failed rescue attempt on Aconcagua

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Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 18, 2009 - 03:32pm PT
http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=18069

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZJCyJinIWU

Detail

http://tomasdinges.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/death-and-the-mountain-video-of-mountain-guide-dying-on-aconcagua/

update

http://www.euronews24.org/world/video-of-failed-mountain-rescue-prompts-inquiry/

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Prosecutors are investigating a failed attempt to rescue an Argentine climbing guide from a blinding snowstorm on the highest peak in the Americas after a video of the rescue expedition aired on national television in Argentina.
The nearly three-minute video shows 31-year-old Federico Campanini struggling on his hands and knees as he was tugged forward on a rope by five rescuers, while another filmed. As violent winds whipped snow across the rocky terrain, Campanini collapsed, and police said he died four hours later with a rescue member by his side.
The dramatic footage, aired repeatedly on television, has provoked public concern that rescuers could have done more on Aconcagua mountain, where more than 4,600 climbers attempted to summit last year. Two policemen and four volunteers on the rescue team were not speaking to the news media on Wednesday.
The guide's parents, Carlos and Monica Campanini, cited the video as proof that the six-member rescue crew allowed their son to die.
Carlos Campanini said the video, which was anonymously delivered to his lawyer a week ago, was excruciating to watch and he doesn't want another climber to be treated the same way.
The people who were around him, let him down, Carlos Campanini told The Associated Press. My son did everything he could to save himself. You could see his desperation to save his life because he had his plans, his ideals, his family and his wife.
But Antonio Ibaceta, who coordinated the operations from base camp for the Mendoza police force, said people viewing the video at home cannot fathom the conditions on the highest peak outside of Asia.
The public has no right to condemn in this way, when what they did was truly an act of solidarity since the men volunteered for the rescue mission, Ibaceta said.
While most experienced climbers take three to four days to scale the 22,841-foot Aconcagua, the rescue crew surged to the top in one day and were suffering severe fatigue in the oxygen-deprived air and minus-58 degree temperatures, Ibaceta said. The video shows crew members stumbling and repeatedly saying how exhausted they are.
He said crews often film rescue efforts to improve subsequent operations and to use as legal evidence in the event of a death.
The prosecutor's office for Mendoza province confirmed it was investigating the rescue attempt and received a copy of the video, but declined to discuss further details.
Environmental Secretary Guillermo Carmona, who oversees Aconcagua park and its employees, emphasized the difficulty of the rescue.
What can be seen in the video is that the rescue squad is trying to do its best amid the existing conditions to evacuate Federico Campanini, Carmona said.
Campanini already was in dire condition when rescuers arrived.
On Jan. 7, he and the four Italian climbers were caught in an afternoon snow storm and strayed from their route. An avalanche then killed an Italian woman and injured Campanini before help arrived to lead the hypothermic survivors down the mountain.
Carmona said the rescue team was in close contact by radio with a public prosecutor whose statements also will be part of the investigation.
Julio Suarez, police spokesman in Mendoza province, expressed concern that the investigation could discourage volunteers from joining future rescue efforts.
They're going to say 'No, because someone can take me to court,' Suarez said.He said that in order to be free from charges of abandonment, every member of the rescue team has to be contributing to the best of his or her ability.That raises questions about whether the person filming the video could have been helping instead. But Mario Gonzalez, founder of the Argentine Association of Mountain Guides, said the video was made in good faith.They didn't shoot the video to incriminate themselves as having abandoned someone, Gonzalez said. I think they filmed it to crudely illustrate the severity of the situation ... for the rescue team, and the grave state of the victim.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:04pm PT
The analysis on everestnews is good - the rescuers didn't have a sleeping bag with them; they were apparently expecting a body recovery. (His father offered this explanation as well). This is a mistake and may be partly due to poor communications. Once they found him, they did the best with what they had, but it was a no-win scenario at that point. So I don't see it as a "violation of ethics code", but as a big mistake.

His father should not have uploaded the video to youtube - what a bonehead move.
Most people are not ready to process that.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:23pm PT
That is horrible! May he rest in peace.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:32pm PT
You telling me those wankers couldn't do more than stand around and tell the 'dude' to get to his feet? The cameraman couldn't put his effing camera down and try to help? They couldn't jury rig a litter? Not exactly technical terrain. Pretty effing pathetic; definitely an "F" for effort.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:39pm PT
Looks and reads to me like a bunch of kids going to j-tree with their mom's clothsline.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:40pm PT
Clint I disagree with posting the video. It has and will spark a good discussion. Sometimes we as climbers need a good jolt. Sadly it typically takes a death or other serious accident to have such a discussion.

For instance, though the rescue party were not prepared to find a live person what were they prepared to do if they found a body? Bury him in the rocks? Recover the body? If so how did they plan to move it? Seems they would have a tarp to wrap the body in. Had they had one seems that it could have been used to move a body or a person. Failing that what about using a pack to assist? As said above could they have jury rigged something?

From just that snippet we can question the competence of the "rescue" party. What else was going on at the same time?? Finally, we must remember the mountains are a cold harsh womb and are a place where we cannot expect any love when we make the decision to venture out.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:43pm PT
They hauled him up 100m, and still had 300-400m to get to the summit. That doesn't merit an F. An F might be if they waited a day to look for him.

They must have been totally gassed to give up. One guy was calling him an idiot* - you don't say that unless you are spent and have no energy to be sociable. [* Edit: the transcript on www.mounteverest.net, translated from Spanish, originally said "Get up, idiot!" early this afternoon, but it has been changed and now says "Get up, cuñado (dude/mate)!" I don't know much Spanish, so I was going by the transcript - the new translation sounds much more probable.]

There will always exist in theory some marginal conditions where a rescue has to be abandoned to save the rescuers instead. Unfortunately this looks like it was such a situation.

It does seem weird that they brought a video camera and not a sleeping bag. Also if the team was dead tired, I agree with Reilly that the video guy should have been helping haul instead of using the camera.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:45pm PT
Scared Silly,

Maybe you are right that the video will probably help bring about a realistic discussion. I think most climbers can understand the situation involved. I don't think the general public will understand, but I could be wrong. Maybe it will help them understand, or maybe not.

News media is often looking for stories that have an edge of moral outrage. But the decisions of the rescuers after finding him and not having a sleeping bag have to be calculated, including their own survival. And the circumstances of deciding to not bring a sleeping bag should be explained.

If it was my son, I wouldn't post the video. It looks more like he released it to the local news media, and then it made its way to youtube. I don't think Federico Campanini would have wanted it released.
Veghed

climber
the desert
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:45pm PT
It is Jerry-rig, not jury-rig. From WWII I think. (Sorry, I'm a teacher.)
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
Veghed,
It is 'jury rig' so you can get the prize to the prize jury for determination of the prize allocation. It goes back to the 18th if not 17th century.
Veghed

climber
the desert
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
Source?
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
condolences to the families, the client perished as well(?), can't imagine how hard it must be to move someone at that altitude. Seemed like only one guy in the vid was attemping to get him to his feet maybe they should have ganged up a bit more. I agree, put the f@#king camera down and help, but it easy to make decisions here, no so, near the summit in a storm at altitude
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:02pm PT
Setting aside the whole coulda shoulda woulda...

how could any father FAIL TO BE OUTRGED after seeing his son treated so?????

DMT
jstan

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
According to the first link the father has initiated litigation. If that does play out, a lot of things may well change.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:09pm PT
Clint, I am not sure even climbers will understand the situation. Just look at the comments so far.

Tami

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:15pm PT
The jerry - jury debate :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rig
is the source for "jury rig"
"Jerry" was the name given to German soldiers.


Back to the OP, it is revolting that the camera guy kept rolling on this fellow. What was the point in that ? I hope it helps the father in his lawsuit.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:16pm PT
I think we understand it just fine. That could be anyone of us.

I would STILL be outraged if that were my kid.

If litigation puts a damper on 7-Summit commerical mountaineering bullsh#t?

Good.

DMT
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:20pm PT
"I am not sure even climbers will understand the situation"

Huh? I may not be in the same class as many here but I've been on more than my share of rescues in the NW. At least we tried. We also attempted to show the victims some compassion and at least try to ease their suffering instead of standing around and belittling them.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:27pm PT
DMT,

> how could any father FAIL TO BE OUTRGED after seeing his son treated so?????

They could if they were sure the rescue team did the best they could, given that they had brought no sleeping bag.

To be fair, what mother would fail to be outraged that her husband had released a video of her son dying in weakness and indignity. 203,000+ views on youtube and 863+ comments, so far.
WBraun

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:31pm PT
That's a sad video. The poor guy is dying and the rescuers probably know they can't save him.

The rescuers themselves are bone tired and freezing. I know how these things go. You blitz out there with a pack full of sh'it on your back and you bring no bivy gear for yourself. In 2000 I think that was the year (sh'it, can't remember), me Shipley and Schneider all suffered the night out in freezing ass winds sleet and snow. Again on the Drummond NA sar froze my ass off with no bivy gear through the night. By the time you get there your wet and sweating and start to freeze. You can't change into dry clothes in conditions like that, I've tried.

It's butt ass freezing cold by then.

These guys assumed he was dead so they brought no gear for a live guy. Now they're there and he's alive. WTF are you gonna do now with your limited resources? You need way more than a few guys in those kind of conditions to initiate a rescue. Rescue gear is heavy. You'll need human mules to Sherpa the rescue loads. Once the sherpas arrive on scene they split because they will have no gear to remain warm there. The actual rescuers will take the sherpa gear and then try to stabilize the victim.

More people will arrive behind them to assist in the actual recovery. It takes some man power to drag a guy uphill 400 meters on a but ass cold mountain and then bring him down.

This sh'it is way harder to do than sitting in a chair being an arm chair rescuer and guessing.



Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:38pm PT
"That's a sad video."

that echos my first and lasting impression.

DMT
WBraun

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:46pm PT
I agree calling the victim an idiot in the state he was in that video is so cold hearted. That's just being an assho'le.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:56pm PT
saw the video, but my tiny spanish couldn’t begin to follow what was said. then went to mounteverest.net and read the passage on this situation.

as always, ascii on a couch can never contain what actually happens up in the high mountains. having read the account more than once, i freely admit i still have no real clue.

this said, a couple of things come to mind:

first: campanini was a guide. to my small eye that changes everything. i was once a minor protozoa of a guide. and even i knew enough to know that you don’t guide anyone on any route that you don’t have solidly wired. to do so is at minimum stupid, and more to the point morally unsound.

in the high mountains you are typically climbing the weather more than anything actually technical (ok, the biggest kids have done routes that are exception, but for the rest and most of us...).

and as no one is prescient enough to reliably anticipate the weather in any of the high mountains (think of lorenz' butterfly), it is taking on a lot to attempt to ‘guide’ there. the safety people rely on guides is very tough if not impossible to offer reliably. as such i do kinda question those who ‘guide’ in the high mountains. this despite the fact that i have friends and certainly some heroes who do just that. me, i just kinda mostly sit back and wonder, and in the end choose not to question my many betters.
~~~

second: as i hinted above in my first couple of sentences, when the poop goes down in the high mountains, all bets are off.

it’s simply different up there – certainly different than sitting here in a climate controlled cheap hotel room thinking i can second guess anyone. and i’ve done enough time in the high mountains (nothing especially notable, but surely much mileage) to know. to critique anyone ‘up there’ from a comfy arm chair is, well, pretty much always all wrong.

way up high, up there, deep in the very sh!t of it when the weather goes nuts and after a along and unanticipated sudden pop to the summit (much of it in the dark) -- well, all standard rules of climbing at your local crag break down. it’s simply different -- anyone who has been ‘there’ know what i am talking about.
~~~

third [and finally, amen]: aconcagua is, to my small mind, a rather dull, tedious, and ultimately pointless climb. at least the trade route. and i know of what i speak because i was once fool enough to burn all manner of cash to go there –- this because i read it in some book that it was the required before the himalaya.

i can tell you from personal experience, this is complete crap. what i should have been doing, in my then youth, was talking to the actual big kids who actually knew of these things -- rather then reading some armchair hero’s vision of the world.

eventually, i grew up and listened to those who actually knew what they were talking about. but this only after burning all manner of much work’s worth of cash to fly there and do just that. i was then, and remain today, a moron. but i have learned a few things (some too late to save me from notable mistakes).
~~~

all that said, a SAR ‘rescue’ without so much as an extra bag or ample gear is, well, not really a SAR rescue as we understand the term, is it? lord only know what this event was. i suspect it was just some good people who happened to be close enough to at least try. and try they did. they deserve credit for that. the fact that they brought along a video camera (but not useful survival gear) might well damn them to the front row in hell – right next to me, which is part of what actually defines hell as hell. but I suspect not. I suspect their intentions were noble.

that and what little we have is from mounteverest.net... do you really want to bank on a site named after the biggest aberrant circus event in all of climbing?

i rest my case.

you all be well,


^,,^
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 06:14pm PT
The pity is that people expect rescue at all up there. Blaming those guys who already busted their butts is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. They did what they could, probably more than most of what the armchair lowlanders would have been able to do, and were clearly exhausted and frustrated. Perhaps they could have been more PC and TLCing but it wouldn't change the situation. I blame the blamers.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Feb 18, 2009 - 06:35pm PT
Clint, when does anyone refer to him as an idiot? The only word I'm hearing is 'cuñado'.

At one point, the guy who's trying to stand him up says 'Vamos, vamos, mierda!' That's not an insult to Federico - it's an expression used to encourage and support, something your belayer would yell at you while you're fighting your way through a route's crux, for example.

The wild incompetence in the video is evident and can't be debated. They are absolutely useless; it seems clear that even they knew it, which explains the general sense of fear and despair among them, the crying, the desperate call to base camp. They know they're in over their heads.


graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Feb 18, 2009 - 06:36pm PT
Who hasn't tried being an as#@&%e to get someone moving in serious conditions, after trying TLC and trying to reason? Sometimes it works.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Feb 18, 2009 - 06:39pm PT
The mounteverest.net transcript also says "cuñado." Google language tools translates this as "brother."
WBraun

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 06:46pm PT
That's good to hear. I don't know a word of Spanish, so when the people posting ahead of me said idiot I assumed they heard that.

Heh heh goes to show, never assume.

Anyways, that would have been a tough mo'fuking hard rescue with what they were up against to save him.

It would have been a miracle ....

ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Feb 18, 2009 - 06:57pm PT
The video is awful.

How many people have tried to carry 200 pounds of deadweight up and over the summit of a 21,000 foot peak? I've had trouble getting my healthy self back down from that elevation.

I reckon these guys--who may or may not know shite about rescue--volunteered on the fly to go up after the climber, apparently in a storm. For that they should get credit. Could they have done more or something different? Probably. Still, they were there and should get the benefit of the doubt (except for the video guy- who kicks back and rolls a camera in the middle of a tragedy?).
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 18, 2009 - 07:10pm PT
graniteclimber,

with respect, those present at the scene didn't have to rely on 'Google language tools' -- their words were as immediate to them and brother campanini as what we are typing is to us anglophiles. no?

despite my best effots, to date i've achieved no more than bad bar spanish -- i know how to ask where the men's room is and to get another beer. period. as such i am surely in no position to question anyone's translation of what said, just then, just 'there'

though i am rather confident that campanini knew exactly what his local brothers were saying; just as they knew exactly what they wanted to say.

and as only a relative few in any population are actually sociopaths, i myself suspect that his peers were as supportive as they could be.

arghh, my clan simply can't do 'terse'. my apologoes for that.


^,,^
Chaz

Trad climber
Boss Angeles
Feb 18, 2009 - 07:21pm PT
"Cunado" (I can't put the "~" thing over the "N" like it's supposed to) the way I've heard it used, is something like "brother-in-law", but not related.

Not a blood-relation brother, but close.

Definitely not a derogatory term.
Rock!...oopsie.

Trad climber
pitch above you
Feb 18, 2009 - 07:23pm PT
I fukkin' hate modern media sometimes for what it's done to people's perception and common sense. Since when is a fukkin' video camera part of the kit for this type of operation? If it's a recovery, yer an as#@&%e. If it's a rescue, you could have brought a few more useful items instead of one that distracts from the task at hand.

You can bet you'll never catch me with a fukkin' camera when someone is in trouble. WTF?
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 18, 2009 - 07:54pm PT
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath,
(wow, not the most terse of handles, but being for sure not the most terse of souls, and having been out there where your handle desribes, a good handle)
re:
> How many people have tried to carry 200 pounds of deadweight
> up and over the summit of a 21,000 foot peak? I've had trouble
> getting my healthy self back down from that elevation.

amen (from the greek, via the hebrew, "i believe this is true").

exactly what i was trying to say, only it took you 400 words less. (it sucks to be irish).

> I reckon these guys--who may or may not know shite about
> rescue--volunteered on the fly to go up after the climber,
> apparently in a storm. For that they should get credit.
> Could they have done more or something different? Probably.
> Still, they were there and should get the benefit of the doubt

see "amen" - above. and i am, perchance, not a theist. but i know a good word when i see it. that and anyone who agrees with me is clearly a genius.


^,,^
graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Feb 18, 2009 - 07:56pm PT
"with respect, those present at the scene didn't have to rely on 'Google language tools' -- their words were as immediate to them and brother campanini as what we are typing is to us anglophiles. no?"

Of course, but what is your point? Not knowing Spanish, I (not them) needed the translation.

"and as only a relative few in any population are actually sociopaths, i myself suspect that his peers were as supportive as they could be."

That was sort of the point of noting that the word they used meant (according to Google langague tools) "brother" (and not "idiot" as I first understood it to mean.
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Feb 18, 2009 - 08:01pm PT
This rescue, unfortunately, is reminiscent of one I witnessed on Aconcagua in 1996.

Asleep at Camp Nido (17,500') on the regular route, we were awakened by some really loud people making camp right next to us. Camp Nido is about the size of a football field, and there were very few people there, so we thought it was a little odd. These same intruders loudly broke camp just four hours after they arrived, which also seemed odd. The next morning we got up to find their beat to crap tent still there. We proceeded to move up to Camp Berlin (19,500') in time to see what turned out to be our neighbors from the night before, who turned out to be the local rescue service, rangers of some sort, dragging some poor dude, whose head got smacked by a rock in the Canaleta, down the mountain.

There were six rescuers taking turns carrying or dragging him, two at a time, one under each arm. The victim had what appeared to be a serious head injury with blood all over the left side of his head and face. When rescuers changed places, and the guy was kind of propped up for the switch, his left shoulder appeared to be disfigured and sagging. The victim was semi-conscious, seemingly A&OX0, with his head lolling from side to side.

There was no sign of a litter and seemingly no recognition of the possibility of a spinal injury. The rescue team was serious, energetic, committed, but apparently had no medical training whatsover. We didn't speak Spanish and the rescuers didn't speak English, and also they didn't seem much interested in help, waving us off and giving us the impression that this was offical business.

When we got back down to base camp a few days later we asked around and were told they packed the guy out sitting but slumped over on a horse.

In the video posted above, not to take away from the Herculean effort required to get that guy up from the Polich glacier route, across the crest ridge, and down the Canaleta, but if they are going to put all that effort into rescuing people you'd think they'd put some effort into learning how to keep 'em alive.

I can't remember how many permits they issue for Aconcagua each year, but I think it was over a thousand the year we were there. With all those people you'd think they'd stash a litter in the rocks somwhere near Camp Berlin.

graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Feb 18, 2009 - 08:01pm PT
If they were planning for a "recovery" of a dead body and Campanini couldn't walk, why didn't they just haul him out like they planned to, rather then cutting him loose and leaving him to die in the snow?

Or does "recovery" here mean burying the deceased in a crevasse and moving on?
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 18, 2009 - 08:04pm PT
graniteclimber,

we are of one mind on this.

i myself called a friend (an argentinean born to that mighty tongue) and asked for her transaltion.

no disrespect intended, i myself rely on google language tools almost daily. and without the help of my argentinean pal, that is where i would have gone.

even with the help of said pal i still can't be sure i know what is going on in the video. (she said 'i can't quite make out all of what they are saying, the audio sucks')

i agree with everything you have written so far on this thread.


^,,^
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Feb 18, 2009 - 08:09pm PT

Taken from a Chilean andinista forum, this account was given by a guide from Bariloche. If you can understand a bit of Spanish, it clarifies quite a bit of misconception:

"
Re: Video sobre rescate y muerte en Aconcagua

Nota por droz el 17 Feb 2009 20:09

A ver vamos por partes…

1. Por que se filmo el rescate?
Porque hay una resolución que obliga a filmar todos los rescates en la montaña, no fue por morbo de los rescatistas ni para subirlo a YouTube como dijo alguien, es para tener como prueba legal.

2. Era todos rescatistas?
No, en la patrulla había dos o tres “rescatistas” el resto eran guías (Que dejaron sus propias expediciones) y porteadores que se sin dudarlo se ofrecieron para el rescate y que salvaron a tres de los italianos de la expedición de Campaniani.

3. Por que querían subir para sacar al herido?
Subían para poder bajar por una ruta más sencilla. Estaban en el glaciar de los polacos desde donde era imposible bajar en el estado en que estaban, con ese clima y cargando a un herido.

4. Por que no llevaban elementos de rescate (camilla, etc)?
Porque no eran los rescatistas, la patrulla de rescate no pudo salir de Plaza de Mulas por mal tiempo. Los que fueron, fueron con lo “puesto” desde los campamentos superiores.
Salieron a altas horas de la tarde, caminando de noche, haciendo cumbre de noche, con tormenta y con poco o nada de material para rescate. Así y todo rescataron con vida a tres de los andinistas y encontraron al guía. En serio creen que les pueden pedir o recriminar a los “andinistas” que luego de mas de 24 Hs de rescate, con un clima implacable y a mas de 6000 metros no hayan subido a la cumbre y vuelto a bajar en medio de la tormenta cargando una persona de 80 Kg que les guste o no ya no tenia posibilidades de sobrevivir?

5. Por que no hicieron una camilla de cuerdas?
Les pregunto. Alguien cargo entre cuatro una camilla con una persona arriba por más de 300 metros en lo plano? Les puedo asegurar que a los 100 metros ya están con la lengua afuera.
Ahora, hacer una camilla de cuerdas en la cima del Aconcagua, en medio de una tormenta, con temperaturas inferiores a -20º C, luego de hacer cumbre DE NOCHE, de rescatar CON VIDA a tres personas y de 24 Hs sin descansar para cargar entre un puñado de hombres un cuerpo de 80 Kg cuando se estaba haciendo de noche…hace falta que siga?

6. Por que lo insultan y lo arrastran en el video?
Partamos de la base que no se puede sacar una conclusión de un rescate que duro mas de 24 Hs con un video de 1.45 minutos. El video es MUY DURO pero yo veo palabras de aliento, de desesperación… de IMPOTENCIA por saber que no podían hacer nada en esas condiciones. Que es lo que querían ver en esas circunstancias? Lo de cargarse al herido en los hombros y bajarlo de la montaña en remera y sin un rasguño solo pasa en HOLLYWOOD.


Lamentablemente lo que se va a conseguir con esto es que la próxima vez que haya un accidente nadie se ofrezca de voluntario para el rescate por temor a que algún abogado o juez con sed de fama les arruine la vida.
Para terminar cito al rescatista que filmo el video:

"que dios nos ilumine y le de fuerzas por favor"

Diego."
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 18, 2009 - 08:10pm PT
Another thing I though strange about the video was the apparent lack of medical knowledge for a 'rescue team', or even climbers.

This guy apparently took a fall (the rescuers may not have known that), and the first thing to do after stabilizing a person is NOT move them until you assess that there are no spinal/neck injuries.

The one guy helping him is pulling up under the slumping patients arms, yanking him. That could exacerbate injuries.

That seemed strange to me. Maybe they were trying to motivate him to get going but he could have had nasty injuries.

Maybe they assessed him prior to rolling the camera, I just found that weird.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Feb 18, 2009 - 08:23pm PT
Don't have time to do more, but a brief paraphrase of the six points listed above from the Chilean site:

1. Why was the rescue filmed?
Argentine law requires it.

2. Was everyone in the video professional sar?
No, only two or three. The rest, as somebody guessed above, were guides or porters who volunteered, and who found and saved three lost members of the deceased guide's Italian party.

3. Why were they trying to go uphill?
To access an easier descent route. The were on the Polish glacier, too technical to descend in those conditions and given their abilities, and carrying Federico.

4. Why weren't they carrying rescue equipment?
They weren't sar. The true sar group couldn't leave Plaza de Mulas basecamp b/c of the wx. The people in the video are those who volunteered and blasted out of their own advance camps with whatever they had on.
They left very late in the afternoon/evening, climbed/summited after nightfall, in the midst of a storm and with no rescue material. Even in these conditions they managed to rescue three of the Italian team and find Federico, the guide. 24 hrs, horrible wx, all of it over 6k meters, after summiting and descending 400m down the Polish route.

5. Why didn't they improvise a way to carry him with the rope.
At that alt, under those conditions (-20 C, storm, no viz), after summiting that night and already saving three of the Italian party, and as dog tired as they were - wasn't going to happen.

6. Why do they insult and drag him in the video?
Not insults, words of encouragement, desperation, helplessness. They knew they couldn't save Federico. The idea of a group like theirs carrying an injured or sick person out in this circumstance were slim - maybe in Hollywood.


What many are pissed about on the Chilean boards is that, in spite of a $500/person permit fee to climb Aconcagua, nothing better could be conjured up when it counted.
Anastasia

climber
Not here
Feb 18, 2009 - 09:57pm PT
I don't know anything about mountaineering so I have a few questions...

Is it true that being rescued from that high is almost impossible? Is it true that anyone trying to rescue others from such a mountain is doing it at a very great risk to their own lives?

Plus, I thought that when you are in high altitude it effects your motor skills and the ability to think, solve problems... Could the fact that they are over 21,000 feet explain their confusion and fear?


The video is horrific. I feel for all of them...


pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:01pm PT
le_bruce,

thank you for all of that excellent and useful info (points 1 through 6, above). info i couldn't guess at from here on my couch (well, on the floor at a cheezy motel - same functional differnce).

answers a lot of questions, and renews my belief that pretty much all souls do their very best in such situations.

thanks much,

^,,^
Rock!...oopsie.

Trad climber
pitch above you
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:08pm PT
Yep, thanks le_bruce,

Who could imagine that the only thing that appears to be regulated would be the need to videotape. That's some counterproductive reactionary nonsense if I've ever heard it. Let's tie up one of the team members on every rescue with a completely irrelevant task. Genius.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:21pm PT
hey there all... say, my condolences to the family....

also:
i was wondering about the same things as anastasia, as to these dangers...

then, next, also--i really think werner had a lot to say about your clothes freezing on you, and there is nothing much you can do (werners quote):
" By the time you get there your wet and sweating and start to freeze. You can't change into dry clothes in conditions like that, I've tried."
-----


well:
i have heard this being the case, and not just one for unprepared rescues of men (sure hope this will help someone, in the longrun:

*many a hunter has died, trying to "rescue = drag" his deer home, only to sweat under his "ill prepared clothes" as to not haveing the foresite, or proper "gear" to haul the deer back:

thus they have froze to death, though they had what had been "previously WARM" clothes... and, in many times within just a few miles of their warm truck, and/or others that could have helped.... the thought was always, that they could do it, strength wise, etc.... as most likely on non-snow hunts, they had...

very sad when equipment, gear, or whether accidently, or non-foresite wise, has been there....


well, as to the video:
it would make me cry, to see the video, even as i've cried for families losing folks so near to help, but facing failure, so i just could not go see it...

but, yes, i do know that folks really DO need to warn others--i can understand the mountaineering news to show this sorrow to help others... but it is too hard for me to understand the need for the video zeroing in on the unfortunate man, that will never be here, again...

once again, condolences to the father and others...


edit: thank you le-bruce for the info about those that tried so hard to save someone... very sad for all...

edit: le_bruce... now i understand as to the video need, if it was there law... this way, it would show exactly what happened, if those who were not there needed to question something...
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:24pm PT
Anastasia,
re:
> Is it true that being rescued from that high is almost
> impossible? Is it true that anyone trying to rescue
> others from such a mountain is doing it at a very great
> risk to their own lives?

in my experience (long, though rarely extreme), there is no easy answer to that question. i've personally seen successful rescues from way higher and way harder than this one. but i have also seen genuinely caring and studly big kid fail at lower and easier efforts. weather has a whole lot to do with it, as in the high mountains you are often climbing against weather more than anything especially technical.

as for the last part of your question (above), generally no -- in my experience - which is not the sum of all such experiences, of course. given the excellent info in le-bruce's post above, the climbers who went up were already at high camp(s?) and hence likely reasonably well acclimated; they were “guides and porters” and hence likely knew what they were volunteering for. and all did, surely, volunteer.

at 6962m/22,841ft aconcagua is high, but nowhere near the limits of an athletic and experienced climber. there are many dozens of notably higher peaks in the himalaya; and successful rescues have been done on a bunch of them (weather permitting). did i mention weather?
~~~

> Plus, I thought that when you are in high altitude it
> effects your motor skills and the ability to think,
> solve problems... Could the fact that they are over
> 21,000 feet explain their confusion and fear?

um, nah. there are legions of climbers who function quite coherently at such altitudes, and much higher. i've been at such altitudes -- but as i am a demonstrable moron even at sea level, i wouldn't be quick to count myself among them.

my best read (from a great distance and comfy in my cheap hotel room) is that very rough weather both caused the original accident -- and limited what the ad hoc rescue team could do.

i stand behind my point (above), that in the big mountains you are most often duking it out with weather. in the highest of mountains (think 7500m+) altitude can be the major issue.

there are of course some routes on which this is not true, but these are to date the domain of the very biggest of kids. a bunch of our excellent brother Jello's many routes stand as an example; as do those of the handful of others who have to date climbed at such standards _way_ up high.

but anconcagua neither exceptionally high, nor exceptionally hard (on the trade route at the heart of this scenario, as well as the top of the polish glacier were it ended).

all that said, the bad news combo of sh!tty weather, an unexpected quick summit pop (those involved surely had made better plans than to top out in bad weather and the dark), and the simple stress involved in responding to an accident – can all certainly effect the quality of the decisions one makes. and typically not for the better.


fwiw...


