failed rescue attempt on Aconcagua


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Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 28, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
The typical trained mind, or government mind, or self-limited mind..... "YOU don't want them (the other guy) to be leaders or this or that."

Yes, you do, or you will never have good leaders or this or that.

If you only want "trained" minds for this or that, you will be forever stagnated with the minds who are clueless of what is beyond yesterday's training by stagnated minds.

The untrained mind learns from its mistakes, and advances its knowledge. The trained mind blames its mistakes on the other guy because the training is considered superior, by design of training and its paper credentials that genuinely fool the trained mind.

The mind is a trainable device. If successfully trained it will not question its training by a power-based entity (government) or it will be thrown out of the training, or quit early.

Escape training. Question training. Ask real questions of everything, especially people with titles and credentials, despite their rage when you learn EFFECTIVE questions.

The ZENITH of the world's most advanced and heavily funded training is losing the Iraq and Afgan wars to untrained peasants, on schedule, for the same reason the same zenith of the Roman empire training effected its collapse.

The intensely trained Alaska State Troopers, Army and Air Force para-rescue and official everything else, with helicopters and a C-130 aircraft spend well over 100,000 dollars to fail to recover two snow machine accident victim bodies in plain sight on a low elevation Alaska Range glacier (Canwell glacier), even after an Air Force mountain rescue PJ rappelled from a helicopter, down to one body, and stood by it.

Two weeks later, after snow covered the bodies, the relatives thought to ask the local climbers instead of the government. Snow machiners took four Fairbanks mountain climbers as far as they could. The climbers then skied the rest of the way to the site.

The well trained Alaska State Troopers lied, lied, and lied again about the location of the bodies, to make sure the climbers were looking in the most dangerous place, and would not find the bodies. The climbers on site recognized that the Trooper information was bogus. They then went to the most likely spots, probed, found one body in the small ice fall, and the other below it, and lowered them down to a recovery position on the flat glacier.

Taxpayer cost - 0. Climbing adventure - 1.

How many examples would you like? They extend back to the first government "training" class, to train minds to be stupid and brag about their paper credentials.

Do whatever it takes to escape government training, and question your way into advancing knowledge.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 28, 2009 - 07:16pm PT
What happens if someone breaks a leg up there?

do you go the hut? how?
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 28, 2009 - 07:32pm PT
Doug, I guess we have a better situation here then you guys have up there.

Back in the day, the local sheriff realized he was in over his head on this climbing rescue stuff, so he actually knocked on the doors of some of the best climbers in town and asked them to join the SAR team.

The climber types get along real well with the Sheriff Types on our team. When it comes down to something gnarly, they let us do our thing, but they are also always there at the end of the radio to send what we need.

Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 28, 2009 - 11:09pm PT
Back in the day, they were that way here too.

But like the Park Service and all government agencies, they used their tax money to get more tax money to usurp each next citizen activity for government control and further budget excuses to get more money to usurp more..... to benefit government idiots whose real interest under their lies and paper illusions that fool fools is to get more power and money.

There is no such thing as power that does not corrupt, that is, alter one's perceptions, to make government mountain rescue credential holders increasingly disregard victims in the quest for more agency power and budgets while denying such suggestions resulting from ongoing cases.

There is no excuse for even one case, but government holds itself above question, and uses tax money to blame the civilians.

If you are relying on government, you are a budget excuse victim waiting in line, much to the amusement of those who think enough to recognize the ongoing patterns in the human phenomenon.

Enjoy the show.



Trad climber
colorado springs
Feb 28, 2009 - 11:28pm PT
doug, good point about being "trained". While I am trained as a soldier, I also know that thinking outside the box, having a bag of tricks, and knowing when to break from team SOP and policy make me a better rescuer.


Feb 28, 2009 - 11:39pm PT
Thinking outside the box? What box?

Sounds to me Buchanan thinks in a box obsessed full of govt thoughts.
Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 28, 2009 - 11:54pm PT
If you are so fortunate as to work hard enough to actually get outside all the boxes, surrendering any claim to all your credentials at any cost, ridiculing the concept of not openly questioning orders and everything else, you will learn that you did not "always know", and laugh yourself to tears at how many boxes surround the boxes of the people who claim to think outside the box.

