Tahquitz rescue 5-17-2013


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - May 18, 2013 - 10:55am PT
Yesterday my good friend and climbing partner Lucas Dunn passed away on the west face of Tahquitz. I'm going to try to rely the information as I best remember as best I can. There will be plenty of time for commentary of the events but for now I want to provide the community with at least some answers why our son is gone.

I had been living in Idyllwild for the past few weeks and thursday (5-16) was Lucas' last day of school. For those that didn't know him, he was 21 years old, 6 feet tall, bright, and one HELL of a climber. He had led Valhalla at 17 (before he had even led 5.10) and on Friday (5-17) it was going to be his turn to follow me on the Vampire - usually the roles are reversed and I play second fiddle. When we climb we are equal partners, but he is the pro and I am the plebian.

We drove together to Humber park and arrived around 8:30. I only checked my cell phone once, at lunch rock, at 9am. We stretched out for 10-15 minutes. He had a friends graduation to attend that afternoon, which dictated an early start, and we made comments back and forth about the wind and the cold. A typical thing happens in the mornings up there where the wind rakes across the buttresses and exposed slabs as the sun comes across strawberry valley and warms the west face of San Jacinto (or something). I racked up with my gear, he threw his rope on his back, and we began scrambling to the trough. At the base of the first pitch of the Trough I decided to ditch my big clunky hiking shoes - on the extremely odd event I pulled off all 3 crux pitches, I could live with walking down the friction descent barefoot.

We soloed the first pitch of the trough (5.0, which we had done dozens of times - Lucas never considered soloing easy routes a good idea, though I typically would solo a pair of easier climbs after work) then reached the start of the From Bad Traverse ledge system. To fill in those unfamiliar, the West Face Bulge is a wonderful shield of the best granite in the world, starting 1/3 the way up Tahquitz above a gulley. A ledge system, with interspersed moves up to 5.6, cuts its way across it.

As we moved from the trough to the FBT (from bad traverse), I distinctly remember thinking how loose and dangerous some of the necessary movements you make are. Two days before I was on Super Pooper with another friend, which starts even further on the ledge system, and didn't think twice. for some reason... it felt 'weird.'

A few exposed moves up loose rock get us to the base of the direct start to the Vampire. Lucas anchored to the tree (something I never bother to do, but shows a bit the distinction again in our perception of safety) and before I could psyche myself out I started up the Bat crack. Despite a massive split on my great toe, a slight cold, and it being my 7th day on climbing, I managed to hang my way up the pitch. I built the belay with a single sling 'sliding x' to which I anchored myself and my belay device. This was an anchor Lucas was used to using, but I always had some skepticism on. I called down "Hey is it cool if we anchor off a single sling?" "sure."

Lucas followed my lead - and hiked it. He hadn't climbed since our bishop bouldering trip in early april due to school, where as I had been bumming around climbing 5 days a week. While at the belay, despite wearing a red wool shirt, blue/green polartec hoody and wind jacket I was being blasted by cold wind. We had a silly moment trying to get him past the mantle that gains the belay ledge, because the holds you mantle I was standing on. He crawled between my hobbit legs and clipped in and we had a good chuckle. He congratulated me on the lead, though I had to take on a piece and had followed him on that pitch three times already - it was hardly an impressive achievement, but he was a good friend.

Just as I recommended it was too cold to bother continuing he agreed, saying 'yeah I'm not so pscyhed.' I mentioned something like doing human fright and toproping fright night, a great comfort zone for us and a lazy cragging day we had done a dozen times before.

It wasn't our first time rapping off the Vampire - we got stormed off twice and shut down on pitch 3 once. I rigged the rope through the rap rings, to the middle marker, didn't tie ends (because until yesterday I hardly ever bother) and looked down to see it just barely make the start of the technical climbing, above the low 5th class slab you solo to reach the flake system. As I rapped, I saw a tree to the right (that did not look solid) and the rap anchors for the original start around the corner tha makes the bat crack. I tried two times to pendulum to those anchors, and the second time didn't time my kick right and pendulumed into the corner at a good clip. I was fine, I'm built like a brick, but realized it was a VERY poor decision to try again when I might hurt myself (we were both wearing helmets).

I reached the top of the easy slab, with about 6 inches of slack left. I'm 5.8 on a good day, so figured lucas would have an extra few inches of play. I tied tiny overhands near the end of the rope so he could grab the giant, solid flake that starts the technical climbing while unclipping. Off to the right was a not-so-solid looking block, that one could stand on to get an extra few inches, but it was not ideal looking (the size of a mini-fridge). The flake right in front of me was a 1" to 1 1/2" crack, and all t hose peices were with Lucas. The largest peice I had was a .4 C4. I called up to Lucas (who could both see and hear me) "hey be careful, this rap isn't exactly AMGA approved." At this point climbers below had soloed the trough and were just starting FBT to head over to Super pooper. I unclipped my rap device, and downclimbed off to climbers left to meet the party along the FBT ledge system. The climbers, Darrel and Mike, asked about the start of the route. I recommended to rope up right then and there, because there was (in my memory) a 5.7ish slab move that is mandatory, so if you'd rope up for that might as well rope up right now while you have tree anchors. During our conversation I heard a crash, and turned to see Lucas coming down the slab with a few giant rocks, possibly the loose one I noted, and the rope. Once he passed the slab and rolled off the FBT ledge system, I knew he was unconscious.

We didn't see where he landed. Darrel fixed his lead line and handed it to me coiled, warning me not to throw the rope or I'd loose more debris, and Mike used his cell to call the Sheriff's (mine was in my pack but reception had always been spotty at best). despite the coil I managed to get the rope hung up several times, but arrived at Lucas about 2 minutes later, ~175 feet down from the ledge system I was standing on (which was halfway between the top of the slab and the FBT).

As I reached him he was unresponsive but breathing, upside-down with his helmet intact. I have no medical training whatsoever, but knew he was in very bad shape. Darrel joined me, and at this point his breathing had stopped. Darrel earlier had advised not to move him, however to get his airway open we pulled him out of a shallow gulley onto a ledge with a large tree on it (the only one on the gulley system). On the ledge his breathing resumed, and Darrel started giving me instructions - pack clothes around him, keep talking to him, etc. Darrel took Lucas' lead line, which had fallen with him, and fixed part of it to the tree, at about the 3/4 mark. the remaining 1/4 was wrapped around Lucas legs, which I was supporting with my body as the ledge he was on was just large enough for a torso.

While propping his legs up I noticed the rap device clipped into a single end of the rope, I can't recall if the knot was intact or not. His breathing slowed more, until it stopped altogether, which is when
Darrel started administering CPR, which continued for the better part of 10 minutes. I am not including the conversations between darrel and mike about the ETA or logistics as I had kinda tuned that out. I was just trying to put as much positive energy into him as possible, yelling, screaming at him to fight HARD. Darrell was trained very well, and never really said what he probably thought right away - that this kid wouldn't make it. about 5-10 minutes (who knows) after he had halted CPR, we heard a helicopter. They had looked around the peak for us for about 5 minutes before finding us, Darrell rushed to Lucas and started up again, but the hazardous wind made it unsafe for a lower out/short haul (or whatever it's called, again I am ignorant in these situations). Darrel, knowing it was over, walked off to the side where the sun had started to peek over the megalith and give some warmth. I had used my jackets to keep Lucas warm, and my red shirt to notify the chopper, and was probably in shock as well. I put my wind shell on, brushed his cheek, kissed him and wept.

Some time later, minutes hours who knows, a rescue personell was lowered from the chopper and scrambled the third class gulley to our location. His pace and demeanor told me everything - this was a recovery. I hung around while a few more personell joined, then downclimbed/rappelled to the base. A friend from San Diego, Bob Hutchinson, was there with his partner Lori. Up to this moment I was trying to do the right thing, whether to save my friend or allow a safe recovery or play the mental gymnastics that allow you to see your friend die in your arms. As I sat at the base, in the sun, with the helmet off, she came up to me and held me and I allowed my humanity to take over. It hurt so much, it still hurts, and for weeks, years, decades I will be reliving these events. Even now when I think of my friend I don't think of him the way I found him, but the way he was, a wonderful, bright, funny, incredible person. There just isn't anyone else like that.

Please, do not hesistate to ask any questions. His legacy and his passion will live through me, and I want to give the deepest respect to how he lived his life and how it came to a sudden and tragic end. He loved his home crag, he loved that route - we were going to climb it every week until we left to climb the Salathe early June. It could have happened to him, or anyone, and had I not scrambled off to the right to visit with the other climbers it is very likely Darrell would be writing this, but I'm glad at least to some extent it was Me who was with him. If I passed in the mountains, I'd want it to be in his arms.

I've heard a hundred times that 'these things happen.' He was an amazing climber, and a safer one than I was. He had gear to plug in and anchor himself to before whatever happened, happened. Maybe he didn't have time. There is too much speculation that will last into the wee hours of the night in the darkest corners of my mind, but that is not what we need to do. We need to hug those close to us and always tell them how much we love them, because you never know when that last one is.



Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 11:05am PT

This is the only photo I have of the gulley below the FBT, taken January of this year. Lucas stopped just below the tree (slighty to the right of the climbers first piece of protection) and I had rappelled from the tree above and to the left of that, which is on the FBT ledge system. The climb and the slab are obscured by the branches.
Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Between the Depths of Despair & Heights of Folly
May 18, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Condolences, such a tragedy...words cannot convey how much my heart goes out to family and friends....
Timid TopRope

Social climber
'used to be Paradise, CA
May 18, 2013 - 11:12am PT
That is so sad to have your friend die in your arms. You honor his life with this account. Sounds like his flame burned brightly.

