welle wrote:From what I heard that day from other climbers who were climbing closer to the scene, the guy was climbing Central gully with two partners, decided to bail from the top of the first pitch (his partners pressed on), rapped down, lost his rope, tried to get it by glissading and lost control.
Sorry, but this is not completely correct. I was there on Saturday and saw some really wierd things go down. The climber who fell actually was very close to topping out on the Alpine Garden. He completed three single-stranded raps to get to the bottom of the ice buldge.
The first was from the rap station at the top of Central and his rope was tied-off to the rap anchor. He had another party untie his rope once he had established himself after the first rap. I built him an anchor using pickets for the second rap, tied his rope to the anchor and then dropped his rope down to him once he was off rappel. Apparently he didn't know how to rappel because he had the rope running through one slot of the ATC and then back out the other. A couple, about 60 meters below me, rigged another anchor for him to get past the ice buldge, but this was the last party able to help. I told him to be careful once off rappel and make sure he self-belayed himself, but he didn't know what self-belay meant. He had only a mountaineering axe.
Now, I have no idea why his party would leave him, especially at the top of the climb and with his experience level. The weather was perfect and time was not an issue. When I first approached him, he complained of frozen feet and needed to get down fast. He was wearing non-insulated boots. I didn't see or hear the fall and didn't learn about it until back at IME later in the afternoon. The snowcat going to rescue him passed me on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail a couple of hours later. I hope he's alright. He was quite nervous about his feet when I was talking to him.