Welcome to SP!  -
Why Tom and I Climbed and Why I'll Continue to Climb
Article

Why Tom and I Climbed and Why I'll Continue to Climb

  Featured on the Front Page
Why Tom and I Climbed and Why I\'ll Continue to Climb

Page Type: Article

Object Title: Why Tom and I Climbed and Why I'll Continue to Climb

Activities: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Ice Climbing, Mixed, Scrambling

 

Page By: PellucidWombat

Created/Edited: May 16, 2010 / Dec 26, 2010

Object ID: 621952

Hits: 7734 

Page Score: 95.83%  - 55 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Why We Climb and Why I'll Continue to Climb



THOMAS BENNETT STUDENT ENRICHMENT MEMORIAL FUND IN CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING

This is written in response to the common gamut of "why" questions that people have asked me since Tom's death on Mt. Shasta.


I’ve attempted to find fault with myself in hopes of learning for the future, but after much reflection and research, I have yet to find any ‘mistakes’ we made that could have been foreseen as such, which is why I've chosen to continue climbing and am doing so with a clean conscience. It’s much easier to judge than to understand, it’s easier to spout vitriol than to sympathize, hindsight is 20/20, and I could care less about pandering to those who choose to take these easy attitudes at the expense of other people. So this article is not for them.

Mt Foraker Sunset at 17k
Mt. Foraker Sunset at 17,000 ft.


Alpinism is inherently dangerous, but that doesn't mean that it is always so. Much of alpinism is about training and strategizing to mitigate risk to the level where one can go into the mountains to commune with nature, test himself, and return safely. During my time climbing I haven't met many (if any) adrenaline junkies. They usually don't last, either due to the hazard or due to the effort and diligence required to reap the real rewards of alpinism. As the saying goes for inherently risky activities, "there are old climbers and there are bold climbers, but there are no old bold climbers." Serious mountaineering for the long-term requires sustained education, practice, commitment, and incredibly hard work. This is one of the aspects that draw me to climbing.

Drytooling above Berkeley
Practicing dry-tooling in the San Francisco Bay Area, far from the mountains.


Tom and I climbed mountains in the winter despite the increase in risk for the increased challenge and experience, both for the enjoyment of the challenge and also as training so that we could more safely attempt harder and more serious climbs on other peaks in other parts of the world. Although we enjoyed the physical, technical, and intellectual challenges of alpinism, that is only one part of it, despite the cliché that seems to be most prominent in the public imagination. I want to emphasize some of the more personal reasons as well, as for me they are what make it worth taking on the risk.

Rime on Sargents Ridge
Ice forms that you don't see unless you venture into the high mountains in the middle of winter. Tom and I enjoyed these together on Sargents Ridge in January.


One is partnership. I’ve forged intensely strong partnerships with my climbing partners through shared experiences, dedication, risk, and trusting our lives to one another. This “Brotherhood of the Rope” is a unique bond that I have been unable to find in any other type of relationship.

Wind Scoured Snow on the Bolam Glacier
Windscoured snow that Tom and I appreciated together on the Bolam Glacier.


Another reason I climb, which Tom shared, was our love for nature. I’m not religious, but I do find spirituality in the mountains, and I find bliss and wonder in these extreme environments. In some ways the word ‘extreme’ is crucial because it keeps me humble before the raw power of nature. Seeing the immense scale of the glaciers and mountains in Alaska was the first time that I could ever begin to appreciate the idea of infinity.

Ice in the 2nd Icefall on the Whitney Glacier
Modern art found in the Whitney Glacier.


Even the smallest of details in nature can be incredibly beautiful, and I often delight in discovering striking forms in the world of ice and snow. I love the beauty found in features such as the patterns of wind-scoured snow, color and texture of glacial ice, or the bizarre formations of rime ice. Even for the rare mountain traveler in winter, these can easily be missed. Taking the time to stop and appreciate these subtle wonders of the mountains was a trait that I shared with Tom, and it made us closer in our experiences in the mountains together.


Snow Form
Beauty of Winter Climbing.


