California Crags That Need A Litter


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eliot carlsen

Social climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 13, 2012 - 06:41pm PT
What crags need one? I am looking to purchase one or more for crags that are in the most need. Preferably in the Bay Area/Tahoe/Western Sierra areas. Also looking at crags with rugged tough approaches where litters would be desired. What are your thoughts?

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 06:54pm PT
tioga cliff in lee vining canyon could benefit by having one. its a sport crag thats getting more popular, just east of the boarder of yosemite. i was trying to figure out a way to get one, every time i went down there this year. it could make the difference

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Nov 13, 2012 - 06:59pm PT
Just don't leave 'em in the mountains all winter long, or this might happen to 'em:

Credit: apogee
eliot carlsen

Social climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 13, 2012 - 07:01pm PT
Thanks Dan, that's a good suggestion that I had forgotton about.

Looks like those litters need to be trashed altogether and upgraded. Where were those?

Edit: I see now. I was going to guess either Tahquitz or Suicide.

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 07:09pm PT
eliot, if you need any help at all let me know, i have been doing anchor repair down there the last few years and would be way into it. there is a good protected overhang just before you get to the bolted routes

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
I donated a stokes basket to Williamson Rock back in the late 1980's I am sure it's still there behind the pillar next to the Waterfall Wall. It does not look like Williamson will be opening anytime soon so if you can think of a crag that needs it you are more than welcome to get it, just be careful not to step on any frogs.

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Nov 13, 2012 - 07:42pm PT
Depending on the area, they will get used a lot. I was surprised to see that the local SAR at Smith uses the chicken wire litters all the time. WHat is really helpful is also having a backboard with the litter. You can improvise c-collars pretty easily, but a backboard is much tougher. That would also help enormously. I have seen long delays in packaging patients as we were awiting the arrival of a backboard while the litter was on site.

Trad climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Nov 13, 2012 - 07:44pm PT
I have a Talon II collapsable litter. PM me

Nov 13, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
A GERMA is a hundred times better than any backboard for litter carry outs.

We use the GERMA's all the time and never use a backboard.

Social climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
Trash Can Rock. It's winter mountaineering season and I know some Euros are putting up a route by B1 and Cranny, capsule style. Gonna be a hectic winter with the government lowering the Permit to 10K...
eliot carlsen

Social climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2012 - 12:43am PT
Awesome link Werner. Thanks for that. Which litter specifically is YOSAR using on that site? Would one of those litters be of more use and benefit than say a standard one with a backboard? Cost may also be an issue with one of those if, say, for the price of one Germa, we could provide ten crags with litters.

And as to my question, so far, we have one vote for Tioga Cliff.

Thanks Dan. Also, more suggestions would be much appreciated. I'll get in touch when we move forward, so far I'm just compiling a list of crags that would need litters.


Mountain climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:49am PT
Lovers Leap if there isn't a cache there already.

I'm also interested to know which of those vaccum splints Yosar is using instead of a backboard.
eliot carlsen

Social climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2012 - 12:55am PT
I was also wondering about Lover's Leap. Good suggestion. Anyone know if there is already one there?

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:57am PT
High Peaks at Pinnacles?
Nate D

San Francisco
Nov 14, 2012 - 01:17am PT
Shuteye? Really? Who even goes there.

Would be good to compile and make public a list of areas where current litters already exist. Or is this to be found somewhere already, but only for SAR folks to know? Surely guides must know. Please excuse my ignorance on the matter.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 14, 2012 - 08:22am PT
Sierra Buttes lookout.
Trinity Arettes

Out of state, but by the base of the Durrance, Devils Tower, if there isn't one already

lawrence kansas
Nov 14, 2012 - 03:49pm PT
There used to be one at the Leap leaning against the boulder on the Pony Express Trail. Not there anymore. Maybe some meth head took it to the recycler. If any place in Tahoe needs one it's the Leap.

Maybe one at Sugarloaf would be good too.

Big Wall climber
San Diego
Nov 14, 2012 - 03:51pm PT
+1 for the leap. Maybe sugarloaf too

Sport climber
Nov 14, 2012 - 04:55pm PT
+1 for Sugarloaf.

Leave one up the south face. If it's an eye sore, you can put it in that 25 foot tall bolted chimney.

Or below Farley.
ana dablam

mother earth
Nov 14, 2012 - 05:58pm PT
Is the one in lee vining canyon good to go for this ice season?

