help climbers visciously attacked in Peru


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Trad climber
estes park
Jan 7, 2013 - 12:48am PT
Thanks for the kind words Crimper!

Here is one last wild conjecture and thoughts about what happened and then I have to move on.

Some here and on other sites completely reject that this happened. Based on what I have read, and my own experiences living in Mexico I believe it did. Here is one way it could have easily gone down:

The three gringos drive up to camp for the night at what looks like a deserted spot. Tired they sit down and break out some beer. Half mile a way, up the hill, some villagers, also having a beer after a long day see an odd flashy truck pull on to their land. Having had some recent problems with thieves (maybe horse?) two of them elect to go down and see what is going on. Despite their simmering anger over recent events they try to stay friendly and greet the gringos not knowing who they are or where they came from. They only notice they are foreign which just makes them more suspicious. The gringos start saying something like this, "campo aqui?" to which the villagers quizically reply "Si, este es un campo, claro." All seems good to the gringos, but of course it is not at all.

Back at the village the villagers spread the word the thieves are back, and El Presidente (the Mexicans love nicknames, is it the same in Peru?) gets involved because he is responsible for this village given the police never drop by. Fuming they walk down to the gringos who, being foreign, probably only makes them more deserving of some sort of questioning. The mood is changing and the gringos can feel it. Someone logically demands papers and the gringos think, partly because of the devolving mood, that this is an extortion attempt. They refuse. The villagers see them as more and more suspicious by the minute because of this and get angrier. Scared and getting into flight mode the gringos push their way back to the car which only angers the villagers more who now absolutely must see them detained (they are after all acting guilty). The rest is history with a 10 minute chase seeming like 30 because they are terrified. The gringos experience frontier apprehension and justice, El Presidente realizes his mistake but is unable to convince some of the rest,and the most cultural of cultural experiences results.

On a side note, 20-30 people does not usually a village make (think 100). The romantic in me likes to think a few of the locals did indeed wait this one out, or maybe it got lost in translation that some pleaded their innocence but maybe I am wrong. It doesn't really take an ugly American to have this happen, although granted the three fit the bill to a certain degree and it did not help them.

I really feel for these three despite the bad decisions they may have made. If the story checks out they were, and continue to be innocent of what happened to them. America seems to have taken a turn for the worse lately, and it hit really close to home for me recently. Three months ago I would be joining in the chorus of naysayers. It sucks imagining the horror of the last moments on earth of someone you know, I know I am not alone here. I visited Fero's bar and Grill in Denver two weeks after my friends murder. Staring inside the window I got a strong wiff of a sickly sweet smell, burnt flesh, and I can't get it out of my mind. Did these three almost travel a similar path?

I wish these three the best with what they have to endure. I hope they make the right decision with their money when their lives are stabilized. Give them time. Given the supposed wealth of empathy we have gained in our travels, are we not still being the same old impatient judgmental Americans at heart when dealing with our own?


Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 7, 2013 - 12:51am PT
Only 471 posts...

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Jan 7, 2013 - 01:01am PT
Then don't post t*r.

I did the opposite. I stayed out of this until I've seen enough information from both sides to want to post.

Trad climber
estes park
Jan 7, 2013 - 01:06am PT
Me too, interested to see how this pans out, sorry to keep stirring the pot.

Trad climber
estes park
Jan 7, 2013 - 01:11am PT
Its a little more logical and isn't quite as obviously biased towards evil Americans as the expatperu thing was. That was obvious conjecture too, and you know it.

Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jan 7, 2013 - 01:22am PT
My name is Jennifer Lynne Wolfrom. I am a US citizen, a resident of the state of Wyoming, ... my brother (Joseph Palmer Wolfrom III), and my sister in law (Meghan Moore Doherty).


#1. Americans DON'T use their middle names. We keep them secret and usually don't like them.

#2. We don't bother telling our citizenship. We just assume anyone reading with think we are Americans.

I could go on and on.

As far as these hoaxes go, this one is very well prepared and very well written. They have probably made out pretty well for their effort. I expect this whole thing was put up by some clever Nigerians.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 7, 2013 - 01:26am PT
But, Spidey, many Nigerians are educated in England and can be excused such
excesses in the pursuit of gravitas.

