Tahquitz rescue 5-17-2013

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Messages 181 - 200 of total 209 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
nutjob

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.
pud

climber
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.

guyman

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

GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
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.
guyman

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.

GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
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.
westofjess

climber
squamish
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.

Hugs!
Pie

Trad climber
So-Cal
May 29, 2013 - 03:41pm PT
Said a prayer while strolling past the Vampire yesterday. RIP
x15x15

climber
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.

Philip
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
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
Escondido
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.

Russ
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
Stevethefolkie

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)
tim_b

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.

Sean
hunter4884

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.

SORRY Greg
go-B

climber
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
bootysatva

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.
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