

We arrived @2-1/2-3 hours of shitty weather driving later at the Timberline parking lot and the horizontal wind with snow had reduced the visibility to @ 10-12 feet in the lot. Worse than the visibility was that it was very very difficult to even stand upright in the parking lot. Big time gusts. This is at the Timberline, only the 6,000' level, and I wasn't relishing heading up. See, I knew that my buddy would be dug in deep, and I thought I knew, within a 1/4 mile - where he would be. However, getting there and back in this weather was going to be near suicidal. Seriously. It would involve a lot of luck and pluck, but mostly luck. Once we got up there, if we had a broken leg on hand or some other issue to reduce mobility, then it was really a matter of reprovisoning, helping get organized and marking the spot so that a live body would be there is and when the weather did clear in a few days and the Mt rescue folks could be rolling.

I've done some damn stupid things in my life, and was acknowledging to myself that this was definatly and solidly shaping up to be another one. Hating myself for it but not backing off either. We finally make it into the hut, normally a short flat walk across pavement from the car, where the climbers sign out, and even in the relatively sheltered spot it's impossibly cold. A quick check shows that they had signed out, we're the only folks up there (duh) and they had not signed in. Which explained why Bobs car was still there too; F*ck. (repeat that 10 times to self, add we are so ** and say it again)I wasn't looking forward to this at all. We decide to go inside to the bar area, see if anyone is in first aid station (place was vacant but fortunately not locked up, to organize and fill out the paperwork so we can be signed out, inside the building where it was still warm. We're inside sorting gear, and all I can think of is "This is stupid, this is stupid"....over and over. See, Bob and I were both mountain guides, had climbed a lot together and had a close bond: and I couldn't let him down. But then again, I knew him well, he had good gear and was always well prepared and carrying it. He was most likely much much safer and warmer than we would be. I figured he'd see my attempt as lack of trust in his abilities as well -but what ya gonna do? In fact, a storm of this caliber may have easily covered all traces of their snow cave (I was praying they had one-otherwise they'd be dead in this weather) I'd been on an earlier search and rescue in bad weather not long before (not anything like this) where we later determined that I'd actually whistled within spitting distance of where the solo climber had been dug in, he had heard it faintly in the raging wind - but disregarded it thinking his mind was playing tricks, and none of us had seen any evidence of his ski poles marking the cave entrance, despite the fact that they must have been within feet of us standing on top of a short cornice at one point looking down the very slope he'd rolled down and dug into. Despite that experience, We had hope that we could both locate Bob, and see the entrance. Hope.

I spent a few moments silently raging on the damn stupid New Zealander I'd never even met who'd probably caused all this (he had, as it turned out). With my guts churning with fear, we grabbed our repacked packs off the floor and started towards our destiny and the deadly raging Maelstrom outside. We were literally up and heading close to the door and here comes Bob and Bozo coming in accompanied by a massive gust of snow and wind....it's like 4 or 5 in the am by now. Holy crap, I was both happy and relieved that my life would be mine still, we hugged, both relieved. Turned out that Bozo was too slow, too slow, the weather had picked up and as they had all the gear for it, they'd simply dug in. Right where we would have looked as it turned out. After the first night and day, they were thinking that A) no one would be able to easily get up there, and B) it's possible that some friends might try. So Bob thought if they could duck into the nearest canyon and somewhat avoid the wind and be able to stand upright, they could possibly be down by first light, when most normal people would be starting out. They were cramped and not sleeping well in the cave anyway. Indeed that's how it happened.

It all sounds good from the warmth of our cubicals, but up there, it's a different story. It's much better to have a single person to focus a rescue on, instead of 2 groups who may need help.

Wishing your friend the best up there, and hope that he gets some breaks so as to be able to be with his loved ones again soon. It ain't over till it's over and it's not over yet.
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Mar 31, 2010 - 07:28pm PT
Bump
Kurt Ettinger

Trad climber
Martinez, CA
Mar 31, 2010 - 07:51pm PT
Could not get up again today.

http://www.redding.com/news/2010/mar/31/crews-search-stranded-mt-shasta-hiker-today/
Gene

Social climber
Mar 31, 2010 - 09:51pm PT
Bump
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:39am PT
Wanted to post these here for Mark, to counter the misinformation in that original redding search light article


Fate of ailing climber on Mount Shasta remains uncertain
Posted at 12:08 AM on Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2010
http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/03/31/1878910_p2/shasta-head-is-here-jkjkj.html

An adventure that left two climbers stranded near Mount Shasta's summit began as a weekend getaway for the experienced mountaineering companions from the Bay Area.

It turned dangerous when escalating winds forced Mark Thomas and Thomas Bennett, both 26, to spend Saturday night above 14,000 feet in subfreezing temperatures and howling winds.

Thomas hiked to safety Sunday and Monday, leaving an unresponsive Bennett in a snow cave. On Tuesday, rescuers waited for the weather to break so they could send up a helicopter. They clung to the slimmest hope that Bennett might be found alive.

"Until we know, we operate as if there is some hope," said Dan Towner, a lead climbing ranger on Mount Shasta for the U.S. Forest Service.

Mark Thomas called his father, Jay Thomas, on his cell phone Monday night and described his ordeal. In an interview with The Bee, Jay Thomas, a psychologist in Salt Lake City, recalled their


He said his son, an engineer who graduated from UC Berkeley, and Bennett, a chemical engineer from Oakland, went to Mount Shasta late last week for a long weekend of hiking and climbing.

Both were careful and experienced mountaineers who had climbed together a number of times in the past year, he said. His son had climbed Mount Shasta 10 or 12 times before, he said.

