Tahquitz rescue 5-17-2013


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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 donít 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.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
May 24, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
Jillian , "Leading" is the first climber that goes up a route. As he goes he places cams , chocks or clips into fixed pieces of gear as a safety margin in case he falls. The fall length will be roughly twice the length of distance he is above the last piece of protection he placed like a "cam" for instance. The belayer stops his fall. Then the second "follows" removing the pieces put in by the first and is "top roped" by the leader who belays him from above, or through anchors.. Greg should explain the rest. My very SINCERE CONDOLENCES..

edit: "Anchors" are mostly fixed pieces of protection that form a belay stance on the rock. Mostly drilled expansion bolts with hangers that the climbers clip into to belay or rappel from. A large tree can be a belay anchor as well. Or Cams and chocks put into cracks by the climbers themselves to be later removed.. Anchors can be fixed , removable or part of nature-- ie blocks that can have slings around them, or trees etc.

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.
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