Was I not an idiot in the box to perceive that killing Vietnamese, who like the Iraqis and Afghans did not attack the US, would do anything but teach the world that the Americans are the real terrorists still inside their malicious power-over-the-other-guy box?

Consider that all the power-over-the-other-guy government mountain rescue teams were fired, no longer paid tax money.

Well? The result?

Before the government rescue drones formed their teams with tax money seized from working people, the American mountain climbers were their own mountain rescue groups, holding no budgetary incentives to cleverly facilitate costly accidents, rescues and dead bodies.

An analysis we once did demonstrated that volunteer mountain rescue groups spent less that 10 percent of the money that government spent on mountain rescues, with more consistently successful results.

With enough tax money you can fool all the unquestioning climbers into relying on costly, deadly government mountain rescue teams, the same way people are fooled into voting for "CHANGE" that never happens.

Destroy the box on your way out to a world of new knowledge.


Mar 1, 2009 - 02:15am PT
Regarding how to organize mountain rescue, instead of thinking outside of the box, you may be interested into thinking outside of US of A.

The multiple failures of the voluntary rescue setup coumpounded with misinformed judgmement calls by the military who were called to provided support during the 10 days ordeal of Vincendon and Henry in 1956 on the Mont-Blanc has had profound consequence in the alpine region.

I strongly encourage anyone interested into rescue to research "Vincendon and Henry" is agood introduction. A french book "Naufrage au Mont-Blanc : L'affaire Vincendon et Henry " by Y.Ballu ismuch more complete.

In France, rescue in the mountains is since 1958 the responsability of special units of the Police (CRS companies) and of the gendarmerie nationale (branch of the military) who are trained, equipped and stationned in the moutains.
Similar setup if you are involved in a road-accident or a sea-side accident.
No charges are levied if rescued unles the rescue was uncalled for.
Transport costs (ambulance and/or heli-ambulance from the gendarmerie) and medical costs are for the victims or their insurance.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 1, 2009 - 02:47pm PT
Rox writes

"...Nobody here except me has made posts that speak to the arguments of the dead. The dead here have a pretty good argument that is being ignored. It relates to what the word rescue means. The dead were let down..."

Which dead Rox? Are you saying anything about the client that the guide lead to death which started this whole rescue epic. Did he make any mistakes in character or judgement that put everybody's life at risk in the first place?

Personally, I don't know, but focusing on one side's mistakes and judgment and ignoring the whole picture is just choosing a side and fighting for it.



State of Mine
Mar 1, 2009 - 02:56pm PT

get a frickin job, save us from the drivel.

this thread was not supposed to be about you. now that it is, it is nearly as sad as the video...

Mar 1, 2009 - 05:51pm PT
We are giving up.

In a few more days this thread will be dead ......

Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Mar 1, 2009 - 05:54pm PT
Now therefore, why is it that in 2009, with all the prior mistakes to analyze with the remarkably capable human mind, the humans are still making so many, many mistakes, even in discussing any particular mistake or array of mistakes?

Mountain climbers have accidents. Rescuers fail. Doctors misdiagnose ailments, militaries lose wars, governments keep overprinting overprinted worthless paper money, fools vote for the DemocanRepublicrats who keep making the same mistakes, etceteras.

I often climbed in the Alaska Range in the winter, at or beyond an edge of human activity, sometimes solo, far from anyone else. I therefore carried heavier loads, a full winter camp to the summit, extra of many things, so that if all went awry, I could stop anywhere, be comfortable for days, and laugh.

Harder work. I have sat-out some spectacular storms in some spectacularly precarious spots.

The summits, like the certificates and titles, were of no consequence. The climb itself was the process of learning the related knowledge. The summit pitch is often of less challenge than many pitches below it.

As a result I rarely did not reach the summit.

Therefore, if you wish, while fools pursue their illusions of summits, certificates, titles, money and power over the other guy, YOU might consider pursuing knowledge. It is the only thing your mind accumulates.

Are you of your mind, or your certificates, money and childish power over the other guy?

Because you are the other guy to 6.86 billion other guys, your power is a fool's illusion. In contrast, your knowledge is useful. National Park rangers, perceiving their power over climbers, could not understand this paragraph even if you hand them a dictionary.

The human mind learns from asking and answering questions, not repeating what a certificate-issuing instructor says. Who issued the first certificate instructor his certificate to issue certificates? Well? What does the question suggest of what you really wanted to learn?