After camping at about 10,000 feet, they decided to ascend the summit Saturday via a more difficult and technical northern route, which neither had tried before. They traveled light, intending to be back at camp before nightfall.

When they reached the 14,162-foot summit, however, it became apparent a storm was moving in. They'd checked the forecast before they left, Jay Thomas said, and it had predicted only cloudy skies and a slight chance of snow – not the major storm they saw coming.

Caught by surprise, they had to make a choice. Did they start down the exposed mountain face, with the likelihood of getting hit by high winds as night fell? Or did they take shelter behind rock outcroppings near the summit?

They chose the summit.

Hurricane-force wind on summit

Mark Thomas told his father they both had warm clothes and sleeping sacks that kept them comfortable through the night. The hurricane-force winds made sleeping difficult, but by morning they were in good spirits and ready to descend. As Bennett put his crampons on, he toppled over, apparently stricken with severe altitude sickness, Thomas told his father.

In less than an hour, he was unresponsive, and Mark Thomas' efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, Jay Thomas said.

Mark Thomas called 911 Sunday morning and reported his friend's condition. A rescue was impossible because of the weather, and after several hours Thomas realized he could do no more for Bennett, his father said.

He dug a snow cave, put Bennett inside and started down the mountain. Winds were so fierce they picked him up and tossed him around; he had to crawl at times until he reached the tree line, Jay Thomas said.

Mark Thomas spent the night in the forest; two rangers on snowmobiles found him Monday afternoon at about 7,000 feet.

Jay Thomas said his son had returned to his Berkeley home. He could not be reached Tuesday.

In the city of Mount Shasta, Towner said he was the ranger who gave Mark Thomas a ride to safety on his snowmobile.

"He had quite an ordeal up there," the veteran ranger said. "It's miraculous that he made it down."

Weather can change quickly

Towner said he's climbed Mount Shasta about 200 times. Weather near the summit can quickly turn ferocious, he said, with the wind accelerating as it strikes the mountain.

Towner said that when he was 26, the wind shredded his tent and he was forced to race down the mountain as night fell. That was 20 years ago, and now Towner urges the thousands who attempt Shasta's summit each year to be prepared for the worst.

The main hiking season on Mount Shasta begins in April and lasts through July. It's a popular mountain, even with inexperienced climbers.

Last year more than 9,000 climbers set out for the summit, Towner said. Many of them never made it.

"You need crampons and an ice ax and the knowledge of how to use them," he said.

A helmet is essential protection from avalanches and falling rocks, he said. Other necessities: plenty of water, high-calorie foods, hats, gloves and windproof jackets and pants, even in summer, the ranger said.

"It's a winter environment all year round. There are glaciers for a reason," Towner said. "You can get a nice summer day, but high up, the air temperature will be around freezing."

The sun can make it feel hot, but those caught in darkness or shade will suffer if not properly equipped, he said.

More than a half-dozen weather-related rescues are needed each year, he said. There have been dozens of fatalities on the mountain.

Towner has participated in numerous rescues, including one in 2000 in which a National Guard helicopter crashed at 11,800 feet. He likely will be among those who search for Bennett when the weather clears possibly today or Thursday.

Susan Gravenkamp, a spokeswoman for the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, said Bennett's family was traveling to the Mount Shasta area Tuesday.

Early reports that Thomas and Bennett had failed to take proper precautions were not entirely accurate, Gravenkamp said.

Mark Thomas had looked at National Weather Service forecasts before leaving home, she said.

The men were dressed warmly, had food and water, and carried a map and compass. They had let friends know their plans and were not required to fill out a wilderness permit because Mark Thomas held a seasonal pass, she said.

Gravenkamp said it would have been helpful if the men had checked in with rangers before climbing and looked at the latest forecast. It might have changed their plans, she said.

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/03/31/1878910_p2/shasta-head-is-here-jkjkj.html#ixzz0jp4iVjY


Hope wanes for Oakland man stranded on Shasta
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/30/BAEV1CNG9L.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0jp9RtNH2


(03-30) 18:30 PDT MOUNT SHASTA, SISKIYOU COUNTY -- Hope dimmed Tuesday that an Oakland man who was caught on Mount Shasta when a snowstorm hit would be found alive, more than two days after his companion left him to get help.

Berkeley resident Mark Thomas, 26, emerged at base camp late Monday after hiking nearly 24 hours in whiteout conditions, leaving his partner, Tom Bennett, 26, in a snow cave near the summit with candy bars, granola and water.

Susan Gravenkamp, a spokeswoman with the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office, said Thomas had told rescue workers Bennett was immobilized by altitude sickness. He said he had left Bennett unconscious Saturday night and feared that his friend hadn't survived, Gravenkamp said.

Thomas was back in the Bay Area on Tuesday and told friends he was in good condition.

High winds and low visibility on Mount Shasta kept helicopters and rescue workers grounded Tuesday. Thomas gave rescue workers a precise map to the snow cave, which crews hope to reach today if conditions improve, Gravenkamp said.

"Whenever the window opens up, we'll go for it," she said. "We still have hope, but it doesn't look good."

The two men are affiliated with a climbing group, the California Hiking and Outdoor Society, a registered club at UC Berkeley.

They arrived Thursday prepared to climb to the top of 14,162-foot Mount Shasta, Gravenkamp said, possibly unaware that a storm was forecast to hit Saturday.

The men reached the summit that day, but not long after, "the storm came, and it came with a vengeance," Gravenkamp said.

Thomas did not reply to an interview request Tuesday. But in an entry on a Web site for outdoors enthusiasts, summitpost.org, he said he disputed "some of the important details in the news reports (regarding permits, weather advisories and closures at the time of our departure) and will be responding to those as soon as appropriate."

