Venusian Blind Rockfall Accident Report


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Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Jul 29, 2009 - 03:39pm PT
holy cow.....

This could have been much worse (in my view) and I am thankful that all are ok today.

Thanks for the report and take care

San Francisco
Jul 29, 2009 - 03:39pm PT
No, to my knowledge there was no other agency involved other than the Forest Service (six of them up there) and the CHP helicopter.

Four of the six Forest Service guys hiked down to us at Third Lake from there camp near Fourth/Fifth Lake (not sure exactly where). They left two guys near us at Third Lake with a radio, while two of them went up with Sean. The way it was explained to me on Sunday morning when they got down was that they were able to talk to a fire crew nearby (via radio) who were able to talk out to the Sherrif's dept (also via radio).

I asked them what would have happened if Jesse couldn't have made it down to the ground and they said Inyo SAR would have to take care of a situation like that. They also said they don't usually do this (they were there to build trails and knock down bad camp sites) but help out when they can.


Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jul 29, 2009 - 03:48pm PT
Thank goodness for a positive outcome for once lately.

D*mn it's been rough around here this year.

Good job Sean and Regina, you really came through.

Doug and I have 70 yrs experience between the two of us and we were recently double checking knots and anchors and each others gear like a couple of noobs.

Let's keep it as safe as we can out there guys!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jul 29, 2009 - 04:25pm PT
Really good work Sean and Regina. Big congratulations. That was a long and tough rescue descent and the gully you went into is famously loose.

Glad Jesse is doing well.

FYI anyone else coming down from up there, I think the other gully, right of the arete looking up, would be an easier descent and not so loose.

Pretty understandable, though, that having gone up that way you didn't want to return.

Congratulations again. You guys are the kind of cool-under-fire partners any of us would be proud to climb with.


Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Jul 29, 2009 - 04:35pm PT
Jesse, Sean and Regina made hardest and most important part of there self-rescue while I met them at the base while they rapped last pitch around 9 pm. At this time we knew that party which climb Moon Goddess Arete (Joel and beezee) is going to initiate rescue very soon.
We all have no doubt that helicopter will arrive next morning ( Jesse even asked if it any chances that heli will be landing at night)
I personally was very optimistic about outcome of this accident at this time and even think to climb next day what we were planning to climb. And it turned out that everything ended very good. Two rangers with communication device came by midnight and was able to communicate with helicopter pilots in the morning( pilots get informed/ assignment at 4:30 am, show up at 6 am, and get landed around 7 am). They landed on unprovable small flat island just two rope length ( 120 m) from Jesse which make possible to transport him from his bivy in about an hour. ( 30 min per pitch) When helicopter with Jesse took off it was moment of happiness and relief for everybody, but it seems at this time that this is how it should be when climber hurt in the Mountain....
Now after two days pass , I think more and more that it was truly miracle, so many things turned to be working out together. To many "if"
1. When Sean pull the rock which smash Jesse he told me he almost fall. What if he would fall. Can Jesse after rock smash him still catch Sean? If booth of them be hurt would they be able to rap?
2. What if would be no other parties climbing in parallel on MG arete. Who notify rangers and initiate the rescue?
3. No one had a first respond/ medical experience . Intuitively they did right things with wrapping open wound with t-shurt and climbing tape. No one had First aid kit
4. We were absolutely sure that helicopter will arrive next morning. But read what The Chief had experience - and looks like you can not count on heli if you have emergency in Sierra.
5. If pilots of helicopter would not be able land in 120 m from Jesse on this shitty sloppy scree, but with 1200m distance? 12 hours of moving him?

Put all those "if" together- it is really luck after luck after luck. Just start of this story was not good, but it is very probable to kick the rock there .
Check Clint's tread about recent chains of accidents in Temple crag.

I had before an arrogant perception that climbing in Sierra is about same as climbing in the Valley, where you just puffing if not acclimatize.
It is wrong. I'll go climb in Sierra next time , I would not expect to be rescued as in the Valley
Next time if I'll go there to climb I'll take First response aid course, Satelite phone and first aid kit, Contemplate self- rescue plan and pick up the route accordingly

Jesse- best wishes and full recovery

Social climber
Jul 30, 2009 - 10:00pm PT
Hi guys,
Glad you're all O.K.
Ye should check out this post on that other forum;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;forum_view=forum_view_collapsed;

Topic Author's Reply - Aug 2, 2009 - 02:49am PT
Jesse is back at home on the couch and on his way to recovery. Thanks for the many well wishes.

Thanks NotIt, philo, mtnyoung and others for all the good advice. It's going to take time to sort out all the fear and intense emotion from that day and it helps to hear from others who have gone through the same process. I've certainly gained a new appreciation for supertopo.

Ghost, sorry 'bout stealing your name.

Just to be clear, none of us are beating ourselves up about anything that happened after the accident. I asked for feedback not because I feel like we screwed up but because there's room for improvement in any situation, and I'm thankful that we came out of this with the opportunity to learn from it.

Social climber
Aug 2, 2009 - 03:05am PT
hey there gost, say.... oh my.... i am not a climber, but sharing any kind of a rescue will always do someone else some good...

even if just by "walking through it with you" in their mind, and cheering you on----it is enough to one day help them, theirselves cheer themSELVES on, if needs be, or another...

*also, thanks bz, for sharing your part, too...

say, i am very glad to hear that jesse is okay and that the everyone was able to see this through... sometimes, yes, it can be near as shocking to look back at it all, even with the good outcome...

one needs quiet time, sometimes, even if they don't always realize it.... may you all have a time of good peace and some well days, and many more times of living life in the great outdoors...

god bless, thanks for all the things you have shared through all this, and all that the others have shared...


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Aug 2, 2009 - 09:47am PT
Kudos to you and the rest of your crew for acting calmly and responsibly in a very difficult situation. I hope that Jessie has a speedy recovery.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Aug 2, 2009 - 09:56am PT
Man o man!

малодец алексии!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Aug 2, 2009 - 03:02pm PT
Good job, guys!

Trying to stay calm and think is difficult in situations like that.

You guys did well, and people are home safe. Good job!

Heal up, Jesse!

Sonoma County
Aug 2, 2009 - 08:52pm PT
My wife and I arrived at Third Lake that afternoon. We saw two climbers descending out of the gully and snowfield in the late afternoon and noticed that they did not decend to the lakes (the other climbing/rescue party?). We thought something was up then, but hearing and seeing the chopper in the morning, we really knew something was wrong.

Glad to hear he is doing well.
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