Rappelling El Capitan


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Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 13, 2013 - 08:53pm PT
Now that is an interesting comment. One I tend to agree with. No one goes out climbing or anything else and plans to need assistance from 911. Most of the time when it happens one can analyze and see various errors that could have been avoided . often errors the participants were well aware of sitting at home before the trip.

Well holy sh#t .. we just discovered that to err is human. What a remarkable insight.

Being that we all make mistakes we know better than to do (sometimes we are lucky and it doesnt kill us).. it stands to reason that we all should be pretty glad to pitch in on a society that helps out and can save our lives if needed.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Feb 13, 2013 - 09:57pm PT
As it turns out, I guess all rescues are billed to the victim. Just got a bill for $900 for my rescue in September. I thought they only billed in the case of incompetence or unnecessary calls. Live and learn.

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 11:22pm PT
As it turns out, I guess all rescues are billed to the victim. Just got a bill for $900 for my rescue in September. I thought they only billed in the case of incompetence or unnecessary calls. Live and learn.

I don't believe you get billed for a rescue unless it involves a transport to the hospital. Otherwise the state pays for it.

Does anyone know if it is legal for an officer to write a violation in another officers name? If that is legal how can it be known who actually issued it?

Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2013 - 01:08am PT
Credit: Googlymoogly

I got this in the mail today form John Dill.

A few months ago I got a missed call from a number I didn't recognize and a few minutes later got a call from someone else saying that someone from YOSAR was trying to reach me. I had no idea what they could be trying to reach me for so urgently. I called back and talked to John Dill. He explained that he wanted to set up a time to talk about what happened and that he had some gear he thought might be mine. He described what he had to me and I told him what was mine. He said he would be happy to ship it out to me. I protested for a while but since it would have been trash otherwise, I gave in and told him my address. After a few weeks, I figured I wouldn't get the package but sure enough it just arrived via insured mail with a note apologizing for the delay from John Dill himself.

I just thought it was a really classy move considering the fact that he could have easily trashed the gear without a second thought.

Jun 8, 2013 - 04:53pm PT


Hobart, Australia
Jun 8, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
Just came across this thread. Ho-man!

This kind of stuff was often proactively managed back in the 80's. In Camp 4, resident sages would be telling it like it is, keeping numbies in line, i.e.: http://www.fishproducts.com/supertopo/nose_rap.mov

Walt would have probably also had something to say to redirect the misadventurers...

Bob the Aid Man was the only one I knew who discussed and planned harebrained ideas and actually pulled them off.

No offence to those involved, but it does sound like a case of inexperience where better judgement should have prevailed. I think there is plenty of info available that makes it clear how to rappel with packs and re-ascend ropes that would logically lead to the need to know these skills prior to embarking on rappelling one of Earth's biggest cliffs.

Edit: To Chris-- Might be the "other guy's" fault as inferred, but a team is a team, it seems you should accept the NPS consequence--it does seem like it was your idea--and clearly you have some responsibility in taking an inexperienced partner (and sending him down the rope first).


Big Wall climber
Bend Oregon
Jun 8, 2013 - 05:50pm PT
Oh man, John. You missed out. The thread was a real time epic. From start to finish, the guy seems to have taken it well though. By the way, do you have beta on rapping tricks of the trade? Haha.

Crazy Bat

Sport climber
Birmingham, AL & Sweanee, TN
Jun 8, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
There was a fatality involving a group of cavers in the 80's. I dont know about one in the 90's? The eighties group was using single rope techniques. L know folks that were there. After that accident very long rappel racks were invented.

I have been to Yosomite with two groups that rappeled El Cap from the diving board. One in 04 and another in 2010. I plan to come with a group that will be doing it again in July. They train hard and practice with weighted rope to simulate the conditions at the top.

A fellow in our group wanted to rappel the nose, rock climber style like Chris attempted. His partner bailed. Smart girl. After reading this stuff I am really glad they did not attempt it.

See yall there.

Jun 8, 2013 - 10:14pm PT

Rappelling is easy.

Just clip rope and slide down ......