^,,^
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:32pm PT
I still can't get that video out of my mind....so sad.

It's really starting to piss me off. May he rest in peace....
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:45pm PT

A sad and awful video. You have to give the guys credit for trying, even if they weren't prepared for a rescue.

People walk by injured people in the mountains all the time. I've even seen a guide do it. These guys tried and failed, which is sad, but better then nothing.

People drive by accidents all the time, thinking the professionals will do the work. In the mountains there are few "professionals."

This doesn't look like the work of trained rescuers. Was this a coordinated effort? Was there a team to back these guys up? Who was coming with gear, was there a plan?

I feel for all these guys, not just the victim.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:53pm PT
As for the media being at fault- as a member of the news media I have offer a defense. The father uploaded the video because he wanted publicity.

As for carrying a camera on a rescue. I do it all the time. They are really small these days and there is usually time to grab some footage when there is a few seconds of down time. Rescues are usually not very fast.

even on a recovery a camera is actually an essential piece of gear, as each death is technically a crime scene

Why these guys have a camera and not bivy gear and rescue gear is the question.

What was the plan? go up an get photos, and possibly bury the guy?

I say don't judge them too harshly without more detail.




neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 18, 2009 - 10:57pm PT
hey there tom... say, about 7-8 post up there is some news-detail that will help you... from le_bruce....

i just saw it, as well....
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 11:04pm PT
how'd I miss those? still a really sad situation.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 18, 2009 - 11:18pm PT
Similar type of rescue on Broad peak

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

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 11:19pm PT
le_bruce,

> when does anyone refer to him as an idiot? The only word I'm hearing is 'cuñado'.

I swear, earlier this afternoon the transcript on www.mounteverest.net said "Get up, idiot". According to post here, this was changed to "Get up, cuñado!", and now it reads:
"Get up, cuñado (dude/mate)!" So it sounds like a translation error which they have been fixing on that site.

Sorry, I don't know much Spanish, so I had no simple way to check. I edited my original post to add this.

Thanks very much for your translation of the post on the Chilean andinista forum - that answers most if not all the key questions.
Mimi

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 11:59pm PT
That's harsh. God bless that poor guy and the men who tried to help him. Thanks le_bruce for the clear translation.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 18, 2009 - 11:59pm PT
http://www.euronews24.org/world/video-of-failed-mountain-rescue-prompts-inquiry/

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Prosecutors are investigating a failed attempt to rescue an Argentine climbing guide from a blinding snowstorm on the highest peak in the Americas after a video of the rescue expedition aired on national television in Argentina.
The nearly three-minute video shows 31-year-old Federico Campanini struggling on his hands and knees as he was tugged forward on a rope by five rescuers, while another filmed. As violent winds whipped snow across the rocky terrain, Campanini collapsed, and police said he died four hours later with a rescue member by his side.
The dramatic footage, aired repeatedly on television, has provoked public concern that rescuers could have done more on Aconcagua mountain, where more than 4,600 climbers attempted to summit last year. Two policemen and four volunteers on the rescue team were not speaking to the news media on Wednesday.
The guide's parents, Carlos and Monica Campanini, cited the video as proof that the six-member rescue crew allowed their son to die.
Carlos Campanini said the video, which was anonymously delivered to his lawyer a week ago, was excruciating to watch and he doesn't want another climber to be treated the same way.
The people who were around him, let him down, Carlos Campanini told The Associated Press. My son did everything he could to save himself. You could see his desperation to save his life because he had his plans, his ideals, his family and his wife.
But Antonio Ibaceta, who coordinated the operations from base camp for the Mendoza police force, said people viewing the video at home cannot fathom the conditions on the highest peak outside of Asia.
The public has no right to condemn in this way, when what they did was truly an act of solidarity since the men volunteered for the rescue mission, Ibaceta said.
While most experienced climbers take three to four days to scale the 22,841-foot Aconcagua, the rescue crew surged to the top in one day and were suffering severe fatigue in the oxygen-deprived air and minus-58 degree temperatures, Ibaceta said. The video shows crew members stumbling and repeatedly saying how exhausted they are.
He said crews often film rescue efforts to improve subsequent operations and to use as legal evidence in the event of a death.
The prosecutor's office for Mendoza province confirmed it was investigating the rescue attempt and received a copy of the video, but declined to discuss further details.
Environmental Secretary Guillermo Carmona, who oversees Aconcagua park and its employees, emphasized the difficulty of the rescue.
What can be seen in the video is that the rescue squad is trying to do its best amid the existing conditions to evacuate Federico Campanini, Carmona said.
Campanini already was in dire condition when rescuers arrived.
On Jan. 7, he and the four Italian climbers were caught in an afternoon snow storm and strayed from their route. An avalanche then killed an Italian woman and injured Campanini before help arrived to lead the hypothermic survivors down the mountain.
Carmona said the rescue team was in close contact by radio with a public prosecutor whose statements also will be part of the investigation.
Julio Suarez, police spokesman in Mendoza province, expressed concern that the investigation could discourage volunteers from joining future rescue efforts.
They're going to say 'No, because someone can take me to court,' Suarez said.He said that in order to be free from charges of abandonment, every member of the rescue team has to be contributing to the best of his or her ability.That raises questions about whether the person filming the video could have been helping instead. But Mario Gonzalez, founder of the Argentine Association of Mountain Guides, said the video was made in good faith.They didn't shoot the video to incriminate themselves as having abandoned someone, Gonzalez said. I think they filmed it to crudely illustrate the severity of the situation ... for the rescue team, and the grave state of the victim.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:09am PT
Blah blah blah. Face it - he died because he was on the mountain with a clusterf*#k of incompetent pussies.
Caveman

climber
Cumberland Plateau
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:35am PT
Yeah, the heartless bastards! One of them should have sacked up, hoisted the victim over their shoulder and parasailed off the mountain. I'm guessing just about anyone here could have done it.
Anastasia

climber
Not here
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:39am PT
Pip the Dog,
Thanks for the clarification. This whole things scares me silly... I know how it feels to watch someone die and I really don't like it. I feel for everyone involved.
AF


enjoimx

Big Wall climber
SLO Cal
Feb 19, 2009 - 01:07am PT
To the OP

How is this "unacceptable" as you say?

Rescue is a privelage, and rescue is not an exact science. While there may be "codes" that you speak of, certain situations may dictate an alteration from these codes, and not everyone can be saved.

Yes, climbing is risky. Do it at your own risk.
ec

climber
ca
Feb 19, 2009 - 02:10am PT
"Is it true that being rescued from that high is almost impossible?"

In '85 when I went down there I was informed that usually 'you were on your own' and that rescue was next to none. I also recall at least one corpse on the Polish Glacier Route that substantiated that comment.
 ec
bob

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:36am PT
Man that is a rough one. Seems they were doing all they could. People who don't mountaineer don't have a clue what its like up in those conditions. Now, from a climbers side of things, (and this is not directed to the climbers in the video) I don't understand how people can go climb mountains with the thought of rescue as even an option. I'm not saying the climbers in the video were at all. With all the blame from family and or friends it seems the mindset of using the idea of a rescue to lend confidence in doing something very dangerous is counterproductive and shows incompetence in a climber/climbers.
Back to the topic of the rescue attempt: If a family member blames all the others, did the deceased climber set that ideal to the parents by telling them rescue is always an option, fostering a false sense of safety for the parents? So many people expect that they will be rescued, but I doubt a guide would feel that that option is always available. Ugh.
Horrible situation. Friggen horrible.
Rambling.... forgive me.
Bob j.
Ezra

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Feb 19, 2009 - 10:22am PT
I think Werner said it best.

He frigging knows what it means to rescue people. He's probably rescued hundreds.

It's easy to sit here on our computers and criticize the efforts of others.
WBraun

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 10:59am PT
Werner doesn't really know anything, he just spouts a bunch of bullsh'it here masquerading as knowledge.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:03am PT
I'm curious what the plan was.

It sounds like they were prepared for a body and found a live person? If they were after a body, why did so many people go up?

It happens from time to time. The first team out of the base gets to the victim fast, but carrying little gear, can do very little.

This isn't always a bad thing, as they can assess the situation so the next team knows what's going on and the other teams/helo can bring the right gear.

This was a bad situation. How do you rescue someone up that high in those conditions?

With the right gear, (a litter to drag the guy ropes, a few pulleys, prussiks and something to anchor to) do you pull the guy up to the summit.

Lower the guy down the Polish route?

Hunker down and wait for the chopper- the guy was stable enough crawl, why not sit?

I don't know the capability of helos up there. I don't really see a good way.

In a perfect world, what could be done?

Is it possible? I would say yes, depending on how long the guy could last, but it would have taken a perfect world, which we don't always have.

Shitty situation no matter which way you slice it. I hope the lawyers get nowhere.



JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:04am PT
Nobody in that video seems to know what the f*#k is going on or what that f*#k to do. If you are going to climb one of the highest mounains in the world, you should have a f*#king clue, even if you are a guided client. Just as Krakauer basically noted in 96, the blame runs deep - hubris.
WBraun

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:10am PT
jlp

But you're the only one that knows, of course.
mdavid

Big Wall climber
CA, CO, TX
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:16am PT
this video is a good example of why small internet videos and news items cannot convey a story accurately, context and evaluating the entirety of the situation is impossible.
I feel bad for all involved, rip
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:16am PT
Werner - we just saw the same video, unless you know more. That's my take. I respect your take and basically agree with it - except I think they were all idiots who didn't belong there.
WBraun

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:38am PT
So a bunch of climbers haul ass up a big mountain in terrible conditions to try and help their fellow mankind and all you have is "they were all idiots who didn't belong there".

Easy to say sitting in your nice warm house .......
cintune

climber
the Moon and Antarctica
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:42am PT
They could have done everything right and he still could have died. Condolences to the rescuers. Doing what they could was better than doing nothing at all.
darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:48am PT
I've been reading a lot in the last few days, both in Argentine and Chilean climbing forums like this one here at the taco. The most illuminating read was in an argentine site that gave a very detailed account of the rescue effort. Unfortunately I don't have the time to translate the whole thing but I can pass along some of my key learnings from this report.

First of all, only people familiar with Aconcagua and the Andes can attest to the conditions of this region. The wind and cold temperatures of those days and the stormy weather in general had a lot to do with what could be done to help those trapped at 6700mts (later reported at 400 meters below the summit toward the Polish glacier), the guide and his 3 remaining clients. One had fell to her death the first night after reaching the top. A fifth Italian client turned back before even attempting the summit because of altitude sickness.

That summit day the weather had been not ideal, and the reports weren't very optimistic. A chilean climber that reach the top that same day with a couple of polish climbers, reported the guided group was climbing at a very slow pace, too slow perhaps to make it to and back safely before nightfall. As they were descending from the top, the guide asked them to wait for him and his client so they could descend together, to which they said "no" because they thought it was already too late to be attempting the top and they would have to wait too long for them and of course they feared for their own lives/safety at that point. The guided group would make it to the top at least an hour after that exchange. Once they reached the summit, they started their descent almost immediately pushed by the storm that closed almost all visibility. If you're familiar with this route (not technical) you could "perhaps" make it back safely with those conditions and at that time (almost 5pm), but this guide had been there once or twice before and the believe is that he didn't really have the route "wired". It should be also mentioned that he didn't registered his group as a guided group, but he registered himself as just another member of his expedition, which is sort of considered illegal, in other words, he was guiding "under the table". In any case, once they started descending they lost their way and headed over the steeper and more technical Polish glacier route, a site of many accidents in this mountain. In the hours that followed, one of his clients fell to her death; with the storm at full force now he radioed for help and a massive rescue effort got started.

For reasons too long for me to explain and translate here, 2 days went by before "help" would reach the group, who was stranded just at the edge of a giant cliff off toward the Polish glacier. The guide pretty much kept his clients alive long enough to wait for said help to arrived. But he was too weak and in spite of much effort at that altitude to get him (and the other 3 Italian clients) back to the the top and toward the easier (and only practicable) normal route, he died a couple hundred meters below the top.

We can talk all day about the rights and wrongs that happened during this rescue, it's easy after all from behind our keyboards, but to me at least what gives me the most to think about is the motivation of a paid guide to push forward, at a late hour, with very slow-moving clients and give them what they hired him for, the summit.

Very sad indeed. My condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragedy. Everest '96 anyone?

darod.

edit: great link from an argentine site with lots of information of this rescue:
http://www.alborde.com.ar/montania1/montanismo136.html
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:48am PT
"Werner doesn't really know anything, he just spouts a bunch of bullsh'it here masquerading as knowledge."


Bingo. This is Supertopo, after all. Thread after thread dedicated to the proposition that experience, professionalism, and expertise are completely empty concepts.

What you need is ideological puirity. From there, you can work out to the proper judgment on any situation or problem, no matter how gross your incompetence or vast your ignorance.

The key question we've overlooked so far is, were those rescuers right-wingers or left-wingers? Once we have that answer, we'll have all the others.
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:15pm PT
I see this a little differently actually somewhat heroically. Yes he died. He was a mountain guide and he died. Those ARE the chances you take. He did! He died.
But he did not die in a drive by shooting or a drunk driving accident or from the infirmities of advanced age. He died doing what he surely loved to do. And he died fighting to the end climbing up. As a guide he must of long ago come to grips with his own mortality. I can't imagine he wanted to die but what an apropos way for a climber to go.
Further, he didn't die alone. Several other folks put aside their own objectives and put them selves out at great risk and in horrendous conditions to do what ever they could to help. And they no doubt did it, as many of us would also do facing like circumstances, on the spur of a moment with what they had at hand. They were there as brothers and friends, and a link to humanity at one souls passing.
Cut them some slack and understand this will emotionally scar them forever. They tried the best they could and the comfy couch crowd wants to blame them or accuse them of incompetence. It is obvious from the video that it was all but hopeless. You can hear more than the camera man crying at the end.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2009 - 12:16pm PT
enjoimx

"To the OP

How is this "unacceptable" as you say?

Rescue is a privelage, and rescue is not an exact science. While there may be "codes" that you speak of, certain situations may dictate an alteration from these codes, and not everyone can be saved.

Yes, climbing is risky. Do it at your own risk. "



I understand that climbing comes with risk and doing SAR is a privilege not an obsolete right but dragging a fellow climber with a rope like a goat is not the way you treat a dying climber.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:44pm PT
Majid- that's what I've been trying to get at. What were they supposed to do?

O2 and warmth/shelter would be start. But carrying enough 02 into the mountains to last for the amount of time needed to run a rescue is difficult.

We run out all the time on Mt. Whitney, fortunately most of the people who get rescued on Whitney, don't actually need a rescue so they are stable patients.

When something really bad goes down, you hope for some sort of badass military chopper to save your bacon.

I have no idea how this works on Aconcaugua.

What were the injuries to the guide in this case? Internal bleeding? head injury?

Everyone says that rescue up there is impossible- is this true, or is it that we haven't yet worked out how to do these things yet?

I don't know, I'm asking

There's really difficult, that I'm sure is true, but not possible or not worth the risk/effort?
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:50pm PT
So what would Majid do?

Look at it this way. Say that the dying guy and all his gear weighed 200 pounds. And for the sake of argument say that the sixth rescuer put down the camera and helped.
That would add 35 pounds to each rescuer. Now just for a moment forget the atrocious conditions and imminent hazards and ask your self - would you be willing to dump an extra 35 pounds on what you are already lugging in your pack and at that altitude? Would you be physically strong enough and technically capable enough to accomplish that Herculean effort even in ideal conditions?

At that altitude and in those conditions if you can't help yourself even a little your chances of survival are less than zero.
The Hubris of Everest 96 is a good parallel given the poor decision to push on too late. And for spurious commercial considerations. Remember two things before flinging condemnations.
1: The dead guide had already consumed huge amounts of energy reserves keeping the surviving clients alive for what sounds like two days of brutal conditions.
2: The rescuers did in fact rescue those clients before the guide.

I can only imagine that once the guide knew his clients were saved and he was no longer responsible he let go and caved in. His will to survive already all but consumed.

For me the sadness is in the salacious need of arm chair voyeurs to revel in tragedy and excel in second guessing.

The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 19, 2009 - 12:52pm PT
Hard to watch that video - chilling, sad.

Another thing I though strange about the video was the apparent lack of medical knowledge for a 'rescue team', or even climbers.

This guy apparently took a fall (the rescuers may not have known that), and the first thing to do after stabilizing a person is NOT move them until you assess that there are no spinal/neck injuries.


Stood out to me, too.

Hard to know what was their thought process... Yeah, maybe they determined that there was no mechanism for spinal injury or had already assessed his spine - though, by the look of him, he didn't look like he would have passed the "reliable patient" requirement. Scene safety might have been overriding, maybe higher risk of avalanche or exposure: no way for them to immobilize him and still have a chance of moving him out before hypothermia killed him or threatened them (as others have mentioned, the effort of carrying him in those conditions would have been huge. Even in good conditions, carrying someone any distance at all is really hard if you don't have a team of people who can rotate in to give people breaks. I'm guessing dragging him was all they could find the strength for).
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 19, 2009 - 01:25pm PT
Supposed translation of the video transcript (from the mounteverest.net page):

0.03 – Cameraman (with labored breath): “Here we are, 300 meters shy from the summit… he is the guide… we can’t move him any further, we are very tired… It’s snowing hard now… we are on the glacier… we’ve tried in every way… there was 400m (to the top), we’ve climbed up 100m…”

0.42 - Rescuer at Federico’s side: “He can’t – he can’t be taken out. He can’t be taken out (approaching the camera). We are freezing – we have 400m left to the summit and he’s not moving. He’s in a bad state. I am authorized by the judge…(some unintelligible words).”

1.01 – Two rescuers: “Get up, cuñado (dude/mate)! Come on, come on, shit!! (trying to raise Federico to his feet)”

1.09 - Cameraman:”Let God enlighten him and give him strength, please.”

(Federico advances some meters on his hand and knees – then stops and lay on one side)

1:35 - Cameraman: “We’ve made ten meters more […] he doesn’t want to go anymore.”

1:57 - Rescuer speaking on the radio:: “Argentina? Tell him/them he is dying. (answer on the radio not understandable) Tell him/them he is dying. He won’t last 40 minutes longer.

Ed. Note:The following answer on the radio can’t be understood clearly. The voice seems to say (2:13): “Well, well – then try to evacuate him for 40 minutes more, even if he’s dying.” The rescuer answers: “It’s improbable, dude.” However, some unclear words may have a different meaning.

2:24 - Cameraman mutters some inaudible words while crying.
ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 01:33pm PT
I really feel awful for this man's family and friends .. and for the rescuers ..

.. I hope that the courts absolve them of any wrong doing ..

If you take into account the weather, the length of the rescue (24 hrs), the fact that they had succeeded in rescuing 3 people already -- then its clear that they were doing their best.

The video clearly shows that everyone is exhausted, and that there may not be anything else they can do.

.. -- if thats not good enough reason to absolve them -- well then lets hope that someone recognizes that there is no guarantee of rescue on a mountain like aconcagua ..

.. -- there should be some sort of legal protection for sar folks .. even in places where rescue is very accessible (like el capitan in yosemite) --
Anastasia

climber
Not here
Feb 19, 2009 - 01:53pm PT
There is "legal protection in the U.S." it's called the Good Samaritan Law. Though please note that it only applies to people who have basic training with a "CPR/Fist Aid certification" etc."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Samaritan_law

rescue76

Trad climber
colorado springs
Feb 19, 2009 - 01:57pm PT
Wondering why they are trying to move him uphill?

philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 19, 2009 - 02:02pm PT
They had to get to the top to access the normal route which was the only conceivable descent.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 19, 2009 - 02:14pm PT
Wondering why they are trying to move him uphill?

That terrain from the standard route up (or down if you climb the Polish Glacier route) is pretty weird. If you strayed from the Caneleta too far in any direction, it'd be pretty grim. Especially to the east, towards the Polish Glacier side. Its really cliffy on crappy loose rock intermixed with snow/ice patches. Kinda no man's land. Very difficult place to lower someone.

Look how long that body sat at the base of the Polish Glacier for example. Mid 80's until just a year or so ago?

I didn't notice anyone with O2 on the mountain on the Polish side when we were there (bad 97/98 season). Just not that common. And, without a litter up high on the mountain, anyone you'd rally up high to go up for a rescue attempt would be at a huge disadvantage for moving someone who'd been exposed to really harsh elements for a couple days. Especially if they weren't acclimated (most aren't, just not the kind of place to hang out). The weather on that peak is commonly really awful. Wind wind wind...

Pretty tough row to hoe...sad, grim deal.

-Brian in SLC
rescue76

Trad climber
colorado springs
Feb 19, 2009 - 02:42pm PT
Thanks for the explanations.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2009 - 02:56pm PT
philo

" So what would Majid do? "

I would setup a tent and stick a dex in to the guy's heart and let him rest in peace in comfort and once he is gone, I pack up and return to BC. I would not drag him like a cow on ice.




pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:22pm PT
tom woods,

you raise a question of interest to at least this dog.

>“What were the injuries to the guide in this case? Internal bleeding? head injury”

two good guesses, tom – as one thing i read suggested that this guy got hit by an avi.

but as i know (and am confident you know) -- it takes rather little to cripple you at such altitudes and in such bad weather and night cold. injuries that are trivial (however miserable) at your local crag quick becomes a death sentence in that kind of cold at that altitude.

fwiw: when i was there i never saw O2, anywhere. and from what i’ve read before and since, it has never been used there such. O's are more a part of the the everest ceo circus.

perhaps the local SAR group carries it -– fortunately when i was there i was never in a position to find out.

and this from stzzo’s report:

> 1:35 - Cameraman: “We’ve made ten meters more […] he
> doesn’t want to go anymore.”

the last part of that is typical of hypothermia, no? i’ve been close to that, a couple of times, way up high and way too dehydrated and way too cold.

i remeber the worst such time, i’d suddenly drop and whine “just let me rest a few minutes…” fortunately my then partner -- who was a stud -- said ‘get up, you whining aszhole –- if either of us stop here we are toast.”

oh bless his mighty heart. for he surely saved this small dog’s droopy butt. not much of a butt, but rather dear to me.


^,,^
couchmaster

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:32pm PT
All this armchair quarterbacking is worthless, none of you were there, none of you were totally spent and gassed, barely able to move yourself....had the rescuers made it up there in a single long push? I doubt they were moseying up with porters and slowly acclimatizing.