My heartfelt condolences to you, his family and friends.

Take care as best you can,

Andy T
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
May 18, 2013 - 11:13am PT
Crying as I type this.
So sorry.
Rick Accomazzo


Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 11:22am PT
Greg, so sorry about your friend.

Thanks for sharing your account of what happened.

May 18, 2013 - 11:28am PT
Oh No! Not Lucas.

I am so sorry greg. I think I ran into you at s ridge a week or two ago. We talked about Lucas, future plans... etc...

My thoughts are with you, family, all at Nomads... many in idyllwild will miss him too. A great Kid with a great attitude.

I remember Lucas' first post on Supertopo. His avatar was thekid... and it was confusing for some, but for me, he was the kid...

RIP my friend, you were a rising star.


Sport climber
Is this a trick question?
May 18, 2013 - 11:37am PT
Oh my goodness...

eyes blurry ....

heartfelt condolences ... to you Greg and to Lucas' family and friends...
oh my goodness....

Please be safe everyone... and appreciate this precious life.


Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
May 18, 2013 - 11:39am PT
Heartbreaking. RIP Lucas, and may you find solace in your family and friends Greg.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 11:44am PT
So sorry for your loss. It is also a loss to the community, your friend sounds like a stand up guy. Tears in my eyes reading this, too close to home. Thank you for sharing, very powerful writing, I know it must be tough to talk about it so soon.

If his family needs anything let us know.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
May 18, 2013 - 11:51am PT
Thank you for this brave account. Your genuine honesty makes this all too real for all of us.

No words of consolation are going to erase the pain of that event, but know that we are all thinking about you, care about you, and wish you the best as you start the processing of an event like this. We're here for you, Greg.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this fine young man.

GDavis you have tons of healing to go.
I would venture to let things be as far as specific questions from others at this time. Unless you somehow feel you need to .
Let some time pass.

My heart goes out to you.


I'm a Norwegian stuck in Joshua Tree
May 18, 2013 - 11:58am PT
Thank you for sharing this Greg, and for your care and efforts to help Lucas.
Thank you also to the others that tried their best to save him.

Sounds like only Lucas knows what happened, and sadly he will not be able to answer our questions.

We are all lucky to have known him. I still can't believe that we'll never see that smiling face or hear his voice again.


Mountain climber
La Mancha
May 18, 2013 - 12:01pm PT

Deepest sympathies to you and all that shared his world. Your account of the events was brave, unblinking and hopefully cathartic. You did us all a huge favor in the telling so that we remember to stay safe; life changes in the blink of an eye.

Don't second guess the events. It happened, it sucks, you did all that you possibly could.
I shudder to think of being in the same circumstances. I would hope that if I were, I would have someone there who cared and shared as much of life as you both did.

He will always be a part of who you are, your heart, your spirit.

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 18, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
It wasn't our first time rapping off the Vampire - we got stormed off twice and shut down on pitch 3 once. I rigged the rope through the rap rings, to the middle marker, didn't tie ends (because until yesterday I hardly ever bother) and looked down to see it just barely make the start of the technical climbing, above the low 5th class slab you solo to reach the flake system. As I rapped, I saw a tree to the right (that did not look solid) and the rap anchors for the original start around the corner tha makes the bat crack. I tried two times to pendulum to those anchors, and the second time didn't time my kick right and pendulumed into the corner at a good clip. I was fine, I'm built like a brick, but realized it was a VERY poor decision to try again when I might hurt myself (we were both wearing helmets).

Where did your rappel end on prior descents? It sounds like there was some serious uncertainty this particular time.

Very sorry for the loss of this young person.

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
May 18, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
Oh man, I am so sorry.


Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
May 18, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
Oh Greg, I'm am so sorry...Thinking about you this morning and sending you a heartfelt hug.

Sending sincere condolences out to.. you, Lucas' friends, co-workers, and Family...

Take care ...


edit: Miss Lynne, sending you my condolences~ too.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 18, 2013 - 12:12pm PT
This could have happened to all of us many times while we did various shenanigans on the often rambling rock at Tahquitz. Very sorry it happened to you and Lucas.


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
Where did your rappel end on prior descents? It sounds like there was some serious uncertainty this particular time.

We'd rapped off pitch 2 to the original start once or twice and another time rapped to the ledge from the top of the bat crack. We'd discussed the night before using that first pitch as a warm-up for other routes, or in a big day of single-pitch west face cragging. The high sierra, josh, idyllwild, we'd rapped to bad stances 100 times. A bad habit to be sure, one which is going out and will be replaced with self rescue, CPR and some more knowledge. I was lucky to have darrel there to rely information to me, otherwise I'd be on that ledge with lucas, without a cell, waiting for him to pass wondering if I could have saved him. I don't want that to ever happen again.

Boulder climber
May 18, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
Our community lost another shinning star....my condolances!!

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 18, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
Thanks for your brave candor under such difficult circumstances.

Best of thoughts to you GDavis and the family of Lucas.

Ice climber
May 18, 2013 - 12:31pm PT
My Condolences. Another brother lost to the stone gods. Lucas Rest In Peace!

Trad climber
4 Corners Area
May 18, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
That's rough, man. Don't blame yourself, Gdavis, we're with you.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
May 18, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
Credit: apogee

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
We saw you while out bouldering on thursday, Apogee. I wasn't sure if it was you or not. wish I said hi.

May 18, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
Greg, my heart is broken for you and Lucas' family - my most sincerest condolences to you and all affected by his passing. I only knew Lucas from when he would come in to the JT Nomad's from time to time, on his way to climb in JT, and what I remember the most about him is he was always smiling, always happy. RIP young man.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
May 18, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
So very sorry to hear this;.....peace and strength to family and friends....

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
May 18, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Were you at the Slab at County Park? I was walking my pup...were you with Lucas that day?

If so, my regret is compounded. I had an agenda at the time, and just blazed by, losing an opportunity to connect. Dammit.

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Greg, I am so sorry, man. This must be an incredibly stressful couple of days for you. I hope we are able to help you process through it and grieve the loss of your friend and partner.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
I appreciate all the wonderful words. I want to do the best by Lucas and be there for those that are hurting. I think a bit of him is in me, and if anyone would like to talk and maybe see or hear a bit of him I would love to try to put his wisdom out there.

No regrets apogee, that's what life is about. you couldn't have known.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
May 18, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
So sorry, lucas sounds like a fine young man.
Take care of your self!

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 18, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
One moment you’re just having another day at the crag. The next you are in that surreal place where all you want to do with every fiber of your being is to turn back the clock, undo the last few seconds. But time, ruthlessly, marches on. Reality sinks in. The moment is in the past but still happening. I've been in this place a few times in less serious circumstances; an injury, a car crash, but never the up close and personal loss of a friend. Almost, but that doesn't count.

June 18, 1994 I will never forget. Mark Wagner, Ian Katz and I did Turbo Flange (Mark was on point.)Then we went over and did laps on the Bat Crack to burn off the adrenaline. A young man fell from the summit after doing the Maiden. We brought down his remains in the litter. It was a real mess, and I was not at all used to this sort of thing. Several days later I started having these hallucinations. I ended up seeing a psychiatrist specializing in ptsd. Basically he started by asking me “okay, tell me what happened…” I started to tell the story as I remembered it, but he would make me slow down, go frame by frame, digging up every detail. I was surprised how much of that event I had already repressed. Getting it all out took two hours after which I was fine.

Greg, the reason I am posting this old story is to make the point that your job now is to take good care of yourself. Be sure to recognize the signs of trouble and get help if you need it. You sound like you’re doing well, just please take care. I’m sure Your friend would say the same if he were able. I am deeply sorry for your loss.
David Knopp

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
Greg i don't know you at all, but have loved reading your posts here on ST-funny, kind, and brutal, sometimes all at once. I am so sorry for your loss-as others have said, we are all here for you, holding a little piece of both of you in our hearts.

San Diego, CA
May 18, 2013 - 02:27pm PT
A friend informed me this morning of Lucas' passing so I visited the site to read your brave account of yesterday's traumatic events. I am very sorry this happened to the both of you, best of friends from what I gathered. Cannot imagine what you and everyone involved in Lucas' life are going through.
I hope you are able to find peace and comfort in those around you and in recalling memories of climbing adventures with your dear friend...and a great friend you are.
May Lucas rest peacefully, and Greg remember he will ALWAYS be with you.
Take care buddy.



Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
Really sorry to hear about this. Some are called sooner than others. Some grace other than my own carried me through some strange mountain adventures. RIP .

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 02:38pm PT
I appreciate all the support, for now I am in a good place - with family and friends. Our friendship was always that I was the one with girl problems/work drama/head issues and he was the rock. I'm channeling his strength as best I can - it has never been something I've been able to deal with well. He wouldn't want me to internalize it, and though I probably will in the wee hours of the evening I can find solace in hearing his voice tell me not to worry, that what happened has happened and to be there for everyone.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
May 18, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
Greg, Bruce just called me........I had no idea til just a few minutes ago.

Oh my God. I am writing here because no way I could talk. I worked with Lucas Thursday (Thank God) and it was my last day before getting ready to leave for TPR.

As I was leaving Lucas said, "wait Lynne." He walked over and gave me a big hug (so unLucaslike)and wished me luck. We talked about maybe seeing him in Paris.......Oh my God. lynne

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 03:23pm PT
Kris is right, you need to find a way to deal with this in a healthy way and your sharing the incident in this way is the first step. PTSD will creep up on you in ways you never thought. I had to deal with it recently from an incident that happened 15 years ago while working as a fireman in South Central. Please take care of yourself and let us know if you need anything from the "community".