In his profile, Thomas identifies himself as an advanced climber who has reached the summit of Mount Shasta three times, most recently in February.

Kai Allen, a recreational manager for the U.S. Forest Service at Mount Shasta, said the two men entered the park from the rarely used north entrance, where self-registration kiosks are buried under 15 feet of snow.

Most climbers stop by the well-staffed south entrance ranger station to drop off their itineraries, Allen said.

Allen said the two climbers had to walk or snowshoe at least 5 miles to reach the trailhead with 40-pound backpacks.

"You have to be very ambitious to climb the mountain from that side this time of the year," Allen said. "These guys knew what they were doing; they weren't just off the streets."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/30/BAEV1CNG9L.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0jp6S5bik
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Apr 1, 2010 - 02:00am PT
I just found out that they did try to go up during a weather break, but couldn't make it :-(
I'm so sad for Tom's loved ones.


UPDATED: Hunt for missing Mt. Shasta climber will resume on Thursday
Posted March 31, 2010 at 10:04 a.m. , updated March 31, 2010 at 4:08 p.m.
http://www.redding.com/news/2010/mar/31/crews-search-stranded-mt-shasta-hiker-today/

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection helicopter has returned to the Weed Airport after poor visibility made it impossible to reach the top of Mt. Shasta to search for a missing climber.

The helicopter returned around 3:20 p.m., a spokeswoman with the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said.

The Cal Fire helicopter is to return to its base in Beiber, while a California Highway Patrol helicopter also has returned to Redding.

A Chinook helicopter from the Air National Guard at Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento has arrived on scene and will stay on ground at the Weed Airport, said sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp.

It will make an attempt to attack the mountain first thing in the morning, she said.

Gravenkamp said that the clouds were at the tree line on Mt. Shasta and had moved up, but they were blocking the top of the mountain. There will be no further search activity for the remainder of today, she said, adding that the operation will resume early tomorrow morning.

The Cal Fire helicopter took off earlier in the afternoon to try to make a reconnaissance flight over Mt. Shasta to try to determine whether it's possible to place any search teams on it to look for the missing climber.

The Cal Fire helicopter, which had a member of the U. S. Forest Service Mountain Rangers on board, took off around 2:45 p.m., Gravenkamp said.

A CHP helicopter headed for the Mt. Shasta summit late this morning in search of a missing Bay Area climber, but was turned back by bad weather.

A climbing ranger on the helicopter was dropped off at the Weed Airport a little before noon and the CHP copter headed back to its base at Benton Airpark in Redding.

Searchers were earlier hoping for another break in the weather so the larger Cal Fire helicopter might be able to make it to the mountain top.

Gravenkamp said officials with several agencies are at a command post at the Weed Airport and had hoped to ascend the mountain to find Thomas Bennett, who has been on Mt. Shasta since Thursday.

Bennett, 26, of Oakland and his climbing partner, Mark Thomas, 26, of Berkeley were caught in a storm on the mountain over the weekend, Gravenkamp has said. Thomas told rescuers that he came down the mountain Sunday but had to leave Bennett at about 14,000 elevation, officials have said.

Thomas told officials that he climbed back down the mountain Sunday and Monday after Bennett apparently died. He said he believed Bennett was suffering from altitude sickness.

Crews have been waiting for a break in the weather to allow them to get on the mountain to retrieve Bennett, officials said.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office is working with the CHP's helicopter unit, the California Air National Guard, the CalFire and the U.S. Forest Service, Gravenkamp said.

Photo of Shasta from today:

zeta

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 1, 2010 - 02:30pm PT
:(

I am sad and really feel for Tom's family & friends. And for Mark, I wish there was anything we could do to make it easier.
Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 1, 2010 - 03:25pm PT
My heart is breaking. . .
divad

Trad climber
wmass
Apr 1, 2010 - 03:43pm PT
Sorry to hear the sad outcome of this. Best of thoughts to family and friends.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 04:30pm PT
Sad outcome. My condolences.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Apr 1, 2010 - 04:32pm PT
Sincere condolences.

J Mucci
Kurt Ettinger

Trad climber
Martinez, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:26pm PT
Very sad to hear the news. My condolences to family and friends.
eKat

Trad climber
BITD2
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:27pm PT
:-(

NorthernRockiesMagic to our fallen friend.

oxoxo

eKat
mooch

Trad climber
Old Climbers' Home (Adopted)
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:36pm PT
My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and to Mark as well.

Mark (aka 'PellucidWombat')-

I know what it feels like to lose a climbing partner and dear friend. It'll hurt for a bit but then all the awesome memories of your times together, good and bad, will flood in and his soul will appear before you. As the late Brutus Of Wyde so wisely put it when referring to the adventure we live and die for.....

"One climb, one pitch, one move at a time....

...until we reach the top."
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:44pm PT
God bless him.

I heard the news on the radio during my lunch. I didn't know him, but it was a rough blow.

Rest in peace, Thomas.
thetennisguy

Gym climber
Yuba City, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:45pm PT
http://www.kcra.com/news/23026183/detail.html

His body was recovered today. Pray for the family members.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Apr 1, 2010 - 05:49pm PT
They were able to recover Tom's body today:

http://www.redding.com/news/2010/apr/01/rescuers-flying-out-find-stranded-mt-shasta-hiker/

Mark had the presence of mind to mark the snow cave with an avalanche probe and backpack. Truly respectable.

I hope for Tom's loved ones this can bring a small piece of completion.

Photo of Tom from the article:

cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 06:25pm PT
I am filled with sorrow. In the too-short time that Tom was part of our community here, he was someone whom I wanted to know better, and someone with whom I was looking forward to having as a trip partner.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:00pm PT
Terrible news.

