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Climbing fatality in Yosemite Valley

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Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Tue May 11, 2010 12:37 am

(i'm leaving out a lot of details about the body condition you can
contact me if you want to know what I experienced and saw in detail)



The above quote is from "30 Bananas" blog entry link. Does this respect the privacy of the accident victim? I suspect the family would not appreciate this invitation being blathered onto the Internet. Why do private e-mails need to be sent, regarding the body's condition?

This link has zero instructional value for increasing climber safety, whereas the rest of this thread at least offers some insight on safe/unsafe rapping. Perhaps the mighty elves should consider deleting this link.

respectfully,
steve
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Postby ksolem » Tue May 11, 2010 12:48 am

I read the blog from the link over on Supertopo. I kept thinking as I was reading it "Man, if I were a member of Brian's family this would be killing me."

However if you go on to read some of the comments, there is some very thoughtful stuff there.
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Postby Augie Medina » Tue May 11, 2010 1:10 am

Brian Ellis' partner that fateful day has posted a very detailed account of what happened including technical details of their rigging. It's a sobering read. I think its objective as a learning narrative is clear.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/threa ... 065&tn=140

Scroll to Japhy.
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Postby The Chief » Tue May 11, 2010 1:23 am

OK...

Here's the deal!

I am still working out the deal of my situ last summer when Jack Pressman, a client under my charge, that died of HAPE (holds the record for onset to death at 3.2 hours btw) at 10,800' after I administered 1.25 hours of CPR and then had to pronounce him dead.

The ensuing 6 hours alone with him waiting for the local SAR to show up, and never did, was one that also fired up some very intense emotions in me after my 24 years of Naval service. Of which I did 5 of those years flying SAR, 16 responding to crashes and A/C incidents that ended in many fatalities/body recoveries the likes no one should have to deal with.

The link brought back some very vivid memories of my first friends death on the eve of Oct 3, 1977 off the coast of Spain.

Now, I find nothing "interesting" in being an initial responder and witnessing a human being breath their last breath.

It remains imbedded in ones brain forever!

And... it SUCKS!

That was the intent of my post.

I feel for Zeth more than you could ever imagine.... unless you too have been there and done that.

Brian's death needs to find a path of goodness so that we can all learn from what happened. Then, do our solemn best to not let it happen to us or anyone we are climbing with or around. As do all and any fatal incidents within our community.
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Postby Augie Medina » Tue May 11, 2010 1:52 am

The Chief wrote:

Brian's death needs to find a path of goodness so that we can all learn from what happened. Then, do our solemn best to not let it happen to us or anyone we are climbing with or around. As do all and any fatal incidents within our community.


To use a fitting Hebrew word, Amen.
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue May 11, 2010 1:57 am

Good summary Chief, good restraint.
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Postby Tanngrisnir3 » Tue May 11, 2010 2:55 am

The Chief wrote:OK...

Here's the deal!

I am still working out the deal of my situ last summer when Jack Pressman, a client under my charge, that died of HAPE (holds the record for onset to death at 3.2 hours btw) at 10,800' after I administered 1.25 hours of CPR and then had to pronounce him dead.

The ensuing 6 hours alone with him waiting for the local SAR to show up, and never did, was one that also fired up some very intense emotions in me after my 24 years of Naval service. Of which I did 5 of those years flying SAR, 16 responding to crashes and A/C incidents that ended in many fatalities/body recoveries the likes no one should have to deal with.

The link brought back some very vivid memories of my first friends death on the eve of Oct 3, 1977 off the coast of Spain.

Now, I find nothing "interesting" in being an initial responder and witnessing a human being breath their last breath.

It remains imbedded in ones brain forever!

And... it SUCKS!

That was the intent of my post.

I feel for Zeth more than you could ever imagine.... unless you too have been there and done that.

Brian's death needs to find a path of goodness so that we can all learn from what happened. Then, do our solemn best to not let it happen to us or anyone we are climbing with or around. As do all and any fatal incidents within our community.


