Muir Rescue/Recovery


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Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
May 26, 2013 - 06:49am PT
what you say in your post seems like an altogether different context

I know

Hebrews 1:3
May 26, 2013 - 07:01am PT
Yes, condolences to Mason's family and friends, and especially to you Marc and may you get some restful sleep!

Accidents happen with dire consequences all the time and sometimes when the ball is set in motion it is beyond our control to change course, or even see it coming!

Don't forget you can use your haul line for double rope technique if you think you need it, climbing expando, around sharp edges, shorten the fall, or for rope drag, although no one would have used it here!

God give us peace!


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
May 26, 2013 - 09:19am PT
I think in these vulnerable issues it is normal to try and assign blame or to feel guilty about this or that but the fact is, adventure sports are not safe, at all. We all know the risks going in. They're part of what attract many of us in the first place. Sadly, we're all not going to make it through. That's how the game has played out since man first ventured from the cave. It's the irreducible brute element, and no amount of talking and bolting and regret can ever erase it entirely from our experience.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 26, 2013 - 09:24am PT
Johno, all true. Every now and then, climbing has to eat one of its own, as do all the other extreme sports and arts. It is inherent.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 26, 2013 - 11:25am PT
We've collectively yarded on tens of thousands of loose blocks and flakes. We hit them with the heels of our hands, kick them with our feet, observe the motion, listen to the sound, and make a judgement. It's not exactly an engineering survey. The process only really identifies the most precarious features. For the rest, we shrug, mutter to ourselves that it is probably ok, and then weight the feature or place some pro behind it. Most of us have done this over and over, which may convince us that we actually know what we are doing, whereas in reality we are just benefiting from favorable rolls of the dice.

My personal count is two holds snapped off while soloing---in each case only a desperate, tenuous, and highly improbable recovery kept me from going to the deck---and one incredibly extreme incident wrestling with a large air-conditioner size chockstone that dropped into my lap in a chimney. I've done, I think, four climbs using major features that have since fallen off; those features were heavily pulled on and used for protection by all the ascenders.

As the years have gone by and the close calls have mounted, I've become increasingly wary of loose stuff. There's a climb in the Gunks with an obvious loose flake, covered with chalk from being used by others, that I resolutely refused to touch, at the expense of adding a grade to the route. That flake is now gone, as far as I know without taking anyone with it.

Mason's death is a terrible and sad reminder that our skill and experience is not always enough to control nature's vagaries. I agree that risk is an intrinsic part of the appeal of adventure climbing, but the appeal comes from our ability to neutralize risks with skill, cunning, and self-control. The trouble is that we don't always succeed, and even when we do we may be mistaking good luck for evidence of our ability to control our environment.

In the aftermath of these tragedies, it often seems like the climbing endeavor can't possibly be worth these devastating losses. But for most of us, to quote Barry Corbet a few days after Jake Breitenbach was killed on Mount Everest, "I, at least, am experiencing the return of the desire to climb."

My heartfelt sympathies to Mason's family, who have lost two children to the mountains. And my most fervent wishes for the rest of us---knowing that we will continue to venture forth---for favorable rolls of those dice.

May 26, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
I hope some long summer days looking out across the vast flathead valley and lake bring some moments of peace to you.

Know that mason is tied in with his brother and climbing higher than ever before.
Thoughts and prayers to you.

Bruce Kay

Gym climber
May 26, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
We've collectively yarded on tens of thousands of loose blocks and flakes. We hit them with the heels of our hands.....

Well put Rgold. A lot of these beasts are either poised to go or soon will be. I think someone already mentioned the potential for an online topo that highlights observed time bombs. Very good idea. Maybe chris mac should start a "Hazards" page or something? insert a "red Flag"?

I once did the standard heel tap test and was a little shocked to see the small engine block in question smoothly and instantly slide off along an inclined shear plane not previously obvious to the eye. If you think I was surprised just imagine the dismay of my belayer below!!!!!

Another time a buddy was sprawled out on a nice flat rock belaying his partner 100 feet above. Imagine his surprise when a dining table size guillotine flake suddenly leapt off the rock right beside the climber! He rather suddenly awoke from his belay stupor and barrel rolled to safety in something like 1.0001 of a second! The only hint of impending disaster was the occasional little sand grain that landed on their head while racking up, which they thought was caused by the wind.