It gets some use.

Pees on beard to seek mates.
Nov 16, 2012 - 12:35am PT
Major Edit (to, now removed, previous comments):

When I first started thinking about this, all of two days ago, it's pretty obvious I didn't entirely jump on board with the idea. Maybe I'd been reading too much Thoreau, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." ("Walking") Or maybe that Bachar quote, as relayed to me via Ivo Ninov, about James' J-tree accident, "The dumb ones die" just can't quite escape my psyche. Or maybe I just didn't get the idea in the first place.

Now, though, it seems my hesitations have been well considered. Though I still caution against littering the backcountry, I'm all for the responsible depositing of said product at popular crags (especially those likely to attract accident prone). And perhaps the matter becomes more urgent when such areas are not within screaming distance of world-class SAR folk. In such areas, rife with people but (perhaps) short on wilderness medicine expertise, an easy-to-use rescue basket could be quite handy. Which is all a long way of saying, I may have changed my mind in some regards to my previous comments.

Which isn't to say my hesitations don't remain. After all, the more we afford people the opportunity of rescue and the perception of safety that ease of extraction and contact with urban areas promote, the more we limit and remove ourselves from the value of wild experience. To me, climbing has always been fundamentally rooted in this sort of experience, so I must constantly question the role that technologies (cell phones, rescue beacons, or even less advanced and seemingly trivial items) play in our adventures. That said, after several in-depth conversations today with the crew behind this proposal, I can honestly say their intentions are justified by the needs of some less-wild crags.

Here's my working list: Pinnacles (both east and west side), Lover's Leap, Red Rocks (close enough to CA and several locations there could use one), Buttermilks (assuming Doug's approval--which is as close as we'll get to Smokes'--why not?), and possibly Donner Summit.

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Nov 16, 2012 - 01:24am PT
Castle Crags?

Pees on beard to seek mates.
Nov 16, 2012 - 11:26am PT
Hey Lambone,

Castle Crags has been on and off my short list as well. One thing I've been wondering: how well visited is that area? I know it offers quite a bit more easier multi-pitch, and it's fairly removed from SAR and definitive care, but does it attract a fair number of people? Seems to me, it would be hard to justify a litter in an area where there's not enough folk to be able to carry it.

Nov 16, 2012 - 12:26pm PT
Be careful when handling an injured patient.

You can do even more damage to them by mishandling them unless you know or assume the full extent of their injuries.

Proper stabilization of the injured before transferring that person into a litter and then transporting them out is important.

A few years ago some euro had a ground fall at the Cookie Cliff here in Yosemite and his partners carried him to the road.

He died. We do not know if it was due to him being carried.

He had serious injury to his neck and spine.

If in doubt get proper help first ......
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Nov 16, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
I was thinking Castle Crags as well.
It does not see the volumne of activity that other areas do
but the approaches are long and steep and there has been some
development of more serious routes over the past few years.

Nov 16, 2012 - 12:40pm PT
On steep talus and scree know how to rig a litter with a belay to minimize and help the litter attendants provide stability.

In terrain with big boulders know how to use a guide line to maneuver thru this type of difficult terrain with a litter.

Santa Cruz
Nov 16, 2012 - 01:25pm PT
I second Werner, carrying a litter is not easy and is downright unsafe with too few people. Unattended litters for everyone to use could easily breed unsafe practices by folks who are not properly trained in patient care. But in some locations where definitive care I hours away the risk may be warranted for having litters placed.

My second concern is impact to wilderness settings. Unattended objects can be an eyesore and encourage an illusion of safety when a necessary understanding of the danger of wilderness and safety practices is more important.

Also many of the locations for litters that have been proposed are likely to be denied by land managers at places like pinnacles. I would advise seeking input from land mangers and SAR agencies about where your money could be used more effectively. Maybe you give directly to SAR.

I imagine many land managers would say trail building and erosion prevention is a bigger issue. I'm pretty sure that you guys who are proposing this work for one of the big Bay Area climbing gyms. To me the biggest impact of gyms has been erosion and i think an investment in mitigating these impacts would be much more worthwhile.

This year Yosemite Climbing Ranger Ben Doyle oraganized a massive effort of volunteers and climber stewards to work on trail building and climver education in Yosemite. They worked on 12 trails and did amazing work assisted by proffesional trail crews. And they just scratched the surface. This was sponsored in part by Chevron... an oil company! For example wouldn't you rather see your gym behind a new descent trail from El Capitan that mitigates years of natural resource damage and is much safer.

