failed rescue attempt on Aconcagua

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Messages 201 - 220 of total 398 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Chris Fasoldt

Mountain climber
Rockport, Maine
Feb 21, 2009 - 07:42am PT
It is jury-rigged and jerry-built
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 21, 2009 - 08:05am PT
Thanks Chris for clearing that up.
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Feb 21, 2009 - 08:27am PT
From Outside Online, mar 99.
This has been obliquely referred to several times. Another mans answer to the impossible.




"They told us we had two hours to climb down the West Rib and get these guys back up," Lowe continues. The West Rib is a technical climb down a 50-degree slope of ice and rock. "By the time we got to them, one of the Spaniards had already fallen to his death. The other two weren't wearing gloves or hats. They were in the last stages of hypothermia they were delirious and their hands were frozen way up past the wrist." Twight and Backes went back up with the first climber, who could still walk, with the idea they'd return to help Lowe carry up the second man, who was in much worse shape. Lowe decided there wasn't time to wait.

"I stood him up, leaned him against me, and started up, but he just passed out, so I cut a chunk of rope, tied him directly into my harness he was 20 feet below me and just started climbing up this thing, dragging the guy. It was fully epic. When I reached the fixed ropes, I couldn't keep dragging him, but he wouldn't get up. So I finally picked him up, piggyback, and staggered uphill to 19,500 feet and carried him on to the football field. It was one of those things you do because you have to do it, one of those Herculean things where you get a lot of adrenaline going and you just do it." They all flew off to Talkeetna in the Chinook.





There was a man. No snivelling about impossibility, just do it.

He became famous for what he did. I think he got what he earned.




Now those six are famous for what they did. I think their names should be published. So they can get what they earned.
ofcwalleye

Trad climber
everywhereUSA
Feb 21, 2009 - 08:28am PT
If the rescuers were expecting Federico Campanini to be dead then why did they go to the rescue on such bad conditions and in such quick pace as rescue organizers claim. Also, didn't the rescuers state they video tape the rescue to help them improve their future attempts.

I have real "a lot" of rescues from Everest, Mt. Hood, K2 and have been really impressed with the organization and the "rescue bags" they use. There have been a lot of miracles that have off those mountains.

This is not the dark ages. If you are a confident rescue climber then your heart is to rescue that person, because you fear that happening to you or your clients someday . That is why you learn from other's mistakes. I believe most guides practice and participate in alot of rescues to stay in shape and in tune their clients. They need to for liability purposes and to gain clients. I would imagine alot of the rescue team for Federico Campanini were probably trained guides. I agree with Federico's father, the rescue did not look very well planned. The only rescue item I saw was a rope. You would have to read the bigger mountain rescues to understand that this was not a good attempt. Only the confident climber would have volunteered for a rescue and usually it is the ones who really care about their jobs and the people they represent. I see an over-abundance (sorry teacher my spelling may be off) of red flags here.

But how am I to judge. I wasn't there and I didn't volunteer. I probably couldn't have made it either!
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 21, 2009 - 08:32am PT
nope- do you? Anyone ever tried? Share the info, what works what doesn't.

their problem was that they had to go up. that sucks, but there is a lot of effort and time involved in dragging a guy too.

Crawling slowly can take way too long too. I've seen a five minute walk take an hour when the victim insisted on walking. Werner - remember that slowpoke on the mist trail?

If brute strength doesn't work what do you do? I'd be thinking mechanical advantage, to assist the brute strength that is going to be needed.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 21, 2009 - 08:44am PT
Tom did you see this ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3pJETt1s_Y
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 21, 2009 - 08:49am PT
Majid there is no comparison!

WBraun

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 09:07am PT
Yeah Tom, I remember that old man, 1 hour to go 5 minutes. Hahaha

Anyways, The guys number was up. 30 Alex lowes, Jello's, Stumps and whatever bad ass m'ofukers on this planet would never have saved him.

Well ..... maybe Rocky?