You are right: there is nothing interesting about it.

While I share some of the same sentiments as you do, working as a first responder, first in Salinas, CA, and now in Los Angeles, in frequently extremely violent areas, most of (but certainly not all) the bodies I've been around or people who've expired in my presence have had something to do with the direct actions of other people, and not through accidents, malfunctions, oversights, etc....

One develops a sort of neutrality (or, at least, I have) over time, where it's just part of the job. I wonder if those who work in similar positions, but who deal primarily with accidents, falls, car wrecks and various other similar situations develop sensitivities, for want of a better word, of a different nature.

I've seen a lot of bad things that just don't get to me, but sitting alone, at altitude, with someone who died, waiting for people who aren't coming, would be pretty much the worst.
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Postby Sleighty » Tue May 11, 2010 3:37 am

edit for info already posted.

i get shakey just reading the two accounts so far. nothing really to say here...saying "be careful out there" is a broken record and almost inappropriate in this situation, considering they triple checked everything. Very sad news.
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Postby Dragger » Tue May 11, 2010 5:51 am

Just found out that we knew Brian, stayed at our house for a long climbing weekend at Lovers Leap a while back. Heavy stomach now. I'm so sorry and sad. I'm glad we got to meet you Brian. Please rest in peace.
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Postby uwjennie » Tue May 11, 2010 6:12 am

RIP Brian - My heart goes out to your climbing partner, family, and friends in CA. I've spent time climbing with Brian and his partner. Both great climbers, tragic accident.

Jennie
Last edited by uwjennie on Tue May 11, 2010 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Craig Peer » Tue May 11, 2010 6:17 am

I'm sorry to hear about Brian - my condolences to his family and friends.
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Postby Misha » Tue May 11, 2010 8:31 am

Hold on... Is this the Brian I am thinking of!?
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Postby Dragger » Tue May 11, 2010 3:11 pm

M, you guys were here that weekend.
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Postby Guyzo » Tue May 11, 2010 4:13 pm

Mountain Impulse wrote:
Guyzo wrote:
I don't know about you folks but the weakness/flaw in this rap system is this: Rapelling with a single line system.

The climber was using a "cinch" - this is much like the Grigri, a devise made for the purpose of belaying not rappelling.

Looking at the whole set up it just looks bogus.

He died because they left off the biner and the knot pulled through the ring.

Simple as that.

The solution is simple, stop using belay devices as rapelling rigs and rap down on both lines.

I was hoping Todd Skinners death would have had a strong influence on the climbing public to stop using these for rappelling.

Sad, truly sad.


Guyzo,

I wouldn't use a Cinch for rappelling either. But apparently the use of that device didn't contribute to the accident, it was as you say the knot block pulling thru the rap ring. A 'biner would have made the difference. Plus, I'm not clear whether his knot block was a figure8 on a bight or whether he was using the EDK with which he tied the two lines together as his block.

I do disagree that a single strand rap can't be safe. For instance, a clove hitch on a locking biner set against a rapide is not ever going to pull thru.

Re Todd Skinner-as I recall it was his belay loop that broke that caused his fall and not his anchor rigging.

Too bad it takes a death to throw up reminders to check and double check your system.

Augie


All I have to say is this. The only good thing to come from this terrible event is to learn something that might prevent this from repeating itself.

The dangers of using a girgri, or a cinch, as a rap device is the shock loading of the system.

I don't know if you have ever used one of these for rapelling. I have and it's scary because to rap down.... you pull the lever back and you freefall intill you release the lever and you stop instantly. BAM right on the anchor!!!!!!!!!!

I don't care what knot is used, one never wishes to shock load their anchor like this.






This really blows.

I have had a few brushes with two climbers from UCLA at the local crags, good fellows all. I hope to see both of them at some point in the future.

Rest in peace.
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