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A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Shasta

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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby Diggler » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:24 am

The repeated lapses in judgment demonstrated here are extraordinary. While the entire incident is exceptional, perhaps the thing that's most exceptional is that it seems quite possible, from the self-analyses expressed in the story, that nothing was learned... If anything, I think that some things deserve scrutiny, so that other inexperienced glacier travelers don't fall into the same hole (pun intended).

At first I was shocked of why it happened because in my mind I did everything correct and it seemed to be easy and feasible to do.
The fact that this happened in the first place might be a good place to start self-analyzing whether or not the whole self-glacier crossing without a partner/walking over "questionable" snow bridges thing is a good idea or not- a lot of people might conclude that it was NOT a good idea upon falling into a crevasse.

I was not even mentally prepared for the failure. I usually expect the worst to be ready for the proper reaction but not this time.
Crossing a glacier by yourself & crossing sketch snow bridges- basically playing Russian Roulette on the side of a mountain, & saying you "usually expect the worst"????? Undoubtedly on of the best examples of self-denial, if I've ever heard one!

However, I feel a bit ashamed about what happened and the fact I did not even think that my axe might not hold in the ice. Perhaps I would have used both axes or just walked around. But this was supposed to be a crevasse crossing exercise and fun, not avoiding them. That was the purpose of this trip. I jumped over crevasses and crossed questionable bridges many times. Sometimes there is no other choice, especially on the way down.
Personally, if I were in that situation, the first 2 feelings I'd have would be 1. scared shitless, & 2. really stupid. "... a bit ashamed" would be WAY down the list. A "crevasse crossing exercise," alone & with no safety back-ups (rope, anchor, self-belay, ...)? Wow. The other, quite obvious choice, even when deciding to jump over crevasses, is to go with a partner & avoid questionable snow-bridges.

It would be nice to have new and razor sharp crampons for every climb. Maybe that would help in a situation like this
Sound judgment trumps equipment. Bachar didn't need Stealth rubber (TM) to solo Yosemite testpieces back in the day.

And now I’m trapped in that hole and have to figure out how to get out of it. Is it even possible? Of course it is. It always is.
Others should recognize that this statement is incorrect. It is NOT always possible. The author would do well to recognize his good fortune, & that this easily could have ended differently.

However, the rest of my climb stayed frustrating till I got back to my camp. While continuing climbing, though, ... I still crossed more crevasses on the way up and down but with paying respect to them, no more jumping over or crossing questionable bridges."
The fact that you continued going up, & putting yourself into similar situations is remarkable. It's safe to say that most others would have turned back at that point.

If you have no control, hope is the only what’s left.
It's important to realize that staying out of that situation from the get-go would have entailed "control."

Climb Safe I agree with this- the exact opposite of what is presented here.

I'd highly recommend reconsidering solo trips like this to the hills, if not for yourself, then at least for your friends & loved ones. If continuing glacier crossings are in the future, I'd highly recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/Glacier-Travel-Cr ... 0898862507 I hope your luck holds out, & even more importantly, your judgment improves in the future.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby clmbr » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:00 am

Vitaliy M. wrote:. . .
Crossing a glacier roped to one-two other competent partners never been controversial- it is a norm.

Norm for many but not all.

Vitaliy M. wrote:. Would for sure help you if you broke/severely injured yourself in this fall. Even if they did not get you out (even though competent partners should have no problem with that) they would be able to get help...

I've never needed help in the mountains (you never know what might happened in the future though), on the contrary, was helping others to get out of sh… and once on the safe ground some just ran away without any concern if I was still OK. So there is no guarantee.

Vitaliy M. wrote:. To be honest, when I first saw your posts on the Bay Area Mountaineering group looking for partners to climb Shasta/Whitney in a storms I was a bit shocked.

Sorry to scare you. I’ll avoid posts like this (or any) in the future.

Vitaliy M. wrote:Even though Shasta and Whitney are CA 14ers, they still kill multiple people every year.

I'm not new to mountaineering and heard/read that many times, but thanks.

Vitaliy M. wrote:As climbers we should be READY to deal with situations, but we should NOT put ourselves in these dangerous situations on purpose.

How can you be READY if you don't practice in such or similar situations? In which many people die because they thought they were READY. Do you know the purpose of drills?


Diggler wrote:The repeated lapses in judgment demonstrated here are extraordinary. While the entire incident is exceptional, perhaps the thing that's most exceptional is that it seems quite possible, from the self-analyses expressed in the story, that nothing was learned... If anything, I think that some things deserve scrutiny, so that other inexperienced glacier travelers don't fall into the same hole (pun intended).

A good idea.

