Rappelling El Capitan

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Googlymoogly

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
The officer didn't actually write the ticket but had another office write it in her name (which sounds sketchy to me). This is the conversation when she gave me the ticket, "Your more experienced so this is your fault. You put a lot of people in danger because of rockfall potential. You are being cited for creating a hazardous condition and it will have a mandatory appearance in the valley." She walked away then. The guy who wrote the ticket was at least reasonable and actually corrected her by telling me I could in fact get the appearance moved if I wanted if I just called up the CVB in a few weeks. It was obvious she was getting enjoyment out of issuing the ticket.

I was surprised she specifically mentioned rockfall since A) nobody was below us on the route and B) I assume she will be quick to change the story in court.

An article on her says she "rappels to victims" but maybe that means being lowered. She was definitely not a member of the rescue team though.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Feb 9, 2013 - 08:11pm PT
Rockfall? That seems to be a rather specious claim. How is rappelling - or getting stuck on rappel - any more likely to create rockfall than climbing?

And if there was nobody beneath you, how could you be creating a rockfall risk?

If that's her case, it makes no sense.
Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
Feb 9, 2013 - 09:50pm PT

Why?

What did he do wrong?

His partner called for a rescue he didn't ......

Have to respect your opinion WBraun. You would know better than just about anyone.

Personally, I feel that if I was in the same situation, I would assume some liability for partnering with an incompetent and making a choice to RAP THE NOSE. Seems like Chris was a part of the situation here and $1000 seems fairly inexpensive considering the apparent cost of the rescue. Fighting the government has never really worked out for me so maybe I am a bit jaded. To me $1000 bucks seems like a pretty good deal for being alive.
WBraun

climber
Feb 9, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
Snowmassguy -- "Fighting the government has never really worked out for me ..."

You don't fight the govt. in a case like this.

You present the truth of what actually happened ......

If you can't do that in a systematic way to make the judge see that you are not liable for the said punishment then you might as well just pay the fine.


Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 10, 2013 - 05:55am PT
I have never understood the fuddyduddy urge some seem to have, to slam this guy for the nerve, the NERVE OF DAT GUY!!!1111 to rap El Cap.

F*#K!

How DARE he PRESUME to rap EL CAP!!!111111

As usual, Werner was right from the get go.

DMT

Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
Feb 10, 2013 - 09:09am PT
How DARE he PRESUME to rap EL CAP!!!111111

If this party was an EXPERIENCED group , the idea to rap would not be unreasonable. Under the same logic, if I was n00b and got stuck half way up the Nose because my partner was incompetent, would I be responsible for rescue costs? Wondering what the precedence is here.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 10, 2013 - 11:22am PT
You present the truth of what actually happened ......

If you can't do that in a systematic way to make the judge see that you are not liable for the said punishment

A true statement if applied to the government. Burden of proof is on the prosecutor, not on the defendant. Government puts a witness on the stand to make their case. It has to be a witness who saw first hand what happened and can testify as to the fact and can testify as to the facts that rose to disorderly conduct. Could be a series of witnesses.

If the prosecutor can not make a good case, beyond a reasonable doubt then Chris wins without even putting on a defense, as in the OJ Simpson trial. If the LEO cited rockfall as the hazard then I would suspect that LEO is not an experienced climber. They are off to a bad start on their prosecution. Granted, they will certainly have a different story at the time of trial.

A full blown trial costs money and time. Just because you can win the battle does not mean you can win the war.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 13, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
If this party was an EXPERIENCED group , the idea to rap would not be unreasonable. Under the same logic, if I was n00b and got stuck half way up the Nose because my partner was incompetent, would I be responsible for rescue costs? Wondering what the precedence is here.

If one pays a fine they ALL rescued parties should pay a fine. Experts who need rescuing are actually far more culpable than the noobs.

DMT
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 13, 2013 - 05:53pm 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.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Feb 13, 2013 - 06:57pm 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.
Googlymoogly

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2013 - 08:22pm 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?
Googlymoogly

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 10:08pm 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.
orle

climber
Jun 8, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
...




























deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Jun 8, 2013 - 02:21pm 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).


Da-Veed

Big Wall climber
Bend Oregon
Jun 8, 2013 - 02:50pm 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 - 06:56pm 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.
WBraun

climber
Jun 8, 2013 - 07:14pm PT
Meh

Rappelling is easy.

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

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Jun 8, 2013 - 08:41pm 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.
Googlymoogly

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 4, 2013 - 02:51pm 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.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Aug 4, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
What, you're saying the guvmint played fast and loose with the facts? SHOCKING!
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