Winter is an especially appealing time for me to venture into the mountains despite the greater risk and discomfort – to me, the winter landscape in the high mountains is ethereal. For those that ask why I venture into the mountains, if they had ever experienced the fiery red and orange Alpenglow on expansive snow slopes or white granite palisades, or if they had ever experienced the deep blue glow of the moon on icy snow slopes with no sound but for the crunch of one’s footsteps, they wouldn’t have to ask.

Wind Scoured Snow Near the Bolam Glacier
Wind-scoured snow that Tom and I traveled across on the north side of Mt Shasta in March.


Regarding taking on increased risk for mountaineering, there is also something to be said about taking on more risk. Many people are reticent of the idea, yet people do it all the time whether they realize it or not. Yes, mountaineering can lead to my injury or death in a variety of ways, but my choice to drive also heightens this risk. So does choosing to get around by bicycle in an urban area such as the San Francisco Bay Area. I have had many close calls on my bicycle and I nearly died once on a trip to Mt. Shasta, not on the climb, but on the drive home when someone came barreling down the I-5 against my direction of traffic, straddling both lanes.

People choose to live in flood-prone, hurricane-prone, and earthquake-prone areas with little thought given as to the real risk and whether it is worth it. Why is climbing perceived to be so much more dangerous than other activities? Perhaps one is that in many aspects of our lives we take on risk out of convenience (driving, eating poorly, talking on cell phones in dangerous situations, etc.) while in climbing the risk is taken on with active effort. Maybe another reason is that the risk in climbing is much more salient, so it is harder to ignore.

Sargents Traverse
 
vs.cartexting

Which form of risk is more reasonable to you? At least Guy is paying attention to what he is doing, and he can only hurt himself here. Yet why does no one bother asking "Why do you text and drive?" and "Is it worth it?"


So my point is that you cannot avoid risk, you can only try to be aware and decide what risks are worth the benefits. While it may seem shallow to say climbing is worth the risk for the reasons that I hold, I’d sure rather have my demise be climbing in the mountains than being run over on my way to work.

Kahiltna Pass
Sunset at Kahiltna Pass on Denali.


As sad and traumatic as my experience was on Mount Shasta, I intend to continue climbing. I know Tom would want nothing less. This tragedy was the result of incredibly bad luck with a rare and serious development of HACE. Coming off the mountain as well as I did was testament to how well prepared I was, and Tom was equally well prepared. Even in ideal conditions I don’t think the outcome would have been different, so I can only view this experience as a part of life, but not something to run from.

Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett, living life to its fullest inside a Giant Sequoia.


In closing, I want to share a similar sentiment about climbing that one of Tom’s closest friends shared with me after Tom’s death.

"While there is a technical side to mountaineering, a confrontation with the raw power of the mountains that came only to be understood by those who venture into the hills, there is an essential element that everyone is familiar with, and that is the friendship you forge along the way. This is such a pivotal part of the experience, that alpinists have given it is own name: The Fellowship of the rope. Because at the end of the day, you may have made the summit, you might have had to turn around, but regardless of the outcome, you have spent an amazing day with a close friend. “

- Timb Argast



Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett, living life to its fullest inside the Whitney Glacier Icefall.


Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett - August 28, 1983 to March 28, 2010


Images

December 19th, 2004 -...Tom Bennett

Comments


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 1-20 of 34 « PREV 1 2 NEXT » 

PellucidWombatRe: Reasons for risk...

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

I'm glad you appreciated it!
Posted May 26, 2010 6:55 am

requiemWell said!

requiem

Hasn't voted

Thanks for the write-up!
Posted May 17, 2010 2:31 pm

PellucidWombatRe: Well said!