Titles and certificates are a fool's ruse. You want the knowledge, not the certificate, including the knowledge of the institutional flaw of the certificate-issuing empire.

The mentioned metaphorical "boxes" were created by power-based institutions to fool people out of questioning the contradictions of the institutions and their self-stagnated leaders-in-their-box.

So form your own volunteer mountain rescue groups, for the knowledge you will learn, including the knowledge derived from the government agencies commonly ignoring or attacking your group to defend the budget excuses of their unquestioning certificate-holding rescue bureaucracies.

The latter is the more useful knowledge.

The climbing guides seek money, not the knowledge of the mountains that they do not hold despite their laughable lies to fool foolish clients. They do not take full camps to the summit, and do not form their own rescue groups, etceteras, the cost of money.

No problem. Let them derive their money at its cost, and enjoy the show, as this forum offers, while you learn from the questions you ask of them and yourself.

Or something of that general altitude, there around the corner, under the cornice.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 2, 2009 - 12:35am PT
Doug, you're arguing theory of knowledge type of stuff. I dig it, but it but people like rubber meets the road stuff, so to speak.

If you ever end up here in Bishop, give a me a ring, we'll crack a few beer and stay up all night, talking about these things, while we drive everyone else nuts. Been there, done that enough to know I like it, but it doesn't go over well.

I don't know Rox, I agree with most of what you are saying and I don't agree with people attacking you for it, but in my book, the rescuer can do no wrong, even when they screw up.

I've been in a lot of situations where I am thinking "if this doesn't work, we are f*#ked." There is no plan B, but I've always been lucky. Maybe these guys went up with the best case scenario in mind, and got f*#ked. They carry that weight. Us folks out here on the Taco don't. They know more then we do, unless they are total as#@&%es, which they are likely not because they climbed the dang peak to find these people.

Me? I just think we can do better as a group.

You always hear that sh#t on Everest, you can't rescue people up there. I just don't buy it.

It might be hard- all rescue is hard, but there have to be ways to do it. Right now, all the real high altitude rescue work is done by a collection of guides, sherpas, and volunteers. You see that welsh guy dying up on Everest for three days, slowly freezing his body parts off, but with a core of humnanity that stays warm. Climbers pass him by, some try to help, others don't.

What if every climber on the mountain were organized to try to help, ferrying loads, and taking turns dragging the guy down? What if there was a team dedicated to the purpose? How would they do it?

When people say it can't be done, it sounds like a cop out, in other words I don't want to do it. They got themselves in that trouble, it' their fault.

I am not a strictly religious man, but I've always been partial to "there but by the grace of god go I." In other words, that coulda' been me. Sh#t happens, and there may not be any rhyme or reason to it.

Also Rox, have you seen a viable response to why someone couldn't camp/bivi up there?

If I could make a point, even here at the end of a ramble, is that there is a difference between a climb and a rescue.

They don't have ropes on that route- who cares? You don't need the rope for a climb, but you damn well might for a rescue.

No tent because there are huts- with some one who may crawl 50 meters an hour, you might not get to a hut.

Think before you leave the gate.

Mar 2, 2009 - 08:58am PT

I understand your emotion and your will to speak for the missing.
You do raise some questions which deserve answers, but are we capable of providing you with answers which are 100% true to all of your questions? Are you capable of accepting what you hear? I am not sure of either.

I encourage you to read (use google translate or yahoo babelfish)
the testimonials of the rescuers, the interviews of the rescuees and of the helicopter pilot who was able to bring rescuers to camp1 the first day, and then locate the party on day 2.

Federico Campanini gave all he could to his clients. If all but one are alive today, it is because he did his best to organize their survival. (in the fine tradition of guiding)

Rescuers did triage and maximized the amount of people they could rescue. Some of the rescuers are suffering from frostbite sustained because of the mission they gave themselves.

The video show rescuers asking for permission to abandon the guy. That permission was denied to them. Between the 2 professionals and 3 fellow climbers, the 5 of them continued to try to save him. In the end, only the 2 pro stayed with Federico. I can not imagine that any of the 5 did not care for him.
Brandon Lampley

Mountain climber
Boulder, CO
Mar 2, 2009 - 09:21am PT
Well, I am here in Argentina, have spent much of the past month on Aconcagua, and by chance presence have participated in their rescue regime.