When your numbers up it's up ......
TYeary

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 09:33am PT
What Werner said.
Unfortunitly, there was no Alex Lowe present. Just guys trying to do a seemingly immpossible task of getting a largely un-responsive climber up several hundred meters over a 23,000 foot summit and then down the other side. They were already tired from racing up there and did what they could. This was not the Marine Corp, Denali Nat. Park rescue Team, or YOSAR. There is NO comparison to the Broad Peak rescue.
Perhaps it is true that they were unprepared, under-maned and poorly trained.
To those of you who are overly critical; have you been over 6000 meters, tired and in a storm, trying to "man -handle" dead weight up and over a 6968 meter summit? I find it poor style to coment what you cannot fathom. Try not judge these people too harshly.
I would like to think that I could have done something, anything to change the outcome had I been there. But expeirance and the reality of the video tells me different. Sad, very sad.
Peace to all,
Tony
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 09:33am PT
Werner is right. The situation with Alex was not at all comparable: acclimatized and rested climbers choppered up, descending 400 feet then going back up to waiting chopper. Versus unacclimatized climbers going to the summit then down 400 meters and having to climb back up and down the other side again. Those rescuers did as good a job as anyone could have under the circumstances.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 21, 2009 - 10:01am PT
We should let this go. The man is dead, dead, dead!

The only thing that remains to be discussed is how to prevent this from happening again.

Tom Woods is one of the few trying to accomplish this. How do we better outfit rescue teams to deal with this.

Tom, I hope you never have to drag me off a summit!


Rodrigo, thanks for your input...
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 21, 2009 - 10:26am PT
Tom,

Under those circumstances everyone's work capacity is greatly diminished. Mechanical advantage doesn't reduce the energy required to raise the load. So things go slowly.

And there wasn't enough time for that.

The only person I really blame for this whole thing is Rocky. He should have been paying attention. He should have, when he heard about it, just gone down there and GOT ER DONE!
jstan

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 10:41am PT
You know each of us gets up every day and confronts a half a dozen things we can't do anything about. So when we see something that we really think we might have been able to affect, it is hard to sit back and admit it may only be a perception that we could have changed things.

Sitting back is almost harder than confronting the impossible itself.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 21, 2009 - 11:34am PT
The guide's death was a combination of several mistakes. The failed rescue was the last nail in the coffin (punned intended). We can sit here and discuss the rescuers' competence or lack there of until like them we walk off in despair but that does change the fact that series of mistakes lead to his death.

The guide made the decision to lighten their load and ditch their packs in the cave. Many do this. IIRC at this point you have just started up the into the heart of the Cantaleta which many say is the hardest part for most people.

Lateness of the hour. Pushing on too late into the day is a time proven fatal flaw. My partner got into scrap with a "ranger" during his summit attempt less than 50 meters from the summit because the ranger said it was too late in the day to go up. It was around 4pm when this occurred and he had about 4 hours of light left. As it was I met him at 9pm in the dark with top tea and light back to camp. When I headed up the day before I gave myself a turn around time of 1pm. I had been suffering from a respiratory infection so I wanted a big buffer. Fortunately, I made it with in my time limit.

Weather awareness. Squalls can come up quickly and disappear just as quickly. However, it sounds as though the wether was more long term. The Cantaleta is protected on both sides which makes it difficult to see weather coming in from the west. Further, at the top of the Cantaleta the route stays just slightly under the ridgeline before heading up to the summit block. However at the top of the Cantaleta it is possible to peak over to the south by scrambling up anywhere from 10-30 meters. Many people do this so they can look down the south face.

Route knowledge. I am still trying figure out how the guide managed to get to where they were. From the pictures they traversed right which means the hill was on their right yet when coming down from the summit the hill should mostly be on your left until you drop into the Cantaleta. With the many people on the hill there is typically there is a well worn path either in the snow or rocks. So even in a white out there should have been some clues. The other is that from the top of the Cantaleta to the summit is less than 100 meters. So if indeed they were ~250 meters below the summit that is a ways down to have missed an important feature. (Note the group stopped at ~6700 meters but then the female client fell from there another ~100 meters which is were the guide was found).

As for the rescue, from what I can gather many people went up the hill. From the sounds of it they were some what prepared. But what bothers me the most is that sleeping bags were not brought. The reason I have to question at least this point is that there was abundant communication between the higher camps and those below. After being out for 2 nights in the open they needed to be warmed up, the rescuer brought some hot liquids. Getting them warmed up might take hours, getting them out of the elements would have helped. A sleeping seems to me to be a fundamental component that was missing.

If nothing else a sleeping bag makes a bag which to drag a person who can not function on their own. All else fails it becomes a body bag. So while while many want to question the competence of those on the hill I would rather call into question the competence of those at the base. After all they did manage to get some of the rescuers up the hill in a helicopter.

One other comment regarding the money paid for a permit. IMHO that money gets taken out of the parc faster than a rock trundled down the south face. The upper camps are a shite hole - if the money from a single season's worth of climbers was put into a descent shitter system the quality of the hill would improve greatly.

