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Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:06 pm

Ben B. wrote:Hay, I'm not the shit-talking internet climbing board poster, but I just feel compelled to stand up to this madness. I can't believe all of you are just playing into this and freaken helping this chick totally undercut her husband.


I think you are missing the OP's point as well as most of the responses. The OP wants her husband to climb Rainier, but wants him to do it responsibly and as safely as he can, because she you know, loves him and wants him to come home. Nobody responded for him not to climb, but recommended safer ways to climb the mountain. How is that a bad thing? She is doing the research her husband apparently refuses to do, not undercut him. It is wive's jobs, especially pregnant wifes, to make sure their husbands don't do stupid things. I've been married long enough to accept that fact.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby Andrew Rankine » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:52 pm

Ben B. wrote:Hay, I'm not the shit-talking internet climbing board poster, but I just feel compelled to stand up to this madness. I can't believe all of you are just playing into this and freaken helping this chick totally undercut her husband.

OP- Is your husband an able and competent human being?

Yes? Then how's about having a little faith in his decisions?

No? You shouldn't have married the worthless sod to begin with- do yourself a favor and let him walk off the edge of the planet.

Does your husband know that people die on Rainier all the time? I bet he does. I bet he's decided to be a big boy and climb that sonuvabitch anyway- like every climber who climbs mountains that've killed people. Should a couple noobs go climb Rainier? YES. They should, if they feel compelled to. Know how I started climbing? I bought a rope, and grabbed a couple friends, and I climbed the closest peak. That happened to be Hood, but if it'd been Rainier in my back yard, it would have been Rainier.

Give the guy some credit.


Amen.

I understand that you may be concerned, but you have to have faith in the guy. If I was told I couldn't climb a mountain it would make me want to climb it even more (a few mountains come to mind for me here). All you can do it be supportive and try to help out your husband, not try to work against his goals.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:05 pm

rankinesoccer wrote:If I was told I couldn't climb a mountain it would make me want to climb it even more (a few mountains come to mind for me here). All you can do it be supportive and try to help out your husband, not try to work against his goals.


Where does the OP state she told her husband he may not climb Rainier? She doesn't. She is being supportative by doing the research that should be done but he is not doing.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby clmbr » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:34 pm

wifey,
I rather avoid sharing publicly some of my experiences but in this case, perhaps, it may help you to see a different picture of your husband's blind passion to climb Rainier. And I'm sure many here have had similar experiences.

The first time I attempted Rainier I wanted to solo it. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the solo climbing permit was rejected based on my inadequate (or rather lack of) previous glacier experience. Yes I had rock climbing (including solo) experience but not glacier traverse (not the real one).

A year before that, during my first West Coast trip, I climbed Shasta (AG) and got high altitude symptoms I could not understand and retreated to (most likely) spare my life. But this did not stop my mountaineering desire. In fact, over this trip I saw Rainier and marked it in my AAA map with a promise of coming back and climbing it; it looked so big, white and so inviting.

So my next year (annual) climbing trip I started with Shasta, then Hood, and then Rainier. Due to denial of solo permit I had to hook up with other party. This experience was remarkable. At Camp Muir public cabin, some people had been waiting for six days for the weather to calm down and let them climb. The two guys I hooked up with could not wait any longer because there were going back to Europe, so we finally started climbing at 6am in very cloudy and windy conditions. In an hour we came out of clouds and the panorama around us became stunning. An endless ocean of pure white and fluffy clouds with proudly sticking out nearby volcanoes and huge ice blocks and deep crevasses covering Rainier's slopes were breath taking. I could not decide what to photograph first. On the summit, however, due to inadequate clothing I thought I was going to freeze and asked my buddies to rush down. Only one more party made it that day.

After Rainier on my list was Mt Baker, a small mountain by a Canadian border. And I did it (solo) in warm weather. Many people climbed the mountain that day and all of them called me "crazy". This climb was my first real glacier traverse education and experience, not Rainier with hard frozen bridges.

As twoshuzz said that was back then and now I'm more conservative even though I still do a lot of solo climbing. However, the scariest Rainier trip I had was the one which started perfectly, with the right conditions, weather, my attitude and so on. But this dramatically changed in about two hours of the second day and the whole experience changed in to a survival trip during which I had three very close calls while escaping from the mountain in whiteout conditions. In fact two people died on Rainier during that storm. Luck is the last think I count on in the mountains. But you will hear more about innocent successful stories than the real experiences, which will invite more and more ignorants.


Every person needs to learn on his/her own. You cannot pass your experiences to anyone. If someone wants to do something very badly, it's almost no way to stop that person. We all have some desires and passions. Don't we?
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby Ben Beckerich » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:45 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:She is doing the research her husband apparently refuses to do, not undercut him. It is wive's jobs, especially pregnant wifes, to make sure their husbands don't do stupid things. I've been married long enough to accept that fact.