Social climber
Jan 7, 2013 - 02:01am PT
Not a hoax.

Nice work, pat. Your version of events is probably very, very close.

Now in a local Peruvian newspaper, though not exactly front-page news:

Google's translation:

A group of American tourists was attacked by several residents of the rural community of Pallca, in the district of Ocongate Quispicanchi province, Cusco, the night of December 29.

The correspondent of The Trade Area, Ralph Zapata, reported that the Department of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Cusco confirmed the beating from information from Ocongate police station, but said that did not enter any formal complaint at the above address .

Apparently, tourists entered the community, were not identified and there were problems with the language. Farmers have mistaken the rustlers.

One side of the story is told by Jennifer Lynne Wolfrom, one of the assaulted, in a blog. She noticed that other people are brutally beaten Palmer Joseph Doherty Wolfrom and Meghan Moore.

According to chronicles, were also stripped of their documents and belongings valued at thousands of dollars. The publication says it all happened after they tried to park your vehicle.

He claims that, without further explanation, the unit was locked and suddenly began to rain stones. Subsequently, although the occupants abandoned the truck, the persecution continued.

"There were at least 30 people and chased us throwing stones [...] We whipped and beaten for several hours between interrogation sessions," he says. It is not known if people arrested.

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Jan 7, 2013 - 02:10am PT
I can't find Palca, near Ocongate, on any maps. But here's Ocongate, and the incident is said to have occurred within a few miles of Ocongate.

The place is spectacular; follow this link for a higher resolution version on Panoramio: Ocongate, by jad-ash

The area has an important tourist industry with mountain rescue, tourism development officers, etc. I doubt the women and children went out in the rain at night just to start trouble; there are a few missing pieces of the story.

Refusing to show papers to the village leader, who is vested with law enforcement powers, was a serious escalation. Choosing to run under those circumstances will get you in trouble just about anywhere.

Some social skills and gifts would have probably made for a much happier evening.

Jan 7, 2013 - 02:20am PT
I should have responded 150 posts ago, but so be it. I'm in complete agreement that we don't know all the facts about this scenario. I don't have any secret knowledge and I don't think that I implied in any way that I did. I mainly restated information that we 'have' (as in, have, for better or worse, been given; feel free to add to it in any way as I'm sure I missed at least a couple of salient details). Arrogance wasn't intended either on my part, but maybe it's a tonal thing? I don't know.

Anyway, the three Americans have made some questionable choices but I guess my main point is: we can't assume that because everything doesn't add up exactly how we would want it to indicates they're perpetrating a clandestine heist via helpers on the internet. They actually do have a travel blog that, at least temporally and geographically, sets the stage for the event in question. I definitely believe there is a non-zero chance that this may be the case, however; we just don't have the necessary info to say for certain. I don't think the 'local perspective' given upstream is any more or less verifiable here than the original narrative, but similarly it can't be entirely discounted either. Americans do often act opprobriously whilst abroad so nothing of that kind can be ruled out.

I think it's far more likely that reality lies somewhere in-between, that these people made a serious error and that they may even have known it at the time. The 'correct' narrative is probably a combination of perspectives, some of which we just haven't seen yet. One thing that just doesn't bother me is that they are receiving money, most likely from people that they know: there's certainly precedent for this kind of action. Some might question why they should donate to help an injured climber, for instance; it's all about target audience and I think even the fund drive in question here is targeted most towards people who don't mind donating $50-100. Of course I agree that fundraising should ideally be undertaken in the most transparent way possible but then again I'm not sure there's anything actually being obfuscated here unless the whole thing is a fraud. Without verifiable information, it's hard to come to any conclusion without skipping a few crucial steps. In terms of 'what I would do': I'm not sure if I would solicit funds other than, perhaps, to secure my return home. But to reiterate, unless we find information to the contrary, it wasn't the victims themselves who solicited funds; the original post was alleged to be part of a statement intended for some official capacity and the list of belongings was not meant as a gift registry (although it does somewhat conveniently double as such). I don't know that I would accept money to replace my stolen belongings with the knowledge that losing money and things is an objective hazard anywhere I go, but I guess we all need help from time to time. Entitlement is an entrenched problem in our society that I doubt we can solve here and now.