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

Thanks for the compliment! Hopefully I can develop this account of personal reasons further as I have time to reflect more.
Posted May 26, 2010 7:05 am

Augie MedinaBeautiful Memorial

Augie Medina

Voted 10/10

to your friend.
Posted May 18, 2010 5:47 pm

PellucidWombatRe: Beautiful Memorial

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

Thanks! I think these little reflections and celebrations are in keeping with Tom's spirit of embracing life in the outdoors.
Posted May 26, 2010 6:57 am

sadekiNo Better Way

Hasn't voted

I cannot think of a more appropriate way to remember Tom.
At least his memory and more importantly celebration of his life has been captured and shared with the world.
Hang in there.
Ismail
Johannesburg, South Africa
Posted May 20, 2010 2:56 am

PellucidWombatRe: No Better Way

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

Ismail, I'm happy to hear that this intent is getting across. :-)
Posted May 26, 2010 6:59 am

PellucidWombatRe: My thoughts on this

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

I've given a lot of thought to that, but you're extrapolating from a lot of incomplete information for that judgement. As time goes on it seems that I tend to have incredibly bad & good luck, whether I am climbing or not.

Ask the people who I've climbed with and they will tell you that I am probably the more conservative or wary member in the group, and extremely diligent in educating myself in safe climbing techniques and habits,* yet close calls and accidents seem to happen to me while leaving those around me unscathed.

On Shasta, what caused the whole tragedy was Tom developing severe HACE with no warning despite having an ascent rate that should have been good acclimatization for someone who was strong at altitude. Everyone involved in SAR and high altitude medicine who I have asked for insight said they thought this was a freak accident that couldn't have been forseen, so I have trouble seeing any link between Shasta and Nebo (where I did make a stupid mistake) apart from bad luck.

On Nebo, which was an innocent mistake that I'm sure plenty of people have done often (ever since then I have never followed someone like that, yet I have trouble getting a lot of my climbing partners to travel with this attitude), I was the only one to bear the brunt of the accident despite me being the most wary of the hazard in the group.

I'd consider the media exposure on a similar note of bad luck. Those heading the Shasta rescue operations didn't get why the media was so interested, except that it happened to be a slow news week. Ditto with Nebo (the story immediately disappeared when SoCal caught fire).

There have been numerous other incidents of this 'bad luck', such as this spring when Kirkwood ski patrol kicked off an avalanche in-bounds in an open area, and I was the only one on the popular traverse across the bowl to get caught in it (the people who left 30 seconds before me or after me were fine. I am now wearing a beacon whenever I ski at resorts on powder days). On another year, I was the 3rd of 4 people descending a 2nd class scree slope, yet it was my footsteps that caused the entire face to slide, nearly taking me with it. Frankly, I don't think I was being reckless in either of these two instances.

On a similar note, I've nearly been run over by vehicles many times, and most of the incidents have occurred on crosswalks halfway across the street at stop signs or on protected lights, or while I'm on a sidewalk! I can recall plenty of instances of this weird luck on my bicycle too. If this sort of luck eventually kills me, I think it will happen whether I am in the mountains or not.

*For example, the fact that I looked at what I did wrong on Mt Nebo and shared it openly on SP. I also didn't take it down during the Shasta tragedy for 'image control', which should indicate how I viewed that incident. If I were just a "route junkie" or "glory climber" as you infer, then this attitude towards attempting to learn from mistakes and share the lessons with others seems out of character with that image.
Posted May 24, 2010 4:05 pm

PellucidWombatRe: My thoughts on this

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

one other note about your judgement without knowing the details:

If anyone were in a position to say that my actions and/or Tom's in this case were reckless, it would be the SAR climbers, or Tom's family and climbing friends in Canada. Yet these same people had been supportive of me continuing to climb despite me telling them about what happened on Mt Shasta and Mt Nebo (and I have disclosed the Nebo accident to many of my climbing partners, including Tom).
Posted May 24, 2010 4:47 pm

MarmadukeRe: My thoughts on this

Marmaduke

Voted 10/10

Wow!!! The insinuations here are incredible. Quite frankly, sums up your character. Sorry Eric, I don't know you or Mark but to throw that stuff out there, speaks volumes of you. Since we're being so frank here, I'll throw my two cents in.
Posted May 24, 2010 5:13 pm

Augie MedinaRe: My thoughts on this

Augie Medina

Voted 10/10

These may be your "thoughts" but they were not well considered. At bottom, you are implying that the two incidents arose from the man's desire to bring "national attention" on himself. This is a harsh judgment and really, a character assault, with no basis that I can fathom. What's more, you claim to divine something in his Nebo TR that suggested he was a danger to himself and to others? Again, I must have completely missed those clues.