..screw it, dudes dead, it's on him 100%, not on those trying to save his ass, they did their best, they went and took a shot and failed just like he did. Werner's the only guy I know who regularly does this, so I exclude him in my comments and any others who have rescued others. It's never as easy, safe or as fast as you might think while perched inside of your very warm and comfortable house being critical of those who had stepped into the arena and put their own lives on the line. They at least took a shot.

Have you gone up high when the Search and Rescue folks have told the widow "sorry, the weather is just too bad right now" so she has called me at 9pm and you have called as many other lost souls as you could. You go because you are a climber. You go because it is what you must do. You go hoping to save a lost soul. You go hoping that you can pull off a miracle. You go, but the die had been rolled and cast long before you even rolled out of bed. If it's a 1 in 100 chance you can effect positive change, you go. If it's a 1 in 1000 or add 2 zeros to that you still go. When you step out of your car and can barely stand up straight as the wind is so strong, and within seconds your eyelashes are freezing shut...yet still you go. When you realize you don't have a sleeping bag...you go anyway, accompanied with a silent prayer that all the folks you have called to help will survive themselves this night.

You as#@&%es who are backbiting and second guessing here.

You stayed. You didn't help when it was needed. You slept through that critical 2 am phone call, or you picked it up but replied: "sorry, I have to work in the morning, but good luck:" and hung up. You stayed home nice and warm. Nice and warm. You let others do the heavy lifting and they canceled work because someone had to try. So you lived. You slept under a thick duvet that night, and the next. You watched the news. "Oh, how sad"!

STFU you mother f*#kers! You have no idea.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:33pm PT
Rox,
maybe you are not considering the energy left in the would be rescuers.

at that altitude, when did they last sleep, eat, drink...

were they themselves freezing their a$$ off, were they afraid for their own lives due to the conditions and their own physical condition?

as sad as it is, there is only one person to blame for his death and that is him. i am assuming that nobody forced him to go climbing.

there is a real problem with climbers when they do not take and or assign personal responsibility.

if i died on el cap in a storm is it yosar's fault?

peeps need to take responsibility for themselves.

as sad as the video is, it does not tell the whole picture, which started when the victim had the urge to start climbing in the first place and continues as a learning process. however, that process MUST maintain personal responsibility and not reliance on others for personal safety.
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:34pm PT
The victim was conscious and wanted to keep trying, despite his injuries. And it is easier to ascend when someone's pulling on the rope. Even just a little pull helps. We all know that.

And this guy might not have been all that happy to go quietly into the night with Majid. I bet he wanted to live. When he changed his mind they stopped. If I'm ever in his place I hope Majid doesn't make the choice for me.

Besides, if you've blinked up a tent and some DEX, why not give yourself a SAR cache and replace the men with a fresh, trained SAR force instead of some dog-tired guys who've been at it for 30 hours? Then you could get him down, no problem. Have you ever watched how stupid you and the rest of the guys get after you've been at it for 30 hours?

People die every day all around you just like this. Sure it would be nice if your buddy had the skills of an ER surgeon and you could bring the OR to the highway and save her. We can all think of ways to have handled this one better. But only a few of you would have done any better if you got swapped in. And that's because that few practice and train for it, which is not the same thing as climbing a lot. If it's not wired in you're not going to get it right under that kind of stress.

I can sit here and think of all sorts of things they could have done better. I bet most of us have. But I wouldn't have made it nearly as far as those guys did through that nightmare, and I'm not about to judge them.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:35pm PT
RJ, doesn't sound like you've ever been to 20,000 feet. It isn't all that high by Himalayan standards. But it sure is when you aren't acclimatized and have already spent a night out -- and a heck of a lot more than the comfort of you armchair in Idaho. They managed to get him up over snow-covered scree for three hundred feet and still had a thousand feet to go, late in the day. Spending a second night out near the summit would likely be exceedingly dangerous for the rescuers, violating the first rule of rescue. A person with HAPE/HACE that has already been that high for three days isn't going to make it. TLC is a nice concept for bleeding hearts but doesn't always apply in the real, very harsh world of high mountains.
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
One of the Argentinean guys at my work who also happen to climb just watched the film and said that one guy is saying:

Get up you shi*, you as*
ec

climber
ca
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:42pm PT
'Too many people standing around talking with thumbs up asses...

There were enough guys there to carry/assist this guy, but no one takes the initiative to do so...The guy was obviously wasted...instead they drag him by the collar and haul him like freight.

Wrong!

 ec
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:43pm PT
And that's a trufitude.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:52pm PT
so whose fault is it that he died?

Should the rescuers be sued for not saving him?

my answers are it is the victims fault he died as cold and heartless as that sounds.

and no, i dont think the rescuers should be sued.

would i be embarrassed if i were a rescuer in that video? probably, but i am here at sea level in a warm room...
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 19, 2009 - 03:52pm PT
Anastasia,
re:
> There is "legal protection in the U.S." it's called the
> Good Samaritan Law. Though please note that it only
> applies to people who have basic training with a
> "CPR/Fist Aid certification" etc."

fwiw, my understanding is the exact opposite -- that the Good Samaritan Law applies to those _without_ any notable EMS or med training. i once held an EMT/I cert and was happy to see it lapse, just so i was free to simply do my best if need be without worrying about loosing my house.

for example, i was for years a ‘med’ ranger at b’man in it's first decade or so –- well, until i got sick of the sheer number of suburban twerps who came looking for a show (rather than ready to make something worthwhile happen), dopes who decided that the playa was a better place than their suburban cul de sac to try some new arcane dhope dope (then wash it down with like 8 or 10 beers). arghhh.

at about the same time, some weasels suddenly appeared out of absolutely nowhere (with never a minute in the dirt i knew) within the rangers own ranks and almost immediately gave themselves like flag officer ranks (ranks? in the rangers? say wha?) these self important (and self appointed) clowns soon came up with a scheme to pay themselves rather handsomely for their 'genious!' this quick gave mr the exit visa i was searching for. i took it and haven’t been back since ’01.

so what does this have to do with anything? um, i forget. i kinda think it started out as an example of moments when i wondered about the Good Samaritan laws. i think. arghhh.
~~~

as I do still volunteer for vertical SAR endeavors whenever i am actually somewhere long enough to have, like, a local mailing address (which, if my evil plans actually work, is rather rarely). i have looked into this -- for if my read is wrong i could loose my house. (though i rather hope that when standing over a broken person, i won’t waste time debating this. but how small and evil am i? hmmm, i’d rather not find out).

i read your ref at wikipedia. one phrase stuck in my pointy head:

> The details of good Samaritan laws/acts in various
> jurisdictions vary”

this is sadly true, or so i am told by pals who know more of this stuff than i. and it may some day trip me up.

but in general, given my many inguires on the topic to actual smart people, it is only people with significant ems or med training who are held to a higher standard than the Good Samaritan laws. regular joe sixpack’s like me (now that my cert is long expired) are free to just do the best we can dream up in those moments none of us want to witness.

fortunately, they didn’t entirely lobotomize me when that emt cert lapsed -- i do still remember a couple of good tricks (as always, taught to me by far bigger kids)

fwiw…


^,,^
ec

climber
ca
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:00pm PT
Good Samaritan Can Be Sued. Bad Judgment?
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:02pm PT
Brian in SLC,

a typically well informed and well focused post (see above).

i'm really jazzed to see you here (though i recognize the reverse is not necessarily true).


^,,^
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:17pm PT
No rockjox, the Marines would have died. You really haven't spent time in the mountains.
cintune

climber
the Moon and Antarctica
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:20pm PT
Yeah, well, Superman could have saved him. Fly in, warm him up with some laser vision, and then whisk him away to safety.

None of those guys were Superman, apparently.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:26pm PT
ec,

i read your ref.

still can’t quite see how the famous mickey D’s HOT coffee story ended up as a test of the Good Samaritan laws. in what way is someone who serves up a cup of joe (however scalding) representative of a joe sixpack suddenly thrust into the role of being an ad hoc first responder?

did the case focus on how the elite staff, just there, dealt with the woman’s injuries once the HOT coffee was dumped -- or simply the fact it was they who served it up?

the former i would (almost) understand -– while the latter seems to have nothing to do with these laws as i understand their intent (those last 4 words are rather important, here).

me, I’m hoping that when i eventually have that monster MI, that i am not at a mickey D’s (hell, if i am there, i likely deserve it). not the kinda place I suspect that someone who could actually be of help me might often be.

OTOH, whenever they ask me how i want my coffee i always say “Hot Hot Hot –- Absolutely Scalding, Baby!) –- for I need a new car and my mortgage is killing me.

well, as Blake once wrote, “Hope alone makes the heart beat.”


in all your ref was yet another interesting read/distraction from this lame day with this lame client. much appreciated for that. i agree with pretty much all of your insights in this thread.


^,,^
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:42pm PT
According to the article linked earlier in this thread: 17 rescuers found the 4 victims at 2pm and, after tea and warming, had them moving towards the summit by 4pm. The three ambulatory clients were each escorted by about 4 people. By the time that video was made, the remaining rescuers that a few are condemning so harshly had already spent 7 hours in bad weather getting the guide 600 feet up the mountain with 600 to go to the summit. Sounds like a pretty strong effort in a bad situation but the armchair posers here would surely have done better, not.

http://tinyurl.com/cqvbyr
darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
RJ, you have no clue...it's amusing...
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Feb 19, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
The McD coffee thing is too often misrepresented, misquoted, misused, etc... The lady only won the case because the defendants admitted that it was cheaper to pay people if they got burned than to lose customers because of cold coffee. They apparently showed a total disregard for the suffering caused and the jury was simply pissed off about it. The plantif also only sued for expenses, as I recall, and the jury decided on the bigger award.

But anyhow, it is impossible to know the mental state of the rescuers in that video. They all could have been demented and nearly dead resulting in their lack of enthusiasm. Who are we to judge? I have not been above 15,000 feet.

Maybe they won't record it the next time. That's about all that will change.

Dave
ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 05:57pm PT
rokjox ..

.. i can tell that the video has riled you up .. and i think that your emotional response is clouding your judgement ..

.. those guys had been already involved in the rescue for over 24 hrs ..

7 hours spent moving the guide about half way to the summit from where they found him .. -- and they (and the other rescuers) had succesfully rescued 3 other people .. they did pretty well ..

.. i think that the video shows the last few minutes of what was a LONG ordeal .. and its not fair to judge their motivation or effort by those last few minutes ..

.. i think you might feel otherwise if you watched 7 hours of them moving the guide up the face through bad rock, and what not.
reddirt

climber
Elevation 285 ft
Feb 19, 2009 - 07:12pm PT
they are definitely contacting potential witnesses far & wide.

I'm so glad that I can get off on "just" the Sierras & the Tetons & that I'm so not a gunner.

peace be w/ the Italian's fam & everyone who seeks the high places.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 19, 2009 - 07:37pm PT
"That guy did more in 10 meters than the other 6 did in the whole flick."

I tend to agree with you. I agree with Werner, too.

However, in the days prior, it appears from the stories that he was most responsible for the events that lead to his own death. He made a ton of mistakes and was breaking the law to boot. I'm leaning toward that as my final take on this.
SammyLee2

Trad climber
Memphis, TN
Feb 19, 2009 - 07:40pm PT
You know, I'm with Rokjax on this one.

I am the least of the least on this list. Barely climb 5.9 on a warm day, on a route I know. But I have risked my life to save another. And I'll be goddamned if I wouldn't have tried harder. And if I didn't or wouldn't, then may god damn me. (possible)

If I am walking around, talking, and carrying a pack, there are things I could have done. Die with the son of a bitch and not be filmed walking and talking and using the radio. Be easier. I don't love life that much.

I know you hard guys at altitude see things I don't. I see and feel things at ground level that you may have not seen. A test is a test. Those guys, and he had four hours to die. (as I have read)

At least, I would have whispered in his ear, "Dude, you're gonna die here. Make peace with that. I am saving my ass. Goodbye."

What the hell happened after the 3 minutes? No film of that?

Do I know what I would have done there? Not a chance. But if I couldn't have done better than that, let my ass die. I would not want to live.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:14pm PT
I can't care less about fault and blame.

ACTION is all that matters. Those guys failed to spring into action after arriving at the scene. They were half hearted about it. Chalk it up to Altitude and wearyness if you want. It's their only possible excuse.


You must be dizzy from all that spinnin' around... Seems you're pretty intent on blaming the rescuers.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:28pm PT
two points come to mind:

1. i’m surprised that no one else commented on the fact that this guy was a guide. now once you’re down and need help, that doesn’t matter – he deserves the best people at hand can do. but one of the few things i would be interested in hearing, when and if more and reliable detail is available – is what exactly got this group of five (4 clients, 1 guide) stranded up there in the first place?

if it proves to be a rockfall or an avi where little expected, fine. such sh!t happens to the best of guides. but if, otoh, it turns out this guide didn’t respond quickly to the first signs of decaying weather, or he let them plod onwards too slow and too late in the day, that would be different. if that proves the case, the fate of the 4 clients who paid and trusted their lives with him is in his hands. one of those clients died, the other 3 surely had a very very scary, cold, and shitty day.

i don’t know which it will be – and speculation in the interim is pointless. and a whole lot of speculation and armchair quarterbacking is simply masturbatory. naah, not interested. we’ll know what facts can be known in time.

2. ok, this might strike you as an odd one, but i found some peace of mind after viewing that nightmaris video in considering how he died. sure, dying sucks -- and i have made many many heartfelt efforts to avoid it. but in the end it will be part of all of our lives.

this guy froze to death. and having stupidly gotten my own self way too close to that, i can tell you this: given some of the grueling alternatives it ain’t in the end such a bad end (again, relative to the alternatives). for you get all numb and sleepy. you don’t feel pain or horror at the situation, you quick decay to the point where all you want is ‘nappy time.’ and once you allow yourself that nap, it quick becomes forever.

relative to, like burning to death, or being all crumpled and broken at the base of some cliff howling and watching your own marrow drip out (or whatever, you can surely come up with more) -- this is surely not the worst way to exit. when i gotta go, i’d rather this than all manner of nightmares i have witnessed.

i don’t mean to be morbid here. but it helped me deal with the nightmare of that video. perhaps it will help some of you who are haunted by it for sincere and appropriate reasons. perhaps not.
~~~

finally, does anyone here truly believe that these guys – who volunteered to charge up to the summit late in the day and into a storm, into what they almost certainly knew would be brutal. then climbed hard for at least 20 hours, then saved 3 souls who wouldn’t have otherwise been saved in one piece. then still kept at it for hours looking for those they hadn’t yet found…

that people willing to volunteer for all of that suddenly up and became heartless morons when they found this wounded guide? really. take a moment and think about this.

to my eye (and i’ve been there, on that summit, moron that i am) i simply don’t buy that. and i don’t believe that i can watch 3 minutes of poor video and even worse audio in some teeny 2inch x 2inch screen – in a language foreign to me, and dare sit back and call anyone a jerk.

it just ain’t like that, in those conditions, up that high. that little i do know for sure.

that’s the last i have to say about it.

find your own peace and wait for more and actually reliable info to come.

or so says i


^,,^
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:36pm PT
Good God, sometimes folks get killed in the mountains, sometimes the best intentioned folks can't exact a rescue.

So since the rescuers weren't able to rescue the guy, and they didn't die trying, then they should be ridiculed. They'll have to live with themselves, and thats going to be rough. No doubt they wanted to help the guy, but they were unable. Maybe they weren't trained in rescue, maybe they were just physically and mentall spent, maybe being faced with a guy who was dieing on them they just froze up. Not everyone can be a hero, and, sometimes people die.

I lost a good friend on K2, who tried to rescue some injured climbers and he was swept off the mountain by an avalanche. Does that make him better than if he'd just said he was too beat after having summitted and someone else could have gone?
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:37pm PT
If I am walking around, talking, and carrying a pack, there are things I could have done. Die with the son of a bitch and not be filmed walking and talking and using the radio.

No sh#t? You'd die for a complete stranger? Knowing full well that the choices he made got him into that predicament? Would you give your last bit of water to him, knowing that it was condemning you to death? Would you spend you last bit of energy on him, knowing you wouldn't then have the strength to carry yourself out (and that no one was going to help you)? Would you stick a hose in your vein to siphon every ml of your blood into someone dying in the street after he jumped in front of a bus?

Big talk...
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:39pm PT
a lot of good points here. i was not beating up on you rox.

the video makes it look like the rescuers could have done better.

but i cannot say not having been there.

what is evident is that the guides family is looking for fault.

i cannot blame the rescuers for that fault. i have no stake in this except for recognizing that someone lost their life and all involved are probably scarred in some respects. i cannot believe that anyone came out of this very well.

it is a tragedy and when throwing blame, ill will or snide comments at the rescuers one must step back and truly think.
SammyLee2

Trad climber
Memphis, TN
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:47pm PT
Stzzo,

I don't know. Yeah, it's big talk, that's all I have sitting here in my warm chair. I do know the difference. Somehow it just seems WRONG. I may be mistaken. There is much more than the 3 minutes we saw.

I anin't gonna brag. I've been scared out of my wits and ran. Other times, other situations, other outcomes. Are the mountains the only test of a man's courage? Never been there or done that. Seems like I've been tested other ways and sometimes did the right thing. Who knows?

Edit to add, at the last minute. Yes, I have taken lot's of first aid classes and you are right. Yet, sometimes I feel like my life is negotiable.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:55pm PT
I added this as an edit to the other post, but it seemed better-suited as a response...

Have you ever taken a first aid class? Very first rule in rescue: Don't create another victim (i.e., endanger yourself or another rescuer). Point being, this is a fundamental tenet of the training that a rescuer receives. Maybe you're willing to die for some random risk-taker you don't know, but it's pretty silly to condemn someone else for choosing their own life over the victim's.

Ok, "silly" is a judgmental word...

Haha. You edited as I was moving this to another post :-)
ec

climber
ca
Feb 19, 2009 - 08:56pm PT
ptd,
the reference article had the mD coffee item (couldn't figure the connection either)that overshadowed the part about the gal who pulled her friend out of a wreck to what she thought was safety (thought the car would explode; see what tv does to people?). Instead, she most likely caused her friend to be paralyzed.
 ec
SammyLee2

Trad climber
Memphis, TN
Feb 19, 2009 - 09:03pm PT
You know, I never thought so much about the secondary rescurer, who had to try to save ME, or retrieve my dead ass. Bad Karma, that.

Maybe they'd wait for better conditions? Hopeful thinking on my part.

Geeze, strong feelings on my part, seeing that dude crawling. It's beyond me, for sure.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Feb 19, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
I question whether or not it is reasonable to demand heroics - or even a solid efort - from rescue personel. It's certainly great to have rescuers risk everything if you're in a fix yourself, but it's hard to hold rescuers responsible for not "saving" someone who put themselves on the mountain in the first place.

That much said, calling a man in extremis an "idiot" is pretty sketchy form, even if the intention was to rile the guy to action. But that dood had every sign of a dead man by the looks of that video.

JL
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 09:15pm PT
froze to death? that makes this even worse. That sh#t can be dealt with.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 09:21pm PT
everyone says that a rescue up there can't be done. i don't know how to do it, but i don't agree that it can't be done.

forget blame- i'm curios as to what a perfect world rescue would look like, assuming the victim can't walk.




JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 19, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
"forget blame- i'm curios as to what a perfect world rescue would look like, assuming the victim can't walk. "

Jeff Lowe + company on Latok I is one highly contrasting example. There are numerous other examples of climbers with better mountaineering skills. Read the classics. History is full of them.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 10:12pm PT
I don't know this Latok I story but I've read a few classics. Annapurna is a self rescue. Art Gilkey on K2 comes to mind, again a self rescue, that didn't turn out well, but those guys can live with themselves for their effort. They tried, and it could have killed them.

Alex Low carrying a guy on his shoulders on Denali, is frikken awesome, but you cant always expect a mutant to be available when you need one.

This appears to be a some what organized rescue. It could be a failure of character, but it looks more like a failure to have a good plan to me.

Their big bummer is that they have to go up before they go down (where gravity will work for them.)

Hypothermia may be a peaceful end, but it doesn't seem a necessary end.

Six guys pulling on a wasted man trying to crawl, while quite possibly all they could do, doesn't strike me as a great plan.

No mechanical advantage? No effort to warm the victim? No team coming behind them? It just doesn't seem like a well organized effort.

What if the guy couldn't crawl? What was the plan.

Up and down can be done with ropes, pullies and mechanical advantage. They would need a litter or something to slide on and some training.

A sked type litter works great on snow, and its light and easy to pack.

they didn't have one? why not? What was the plan?

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 19, 2009 - 10:34pm PT
It's a sad and tragic situation

Still, I am a guide, so I had some heart for

"I can only imagine that once the guide knew his clients were saved and he was no longer responsible he let go and caved in. His will to survive already all but consumed."

There is certainly some responsibility on the guide for having brought those clients into harm's way in bad weather. We all make mistakes and we don't know whether the clients understood the risk/summit gamble they were taking.

as for the rescue team, the thing is, it doesn't much matter if they are idiots, ill-trained or whatever. Most were non-sar volunteers and most definitely sacrificed all comfort, embraced much pain, and risked their own lives for the chance to save this guy. I'm sure they weren't busting their ass in a storm for the fun of it and if they were capable of doing it better or easier, they would have done it or wanted to do it.

The filming is an illusion. Cameras are tiny and shooting a few minutes of video takes little from a mega-hour effort, particularly when you reach the helpless time when you are days from relief and progress is a halt.

There but for the grace of God go all us, and whatever you think YOU could have done is pure conjecture. Stay up all night busting ass, then freezing, and up high too, and see what your ad-hoc team can do. If they were ill-trained and prepared, so what? The guide himself had just brought such people to the very same situation and rescuers had to be divided to rescue them as well.

Could the Sar situation on this particular mountain be better? I imagine very much so. It's the guide's responsibility to know that this isn't a place that has that wired yet. It's part of the hazards. We can be sure that a lot of people are in crisis spurred thinking mode now, about how it could be better.

and with that high peak fee, it should be better. But that's not the fault of the poor rescuers up at 20000 feet in the storm, it's an issue for those who collect the peak fees and decide how they should be spent.

Peace

Karl

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:12pm PT
Karl- you are right. There is an issue for those who charge the fees, but for everyone as well.

How can we do better?

There are SAR situations that I can foresee, that I wouldn't know how to do. Most SAR teams train up and down on rock and snow, over talus systems and such.

I wonder what would happen with a bad injury on one of these long ridges, like those on temple crag. Some of these ridges are a lot of side to side before you could find a clean enough up and down.

This aconcauga thing, I'm just not sure how to do it. But I don't see why it couldn't be done.
TYeary

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
There is a huge differance between getting someone down from near a very high summit with a broken leg, who still can function and can activily participate in his own rescue, to some degree, and trying to pull, cajole, and force someone to crawl, much less walk, up 300 meters and down the other side of a 23,000' mountain. This situation almost hopeless. I would like to believe that those there at the time did the best they could. I am no stranger to the issues of altitude or bad conditions, having made several trips to Peru's Blanca. I know what those guys were up against.
I was very saddened to see this video. We all know this happens but few of us see it like this.It is my opinon,that there should be no recriminations, second guessing, or litigation.
Sad, very sad.
Tony
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:16pm PT
Most people here appear to be looking for supermen to carry the guy over the top.

I guess climbers are not really interested in rescue techniques, and so these things happen.
TYeary

climber
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:22pm PT
No offence Tom, but my partners are all interested in rescue techniques, practice them, and try very hard NOT to have to use them. Blanket statements like that only mask, at the worst, your ignorance, and at best all of our collective frustration.
Tony
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 19, 2009 - 11:28pm PT
That was bait I guess.

And you may be right it may not be possible to rescue people up there, but it seems to me we can do better then what we saw in that awful video.
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 20, 2009 - 12:08am PT
Karl has done a great job of capturing the crucial factors and explaining why making armchair judgments is inappropriate.

As for rescue heroics, they have no place in S&R. No one wants the mission to spiral out of control into disaster. The single highest priority is the safety of the rescuers. Anyone in emergency services will recognize this - it's nice to put the fire out and save lives but you can't lose the firemen. It's a really big deal if you do. And if someone new wants to be a hero, they either learn before they even start that it's more important not to get the rest of the team to risk their lives saving the hero, or they leave.

It's no good making a bad situation worse. If Rokjox is willing to spend his last breath saving the latest victim he needs to get sent home first so that the rest of us get to go home alive.

Don't get me wrong, I admire your spirit Rokjox. But the reality is different and there are other priorities. Get involved in your local Search & Rescue and you can make a difference. I bet they'd love to have you. But when you're there, look around, and think about if you're really ready to trade their lives for a victim. Because that's what your do-or-die heroics really come down to.
WBraun

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 12:58am PT
Hey Tom

Remember that boy scout that falls in a frozen lake and a boy scout leader rushes out there to save him. The leader falls thru the ice and now he's toast too.

Then another one rushes out there and he too falls in and succumbs to the afterlife .....
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:10am PT
Sure- that can happen, but you know, getting to a victim fast isn't always best if you don't bring the gear, or you don't have a plan.

Running out to the ice might not be the best move, if an extra minute gets you some rope or a long stick.

Everybody here says it was either impossible to save this guy, or the rescuers were jerks.

I've seen enough people walk right by people in need, to know that these guys are heroes for trying.

This was an organized rescue, (we don't know what gear they had,) but I think an organized group could do better, maybe not.

You know how John Dill figured out how to get the bean bag to the guy on the wall so they can pull the helo rope over? There was a problem and he worked to solve it.

All these rescues are problems that we work to solve. You win some you lose some, but if we say these rescues can't be done, no one will ever figure out how to do it.

We're training snow rescue this weekend with the SAR team, I'm going to bring this one up.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:12am PT
There was that tragedy at convict a few years back.