Diggler wrote:At first I was shocked of why it happened because in my mind I did everything correct and it seemed to be easy and feasible to do.
The fact that this happened in the first place might be a good place to start self-analyzing whether or not the whole self-glacier crossing without a partner/walking over "questionable" snow bridges thing is a good idea or not- a lot of people might conclude that it was NOT a good idea upon falling into a crevasse.

a lot but not all.

Just to summarize the rest:

"Climb Safe" has different perspective for different people. It simly means don't get hurt. There are many people who climb solo and do really crazy and very, very "unsafe" things. I'm not even close to that. For me "Climb Safe" is doing whatever one might be comfortable doing without getting in accident or being rescued. Luck is the last thing I count on in the mountains. "Expect the worst and hope for the best," some people say. I say expect the worst so you would not be surprised, anticipate being ready for the right move if something happens. Do not panic if you are in trouble. Look around and think, there IS ALWAYS a solution; unless, you are dead or under avalanche, for instance. That is my point, never ever give up. You can't think negatively because you may die. You have to fight. And this is my primary message.

My mistake was "not to anticipate" and I am analyzing that factor how it was possible and programming my brain not to happen again. The rest of the experience is, again, a fight for my life. But fight, not praying for mercy or SAR.

As of climbing style, some people like to go with partners, some only with the professional guides, some other solo, and still some other solo and in solitude. But to belong to the last group you've better have a lot of experience (not just skills) and as Roper said, know what you are doing. And what I call experience are among things that Vitaliy avoids. Rope may sometimes become a death trap (e.g. Mt Hood 10 years ago). But if you are not a solo climber you will never understand that for the same purpose as many don't understand mountaineering at all. Fortunately, we live in democracy and everyone has right to be dissatisfied.


Thank you for reading and taking time to analyze my story. People will make mistakes but the important is what they do after. Will they be able to recover or just wait to die or for SAR to come?
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby Skateboards2Scrapers » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:48 am

You are such a hardman. Unreal.

People will make mistakes but the important is what they do after.


Your life, do as you please. I won't be posting in the memorial thread when the warning signs are turned into spray and you are practically breaking your arm from patting yourself on the back so hard.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:22 am

And what I call experience are among things that Vitaliy avoids.


Yeah, I avoid things like jumping over crevasses with sketchy snow bridges when I am solo. Never did I think I NEED that to get experience. It is quite entertaining you do not see anything wrong with it still. If you want experience climbing out of crevasses, how about top roping ice climbs, instead of falling into an unknown crevasse. Where is your experience going to be when you fall in one you can't crawl out from? Cuz not all these crevasses are created equal.

For me "Climb Safe" is doing whatever one might be comfortable doing without getting in accident or being rescued.


Well, I guess you effed that up big time on your last trip.

Understandably you may be pissed off at the critique you received in the thread and are getting a bit defensive, but you brought it upon yourself by posting a TR, this thread, and a thread in BAMM. Need any more attention? : )

How can you be READY if you don't practice in such or similar situations? In which many people die because they thought they were READY. Do you know the purpose of drills?


Next trip I suggest you go up Avalanche Gulch after a big windy storm, solo. You need some experience getting out from under the avalanche next. Seems like you got the crevasse rescue drill covered. Expect you were not in control of that drill, were you?
Personally knowing that I can lead Wi4+ ice/aid climb, is a good enough for me to feel 'ready' to get out of a crevasse alone if my body allows me to. And if all limbs are broken than it doesn't really matter. BUT I will not put myself in such situation in the first place.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby WML » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:03 pm

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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:18 pm

clmbr wrote: Fortunately, we live in democracy and everyone has right to be dissatisfied.


amen to that! everyone chill on climbr here...so he threw himself into a crevasse and managed to climb out and he wrote a TR about it...it's all good.


when I was 9 years-old back in 1969 we used to throw dirt clods at drunk drivers, late at night. At the end of our street there was a big cow pasture next to the Evergreen cemetary and a road curved along the cow pasture; the road fed in from downtown where the drunks were. So around midnight a bunch of us 9 year-olds would go down there and rain dirt clods down from a bluff, down at the drunks speeding along at 80mph in their Oldsmobiles.

then we got the idea to stand in the middle of the road and set ourselves on fire and wait for the drunks. I stole a can of my mom's Aqua-Netta hairspray...we'd spray a bunch of Aqua-Netta on one kid's sweatshirt and baseball cap, listen for the speeding Oldsmobile, then set a match to him!!!!!!!!

the Aqua-Netta burned big and fierce for about 7 seconds while the kid danced around in the road, with a drunk speeding at him, a bunch of flames on top of his head!!!!!!!!! when the drunk hit the brakes we'd let loose from above with our arsenal of dirt clods, then run and hide in the eucalyptus grove.


good times....stupid but fun


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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby simonov » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:45 pm

This is the most satisfying dogpile thread in SP history.
Nunc est bibendum.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby clmbr » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:35 pm

Vitaliy M wrote:Personally knowing that I can lead Wi4+ ice/aid climb, is a good enough for me to feel 'ready' to get out of a crevasse alone if my body allows me to. And if all limbs are broken than it doesn't really matter.