Condolences to his friends and family.


Thanks to the CG and SAR for the recovery.
micronut

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:24pm PT
I am so sorry to hear this. I was hoping for a good outcome and another war story to hear around the campfire. Sincere condolences.
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:34pm PT
It is sad.
I have climbed Shasta over fifty times, had to back off a few times.
Took many tries to get up in Winter and when we did summit that winter day I saw horizontal icicles six foot round where they met the rock, extending out twenty feet. Skied down many times, wow, the best. Shasta is a fine mountain.
I hope the family gains some comfort from knowing that he had many friends, many of whom he'd never met.
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:44pm PT
God Bless these boys. That had to be one long trip down the mountain for Mark. Knowing he may not see his partner alive again and focusing on his own survival, and luckily finding rescue in fierce coonditions. Rest in peace Tom.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 11:32am PT
Posting on behalf of Mark from Facebook and Summitpost, I think he'd like the community to read this - here is the statement from Mark and the Bennett family.

..............................................................

Dear friends,

Today the Bennett family released an official statement describing the events of this past weekend. Much of it is what I've recounted, with additions made by Tom's girlfriend, Kirstie, and Tom's family. This should set straight much of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies of previous media reports. I have it copied below. Please share this with others as it is the wish of the family that it is widely shared inside and outside of the news outlets.

Also, I talked with a reporter at the SFGate/SF Chronicle who will be printing a nice and sensitive story about the tragedy. I have followed up with him to ensure that the story is within the spirit of how Tom would want it to be shared with the public. I believe it should be put out tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Mark Thomas

------------------------------


Mark Thomas and the family of Thomas Bennett would like to share information about the two young men and detail their days climbing Mount Shasta here in Siskiyou County this past week. Both Mark Thomas and Thomas Bennett are very experienced climbers who shared a love of the outdoors and found great joy in scaling the mountains of North America. Bennett’s father told us that his son, Thomas Bennett was a chemical engineer and chemist who graduated from university in Vancouver, British Columbia, and had worked as a Process Engineer for a mining company about 500 miles south of LaPaz, Bolivia near San Cristobal in the Andes Mountain. There he worked at very high elevations and had never experienced any problems with the altitude. He said his son had a genuine love for the outdoors and a passion for mountain climbing and that he understood the risks, and as such, took all appropriate precautions to deal with those risks. Thomas Bennett most recently lived and worked in Oakland, California area and was amazed at wonderment of Yosemite National Park and spent as much time there as he could. Mark Thomas said that he has climbed Mount Shasta numerous times and has also climbed Denali (Mount McKinley) in Alaska with an elevation of 20,320 feet.

Mark said both he and Tom had purchased mountain summit passes in advance. He said they had left a detailed trip itinerary and maps of their expected camps and routes with friends which is their standard practice when traveling in an area with wilderness permits. They left the Bay Area on Thursday, March 25, and said that as late as Thursday, the avalanche and weather forecasts did not include any warnings of severe weather and that wind speeds were estimated to be moderate on the mountain. Mark Thomas said he has since learned that the mountain was closed to climbers due to hazardous weather on Saturday but since they had been on the remote north side of the mountain since Thursday night, March 25, they did not know of the closure or the change in the weather forecast. Mark said he realizes that the mountain makes its own weather and that they were observant of any changes in the forecast.

They both had a map of the area as well as a compass and an altimeter for navigation in darkness or stormy conditions. They arrived in Mount Shasta Thursday afternoon and spent the night at the trailhead at an elevation of about 5,000 feet before heading out from the car at 5:00 a.m. on Friday on snowshoes. They made camp at an elevation of 9,800 feet at the base of Bolam Glacier and ascended the Bolam Glacier to the top returning to their advanced camp that night. Mark said it was a long day with 4,800 feet of climbing carrying 50 pounds packs followed by another 4,000 feet of roped glacier climbing. He said Tom climbed strongly and showed no signs of being sensitive to the effects of altitude.

On Saturday, March 27, they left their camp at the 9,800 foot elevation with plans to climb the icefall variation of the Whitney Glacier. They brought along crevasse self-rescue gear, snow anchors and ice anchors in addition to their other climbing gear and traveled roped together for safety from crevasse falls as they had the day before on the Bolam Glacier. They had planned to climb only as high as the main icefall and if conditions seems safe and it was early enough in the day, they would attempt to summit…otherwise they would descend the glacier to their advanced camp. Mark Thomas said the glacier was windy but not dangerously so as his anemometer read winds sustained at 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 35 to 40 miles per hour. He said the wind was annoying but nothing extreme compared to conditions he had often experienced on winter climbs far above tree line. They decided to summit late in the day and then descend the Whitney-Bolam Ridge in the dark. He said apparently Shastina and the sub-summit above the west face of the mountain were blocking the worst of the wind as the winds on the ridge were sustained at a speed strong enough to make it nearly impossible to stand and there was not much time left in the day. They decided their best option was to spend the night on the sub-summit at a protected site below some rocks and descend at first light as they had the clothing and gear necessary to safely spend the night at that location. They thought if the winds were better, they would descend the Whitney-Bolam Ridge on the north side of the mountain. If the winds were not better, or if during the night either of them showed any signs of hypothermia or altitude ailments, they would descend the Avalanche Gulch route on the southwest side of the mountain.