Ever since then, Local LE and SAR teams have those stern? suits so you can jump into freezing water and float. The suits work great, but sometimes I wonder if they are there just to make us feel better because response time is always an issue in the Eastern Sierra.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:43am PT
tom,

sheesh, i told myself i was done with this, but as i respect your work and your posts:

> This was an organized rescue, (we don't know what gear
> they had,) but I think an organized group could do better,
> maybe not.

i must respectfully disagree. from all i have so far read, this was an ad-hoc group of "guides and porters" who just happened to be on the mountain and at the higher camps just 'then' -- as news of this accident came down.

this was _not_ an organized, trained, pro SAR team. everything i've read suggests that the closest thing to an actually organized SAR team was not on the mountain, but rather quite a few km away.

had everyone waited for this organized SAR team to get to the mountain and tool up it (even if they were fantastic athletes) -- we are sill talking well into the next day before they would have reached anyone in that party of 5.

and at that point -- about mid-day the next day at best for true studs -- what kind of shape would the guide in the video have been in? after 6 or 10 mores hours of that he surely would have been long gone.

and, had the ad hoc group of non-SAR climbers not gone up when they did and rescued the remaining 3 clients of the party -- what kind of shape would those 3 have been in the next day when the well prepared pro SAR unit finally arrived. alive perhaps, but just barely. i suspect at best it would have cost them many fingers and toes -- likely far more.

i can understand your frustration at watching a group of poorly equiped volunteers clearly blow it (relative to what experienced pros could and would have done). hell, i find it gruelling to watch (once was plenty, i'm no necrophile).

but in the time frame of who and what was available then, it was either the amatuers in time to save 3 -- or the pros in time to save bits and pieces of 3.

tell me if i am wrong, but what i think i am hearing is people saying "yeah but if there was only a well prepared pro SAR group on the mountain, then the outcome would likely be different." ok, sure. i don't doubt that for a moment.

only there was no well prepared pro SAR group on the mountain.

those saying that the some part of the $500 peak fee should go towards having solid SAR on the ready, absolutely, i agree. let's work to make that happen. 4500 people summited last year times $500 equals -- way more than enough to get that done and still enrich the local government.

only on 1/8/09 there was no such pro SAR team on the mountain. so a bunch of dudes with no training in SAR and no special equipment and no pre-defined plan just did the best they could.

i respect that. think of all they did before that video frag ever happened. me, i am certain there are 3 italian clients who respect that. and i am certain that the dying guide would really have liked a pro SAR team on the mountain. only he better than any of us knew there wasn't one.

the "yeah but if only..." mindset eventualy ends up sounding like the early post on this thread that read something like "yeah if only some ubermensch had been there to pick him up, throw him over his shoulder, then paraglide off the peak..."



^,,^
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 20, 2009 - 02:04am PT
Well said, Pip.

Tom: sure, rescue *can* be done up there. With enough resources thrown into it, a rescue can be performed on the moon - but still, at what risk to the rescuers?

As Pip said, it appears that the resources simply weren't available when this pour soul needed them.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 02:27am PT
tom woods wrote:

> Everybody here says it was either impossible to save this guy, or the rescuers were jerks.

Not true. You are the only one using the word impossible in this context. Anastasia asked the question if it was impossible to do a rescue that high; one person said that was a hard question to answer. Other people said it was impossible to evaluate the key questions about the rescue based just on the video footage, which I agree with.

Clearly rescue from that location of a mobile person is possible, since the other 3 people were rescued.

But I don't think the black and white possible / impossible is a helpful question. Many things are possible in theory but should not be attempted due to high risk.

Here's what I think the helpful questions are:

1. Were mistakes made in planning the rescue, that could be improved on next time there is a similar rescue?

I have asserted earlier that it would have been better if they had brought a sleeping bag. But I'm not sure it's that simple. Would you put the guy in it, and then leave him there alone, because nobody else has a sleeping bag / stove / tent to stay with him? Do you need 2 sleeping bags, a tent, and a stove? Does that commit you to staying there, instead of hoping to help him climb up? Decisions on what to bring may be made under uncertainty about location/condition of the victims, weather, etc. You can't properly judge a decision made under uncertainty by what the actual facts at the accident scene turned out to be that one time. Instead you have to judge the planning decisions based on a range of probable conditions at the scene. It's not simple.

2. Were mistakes made in conducting the rescue, once they reached the victims (with the actual gear they had with them)?

Can't properly judge this from the video. The extended story suggests they made a big effort. We can't say much more than that.
darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
Feb 20, 2009 - 10:22am PT
Rokjoke, I don't like what you're saying because you made too many assumptions without proper knowledge. For instance you said, and I quote you "...they was FAR from dead. Conditions were NOT that deadly..." so, it sounds as if you were actually there! I mean, a first person account of the ACTUAL weather conditions at that time, that day, at that altitude. Man, we need more people like you, nobody would ever die in the mountains!!

The argentine reports said when they found them, all four were unresponsive and semi-frozen already. After spending 3 days and 2 nights without bivy gear in temps of -25C. They were extremely dehydrated, hypothermic, and one of them had signs of pulmonary edema, but to you—the expert—that's "FAR from dead". The rescuers spent more than an hour trying to reanimate them, giving them warm fluids, and after that time, the 3 Italians seem to be in better shape. Still, 4 people were assigned to the each of the Italians, and 5 to Federico who was in worse shape then the rest. After that (10 hours have elapsed since the rescue group left their camp in the AM) they spent an extra 4 hours trying to take the guide back to the summit and the relative safety of the canaleta. But he sadly didn't make it.

So of the about 7 hours they spent with Federico you saw a snippet video of a couple of minutes and you say you agree with the father that says "they left him to die"...I don't know, I guess your judgement is impaired, and you're not even at altitude!

During those hours they spend with the guide, at times they carried him, at times he walked assisted by the group, at times they improvised a litter with some rope they had. The people trying to save these guys were suffering from hypothermia themselves by now, and what you saw was the FINAL minutes of this effort.

I do agree on something that other people have said, $US500.00 is a lot of dough in Argentina, there's no excuse to no have at least a litter in the high camp, or every camp on that mountain. A true SAR team also. But my guess is, in the conditions Federico was in, it probably wouldn't have matter all that much anyway.

R.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 10:57am PT
I've been doing this SAR stuff since I was a kid, and it's not rocket science, but a little experience and forethought can go a long way.

Clint, your question is basically my question that I've been asking this entire thread, but then I got a bit punchy toward the end.

Given the same situation tomorrow, what do you do? What can we learn from this tragedy. I'm trying to glean a lesson from this that might come in handy someday.

Someone stuck on the wrong side of a 22,000 mountain in a storm.

Bringing gear for yourself and the victim is pretty standard SAR stuff, maybe not on a search where you don't know if you will find the victim, but on a rescue in winter mountain conditions, I would think you'd bring a stove, some sort of bivy gear, and some sort of sleeping bag.

You have to know, that you might be waiting with the victim for a while, SAR is slow sh#t. If you give the victim the bag, you might freeze your ass off, so you consider bringing two.

Extent of injuries? Don't know? Bring a few things you can improvise with. If the victim hasn't controlled the bleeding by the time you get there, it won't matter anyway. Can you splint?, tape and sleeping pad, tape and the guys axe.

Extra gear can be spread out among the team members. If you go to light at the start, you make things harder at the end. If you really go too light, you run the risk of being useless.

Throw in a light rope. Ropes, need something to attach them to, in snow? bring a few pickets and screws maybe. Slings weigh little, but are damn handy. Do you know how to make a 3:1 and add a pulley to make it a 5:1 or 6:1. Lowering is easy, and fast, we all know how to do that.

Not for the guys running into the field to get there and do the work, but what is the helicopter situation? Will the chopper gods bail you out of a really gnarly carry out? What is the plan if the chopper can't make it. Can you sit out the wait?

Say it is yourself and five of your buddy's to pull a semi conscious person over the summit. How are you going to do it?.

I don't know what these guys had on them, and I don't know what their plan was, I wish I did. It would help us learn something.

Expecting a body recovery, only to find a live and stable victim, could throw a serious wrench into the works and I don't judge these guys.

If all I can take from this is expect the unexpected, then fine.

If someday I find myself in the same situation, and truly understand what these rescuers faced, I would want to be able to say I did all that I could.

I also know about the nagging thoughts in the back of the head when you get to victim, and don't have the gear. You packed light because you had a long walk ahead, but now you need something critical.

I've always been lucky with this. Either, we pulled it off by the skin of our teeth, or the helo gods bailed us out, and no one but us rescuers knew that we f-up.

Foresight-thinking ahead, come from experience, and learning from others. If I can't experience this until I walk a mile in their shoes, then I'd like to learn from it.

Tom


Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:06am PT
Last word(S) rocky, last WORDS.

As a singularity you might call it your last DIATRIBE on the subject.

You never said A WORD about anything hehe.

I wonder - have you EVER climbed a mountain? I don't recall you ever discussing climbing ever, at all, at any time.

Say... you're LEB aren't you????

DMT
WBraun

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:23am PT
Hahaha Rocky

I believe it was Lambone that was the arm chair evaluator of what should have been done and what wasn't, on that 2004 rescue on El Cap where the Japanese died of exposure.

Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 20, 2009 - 12:25pm PT
i may not see eye to eye with rox, but at least he doesnt suck the cox of climbers he considers to be better than him like dmt does...
WBraun

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 12:38pm PT
Rocky

The guys number was up. All second guessing is too late.

If your number is up even the best of the best will not save you.

In America they have what's so called the best medical facilities in the world and still ...... they can not save everyone.

His dad is basing and evaluating his sons death on pure emotion. (Normal)

We had a drowning years ago up at the Emerald Pool (top of the mist trail), one very very hot summer day. We all ran up, yes ran full speed in 100 degree temps. I took my shirt off and was bare so I was unidentified as a sar responder.

I was running the video camera to document the response and the attempt to revive the victim when some guy comes up to me and says, "You heartless fuking bastard turn that thing off, have you no respect".

ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Feb 20, 2009 - 12:48pm PT
Rocky, they may have done everything you are complaining about- the video is short.

When I was fresh out of college I saved up some money and went down to SA to get some high altitude experience. We summited a peak and on the way down came across a guided party. One of the clients had pulmonary edema and was in a bad way. Her guide had to get her down quickly so he left one of his other clients with us to take down. It was snowing and dark, we were inexperienced and exhausted. It was surprisingly difficult to get the client down, even though he could walk just fine.

On a bigger harder mountain in Pakistan I was so loopy I know I could not have done a dam thing for anyone. After that I was done with mountains- I'm not cut out for it.

The margins are thin. What seems reasonable to expect at 12,000 feet may not be at 20,000+, especially if all involved are exhausted, impacted by the altitude (it has weird effects), or both.
high guide

Mountain climber
bend, or
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:02pm PT
Hey I just read the story. But I am sorry a lot of it is wrong. I was working on the mountain at the time. I was a camp 2 moving to camp 3 then summited when the rescue team brought down one of the clients.
First they were not on the Polish glacier, there was no avalanche that killed the lady. And yes the rescue was very disorganized.Also the storm was not that bad I moved to High camp in it, with happy clients!
They did not ask any guides for help (I was at high camp and did not even know there was a rescue) I could make it to the summit in 4-5 hours not Days.
The reports the press got in Mendoza was very confusing, and they later filled in the blanks.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:04pm PT
I guess my point is that I urge people to please think about these things before you leave your support behind.

If you are involved in an organized rescue, as a rounded up volunteer or a trained team member, ask questions of yourself, the plan, and the boss. The boss may have forgotten somethings in the heat of the moment

Can you take care of yourself up there?

Can you take care of the person you are going to rescue?

Does plan make sense? Is there a plan? Is there a back up plan?

Are these people I am with going to get me killed?
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:06pm PT
High Guide- give us your thoughts!

I've been ranting to keep this thread alive, but you have actual info.


high guide

Mountain climber
bend, or
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:15pm PT
You have to remember The summit of Aconcagua is over 22,000 feet. Edema and other factors play a big role in safety. As an American guide I always have certain tools, rope, sat phone,radio, bivi sack, meds. If you climb on the big peaks you should always have a partner. Just to check each other out, edema can come on quickly.
You should always remember the summit is half way you have to get down!!
Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 20, 2009 - 01:28pm PT
high guide

Did these local rescuers went up for a body recovery or they know that the subject was alive . Also what happen to the rest of Italian on the team ?
TYeary

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 01:51pm PT
High Guide makes great some points. Rocky, I understand what you are railing about. I do. But Werner has it right.
It's time to let it go. Recriminations and what ifs won't bring him back. None of us were there, as far as I know. We can only try and learn something from this. Unfortunitly, it may only be found in High Guide's post.
Tony
rescue76

Trad climber
colorado springs
Feb 20, 2009 - 02:17pm PT
RJ

Your long spiels are all conjecture. You havent participated in a mountain rescue, and by your own admission have only been to 14,000 a few times, and above 16,000 once.

And your comments about 6 Marines being able to save him...please, my mountain rescue team is almost kept in business soley by military folks going out and getting in trouble. Your fantastical Marines dont exist.

The more you type, the more you try and convince yourself. I suggest you direct all of this enegery and the obvious hours you have of free time, and volunteer on a mountain rescue team. Get out there and do some rescues at altitude. Better yet, go to Argentina and join the volunteer team there, then you can experience the same mission profile of which you are so highly critical. Just be sure to get back to us with how it all works out.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 03:16pm PT
We did three marines stuck on the cliffs above the ebensbacher ledges this summer. They thought the were climbing Whitney.

But they had been "certified" to rappel, so with a little coaching, they were an easy rescue.

So if a guide was sitting in a tent, with clients, nearby, there were other available resources.

Not to blame these guys, they might not of known about the guide, but here's a lesson maybe we can take from this, know your resources.

What do you have that you could use in a pinch?

When I've been short staffed for a rescue, I've stopped people on the trail and shanghaied them into working. It's not rocket science, with a plan, often you just need more man power. How much training do you need to lift and walk?




high guide

Mountain climber
bend, or
Feb 20, 2009 - 03:34pm PT
Of the three Italians and guide two lived. they had to be dragged down to 16,000' then flew out. They were in bad shape lots of frost bite.
It was a bad year on Aconcagua 6 deaths!
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 03:40pm PT
"I am getting tired of being told what a wanker I am."

But you ARE a wanker.

DMT
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 20, 2009 - 03:53pm PT
They didn't do sh#t for him, except show up and whine about how cold THEY were. Do I make myself clear?

You've always made it clear what your perspective is. But that doesn't mean your perspective isn't skewed.
atchafalaya

climber
Babylon
Feb 20, 2009 - 03:58pm PT
I always ask myself when reading these threads, what would Doug Buchanan do?
jstan

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 03:59pm PT
I would not know about altitude as I have been only as high as 14,000+. However the time I spent midwinter hiking in the Adirondacks tells me this. If the party dressed as I saw in the video were exposed to temperatures much below -25ºF with wind chill in addition, lifting and carrying a person would immediately lead to frost bite of the lungs. If the temperatures were that low I would have expected to see the rescuers moving around a lot in order to keep warm. But possibly their core temperatures also were dropping.

I think the mere existence of the video persuades us the conditions were something other than what they actually were. If we knew what was being said perhaps we might hear the leader's instructions organizing the effort. As it is I have to say I just don't know what is actually happening.

I know if my feet were already frost bitten and my hands were largely useless I would be pretty slow getting a leader's instructions carried out. Tying a knot at -35ºF in heavy wind chill? You get one shot at it. No more. Then a longish wait to warm up again. The fingers just won't move.

While I am on the subject I will here reveal the most important contribution I made to winter rock climbing. Your climbing pants have pockets, right?

Cut the bottoms out of the pockets.
ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:06pm PT
Rockjox ..

.. my guess is that this event has triggered some sort of emotional distress from somethign that happened before in your life ..

.. what happened to you? ..


Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:10pm PT
^^^^^

See what I mean? Wanker.

DMT
TYeary

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:14pm PT
John Wayne is a myth.
If they would not have left their buddy behind, under these cirumstances, there would have been more bags to fill.
Tony
ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:25pm PT
rockjox reminds me of another character to have blessed this site ..

what was his name ..

oh .. yeah .. BURT BRONSON ...

i bet that if BURT and ROCK were on that mountain that day .. that guide would be alive today ..

.. ahh .. "The last bastion of masculine climbing.. " .. where is he now?
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:27pm PT
"That guy "Fede" (I think) is the only guy I see in that film I respect."

Rockjox, you really respect an illegal guide who attempts to kill 4 clients, and succeeds in killing one plus himself, by taking them to a socked in summit he hardly knew very late in the day? Meanwhile the people who busted their butts to save him get screamed at from your ill-informed armchair. Bizarre.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:31pm PT
LEB ALONE can move a patient twice her size, or she wouldn't be a nurse!

Dude, you're just not making logical arguments. What does LEB's ability to move a patient in the hospital imply about this situation? You implying she would actually carry that patient, not drag him/her? You think she would drag the whole body from bed to bed (or bed to chair, or whatever) at once, or drag the one half of the body then the other? You implying she would be able to move that same patient uphill after 7 hours of climbing the mountain and searching for the patient in the cold at >22,000 feet?

Aside from what scant and possibly inacurate reports there are, you have no idea what those guys went through or did leading up to this video, or afterwards.

The only hard & fast evidence you have is what you see on that 3 minutes. I'm guessing you don't speak that language, so you're even relying on someone else's translation to know what words were spoken. Other than that 3 minutes of visual evidence, you're making up a story in your head.

For example:

Have you climbed that mountain and been in the specific spot they're in? How do you know that the terrain which they covered before the video segment is as low-angle as what you see in that 3 minutes?

Do you know what the storm conditions were before that 3 minutes of video?

How do you know that they didn't already try to carry him and then just succumb to the reality that they weren't able to do it?

You're conjecturing, bro...
Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:33pm PT


"I laugh robustly.... Rokjox, best comedy on the rocks!"
jstan

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 04:45pm PT
Very sad, this is.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
the outer bitterroots
Feb 20, 2009 - 05:07pm PT
ricardo,
re:
> BURT BRONSON ...
> "The last bastion of masculine climbing.. "

BURT BRONSON used to post here? wow. i ran into the BURT BRONSON experience when i first connected to the .wreck. not too long after, his line went dead.

for what it's worth, i rather enjoyed the BURT BRONSON experience. to my eye he was neither actually a self aggrandizing jerk or a troll -- he was a rather sly funny guy doing some very funny shtick. i think he was motivated just to entertain.

and yes he was massively self aggrandizing -- that was the very heart of his gag.

as for comparing the mighty BURT BRONSON to anyone, i'm new to this venue and don't know nearly enough locally to point fingers at anyone. (though i am slowly developing a few theories...)

be well,

^,,^
scuffy b

climber
just below the San Andreas
Feb 20, 2009 - 05:35pm PT
I don't think Burt Bronson really ever posted here. What you
saw on the .wreck was it, and numerous people have imitated
him since.
His Yosemite trip report was brilliant and drew out hilarious
responses, but then his creator outed himself.
TYeary

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 06:50pm PT
I've been over 20K several times over the years on moderate technical terrain in SA. Huascaran Norte, Chopi, Ranrapalca,Tocllaraju, Quitaraju ect.. Never been guided.
I'm not saying it's impossible, but very difficult based on what I saw in the video. The poor guy was far gone already.
No tent, no bag, not enough gas in their tanks to carry him up and over and the end is predictable.
I'm not spray'in, just giving some background to my opinon.
Tony
couchmaster

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 06:55pm PT
I'd tie in with you everyday RokJox, knowing that you'd give me your all if the SHTF. But I have to say buddy, you're wrong on this one. The one dude shouldn't have been calling the victims names, no questions about it, but the dude may have had nothing else in his bag of tricks and may have been near collapse as well, and that's all he knew to do.

As far as you other assertions, you should re-read some of these other, wiser, posts above. The rescuers were obviously spent. They may have spent the previous hour working as a group until near collapse they gave up...we don't know. You saw the last few moments of a long drawn out battle for life there....that's all you saw, don't be jumping to conclusions which are most likely wrong.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 20, 2009 - 07:23pm PT
I agree it sucks and I too feel real bad. I don't like the way it appears he was treated.

But it was noted earlier somewhere, only once, that one or two people stayed behind with him for 4 hours until he passed away.

If true, that was a pretty decent thing to do for someone who was doomed.

This thing just sucks ass, a horrible video. It's one reason I resign myself to moderate peaks and craggin'. I like having fun and the scenery, not suffering in extreme cold and thin air.


Oh, I'd tie in with Rocky anyday...
Tiburon

Trad climber
Washington DC
Feb 20, 2009 - 08:17pm PT
Well they did hike up but they where too macho. People die due to exhaustion. They could have done more. But I'm not sure the courts are the place for justice here. It made me sick to watch it. It could happen to any of us.

bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 20, 2009 - 09:01pm PT
I'd also like to add it appears this guy died trying to keep his clients alive.

He deserved a decent way to go, hopefully he got it.
Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 20, 2009 - 09:26pm PT
It will happen again, on schedule, for the reason it happened again after the lesson was already learned a few thousand times. Only your actions can defend you and your friends.

Why?

When I came to Fairbanks Alaska I noticed that the University of Alaska had a climbing club near a superlative Alaska Range playground. But they had no mountain rescue group, and no clue of the concept. The club was primarily a bunch of environmentalist groupies with their typical attitude that the government should meet all their responsibilities for free. The environmentalists just want to play for free, and attack the rights of responsible people.

Government does not meet responsibilities. Its personnel just suck up tax dollars, arrest people for any excuse, lie about what they do, and practice incompetence since they function on government power rather than individual reasoning. The proof is manifest to everyone except the self-deluded government dolts who actually believe the lies of their superiors. They are clueless of asking questions of glaring contradictions. They can read these words, and will still never question the glaring stupidity of their superiors.

I formed a mountain rescue group among the actual local climbers, bought a rescue toboggan, radios and other common mountain rescue gear. Since I and the actual climbers were poor we suggested the government-subsidized University club might assist with the financing since their members went into the Alaska Range on occasion. They refused, clueless of the concept of meeting their responsibilities, typical of the University of Alaska and environmentalists.

The basics of a mountain rescue are that of climbers going into the mountains, putting a victim in a sleeping bag in a toboggan, and hauling him back. Add the details you want. Plain logic.

Without a toboggan, why would you go to a mountain accident victim? Yes, better than nothing, but a toboggan is too easy and logical.

We just practiced hauling body-weight loads in toboggans on Alaska Range terrain (winter storm vertical ice), partied hard in snow caves, and laughed a lot. Plain logic. The finer rescue techniques were practiced, but not at the cost of the basics.

And we offered none of the foo-foo ego paperwork official SAR certification credentials that fool fools, primarily government groupies and mountain cops. Certifications attract ego groupies, not actual mountain climbers.

What the Park Service worshiping, climber groupie "news" system does not reveal about the Park Service's impressively credentialed SAR actions and personnel, because those groupies never ASK EFFECTIVE QUESTIONS, reveals worse than the simple Argentinian error of this thread. Park Service mountaineering cop funding is based on CREATING problems in the mountains, commonly facilitating accidents and limiting rescue actions, some deadly, not SOLVING them. Effective questions reveal the Park Service lies.

The same neural process of power-damaged minds causes the institution of lawyers to CREATE lucrative court cases by discussing only the contradicting inferior laws, rather than simply revealing the related, easily verified prevailing law that resolves the contradiction without a costly court process.

The fact that the Argentinians did not have a toboggan and enough people to man-handle it in bad conditions on this particular rescue is just an ongoing learning experience among humans who inherently learn slowly.

They probably learned from the experience.

Compare that to the University of Alaska, whose environmentalist club teaches a University-credited climbing class each year, in the Alaska Range. To this date, 2009, their "climbers" and "instructors", have not produced a single local mountain rescue group member. And they have massive oil-tax University money that they use for everything except responsibilities. They teach the government mentality.

A few years ago, when they left three of their class members in the Range after a climbing class, in known bad avalanche conditions, who then did not get back home on time, rather than call the rescue group and get back to the Range with toboggans, avalanche probes, shovels, etceteras, the University "climbing class" instructor (local environmentalist activist) went back with two students and no equipment. They found an avalanche area with a section of climbing rope on the surface.

So they went back out to the nearest phone and called the State Troopers who are cops, not mountain climbers.

Three dead University students.

The University of Alaska does not care. It has a tax-funded "risk management" bureaucracy that NEEDS and facilitates such events to "manage". To this date the University has made no effort to address the teaching of a climbing class in the Alaska Range, with no mountain rescue group.

The mountain rescue group that the local climbers formed has mostly aged out of active climbing.

So climb in Argentina where they have probably learned from their recent experience, not in Alaska where, as stated by a National Park mountaineering ranger during an investigation of one non-rescue involving a multi-million dollar lawsuit, "Dead bodies in National Parks are good budget excuses."

The government, its Universities and all power-based institutions in the US teach people to NOT meet their responsibilities, which is the only way institutional power can exist.

If you climb, form your own local rescue groups with real climbers. The government SAR credential groupies/cops need and therefore facilitate dead bodies for their budgets, by design of the American government budgeting system. Less than a dozen questions prove the government propaganda as lies.

No reasoning will invade their permanently power-damaged minds. They believe themselves, and will never question their increasing contradictions. Protect your own mind from becoming so useless and malicious toward humans. Ask real questions of EVERY contradiction. Answer them.

Anyone else would have to buy a ticket all the way to planet Earth for a show like this.

DougBuchanan.com


Chewbongka

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 09:52pm PT

crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
Well, at least Majid has deleted the inflammatory remarks he originally posted in this thread.

For what it's worth, here's some external information:

This contains a first-hand account of the events by another guide:
http://tinyurl.com/cgs4uz

I wish I could provide a better summary but I do not know Spanish and so I have assembled portions of this note from computer translations. Please correct my work if you are able.

The climbing fee of $500 is partly for rescue insurance; I would guess the budget for rescues is about $500,000/year based upon the 4600 climbers/year this year and the fee increase that was instituted when the rescue insurance became a part of the fee. There were a lot of rescues - about 5% of the people who try get hauled off! There does seem to be an effort to turn this into a tourist destination.

Visibility during the worst of the storm was 0.5m, temperatures dropped to -20C at the shelter below. Descent during the storm was difficult and uncertain, even with a GPS. During this time the victims descended down an incorrect path

Here's another source for information about this, from the Deseret News:

http://tinyurl.com/andpmv

During the descent the group became lost, probably descending the Polish Glacier. Progress stopped when one member, Elena Senin fell into a crevasse. Campanini descended into the crevasse and attempted to extricate her manually but the exertion required made him ill and initiated edema, which disabled him. Elena is presumed dead and is probably still in the crevasse. There may have been a loose block of ice that killed or trapped her and injured Campanini.

More useful research and translations are available here:

http://www.utahclimbers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=17&p=32374

The above site contains translations of first hand accounts by the rescuers. It appears Campanini located some good shelter in a rock band on the glacier and this is why they survived. The rescue was treacherous and difficult; during the effort to raise Campanini he and another rescuer almost were killed by falling off an edge.