Trad climber
May 26, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
Stranger, stranger, lover of unreachable heights, why dwell you among the summits where eagles build their nests?

Why seek you the unattainable?

What storms would you trap in your net,

And what vaporous birds do you hunt in the sky?

Come and be one of us.

Descend and appease your hunger with our bread and quench your thirst with our wine."

In the solitude of their souls they said these things;

But were their solitude deeper they would have known that I sought but the secret of your joy and your pain,

And I hunted only your larger selves that walk the sky.

But the hunter was also the hunted:

For many of my arrows left my bow only to seek my own breast.

And the flier was also the creeper;

For when my wings were spread in the sun their shadow upon the earth was a turtle.

And I the believer was also the doubter;

For often have I put my finger in my own wound that I might have the greater belief in you and the greater knowledge of you.

And it is with this belief and this knowledge that I say,

You are not enclosed within your bodies, nor confined to houses or fields.

That which is you dwells above the mountain and roves with the wind.

It is not a thing that crawls into the sun for warmth or digs holes into darkness for safety,

But a thing free, a spirit that envelops the earth and moves in the ether.

If this be vague words, then seek not to clear them.

Vague and nebulous is the beginning of all things, but not their end,

And I fain would have you remember me as a beginning.

Life, and all that lives, is conceived in the mist and not in the crystal.

And who knows but a crystal is mist in decay?

This would I have you remember in remembering me:

That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you is the strongest and most determined.

Is it not your breath that has erected and hardened the structure of your bones?

And is it not a dream which none of you remember having dreamt that building your city and fashioned all there is in it?

Could you but see the tides of that breath you would cease to see all else,

And if you could hear the whispering of the dream you would hear no other sound.

But you do not see, nor do you hear, and it is well.

The veil that clouds your eyes shall be lifted by the hands that wove it,

And the clay that fills your ears shall be pierced by those fingers that kneaded it.

And you shall see

And you shall hear.

Yet you shall not deplore having known blindness, nor regret having been deaf.

For in that day you shall know the hidden purposes in all things,

And you shall bless darkness as you would bless light.

After saying these things he looked about him, and he saw the pilot of his ship standing by the helm and gazing now at the full sails and now at the distance.

And he said:

Patient, over-patient, is the captain of my ship.

The wind blows, and restless are the sails;

Even the rudder begs direction;

Yet quietly my captain awaits my silence.

And these my mariners, who have heard the choir of the greater sea, they too have heard me patiently.

Now they shall wait no longer.

I am ready.

The stream has reached the sea, and once more the great mother holds her son against her breast.

Fare you well, people of Orphalese.

This day has ended.

It is closing upon us even as the water-lily upon its own tomorrow.

What was given us here we shall keep,

And if it suffices not, then again must we come together and together stretch our hands unto the giver.

Forget not that I shall come back to you.

A little while, and my longing shall gather dust and foam for another body.

A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me.

Farewell to you and the youth I have spent with you.

It was but yesterday we met in a dream.

You have sung to me in my aloneness, and I of your longings have built a tower in the sky.

But now our sleep has fled and our dream is over, and it is no longer dawn.

The noontide is upon us and our half waking has turned to fuller day, and we must part.

If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more, we shall speak again together and you shall sing to me a deeper song.

And if our hands should meet in another dream, we shall build another tower in the sky.

So saying he made a signal to the seamen, and straightaway they weighed anchor and cast the ship loose from its moorings, and they moved eastward.

And a cry came from the people as from a single heart, and it rose the dusk and was carried out over the sea like a great trumpeting.

Only Almitra was silent, gazing after the ship until it had vanished into the mist.

And when all the people were dispersed she still stood alone upon the sea-wall, remembering in her heart his saying,

A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me."

from "The Farewell" by Kahlil Gibran


Trad climber
Santa Cruz
May 27, 2013 - 09:28am PT
Memorial Day bump


Trad climber
May 27, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
Isn't climbing about the unknown?