Trad climber
Eastern Sierra
May 18, 2013 - 03:56pm PT
Damn, this is terrible. My sincere condolences to all that knew him. So sorry.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 18, 2013 - 04:00pm PT

Greg, I'm so sorry.
I wish I knew the words to help you
though this.
Best wishes, take care of yourself.
Condolences to all of Lucas' family and friends.

Trad climber
Yachats, OR
May 18, 2013 - 04:17pm PT
A very tragic event so sorry for all who were involved. My condolences to you Greg and to Lucas' family and friends. I'm sure the Idyllwild Climbers Festival tomorrow will be a bit sadder with his passing.

P.S. Greg I am doing the design for the future kiosk for Tahquitz. If you contact me and send me a photo of Lucas I will gladly replace one of the photos on it with one of him or the both of you.

Bill Odenthal

Social climber
May 18, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Greg, so sorry to hear about this tragic accident.

Best wishes to you and other friends and family.

looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
May 18, 2013 - 04:40pm PT
Very tragic news. As many have pointed out, this could have happened to any of us, and recriminations are pointless.

I am very sorry for both you and Lucas that a fine Spring day at Tahquitz turned so out so terribly. Know that others are there for you and Lucas' family.

Flagstaff/Thousand Oaks
May 18, 2013 - 04:50pm PT
I was just discussing sketchy rappels of my past with some friends and only while talking about them did I realize how sincerely dangerous those situations were, flipping upside down on the end knots in order to clip a single bolt at a hanging belay and rapping off the ropes end to "safety".

GDavis, I am so sorry to hear this tragedy. I can only send positive vibes and my condolences, but I know that just like you, I will be making sure that I refresh myself on the self rescue and worst case scenario medical response. Tonight I will have a beer in memory of your fallen brother, and to your incredible strength to relay this story to the community. I shed a tear or two while reading this and personally could not see myself having the composure you seem to have in this situation. Keep on keepin' on, bring your friends memory to the high points of your future climbing along with you.

Spencer C.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 18, 2013 - 05:03pm PT
Lynne posted about this tragedy on Facebook. I am so sorry, Greg. Lots of prayers for you, Lynne, and everyone else who knew him.

Park Rat

Social climber
May 18, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
I'm so sorry to read your account of this accident.

It's tragic when something like this happens to someone so young, with so much life ahead of him.

There are no words that can console, or explain such a tragedy.

Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
May 18, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Condolences to family and friends, that's all I can say.

Mountain Project
May 18, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
Just found out from Lynn on FB. Hang in there Greg.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 05:16pm PT
I added a photo of Lucas from our trip up Mt. Russell in 2011. I can only find pictures of him with a goofy grin - he wore it proudly. Bill, feel free to use that photo in the original post.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 05:22pm PT

With him at the belay I felt invincible. I miss you so much.

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
May 18, 2013 - 05:33pm PT
So sorry to hear that a young man perished.

Like many said here before, this could have happened to us.

Rapping is so dangerous.

Pen and I were sitting on our deck when the chopper started to circle above the rock. We always feel so terrible when we hear that sound, it's not a good sign, ever.

We think of you GDavis.

Big Wall climber
May 18, 2013 - 05:40pm PT
sorry bro! my condolences to the family.
craig mo

Trad climber
L.A. Ca.
May 18, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
my heart goes out to all that loved him. Rest in peace
steve west

Trad climber
Newport Beach
May 18, 2013 - 05:45pm PT
This just hurts so much . Lucas had a.crush on my daughter and we.would cross paths many times in idy. He was. So good . I wanted to adopt him the son I never had.
My heart goes out to his mom and.dad.

Stay strong. Greg.
Earl Fisher

Social climber
Santa Monica, Ca 90402
May 18, 2013 - 05:54pm PT
Dear Greg,

Lucas was the son of two dear friends of ours, Al and Kathy Dunn.

His death is devastating for the family. You did all that you could. We never know when life will be taken away. As you said, we all must live in honor of Lucas and treat all people with love, all the time.

Earl and Carol Fisher

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 18, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
Absolutely heart breaking.

Lynnie, yesterday on another thread you wrote this to me
The serendipity......packing up for TPR today I had a soul feeling I could not identify or define. It make me uneasy all morning as I packed up all the stuff that would make my yurt "cozy home" for the next 4+ months.

Tying the kayaks on top the van I realized I was sad. I've never be sad packing for TPR, stressed perhaps, but Never sad.

I'm not surprised you, and your open soul, felt this on what turned into a tragic day.

Greg, A dear friend and climbing partner lost,
And Lynnie, a co worker who could have been a son,




I'm a Norwegian stuck in Joshua Tree
May 18, 2013 - 06:03pm PT
For those of you that did not know Lucas, he is the one on the left and Greg (GDavis) is on the right in Greg's photo.

Thank you Greg for posting this photo, - both of you with goofy grins.


Escondido, CA
May 18, 2013 - 06:13pm PT
Greg... oh man, Greg... I don't know what to say. So terribly sorry to hear this. Lucas was such a cool kid. I simply can't imagine this happening. I know you've got family and friends to support you right now, but in the coming days if you need an ear to bend, or a drink, or anything... let me know. So terrible. So sad. God speed Lucas. Stay strong Greg.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
May 18, 2013 - 06:20pm PT
I too am thinking of and praying for Lucas's wonderful parents. They came into the shop at least twice when I was working and I told them what a wonderful son they had and how much I enjoyed working with him. (I don't think I was telling them anything they had not realized for quite some time.)

Their loss is (for many) beyond comprehension. The pain and grief sharp, at times severe and enervating. I hope they have close family and friends that can help them in all the ways they will need during this time. If I can be of any help, please let me know. Lynne

Edit: Thanks Baja Andy.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 06:25pm PT
Thanks, everyone. Andy, we had a great time together. You can crank, brother! Keep at it, you'll be seeing me before too long.

Escondido, CA
May 18, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
Raw, unedited video of Lucas bouldering a couple months ago w/ Greg spotting...
Off White

Tenino, WA
May 18, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
Wow Greg, heart and gut wrenching. All my best to you and Lucas' large circle of friends & family.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
Thank you so much andy. Showed the video to some friends and family here. Was really nice to see.

May 18, 2013 - 07:11pm PT
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
May 18, 2013 - 07:16pm PT

Just heartbreaking... So sorry for family, friends


Gold Canyon, AZ
May 18, 2013 - 07:20pm PT
it's very true that this could have happened to any of us--it's just an unfortunate part of the game. Still, I'm very saddened to hear about this accident and making any sense of it may well be impossible. My condolences.

bernadette regan

joshua tree, ca
May 18, 2013 - 07:22pm PT
mitzi and i walked up the hill with you and lucas just last weekend. be well and condolences from jtree.


Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 08:42pm PT
Don't quite know what to say. As Long and Rick have said, this could have happened to all of us at some point or another. Peace and condolences to family and friends.

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
May 18, 2013 - 09:50pm PT
Greg, Some of us here don't know you personally, only know you through your posts here, but even without that personal bond, I hope you can feel the love and support going your way.

Your friend's death is tragic, compounded by his so very young age. I am so sorry for the deep grief you are feeling. My deepest condolences to all his friends and family.

Take care of yourself,

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 18, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
I only met Lucas a couple of times but he seemed very genuine, one of the good ones for sure....

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 10:15pm PT
Sad news for sure, may he rest in peace,

Stay strong and keep the flame alive

Trad climber
JTree & Idyllwild
May 18, 2013 - 10:20pm PT
My condolonces to you Greg, and to all of Lucas's friends and family.

He was a bright shining star, always quick with a smile.

Rest in peace Lucas

May 18, 2013 - 10:23pm PT
Sorry to hear about your loss. Sounds like he was tight with many great people here, and that you two had a deep partnership.

This embodies our greatest fears. I tremble to think of it happening with my good partners.

As others have said, I only know you and "the kid" from your posts, but I really enjoy them.

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 10:26pm PT

we've all done about a jillion of those raps over the years.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
May 18, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
I recognize Lucas from him coming to JTree.

I am so sorry for your loss. Prayers to all those affected by this tragedy.

Trad climber
the tip of god's middle finger
May 18, 2013 - 11:09pm PT
you have my sympathies greg.
thank you for sharing your sorrowful tale.

take care.

A pile of dirt.
May 18, 2013 - 11:25pm PT
Greg and Lucas friends,

Really, really sorry to hear this - it sucks.


Gym climber
A dingy corner in your refrigerator
May 18, 2013 - 11:53pm PT
Greg so sorry, and as many have said condolences to all who knew this obviuosly fine young man. I will try to give an extra long hug to someone I love in respect. Be well and take care of yourself. Tim

Trad climber
May 18, 2013 - 11:55pm PT
An amazing account, most especially because of the immediacy and vulnerability of it. An amazing tribute on your part. I am praying for you, his family and friends. May you all find the abundance of God's grace through it all.


Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
May 19, 2013 - 12:03am PT
Greg: Thank you for posting what happened in the accident. I mourn for the loss of your friend and your own grief.

It is impossible to keep track of everything that might go wrong while climbing.

Sometimes, despite knowledge, and good intentions, things do go wrong.

Condolences and best wishes to all.


Trad climber
New Durham, NH
May 19, 2013 - 12:07am PT
Greg, it is not for us to ask why, sometimes we must accept that the unacceptable happens as part of a greater plan.