I'm still interested in seeing how this pans out. Maybe there will be some kind of information forthcoming that will flesh out the story a bit more. Maybe it will turn out to be a complete hoax! That seems overly bizarre to me, but stranger things have happened. As for the slander here: I suppose that's what the internet is for. I think Ron had it right in that respect. I too am surprised that I linked insight to online forums, although it certainly surfaces here and there amongst all the other flotsam.

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Jan 7, 2013 - 02:36am PT
Drew, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and well worded intentions. However I think you're off base.

There's enough info out there now to make their claims VERY suspect.

"Entitlement is an entrenched problem in our society that I doubt we can solve here and now."

Umm...parking on indigenous folks' land, refusing to give them documentation, pepper spraying locals and trying to bulldoze over locals building're not going to have a positive result from this. They handled this situation in the worst ways possible. Entitlement was a core problem of this incident as it was reported.

mechrist, agreed and you're right
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Jan 7, 2013 - 04:00am PT

Are you related to Krista Goodsitt by any chance?
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Jan 7, 2013 - 06:53am PT
just tends to confirm that the villagers are sticking to their story,

Blahblah, don't you mean travelers?

and also a quick fading of the 15 minutes fame

Happiegrrrl, amen to that

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Jan 7, 2013 - 07:24am PT

What's the point of scouring the Internet for stupid opinions and troll posts and collecting them here?

Jan 7, 2013 - 08:25am PT
What Derrell Licht said.
patrick compton

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 7, 2013 - 08:26am PT
where is the OP. Patrick Compton these days?

Lurking my own post.

Opinions are like a$$holes... everyone on here has one.

Fun to watch. Fascinating how many like to criticize the travelers for their belongings and how they acted. Most people reading this would have taken patagucci sh#t, iPhones and pads and reacted to aggression with fear and responded with aggression, just like they did.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Jan 7, 2013 - 08:27am PT
Slayton and others. Perhaps I myself am guilty of being subjective concerning this issue, and even judgmental. It’s not like I despise these three people. But what gets my goat is the crassness in the way they have been trying to raise funds, and not only for their troubles in Peru.

It seems to me, 'seems' I repeat, that they have been wanting people to pay for their holiday, ie a free camper van, is that true? If there was sponsorship involved, okay, but I wonder…

As for their story, something doesn’t sit right with me.

As I mentioned before, I’d like to hear the other side of the story, if possible.

I posted earlier that if I had the resources that a) I could get someone to look after Jennie to b) travel to Peru to c) find an interpreter/local to d) interview the villagers to e) see what their side of the story is… there just about always are two sides (if not more) to a story.

Not blowing my own horn but I have interviewed presidents and prime ministers, captains of industry, union leaders, celebrities, and just ‘regular’ people. I have always strived to be objective in my interviews. That said I have had (dickhead) editors change my copy to their taste/liking/slant. I am never happy with that. I am an experienced interviewer.

There must be some journalist in Peru who could go to the village and interview the villagers. Perhaps there has been such an interview, but I have yet to find it.

The links by chichalimona explains some

Though my Spanish is very rusty.

My gut feeling tells me that there is more to this story than the three travelers are telling.

Cheers, and safe climbing, wherever you are.


Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Jan 7, 2013 - 08:45am PT

Those first quotes brought to light some interesting original material, particularly Jed's alleged intercepted Facebook messages.

The second ones do in fact illustrate that there are stupid people and trolls on the Internet, but if someone doesn't already know that I don't think there's much point in devoting part of this thread to convincing them.

Just my opinion, though, thanks for explaining!

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Jan 7, 2013 - 08:59am PT
There is an element about the three travelers and their story that reminds me of the inexperienced people who can afford to buy a ticket to climb Everest. They crave the adventure but have no idea what they are really getting into.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Jan 7, 2013 - 09:19am PT
Credit: Don Paul
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