The head of the rescue patrol has been dismissed as a result of the events:

http://tinyurl.com/dg67tl

This was the largest rescue operation ever undertaken on Aconcagua:
http://tinyurl.com/c8kmq4

By the way, there were numerous simultaneous rescues besides this as a result of the storm, including one frenchman who is still missing:

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=42781

The rescuers tried hard and stayed long enough to end up with frostbite on their hands and feet:

http://tinyurl.com/catf5l

Campanini worked for RMI, here is his page with a link to a memorial page:

http://www.rmiguides.com/about/guides/fede_campanini.html

Again, any comments I have made are pieced together. Nothing is very authoritative except for the poorly translated first hand accounts in the articles themselves.

It's unfortunate and I think a crime that someone released the tape to the father. It's deceptive - it shows some exhausted men during rest intervals on level spots. If you take it at face value you'll be misled. And the wisdom to look between the frames seems limited, even among the climbers here.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:01pm PT
Doug,

> The basics of a mountain rescue are that of climbers going into the mountains, putting a victim in a sleeping bag in a toboggan, and hauling him back.

You got that right (in places/conditions with lots of snow and no helicopter available).

But it was a little rough sorting through the surrounding opinion chat.

The 3 Univ. of Alaska kids didn't die because of an inadequate rescue - they died in the original avalanche. [edit: my guess based on Doug's description - I could be wrong.]
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:02pm PT
dingus is the wanker. complaining about a power drill in a climbing mag then not understanding the emotion of death
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:05pm PT
crock,

Wow, great job on summarizing and linking all those sources - I read them all.

I thought the most informative postings were the ones posted by Brian from SLC on utahclimbers.com. (The guide who died, Federico Campanini, was married and living in Utah).
jstan

climber
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:29pm PT
I came off a summit once when I could not see my knees. I was lucky in that I recognized a rock so I knew I was at the summit. And in bad conditions you need to have memorized your compass headings well beforehand.

You don't want to come down on a wrong heading.

Period.

Jeremy brings up a point that makes group trips really hard. When you are alone you can pause as needed to keep your layering dry. Inexperienced people pushing along in a group are going to be wearing wet clothing. Disaster arrives the minute you stop.
Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
Clint......

The timing and conditions were such that the University students may have lived if the original responders had shovels alone, and common sense instead of a "let the government do it" attitude.

A toboggan or liter does not need snow. As a previous helicopter driver having landed on high ridges in the Alaska range, a reliance on helicopters is a fool's illusion.

Regardless, the myriad of ongoing mountain accident situations each illuminate the opportunity to improve rescue techniques.

That requires reasoning process, the methodical asking and answering of questions to resolve the contradictions.

The common human dismissal of the toilsome reasoning or thinking process, as "opinion chat", or other such rhetorical dismissals, is the reason wars, inadequate rescues and all human-caused contradictions remain popular.

In time, humans will eventually learn the value of thinking (asking and answering questions).

Until then, wisely form your local mountain rescue groups with actual climbers, if you wish to do so.

DougBuchanan.com
Jeremy Handren

climber
NV
Feb 20, 2009 - 11:50pm PT
Just an observation.

I guided full time for around 12 years. I took clients up quite a lot of serious routes over those years, but always felt that I did so with a reasonable margin of Safety.
The exception was on the few high altitude trips that I went on,including Aconcagua. You would think that plodding up talus fields and snowslopes wouldn't present much of a problem compared with alpine walls of rock and ice. But to my mind at least, dealing with altitude was such a wildcard that it made those trips seem insanely dangerous.
The guides are particularly vulnerable, you just spend so much time and effort tending to your clients, so much more stress, worry and effort compared to a private ascent.
Its therefore not much of a surprise to see these high profile guiding disasters on the high peaks. The truth of the matter is that at high altitude its hard enough to look after yourself, let alone a group of inexperienced clients.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:04am PT
Doug,

> A toboggan or liter does not need snow.

Right, a litter does not need snow. For a toboggan or sled, you want snow or some smooth surface.

Here's a photo which I believe shows part of the terrain in the Aconcagua rescue:



With a large group, anchors, hauling system, litter attendants, you could in theory raise the victim up this.
But it would take a lot of time and people/resources.
(I think this is what Rokjox has in mind).
I think most of us would like to see this guy getting more direct assistance, even if it is just supporting him on each shoulder.
But this may not have been possible if the rescuers were too tired.

> As a previous helicopter driver having landed on high ridges in the Alaska range, a reliance on helicopters is a fool's illusion.

I agree. They are very fast when they can fly, but in conditions where they cannot fly you have to do it with the ground team.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:24am PT
"I'd also like to add it appears this guy died trying to keep his clients alive."

Yeah - right after getting one killed.

Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:33am PT
Clint......

Indeed, like helicopters, a liter or toboggan is dependent upon other considerations, such as enough people, and often ropes, to handle it. As the terrain gets worse, more people and equipment are necessary. They are not always available at the time and place.

The common types of mountain rescue toboggans can be pulled over rocks. They are just tub shaped liters.

Always better if the victim can move on his own. In this case the variables were such that a liter and more rescuers would have been better, but humans cannot be adequately prepared for what they learn after they arrive, or all problems would have already been solved.

And therefore the mountain rescue rhetoric yet streams forth in glacial volume.

I used the Argentinian example to note that the best of the US mountain rescue illusions remain primitive, with great opportunity for improvement when climbers belatedly figure out that they want to re-institute the volunteer mountain rescue groups of climbers, rather than their currently popular reliance on government that uses the rescue excuse for more taxes and fees that mostly get diverted to Obama's Presidential Ego Gratification wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or for more cops and prisons dependent upon arresting more people who harmed no one.

Or so I might imagine.

DougBuchanan.com
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:40am PT
The best thing about this failed rescue attempt is that it did not drag on for months or years!
Mimi

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:47am PT
You're kidding right, about things changing via any litigation? Things shouldn't change here. You go into the mountains, you take your chances. You go in as prepared as you can be. Since when do we count on a rescue in that environment? Is that what we want? Not no how.

How many deaths on Aconcagua every year? About five; way less than the French Alps which is about 50 due to ease of access and general local population.
rodrigo MUJICA

Mountain climber
chile
Feb 21, 2009 - 07:27am PT
VIDEO HAS BEEN MISINTERPRETED: I feel deeply for the family. The video has been of incredibly negative impact in Argentina and Chile, BUT they did what they could, communication was maybe lacking and to have A team more skilled...maybe, but those guys work very HARD to be up there and did all they could. Everyone criticizes the rescuers and the treatment: when you are desperate at 6,700 meters, exhausted and with no response, that is what you do: you swear and scream from frustration, this guys were risking there lives by being up there and could not have "camped" there..it is too high! and they were not prepared to spend the night up there. This guys should be recognized not criticized.
Rodrigo Mujica, veteran of 32 Aconcagua expeditions, 28 summits, owner of www.patagonicas.com , we have lead over 200 trips to the summit and 1000s of clients. We are the only or one of the few companies that never had a fatality on Aconcagua or elsewhere in 24 years operating there
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 21, 2009 - 10:35am PT
Rodrigo- you are right. The guys tried hard and the video only shows a short segment. Rescues take hours and even days.

Jstan- a litter raise could be set up quickly. in that terrain, you may chose to forgo a belay and just haul. 5 200 footers gets you 1000 feet. lowers on the other side, would go really quickly.

Perhaps a stashed litter in one of the high camps is a good idea. Reading those links posted above, there was an organized SAR team there and a lot effort went into this rescue, so that's good.

All SAR teams can do better, and I hope they are analyzing what was done to make improvements, and report to the world what they come up with.

Doug, sheesh man, you make some good rescue points, and there is a mentality of some people that everything will be taken care of, but dang, take a deep breath and think of things in life that make you happy.

Out Inyo SAR team is pretty good,though we could always use more people, we're government sponsored volunteers and many of are climbers but not all of them.

Chris Fasoldt

Mountain climber
Rockport, Maine
Feb 21, 2009 - 10:42am PT
It is jury-rigged and jerry-built
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 21, 2009 - 11:05am PT
Thanks Chris for clearing that up.
ofcwalleye

Trad climber
everywhereUSA
Feb 21, 2009 - 11:28am 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 - 11:32am 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 - 11:44am PT
Tom did you see this ?

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

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Feb 21, 2009 - 11:49am PT
Majid there is no comparison!

WBraun

climber
Feb 21, 2009 - 12:07pm 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 - 12:33pm 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 - 12:33pm 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 - 01:01pm 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 - 01:26pm 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 - 01:41pm 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 - 02:34pm 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 - 03:31pm 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 - 03:51pm 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 - 04:02pm 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 - 05:22pm 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 - 07:13pm 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 - 07:27pm 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.
Jennie

Trad climber
Idaho Falls
Feb 21, 2009 - 07:58pm PT

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

Crock,

Yes, the Otter Body rescue might be more appropriate on a separate thread, at another time. The story is long and takes place on lower yet more technical terrain, and the moral import goes down a different lane.

I wonder if climbers are much more cynical now than fifty years ago. I'm not suggesting the rescue group on Aconcagua are guilty of wrongdoing. But Rokjox made some valid points that were submerged in the back and forth heckling.

If the "Otter Body Events" occured NOW, without a GTNP rescue team available, would guides and experienced Teton climbers come together to execute a similarly improvised rescue or just say, "Those easterners are in a mess of their own making and we must now abandon them to their fate."

Good judgement keeps us on route and away from danger. But being strictly one dimensional about good judgement we might not climb at all. When bad things happen, "good judgement" doesn't answer the cry of the human heart. A most critical judgement we make is whether to bear each others burdens. And, yes, sometimes the risk may be too great.

Cynicism is a disease which diminishes human capacity to distinguish right from wrong and distances us from our fellow beings. I think Rox's reaction is out of personal disgust for the cynicism, more than a discrete judgement against the rescuers on Aconcagua.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
planet dogboy
Feb 21, 2009 - 09:31pm PT
I agree with tom woods’ line of thought.

What we (both organized SAR groups -- and the rest of us who may someday be in such a situation) can learn from this, and hence maybe do better next time – let’s work to figure that out.

Having been a member of organized SAR groups in the past, I recognize the point of tom’s focus. It is appropriate and a good one. I myself have been on SAR rescues in which the outcome was rather grim – and not at all what we had hoped for. And as a group we spent many hours trying to learn something new from it. I am confident that this is what tom is focused on.
~~~

That said, next time I go up high I won’t likely bring a stokes (or whatever). At this point, as I rocket into my dotage, my choice of pretty peaks all but excludes running into anyone -- let alone guides, clients, and crowds. I choose, now, to solo stuff of interest to just me. Most still about as high as anconcogua. But on terrain that matches my current horsepower (ie, nothing notable).

And given my interests, solo in the middle of nowhere, I climb accordingly. If things get more than just kind of itchy, I back off. I have done just that on the last two high peaks I was on.

For I know that if I blow it, just ‘there’ -- I’m toast. So stuff I might likely choose to try to plow through with a partner, or better still a couple of partners and knowledge that there is a hot SAR team and a way skilled chopper pilot with a hot ride nearby -- I now just back off of.

And that’s fine by me. One of the upsides to being an unnamed climber on unnamed and surely no big deal peaks is that no one really gives a sh!t if I top out or not. Among them, me. Even I only care so much. Enough, I hope, to push myself when I’d rather stall, but not so much that I end up toast.
~~~

That’s what informs my read on this. So among the many armchair quarterbacks – those souls who like tom do so to ask “What can we learn from this” are more than good by me. While those who are so certain they could and would have done better -- well, me, I kinda wonder quietly about that. I suspect they haven’t ever been ‘there’.


^,,^

(my clan is just not wired for 'terse' -- my apologies on that front)
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 21, 2009 - 10:28pm PT
doug buchanan said "Unlike everyone I have encountered, the words I use hold their meanings."

only that most of us have never seen such BS come from one mouth...
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Feb 22, 2009 - 02:10am PT
My initial reactions to the video is that the guy is spent, in addition to whatever injuries he has suffered. My instinct is to recoil at the way he is being yarded on while others are watching, but I know that's just a video bite and it doesn't begin to tell the story. That video is just 2.5 minutes of what must have been an epic undertaking. Without having been there it is impossible to make an assessment as the information isn't available to me.

The world doesn't have an excess of incompetence, inadequate training, poor planning, weakness, or bad luck...it has just the perfect amount. The world is perfect.

It is what it is.

R.I.P.

Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 22, 2009 - 04:55pm PT
RJ, lying about Alex's rescue doesn't help your case. Big difference between 400 feet (the actual case) and 400 yards (your exaggeration). Lying by omission is equally bad, such as the part about pre-acclimatizing, flying into position in a helicopter, and flying out. Yes, what Alex did was cool. But it is no where near to what these rescuers were faced with.

We all get that you have no clue what you're talking about and have no relevant experience but please stop lying as you make a fool of yourself.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 22, 2009 - 06:20pm PT
Don't care about the opinions? Then why do you fight so hard to oppose them?

Of course they failed to bring him back alive. That's evident. Where the others differ with you is about the "why".

All your words keep implying that they guys were a bunch of worthless, uncaring dipshits. And this is where you're crossing the line. You're making the assumption that they just didn't care enough to do better, which is equivalent to saying that they knew what needed to be done and how to do it but chose not to do it.

We're making the assumption that they performed the best they could (and the best that knew how) given the circumstances: the conditions, their training, their remaining energy, their concerns about their own safety...

Of course they "could have done better". The victim himself could have done better (with the choices that got him there), the Argentinian government could have done better. His death was certainly preventable. But ultimately, it's not the responsibility of random people to pick up the ball that the man himself dropped in the first place. It sure is nice when they do. But obligation? No, it's not anyone else's job to keep our lives running (have you heard of D.I.Y.S.A.R.?).

Finding excuses for failure... You are, too, bro. You excuse is that they're a bunch of pathetic uncaring dipshits, that all they did was show up, but didn't actually try.

My take is that pathetic uncaring dipshits wouldn't have shown up in the first place. Perhaps your opinion is that they hiked all they way up there and stood out there with him just to get some exercise & get their names in the paper...
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 22, 2009 - 09:05pm PT
the only thing more funny than Rx's rantings is that DMT on sumitpost sucks the chief of for his rantings then blasts rox for similar rantings. two faced coksuker.
TYeary

climber
Feb 22, 2009 - 09:19pm PT
Rokjox,
I'm just curious, do you think the "playboy climbers" should face legal charges? Just what do you think should be done? You are so adement that the rescuers were F-ups, should they , in your opinion be punished somehow? I'm not baiting you. I hear what you have been saying. What do you think should happen now?
Tony
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 22, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
Just got back from playing in the snow.

The high cash is a great idea- we have gear stashed on Whitney to lighten the loads when we have to go up. The evil rangers, some of whom are on out team, carry the litters back up to after we carry someone down.

A light litter in the cache- these things called skeds are basically a stiff plastic tortilla, they are easy to carry and slide real well.

Altitude is a problem? How about stashing Oxygen,not for climbing but for rescue and victims?

The anchor situation looked grim up there (small scree and shallow snowpack)

I can't speak for those guys down there, they might be doing this already.

What I wonder is what would happen if this guy had a broken pelvis or other injury where he couldn't walk or crawl, but was otherwise stable. Side note our team once had a whitney rescue, where the victim had double open dislocated ankles in other words bones sticking out, but not broken, yikes!

So say you have person who is otherwise fine, but can't move and you have to go up to the summit.

The list of things that you need is long, but what I keep coming back to is you need to be prepared to hang out for a long time. Stove, food, shelter and warmth would be key.



tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 22, 2009 - 11:51pm PT
Rox- with the heat packs, we find that they tend to go bad before they get used, but that's here in CA, so who knows.

How bout a big ol' Coleman stove
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 12:45am PT
Coleman stove- could be right, but a stove none the less. Heat packs are a good idea, especially if you can resolve the going bad thing.

I too wondered about building a little rock wall to hunker down if you had to,and had a sleeping bag.

We often just bring one bag for the victim, and then warm clothes for ourselves when we bivy. I'm starting to get over this and think that I should have bag for me too.

They'll do what they're going to do down there, I just think its important to think of these things before hand.

Fast and light is great when all goes well. I often wonder if people really know how difficult it is to rescue someone. The time and effort is huge, even for some chump on the whitney trail. A helo is relatively fast and easy, but not always available, limited by weather, alititude and usually daylight, and dangerous.

When you call for a rescue, it can be most of a day before help arrives, even here in the civilized Sierra. Getting yourself out is best, but when you can't you can't, so we don't mind helping those who need it.

Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 23, 2009 - 01:32am PT
Hawkeye my friend.....

In the past I often suggested that the worlds of my opponents were BS.

Then I started asking more questions of my simple response, and discovered my common error. They were words that had not already formed comfortable neural routings in my brain, and were thus different, uncomfortable knowledge.

Since we humans are lucky to be in error only 50 percent of the time, I more carefully questioned those words, and thus learned new knowledge about 50 percent of the time, that I would have otherwise not learned from the dismissal of BS.

You are to be admired for being so perceptive as to represent most of the SuperTopo folks.

And you are seeing the words come from the screen, not a mouth.

It is that common hasty dismissal, rather than questioning, of different knowledge that keeps the humans repeating the same failures for generations, such as not optimized mountain rescue efforts.

That is most evident in government personnel whose perception of their government power with bureaucratic paper credentials, and thus perception of superiority, routinely causes them to dismiss the real-life knowledge of those mere civilian mountain climbers.

The next generation of folks who ask few questions will have this discussion, again, much to the amusement of the observers.

Doug
whatmeworry

Mountain climber
Pasadena, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 01:34am PT
In the interest of learning some lessons and not being sure if this has been said in prior posts or not I'll throw this out.

I think one of the mistakes is assuming the victim is already dead. Without some very compelling evidence to the contrary I think a rescue is initiated with the idea that the victim is alive and can be helped. I consider this a fundamental element of mountain rescue.

Consequently, at least minimal gear must be carried to support the victim(s). Even on a search you have to assume your crew might be the one that finds the subject and needs to keep them alive until help can arrive.

Assuming the role of rescuer has to force a shift in mindset and the resulting planning, regardless of how rushed, has to reflect this. The shift in approach from climb to rescue can happen quickly and result in a rescue centered game plan.

Tom - It would be very interesting to do a CA region recert that includes an overnight forced bivy with a substantial patient care component.
Agentili

climber
Feb 23, 2009 - 10:56am PT
I know nada of climbing that is why I came here to read opinions from those who know.

I am from Argentina and I will tell few things:

1-Rescuers do not says “cuñado” (brother-in-law) they said “culeado”, that can actually means “dude or as#@&%e” depend of how is use; my understanding is that they used it as “dude”.

2- I know is only 3mins video but there is almost nada of intention of helping the guy to survive, even if they thot he was not going to make it , the way they acted and talked…… This is proven 100% when the guy in red says:” he is not moving”…and he was moving…..and here is the second things that kills me….when Federico hear this….he start trying to get up…so he was “conscious” that he need to show he was “alive” …..

3- I don’t think they were professional rescuers (if they were SHAME OF THEM), but if you volunteer/”forced” to do something do it right, if not just don’t do it. I don’t means this by judging equipment or technique cuz ,again, I don’t know nada about it, I say it by intentions you can see in the 3mins video….. in my understanding of “normal life” ….they are just waiting him to die so they are “free to go”.

When I say normal life is cuz, I don’t know if at that high with that cold …can affect your brain and say and act in a stupidity and immoral way.

Please forgive my newish words, I am not trying to be Rambo keyboard...

Kind Regards!
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 11:25am PT
What me worry, I agree, long term patient care is over looked.

Over night long term patient care is difficult to train (time) and not really taught anywhere. EMT's want you at the hospital in 20 minutes, First responders do teach it to some degree, but you don't train it you talk about it.

Most of the time, the victim is stable, a broken leg, altitude, dislocated shoulder or something.

We've had some major head injuries, though, that are a real problem. Carrying enough oxygen is really really hard on top of all the other gear you have.

Head injury, EMT says high flow O2. They usually fall in the afternoon to evening (fatigue and what not) By the time the report filters down to the nearest cell phone, or cell phone range, and we hike up there, often its after midnight and you have to hang out until the helo arrives roughly around 9:00.

Sometimes we push daylight with the helo, once we had some bad ass military chopper fly in on night vision,- we've gotten lucky with the choppers on the two major head injuries we've had in recent years.

Choppers get grounded for all sorts of things, around here, usually the wind. Could we care for a person for 24 hours?

What is care? helping people help themselves. You don't really keep someone alive, you help their bodies live best you can.

Oxygen, from what I've been taught, is the big biggie after you have slowed the bleeding and made sure the airway is open.

For the most part, the victim is either stable or dead by the time the rescuer gets there, but there are times when the situation is critcal and the little things might really matter.

jstan

climber
Feb 23, 2009 - 11:37am PT
You like night vision. A story I have told before.

My thesis advisor's father put him and his mother on a ship escaping France in the late thirties, but then stayed behind to help other family members as he might. Henry came to the US and spent sixty years helping to build the night vision we now have.
whatmeworry

Mountain climber
Pasadena, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
Continuing the efforts to learn some lessons from this tragedy...

Providing extensive supportive care for extended periods of time is going to present a significant challenge no matter how we tackle it. Other experienced SAR or medical forum readers should weigh in, but I believe the protocol for use of O2 would be to NOT withold treatment due to limited supplies. Use what you've got as called for (prn). An improvement in condition may buy you more time and/or a more stable victim that you can get to a more tenable position.

I think you're right Tom, the ability to provide definitive care in the field is always going to be very limited and you are providing support to keep the situation as stable as possible. The std. urban approach to pre-hospital care are not going to apply to the typical backcountry rescue so we can't let ourselves get excessively hung up on them.

I challenge the notion that because training to provide extended care is difficult and time consuming that we shouldn't be doing it. At least in US the reliance on helos to scoop and go is a weakness in the SAR community. The 5% of the time that we can't fly the victim means we must be able to provide supportive care. We should be doing much more to train for this contingency and should be considering this part of a team's overall competency. To me this is part of what defines a professional SAR competency.

I suspect that the situation MIGHT have been improved on Aconcagua if the resuers could have provided some supplemental support. They might have been able to improve his viability and ability to "self rescue" with assistance from those on scene. The rescuers needed to have planned ahead to provide this supplemental suport by bringing appropriate gear (this may or may not have included O2 but it certainly would have included an ability to address exposure).

To sum up my armchair critique, the gap seems to be in the planning of the rescuers to provide for supportive care and a viable evacuation plan.

Edited to clarify.
WBraun

climber
Feb 23, 2009 - 03:46pm PT
Survival of a victim in the case of the Aconcagua incident doesn't really depend on the rescuers or what ever.

If he was to really survive and live 1 guy in a jock strap could have shown up and that's all it would have taken.

If he was not to live a whole army of helicopters and 100 men completely outfitted with the best equipment would not have made any difference.
Ain't no flatlander

climber
Feb 23, 2009 - 04:41pm PT
Here's the "low angle terrain" that Rokjox is ranting about. This is the top 1100 meters of the Polish Glacier route and the stranded party would have been found about a third of the way down and brought back up.



Yep, sure looks flat.

Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 23, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
Its good you're taking on another charity case jennie.

DMT
graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Feb 23, 2009 - 04:56pm PT
"If he was to really survive and live 1 guy in a jock strap could have shown up and that's all it would have taken.

If he was not to live a whole army of helicopters and 100 men completely outfitted with the best equipment would not have made any difference."

Does YOSAR have any plans to lay everyone off, except for 1 guy in a jock strap?
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 23, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
yes,

part of the new "Stimulate" Package...
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 23, 2009 - 06:41pm PT
Over night long term patient care is difficult to train (time) and not really taught anywhere. EMT's want you at the hospital in 20 minutes, First responders do teach it to some degree, but you don't train it you talk about it.

It's covered fairly well in WFR (wilderness first responder) - at least in some. IIRC, it was the NOLS / WMI course that covered it the most of the ones I've experienced.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 23, 2009 - 07:31pm PT
Flatlander, this link was posted previously. The first two pictures show exactly were the party was located.

http://www.alborde.com.ar/montania1/montanismo136.html

The first picture you posted is the Polish glacier pretty much in its entirety not just the upper part. The last part of the route beyond the skyline on the right side (ie. the last 250-300 meters) kicks back somewhat as you follow the ridgeline. The rocks that make up the right side of the skyline is where they found the group are what they are saying is 250-300 meters from the top. Not the 400 meters as been reported.

Though the normal part of the top of the Polish Glacier kicks back compared to the rest of the route people have bad a habit of falling off. However, they do not fall down the route but down the south face. It happened this year to a French climber and to a Polish climber while I was there in 2003 (I was one of the last people to see him).

However, where this group was found is not on the Polish Glacier route. To get over to decent terrain (on the Polish Glacier Direct Route) to lower him would have been hard as the terrain is quite steep. They were in no way prepared to do that.

All that said, it would be hard to judge the terrain going up as my guess there were "easy" and "hard" spots.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 07:45pm PT
we did long term care in WFR, but compressed the time period which makes sense, other wise, we'd be sitting around for hours on end shooting the breeze in between vitals.

What we're getting at here is good planning, and a supply line. How do you carry O2 for two days? So far, we don't, we just run what we have until it runs out. We also haven't had to, but do run out all the time on overnighters.

What we have done, is get a new air compressor that can fill our bottles to 3000 psi, and a nasal canuala that has a little reservoir thingy that supposedly is more efficient.

This works with altitude sickness people (at our paltry 14,000) it also goes a long way toward helping a number of downed patients become ambulatory.

Head injuries require high flow 02, so what are you going to do? Run it until it runs out.

J-stan- we had those Marines come in with a big ol' chopper at night, thanks to the night vision. They flew right up to the base of the mountaineers route- saved the guy's life. I guess we're even now, we saved three marines from themselves early last summer.


tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 08:03pm PT
Back to Aconcagua, what does that article say?

The photo of the area helps a lot. Are those recent conditions?

How far is it from those tents in the ain't no flatlander shots to the top of the route?

darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
Feb 23, 2009 - 08:39pm PT
Tom, I've translated most of that article in my previous posts.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 23, 2009 - 09:23pm PT
Tom, what you are seeing in the photo are typical conditions. From this camp it is 1000-1100 meters to the summit. You are seeing the bottom 750-800 meters. The last 250-300 meters are beyond the skyline were the rocks are.