Your friend sounds like he touched many lives for the positive, and if his legacy is that he pulled a community together, and makes us all treasure the individual moments of our lives, then he will live on in the hearts of many. I cannot comprehend the depths of your grief, but I am sure that Lucas would want nothing but the best for you, to carry on with grace and strength in the aftermath of this tragedy. Your brave account is the first step in this long and painful path.

I will hold you, Lucas, and your mutual families and friends in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you peace.

Bryan Estelle

May 19, 2013 - 12:17am PT
Hey Greg,

Bryan Estelle here, the olddirt bag climber who comes in often - though not often enough - to buy gear from you and Lucas (and even my spouse and daughter sometimes!).

Greg, my experience at times like this tells me that fewer words are better than many. Nevertheless, I am so...so sorry for your loss. I wanted to get this out to you ASAP (many thanks to a friend on the East coast that drew my attention to this tragedy while I was in the middle of a softball game), but as the dust settles, I hope to come in to Nomad and offer my sincere condolences to you face to face, which is so much more an appropriate medium for this kind of situation.

I would be interested to know in the immediate days to come if there is going to be a funeral/burial in Escondido area to honor your dear friend.

Strength to you! And I do look forward (in due time. . . . definitely in the future) to talking to you about your goal to climb the Salathe. I'm sorry that you and Lucas will not be able to share that experience. It is the greatest Rock climb in the world, hands down.

However, to return to this absurd world of ours for now, I am so sorry for your loss. I for one, will miss seeing Lucas Dunn's "knowing" face when I come in to Nomad to buy gear and talk about the greatest sport in the world.

Bryan D. Estelle


Sport climber
København V
May 19, 2013 - 12:31am PT
Didn't know you or Lucas, but still very sad to read this, Greg.

Kathy Dunn

Boulder climber
Idyllwild, CA
May 19, 2013 - 12:58am PT
Thank you so much Greg for being with my son. Our family cannot thank you enough for being at his side and for Darrel to administer CPR. We know Lucas was a safe climber so I know it was not human error but God's timing on Lucas homecoming. What better place for Lucas to be than rock climbing with you. Kathy Dunn

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
May 19, 2013 - 01:17am PT
Thank you for sharing.
I hope you are able to find peace.


Trad climber
Riverside, CA
May 19, 2013 - 01:47am PT
RIP - So sorry for the loss.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
May 19, 2013 - 01:47am PT
Kathy, thanks for posting. As I've mentioned to you several times in the store, Lucas was a special young man and it was a gift to me to work with him, learn from him, joke with him and listen to his life goals and dreams.

I don't know any of the answers at times like this. But I offer my love and support and prayers. You mention God's timing. In her talks and travels, Corrie ten Boom used to show a piece of velvet tapestry with threads of all colors going every which way. Then she'd turn it over and the front of the cloth would be a beautiful embroidered, jeweled crown. Corrie would point out that in the struggles and pain of life it looks to us like the backside of the cloth. But really, we can't always see the beautiful crown God is creating. (Corrie was a Dutch woman that survived the concentration camps in WWII.)

Lucas will always be alive in my life standing over me at the cash register, his eyes twinkling, saying "now Lynne," .........being the gentle teacher. But my best memory will be his big hug this past Thursday and his offer to climb with him and Greg in Tuolumne this summer.

I will climb and honor your son. Peace and Prayers, Lynne

Trad climber
May 19, 2013 - 03:58am PT
I'm so sorry for your loss Greg.
Your loss is every climber's loss...but I'm sure Lucas was way more than just a climber; we are all more than just climbers.
Big Mike

Trad climber
May 19, 2013 - 07:09am PT
Wow Greg! Wow! I am so sorry for your loss. My condolences to Lucas's family and friends. This really hit a cord with me as it's something i've strived to avoid ever since i started persuing high adrenaline, high risk activitites. I've always enjoyed being in the mountains with friends and been uber cautious about bringing them home with me. Alas this sadly cannot always be the case.

I'm crying as i write this because it reminds me how close i came to Lucas's fate this winter. Instead i was lucky to get off with just a spinal cord injury.

Please don't let this change you Greg, i'm sure Lucas would want you to soldier on. I want to meet that uber stoked guy i talked to on the phone in vegas this winter.

Don't let him die too!

I pray that none of us should have to experience your loss, but i fear that is not very realistic.
baba long

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, CA
May 19, 2013 - 09:34am PT
I sometimes write for healing and humbly submit this now. The only time I met Lucas was on this last morning at the parking lot. He seemed a quiet and gentle person.

It has been said that only the good die young
A kind of graduation from life
Unlike other graduations, it is a moment of great sorrow
A pain that penetrates to the deepest portions of our being

Those that remain have additional time for living and learning
Quiet moments too
It is then we are able to send our love and best wishes
With those that go before us into the unknown

Robert Hutchinson


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2013 - 11:18am PT
Bryan - your words touch me very deeply. I spent time yesterday with a mutual friend of ours. I read your post in your voice, you are such a calming man. Thank you.

Bob - You didn't know what you were getting into that morning but you showed incredible strength and support when I needed it most, Lori too. Lucas and I climbed with Jaz a few seasons ago at the gym, and we couldn't bring her up without talking about what a BAD ASS she is! I also remember working with Liz, and she reminded of Lucas... an old soul. You have very wonderful daughters, and you raised them well.

The Granite State.
May 19, 2013 - 11:38am PT
It takes a lot to make me cry.

I'm so sorry man.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 19, 2013 - 11:46am PT
You're a brave man GD, thanks for sharing this. And thanks for sharing your ( and many other people's) friend with us.

Yup could have been any of us, I had the 'one side of the rope pop out of the rap device' scenario just a few days ago.

Condolences and be careful out there!

Mountain climber
San Diego, CA
May 19, 2013 - 11:51am PT
Greg, I'm so sorry to hear this. We are all connected through our love for nature, rock climbing, and the brother/sisterhood that develops out of this love. I am so sorry that we lost Lucas. Nothing I can really think of can capture this feeling, but I wanted you to know that you've got another climber in your corner, sending the good vibes to you and to everyone involved.

-Michael Lagueux

Social climber
May 19, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Greg, an account that is so personal and written beautifully. My heart to you and many prayers today and to come. In AZ where there are a lot of beautiful craggy places. Will spend some time in quiet thinking about Lucas. and you of course. Peace, Elizabeth
The Warbler

the edge of America
May 19, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
This kind of thing happens way too often in the climbing world. In the 45 years or so I've been climbing I've lost more friends to accidents than I can count on the fingers of both hands. It's always such a shock and so bewildering, I think partly because when all goes well, climbing is such a beautiful and rewarding activity, and it makes us feel so good, that when it blindsides us with a blow like this the brutality of it is hard to comprehend. It always comes so suddenly and unexpectedly. Climbers love climbing so much they're willing to die for it, whether they realize it or not.

Sorry you had to experience that in such an intimate way Greg, and Condolences to all the family and friends. Be really careful out there.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 19, 2013 - 12:02pm PT
Really, sorry to hear about this, Greg.

May 19, 2013 - 12:02pm PT
With love, but a little long to post here:



May 19, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
This kind of thing happens way too often in the climbing world


We almost lost Warbler & Meyers once many years ago on Middle rock.

It was miracle they survived ....

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2013 - 12:08pm PT
Lucas talked about you quite a bit, Daniel, and you inspired us both quite a bit. Still do.

Mountain climber
Bay Area , California
May 19, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Condolences to family and friends.

Trad climber
Black Rock City
May 19, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
I am holding all who are mourning this loss in love and peace that passes human understanding. What a bright light Lucas was. Love and support to his family and friends as they mourn. A special prayer goes out for Greg and those on the rock involved in his death for emotional health and well-being.


Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
May 19, 2013 - 01:02pm PT

Kathy Dunn,

I did not know your son (I do know Greg. Fine young man!). I would just like to offer my sincerest condolences for your loss. Being a parent, I can't imagine.

So sad!

Again, genuine and sincere condolences to you, your family and all friends of your son Lucas.


Trad climber
May 19, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
Really sad day, heard about this from my friend Jill, who happened to be a friend of Lucas' through the San Diego climbing community. From the words on this thread and her words about him he sounded like a great person. I offer both condolences on losing your child and congratulations for blessing the world with such a person, if only for a short time.

Jebus H Bomz

Peavine Basecamp
May 19, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
There are no good words for this, it brings up a lot of emotions for a lot of us. I hope you are doing well, Greg.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 19, 2013 - 03:34pm PT
Tough to read let alone live, condolences to all.

Trad climber
the tip of god's middle finger
May 19, 2013 - 04:17pm PT
greg im hanging out,
right now,
with a ghost.

she, margaret was a hero of mine
when i was youth.

i admired her thru and through,
in her life and after hers.

and now she's moved into my space.

she likes neil young.
she always turns up his tunes,
i do to.

my offering to you is
find the obscure friendships
that obliterate spiritual thresholds,
and unify with those
whom live beyond us.

it's easy.
just be reckless with your forever stare.

do not limit yourself to
the understanding that our culture has
shoved down your throat.

lucas. margaret.
bachar. they are all, still.

still around if you're looking
within within.

you are a hero,
for the life that you've authored.

ghosts seek us
for we transcend spacial definition.

everything that we know is trying to
fall down around us.
it's a law of emotional entropy,
like the fourth of thermodynamics,
but we as psychic engnieers
can pen a new resistance to
that which might have always been,
if it wasn't for us.

lucas is always welcome at mine.
does he like neil?


Social climber
So Cal
May 19, 2013 - 07:20pm PT
Today was the ICA event in Idyllwild.

