Tahquitz rescue 5-17-2013

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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.
graham

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 Lucasís friends and family. I always enjoyed talking to the Ladd. His enthusiasm for the climbing life was as high as Iíve ever seen. Iíll miss running into him againÖ

Mike
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.
rottingjohnny

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

Social climber
SOL CAL
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...
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
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.
murcy

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

climber
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.
mtnyoung

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).
couchmaster

climber
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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