I think litters are an eyesore and seeing a litter with a climbing gyms name on it would just tell me you dont educate your members in a more holistic sense. Maybe you could also spend time educating your members about how to be safe in the climbing world and leave less of a trace.

My twin brother's laundry room
Nov 16, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
Jailhouse! If I punt off my proj again I'll be in such a state of tears that I'll need to be carried out.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 16, 2012 - 08:55pm PT
I agree with the Buttermilk, since you asked. Not a lot of accidents there as far as I know, though I broke my back there and it would have been handy then. A litter could hang on the new outhouse as soon as it actually gets built (that time is getting closer!).

Temple Crag comes to mind. It's getting a lot more traffic, and deserves it. We once improvised one for a rescue off the Sun Ribbon. Lowering down 200' of vertical rock and 500' of 45-degree steep snow to where the chopper could pluck it out. Saved Peter's life. A Stokes basket would have helped a lot.

Just saw one at the Needles a few weeks ago, and it felt reassuring so far from help, though the nylon rigging was rat-chewed and useless.

Every time I see a litter in the mountains it feels both reassuring and sobering. Can't speak for anyone else, but to me it's a good reminder to step ah-so-carefully...

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Nov 17, 2012 - 01:25am PT

Nov 16, 2012 - 08:26am PT
Hey Lambone,

Castle Crags has been on and off my short list as well. One thing I've been wondering: how well visited is that area? I know it offers quite a bit more easier multi-pitch, and it's fairly removed from SAR and definitive care, but does it attract a fair number of people? Seems to me, it would be hard to justify a litter in an area where there's not enough folk to be able to carry it.

Well, it's a sparsely populated area. There is some recent activity amongst the Shasta locals, and a new guidebook is soon to be published that will bring attention to recent route development.

9 out of 10 visitors to the area climb one route, Cosmic Wall a 5.7 with sparse protection. A fall on that route would most likely nescisitate a litter, maybe even a body bag.

Probly the best bet would be to contact the local Shasta/Dunsmuir Sherrifs Dept Search and Rescue for input.

I made the recommendation because hiking a injured climber out of there is a major chore. It's more of a wilderness climbing area then a roadside crag. A friend of mine smashed her ankle bad (belaying of all things) and her partner had an epic evacuating her. I guess a litter wouldn't have helped much...

Nov 17, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
Just wondering, is Adamame correct in assuming you are working for a bay area climbing gym? And is there an intent to have a gym's name on these litters? Either way, I agree that it would be best to contact the land manager first, and the local SAR or sherrif's office. They'd have valuable input on what equipment is most needed, where to place it, etc.

Good on ya for the efforts!
eliot carlsen

Social climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 16, 2012 - 02:29am PT
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. And thanks to Werner and Doug Robinson for chiming in with their experience and thoughts.

I do work for Planet Granite as everyone probably knows.

To answer some questions:

Sempervirens we absolutely plan on working with local land managers and/or SAR teams if they are in place. I came here first looking for suggestions for areas so we could focus our efforts on the locations relevant to the greater community and where they are most needed.

And for sure, a litter is only as useful as the people using it, but if it helps in any way or saves even one life, I think its worth it.

Planet Granite has a "$1/member/month" program, so this would come from funding we commit to climbing, community, and environmental organizations each year. Through this program we've given tens of thousands of dollars to different groups over the years. Here's a list of groups we gave to last year,
and in 2011,

Adamame - Planet Granite helped fund part of that same trail work project with the Yosemite Conservancy and Ben Doyle this last summer.

One reason litters came up is someone we know was badly hurt at Suicide and it was due to a litter that he was able to get out. He was carried out on one of the uncomfortable litters in the photo above. We just want to help.

Anyway, thanks all for the suggestions! When more is finalized, Planet Granite will post a list well still need help.

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 16, 2012 - 02:36am PT
Santee for sure Eliot. Wild, remote, dangerous.
eliot carlsen

Social climber
San Francisco
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 16, 2012 - 02:52am PT
Haha! Good call BVB, Santee is about as wild and dangerous as it gets.
Jerry Dodrill

Dec 16, 2012 - 09:44am PT
Having carried people out at both Sonora pass and Mt St Helena, I will throw those places into the suggestion list.
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