The picture flat lander poached of the climbers traversing under the rocks is probably 600 meters up the Polish Direct Route under the first rock band that juts out to the left. (Educated guess here).
pip the dog

Mountain climber
planet dogboy
Feb 23, 2009 - 11:30pm PT
Majid_S.
re:
> Anatoli Boukreev partially abandon one his climb to go
> and rescue a climber from another team who was dying
> during a high alt expedition. when asked why he did that,
> he said; Mountain can always wait for me

I assume you are referring to the ’96 everest fiasco. Though perhaps not as he had already topped out easily on that one.

I met Boukreev twice, both times through typically random circumstances. It’s not like I was ever on his rolodex. And his command of english was never especially good -- though relative to my command of russian it was HUGE.

The first time was in namche just after his ’91 successful summit of everest. I bought him his, like, 15th or so beer at a local tea house. I found him in that hour or two to be an excellent soul, humble and yet profoundly driven. Others who knew him better had told me he was an absolute VO2-max machine. What little I witnessed never led me to doubt that. He certainly proved to all therein that he was surely a Beer-max machine. Yeow!

I met him again in kathmandu in ’97 in what turned out to be our shared favorite local place for actual apple pie (with actual apples). He was just about to head off to Annapurna for what ended up being his last climb. He again impressed me, in the 30 or so minutes we shared, as being a truly good guy – and one both humble and driven. In this instance I could just feel the 'driven' part -- felt like being close to (though just far enough away from as not to get tagged) a lightning hit. I could just 'feel' that enormous energy and smell that odd metalic smell).

I had at least enough good form not to ask him about the ’96 fiasco. But having met him, I strongly suspected then, as do now, that he caught all manner of armchair quarterback sh!t for what I still see as a rather magnificent rescue on everest in ’96.

What armchair heroes still grill him for to this day for is heading back to the highest camp soon after he topped out. And hence not being there earlier to save absolutely everyone in the first minutes of when it all went wrong.

But I am convinced that Scott Fisher had told him what he wanted him to do -- and that was drop to the highest camp and wait in reserve in case the poop might actually hit the prop. And as Boukreev was working for Fisher, and was the kind of guy to know his role in any given food chain, he followed Fisher’s specific instructions. For Fisher was (just then, just there) his boss. Someone has got to be in charge, and Boukreev was certainly with-it enough to know when that was not him.