They dug a shelter and throughout the night talked and asked each other how they were feeling to help catch any signs of hypothermia or altitude sickness since they did recognize these as potential health risks. Mark Thomas said Tom Bennett was fine and alert all night. In the morning the winds had decreased and the skies were clear, however, when they began to break camp to descend Tom suddenly began experiencing several symptoms of what Mark Thomas describes as acute high altitude sickness. Within minutes he said Tom reported an inability to see well and could barely stand or put on his crampons. They both immediately attempted to descend Avalanche Gulch but Tom Bennett deteriorated quickly and could no longer walk. Mark Thomas said the winds had shifted and very coming at very high speeds. He said he helped Tom back to their protected bivvy and then used his cell phone to dial 9-1-1 to call for search and rescue, however, the cold conditions had killed the batteries on his phone and he was barely about to get out the rescue call before his phone failed. He said the clouds were moving in quickly and the winds were increasing so he dug a snow cave in preparation for a longer stay on the summit. He said he moved Tom into the snow cave to get him out of the blowing snow and there his deteriorating condition accelerated until there was no response from his climbing partner. He said he attempted CPR but was unable to revive Bennett and was fearful Bennett had succumbed to this medical emergency. Mark Thomas said once that he was certain there was nothing more he could do for his friend, he attempted to use his cell phone again managing to warm it enough to report their situation to search and rescue. He said he decided that he had to leave before the weather totally prevented him from making it off the mountain and it was only then that he left Tom Bennett in an attempt to get off the mountain while he still could with the deteriorating weather.

Both Mark Thomas and the Bennett family would like to express their sincere appreciation to everyone who participated in any way in the search and rescue operation these past days. The Bennett family is overwhelmed with gratitude during this most difficult time. They have asked that if anyone feels the need to express their condolences through a donation or contribution that the contribution be given to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Fund at 305 Butte Street, Yreka, CA 96097, to be used in the furtherance of helping another family in the future with a lost or injured loved one here in Siskiyou County. The Bennett family thought perhaps they would be able to speak with the media but find they are unable to do so at this time and asked that this statement be released on their behalf.

Everyone at the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, the U. S. Forest Service Mountain Rangers, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers and the pilots and crews of the three helicopters who assisted in the search for Thomas Bennett would like to express our deepest sympathies and send our thoughts and prayers to the Thomas Bennett family.
Boymeetsrock

Trad climber
the east
Apr 2, 2010 - 11:54am PT
What a tragedy. So very sorry to see this turn out as it did.

I wish Mark and Tom's family and friends peace as they move on. RIP Tom.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Apr 2, 2010 - 11:55am PT
both you fellas deserve a hug
for being so very brave.

Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 2, 2010 - 12:02pm PT
Mark also did an interview with the SF Chronicle:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/01/BAFB1COHL4.DTL
eKat

Trad climber
BITD2
Apr 2, 2010 - 12:34pm PT
I really hope somebody forwards this thread to family and friends. Somehow I think they would appreciate knowing how much we all care.

KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE!

oxoxo

Kath
James Doty

Trad climber
Idyllwild, Ca.
Apr 2, 2010 - 02:00pm PT
A well written after action report. Moving. I hurt for the friends and family.
cliffhanger

Trad climber
California
Apr 2, 2010 - 04:55pm PT
A sad and tragic outcome.

Perhaps volcanic gasses played a role in the mystery. Carbon dioxide can kill and the summit of Shasta is very active with many fumaroles. And since CO2 reduces the oxygen available for cellular respiration, it would increase the possibility of edema.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 2, 2010 - 05:14pm PT

My condolences to the Bennett family and Tom's friends.
A sad conclusion.
QITNL

climber
Apr 2, 2010 - 06:31pm PT
Over at SummitPost, Mark writes:

"I would really appreciate it if someone could refer me to or connect me with a knowledgeable doctor or researcher on the subject of high altitude ailments, neural ailments, etc. with whom I can go over in detail all of the symptoms and their rough timelines between the sudden appearance of symptoms in Tom and his death."

Thought I'd bump this over here as some of you may know such a person. I'd assume that this would be a private conversation.

He seems like a real good guy. My condolences to everyone.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 2, 2010 - 06:49pm PT
Refer him to Peter Hackett.

Peter was the man on this subject for many years on Denali, and I assume he is still an "expert".

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/everest/exposure/hackett.html
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 07:11pm PT
thanks for posting that cleo, excellent information on what happened.

Certainly it is human nature to speculate on the details of these accidents, it is a lot easier to understand and explain to people around us when we actually have the real story.

My condolences to the friends and family of the fallen climber.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Apr 2, 2010 - 07:16pm PT
Very sad. Condolences to Tom's family and friends and to Mark.

"I would really appreciate it if someone could refer me to or connect me with a knowledgeable doctor or researcher on the subject of high altitude ailments, neural ailments, etc. with whom I can go over in detail all of the symptoms and their rough timelines between the sudden appearance of symptoms in Tom and his death."

Mark's account upthread made me wonder along similar lines. Perhaps someone with experience or expertise, perhaps on another thread, could further elaborate on this shockingly quick "sudden appearance of symptoms" (as in Tom and Mark's case) as this could be of benefit to those like me who've had no experience with it.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Apr 2, 2010 - 07:18pm PT
I'm so sorry for what you're going through, Mark and friends.

Dr. Sue Hopkins at UCSD studies altitude sickness and is climber and Taco participant. Mark might try to speak w/ her.
matisse

climber
Apr 2, 2010 - 08:41pm PT
I'd be happy to have Mark contact me about altitude stuff. If one of his friends pms me I can send them my email to forward to him.
Sue
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Apr 2, 2010 - 08:42pm PT
Sad outcome for sure.