Let me say this. It´s the wild west out there. Park rangers and special police and guide volunteers and a helicopter service (with by appearances a well skilled pilot) trying to help folks out. Their intentions are good; but they obviously lack skill, equipment, organization, and judgement to some degree and in that order. They most often perform adequately, or even very well, as the normal rescue just involves heading down hill to the helo or mule evac site. Most with medical training would be shocked at their standard of care though.

Importantly, they are PRESENT, MOTIVATED, and TRYING THEIR BEST.

They have the best interest of climbers in mind, likely partly because this keeps the guides and mule services in business, which keeps them in a job. They are part of a big business machine.

They have been forcibly helo evacing solo climbers from the mountain, against their will, because ´´4 die all ready, no more this year´ (on the polish side) Show any weakness, and you get on their next helo to Horcones list. Weakness includes not having old school double plastic boots, or the tent they like, or taking 6 instead of 5 hours to reach a certain camp. Or choosing to carry your own gear instead of putting it on a mule. But I digress. Suffice it to say the establishment is discriminating against unsupported climbers, ie those folks not paying $$ to the services on the mountain.

It´s unfortunate Federico died up there. After screwing up and guiding his clients down the wrong way, he did manage to keep it together long enough to save the others. Good job to the big team that saved his remaining clients. And rest in peace to Federico.

He would have had a better backup network had he not been bandit guiding. Being part of the big business machine here helps. It may have made no difference though.

The standards for Argentina Aconcagua guides may shock some. But you get what you pay for, and most people want a cheap trip to 7000m, and one of the 7 summits under their belt.

I predict the outcome of this situation and the other deaths this year will be increased enforcement of guiding rules, perhaps higher park fees for a more professional rescue presence on the mountain, and restrictions on solo and unsupported climbers.

I will be attempting to pass my thought on the subject along to the Aconcagua Park authorities via the AAC, I encourage you to do the same.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 2, 2009 - 11:06am PT
Brandon, thanks for the update. Any more info would be great.

I suspect that these rescue guys down there are already making changes. I'd love to hear what they come up with.

Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Mar 2, 2009 - 06:00pm PT

(Of great value for climbers, if you question this.)

You demonstrate the reason that rescuers fail.

Mountain rescue personnel and everyone can easily correct the contradictions you express.

First, however inconsequential, a discussion on this forum is more useful to climbers, than "talking about things" in Bishop. The beer would have to be inordinately fine ale.

Humans train their mind by the words they use. The Nazis SINCERELY believed that they could solve a problem by killing Jews. The US DemocanRepublicrats SINCERELY believe that they can solve a problem by killing a lot of Iraqis and Afghans, even after they saw the failure of that concept in Vietnam, Soviet Afghanistan and every war of human history.

They created their fool's illusion by incessantly repeating illogical arrangements of words to train their minds. Their current mantra is the "war on terrorism", not unlike their fool's "war on drugs".

They ask no questions of their blatantly contradicted words that they say and write over and over and over to train their mind.

A contradiction left in place, rather than immediately resolved, will destroy even empires, and certainly any other goal, by design of contradictions. Humans hold no ability to sustain a contradiction.

Your statement, "but in my book, the rescuer can do no wrong", like the sincere belief of cops and other institutionally self-deluded chaps, genuinely trains your mind to not recognize an array of contradictions, and thus repeat them.

The neural routing of data in the human brain is a training process. If two sensory perceptions indicate the same conclusion, the brain will consider it as fact, until three or more contradicting sensory perceptions delete that fact and create a replacement fact. If 20 wrong sensory perceptions train a neural routing, it is extremely difficult to correct their result. Only the most effective questions will do so.

When INSTITUTIONAL contradictions are created, their group of neurons will route larger arrays of contradicting data to wrong conclusions, even the most grossly obvious wrong conclusions, such as the belief that starting a war can solve a problem.

From every climb I returned with a written list (effective sensory input) of corrections to what I did wrong on that climb, usually equipment and process improvements.

Opposite institutionally self-deluded chaps, I recognize that the test of time (thus more knowledge) will prove my every statement and action to be contradicted (wrong). Therefore I question it to resolve as many currently known contradictions as possible, and am quick to belatedly resolve it upon demonstration that I missed a contradiction.