What Boukreev did that ugly night is well documented, so I won’t repeat it. To my eye it was clearly massive and clearly saved a whole lot of souls who were otherwise doomed. He was a stud of a climbing machine and risked his own asz to extremes I myself couldn’t hope to survive. May his name be remembered.
~~~

All of this said, is a comparison of Boukreev and this ad hoc team of “guides and porters” recently on Anconcagua really valid? Should we presume that this ad hoc team of people who were righteous enough to volunteer their best, in the dark and cold for many hours, should have all had the horsepower of a Boukreev?

Very few I’ve met even come close. I most certainly don’t.

If I read your post as intended (perhaps I didn’t – if not my apologies) -- it seems rather unfair to hold any group of pretty solid climbers to so mighty a bar as Boukreev and what he pulled off in ’96.

fwiw,


^,,^

(why do I keep coming back to this thread knowing full well that it will yet again make the veins in my temples pop out. still more proof that i am a moron)
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 23, 2009 - 11:44pm PT
Many of the same criticisms Rox has placed on the volunteer rescuers could just as easily be placed on the guide as well. We could turn it all around and question how he brought clients of questionable experience to the high place in uncertain weather and put all at risk.

I choose not to go further into it because this blame game is fruitless. Nobody has any control over the heroic qualities, super-human abilities, or willingness of others to die to save you when you get in trouble in the mountains. You have to take what is served.

Better rescue infrastructure, training and investment are solutions for the future we should be looking at. Blaming the guys in a bad situation is way, way presumptuous. There are few bad actors out there and what are the chances of the only volunteer rescuers stepping up to the plate from different teams all being bad guys?

I have a friend who guides and lots a bunch of toes staying with a troubled client way, way high in a bad situation, and I hear the client blamed him later anyway.

For me, when I get in trouble, I'm grateful if anyone tries to help me, but I hope I'll accept that I get what I get.

Peace

Karl

Peace

Karl
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 23, 2009 - 11:50pm PT
Pip: Because you're passionate about it, and not yet cynical enough to think that the group on Aconcagua would just fart around up there until they needed to run home and warm their toesies rather than sincerely doing the best they were mentally, physically, and emotionally capable of in the moment.

Perhaps, as I, you feel defensive for the guys who bothered to show up at all.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
planet dogboy
Feb 24, 2009 - 12:03am PT
stzzo,

> Perhaps, as I, you feel defensive for the guys who
> bothered to show up at all.

Precisely my point. And precisely why I sit back in my comfy armchair and root for all of you who duke it out with the likes of rockjox.

But I, for one, am new to this gig and don't feel it it appropriate to take on anyone (perhaps later when I have a sense of who is who). That and if I want frustration, I can find plenty of it among the suits at my day job. I come here for something else.


^,,^
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 24, 2009 - 12:51am PT
Although I've never been on the Polish glacier, my guidebook lists it as 30-35 degrees. That's a black or double black, in bounds, in CO. It's not that steep. Guide also says a few steps at 45 degrees or so. Okay. Whatever. A couple steep sections. I've descended several 2-4k+ faces at 50-70 degrees with little more than a couple pickets and a few feet of 6mm cord for v-threads and no string of trade route anchors. If you know WTF, it can go very fast. I would even call it a mandatory skill to have in the mountains, to not have to rely on the tourist trail for your descent. That's the white elephant in this story to me. It would have been the obvious thing to strongly consider to me and anyone I climb with. I wonder how many climbers of Normal Route caliber are comfortable descending something other than the tourist trail. How many ft/hour was Simon able to lower Simpson's disabled body on Suila Grande? A whole lot faster than the potential ascent rate, I'm pretty sure.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 24, 2009 - 12:59am PT
Reading the rough translations- there was a substantial effort

So 17 people were up there, some pros with the police, others rounded up.

There was a chopper, I'm not sure if it can't get up to the victims because of capability or the weather.

Rescuers have hot drinks, don't know if they brought them, or had stove and made them. No mention of tents or sleeping bags.

The can make anchors in that terrain, I believe that a fixed line is mentioned.

These guys also made stretcher out of rope, for the guide.

Blaming these guys seems mean. Every rescue I've ever been on could have been done better. This one probably could have been done better too, but shoot, a lot went into it and I hope those argentinians use this to have a better plan next time.

If I could stress one thing from this, I'd say be careful about running out the door naked. Don't bring too much that you never get to the victim, but bring enough to get the job done. Think ahead for something besides the best case scenario.

With the gear, could they hunker down? With O2 a tent, bags, and a stove could these guys have survived until better weather? Recuperated overnight?

Perhaps not, as Werner says, his number was up. Another way of saying what I was saying, most times the victim is dead or stable by the time you get there. These guys got caught in the gray area between and lived the rescuers worst nightmare, watching the victim slowly die, while fighting for your own survival.



tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 24, 2009 - 01:04am PT
JLP- I'm with you.

I wasn't there, and I don't know the Andes, but this rescue does appear possible (as long as the victim was able to hold out) If he indeed froze to death, then that is really sad.

I too wonder about a lower. It really doesn't take that long to do, or set up, like on that Broad Peak video, it can be done. Whether they could do it here? These guys had some knowledge, the Police guy had summitted many times on rescues before, so they likely had their reasons.

Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 24, 2009 - 09:39am PT
JLP - the normal Polish Glacier Route is in the 30-35 degree range. That route takes one up the far left side of the glacier to the rock on the left side then curves around to right along the skyline. The Polish Glacier Direct which is how they would have descended has some (shorter) sections that are twice as steep. Getting to it would have been problematic as they would have to traverse some continuously steep terrain. I doubt that any had the needed gear (screws, pickets, etc.) plus the experience to do such a technical traverse.




JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 24, 2009 - 10:49am PT
I got from the story that they were cliffed out, on the left side of that photo, on the regular Polish Glacier route.
Agentili

climber
Feb 24, 2009 - 02:30pm PT
The guy in red talking in the radio, was not volunteer:
"El oficial inspector José Luis Altamirano (39, casado, cuatro hijas), acredita 15 años en la seccional policial de montaña de Mendoza y alcanzó 24 veces la cumbre del Aconcagua, la mitad en ocasión de misiones de salvamento"

15 years working in aconcagua, reach top 24 times half of those for rescue...
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 24, 2009 - 03:35pm PT
Another picture of the Polish Glacier - they were on the right side of the top most snow dome by the rock band.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/17/Aconcagua-polish-glacier.jpg

Another picture:

http://www.themountaininstitute.com/reports/southamerica/aconcagua.html

Follow the right skyline from the summit down until the rocks. That is where they were.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 24, 2009 - 04:49pm PT
Wanker.

DMT
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 24, 2009 - 06:42pm PT
Scared Silly:

Are you saying there were somewhere along the cliffs (red line)?

Edit: From the other pics, it looks like the area in the red circle.





graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Feb 24, 2009 - 07:04pm PT
I want to bring Rokjox along on all my future mountaineering trips.

Me and six others break each break both our legs? No problem, Rokjox will build a sled and haul us all to safety upill, in knee-deep snow.

He won't want to, but after the posts he made here he'll have to do it, or die trying!
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 24, 2009 - 08:00pm PT
Former, yes I would agree that your red line and circle are probably a good approximation to where they were. Perhaps a bit more to the right closer to the skyline. But we are picking nits here without more detailed ariel photos that show the terrain better.

One the real problems I have having resolving is how far below the summit. I do not believe that they were 400 meters below the summit. Perhaps 400 meters from the summit. One report has them at 5700 meters, 250 meters below the summit.

The base of the Polish glacier is around 5800 meters. That leaves 1100 meters to the summit. Now take Former's picture and 150-200 meters is probably believable. And for you math nerds 200 below and 400 meters from the summit is a 30 degree slope.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Feb 24, 2009 - 08:55pm PT
DMT, is disapointed he doesnt know you or how good of a climber you are rox so he isnt getting to give any head in this thread like he did for cheif on summitpost...
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 24, 2009 - 09:34pm PT
Secor calls the Polish Direct 45-50 degrees, but only for a short section. Skiable by many, sometimes even me on a good day. Like I said, I would have been taking a hard look at descending, not climbing back up. 50 degrees is very downclimbable at a good clip, so little more than axes needed, last guy downclimbs. I would have considered lowering 2x full rope lengths per pitch, or all ropes in the party, or somesuch. My personal estimate would be that going up would be 5-10x harder and longer. The difference a mere 1k feet can make in O2, temperature and often wind is significant. Just my take, my experience.

Also, and I've seen this a lot, up and over, people get fixated on the summit being the finish line. It's not like there's some tea party up there waiting. Most times, you're taking the long way home, even if able bodied.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 24, 2009 - 10:35pm PT
Again, I wasn't there so I ain't talkin' trash. This seems like a possible rescue to me.

Up or down, if the guy is relatively stable, it could be done. Rescue is a tricky beast, up, down, the whole situation is best of bad options, otherwise you'd already be at the hospital.

Down would take time, especially with a 200 foot rope, but you have gravity on your side.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 24, 2009 - 10:36pm PT
JLP you have to remember they first had to get to the direct part of the route. As I previously noted, traversing over to it would have meant moving over long stretches of 50-60 degree terrain. No way they were prepared for that.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 24, 2009 - 10:50pm PT
Not seeing that SS, in the pix nor the guidebook. Never been there, can't see what they saw either, but not seeing a big 70 degree face (whatever - looks like you just edited your post) to traverse. Kind of looks like some rock hopping, actually. In any case, my point is still the same - I can cite countless examples where fixating on up and over and down some tourist trail doomed the party. Kiener's on Long's, several parties on the Nose, yada yada. Going down is usually better, by far. They were at best a dozen hours from puting themselves at the exact same elevation on the other side of the mountain, in a way more wasted and dire state. They didn't even make that.

Also, not arguing about whether they were prepared or not for such a descent - just stating that such a descent is generally not that difficult and a party incapable of such a thing is running a very thin margin and maybe shouldn't be on such a mountain in the first place.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 12:39am PT
did they go up becuase they didn't have the gear to go down? That would emphasize the planning ahead aspect to rescue.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 25, 2009 - 09:55am PT
Tom, you would be hard pressed to find a descent length of rope let alone an ice screw on the normal route. Hell for that matter many do not even take an ice ax or crampons. Most walk up with ski poles. Even for us we had a 100' section of rope that we planned to use for the Polish Glacier which we ultimately did not climb because I had a respiratory infection and did feel like we had enough of a margin to safely go up the route. So instead, we walked around.

JLP - I would agree going up and over and down the normal route would have sucked because once to the summit it would been rock scree most of the way. Had they been able to go up some then traverse over to the Polish Direct Route it would have been very fast. As for the steepness of the terrain, we are picking nits here. The more important point is that they would have had to traverse well out from the rock band with a non-ambulatory person in order to get to the Polish Direct Route.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 25, 2009 - 11:27am PT
Yeah, we didn't have any rope either. Or screws, cached our ice tools (used ski poles). Pretty bare bones.

I would agree going up and over and down the normal route would have sucked because once to the summit it would been rock scree most of the way. Had they been able to go up some then traverse over to the Polish Direct Route it would have been very fast. As for the steepness of the terrain, we are picking nits here. The more important point is that they would have had to traverse well out from the rock band with a non-ambulatory person in order to get to the Polish Direct Route.

Down the Polish Glacier doesn’t make a bunch of sense to me. They didn’t stage out of there. They didn’t have the requisite gear (especially since they didn’t come up from that side). Their camps were all on the other side. Once down the Polish, they still would have had to take him all the way down to Plaza Argentina, another, what, 6k vertical? And, that’s tough terrain for a team with a person who isn’t ambulatory. Can be rough even for folks who have no health issues. I guess carrying a guy down scree would be a lot more reasonable to me.

The comparisons to Denali and Alex Lowe’s rescue of the Spanish climber in 1995 are pretty interesting. Quite a different situation, though. And, an unbelievable effort on his part. Kinda wonder, though, had their been video of him dragging the guy through the snow for 3 minutes, and the guy had died, if there’d been a similar conversation about that rescue. I don’t think he actually carried him that far and probably dragged him in the snow further (according to some of the reports). Not that even being able to pick up a full grown man in that scenario wasn’t amazing, much less being able to move uphill with him. Record for a helicopter rescue at that altitude at the time, too. And, talk about horsepower. Those three guys (Marc, Scott and Alex) were pretty far out there on the bell curve of existence, not to mention fairly acclimated (or at least not suffering from the altitude). Fixed lines, knowing a helicopter was coming back for a pickup and thoughts of being whisked all the way to town: pretty strong motivation for going all out in a rescue like that. Didn’t really need any margin.

Altitude differences between Denali and Aconcagua. For me, I felt a whole bunch more crappy on Aconcagua than Denali. Days to summit for A was 13 and for D was 16, so, not a whole bunch of difference there, and, spent a lot more time up high on Aconcagua than Denali, as far as where those days were spent. My partner would more than agree that Aconcagua was a much rougher summit day for him, too. And, the distance and vertical gain on Aconcagua seems a bit shorter from high camp (at least on the Polish side) so, you’d think it’d be an easier feeling day, at least. Summit day on Aconcagua, pretty much burned up all the available daylight up and down. I think around 12 hours round trip. On Denali, was 5 to the top, 3 back down, and, felt pretty good afterwards (good enough to go all the way to the airstrip in 9.5 hours the next day). Fitness wise, for each, I climbed them within around 6 months of each other so, probably not much difference there either. Anyhoo, that’s my comparison between the two, FWIW.

-Brian in SLC
andy@climbingmoab

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Feb 25, 2009 - 02:00pm PT
Earlier in the thread Rokjox said something about Aconcagua being near the Equator. Have a look at a map - it isn't even close. Its about the same latitude as Colorado. People have mentioned skiing the polish, and this also makes me laugh. The route is icy as hell and there are shitloads of penitentes, some of which are overhead height. Going that way is a bad idea.

I got pulmonary edema lower down on the Polish Glacier a few years back, and i had a hellish time descending in good weather. I was shocked at how quickly i went from feeling ok to desperate. Nobody who has never been to 22K has any business commenting about what people should be capable of up there, in a rescue situation or not. You just can't comprehend what it is like without experiencing it. Even a minor storm very high up is much worse than the worst blizzard down low. I've been in horrible whiteout blizzards on high 13ers in the winter in Colorado, and it is nothing compared to the wind kicking up on Aconcagua.

I never got as high up as the rescue location, but here is a photo of the Polish Glacier side. There is some very nasty terrain around the Polish, and everything looks the same in a whiteout.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 02:03pm PT
Rox- the three man anchor ain't bad. Actually tried it out this past weekend at a SAR training.

The snow was terrible and there were some that thought we could not anchor in it. This forced us to get creative and we ended up with a wide variety of anchors that worked.

The snow was sugar facets to the top of the sage brush, followed by a rain layer, then more facets, with maybe ten inches of wet snow on top (two layers in the ten inches)

Not saying that any of this would help the guys on AC, but when we pull tested (tug of war style) some of the anchors were surprisingly good.

Buried bags, skis, bollards, flukes, and the three man worked surpringly well. The trick was to make good snow out of bad snow by packing.

andy@climbingmoab

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:03pm PT
To be fair, you said "And 23,000 feet is NOT the top of Everest. Especially near the equator". I am just pointing out that Aconcagua's latitude is geographically closer to Denali's than to the equator. Aconcagua's latitude is actually about 6 degrees higher than Everest's, so it is closer to the top of Everest than the elevation would imply.

In any case, if you haven't been above 22K feet I don't think you have any understanding at all what those rescuers were going through. They looked gassed to me. Standing around apathetically is exactly what starts happening when you are falling apart. Its hard to slump over on your poles when you don't have them, and you don't want to sit down and have to get back up again.
goatboy smellz

climber
dirty south
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:17pm PT
Seriously Rox, does it hurt to talk out of your ass so much?
WBraun

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:17pm PT
I agree andy as I've encountered to many times on hard carry outs as people start to fade we stand there looking at the litter and nobody really wants to move.

We've a few times had to transport a person by hand from the top lip of El Cap to the actual summit where the LZ for the helicopter is. That's a good 1000 foot gain up steep slope and takes 6 to 8 people with a wheel on the litter. You're working pretty hard pushing and pulling the patient up there.

Now at 20K in snow would be much harder on a tired crew with no sled.

Except of course for Rocky. He would just sling the guy over his shoulder Hollywood style and carry him to the top.
whatmeworry

Mountain climber
Pasadena, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
Tom - The human anchor approach can be surprisingly good as you noted. It certainly helps you get past some of the gear and condition constraints. It is very effective if you are not hanging the full load or rescuers/victims on it. It was used to great effect on a region recert a number of years ago. Raised some eyebrows but got the victim out about 10x faster than those rescuers building bollards, etc. It is easy to forget that time is a factor that needs to be accounted for. Trading speed for risk may be acceptable. Making that kind of decision can't be done lightly since the risk to the entire rescue team goes up. Making the decision when you're exhausted, cold, and oxygen starved is unenviable.

Does anyone know if they've done any helo extractions from the Camp 2 level (~19k)on Aconcagua? I believe they've done them at Camp 1 on the Polish Glacier side.

Again this is all useless "what if" speculation, but I'm wondering about the general viability of traversing and "lowering" out on the Polish Direct. If the steep sections could be managed it is likely there would have been climbers at Camp 2 and they could've assisted the rescuers with gear, hot fluids, manpower, etc. Avoiding the need to go up and over would certainly have some appeal, at least in theory. The logistics get more complicated but could be dealt with more readily if you can get lower. You might have a better fighting chance.

Not being there, not knowing conditions, and all that of course apply in this situation and I'm certainly not about to criticize those that had to make the decisions.

Just trying a little bit of out of the box thinking on how I might have approached the situation.
andy@climbingmoab

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:49pm PT
Seems simple enough to me. Make the judge dodder around at 23K in a storm for a day and see if he thinks the rescuers are negligent after that.

No one who hasn't been up that high has any qualifications to debate this.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 03:50pm PT
Werner, that's called a Wanker Haul.

DMT
andy@climbingmoab

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Feb 25, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
No, being in very bad physical condition at 14K is nothing like being at 23K. Sorry. Go up there sometime and see how debilitating it is. There is nothing intimidating or chest beating about this - it just is how it is.

Your analogy is like comparing a fat guy body surfing in florida to someone surfing mavericks. They may struggle the same way, but the experiences don't compare in the slightest.
darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
Feb 25, 2009 - 05:01pm PT
WBraun wrote: "Now at 20K in snow would be much harder on a tired crew with no sled.

Except of course for Rocky. He would just sling the guy over his shoulder Hollywood style and carry him to the top."

lol
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 05:07pm PT
andy, if it is so hard and debilitating, perhaps rescuers (the pro types, which they have down there) should mitigate that factor with bottled o2? Rich people use it on Everest to lower the mountain, why not use it for government sponsored rescuers?

I don't know, but I assume it would be a factor to consider to avoid a similar situation in the future.

matisse

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 05:24pm PT
Back of the envelope big fat round numbers:
sea level barometric pressure = 760
14k feet is 4200m and a barometric pressure of 470 Torr (or thereabouts)
20k feet is about 6000m and a barometric pressure of 350 Torr

at sea level your partial pressure of oxygen in your blood is 100, and your hemoglobin binding sites at 98% saturated. at maximal effort you deliver about 4.5 liters of oxygen /minute to your brain and muscle.

at 14 k the partial pressure of oxygen in your blood is about 50 Torr but you are about 85% saturated because the oxygen hemoglobin dissociation curve is not linear. your O2 delivery at 100 of max is about 3.2 l/min. of course you are not at max all the time so lets take 50% of max, so you'd be delivering about 1.6 l/min

at 20K your partial pressure of oxygen in your blood is about 38 and your hemoglobin saturation is about 66% saturated depending on acclimatization status.
to keep your o2 delivery the same as at 14K you'd need to be exercising at almost 70% of maximum. Heres the problem: you need about half of the 1.6 l/min just to stand on your feet, and breathe. it is both a higher absolute number (because you breathe more) and a higher percent the higher you go.

not the same at all.
I can provide y'all with a book reference if you'd like to read up.
I'd love to stay and argue boyz but I have to finish the book chapterr I an writing on this very topic.
crøtch

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 05:36pm PT
I suppose 6 smokers with 6 lungs between them could haul me up the last 1,000 feet of Shasta.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 06:05pm PT
Rokjox,

I, for one, would like to see more precision in your words. I think it would help your case to prevent as much misinterpretation as possible.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 06:31pm PT
I am saying that a good set of lungs at high is got to be equal to a bad set at a lower elevation, its all about saturated blood levels.

You're suggesting that 6 healthy dudes at 23K would be roughly equivalent to 6 dudes with emphysema or COPD at lower altitude?

My grandfather had emphysema. At maybe 1000' above sea level, he couldn't take more than about 4 steps without stopping to catch his breath.

When I went backpacking as a healthy 20 y.o. at to Conundrum hot springs outside of Aspen (11200' according to quick web search), on the way up, I got smitten by the altitude and had to stop every 20 feet or so. Felt like I was going to pass out, and it was all I could do to make it to camp, set up my tent, and fall down to sleep for the night. I didn't give a sh#t about anything at that point. I don't think I even wanted to eat anything, just wanted to lay down and close my eyes.

None the less, I will try and not make any more jokes, puns and assumptions. Y'all got no sense of humor and no tolerance. I suspect some deliberately mistake my words, as it makes it more fun for them.


I suppose I should stop rounding numbers and assuming that my readers have half a brain also. Write for the dumbest of the dumb, the most clueless of the unclued. But actually finding and linking every statement to a referent and a comfirmational link is a process more suited to writing for scientific peer reviewed journals, not the StupidTaco.


You're still doing it dude... If you would present a logical, clearly-worded argument without sarcasm, contempt, loose analogies, and jokes, people might actually understand WTF you're getting at.

How can a reader know when you're joking and when you're not? Why should a reader fill in the gaps of an incomplete argument in order to make your case for you or presume that you actually have half a brain when you yourself show so much disdain and contempt for those who oppose your argument?
matisse

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 06:33pm PT
rok,
I am rather late to the party, but that is not actually what you said the first time. what the hell do I know.

Write for the dumbest of the dumb, the most clueless of the unclued

go here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez
search Hopkins SR.

clueless I tell you. :P
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 06:41pm PT
It takes a LOT of time.

But it's the ONLY way to make sure that people actually understand what you're trying to say. It's required in conversation, too, if you're discussing a matter where clarity is key.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 06:46pm PT
Rokjox,

I'm agreeing with part of your argument, but not with the conclusion that it appears you are drawing based on the altitude comparison.

Assuming the experiences of my grandfather with emphysema at near sea level and of myself at 11K feet were similar to that of a healthy individual at 23K feet, I conclude that a healthy individual at 23K feet would be severely debilitated by the altitude and therefore could not be expected to perform as you seem to be expecting the rescuers on Aconcagua to have performed.

Edit: More accurately, I'm not agreeing with your comparison of altitude / health. I've never been up there and haven't researched the comparative blood oxygen levels, so I can't really say either way.

What I am doing is saying: if your comparison is correct after all, I don't agree with the conclusion you draw from it.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 25, 2009 - 07:00pm PT
"In any case, if you haven't been above 22K feet I don't think you have any understanding at all what those rescuers were going through. "

Didn't you just say you bailed at the base? You must be the expert.

FWIW, I've never had issues at altitude up to 22+ or whatever. You mostly just sit on your ass for a week or so interspersed with some hiking up to high camp. If I am acclimated, it does indeed "feel" the same to me at 20k as 12k, it's just that at 20k I'm going a LOT slower - 1/2 to 1/4 speed or less, just depends what I'm on. If you try to exceed your pace, you do get floored a little harder up higher. I think most with some experience would report the same.

I don't seek out this kind of climbing as much as I used to. It was a phase. The thing is, the most popular objectives tend to be very easy and a little boring after you have done a few. The technically difficult (TD+ and harder) routes rarely get climbed, mostly because few rise to them, but also because these routes tend to be much more condition sensitive - ie, summary - you need a shitload of time in your life to be successful on a bunch of them. Sadly, I don't have that time/interest. I enjoy warm rock too much and it consumes all my free time to try and be good enough at it to engage climbs that will really challenge and interest me.

Beyond that - I've found this type of climbing is mostly an egotistical hot air culture of wankers exceeding even that of aid climbers. Most of that wankery seems to center around the sole difficulty involved - altitude - ie, sitting on your ass while acclimating. Oooh I'm so bad ass I took a trail up Aconcagua and I'm going to belittle all those around me when I speak about it, even though I paid to have my worthless sack pulled up by a guide or whatever. Listen to me roar. Weird bunch of people, weird sport, weird game. A bit too much objective danger for what I got back out of it.
ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 07:25pm PT
i am now convinced that rokjox is a troll ..

good going man .. you've managed to get people to continue "debating with you for over 300 posts" ..

what a jerk off
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 07:40pm PT
Any folks know how the debate is going in South America?

I agree with Rox on portions, they did fail. Perhaps the six guys did everything they could have done with what they had. Should they have had more gear, or a better plan.

The gear you have, is a decision you make before you leave the gate, if you are headed up on a rescue.

JLP- I too worry that there is some wankerdom going on with these big mountains.

We see tons of wankers on Whitney, are they climbers?

By the way, most of the wankers are on the trail, not the north fork, at least not the wankers that need rescue.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 08:35pm PT
"Failure" is, IMHO, irrelevant. People fail all the time. It's a given, and should be expected that in any effort to do anything at all, some people will fail. Doesn't make it any less sad when the result is a death, though.

The issue seems to be whether or not they did the best they could - to the extent of their physical and mental abilities under the circumstances.

My interpretation is that Rokjox believes they just let the guy die and didn't give a damn about his dying or his suffering. Edit: Perhaps there are others who feel this way as well. I don't mean to pick on Rokjox specifically, more the viewpoint that starkly contrasts mine.

Here's a partial list of what I would guess is the fundamental need and what I'd call required resources for bringing someone back alive from that situation:

Fundamental need(s) to further Fede's living process:

 warmth
 hydration

Resources required by the rescue team in order to provide the victim's needs:

 Gear (shelter, stove, ropes & tools for evac, etc). Can be affected by the technical requirements of the mountain and the planning for the rescue as based on the expected requirements.

 Knowledge / skill (to operate the gear and perform the evac, as a basis for making quality decisions and improvising). Can be affected by the technical requirements of the mountain and the planning for the rescue as based on the expected requirements.

 Mental acuity (to operate the gear, perform the evac, make quality decisions, improvise, and have the awareness to notice things like the clothing & the drive to do something about it). Can be affected by hypothermia, hypoxia, and prior exertion.

 Physical capacity (to operate the gear and perform the evac). Can be affected by number of rescuers, hypothermia, hypoxia, and prior exertion.

Simply put, I'd say the supply didn't meet the demand.

Does that mean that the rescuers were pathetic, insincere, inherently lacking compassion, etc? I say that such a judgment cannot be made solely going by what was in the video...

Edit: I didn't mean to imply that we shouldn't strive to learn from mistakes and reduce our failures - just that, no matter what we do, there will always be some failures. So failure in and of itself is not grounds for condemnation. What's important is the reason for failure.

To Federico's family: My very deep condolences for your loss.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 25, 2009 - 08:38pm PT
I kinda don't get it.

Rox knocks the guide culture on AC but it was a guide that needed the rescue and probably wouldn't have been there except for guiding.

Even Hillary hired somebody help him summit Everest the first time.

Rox knocks the client culture on AC as if the world was separated into noble people who have plenty of time and proximity to mountains to learn to do it all themselves and ignoble people who live crass lives served by others (whom he also casts aspersions about)

From these stereotypes alone I can suggest that Rox has made an investment in his perspective and plans to concoct all it takes to defend it.

Too bad, because the bottom line remains that people just make mistakes and it's really hard to put yourself in anybody's shoes no matter how we quantify the data.

I've climbed with a lot of professionals who don't have the time to climb like dirtbags. If you knew their character, you would not dare make blanket statements about client culture.

I took my then-girlfriend over an 18,000 foot pass in Nepal once. She got tired and a bit Altitude sick and lay down in the snow. If I didn't give her the jerk boyfriend routine to get her up. I'm convinced she could have just died there peacefully. Later in Periche's "hospital" we got our O2 tested and she was doing much better than me.

Eliminate guiding from big mountains and a few lives might be saved but at the cost of many people breaking free from the real dangers of societal domestication.

People die sometimes. It happens. We should get over it.

We could save thousands of lives by making more restrictive laws regarding smoking, driving, eating but we give people choice and freedom and don't waste excess energy wringing our hands over every life lost by bad decisions, bad karma, or relative lack of heroism.

Knocking people we don't know in such harsh terms for how we imagine they were "supposed" to have acted is inviting a big smack down from the universe to show us how it feels different when you are in the shoes.

Peace

Karl


Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 25, 2009 - 08:52pm PT
Another misleading factor is the video.

The video shows the group after they have figured that the rescue is failed and they are documenting the "why we had to give up stage"

That looks different than when they were trying to carry him and before they got gassed and frustrated.

Perhaps at that point they'd fixed his hat dozens of times and so on.

The rescuers, the guide, and maybe even the guide's clients might each deserve some blame but who is to really say? (If the guide's 3 other clients had self rescued, since conditions supposedly weren't so bad, that would have meant 17 rescuers for the guide) We just can't crawl into people's skin.

I'm all for figuring out better systems, rescue teams and caches and such, but the character assassinations really bug me.

Shoot, I walk by poor needy people all the time here in India, and perhaps you do the same with the homeless in your town. Do you do absolutely everything in your power to rescue them? What about the next one? and the next?

Life...It can be intense

Peace

Karl
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 09:02pm PT
Knocking people we don't know in such harsh terms for how we imagine they were "supposed" to have acted is inviting a big smack down from the universe to show us how it feels different when you are in the shoes.

Nicely put. I've definitely experienced such karmic reflection.
matisse

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 09:37pm PT
Rok,

The way you posed your original scenario had a great many false assumptions although the way it ended up as the patient with emphysema wasn't all that bad.

I wrote all that stuff; doesn't sound like you figured that part out. I was just trying to point out to you that your audience isn't all stupid or uninformed.

Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 25, 2009 - 09:40pm PT
Speaking of wankers ... I am proud to say while acclimating/getting over a respiratory infection on Aconcagua I walked up to about 16k and wanked while my partner schlepped a load up to Camp 1. If I could gotten it up farther I would have been able to see over to the south face but alas it was not to be.

I now return you to your usual TacoStand pissing mach or is it a wanking match?
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 09:50pm PT
rox has made some good points- his problem is he has said some things about the character of the rescuers.

The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 09:58pm PT
Matisse: Are you saying that the Hopkins who authored all that stuff is you? Cool...

Edit: Way cool...
matisse

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 10:07pm PT
only the ones since 1989, and not the 3 after 1989 that deal with liver stuff. the only thing I know about livers is how to abuse them.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 11:29pm PT
WANKER.

DMT
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 25, 2009 - 11:32pm PT
But truely? I don't think emotion should be considered. Their feelings can run the gamut, and its unimportant, and the true depth and breadth is basically unknowable. I don't want my doctors emotional, I don't care about a rescuer's emotional state. I expect professionalism no matter what they are feeling. If they can't put aside emotion during a response, they shouldn't be there. What do you think a hospital would say to a EMT who got emotional everytime they made an ambulance call? You got to put that stuff aside. Cry on your own time.

A nice ideal, which I generally agree with. Problem is, they're humans, and humans are fallible - period. These were not professionals. Most rescuers are not (edit: ok, maybe better to say "many" rescuers are not...). Regardless, all rescuers are humans, and are therefore inherently limited and imperfect.

Would you rather no one show up at all? Not me - I'd rather have someone show up and do their best, even if their best isn't good enough to save me - even if their best is simply showing up.

Problem is, idealism doesn't work in the real world...

Edit: You may not be very touchy-feely, but that doesn't negate the fact that, like it or not, rescuers will have emotions and will have a limited capacity to deal with them ("dealing" with their emotions includes putting them aside or otherwise compartmentalizing them). Regardless of your expectations and ideals, rescuers' emotions will come into play. Regardless of your expectations, every rescuer will have a breaking point.

I've found that idealism and perfectionism leads to a lot of disappointment and frustration... YMMV
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 26, 2009 - 01:27am PT
> But truely? I don't think emotion should be considered. Their
> feelings can run the gamut, and its unimportant, and the true
> depth and breadth is basically unknowable. I don't want my
> doctors emotional, I don't care about a rescuer's emotional
> state. I expect professionalism no matter what they are
> feeling. If they can't put aside emotion during a response,
> they shouldn't be there. What do you think a hospital would say
> to a EMT who got emotional everytime they made an ambulance
> call? You got to put that stuff aside. Cry on your own time.

This is one of the most offensive things I have read in a long time.

You really have no idea of what you are talking about.

Ugh.
Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 26, 2009 - 02:20am PT
Most discussions are benefited with occasional objectivity.

So who are these climbers and rescuers in this obviously dangerous game?

Some of the best climbers in the world never climbed a mountain, but fought to the death to secure the right of climbers to freely climb mountains without having to beg permission from some self-serving mental midget government dolt.

One of the worst climbers was the first American to summit Sagarmatha, who highly profited from political support for the National Park Service, to extensively screw the RIGHTS of individual climbers after good people fought wars to create the RIGHT of the public to walk (climb) on public land.

A RIGHT is an action for which the government holds no authority to demand permission (permit, license, mandatory registration) or charge a fee or tax. The National Park Service has obviously proven that every American military person was or still is a fool, perhaps you or a relative.

They climb for fun, ego, adventure, ignorance, money, curiosity, confusion and illusions.

They rescue fellow climbers for as many reasons.

If they climb or claim to be climbers, they are all climbers. If they are human, they make mistakes.

In the mix, you get to create your own principles as a climber, and you will reveal them.

Cool show, huh?

Human actions based on freedom of choice advance the human phenomenon, including climbing. Freedom allows learning from one's mistakes, and objectively evaluate the comparative mistakes of others.

Actions based on the use of force or deception (government) retard the human phenomenon, including climbing. Force and deception create the government dolt's option to always blame the other guy, to not learn from one's mistakes.

The mountains offer these lessons. They force and deceive nobody. The climber's mind is tested against flawless logic, the optimum opportunity to learn new knowledge.

The government offers the opposite. It is exclusively predicated on force and deception, in a void of logic, reasoning or questioning. The inherent human mistakes of its unquestioning personnel, who are taught that their agency can do no wrong, and that those citizens are always to blame, compound the mistakes of individuals who are forced to be victims of the government mistakes.

Climb for whatever reasons you wish, but if you want to learn the lessons of the mountains, they are among the free mountains which are getting fewer as the insatiably greedy government thugs and their minions write more laws and regulations to force you into their increasing mistakes.

And rescue your fellow climbers in need of rescue, without accepting pay, as you would appreciate of them. Learn the techniques. They are useful climbing techniques.

Or so I might imagine for your consideration.

DougBuchanan.com
andy@climbingmoab

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Feb 26, 2009 - 10:31am PT
I wasn't at the base when I got HAPE JLP, and i've climbed a fair number of peaks in the Andes on other occasions. My experience has been largely the same as yours about feeling ok but slow after acclimating. That all goes completely out the window after getting HAPE though(which I got after feeling good above 14K for a week), and getting down from 20K with HAPE is a much different experience than descending a few thousand feet after getting altitude sickness at 14K. The high altitude thing was also a phase for me, and I don't plan on doing much more of it.

People have been mentioning the experience of guides and others on the mountain. I found that it is all over the map, and some guides were truly frightening. I spent some time showing a guide with half a dozen clients how to properly guy down a tent, and explaining why its a bad idea to orient your vestibule straight into the wind. Others were absolutely world class. The experience of private parties was also wildly variable. We were on the Polish Glacier side of the mountain - I imagine the other side was more of a circus. I would not want to count on any kind of a rescue from the majority of people on the mountain - way too much of a crap shoot.
matisse

climber
Feb 26, 2009 - 11:18am PT
hey Andy,
if you are interested in being a research subject PM me. I was just getting ready to post up an advert...
scuffy b

climber
just below the San Andreas
Feb 26, 2009 - 01:09pm PT
Sorry about the deja vu aspects of this thread, Sue.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 26, 2009 - 01:12pm PT
Hehe, sorry. You can take the boy out of rec.climbing but you can't get the rec.climbing out of the boy.

Unrepentant.

But I still love you matisse. And I'm still sorry as hell about that 'when you leaving' quip.

I couldn't have been more wrong if I tried.

Cheers
DMT
matisse

climber
Feb 26, 2009 - 01:32pm PT
no worries guys. That dude made me spray, and as much as I am a blowhard, I hate showing that in public. So I'm beating myself up about it right now. :)

however I did get some potential subjects and that is a great thing.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 26, 2009 - 02:24pm PT
Andy, your experience sounds like mine. I got a respiratory infection in Mendoza or on the plane down. On the walk in I went from fast to slow to a crawl. It was actually funny cause I typically hike faster than my partner. The first day I got to camp about 30 minutes befor him. On the second day we arrived at the same time and when we got to the base camp I was 30 minutes behind him. I eventually recovered enough to move up higher and summit. Probably the funniest part is that my ascent was alpine style - I never carried a load up high, just moved up. My partner carried one load on the day that I did an acclimation hike.

Your observations on the ability of both the guided and private groups are spot on. The ability varied all over the map. That is problem with a mountain like Aconcauga that has easy access. Kibo is similar.

Brian, you mentioned not wanting to come down to the Polish side cause they were based on the normal side. You may not know but there is path between the two that pretty much contours the hill. Not sure how good it is but Phil Ershler took his group out that way rather than going back down to the Vacus. In talking with Phil, he said the logistics were not that big of a deal. So I imagine that any rescue could have done the same.



Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 26, 2009 - 04:06pm PT
Brian, you mentioned not wanting to come down to the Polish side cause they were based on the normal side. You may not know but there is path between the two that pretty much contours the hill. Not sure how good it is but Phil Ershler took his group out that way rather than going back down to the Vacus. In talking with Phil, he said the logistics were not that big of a deal. So I imagine that any rescue could have done the same.