In one interview with an altitude doc his off the cuff comment was that the signs and symptoms did not sound like an altitude related incident but a pulmonary embolism. Which given they were lying/sitting around in a cramped snow cave for a fair amount of time and then when the weather broke they were moving about and the clot broke off and caused the blockage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_embolism
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:13pm PT
one day i will climb a mountain,
and the mountain will die on me.
Double D

climber
Apr 3, 2010 - 12:03am PT
This is very sad indeed. My condolances to Tom's family, friends and Mark for their loss.

Stuff happens. From the accounts it's just one of those very fast, freakish deals. I remember Java (Greg Childs) writing about a climbing partner (Dr.)dieing very suddenly at altitude.

It sounds as if no amount of preperation could have altered the results.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Apr 3, 2010 - 01:14am PT
God bless them, and their families and friends.
R.B.

climber
..
Apr 3, 2010 - 01:49am PT
Whenever the climbing community experiences a loss like this, we are all equal in the feelings of loss.

My condolences.

R.B.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Apr 3, 2010 - 03:08am PT
hey there say, dear cleo and all... i am very sorry i could not help you all in praying for everyone.... i didnt check many post lately...

been off and on, in bits, only...

god bless and prayers now, though, to the families, and to you, as you face this hard time of loss, and the future, without your
dear friend...

sending my condolences and wishes...
very sad to hear this...

Fletcher

Trad climber
Just me and three kids
Apr 3, 2010 - 04:05am PT
Thank you so much for posting that note from the family Cleo. It is much appreciated and good to know they were prepared, understood the risks, and did all that could be done. What more can anyone ask?

My deepest condolences to all of Mark's family, friends and acquaintances. Our prayers are with you.

Eric
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 4, 2010 - 10:17am PT
Now that I live at 6000 ft. I take for granted that I can knock off a 14er anytime and probably won't run into altitude sickness...or will I? As I understand it, you still run the risk even being acclimated at 6K and it depends on the time you spend at altitude, amongst other factors. I had no idea one could become so stricken so quickly that you couldn't descend low enough to alleviate the symptoms on a 14-er. I thought this was more 20K territory.

It's also surprising to read about people becoming so hypothermic on a hike out of a climb that they too succumb like the poor guy that got rained on doing Cathedral Peak. Hearing the details of this tragedy is very, very helpful. Thinking about the family and friends of Tom today.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:46pm PT
It's also surprising to read about people becoming so hypothermic on a hike out of a climb that they too succumb like the poor guy that got rained on doing Cathedral Peak.

Hypothermia can get you even when the air temp is not very low. Cold water on the skin or wind suck the heat out of your body.
Mike Slizewski

Social climber
Yreka, California
Apr 7, 2010 - 05:05pm PT
Hello, everyone. My deepest condolences on the loss of your friend.

My name is Mike Slizewski; I'm the managing editor of the Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, Calif. Yreka is on I-5 about 30 miles north of Mt. Shasta, which is in our coverage area. We've been following and and reporting on the tragic occurrence since it began.

I am doing a story for our annual Siskiyou Magazine, which will be distributed in print regionally and online on our Web site in about two weeks. It will include the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office releases chronologically, interspersed with comments drawn from this thread that reflect on the wonderful person that has been lost.

Please reply here is you would rather I did not use your comment(s).

I have summitted Mt. Shasta four times in seven tries, always taking someone new up the "easy" route, Avalanche Gulch. We turned back the other three times because someone in our party got altitude sickness.

It is a beautiful and powerful mountain. The magazine article is being written with great respect, and I will post a link to it here when the magazine comes out.

Mike
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Apr 7, 2010 - 05:17pm PT
Maybe you could post a link to the piece here when it's finished.
slobmonster

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
Apr 7, 2010 - 05:28pm PT
Please reply here is you would rather I did not use your comment(s).

Actually, I think they are all Supertopo®'s comments. Methinks you should ask permission from the site owner.

Also, if you are considering quoting a Supertopo® user's comments, you should really contact them directly and ask permission; way classier this way.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Why'djya leave the ketchup on the table?
Apr 7, 2010 - 05:33pm PT
edited to stop being pissy, sorry
DMT
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 7, 2010 - 05:51pm PT
I'm a news reporter- I'm pretty sure I've never referenced anything here.

I'm also on the local SAR team so I get confused in my loyalties from time to time.

The question is could I? I bet my boss would have no problem with it.

It is a public forum?

I'm not sure, but as a reorter, I could always just wait for the cease and desist order and comply if one ever comes.

I personally don't mind if a reporter from the Shasta area quotes me. If it was the New York Times, I'd care alot more cuz more eyes are going to see it.

Reporters do read what we say here, so it's good to keep that in mind.



Edit- also reporters always get it wrong, and the for profit thing, I might argue with that. I wish there was profit in this business.

Perhaps I should start making sh#t up like the guys on TV.

cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Apr 7, 2010 - 06:20pm PT
Let's not jump too hard on Mike, he's just trying to do his job, and at least he is making some effort to ask permission. A journalist friend of mine has pointed the following out to me about news operations:


I know it seems weird and unfair to non-reporters, but anything on the Internet is definitely fair game, even if you post a note requesting that it not be reprinted by the press. The rationale is that by writing something on a blog or on an unprotected facebook site, that you’ve already published that information to the world, and once you’ve done that, the press becomes obligated to report it. Asking them not to print it is definitely no guarantee that they won’t print it – especially if they can’t talk to you directly.


You don't have to like the above, but keeping that in mind is useful - Supertopo is public, and one should comment accordingly. And yes, I of course agree that it would be better if Mike picked the comments he likes and emails each of us individually for their use.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 7, 2010 - 06:31pm PT
No the comments belong to the individuals

It may be a lot less simple than that. If I, as a reporter, write in an article: "On the internet forum Supertopo, a poster using the name Dingus Milktoast said, "No the comments belong to the individuals," it is going to be pretty tough to bust me for a copyright violation.