A somber note this year.

Greg gave a nice tribute to Lucas.

The Suicide stairs are finally finished.

I'll put Lucas name on one of the stones.

It may be a while.
I have to round up some specialized tools.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 19, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
Very sad.....especially when it happens to one so young and so full of promise. I lost my son when he was 20.

Trad climber
May 19, 2013 - 09:00pm PT
Shaking as I write this, I can not imagine your sorrow, nor the hundreds of images, thoughts, what ifs, why's and mad, thundering emotions you may be experiencing. You express yourself beautifully, bravely...straight from your heart.

Some sage advice offered to me late last year when I was struggling with emotions I couldn't get my arms, never mind words, around, was to just write anyway and often. (Thank you, from my heart, Ben.) Even if you don't know where you are, what or why you're writing or feeling, or whether it makes any sense or is even worth sharing, let the energy flow through and out of you...it has a tremendous ability to heal...over time.

Don't despair if you can't yet feel his energy...he will find his way to you when the time is right.

My deepest sympathy to you, Lucas' family and friends, and the greater climbing community, and wishing all peace...and healing.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
May 19, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
I'll put Lucas name on one of the stones.

Very cool TGT
I'll be looking for it.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 19, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
So sorry for your loss.

There but for the grace of god go I.

Trad climber
May 19, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
I think of my son and feel sorrow knowing that he too will be faced with the inevitable suffering that comes with living. I think of the mom that had the courage to post. Peace.

Trad climber
May 19, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
^^^ It is what we live for. Every day in the mountains is joyous. It sounds shallow but is actually very deep. There is something about being there in the moment and just feeling like that is where we belong.

Thank you Kathy; not knowing either of you I understand where Lucas got his strength.
gonzo chemist

Fort Collins, CO
May 19, 2013 - 11:14pm PT

So so sorry to read this. My sincerest condolences. This is just terrible.

I've done that rappel before. From the anchors back to the short slab bit right below bat crack. And even for the same reasons: early season, too cold and windy. Its a little hairy, for sure.


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 19, 2013 - 11:18pm PT
Words are always inadequate at a time like this, especially for those of us who did not know either of the men involved. We can only hope that friends and family take some solace from the expressions of support from the climbing community. This site is a wonderful place to post a memorial in the future if you so choose.

Social climber
granada hills
May 19, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
Sorry for your loss. So tragic. RIP Lucas.

My condolences to his family and all of his friends.

Michael Nicholson

Big Wall climber
Thousand Oaks
May 20, 2013 - 12:32am PT
Sorry for your loss

May 20, 2013 - 12:47am PT
Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

My sincere condolences to the family and to all who were close to him.


May 20, 2013 - 02:01am PT

Sorry for the loss of your best friend, he sounds like a really great partner & awesome human that anyone would be lucky to have met- let alone be brothers with as you were. You are a strong & humble man to share your account here so that others can learn from the experience. Thanks.

darel engen

san diego, ca
May 20, 2013 - 03:53am PT
I am a history professor at Cal State San Marcos, and Lucas Dunn was a student in several of my classes. I just want to say how sad I am about his passing and to let everyone on this site know that Lucas was a great guy to those of us who knew him outside of the rock-climbing world as well. He was smart and motivated and a pleasure to have in the classroom. He was one of those students who you can just tell wanted to learn, who was curious about history and so many other things in life. He would often come up to me after class and ask questions about the day's lecture and also expressed an interest in pursuing graduate studies. He was a great guy with a bright future ahead of him, and his passing is a terrible loss for us all. My condolences to all his family and friends.

Darel Engen.

Social climber
May 20, 2013 - 08:30am PT
hey there say, Gdavis/greg... i am very sorry i am late, here, to send you deep condolences and prayers... you are not forgotten at this sad hard time...

may healing come, after this pain, and in ways that will also help
honor lucus's name and fun times...

i been off and on line, fast, off and on, that i miss many titles, please
forgive, for me being lat to understand and see what happened ...i sent you an email, just a bit agao...

Double D

May 20, 2013 - 08:55am PT
So sorry for your loss GDavis. Prayers and condolences to all family, friends and those assisting in the rescue.

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 20, 2013 - 11:02am PT
GDavis, words fail. Everyone on this board can say, "There but for the grace of God go I." Hang in there and RIP to your friend.

30 mins. from suicide USA
May 20, 2013 - 11:03am PT
sorry for your loss...

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 20, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
Very sorry to read this, Greg. Your friend Lucas looked like a really good guy. I know what it's like to go to your friend and climbing partner after a fall and spend the last moments of their life with them as they slip away. You never forget it. And you miss the hell out of them when you go out again with other partners.

From what I read, it seemed like perhaps Lucas made an error setting up his rappel. Is that what you came away with?

In any case, thanks for writing it up. It's good to feel connected to you guys even if it's just through words on a website. Take care, man.

May 20, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
Add my well wishes to you and the family along with everyone else's Greg. Thank you for taking a moment to lay it out so succinctly for us as well.

dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
May 20, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
Damned, very sorry about all this, Lucas sounds like he was a great guy and lived life to the fullest. Many on this planet would love to have had just a little of that. My sincerest sympathies to Lucas' family and to you Greg. That is some tough stuff to deal with, hope in time you can all heal as much as someone can in this type of situation, very sorry for your loss.

Gym climber
May 20, 2013 - 03:37pm PT
So horrible. Condolences.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2013 - 03:42pm PT
Thank you for your kind words. I am doing well. I have some of his strength, not sure how. He was such a huge impact in my life, still is. What a guy.

(Rollercoaster @ Josh)

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
May 20, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
Greg, I too heard you talk in Idyllwild yesterday. I continue to be amazed at how you are able to conduct yourself with such grace, compassion, and eloquence. With realness. It reveals something deep that seems beyond your years. I think you may be onto its source as you noted above... that somehow you are now carrying a bit of Lucas' strength with you.

Being and remaining present with it all, the sadness, joyful and funny memories, etc. and letting that all just be with you as it comes has to be a good thing.

I didn't know Lucas, but gosh, just seeing how much he affected (and continues to affect) people I do know (even if just a little), has had a great impact on me these past few days.

Peace to you and carry on.

line climber

Sport climber
san marcos ca
May 20, 2013 - 04:30pm PT

I am so sorry. It is me mike the the lineman that would always come to see you guys at the shop in the afternoons and talk about climbing. Lucas will be missed. He was real good guy. I can't believe this happened. I really hope you and his family are doing ok. I am having hard time writing this with the feelings I have. I was just talking to Lucas at vital gym last Wednesday. I asked him when he was working next so he could help me with some new climbing shoes. I am so sorry for your loss.


May 20, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
I've climbed long enough to have had to deal with my share of climbing tragedies but this one shook me to my core. I was so proud of Lucas and knew he would do great things wherever life's path took him. Such a loss. I am so sorry.

Larry Cote

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
May 20, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
GDavis ~ so sorry for your loss. I appreciate your write up here about what occurred. What a difficult thing to go through and I can't imagine the pain. Sending you the best of thoughts, hope you heal over time from this loss, your friend sounds like an awesome person. RIP Lucas.


Sport climber
May 20, 2013 - 04:53pm PT
RIP =/

Social climber
1187 Hunterwasser
May 20, 2013 - 04:55pm PT
Not sure if I said it already but my condolences to you.

Trad climber
May 20, 2013 - 05:09pm PT
Greg I am so sorry for your ordeal and for your loss. I have no words really, just wanted to share in your grief as a member of the tribe.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand"

Psalm 37:23-24

Take care man,

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 20, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
GD... so sorry about Lucas.

keep sharing your feelings with all of US.

in time your pain will shrink

but not the good memories.

take care

Guy Keesee

The Desert Oven
May 20, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
I don't have any sage words for you GDavis, just good vibes going your way. Keep posting, keep talking. People here are listening and want to support you.

Hebrews 1:3
May 20, 2013 - 07:12pm PT
Sorry Greg, seems so untimely that Lucas was taken so young and full of life, with a heavy heart condolences!

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
May 20, 2013 - 07:45pm PT

Although we've never met, we are friends in this life together, brothers through climbing. Your loss is ALL our loss. I tear up as I write this. "Condolences" is a pretty lame word in this instance, but I'll revert to it for lack of anything better...

May 20, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
I do not know you, had not met Lucas. But I do know and feel for his dear mother. I am certain Lucas was a good soul and expert at his passion, climbing. We who know his mom are so very heartbroken. You and the others who were there for Lucas did all you could; this was truly a tragic accident beyond anyone's control.

Blessings to you and to all who were there for your good friend. I do not say this lightly: Know that Lucas is now in the heavens, and a guardian angel for you and fellow climbers.


Trad climber
carnelian bay ca
May 20, 2013 - 08:38pm PT
I am so sorry to hear about this. Thank you for sharing the tragic events as it's a sad reminder to all of us how quickly things can go wrong..so sorry for your loss.

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
May 20, 2013 - 08:49pm PT
Greg, very sorry about your friend. Good thoughts going your way and to his family.

Also. Thank you for sharing your account of what happened.

manzanita man

Social climber
somerset, ca.
May 20, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
sorry dude. RIP

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
May 20, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
This is terrible Greg, best wishes brother.

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
May 20, 2013 - 09:58pm PT
Keep your head up Greg. I'm so sorry this happened. Condolences.

A long way from where I started
May 21, 2013 - 12:00am PT
Just now saw this, and felt "there but for fortune go you or I."

Deepest sympathy to you, and to all those who knew and loved Lucas.