Ahh, yeah, now I remember that path. A local guide did his trips that way. Looked like a neat and, his variation, remote way to descend/ascend. They ended up cutting back down into the Relinchos (sp?) Valley way upstream of where the standard approach up the Vacas cuts off. Forgot about that. That peak off that direction looks pretty cool too (La Manos, or the Hand, or some such?).

Still, you'd have to pass by that col that gets all the high winds. Saw a guided group pitch there and they had about 5 tents go down. Hard to believe folks camp there. Nasty venturi type effect or some such. Crazy high winds. Picked me up and set me 10 meters or so down slope there. Scared the crap out of me.

Yeah, big windy pile of dirt...

Cheers,

-Brian in SLC
(ps: hey Sue!)

matisse

climber
Feb 26, 2009 - 05:42pm PT
Yo Brian,
we'd still like to get you to SD for a couple of days. won't hurt a bit. promise :)
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 26, 2009 - 06:25pm PT
Kind interesting diversion to look at Aconcagua on Google Earth. I think these coordinates will get you there:
32°39'12.30"S 70° 0'39.85"W

One proposal for the rescue location at the top of the cliffs to the north of the Polish Glacier route is approximately:
32°39'3.99"S 70° 0'28.22"W.

The ruler feature puts this at just shy of 400 linear meters from the summit.

Here are some maps:




Near as I can figure, the Polish Glacier route is on the back side of the mountain in the second map. The map appears to be looking at the west face.

Oops, apologies about the large photo... Just linked to where I found it online.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 26, 2009 - 07:07pm PT
"People have been mentioning the experience of guides and others on the mountain. I found that it is all over the map"

That's true of everywhere I've been. However, for peaks on the "High Altitude Trophy Tour", I have to say I've found the mean competence level to be well below par. As Rox noted, the typical kind of people you meet are not climbers as I know climbers. Yeah, lots of rookies in camp IV, too, but they are mostly there "earning their stripes" as Breashers so succinctly put it after the 96 deaths on Everest.

Edit: I'm speaking of clients + guides. The best guide on the mountain guiding a group of 6 fools is a weak team. Rob Hall's death is the obvious example.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 26, 2009 - 08:39pm PT
"But truely? I don't think emotion should be considered. Their feelings can run the gamut, and its unimportant, and the true depth and breadth is basically unknowable. I don't want my doctors emotional, I don't care about a rescuer's emotional state. I expect professionalism no matter what they are feeling. If they can't put aside emotion during a response, they shouldn't be there. What do you think a hospital would say to a EMT who got emotional everytime they made an ambulance call? You got to put that stuff aside. Cry on your own time. "

Come on Dude. When you're out all night at high altitude in a storm and busting ass to help a guy who doesn't look like he's going to make it, at what point might unexpected emotion come up? Do you go home then or just regret that you volunteered for a rescue where you might get emotional?

Nobody really knows what's going on inside another person. I flew to Lukla once and by the time we hiked to Namche, it was seriously tough to walk at 12,000 feet the next day. The day after I was fine. Who could gauge how hard it would be for me to do anything on either day.

Like all situations, there is probably a lot we still haven't found out about this situation. Have any interviews with the clients come out yet? I don't have bandwidth to surf here.

PEace

Karl
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 26, 2009 - 08:47pm PT
Fattrad, the False Polish Route which I have been up takes an upward rising traverse until it hits the normal route. The route I am speaking of contours (i.e stays a basically the same elevation) around the hill before joining the normal route.


darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
Feb 26, 2009 - 11:05pm PT
Rokjoke, I'm too sick of your bullsh#t, you're a moron. This has NOT been a productive thread as you'd like to think. Get off your high horse. You couldn't carry your own ass at that altitude in those conditions. In all your years in the mountains you haven't learn the most basic of lessons: humility.

Please, just shut up.


Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 27, 2009 - 08:35am PT
Good for you Rocky. You dropped the wanking in that last post and went back to your natural inclination to eat the dead flesh between a poster's toes.

Good job Wanker.

DMT
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 27, 2009 - 10:01am PT
Rocky:
> Lots of crud more offensive than saying that the emotions of
> the rescuers should not be allowed to overwhelm rescue
> contingencies. Try getting some training, like maybe from a
> psychiatrist...
>
> I am talking real life and death, not a video game. You'll get
> no sympathy from me by having a breakdown.

It is your condescending and insulting attitude towards the men and women who risk their lives helping others that I find offensive.

It's merely annoying that you have taken a thread that should have been about a rescue on Aconcagua and turned it into a discussion about you.

One thing is for sure - I find it a heck of a lot better that you are now spending your time insulting me and the other members of this board and not the guys who actually risked their lives during the rescue.
darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
Feb 27, 2009 - 10:25am PT
Go away you loser...please!!!!!!
rescue76

Trad climber
colorado springs
Feb 27, 2009 - 11:12am PT
RJ, please wear ID from now on. There are plenty of SAR members in this forum who will cheerily choose to un-volunteer if they encounter you in need.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 27, 2009 - 11:37am PT
Come on Rox, it's gone beyond a discussion.

When you get so invested in an opinion, standing behind it becomes a matter of keeping your identity and validity intact.

It shouldn't be about that, but it's come to that. You've carved out your position and defend it like your own life.

Seems funny that you would mock the severity of the conditions, the difficulty of the route, and the risks involved? Why no discussion about why a guide (and his clients) needed a rescue off a simple walk up?

It's obviously risky. People were already dead. Add a rush in the middle of the night and it not a piece if cake. If it were, the heros would have got to fulfill their mission.

Hard to believe the initial report about expecting a body recovery. Why bother in a storm, and was this expectation before or after rescuing the other 3?

PEace

Karl
rescue76

Trad climber
colorado springs
Feb 27, 2009 - 11:48am PT
mr baba (i remember you and DMT from rec.climbing in the mid 90s!)

as a rescue professional, who happens to be a volunteer as well, I was also puzzled about the "expected body recovery" and the quick ascent.

I wasnt there, and dont know details. When our team is notified, prior to a response, or during a response(when hasty team arrives and confirms MRA code 4) - the response tempo and urgency gets dropped gears rapidly. Almost to a walk. The inherent risk involved in ANY mountain rescue, including response, dictates that at any opportunity, we need to be deliberate and careful. Rushing to get to a body doesnt make sense.

We currently have bodies on at least one mountain in S colorado. We tried to get to them once, but weather and avvy danger turned us around. Subsequent attempts were also cancelled for the same reason. Ive never known rescue members to want to push the limits for someone we thought(intel is always sketchy, but we do the best we can), or knew was dead.

be careful out there
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 27, 2009 - 01:32pm PT
Rescue 76- the rush for the bodies fact never made sense. That fact came out early, when facts are most likely to be wrong, so who knows?

A lot of what we are doing on this forum is guessing. We don't know what is in the rescuers packs, we don't know their orders/plan.

We don't know their available resources.

They did muster 17 people for the rescue, not a bad number.

If they were after bodies, what were they going to do with the bodies? Carrying bodies out would require the gear that could have been used to get a victim out. Also, like you say, why go after bodies in a storm?

They did revive two with hot liquid of sorts and walk them out. Did they have a stove or was it a thermos?

They did try to improvise a way to carry/pull the victim.

Did they try to hunker down? It doesn't sound like it, but they must have considered it and decided against it for reasons unknown to us- perhaps they didn't have the gear?

Why choose up rather then down? Why not go around as some have suggested. I don't know.

Rox-, while he makes some good points, feels that a failure of character contributed to the problem, perhaps that's true, but these guys did go up there in a storm and try, so they had character.

With a good plan, and training, character doesn't matter as much. You don't need superheroes, just plain old heroes prepared and willing to do the work.

I'd love to know what the plan was on this rescue. I'd also love to hear what these guys plan to do next time. Unless they are evil bastards, they are probably just like us and want to improve their operations so this doesn't happen again.

Tom


WBraun

climber
Feb 27, 2009 - 01:37pm PT
It will happen again.

Someones fate and destiny will dictate such an ending.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Feb 27, 2009 - 02:20pm PT
A lot of what we are doing on this forum is guessing. We don't know what is in the rescuers packs, we don't know their orders/plan.

We don't know their available resources.

Rox-, while he makes some good points, feels that a failure of character contributed to the problem, perhaps that's true, but these guys did go up there in a storm and try, so they had character.

With a good plan, and training, character doesn't matter as much. You don't need superheroes, just plain old heroes prepared and willing to do the work.


Yeah, this is what's riling people up so much. In my interpretation, Rokjox's position is more inclined to assume that the failure point was at those 6 guys in the video, and that they weren't simply "man enough" to do what was was required.

Rokjox may be right, he may be wrong. I think most of us are not willing to condemn the rescuers beyond a shadow of a doubt with the limited evidence that we have so far. Educated guesses can be made from extrapolation, other people's experiences in similar situations, etc - but they're still guesses.

Pontificating a little further, I'll throw this out there: in the grand scheme of things, lack of sympathy for a rescuer's emotions is just as much of a weakness as being over emotional. The need for sensitivity training is as real as the need for rescue training. Again, I'll say that we're all limited. Seems to me all of us - including Rokjox - are coming from a baseline place of wanting to save the life of a person in a future similar situation.

So, it's still a discussion about "why" they failed. We don't know for certain yet. We need the full report. Simple enough.

How about let's quit attacking each other's character and accept that all of us are prone to making mistakes - mistakes in analysis, mistakes of pre-judging the situation, mistakes of being insensitive and tactless in a discussion about the rescue... - get back to our task at hand: figuring out what can be done better in future situations.

Anyone care to maintain a single post about the specific things that could have been done differently?
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Feb 27, 2009 - 03:13pm PT
Although I've done my best to understand what happened there, I have avoided making any comments about how things might have been done better because the absence of information makes it so unproductive.

For example, an air drop of sleeping bags, food, and stoves the first day would have probably stabilized the uninjured climbers and possibly saved the life of the guide. Was this possible? What kind of helicopter did they have, and how close had it been able to get the first day its crew was able to spot them?

The right equipment delivered in a few hours might have even saved Elena. Of course if Campanini hadn't led her into a crevasse, or to where she fell, or into whatever it was that caused her accident, all of them would have perhaps lived.

Did the rescuers think Campanini was dead? Was he separated from the three that were rescued, or were they all together with a radio and in contact with the rescuers? Different accounts provide different answers to these fundamental questions.

One article:

http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=18005

suggests indirectly that there were no sleeping bags even available to the rescue service:

"All the tragedies brought together several groups and associations in Argentina in an effort to provide better equipment such as tents, ropes and sleeping bags to the rescue service in order to facilitate faster help to climbers. Several people also volunteered their knowledge and help to improve the services."

If this were true then there is indeed some reprehensible misuse of the 4600*$500= 2.3 million dollars. But the same article states,

"Waiting for the storm to abate at 6700 m on “Cuello de la Botella” (Bottleneck), one of the clients (Elena Senin, 38) and the guide (Federico Campanini, 31) died in a fall. The others – Marco Afasio, Marina Acanazio and Mateo Refrigerato – were rescued by helicopter."

So it probably not appropriate to commit to that idea since this part of the article is poorly researched.

Here's another story with a few first-hand facts:

'Federico Campanini - a story that should not die'
http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=18091

"A Spanish speaking rock-climbing editor familiar with the area and the mountaineers involved told ExWeb that the group of two rescuers and four guides did not expect to have to carry the victim...

The editor climbed Aconcagua many times himself and told ExWeb that he knows all involved personally, and that they would do anything to save a life."

Others have a much harsher opinion. From a climber and geologist who did a lot of SAR in the Dolomites:

"Maybe I am biased because I used to know personally Elena Senin, but I suppose that actions like these must have some consequences," he wrote to ExWeb. "At least climbers should be made aware of the total carelessness of the SAR on Aconcagua."

I'd love to be in a position to make more judgments about what happened there and to learn from them, but I am reluctant to make those judgments without facts. If I am ever able to study a careful account of the events I certainly will do so, and if anyone here can obtain one I would be grateful for it.

I do know that descending on the wrong side in a storm is dangerous, and that the rescuers stuck with Campanini to the point of frostbite injury according to one of the reports I posted earlier. I think it's unlikely they took these risks without a genuine desire to help Campanini as best as they could.

It's possible that a better outcome could have resulted from better planning and coordination from the incident command. Sending up more supplies, more people, having a higher cache, having people in intermediate locations to request additional resources/volunteers at the peak or cave, are all pretty obvious things that would have helped. Perhaps there are good reasons why these things were not done but it's a bit hard to know them as I sit at my desk and speculate. Indeed, perhaps they were done and I don't know about it.

For me, the real issue of importance is how I can do things better in my backyard. Once we get rolling we do a pretty good job. We have mountains and you could certainly die on them in a few hours during a storm if you were not prepared, but the elevations are not high enough to cause much trouble.

We have gear and equipment appropriate to our coverage area and the types of problems we are likely to see.

We train and recruit people as best as we can and some of them are great.

Our biggest weakness is with incident command. There are political issues that have prevented callouts from occurring and twice in three years almost resulted in loss of life. In each case someone acting on their own made the difference.

On the other hand, when things work they work well. We've had some rescues that were run very, very well.

The political problems are hard to solve and can change overnight with each election. As in Aconcagua, it may require a high profile death to make much headway.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 27, 2009 - 04:06pm PT
Crock- I agree completely with what you say. At this point 350 responses in, what you say is the rational response to this.

Werner's take is also true, as shown by the facts, it was this guy's time to go.

You wrote, "Our biggest weakness is with incident command. There are political issues that have prevented callouts from occurring and twice in three years almost resulted in loss of life. In each case someone acting on their own made the difference."

I'm damn curious about these instances. I have similar feelings about a few of our operations here. On one, the clusterf*#k did not effect the outcome, (the victim died before we started) the other, quite possibly saved someone's life.

Tom
whatmeworry

Mountain climber
Pasadena, CA
Feb 27, 2009 - 06:04pm PT
The past few comments seem to be getting to the essence of the thread. What can we learn from the sad events on Aconcagua?

If you are in SAR long enough you'll see instances where some element of the activation chain breaks down. The current incident in Canada [url]http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jf3p4oveYts_u-KqMkDifYylFOawD96JHCJO1[/url] is a possible example.

Agency and jurisdictional politics can always be a factor. Effectively managing them can be as important as on-the-hill leadership. Part of the problem seems to stem from the fact that those responsible for SAR (in the US) often know little or nothing about it. Those that know little and want to exercise their authority to run the operation may be the worst. At least those that don't know anything usually defer to the experienced personnel and let them run things. The mix of paid and volunteer personnel often complicate things. Paid personnel often act like the volunteers don't know anything.

Sorry about a bit of thread drift....
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 27, 2009 - 06:19pm PT
Damn- that sucks too.

That looks like a mistake, for what ever reason someone didn't take the first reports seriously, and then ignored the second report as well.

At each miss, someone made the decision not to initiate a search. These people got lost in the system as well as the mountains.

rick d

climber
tucson, az
Feb 27, 2009 - 07:01pm PT
Rokjox

while I appreciate your thoughts on other threads, you should at this time bow out of the argument.

rick d
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Feb 27, 2009 - 08:16pm PT
Nice posts above.

It's pretty obvious that we don't have enough of the story and that there is also the incident command/political/back story that weighs into this.

More info should be out soon if this is the big story down south that it's reported to be. (perhaps with a lot of spin though since lawyers are obviously involved)

PEace

Karl
Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 27, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
The mentioned political issues for mountain rescues have cost many lives. Several cases readily come to mind. The concept is associated with government rescue groups whose agency personnel inherently put budget enhancement tactics above any concern for accident victims. The proofs are as common as dirt, inherent to government budget process and the attitude of superiority created by government power.

Volunteer mountain rescue groups put the accident victims, their fellow climbers, above all considerations, or their group members would not have the interest in being volunteer members. It is commonly described as human nature.

As the test of time proves, it is impossible to solve the ongoing deadly political problems inherent to government rescue groups. The perpetual government lies about "better training" to solve political (budget turf) problems, fool only fools.

Wisely form your local mountain rescue groups completely outside government involvement, for you and your fellow climbers, before you become a political opportunity for a government rescue agency. "Dead bodies in National Parks make good budget excuses.", as a Park ranger stated in an court case investigation.

An Army helicopter unit commander once stated to a local volunteer rescue group member, in his helicopter during a mountain rescue mission in the Alaska Range: "If one of my guys goes down in the mountains, I'm calling you guys, not the Army." Might you be as wise?

Real mountain climbers do not need paper credentials. In contrast, all government personnel are easily fooled by their government issued paper credentials designed to fool unquestioning fools. Government functions on credentialed illusions, not performance in open market competition.

Look at the current Obama Presidential Ego Gratification Wars and the economy, both of which were tightly controlled by legions of government experts with piles of the highest titles and credentials government could fabricate. They failed, on schedule. They will always fail. They are paper illusions.

Wisely do not join the fools. You would miss the comedy.

DougBuchanan.com
rescue76

Trad climber
colorado springs
Feb 28, 2009 - 01:05am PT
having been in the army, and iraq, when I have to clear buildings, I want my soldiers with me.

being on an MRA team, when we go into the backcountry, I want my soldiers to stay home. yes they are tough, but they are not trained for the wilderness.
nicolasC

climber
Feb 28, 2009 - 01:15pm PT
RockJock,

I have registered just to offer you some thoughts on the hope that you will stop spouting non-sense.

On one point, you are right: the video is shocking.
It is about a man about to die. And powerless humans around him.

IMHO, we do not see the battle those 7 people went through.
we should be careful about assigning virtues or weakness to their characters.
What I see is that the rescuers are done, meaning exhausted and defeated. This guy is not yet dead, but they can not do one more thing for him. In a harsh way, the cameraman is documenting the situation. Perhaps he is one of the the official rescuers who has to report on the situation and ask instruction from the superior at the Basecamp.

What you see as lack of respect and others see as difference of culture is distantiation: the ones that are standing can no longer help that guy, because it would twist the knife further into their inability to save him. In their heads, the guy is lost. they may have put his pants back 20 times, they are no longer able to make the 21 time. You cajole, you abuse , you push, you pull you try everything to trigger a response from someone you want to save. When you are no longer able to do a meaningful thing, the only thing you can do is cry and cuss, hold the hand or curse the one that can no longer be helped.

According to some argentinian transcript, After deciding they can't move him up, 5 left and 1 rescuer stayed with him till the end. Would you have liked to see this fimed also or would you have preferred the 7 to die in an heroic attempt?

The guide probably made mistakes (starting too late for the ability of his goup (but you have to balance an early cold start with a slightly later departure, which offer you warmth with increased risk from early afternoon basd weather), not turning back, not recognizing the weather changes) and the worst mistake: getting lost on the way down.
One of his charge died from a fall in a crevasse. He spend a lot of energy trying to save her (going down and trying to extricate her probably).
He did other things quite well as he found a sheltered spot and made his group survive.

In the end, he died because of exhaustion mixed with by de-hydratation and exposure and/or HAPE.

Despite looking at some pictures of the Polish Glacier direct and the Polish Glacier ending part, you ignore the difficulty of going up with one unresponsive body up between 6 men.

You are so obviously mistaken about the effect of High Altitude, I wont even comment on that (except that you try a hypobaric chamber once to see how it feel).

There is one point of yours which has some value: counterweight hoisting (your 3-men anchor set up). Indeed, a simple pulley would have allow 2-men walking down to drag 1 up (they are factors such as friction, you know). But I doubt it would have been practical very much because it would have required rescuers to climb twice as much at that altitude)
But it is obvious that the rescue gear needed (anchors, pulley, static rope, eventually altitude) to apply that setup is NOT availale on the normal route (wich is, in good conditions, a walk -up that only 1/3 of the aspiring climbers achieve) and at that altitude rescuers do not have the mental power to jury-rig anything (do a bit of search for mental and physical testing under hypobaric situation).

There is a tent with 2 rangers on camp1 on normal route. they did not manage to reach camp 2 or if they did, I do not know. They do conduct evacuation on a very common routine(sadly).
There are medic at base camp on both normal route and polish route.

Helicopters can not do rescue mission that high, nor in this weather.

On temperatures, at that period of the year they can drop down to -25C at berlin camp with winds up to 160 km/h on top of that.
I let you compute how much the bad weather increase the effect of altitude. You can have a look at http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Aconcagua/6day/mid for the current conditions.

There was a note from a person chiming on your post saying: 1st rule is stabilize, not move, blablabla, I would have set up a tent,... and a lot of bullsh#t.
Have this person been involved in an high altitude rescue or climb?
Although people who know nothing about Aconcagua are quick to point out that rescuers did not bring a tent, it is 99% probable rescuers thought that they would bring the party back to independencia or berlin which are (dilapidated) huts on the normal route, where many climbers have rested before or after climbs. Same thing for down bags or stoves. Toboggan and sleds do not make sense on the Aconcagua (scree and penitente).

The rescuers was a mixed bag of professionnals and amateurs, operating at an altitude so extreme that physical and mental cpabilities are reduced. Some of them came done from a summit attempt. They were not geared for that unusual rescue. They split and guaranteed as much as possible the survival of the rest by devoting enough people to bring them down (they did triage). they allocated more manpower to this more difficult case, and yet it as not enough.

The idea of cache at camp 2 on both side of the moutain is a good one. which happen to be already done 50% (emergency huts on normal route). but the state of Berlin, Independencia or Vallot (MontBlanc area) show how well the communal good is mis-treatd by most to be left in a poor state when needed.

Despite this death, thanks to the rescues which happened,
I do hope that there will continue to be amateurs that are willing to try and rescue fellow climbers high in the mountains.


R.I.P. Federico Campanini

Doug Buchanan

Mountain climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Feb 28, 2009 - 02:37pm PT
Rescue76, and colleagues of the mountains.....

The bait was too enticing.

Having been in the Army, and Vietnam, when I was inserted with a Vietnamese infantry platoon, I wanted the Snakes (Cobra gunships) overhead.

Having organized a volunteer mountain rescue group (and climbed often in the Alaska Range in winter), when I go to the mountains, I want "trained" people to stay home. Yes, they are "trained", but trained people are trained to not think beyond their training by people who were trained to not think beyond their training, or their trainers would have thrown them out of the training, or the students would have quit when they recognized that their instructors could not think beyond the training book.

The proofs are legion and obvious to everyone but trained people. Those trained people are the reason we lost the Vietnamese war, and will lose the Iraq and Afghan wars, on schedule, etceteras. They are the reason X percent of government mountain rescues fail for "political" reasons. The National Park Service came very close to killing even one of its own off-duty climbing rangers who needed a rescue in Denali National Park. The "trained" Park mountain rescue personnel did not conduct a real rescue. "Dead bodies in National Parks make good budget excuses."

The variables of the mountain environment are not subject to human control, are deadly, and vastly beyond the ludicrously limited government training manuals. Fools who do not learn how to effectively question the rampant stupidity of government training superiors who hold the power and ego to defend against questioning that reveals the flaws of power.

Effective questions advance knowledge, and get people thrown out of government training programs.

Why do we tell climbers that the park climbing fees help pay for rescues when that is not true, we are not allowed to charge for rescues, and the money goes to the US Treasury so Obama has more money for more bombs for his Presidential Ego Gratification Wars?

When I am in the unique mountain environment, I want to be there with people who are real mountain climbers because they ask real questions of every contradiction they recognize in life, including why war veterans (and everyone) must pay stinking Park Service thugs a tax (climbing fee) for the RIGHT to walk (climb) on the public land that is already owned by the public?

And if I had not been "trained" by the Army before I started asking questions and resigned my commission, I would have asked why we were slaughtering thousands of poor Vietnamese just because they refused to kowtow to the stinking Washington DC thugs who are bankrupting the working Americans for the wealth of political insiders. So why are we slaughtering poor Iraqis and Afghans while the DemocanRepublicrat's military industrial complex insiders get rich?

If you are a climber, wisely form your local volunteer mountain rescue groups of fellow climbers, for fear of the "trained" government "teams" that might "rescue" you.

DougBuchanan.com

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 28, 2009 - 03:15pm PT
doug- agreed on this point, but better for another topic.

I would have asked why we were slaughtering thousands of poor Vietnamese just because they refused to kowtow to the stinking Washington DC thugs who are bankrupting the working Americans for the wealth of political insiders. So why are we slaughtering poor Iraqis and Afghans while the DemocanRepublicrat's military industrial complex insiders get rich?

as for training, I agree and disagree. if someone has climbing skills they developed in their own time, they can be trained up into good rock/mountain rescuers in no time.

if they have no climbing skills, the classes aren't going to make them good rock/technical rescuers, but the familiarity they gain from the training will make them useful.

you don't want them in charge, or on lead, or lead rigger but they can be used for pulling, or other assigned tasks, or an extra pair of hands.

i've taken the swiftwater rescue courses, but i'm not a boater. i'd be lousy heading up a river rescue, but i could be a throwbagger.

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 28, 2009 - 03:34pm PT
we've used this thing a lot in scree and ice slopes. it really helps to have something to slide with.


http://www.skedco.com/detail.aspx?categoryID=1&productID=15
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 28, 2009 - 03:42pm PT
forget this particular rescue for a second. too much blame, defense and emotion. all except rox feel the guys did their best with what they had.

why couldn't some one set up a tent, fire up a stove, and crawl into a sleeping bag? people camp at the south col on everest at 26,000 feet.
nicolasC

climber
Feb 28, 2009 - 05:48pm PT
why couldn't some one set up a tent, fire up a stove, and crawl into a sleeping bag? people camp at the south col on everest at 26,000 feet.

1/ because there are huts at 6340 and 5900 for emergency shelter on the normal route (independencia and berlin). if posible you would go down to 5300 to ncamp nido on the normal route

2/ if HAPE, best is to bring down as quickly as possible the victim

3/ you don't want to set up a tent on the exposed slopes of Aconcagua (winds rgularly above 70 KM/h or 100 km/h) if you can avoid it

4/ settign up a tent on the top of the direct Polish is setting it up on a 50° slope (lot of work)

5/ lqst yeqr, 2 Koreans forced to bivouac on the Polish summited at the cost of some frostbite
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.

DougBuchanan.com
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.

Doug



rescue76

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.

WBraun

climber
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.

Doug
nicolasC

climber
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" http://pistehors.com/backcountry/wiki/Avalanches/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.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 1, 2009 - 10:34am PT
Transport costs (ambulance and/or heli-ambulance from the gendarmerie) and medical costs are for the victims or their insurance.

Perhaps a double-edged sword, but I like the idea of this model. Perhaps more accountability will make people more self-reliant.
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.

Peace

Karl
Hawkeye

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

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...
WBraun

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

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

Hehehe
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.

DougBuchanan.com

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.
nicolasC

climber
Mar 2, 2009 - 08:58am PT
Rokjox,

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.

http://www.alborde.com.ar/montania1/montanismo136.html.

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
Tom......

(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.

DougBuchanan.com
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 2, 2009 - 09:26pm PT
I recognize that the test of time (thus more knowledge) will prove my every statement and action to be contradicted (wrong).

I'm a bit confused by this. Does the above statement also encompass the statements which you issue as resolutions to the contradictions?
Doug Buchanan

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

Yes.

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?

DougBuchanan.com
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Mar 14, 2009 - 04:20am PT
Report from Argentina, by Facundo Garcia of Grupo de Operaciones Especiales en Rescate, as left as a comment on www.backpacker.com:

http://www.backpacker.com/blogs/the_pulse/804

and also available at:
http://tomasdinges.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/death-and-the-mountain-aconcagua-highly-detailed-incident-report/



INCIDENT REPORT-
Mt. Aconcagua incident

TYPE OF MISION: Search & Rescue / Search & Recovery.
LOCATION: Mt. Aconcagua / Mendoza Province / Republic of Argentina.
ROUTE: Approach from Normal route (North Face) and from the main peak, down to the Polish Glacier route (South-West Face)
ALTITUD OF OPERATION: 6500mts. (21.325ft.)
RESPONDERS: UPRAM (Mendoza Police Mountain Rescue Team) / Civilian climbers on scene (Volunteers).
VICTIMS INVOLVED: 6
CASUALTIES: 2

-1-

SUMARY:
Wednesday, January 14th. 2009. After the conquer of the highest mountain in the American continent, the Mt. Aconcagua, an Italian climbing team leaded by an Argentinean mountain guide (UIAAGM-IMFGA) named Federico Campanini (31), were trapped into a big storm right on the top of the mountain at 22,841ft. at 4:30pm.

With below cero temperatures -24°C (-14°F aprox.) and the sun coming down, the team had to descent as soon as possible to camp Berlin at 19.127ft. During the way down and with a snow tempest on their backs, the guide missed the track of the Normal Route, and leaded the team to the Polish Glacier route. During this attempt to descend in a wrong and more difficult route, an Italian member of the team named Elena Selin (38) fell down a slope angle and rolled down the mountain aprox. 984ft. dyeing later by diverse wounds that immobilized her, entering in shock and later dyeing by hypothermia. (Coroner´s report)

Due the situation, the rescue team received the emergency call out from the mountain guide in distress but due the terrible storm happening, the rescue command advised to deploy the rescue team as soon the storm calm down. Meanwhile, a 14 men team was moved from Camp 1 to Camp 2 to stay ready to attack the peak when there was a chance.

The Italian team survived the night by staying together to keep the warmth, eating a few raisins, chocolates and mixing urine with ice to drink. The guide Campanini, in a heroic act, gave his gloves, jacket and half of his meal to the Italians. This accelerated the hypothermia process to his body.

Next day (12 hours later) the storm continued and the rescuers decided to move up at no cost arriving to the scene after climb 4921ft. aprox. from camp 2 (Condor´s Nest) in the middle of the storm to the top of the mountain to then turn down to the Polish route in the search of the victims.

During this time, a rescue helicopter operated by Horacio Frechi fled over the top of the mountain near the Polish Route trying to locate the victims, finding one climber alive who was making signs of their location. This helicopter fell in free fall almost 980ft. due the storm and lack of visibility and hopefully the pilot controlled the machine and returned safe to Camp 1 after report the location of the victims.

After being 24 hours in the mountain, the victims were located by the rescue team who encountered and evacuated the Italian climbers Matteo Refrigeratto, Mirko Afasio and Marina Atanasio who were all in very bad physical condition such as mountain sickness and severe hypothermia. The victims could climb up to the top again to then were packed into 2 stretchers and slide down the normal route to Camp1 when they were evacuated to an hospital in Mendoza DC by helicopter.

The rescue team made a subhuman effort by staying almost 12 hours at 21.325ft. at -22°F to perform this mission saving the life of the 3 Italian climbers and leaving behind the body of the dead climber Elena Selin who wasn’t located until 12 days after by a private rescue team formed by local mountain guides who were hired by the Selin family.

Meanwhile, the life of the mountain guide who was suffering deep brain edema and hypothermia was located and the rest of the rescue team (6 men) remained with him trying to take him out for around 4/5 hours. They made all possible to remain with Campanini and evacuate him, but the time was running and there was no more time and was too late to keep the team at that height while 2 members of the rescue team were experimenting health problems as well.

The lives of the rescuers were in clear danger taking in account that they spent almost 24hs. at -22°F and they climbed in 2 days and a half to the top and stayed there. A thing that most climbers do in 8 days.

-2-

Tired, exhausted and with no supplies, the rescue team cannot wait for backups cos´ there wasn´t. They were by their own and the tried to move up 1000 ft. the body of Campanini alive to reach the top again and try to descent him from the normal route were a team of civilian climbers were climbing up to help at the same time.

Without supplies to stay another night, a proper stretcher and oxygen bottles, they were in a clear danger and asking for permission to the rescue command first, they decided to leave Campanini where they were at 884ft. down the peak in order to evacuate their selves. Campanini was alive but hardly could make it out with his brain edema and sever hypothermia case.

FACTS:
1- Mt. Aconcagua has insufficient resources to perform a SAR mission successfully in some situations like this. The rescue teams that operate above 17.000ft. precise to have in both Camp1 and Camp2 supplies stored in deposits in order to attack the peak fast and light and re-supply in this high altitude missions.

2-All rescue teams in Mt. Aconcagua are fiscally fit, trained and are very experienced, but no one has an MD or EMT member in the team. Team members has strong PHTLS training, but a lack of elements such as collapsible/lightweight SKED/Sled stretcher (SKEDCO type) and lightweight oxygen tubes to carry at that heights.

3-The rescue teams did not carried basic personal survival equipment, snow shovels, sleeping bags, oxygen bottles, stoves, etc. in order to go lite and reach the victims ASAP.

4- Poor evaluation of the rescue mission. Good rescue strategy but bad evaluation of the logistic capabilities.

CONCLUSIONS:
Typically found in many 3rd. world countries. Financial problems are also found today in the Argentinean rescue teams. Even with the lack of resources named before, the rescue teams at Mt. Aconcagua evacuated successfully a rate of 3 persons a day and in this season evacuated 240 climbers from the 3.844 climbers that were this season in the mountain. From 1926 to 2009, 126 climbers died trying to reach the top of Mt. Aconcagua, this season were actually 4 casualties in total.

The controversy around the video recorded in the last minutes of guide Campanini doesn’t reflect the real effort that those rescuers made for almost 24hs. Actually, after that heroic mission, 2 rescue members suffered lung edema and severe hypothermia en their hands.

A common question around the rescue community is why they pulled up the body of Campanini instead of made a rope-stretcher or utilize another lifting technique. For those who don´t understand, I must say that in those conditions, lift an stretcher by hand is almost impossible if you don´t have al least a 12 men team to lift in turns half of the team a couple of meters and then the rest of the team a couple of meters more and doing this to reach the top.

Due the slope angle and rocks, make a backpack stretcher to sled the body were impossible. The rescuers stayed 3 hours to lift with a rope the body of Campanini only 329ft. That can provide and overlook of the difficult terrain and body condition of the rescuers.

The right technique would be to pack the victim in an SKED stretcher, climb up 180ft. per lapse, and mount a ¨Z¨ rig or another hauling system to accelerate the lifting process to reach the top.
Today, rescue teams in South America are cutting in half climber plastic containers (those big blue colored ones used in expeds.) to use them to improvise and sled. But at those heights, carry that on the outside of the backpack or even sliding it over the ice will take down any climber/rescuer at high winds. Besides, take your gloves out to build some system like this with -29°F will chill and freeze your hands for sure.
If the team has a lack of technical rescue stretchers at least they would have to carry a bottle of oxygen, sleeping bags and snow shovel in order to extend the life of Campanini till the backups arrived.

Is absolutely understandable that at those heights, all rescue personnel needs to go light, but this is an example on how the basic personal survival equipment must be carried ALWAYS.
At that height, ask to the victim to walk by their own is impossible. The cold freeze your body, num your legs and the lack of oxygen make you dizzy and you lost the thinking capabilities.
In the video, you will note that the rescuers insult verbally Campanini. This is cos´ commonly at that altitude where there´s a lack of oxygen and you’re mentally incapacitated; your brain is hard to think and focused in a specific action. In general persons with acute mountain sickness tend to get angry sometimes, pull down the jacket´s hood and stay quiet remaining in on a place. The insults tried to break the apathy and sometimes rescuers need to shake up the victim’s body to make him release adrenaline and take him out of there.

In conclusion, the rescue team made the best they could and more. Their lack of recourses are not their fault, are the fault of those in the government who supposed to equip the law enforcement teams like this case.
This rescue team saved the life of the 3 other members of the Italian team. I don´t think their failed on the mission at all. They did all what they have on their hands to save Campanini also. Those rescuers took a hard decision that no rescuer wants to take, but also, they were ¨walking on thin ice¨ for hours. No rescue team needs to loose their men to save others life for an unnecessary reason. Is cold, tough to say, but here was the life of Campanini or the life of other 6 rescuers in play. The team leader took the right decision for sure.

For those who read this, sorry for my English. I tried to do my best to inform you about this controversy and gave you an example of a situation like this.

Inst. Facundo Garcia
Captain/Directive Committee
GOER – Argentina
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
Mar 14, 2009 - 04:27am PT
Also of interest is this account, on summitpost.org,
"Losing a New Friend on Aconcagua’s Polish Direct",
which describes a two man team's attempt to ascend that route a few days before the rescue under discussion occurred, and gives some insight into why the Polish Direct might not have been a workable route to descend with Campanini:

http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/480644/losing-a-new-friend-on-aconcagua-s-polish-direct.html

It describes the death of Stefan Jeromin when he slipped on the descent.
crock

Trad climber
The Windiest Mountain, Wyoming
May 17, 2009 - 04:22am PT
An article from the BBC with quotes from various involved persons,
"Danger on South America's highest peak":

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8048216.stm
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.

The Chief

Trad climber
From the Land where Mogols still roam!
May 17, 2009 - 12:14pm PT
IMO...

It don't matter a lick if it's on the "Big E", Mac Attack, Aca, Zion or the "Big Stone".

If you are not technically savi, don't have the experience or are physically fit and ready for the task and challenge at hand, I do not believe that it is local SAR's responsibility to be expected to and be ready to go out and save your ego based, ignorant and self-centered ass. Period.

As I see it, far too many in recent years, have taken on this false sense of security that the local SAR folks are OBLIGATED to save their ass. In having this mindset, too many folks go out and do things that have absolutely NO business doing.

And that is WRONG!

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.
The Chief

Trad climber
From the Land where Mogols still roam!
May 17, 2009 - 05:03pm PT
"Body recoveries are never pretty."

Especially when it's bits and pieces that have been out in the sun for a couple of days, are bloated and just ripe!


And let us not forget that things can go array during ANY SAR Evolution....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjHB1-c61nA&NR=1
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
May 17, 2009 - 07:59pm PT
I can't watch that one. It's been posted before.

I said that people should be forced to watch a couple of body recoveries, but people should watch a few sars. It ain't fast and it ain't easy. Don't get into trouble, then, if you do, get yourself out. If that ain't going to happen, then call SAR.

A lot of people, adhere to this. If a victim thinks this way, you can't help but want to help them.

This Aconcauga thing looks like the debate any first responder makes, weight and time vs. gear. The oldest debate in the book for climbers too. They got burned and failed, but most of the time it works. They ran up naked and had no back up plan, no cavalry coming.

It's a common mistake.

You know that guy who's pack is always too heavy so you make fun of him? He's the guy you need when the sh#t hits, him and three more like him.
The Chief

Trad climber
From the Land where Mogols still roam!
May 17, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
"You know that guy who's pack is always too heavy so you make fun of him? He's the guy you need when the sh#t hits, him and three more like him."


Like this one....
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
May 17, 2009 - 09:19pm PT
Ya got yur autographed Norman Clyde cast iron skillet in there? :-D
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