There are some fairly easy-to-decide cases -- clearly violations or clearly not -- but there is also plenty of gray

D (news editor by trade)
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 7, 2010 - 06:55pm PT
Good to hear I'm not the only potential narc on old taco.

Ghost- you hiring? Or firing right now?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Why'djya leave the ketchup on the table?
Apr 7, 2010 - 07:25pm PT
edited to stop being pissy, sorry
DMT
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 7, 2010 - 07:47pm PT
can I quote you on that DMT?

Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 7, 2010 - 10:01pm PT
OK then since Mr Reporter asked, please don't use my comments in your article. Thanks in advance! Same to all the rest of you reporters.

Dingus! Don't do this to me. I've got the April issue due at the printer tomorrow and I was counting on some Dingus-on-ST quotes to make it clear to readers that the downturn in cargo volume at Shanghai Pudong Airport is just a temporary anomaly due to... Well, see, that's where it gets tough for readers to follow, and I reckoned that a couple of pithy Dingusisms on the joys of alpine rockclimbing in the California Sierras would totally put a Pullitzer on my mantel.

But it looks like it's not to be...

Ah, well. Back to work. Gonna have to explain the intricacies of trade flows in the Yangtze River Delta all on my own.
Mike Slizewski

Social climber
Yreka, California
Apr 8, 2010 - 12:50am PT
Thanks, everyone, for your posts in response to mine. I was very sensitive in selecting the comments I chose for the article; none are directly or indirectly controversial. They are all informative, hopeful and compassionate. They are from the following posters: Phil B., fatrad, Edge, bluering, cleo, bergbryce, snaps 10, survival, Norwegian, rhyang, tom woods, zeta, mooch and Mark Rodell. I am contacting each individually by email for permission to quote them.

The rough draft of the article begins as follows:

"A March 28, 2010 9-1-1 call from a climber on Mount Shasta to report that he and his climbing partner were stranded just below the summit resulted in a rescue operation that, tragically, turned into (using search-and-rescue parlance) a 'retrieval' for one of the climbers.

"The following tells the story through chronological press releases issued by the Siskiyou County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office in Yreka, Calif. (courtesy Susan Gravenkamp), interspersed with comments from friends, fellow climbers and well-wishers gleaned from the thread, “Thoughts for some friends on Shasta,” on the Internet climbing forum SuperTopo (http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1130949&tn=0&mr=0);."

I will post a link to the article when it is published (in about two weeks) in the 2010 issue of Siskiyou Magazine.

Again, my deepest condolences to all involved.

Mike Slizewski, Siskiyou Daily News managing editor, Yreka, Calif.
rhyang

climber
SJC
Apr 8, 2010 - 12:52am PT
Please reply here is[sic] you would rather I did not use your comment(s).

Please do not use my comments.
Mike Slizewski

Social climber
Yreka, California
Apr 8, 2010 - 01:14am PT
Thanks for your reply, rhyang. I won't.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 8, 2010 - 02:06am PT
My condolences to the family and surviving friends. So sorry.

Here's a bit of perspective on the Shasta winds, in hopes it may ease you. Mt. Shasta gave me the scariest wind epic of my life. I was 21. John Fischer and I were on a winter ascent of the normal John Muir route. We camped on the summit plateau. During the night the wind rose. At dawn it blew away the stuffbag of our tent and one of the poles as we were breaking camp. We crawled to the summit. And then we commenced a frightening descent.

We would run downhill when we could, but when that freight-train sound roared again toward us, we would fall flat, laying on our ice axes dug in, hoping not to be blown away. Sometimes we crawled. It was so slow, we began to wonder if we would make it down that day.

When we got down, we learned that the ski bowl (the old one) had clocked 80 mph winds at 8:00 that morning. There's no telling how much stronger they were 7000 feet higher where we were.

Michael Zanger, the most knowledgeable old Shasta guide around, once told me of an ingenious way he measured summit winds from his living room window. He had found two old survey posts on Red Banks 100 yards apart. From home he could clock shreds of cloud moving by those posts and calculate wind speed. He had seen it reach 230 mph.

What I'm trying to say here is that when rising winds forced you to take shelter in the lee of those rocks on the summit plateau, don't doubt for a minute your judgment that the gusts themselves were creating a true emergency. It might be easy, from an armchair, to minimize what you were up against. But I've been up there, so close to where you were pinned down, and know how life-threatening those winds can be. You did well to survive it, and could not have known what might so suddenly compound your predicament.
Edge

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Apr 8, 2010 - 09:33am PT
Well, I hardly see the harm in allowing my few words of hope and well wishes to be included in an article.

I assume they will be used to demonstrate how a web forum can be used to pull a community together when a fellow climber is in peril, even those of us who have never met the person and live a continent away. Because of this thread, I was able to follow this story as it unfolded, with insider information, and it made me pull for both climbers to return safe and sound. I would want the same for me if the situation was reversed.

When push comes to shove climbers can be a fiercely tight group, and I think that is commendable.

I have forwarded my permission to the Magazine editor.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Apr 8, 2010 - 11:34am PT
I have no problem being quoted.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Why'djya leave the ketchup on the table?
Apr 8, 2010 - 11:39am PT
I repented. I was being a dickhead, sorry!

DMT
L

climber
Training for the Blue Tape Route on Half Dome
Apr 8, 2010 - 11:58am PT
^^^^ I luv ya, Dingus...and that's why. ;-)
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 8, 2010 - 01:00pm PT
Dingus- you are right to question it.

I did a while ago, I forget why. So I figured I'd better be more straightforward on my posts, and avoid (but not eliminate) posting while drinking beer.