Therefore my knowledge exponentially advanced beyond the chaps whose agencies and organizations trained them to believe that the institution can do no wrong. An institution cannot exist as an institution (organization of people), if it recognized its controlling contradiction that therefore reduced it to nothing more than INDIVIDUAL HUMAN MINDS which are all that human minds can be.

Every mountain climber, rescuer and other human is screwing-up at least half the time for every action, and more often if functioning as a government-trained sort who uses government force to disallow any open competition to the government, to thus reinforce the neural routing illusion that government dolts are never wrong.

The Park Service methodically banned volunteer mountain rescue groups in Parks, to seize the activity for budget excuses (greed for money and power). Experienced climbers were replaced with unquestioning, ego-craving junior Park cops who were handed "mountain rescue" credentials that genuinely fooled them because they never questioned that process.

So when RockJox and anyone else accurately identifies a contradiction, the wise person actually resolves it in their mind, completely, rather than defends it by offering unrelated or illogical arrays of words.

It is toilsome to advance your knowledge beyond ancient institutional illusions that perpetuate YOUR PROBLEMS, but worth your time. If you want to do that, your first choice is to wisely question the rhetorical illusions of government, the extremist institution that still believes that killing, imprisoning, destroying, seizing assets and disallowing open competition (all contradictions) solves problems, the illusions of ludicrous fools.

Quit your government job or remain as laughably stupid as I was in the Army.

You can learn that on the Polish route, if you ask yourself effective questions while you are there. Write your answers.
Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Mar 3, 2009 - 01:47am PT
Former Stzzo...


Consider the primitive condition of the humans, still mired so deep in the intellectual dark ages that the majority of them still perceive that killing each other and destroying what they do solves problems.

It is easily predicable that even the most advanced knowledge in such a rudimentary society will be replaced with more accurate reasoning when the humans belatedly emerge from the intellectual dark ages to utilize reasoning instead of force and deception.

Therefore the intellectual goal is to extend the accuracy of one's reasoning as far through all the identifiable contradictions as one can, considering the current knowledge available.

For perspective, at this time, one individual, with internet access and basic website construction knowledge, can manifest world peace. No government could escape. Might take 6 months because of the language issue. Alas, there is no incentive, and more intriguing puzzles to solve.

Goals less complex are child's play. But incentive is a controlling concept. With it, things are done by humans. Without it, they are not done. He who solves a puzzle looks to the next puzzle rather than the boring process to manifest the solution.

Let me know if any significant institution leaders hold the incentive to promptly manifest world peace, or win any wars, or solve any economic problems, etceteras. The solutions are merely the synthesis of more diverse knowledge than any institution comprehends because part of it is outside their institution and all institutions. Their titled leaders cannot comprehend the existence of knowledge beyond institutionally titled and credentialed people, by design of institutions.

Ask yourself more questions about the functioning of the human mind within organizations.

The balance is perfect in all things, including the functional design of the human mind. It has all of its counter balances, with only one inordinately rare access to advanced knowledge. Your only enemy is within your mind, readily available to defeat, to therefore have no enemies in the world. No human could create a game of such brilliance.

How else would a device like the human mind keep making the same dumb mountain climbing and mountain rescue mistakes for decades?

Cool show, huh?
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
May 17, 2009 - 11:40am PT
Thanks for posting that analysis Crock. I'm not sure I agree with blaming the government, but everything sounds right on.

The analysis says federico had a cerebral edema, the BBC says pulmonary, I suspect people are guessing.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
May 17, 2009 - 01:58pm PT
Chief- agreed. This type of SAR mission happens from time to time, especially on Whitney. People call SAR that don't need it thinking we can easily help them, which we can't.

Folks who go out and get in over their heads, through inexperience, idiocy, or accident, I have more sympathy for. Sh#t happens.

What portion of their desire to push it was based on the knowledge in the back of their heads that the could call for a rescue? It's hard to say, and probably a little bit in everyone.

The question I have is about guiding. The client is a declared novice. In the clients mind, they know they are inexperienced, that's why they hired a guide.

I bet the false sense of security for a client is far more immediate then thinking a SAR team can bail them out. The client might be thinking that the guide will bail them out, which may be way beyond the scope of what the guide can realistically do.

Just show the clients (and any mountaineer for that matter) a video of a couple of body recoveries. That should steer people toward caution. Body recoveries are never pretty.
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