So you need permission from your body? Bummer! And again, how would you know you are ready if you have never tried? I understand, Vertical Limit.

One of the different between you, Vitaliy, and me is that everybody on every forum knows what you have climbed and accomplished (probably you call your mama every 15 mins or so while in the mountains; I had a guy in my team like that once and his wife called sheriff because he lost the cell reception), but maybe no more than a few people know just a lit bit about my climbing experiences. And if I tell the story I tell to my friends and sometimes to a driver to keep him/her awake while we are getting there. And yes you beat me; I've never done AG below 4 hours but I did Shasta in less than 4 days. Does it count?


" wrote:BUT I will not put myself in such situation in the first place.

Yeah, yeah, that’s what all these dead people were saying.


" wrote:Next trip I suggest you go up Avalanche Gulch after a big windy storm, solo.

I did, I did and not just after but before and during and not only Avi.


Steve1215
You were one of the crazy adventurers. I know, I know, you were young and stupid back then. But at least you admitted.


Vitaliy M. wrote:Understandably you may be pissed off at the critique you received in the thread and are getting a bit defensive, but you brought it upon yourself by posting a TR, this thread, and a thread in BAMM. Need any more attention? : )

How would you even know I'm not making this up to get "some attention?" Follow your instinct.

I'm surprised, or maybe even disappointed, this thread is going so slow; perhaps, because I'm not dead. We have had more entertainment on this forum when someone has died. Well... But I want you to have fun. Please.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:08 pm

So you need permission from your body? Bummer! And again, how would you know you are ready if you have never tried? I understand, Vertical Limit.

One of the different between you, Vitaliy, and me is that everybody on every forum knows what you have climbed and accomplished (probably you call your mama every 15 mins or so while in the mountains; I had a guy in my team like that once and his wife called sheriff because he lost the cell reception), but maybe no more than a few people know just a lit bit about my climbing experiences. And if I tell the story I tell to my friends and sometimes to a driver to keep him/her awake while we are getting there.


During an unplanned crevasse fall your body can get severely injured. And without your limbs working you or I would not physically be able to climb out. It is not a skill you want to practice. Getting lowered into a crevasse and climbing out is practicing skills, falling in due to own incompetence=fucking up.

According to your piece you were there to do drills such as 'jumping over crevasses' and 'walking over sketchy snow bridges.' Both of these are not skills. It's something one does when you need to.

I do not keep anything I do in secret. I have no clue what your previous experience is, but currently you go up dog routes on Shasta and Whitney, while actively looking for other noob partners to do ridiculous trips like go to Helen lake and wait out a storm. Ridiculous. Not sure why you want to insult me in your response by comparing me to some cry baby, you have never climbed with me.

So to pose for this photo you had to put your camera on a timer and crawl back into that crevasse? LOL

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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:09 pm

What was the objective of posting this report? It doesn't seem anything was learned here. Whenever an incident such as this occurs it is important to pick something up from it so that similar or worse situations don't happen again in the future. It doesn't look like that has happened.

Bottom line... if solo on a glacier at 11,000+ feet on a mountain it is not the appropriate time and place to be practicing these types of skills. No one here has any business being on this route without a partner and a rope available... ever (much less walking up to and jumping over crevasses and intentionally putting themselves in even more danger without any type of assistance available). Everything was not done correctly here.

Also it is NOT always possible to get yourself out of a crevasse. That comment was irresponsible and laughable. It is a good mentality to have once in a bad situation situation, but a dangerous and potentialy deadly one to have when approaching a route like this. And it is also flat out incorrect... you could very easily have gone down in that crevasse and had no mechanism to get out whatsoever.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby clmbr » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:34 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:...Not sure why you want to insult me in your response...

I don’t want to insult you or anyone else. I’ve always respected you as a climber. Ask our mutual friend. But after these responses and attempts to educate and attacking me like I am a novice to mountaineering I realized you have no real mountaineering experience but skills. Your experience is only from books and movies. So this is just my reaction or defense as you call it.

Also I rather feel like you (and perhaps a few others) try to insult me. My climbing style is mine which I have developed over years based on various experiences. You don’t have to (and I am not expecting anyone) to like it. But, please, do not try to enforce on me your way of climbing even if it is standardized. Mine works well for me.