I think our local paper was looking here on something, maybe the DeVan search. People got quoted I think. It was something SAR related anyway. I decided to be more careful, but sometimes I lose it like anybody else.

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 8, 2010 - 02:30pm PT
Here's a link to the report in the Coast Reporter, a weekly paper from the Sechelt, where Tom Bennett seems to have been from.
http://www.coastreporter.net/article/20100405/SECHELT0101/304059997/-1/sechelt/area-climber-found-dead-on-california-mountain
The last issue was from April 5th. Sechelt is on the Sunshine Coast, just northwest of Vancouver, on the far side of the mouth of Howe Sound/fjord.

The Coast Reporter doesn't seem to have an obituaries section, and none has appeared in the Vancouver Sun yet - the main broadsheet paper here.
Mike Slizewski

Social climber
Yreka, California
Apr 8, 2010 - 04:08pm PT
Hello, everyone. I have received a number of responses to my request to quote from the thread. Thanks to all. Mark Thomas has also contacted me; we will be back in contact later this afternoon. He wants to make sure (and so do I) that I have my facts correct.

I'm on a deadline right now. I will contact each person who has responded to my request individually by early evening. Sorry for the delay.
bergbryce

Mountain climber
East Bay, CA
Apr 8, 2010 - 06:35pm PT
Since you are a climber and I assume you will write this tastefully from a climbers perspective and have Marks blessing, you've got my permission.
I appreciate being contacted too. Stand up job.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Apr 8, 2010 - 07:23pm PT
I've been so busy that I can't say too much right now, but I did want to post a couple of quick responses.

First, thanks everyone for being so supportive of me, Tom, and Tom's loved ones. Also, I really appreciate the respectful way in which you've talked about the events without complete or accurate information. It really is best to wait until all the facts are in, and even now I'd say they aren't since I still haven't spoken much publicly.

Also, as a quick comment about SAR not going very high on the mountain due to the winds. I think they did a great job attempting to go as high as they did and I appreciate how much they put themselves at risk to attempt to reach Tom and I.

When downclimbing Sunday night the winds were strong enough that they nearly blew me off the mountain several times. e.g. several gusts hitting me on my head caused my crampons to blow out, and several times the wind caught my pack and used it to nearly swing me out of my front-point & dagger downclimbing stance, as 2-3 points of contact blew out before I could catch myself. In the dark and high winds, I couldn't even tell which way was down and on flatter ground I had to use my compass to guess where the fall line went. Not really conducive conditions for rescuers to head into.

On several occasions I tried to reverse my path against the wind, but I could barely backtrack more than 20 ft before becoming exhausted. Eric White, one of the SAR climbing rangers, told me that the Monday morning winds at 7,000 ft blew him over in his skis several times. At that time I had only made it as low as 8,700 ft where I made a snow cave. So basically, the winds were very very bad. Also, as I found out how to get off the mountain in those conditions, I learned to appreciate how much harder it is to climb against those winds versus with them, which is why I'd say it was much more reasonable for me to climb down the mountain to SAR than for them to climb up to me. Definitely a good lesson in the importance of self-reliance in mountaineering and why you shouldn't expect to be able to be rescued in bad weather, even on Mt Shasta.

 Mark

--- by the way, if any media folk are wanting to lift quotes here, please do me the courtesy of asking first as Mike Slizewski is. This is a public forum for discussion, NOT a blog, so to me common sense and courtesy says that I am talking in public, but I am not necessarily speaking publicly. You have done the courtesy of asking to take photos and film from a distance when I declined interviews, and I'd say that same spirit of courtesy applies here.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 10, 2010 - 10:07pm PT
There is an obituary for Tom Bennett in today's Vancouver Sun.
http://www.legacy.com/can-vancouver/Obituaries.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=141659359
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Apr 11, 2010 - 12:30am PT
thanks MH...

there will be memorials and parties in Tom's honor in BC this week, and then more parties here in CA in Tom's memory the following week. Lots on the agenda.

PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Apr 11, 2010 - 08:20pm PT
A memorial photo album for Tom
SoyAnarchisto

Boulder climber
Fremont, CA
Apr 12, 2010 - 10:33am PT
My condolences to the friends and family.

'Greg
criscokid

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, Utah
Apr 12, 2010 - 11:59am PT
I am glad that most of the replies have been positive well wishes. It seems that many use the forums as a place to vent frustrations, criticize, and second guess. Its the mountains people! Stuff happens. Even to the best of climbers.
Nobody would second guess some of the big names that have lost their lives in the pursuit of their passion (It's not important whom I am referring to). We all just need to learn from others tragedies and realize that anything someone else experiences can also happen to us.
I send my well wishes out to the families and climbers involved, and hope that happiness finds them.
Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 3, 2010 - 06:22pm PT
Mark (pellucid wombat) took some time and wrote up his accounts and reflections on what happened on Mt. Shasta. You can find them on SummitPost:


Trip Report
Against All Hope: Life, Partnership, and Loss on Mt. Shasta

Articles
Why Tom and I Climbed and Why I'll Continue to Climb
Reflections and Lessons from Mt. Shasta

Photo Albums
Tom Bennett Memorial Album
Mt Shasta North Side - March 2010
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Jun 3, 2010 - 07:52pm PT
The above link is a very thougtful and detailed report with pictures that begin to illustrate the beauty of Shasta as well as the challenges.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Jun 3, 2010 - 08:07pm PT
Thanks for posting the links Phil.

I read the summit post one.

A harrowing tale that I hope people keep in mind when headed into the hills.
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Jun 4, 2010 - 08:05pm PT
wow.
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