Says who? Says her? Unless he's a complete moron (if so, refer to my first post), he's done plenty of research- and probably the type that nets you useful and applicable information, not the odd opinion of anonymous internet posters with utterly unknown backgrounds, motives, and experience levels.

Reading into her post: I don't want him to climb, but we've only been married for a year or two, and haven't yet started putting my foot down and telling him what he can and can't do, so instead, I'm going to make him sound like a typical noobs-lost-on-Rainier news story candidate and divine the evidence I need to throw in his face how ignorant and stupid he's being.

Taking the OP at face value: I don't trust my husband. Despite the fact that he's an athlete and in 20x better condition than 90% of people who climb the mountain, I don't think he's fit enough, intelligent enough to make wise decisions about it, and if I seriously have to let him do this, I want him to do this the way I want him to do it, not how he's decided it's best for him to do it.

Either way, it stinks.

I've also been married long enough to know a thing or two about marriage. If my beloved had ever under-cut me like this, we would likely not have the wonderful marriage that we have today. When I decided I wanted to climb, all she had to say was something along the lines of, "if you're really sure this is what you want to do, then go with God... but you'd better come home!" She knows I'm a responsible, strong, and able man. She trusts she made a good choice in life-long partner. She's never questioned my climbing decisions (and some of them, in hindsight, have been questionable).

We have 4.5 kids, and I'm a sole-provider, BTW. It's not like she has nothing to lose.
where am i going... and why am i in this handbasket?
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby Andrew Rankine » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:53 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:
rankinesoccer wrote:If I was told I couldn't climb a mountain it would make me want to climb it even more (a few mountains come to mind for me here). All you can do it be supportive and try to help out your husband, not try to work against his goals.


Where does the OP state she told her husband he may not climb Rainier? She doesn't. She is being supportative by doing the research that should be done but he is not doing.


Honest, this is just one way to stop him from climbing the mountain...the mountain will never be perfect until there is an elevator to the top. Has he done this research? Probably, but wifey may not be aware of all of it...I know it is a pain to explain every single minute detail to non-climbers. I would like to here what hubby has to say about the details. Give us the "gameplan" in his words.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:12 pm

rankinesoccer wrote:Honest, this is just one way to stop him from climbing the mountain...the mountain will never be perfect until there is an elevator to the top.

Please explain your amazing mind reading abilities to me. I myself, lacking such abilties, am limited to reading the OPs words and taking them at face value. Hubby's agressive itinerary is wrought with problems. He is relying on his fitness to overcome his complete inexperience "Never climbed ... a mountain in boots and crampons". Wifey proffered three very reasonable alternatives. So, Carnac, what am I missing here?
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby albanberg » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:39 pm

I'm surprised people are saying that he should climb. If wifey's remarks are accurate, he's a wanker in terms of climbing....so it's probably not a good idea for him to climb without a guide.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:54 pm

albanberg wrote:I'm surprised people are saying that he should climb. If wifey's remarks are accurate, he's a wanker in terms of climbing....so it's probably not a good idea for him to climb without a guide.

I don't think it is unreasonable for them to climb, but I do think the options that wifey proffered are much safer. Certainly adding a third, experienced climber to the group should be acceptible in terms of the style hubby wishes and would add a large margin of safety. It is clear to me that the climbers did not do enough research if they are proposing such an unrealistic itinerary. Nobody would advocate such an itinerary for two climbers who have never climbed Rainier before, especially one climber with no experience at all. Some folks are taking umbrage that wifey is 'going behind hubby's back', but it is obviously well intentioned especially since these two have not properly researched this climb as evidenced by their proposed itinerary.
Last edited by ExcitableBoy on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby wifey » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:56 pm

For the record:

1. I am not sharing any of these posts with my husband. I am using these posts to understand if my concerns are reasonable and to get an idea of climbing best practices for novices on Rainier. Of course, I would not rely exclusively on chat boards. This is a starting point, not an end point.

2. I trust my husband entirely. However, people who are novices often don't know what they don't know, even really smart novices. My husband has had rainier on his calendar for six months now. I never asked questions about his preparation or climb plan because I assumed that he and his friend had it locked down. Two weeks before their trip, I learned that they would go two-man and without stopping for a bivy. I have climbed Kilimanjaro and knew there were lots of crevasses on rainier, so given that my husband would be completely new to altitude climbing, climbing technique, and crevasse safety/rescue, this plan seemed very risky to me. Hence the beginning of my own research.

3. I actually really want my husband to climb rainier. My kili experience was one of the highlights of my life, and I would love for him to have the same experience. I do want him to do it safely though. My one regret is that I did not ask questions months ago. Doing so would have given him plenty of time to train, go on baker/Adams, and then rainier on schedule.