Perhaps the good that might come from this is that a rescue cache is put into place at the Indepencia Hut. It is not good for much else unless it has been repaired since I was there in 2003.


Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:31pm PT
Tom and colleagues of the mountains....

The obviously primitive condition of the humans is largely predicated on their self-induced inability to use or understand the meanings of words.

The words they speak or write have little to do with the thoughts they wish to convey or derive.

Unlike everyone I have encountered, the words I use hold their meanings. That required several years of retraining my mind after the public school teachers taught such absurdities as our government being of, by, and for the people, while the government creates and keeps secrets from the people, describing an impossibility.

If you learn how to use words that hold their meanings, your knowledge will rapidly advance beyond everyone else, by design of the human mind, but other people will not understand your plain usage of words. No problem. The other chaps are self-confused with words anyway, including their own laughably illogical arrangements of words, so you have nothing to lose by advancing your knowledge.

Case in point.... Somehow Tom perceives that the person who laughs the laughter sought by all people, myself, needs to think of things that make him happy.

If you are not rolling on the floor, kicking and pounding, clutching your aching sides, gasping for breath, tears of howling laughter streaming from your eyes, you are missing the greatest comedy in the galaxy - the humans on Earth.

There are no real mountain climbers working for the Park Service, because real climbers will not arrest climbers who climb without begging permission or paying the Park Pigs who are only there to arrest the climbers who do not pay them or kowtow to them.

There are no real mountain climbers working for government mountain rescue agencies, because real climbers will voluntarily help other climbers in need of rescue. Re-create your local volunteer mountain rescue groups that the Park Service usurped with tax money. They are a great excuse for interesting climbing opportunities - the quest of real climbers. And they enrage the mental midget government cops who demand control of all human activities.

DougBuchanan.com
AlaskaStories.com
AlaskanAlpineClub.org
Jennie

Trad climber
Idaho Falls
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:51pm PT
These links go to an archived Sports Illustrated account of a rescue on Otter Body route of Grand Teton in 1962. While not entirely relevant to the recent tragedy on Aconcagua, it is testament to what Rokjox wrote about motivation and sincere humanity being core ingredients in sucessful rescue.

A large party of Appalachian Mountain Club members, most of whom had no high mountain experience, were caught in a severe storm above 12,000 feet on a seldom climbed route with rather severe objective dangers. A hastily organized rescue team of several Exum guides, GTNP rangers and well experienced Teton climbers saved all but one of the AMC individuals, of whom, several were in a state of delirium or seriously reduced functioning capacity. In Teton climbing history, this rescue is legendary.

The story is written in two parts, Seventy-Two Hours of Terror and Night of the One-Eyed Devils.


http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1077335/index.htm

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1077357/index.htm
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 01:02pm PT
"While not entirely relevant to the recent tragedy on Aconcagua, it is testament to what Rokjox wrote about motivation and sincere humanity being core ingredients in sucessful rescue."

Totally irrelevant is more accurate. 21k is an entirely different subject matter.
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 21, 2009 - 02:22pm PT
Jennie,

Thanks for posting the links to the SI stories. I didn't know they were online.

I'd previously read the account in Hamish MacInnes' 'The Mammoth Book of Mountain Disasters'. There the event is related by Pete Sinclair and Al Read in a story titled 'Not a Place for People'. That account is much more a story by and for climbers than the SI version, but each contains material not in the other.

It's a remarkable story and I have always wondered just how it could have happened. So many amazingly bad decisions were made by the climbing party and its leaders.

Perhaps it would be best to make a separate thread for it. Either way, it is a worthy topic of discussion.
jstan

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 04:13pm PT
When a group is knitted tightly and they have worked together every week for years their interactions become adapted for that environment. The interactions needed to make a group successful in a very large city are not necessarily the interactions that will keep that group alive in an avalanche chute. And the AMC really was very successful, doing a lot of good work no one else could even attempt.

I guess this indicates only that it is always incumbent upon us to be aware.
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 21, 2009 - 04:27pm PT
I just had two native spanish speakers listen to the audio on head phones. According to them there was no ridicule or derogatory language. One guy does say sh#t. Who wouldn't? But he does not call the dying guide a sh#t. They said the desperation and exhaustion of the rescuers was painfully obvious. These guys deserve a heap of credit for trying, not a pile of condemnation for a situation that few understand.


This is very sad for all.
I can understand the father's grief but a law suit is unwarranted.
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