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Jun 8, 2013 - 11:41pm PT
Do you have a 3.300 foot rope I could borrow, Werner?
Actually 2 ropes, Werner, so I can pull it when I'm finished rapping.

Topic Author's Reply - Aug 4, 2013 - 05:51pm PT
I haven’t checked this thread for a while and haven’t seen these last few posts. Here is a final update.

As stated before, my partner got a $1000 with a year probation. I tried to argue mine down a number of ways, including showing that $1000 was about 30% of my yearly income (student) but the prosecutor wasn’t willing to budge. I negotiated the deal so I could do 80% community service and it will be kept of my record entirely. Essentially it is a deal between the prosecutor and I that she won’t continue to prosecute as long as I fulfill the “donation” to the mountain safety fund. After waiting a whole month the prosecutor finally got me a copy of the agreement with her signature. Extremely unprofessional in my opinion but at least I have a copy now stating the terms.

I have kept in touch with Pete since he wanted to know what was going on and he asked that I let everyone know a few things. First, I was able to see the NPS file on the incident and they had copies of everything I said on here, and they absolutely tried to use it against me. Second, I was also able to see my “statement of probable cause” and it was far from accurate. It claimed that I admitted to officer Hendy that I was guilty (as I said in my report, she assumed guilt before asking me a single question). She also claims I didn’t have the gear to rescue my partner (which she couldn’t have known one way or another since my partner was the only one to have his gear searched by anyone at all). She also included a lot of arbitrary facts like the number of rappel stations on the Nose which also wasn’t accurate. She states the rockfall risk again despite no parties below and describes lightning as a risk despite a lack of any lightning even close to El Cap (They all were timing it on top of El Cap and stated that it was only moving farther away).

As for cost, the official price was about $10,000 for the helicopter and another $10,000 for everything else.

Now that it has been a year exactly today, it is funny the things I remember now and how my views have changed. In some ways for the better of my case and in some ways for the worse.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Aug 4, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
What, you're saying the guvmint played fast and loose with the facts? SHOCKING!

Aug 4, 2013 - 07:45pm PT
Apparently you didn't know how many rap stations were on the nose either.


Aug 4, 2013 - 07:49pm PT
So googly, are you saying that the NPS gave you a bad rap?
Ian Jewell

Aug 4, 2013 - 07:53pm PT

supertaco transcripts in the prosecution file , wow , talk about unreliable testimony.



any private emails in there ? , cell phone transcripts ? Chongo surveillance reports ?

which supertacoan looks the most like Edward Snowden ? - THAT CHAIN LEMPAY DOOD !!



Trad climber
San Diego
Aug 4, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
There's a fine line between incompetence and knowingly accepting risk. I've been guilty of both when things blew up. Luckily I didn't need a rescue.
Ian Jewell

Aug 4, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
" Apparently you didn't know how many rap stations were on the nose either. "


they had to call an expert in to testify since no one in the court room had any idea
lawyers and judges and bailiffs standing around looking at the supertopo guide book scratching their heads.


Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Aug 4, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
Everything you say can and WILL be used against you. oh and cops lie .. they are TRAINED to.

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Aug 4, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
So what did you actually learn after experiencing this "situation", Chris ?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 5, 2013 - 11:17am PT
I think Chris is a real Standup Guy to come here and tell everyone exactly what happened. Kind of like a confessing your sins to the entire world, and then being willing to accept the consequences. That takes a lot more balls than climbing or rapping El Cap.

And like any "accident report", giving others the opportunity to read it and learn from it can help prevent similar future problems.

"Everything you say can and WILL be used against you. oh and cops lie .. they are TRAINED to."

It was disturbing for me to learn that not only are cops trained to lie, and that they are allowed to lie to you in order to get you to say something stupid to incriminate yourself, but it is against the law for you to lie to them!

Accordingly, the only response is to SAY NOTHING. And you Merricans really need to be aware of your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and exercise them.

Anyway, good luck, Chris. Maybe you should consider starting on El Cap the old fashioned way, at the bottom and working your way up? Come help me fix some pitches this fall. I still don't have any climbing partners lined up, and would like to do a couple walls - one starting mid-September and another starting early October. Need to get my 50th El Cap route done!
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