May 21, 2013 - 11:25am PT

Very sorry for your loss and Lucas' family.

But can you please clarify the cause if possible? Was this rap set up error or was this rapping of the end of rope?

You mentioned you tied safety knots after you left the bottom of the rap. If this was rap set error I suppose your safety knot could have popped thru the anchor given the length of fall. Was the rap station rings or quick links? Or maybe what sounds more likely is the safety knot came undone on one side as he was reaching for the flake at the bottom of the rap and then accidentally rapped off the end of the rope. Was the other end of the rope inspected?


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 21, 2013 - 11:35am PT
But can you please clarify the cause if possible? Was this rap set up error or was this rapping of the end of rope?

The fog is starting to settle, so some things are missing bits and pieces. My original thought was that he had arrived to a bad stance and a rockslide took him, after talking to Clark Jacobs about other particulars (he was long time YOSAR) of how things were found it might be that he clipped in a single strand and the force of him landed dislodged the block, or the rope wrapped around it... my back was turned at the time and I swung my head around left, not to the right, so by the time I saw the sliding rocks and the accident he was starting to slide off the FBT ledge.

You mentioned you tied safety knots after you left the bottom of the rap. If this was rap set error I suppose your safety knot could have popped thru the anchor given the length of fall. Was the rap station rings or quick links?
Clark and I discussed this possibility as well, I tied very small over hands with perhaps ~3" of tail. That of which I am 100% certain (I'm the kind of guy who can remember every peice on every pitch but not the persons name who I'd been dating... some facts are exact, some I have to be careful not to confuse what I wasn't interpreting). They are rap 'rings', the kind where it is a chain link that is opened and stamped almost shut (basically the size of a chain-link). The knots I tied would easily roll or be pulled through the links, I did not tie them large enough to stop a rap only to give him slack to reach the ledge but a reminder for his hand to hit as he rapped. Because of my location he had visual of me the entire process, but I can't say for certain whether he was watching or not (there is such a nice view up there I can't imagine he wasn't at some point distracted by it).

Or maybe what sounds more likely is the safety knot came undone on one side as he was reaching for the flake at the bottom of the rap and then accidentally rapped off the end of the rope. Was the other end of the rope inspected?

Also a possibility. The other end had no knot, while one was clipped with some length (not sure how much on brake-end) close to the end of the rope. Because it was wrapped around his legs and I didn't want to move him, I didn't get a good idea about how much rope was where.

Thank you for helping me clarify, part of my duty to your partners is to the community. If this knowledge can help in any way I will not hesitate to give it.

Trad climber
San Diego,CA
May 21, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
G Davis I Just now saw this after retuning from a trip to Nepal yesterday. I can hardly get my head around this. I knew him from the gym and Nomad and he always left such a solid impression of himself. A quiet confidence and a great smile. I will be preying for you and his loved ones.

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
May 21, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
It sounds to me like he slipped on some loose rocks after completing the rappel. I wouldn't try and over analyze it. Accidents happen, it's very sad and I hope you can find peace with it.

Ice climber
May 21, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
I don't know you or Lucas, but you are familiar to me through ST. I am soooo terribly sorry for your loss. It's an incredible tragedy to lose Lucas for sure, but you and his loved ones are the ones who have to live with that. While I don't know much, I now know grief, being the widow of Jack Roberts, who died in an ice climbing fall last year. I know it has been very hard on his partner, Jon. I would suggest seeking out others who have lost their climbing partners, and share your story with them, and perhaps gain some insight into how they have coped. It's different for me because I wasn't there when Jack died, so I can't really imagine how painful, difficult, and surreal it must have been/be for you. All I know is that for myself, I try to look for love and beauty all around me each day...I find that there is a lot, and even more now than I ever realized. My heart has grown in a way I wouldn't have guessed. And when the tears come (and they do!) I just allow myself the hurt and pain. Sometimes I even welcome that pain, as it makes me feel closer to him through the loss. If I can help in any way, don't hesitate to reach out. My email is srfrpam@aol.com.....It sounds like you are surrounding yourself with friends and family, which is good. Spend as much time outside as you can. Be kind to yourself............
much love,

May 21, 2013 - 01:36pm PT
My heart felt condolences. Be strong, it could happen to any one of us at any time.

May 21, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
Thanks Greg for the additional details, it is important to get the info out there for others to learn from even though details are painful. I think if it was set up error you would have heard him scream or yell some profanity before the crash you heard. Whether the knot came undone on its own or he had completed the rap and the block just happened to give way at that moment he had started to break it down, it's heartbreaking either way. Again very sorry, and best thoughts with you going forward.
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
May 21, 2013 - 03:19pm PT

It IS NOT that he died doing what he loved
Because he still died.
We are richer for having known him
But all the poorer for having lost him
And now must cope with his death
And our lives without him.

It IS that he passionately loved
Something that we too love.
And we admire that about him.
But passion comes at a price
And sometimes that price is very high.


Gym climber
It's not rocket surgery
May 21, 2013 - 03:28pm PT
With great admiration I read your account.
Please accept my condolences, and as well to the friends and family of Lucas.

Trad climber
May 21, 2013 - 08:11pm PT
Damn, so very sorry.

Trad climber
Lake Arrowhead, Ca
May 21, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
wow..very much of a bummer. After reading the details we have I'm guessing it's another case of rapping off the end of the rope. It would be very easy to see your partner below you and think that's where the rap ends. Ropes are never equal length at the end of a long rap. One end blows thru device, the scramble to grab anything causes rockfall. Might be why one end of rope was still in device. Back up your raps people, we know that's where the chopper can get ya.

condolences ... to Greg and to Lucas' family and friends

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 21, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
Again, I hope everyone involved can find peace in this terrible event.

After reading the details we have I'm guessing it's another case of rapping off the end of the rope.

Based on my knowledge of the route and Greg's original post it sounds to me like a mishap at the end of the rope, but not exactly rapping off it.

Greg makes it clear in his post that they had one rope. He refers to Lucas throwing the rope on his back, and he refers to centering it at the middle mark while setting up the rap. He also says he left overhands in the ends with app 3" tails. It sounds like Lucas was at the ends of the rope, undid those knots (or one of them) and then whatever happened did.

I don't know the exact length of the rap from the bolts atop Bat Crack to safety at the base of the direct start, but Greg's' description "careful this is not exactly an AMGA approved rap" indicates that they were improvising a bit with not enough rope (no criticism intended - I've done that and gotten away more times than I can recall.)

I've always done Vampire with double ropes, two 50M 8.5s are ideal.

Again going by Greg's op, I'd rule out an improper setup of the device up at the anchor. That would have been a huge free fall and the results would have not been as were described.
Jack McBroom

Trad climber
Hemet, Ca.
May 21, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
I just heard about this from a student in my class this morning. It wasn't until I got to this forum that I realized who this Lucas was. He was not a student of mine, but wandered into my classroom regularly to visit and talk climbing. A really sweet and positive kid, always smiling, always full of calm energy. I had a huge stack of old climbing mags that he'd look through and I could see the dreams in his eyes and hear the happiness in his voice.
Then he graduated and I didn't hear anything again til now.

When I saw his photo, I just froze and like many of you, could only think "Oh No!"
This is not an ending I ever imagined. So terribly sorry and sad.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
May 21, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
Ugh, just saw this, Greg. So sorry to hear this.

God bless your buddy, Lucas. Take some time to deal with this. Maybe talk to Wendell (TGT), as he dealt with similar stuff with his good buddy, Woody.

Sorry, Greg.

Social climber
So Cal
May 22, 2013 - 12:01am PT
I saw Greg Sunday.

From his description, the ledge collapsed out from under Lucas just as he was getting off rappel.

Doesn't sound like any operator error was involved.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
May 22, 2013 - 12:20am PT
From his description, the ledge collapsed out from under Lucas just as he was getting off rappel.

That's what it sounded like. Still sucks though.

Glad you talked to him.
Loco de Pedra

Mountain climber
Niteroi Rio de Janeiro
May 22, 2013 - 09:20am PT
Did the end of the rappel had back up knots or not?

didn't tie ends (because until yesterday I hardly ever bother)

I don’t think is anyone fault, even when is human error and based on wrong decisions. To be out there each individual assumes this risk. However, to honor all involved we MUST TRY to learn from it. I believe that no one goes in vain, we all have our callings, and that is unchangeable.

I wish understanding and acceptance to all involved on this personal tragedy.

Thanks to the author for having the courage to come forth and share this experience. Keep on moving.

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
May 22, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Sending good vibes your way. All the best. Sorry you lost your friend. They are not easy to find.


Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
May 22, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
Sorry for your loss GD.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 22, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
Thanks, Bluering. I did talk to Wendell, He's a real sweetheart. Don't let the word get out.
Kathy Dunn

Boulder climber
Idyllwild, CA
May 24, 2013 - 12:53am PT
Thank you so much for all your kinds words about my son. Thank you ICA for placing Suicide Stairs with Lucas name in the rock. I had the privilege as his mom to hike many times to Suicide to see the different routes. I also had an opportunity to hike with him to the base of Lily Rock and envision what climbers must do to start the climb. Then we hiked around to the back side and bouldered our way up to the top of Lily Rock. How amazing to see the view from the top. His memorial service is June 2 at 5 pm at Camp Maranatha 54162 Maranatha Dr., Idyllwild. The service will be in the amphitheater. This is a special place for Lucas. All our welcome to attend. A meal will be served after the service. Kathy Dunn
Delhi Dog

Good Question...
May 24, 2013 - 01:04am PT
Kathy, so sorry for your loss.
Not knowing your son other than through this thread I get the feeling he was a fine young man who was following his dreams.