Your reference to getting "someone else killed" was the most ill considered comment of all since the reasonable interpretation is that you're referring to PW's partner on Mt. Shasta. The stuff that I've read is pretty darn convincing that PW did nothing to put his partner's life in danger at any time.

PW's response to you was a model of restraint. You are of course entitled to your views, but I think you were precipitous in pulling out your blunderbuss and spraying your conjecture on someone healing from a trauma.

Finally, I know we all react without thinking sometimes. But this is a particularly sensitive matter to be weighing in on without deep consideration of what you're really saying and without a solid foundation.
Posted May 24, 2010 5:58 pm

MichaelJWhy climb

MichaelJ

Hasn't voted

A well-considered and truly moving piece, Mark. I'm sorry you had to write it.
Posted May 25, 2010 3:36 am

PellucidWombatRe: Why climb

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

Michael,

Coming from a professional writer like you, I really appreciate the compliment. I imagine you can understand when I say that at least writing things like this has been cathartic . . .
Posted May 26, 2010 7:00 am

ericwillhiteSince you asked

ericwillhite

Hasn't voted

Since you asked "Where did I make a stupid mistake"? Let me tell you.
As you explained, you post your stories on-line so others can learn from your mistakes. It is a climbers responsibility to dissect any mountaineering incident in order to learn from the mistakes. If not, you must not have a self-preservation trigger in your body. Growing up in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, I learned from the mistakes of the dozens of climbers who died or got in over their heads. Most incidents had at least one or two of the 6 reasons I list below, reasons that your climbing team got in trouble. This wasn't exactly a "freak accident", there were some bad decisions. Although his H.A.C.E. was a unforeseen circumstance, you did place yourselves in a bad situation where a bad outcome was much more likely.

Here are the issues.
1) You chose to be high on the mountain as darkness fell. (Is this really true!)
2) You chose a more difficult route with a more difficult decent.
3) You chose to camp near the summit above 14,000 feet without proper acclimatization.
4) You chose to continue to the summit when the weather was turning bad.
5) You had inexperience with the type of weather a volcanic peak on the west coast can create and the warning signs of dangerous weather.
6) You were lacking the proper gear for intense weather. Placing wands to the summit would have given you the confidence to descend during a storm instead of trying to wait out the storm, a typical death sentence on these peaks. Storms last for days, you can't afford to "hang out" at the summit. Wands are an essential piece of gear that few climbers outside the northwest realize.

I've been in your exact position on the summit of Rainier, in winter, in a ice storm so bad I weighed an extra 5 pounds from the ice. The difference was I didn't accept any of the 6 risks that you took above. Accept your mistakes. You shouldn't have spent the night up there. You took higher than usual risks. We all do at times. But, the fact that this is not the first time you have received national attention for your climbing accidents, it does raise red flags as to your overzealous pursuits when you lack experience. Too many climbers want too much too fast without putting in the time to learn the ropes. You can buy all the best gear and train in the gym all you want but it won't get you the skills needed to survive the obstacles of mountaineering. It's sad nobody on this form has the stomach to tell you these things.

Surviving a 1,000 ft Fall on Mt Nebo

I'm sure there are a few mistakes in this article but it's close enough:
"On Friday, they made it to the summit and began to descend the Whitney-Bolam Ridge in the dark. But the winds blew hard that night. They decided the best plan was dig a snow cave at 14,050 feet, about 100 feet below the summit, and leave at first light Saturday morning. The only fear Thomas and Bennett had of spending the night that high up was hypothermia. "Sleeping up there wasn't that big of a deal," Thomas said. "Other than you didn't have the convenience of your tent. But those winds would have shredded a tent. We were fine with staying right where we were because it was the safest decision."