4. My approach to marriage: you are a team and the both members need to be comfortable with decisions of this nature. If one spouse is uncomfortable, work it out and find alternatives. I would hate for my husband to tell me "do whatever you want honey," if he in fact had concerns for what I was about to do. I'd want to address his concerns and make us both happy with the final decision.

Speaking of final decisions, my husband cancelled the rainier trip for now and just ordered a book on climbing the cascades from amazon. And he spent the morning practicing his crevasse rescue knots. This convo has been extremely helpful and I thank everyone (even ben b ;) for their input.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby wifey » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:04 pm

One other thing: I was able to use this convo to figure out that some of my concerns were unfounded (I.e., my husband's fitness level) while some were legitimate(ex: two-man team). This has not in any way been a tool to wield against my hubby, as Ben b assumes. We were better able to find realistic, reasonably safe alternative with help from this convo.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby clmbr » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:30 pm

wifey wrote:For the record:
. . .
Speaking of final decisions, my husband cancelled the rainier trip for now and just ordered a book on climbing the cascades from amazon. And he spent the morning practicing his crevasse rescue knots. This convo has been extremely helpful and I thank everyone (even ben b ;) for their input.

Wifey, good for you and your husband.

Let me give you a couple more examples from my trips to the Cascades. The first one was before internet era. I've been calling to the ranger station at Shasta for weather info for two weeks to finally realize some suspicion and went anyway. Basically, they could've sensed lack of my expertise and on purpose kept me away from the mountain to save me and them from the possible trouble. This board somewhat is doing similar. I was not stopped from attempting the climb but learned a lesson.

On the opposite, some other time (on Rainier) when I was contemplating quitting climbing due to being scared by some recent events, I was "pushed" by the climbing ranger to do the climb in windy weather and thank to him keep climbing till now.

The tone and details, in this case, of mountaineering conversation is usually based on the lowest common denominator of parties involved. Your husband will climb Rainier no matter what but after he clears his mind from doubts, not necessary when he gets technically proficient. In the favorable conditions he could do the climb even now (like many people starting at Camp Muir), but it's always better to be prepared just in case. Because they are planning a day trip, they should definitely avoid being above the high camp in warm weather and, perhaps, should recalculate their starting time.

As of wife/husband part, for my safety and her peace of mind she never travels with me anymore when I climb. I also try to stay away from such conversations with my broader family. When I climb my mind has to be absolutely clear from any noise and completely focused on one task, SAFETY.

I wish you both (actually three) wonderful life and adventures.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby BigMitch » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:41 pm

Wifey:

I suggest that you do what Excitableboy suggests. I have always found him to be the voice of reason on this forum.

I think that it is completely nuts for your husband, whom we assume has not crevasse rescue experience, to attempt such a thing with another climber, who may or may not have crevasse rescue experience.

I also think that it is irresponsible to count on others to bail out these guys out if they get into trouble.

If two guys want to make such an attempt, they had better be experts (mere training is not enough) in crevasse rescue for a two-man rope team (not a 3 or 4 man rope team) and they had better be on-top of their physical game.

I don't see what the rush is. Your husband's life won't end when your child is born. The mountain will be there long after your child is grown up.

I would tell your husband to blow off this crazy idea, get the proper instruction from a competent guide, and get a half-dozen glacier climbs under his belt with guide before attempting his own climb. Testosterone often gets in the way of common sense.
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Re: Two-man roped team w/novice on Rainier: good idea?

Postby clmbr » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:14 pm

BigMitch wrote:. . . I have always found [Excitableboy suggestions] to be the voice of reason on this forum.
Agree!

BigMitch wrote:. . .
I think that it is completely nuts for your husband, whom we assume has not crevasse rescue experience, to attempt such a thing with another climber, who may or may not have crevasse rescue experience.
. . .
If two guys want to make such an attempt, they had better be experts (mere training is not enough) in crevasse rescue for a two-man rope team (not a 3 or 4 man rope team) and they had better be on-top of their physical game.
. . .

However, I just wonder how a person in self arrest position, if succeeded, with one ice ax (extra hummer and a couple of pickets may increase feasibility though) can rescue the other one on the other end of the rope in air and unable to move or moving without control? (Crevasses on Rainier may be up to 600 feet deep.)

Making the illusion that knowing crevasse rescue makes the trip safe is absolutely wrong. The only technique (beside no falling policy) that may prevent from bad consequences of unfavorable outcome is self arrest, not crevasse rescue, especially not in up to two-person team. Even a professional guide died on Rainier being dragged down the crevasse by one of her clients in a multiple-person team.

Mountaineering is a dangerous activity with many variables that may create a deadly situation with not much time to respond. It does not mean that every person attempting the mountain, even without preparation, must get in trouble. But it means that even the best (extremely prepared and experienced) climbers die in the mountains (and not necessary on K2). Understanding this is crucial; the rest is just lowering the odds and enjoying the climb.
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