I wish you the best in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Positive healing sent your way.

Greg, you hang in there. I can see you are a true friend, which is a very special thing for any of us to have and to be.

With much sorrow and understanding,



Social climber
So Cal
May 24, 2013 - 10:06am PT
Just so you aren't disappointed Kathy, it will be a while before I get his name on one of the steps.

Not there yet.

May 24, 2013 - 02:38pm PT
I would like to understand the definition of "leading".

Also, the "anchor" was placed on sketchy rocks?

And the "hey be careful, this rap isn't exactly AMGA approved." Is that a common phrase amongst climbers as a serious warning or more of a phrase taken lightly?

"Off to the right was a not-so-solid looking block, that one could stand on to get an extra few inches, but it was not ideal looking (the size of a mini-fridge)." By the statement of AMGA, were these unstable rocks all communicated?

When you are rappelling, is it easy to spot sketchy rocks?

**What does this mean? "While propping his legs up I noticed the rap device clipped into a single end of the rope"

Im sure these are tough questions but I need a full understanding.

Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
May 24, 2013 - 03:20pm PT
My sincere condolences to Lucas' family.
He looked to be a beautiful human being, and from what I read here from those that knew him, he was just that.

I think analyzing this incident is the right thing to do.

I tied tiny overhands near the end of the rope so he could grab the giant, solid flake that starts the technical climbing while unclipping.

How were these knots meant to help him grab the flake?

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
May 24, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
I've been in denial, avoiding reading this. I'm saddened for what you had to go through Greg, and what you and his friends and family will continue to go through for a long time. It sounds like you're handling it with openness and grace, as much as can be expected of anyone.

Given all the shenanigans and stuff that happens over time, what we get used to accepting as common-place and pass off with macabre humor or ultimate faith in our judgment and ability to handle the situation... it just seems so arbitrary when a soul casts off this world.

Hang in there, be there for those who need it, and let yourselves be vulnerable to accepting the love and help offered by those around you.

Edit for pud: If it were me, I'd think of leaving the over-hand knots in the end as courtesy backups, so the other person would feel better about throwing a hand jam or getting established for a little downclimb with one hand, while the other hand is getting the belay device off. The idea is if you slip a little the knot would catch you rather than shooting off the end. Unless you slip right after removing the belay device, or after getting it off one of the strands of rope.

Trad climber
San Diego
May 24, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
Hi Jillian,

I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. As climbers we always search for the cause of these events as the answers provide us with information that can save our lives. In this case, I'm not sure there's an easy answer to what happened. From what we've heard, it sounds as though Lucas may have fallen after taking himself off repel (i.e. slipped), been hit by a rock during or after rappel, or simply rapped off the ends of his rope by somehow passing the knot. Unfortunately, no one can know for sure what happened up there. All of us have lived through situations that should have killed us in the mountains, some much more serious than what killed Lucas. It's tragic what happened. As far as what Davis (I do not know him personally) communicated to Lucas, I don't think it had anything to do with what resulted.

His AMGA comment I would take as a light hearted warning not to be taken seriously. By rappelling first he tested the system and put his full trust in it. Clearly, he believed it a system that would safely get them to the ground, and for him it did. It's hard to understand (if not impossible) what happened.

Trad climber
So Cal
May 24, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
I have started to write so many times but just couldn't put the flood of emotion into words. Greg, we (speaking for my entire family) all consider ourselves blessed to call you and Lucas friends. I cant speak of him in the past tense because he lives on in all of us. I am so glad we crashed "sushi night" the week before your climbing trip and got to spend the evening with our sons and Lucas.

Kathy, so many times this past week I have questioned the wisdom of raising my kids climbing - but I wouldn't have it any other way. The opportunity to create lasting memories, cherishing the beauty and diversity of His creations with our our kids -- you can't put a price tag on that. May His spirit of peace and comfort surround you, your family, and all of Lucas's friends who are in need.

Greg, I'm looking forward to climbing with you and your mom again. Lets make it happen!


"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by.." ~Frost

SF bay area
May 24, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
I believe the AMGA remark was concerning the destination of the rappel, not the rappel itself. So little rope was left at the destination stance. There was no fixed anchor to clip into, or a safe, flat and wide, destination.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 27, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
Memorial Day Bump


Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
May 27, 2013 - 01:30pm PT
Edit for pud: If it were me, I'd think of leaving the over-hand knots in the end as courtesy backups, so the other person would feel better about throwing a hand jam or getting established for a little downclimb with one hand, while the other hand is getting the belay device off. The idea is if you slip a little the knot would catch you rather than shooting off the end. Unless you slip right after removing the belay device, or after getting it off one of the strands of rope.

The problem with this practice is overhand knots may fail under body weight. By doing this you are therefore giving the second a false sense of security.
This practice should be eliminated unless substantial knots can be placed.

A prusik or other friction knot above the belay device is helpful in the instance where a rope barely reaches anchors or a safe stance.

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
May 27, 2013 - 04:55pm PT
I see your point pud. Friction knot above belay device seems like a better general strategy; also avoids the risk of forgetting knot in end and getting a rope stuck during a pull. Maybe one other point it helps with: on a tricky exit, if you need one hand on a jam or crimp, it's easier to slide off end of rope (on purpose) and pull down a friction knot with you, versus trying to untie a half hitch or unclipping belay device from rope above the half hitch it might be getting stuck in. One risk though is your hand has to stay on the friction knot to keep it from catching, and then it's hard to grab one end of the rope strand to prevent it from recoiling when the load is removed, and ending up out of reach above you. I'm not settled on what's the "right" way to handle it; I can see different approaches in different scenarios.

I was at Taquitz climbing for the first time yesterday. Cool place, but my mind was not in the right space for being on the sharp end with spicy protection. I ended up bailing right before the end of the first pitch of some 5.9, and I made a big production of it. Was thinking a lot about Greg and Lucas out having fun, in their element, and then the unexpected. I was definitely more aware of my mortality than usual, and I was more aware of the good things in my life that I have to lose.

Courtesy booty call: after passing the roof on P1 of Grandote, you can find a big hex, a small wired bliss cam, a double-length dyneema sling, and 2 bail biners. I won't have time to be down that way for a while... finders keepers.

Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
May 27, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
was this anchor failure ? loose rocks, bad protection , bad knot/bolt/hanger etc,...
was this rapping error ? no knot, rapping on one rope instead of two...
was this user error ? Disconnecting personal slings from anchor before running the rope in to rap ring or loosing hand grip on rap device etc

The report is very succinct and I think GDavis did a tremendous job of presenting the facts under what must have been extreme duress.

What is clear:
The victim was attached to the rope the entire time.
He had seen his partner complete the rap.
He was an experienced climber.


Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 28, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
I have a question.... 60m rope or 70m ????


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 28, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
60m I believe, as we'd climbed on it for hundreds of pitches and I don't remember ever talking about it being a seventy.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 28, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
You don't know??? for sure?!!!!

Might make a bit of difference, when devising a plan to decend.

Just saying.

I spent all 3 days, when we were out climbing, thinking about this and how it went down.

We have all been in dicy rap situations before... ends not on the deck, downclimbing hard face, jumping etc.

I just wish to know... then it can't happen to me.

That is how I look at all mishaps, always have.

sad, tragic.


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 28, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
You don't know??? for sure?!!!!

No, I don't. It wasn't my rope, and I have no reason whatsoever to believe that it was a 70 - but I don't speculate. We used that rope almost exclusively on longer routes, almost never rapping off them (tahquitz, the high sierra, tuolumne.... all walk-offs) and usually just belay at the usual belays.

I'm sure if we found ourselves in a situation where the conversation of "do we need a 70m" would come up, Lucas would say "oh well I don't have one." But I don't know 100% for sure. I know 95%. I know that is hard for some to understand, but I would prefer to be honest.

I spent all 3 days, when we were out climbing, thinking about this and how it went down.

I don't fully understand how it happened and I was 20 feet away. There might never be a reason.

I just wish to know... then it can't happen to me.

That is how I look at all mishaps, always have.

Be aware of loose rock nearby when rapping, and if there is some blocks that look funky that your partner might stand on/put his hand on/catch a pulled rope build and anchor and clip in before going off rap. That's what you can do.
Richard Conner

Mountain climber
Snohomish, WA
May 29, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
Hi Greg, Thank you for the transparent write-up. I am sorry for your loss. I have met you a few times with the North County Adventure group and have always found you to be a super nice guy in addition to an exceptional climber. I didn't know Lucas but have also lost too many friends in the mountains over the years. What a tragedy - hang in there.

May 29, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Thank you for your write up. Sh#t happens.

My deepest condolences.

Having gone through a similar experience lately, I can say this:

- only do what feels right, in the moment. make plans, cancel plans, climb, don't climb...

be good to yourself. Seeing anyone, let alone a friend, die so quickly is a shock to the body mind and soul, isn't it!

My key has been to accept. Accept accept. How it went - accept that. How you responded - accept. How you feel right here on this breath... accept.

Not to go all star trek on you, but resistance truly is futile.

It does sound like you're doing well though. yay.


Trad climber
May 29, 2013 - 03:41pm PT
Said a prayer while strolling past the Vampire yesterday. RIP

May 29, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
I spent all 3 days, when we were out climbing, thinking about this and how it went down.

ive been thinking about it a bunch myself. my wife talked to greg and he graciously answered all her questions this past sunday. This incident continues to remind me why I HATE rapping... and Bad Traverse Ledge is just waiting to crumble down.

you rock greg. hope to run into you a bunch more times as I walk this earth.