" wrote:So to pose for this photo you had to put your camera on a timer and crawl back into that crevasse? LOL
Image

No, this is just a snapshot from the video (it’s online and less than 4 mins) and I set up camera only once because it was very safe.
I posted it in Shasta Conditions so less experienced people would understand what to expect. And now here you go:

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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:31 pm

clmbr wrote:I don’t want to insult you or anyone else. I’ve always respected you as a climber. Ask our mutual friend. But after these responses and attempts to educate and attacking me like I am a novice to mountaineering I realized you have no real mountaineering experience but skills. Your experience is only from books and movies. So this is just my reaction or defense as you call it.


Experience is earned through trips to different ranges, mountains, practicing/applying skills, under different conditions, etc etc. Unfortunately I did not get my experience from reading books, I did not even read half of what is in freedom of the hills (imagine that), I gained my skills by getting out and doing things. Sometimes I knew what I was doing, sometimes I didn't. But I usually took the criticism from others, especially when it is constructive. Maybe I was a bit sarcastic in my previous comments and I apologize for that, no one wants to be treated like a POS in a public forum. Practicing skills is improving yourself as a mountaineer. My experience is from doing lots of climbing every week and traveling to climb in US (California, Alaska, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Montana, Washington), and Canada. I rock climb and ice climb. If in your opinion experience comes from hiking up to some point on Shasta in a white out solo, I have done that too. In this thread I am not trying to offend you, but giving advice- yes. You did not start this thread because you wanted people to ignore your TR, right? You started it so there is some kind of a discussion and to see what other climbers think about the situation in your TR, correct? Well seems like it is not only me who thinks practicing things like jumping over crevasses and crossing sketchy snow bridges is appropriate to do solo (IMO these two are not skills and should be avoided even when roped if possible). I believe it is perfectly fine to solo things (rock routes, snow routes, ice routes), but performing actions that put you at HIGH danger ALONE on a GLACIER is NOT appropriate while soloing. I do not understand why you believe it is normal. Yes, there are some idiots out there that can put you under more danger than you would have while alone, but that's why we do not climb with everyone out there/screen for good competent partners/trust only those who earn our trust.

clmbr wrote: But, please, do not try to enforce on me your way of climbing even if it is standardized. Mine works well for me.


According to your comment bellow it does not look like it works that well. We SHOULD NOT (although you can do whatever as you wish- freedom of the hills right. just don't start threads that encourage arguments/ideas brought up by others) be left out without a safety plan alone, especially knowing you could have been severely injured in a crevasse fall (that you did not see coming).

clmbr wrote:What matter is I did not see this coming, had no backup plan in case something goes wrong, did not even consider using the other ax, was overconfident. And I am ashamed of that. This was indeed a dangerous move.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:04 pm

-

what y'all don't understand is that "climbr" is an anomalous outlier

...the dude is in a totally different headspace than the rest of us...so normal rules don't apply, as with Alex Honnold....ya dig?


in the Art World these folks are called "outsider artists"


leave the dude alone...he's like the legendary FIGHT ON of yore....


also, I see leaping ropeless over giant yawning crevasses as becoming an Olympic Winter Sport someday!

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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby clmbr » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:...
I gained my skills by getting out and doing things. Sometimes I knew what I was doing, sometimes I didn't.

And that is the right spirit.

" wrote:...
Maybe I was a bit sarcastic in my previous comments and I apologize for that, no one wants to be treated like a POS in a public forum.

Fair enough.

clmbr wrote:What matter is I did not see this coming, had no backup plan in case something goes wrong, did not even consider using the other ax, was overconfident. And I am ashamed of that. This was indeed a dangerous move.

Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s why I wrote about it. I wrote about my mistake. My mistake was not jumping over a crevasse (as you see it), it could easily happen on one of the icy slopes, or anywhere else, but the fact I was not in my alert mode and did not anticipate the fall and jumped over insecurely. I know it is hard to comprehend and will not even try to explain anymore because we are in completely different dimensions. However, once it happened I regained my alert and put in the self defend mode and attempted self rescue. So 1) never lose your focus, especially in questionable situation, and 2) never give up once sh… happens. But most of you are distracted by the fact I was alone on the glacier and was jumping over the crevasse. Fair enough. But we would not have this story if I succeeded. It would not be any lesson to learn, as you say.

The glaciers conditions at the time of my trip were perfect, icy and no hidden traps; completely different than a year and two ago with soft snow and hidden crevasses. I repeat perfect! I did not want to say so to encourage those who have no or limited glacier traverse experience. I loved the fact that Hotlum exposed so many crags. It became pretty and interesting.

However, I discourage anyone from doing what I did (as they say, “don’t try this at home”). I don’t even recommend going there (that’s the reason of the movie and TR), especially if you are not sure what you are doing, roped or not roped. And I believe it has already worked on some people. So perhaps this was my small contribution in preventing some people from getting into a trouble.

Amen!

Please make some jokes now.
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Re: A solo climber falls in a crevasse on Hotlum Glacier, Sh

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:56 pm

If you had died in that crevasse those little black worms would have eaten you.
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