Rest brother

Aloha and be well


Toyota Tacoma
May 28, 2013 - 11:43am PT
Credit: Hoots

After I heard about this I looked through some photos that Tom took of our ascent around this time last year, and found this one with the belay, and that gnarly block sitting right at my feet. The block that pulled is just out of view inside the corner. I do believe that block was well off route, and most people have and will continue to easily avoid it to the left, but being heads up about the block just getting to that belay is still quite important.

michael robison

Social climber
columbia falls montana
May 29, 2013 - 07:44am PT
Realize that each individual person does make a difference because one person influences the next and so on until everyone has been influenced by each other and that, in the end, is what makes up our country, our humanity, and our lives, Mason Robison's journals,

See ya all in oct

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
May 29, 2013 - 08:21am PT
Hi Michael,

Sorry for your loss and sorry I missed you on Saturday at Cfalls.

What's going on in October?

Arne Boveng
michael robison

Social climber
columbia falls montana
May 29, 2013 - 08:33am PT
Headed to Yosemite for 10 days Starting on oct. 1st. My parents have never been there. Anyone is welcome to meet us their. I'll know more later Cheers to all

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
May 29, 2013 - 08:38am PT
Be sure to stop by the Bridge to say hi.
Double D

May 31, 2013 - 09:50am PT
Such a tragedy... my condolences to all of his family and friends. I've never been a fan of static haul lines for this very reason. They only save about 20 feet of hauling and can't act as a back up in a situation like this. Just my 2 cents as an old fart...
Big Mike

Trad climber
May 31, 2013 - 09:55am PT
If it's true that Mason had the haul line attached to a chest harness independant of his sit harness, I don't think dynamic or static would really make a difference.

Rip Brother!

Trad climber
May 31, 2013 - 11:44am PT
Mason did not have the haul line attached to his chest harness. His haul line, 9.5mm static, was attached to the haul loop on the back of his harness.
The 7mm dynamic tag line was attached to a gear loop on his waist harness. His chest harness was used for racking only.

Because he was found upright, tangled in his lines,there was an assumption that his haul line was attached to his chest harness. It never was.

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Jun 1, 2013 - 01:00am PT
Didn't know Mason, personally, not even virtually, but was very saddened when I read about his accident and death - especially since it very much seems he was a very experienced all-around climber, having under his belt a few rope-solos of ElCap. (got to watch some videos on his youtube channel)

No matter how safe/cautious/experienced someone is, you never know when your time comes, it could be tomorrow or a few decades away, it could be climbing or leukemia or a car accident - such is life and death...

As it is said 'death does not come alone' - in a span of 24h, I learned from the FB feed about 3 !!! deadly climbing accidents - one was Mason, one was the Tahquitz rappel, and another one was a snowboarder who fell 3000ft to his death on the Aiguille du Midi exit ridge, in a bad storm and extreme winds.

Less than 24 hours before reading about these 3 accidents, one of my closest partners here in Chamonix had been rescued by a complete miracle after having spent almost 4 days in a snow cave crevasse near the top of Aiguille Verte...and 24 hours after reading about these accidents, just by going to the supermarket, I witnessed a body on the ground covered with white sheets, and the police/ambulance...

My thoughts towards the friends and family of Mason, and anyone who might have just shared a rope once with him.

San Jose, CA
Jun 3, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
Just out from Yosem Public Affairs...

Rock Climber Dies in Yosemite National Park

Climber Dislodged Rock that Strikes Climbing Partner

A twenty eight year old climber died in a rock climbing accident on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park yesterday afternoon, Sunday, June 2, 2013. Felix Joseph Kiernan, from London, England, was climbing on the East Buttress of El Capitan, a popular climbing route in Yosemite Valley, when he was struck by a rock.

Kiernan and his climbing partner were approximately 600 feet up the climbing route when a loose block was dislodged. The block, estimated to be one foot by two feet, fell approximately 150 feet before striking Kiernan and causing fatal injuries. The incident occurred at approximately 2:00 p.m.

A second party climbing just below Kiernan immediately called the Yosemite Emergency Communication Center via cell phone and reported the incident. Yosemite Park Rangers and Yosemite Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel were immediately dispatched to El Capitan where they began climbing the route to reach the climbing party.

Park Rangers reached Kiernan around 4:00 p.m. and pronounced him deceased. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter, H-40, and the park’s helicopter, Helicopter 551, assisted in the incident by inserting Park Rangers and rescue equipment onto the wall and hoisting the victim to Yosemite Valley. Park Rangers rappelled the route with Kiernan's partner and the second climbing party.


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