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 29, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Thanks Phil, you rock too. Went to South Ridge a few days back with Jeremy, got a few problems I'd been thinking about. So beautiful up there, watching the sun set on the desert divide.
Lori Olthoff

Mountain climber
Jun 3, 2013 - 02:10am PT
Dear Greg,
Extending heartfelt condolences for the loss of your friend, Lucas.
I knew him briefly and somewhat superficially however, it was very apparent that he led his life thoughtfully and with much joy.
My deepest love and empathy to you and to Lucas's family.
Many Blessings and Big Hugs.
Lori Olthoff
Kironn Kid

Trad climber
Jun 3, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
So sorry to hear this. I lost my best friend in the same area of Tahquitz wall.

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Jun 3, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
To Greg, Lucas's Family, loved ones and co-workers....Words still aren't working, but my heart is full of prayers and love. lynne

Trad climber
Abbottstown, PA
Jun 3, 2013 - 05:12pm PT
I feel your loss - once watched a friend blow a single pitch free solo in an abandoned quarry do a 120' last step .... we'd freed that climb (now destroyed due to McMansion expansion) 20 times - he wanted to FS it (climbed it without a mis-step at least a half dozen times) - figure fear overhanging finger jams 10' below the top) overcame skill ... but watching a friend go is never easy - like you I held him as he passed - then got to tell the cops, coroner and his parents what had happened.
Meditate, find that quiet place for yourself, invite your friend who passed in to mourn with you, you'll both find peace.
Life is fragile, but if not fully lived both fragile and futile - forget the fragility and embrace it, live it, love it and don't count on seeing 100 ....

Steve (better than 1/2 way to 100 but not expecting to see 70)

Trad climber
Long Beach, CA
Jun 3, 2013 - 07:58pm PT

my offering to you is
find the obscure friendships
that obliterate spiritual thresholds,
and unify with those
whom live beyond us.

@Norwegian: I'm at work, reading this post. ALL of our words made me tear up. Thank you.

@Greg. Tahquitz is my home crag. That place makes my soul sing. I have also been to Nomad several times, the last time I took my climbing partner there to get a cool blue/pink helmet climbing. She was dying of cancer and had no hair, but it made her feel pretty...

Thank you for all you have done, and peace to you and Lucas' family..

Tim B
tommy wiggins

Trad climber
Edison, NJ (for now)
Jun 10, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
A measure of a good life may be the number of lives a person has touched. Lucas, it seems from reading through this forum, touched many in his short, vibrant life. Though I hardly knew him, I am saddened by his passing. Last summer, I climbed for a couple weeks in Idyllwild and met Lucas in Nomad. He was friendly and exuberant, sharing stories of climbing and making suggestions on the classic lines. Condolences to the family and friends.


Trad climber
Jun 10, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
Things happen, and instead of saying "these things just happen sometimes."
we all need to be saying, "things happen for a REASON."

I'm so sorry for your lost and my heart grieves for you and his family and friends.


Hebrews 1:3
Jun 10, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
We are going through the SAFESTART program at work, http://safestart.com/ and this card can make you think where your at...

photo not found
Missing photo ID#306366

Please keep this in mind when you step off the ground!

Sorry again Greg

Trad climber
Idylwild Ca
Jun 11, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Today I went back over to the accident site to take a closer look at the trees in the area where the rappel ends for the first pitch of the vampire. This is the spot that Lucas most likely fell from. Greg, whom is a hero and did everything right. Said "I heard noise, turned and saw Lucas, rocks, and the rope all coiled in a bunch fall past me.

I was in the area just before and just after the accident and noticed a big chunk of WhiteFir trunk laying in the gully after the accident. I would have noticed if the piece of trunk had been there before because I always check that spot for booty if I am soloing near there. Bits of Bark are strewn everywhere and it makes me wonder if Lucas relied on the tree to avoid the loose rocks or if perhaps the rope tangled in the tree and the action of pulling the rope free may have broke the trunk and pulled the rope down with Lucas?

I checked the piece of trunk closely for bits of hair,material,rope,etc... And found none.

I went up to the remaining White Fir tree that was about 35ft tall and about a foot in diameter and stood dead near the same area and I was able to push it over with very little effort. These trees died over the last decade mostly from mistletoe and they are now good and rotted so they are really dangerous.

Lucas was an exceptional young man and I want to be a better climber somehow as a result of anything we can learn from this tragedy. From now on I am going to stay at the rappel station when I go first and wait for my partner to arrive ( unless the situation demands a different strategy) I will also make sure that when pulling the rope I will not be able to be pulled off by the rope if it becomes involved with falling rocks or trees etc...

I will also try and be more like Lucas, kind, enthusiastic and wise. Hundreds of people were at his memorial service, his friends and partners did him proud and Clark Jacobs spoke eloquently about the student that became the teacher.

I had the best day ever on the rock covering over 6000 ft of easy climbing and feeling grateful to still be here. Inspired by Lucas.

E. A.

Social climber
Ventura, California
Jun 12, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
Stunned still after Clark telling me about this yesterday in Idyllwild.

My sincere condolences to Lucas’s friends and family. I always enjoyed talking to the Ladd. His enthusiasm for the climbing life was as high as I’ve ever seen. I’ll miss running into him again…

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Dec 4, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
Tonight I am thinking about the holidays and the loved one and friends that are not here to celebrate with us. It is hard, these holidays, when loss is fresh. I know. My prayers and love are with you all....Lucas's Mom and Dad, his beautiful girlfriend, and other family and close friends.

Peace and Love from lynne.

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Dec 4, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
Bootysatva...Don't change..You are beautiful child of God..Bwaaaaaaaa.!

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
Hey E. A.
Sorry I missed your response, thank you for writing. I went up to the site with a few of his close friends not long after, and didn't see anything that jogged a memory. I think next spring I will be ready to climb those routes again (I've been dreaming of doing the Super Pooper to Price of Fear link-up once more) and I'll take a closer look at the base of the Vampire Direct start. Who knows, I might even get on it again, but right now I'm not in that kind of shape : /

seven months, almost to the day, and my biggest take-away is that there isn't anything wasted. A day I get rained out, a day I call it after a single route, a day I fail at an onsight and blow a sequence... it's not a big deal anymore. A little bit of that has made me more lazy, because I used to care so damn much that it would eat at me. Now, if it's right the good things will happen, but the bad things happen to, and fnding a way to accept them without giving them weight one way or another is just another part of the game.

I will be back in Idyllwild come mid-April, working at Nomad Ventures with my good friend Jim, fitting stinky PCT hikers with fresh socks. I really like it there. I hope to see many of you, and when(if) I get time off I'd love to cruise around some of those route again. It's been years since I'd climbed The Open Book...

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - May 22, 2015 - 08:03pm PT
The two year mark just passed this weekend and as I'm typing this at work in a tie I'm realizing there isn't much to say aside from "I'm OK."

I tried to keep climbing for about a year after the event, always kind of filled with dread and terror, particularly when trad and alpine climbing. It was all I knew of how to climb, though, forward and faster, and sometime last summer I was kind of 'over it.' Over being scared, seeing every loose rock or sketchy wired nut and connecting it to helicopters. Gleefully leading I would look down between my legs at a slack rope and my heart rate would wollop out of control. All that said, for that first summer and through the winter, I actually kept climbing at about the same standard despite really really really hating it.

I kept going out all last year, with friends and family mostly just playing a guide role. I would never consider getting the kind of job that takes a full 50+ hour a week commitment, with no weekends off or time off available, but after accruing sufficient debt and moving back in with the parents it became a reasonable option.

Now 6 months into a life I never thought I'd live (one with a 401K, slick-soled dress shoes and mandatory daily grooming) I'm discovering climbing again. Not the climbing I'd known and cultivated through Lucas, but my own idea of what it is I like and how I want to do it. I suck again, which is cool, because 5.10 is supposed to feel hard. Also too I'm not exactly climbing on tahquitz again, and while I've repeated a few west face short routes I am deathly afraind of the North face and FBT ledge routes so those might have to wait a few years. But, some short cragging and bouldering are keeping me sane amid a stressful week of hitting sales goals and getting verbally beaten by people whose money I want.

Anyway I think you guys might want an update. Baby steps, but maybe life will lead me back to parking lot bivies, good friends and long summer days in the mountains. I hope it does.

Gym climber
May 22, 2015 - 08:07pm PT
To everything, turn, turn, turn.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
May 22, 2015 - 10:56pm PT
Take all the time you need, then get back out there. Lucas wants you to climb again.

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
May 23, 2015 - 06:58am PT
Thanks for the update; putting the real emotions out there. You can't change what happened, but you can deal with it instead of sweeping it under the carpet. Keep doing that.

BTW, your feelings about Tahquitz' North Face? I've got the exact same feeling about the Leaning Tower's North Face. I'll never go back there. Caused by an incident in 1992 (my partner lived).

May 23, 2015 - 07:19am PT

The hardest will be the subtil smells and sounds that hit your subconscious at odd times. However, being open and clear in your own mind can be of great assistance. One way to help clear your head is to recreate those positive, happy experiences of earlier joyful years a few times to sort of "overwrite" the repressed bad memories. So if you have a favorite easy route, grab the partner you most totally dig, and lap it over and over on perfect weather days. Move to some other routes and bring those feelings along. In 10-20 years, your great memories of Lucas will remain as will the sadness when you are quietly reflecting, but the subconscious control of the smells and sounds that accompanied the gut-punch sicking experience of his horrible fall, will all but disappear.

Good Luck Greg.

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