Thomas had worked as a cold-water lifeguard and knew the symptoms of hypothermia, so he and Bennett talked to each other through the night, checking for signs of disorientation. They didn't feel any colder as the night progressed. They talked about how they couldn't wait for sunlight. They talked about the things friends talk about: Thomas is a structural engineer and Bennett a chemical engineer. "We'd talk about how these mathematical ideas manifest themselves in nature," Thomas said, such as strength and the beauty of a crevasse. By morning, the two men gathered their things, and as Bennett put on his crampons, he told Thomas his balance was off. Then he complained of fading eyesight.
Thomas asked Bennett questions to check his lucidity. He said Bennett shook it off, and insisted his eyesight was improving. But shortly after that, Bennett started to fear that he couldn't make it down. Thomas tied himself to his partner with a short rope to help Bennett descend. They moved slowly. Thomas felt the winds pick up and blow the two men off course. They tried moving along on their knees.
"I was having trouble myself," Thomas said of fighting the wind. "There was no way I could save someone else." Thomas then used his cell phone to dial 911. The cold weather had chilled the batteries. But he warmed up the phone and managed to make one rescue call to a ranger before the phone failed.
With the winds picking up and daylight fading, he dug a snow cave and moved Bennett inside. Bennett was unresponsive, Thomas said. He administered CPR. "In the back of my mind I kept hoping I was wrong," Thomas said. Thomas set aside the rations for Bennett in case he woke up. Thomas marked the spot with a black avalanche marker and headed down the mountain alone. "It was a complex feeling," Thomas said. "I was scared that I wasn't going to make it out of there myself. I was absolutely sure Tom was deceased, and I was sad that Tom was gone. But I couldn't stay any longer."
After Thomas set out on his own, the winds again pushed him of course, forcing him northwest. At times, the snow limited visibility to about an arm's length.
"I knew every decision I made was critical," Thomas said. "I became very careful with everything I did." By nightfall, Thomas realized he hadn't eaten or drunk water all day.
He dug a snow cave for himself, dried his clothes and got a little sleep. In the morning, he ate the last of his food and was able to get cell phone reception long enough to arrange for rangers to meet him at a nearby road. When he saw the snowmobile, he felt some relief. "And anxiousness," he said. "I wanted to get things together long enough to tell them exactly where to find Tom. I was still hoping that I was wrong."
Posted May 25, 2010 11:20 am

PellucidWombatRe: Since you asked

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

For the public record here for those that read this post, Eric Willhite had earlier inferred that I am an accident waiting to happen, that I got Tom Bennett killed out of my own negligence, and that I am using such accidents to heap media attention upon myself. He bases this off of nothing more than an armchair attitude, stating SPECIFICALLY in his defense that he is extremely judgmental, and infers that his 20 years of 'climbing' leaves him in a position to make such claims. He has already made these serious and extremely vitriolic judgments without knowing more details about me, Tom, or the tragedy, and he never bothered to ask. Somehow his experience bagging easy summits makes him so experienced that he doesn't need to know details. He doesn't even need to know people, what they have climbed, how they have trained, or how long they have climbed in order to call them inexperienced. As I said before, considering that experts who deal with Mt. Shasta, climbing, and altitude found nothing wrong with what I did based on the FULL story, Eric is blowing a lot of hot air.

And FYI, he deleted these earlier posts under the thread title "My Thoughts on This", probably to make himself look better composed in his latest attack. I have chosen to leave mine because I have nothing to hide. Eric Willhite's actions will speak for themselves, and Eric, I'm copying your posts, so if you attempt to delete any more of them to hide what you are, I will repost them for full disclosure.


Man, after you deleted your earlier thread out of claiming you didn't intend to say what you meant to say, it's obvious to me that you just wanted to retreat in order to gather more ill-thought out fodder to lob at me. You've been exuding hubris in almost everything you say, so I'm not going to respond to your claims of "mistakes" since you're still basing them off of very general information and gross simplifications of a complex situation. It is these subtleties that make the difference between your claims of negligence and the vastly differing opinions of experts, which you claim to be, but are not, Mr. Self-Professed Peakbagger of mostly low altitude, cl. 2-3 summits, often with your children in tow. (That's all great, but I'm merely pointing out years spent 'climbing' and number of peaks bagged does not mean experience. Quality over quantity.)

Eric Whillhite, this is going to be my last response to you, and I've only responded because at a glance from the casual observer, your arguments hold merit, so I'm shooting them down with the facts before they can gain any hint of legitimacy. I'm not going to respond to the specific points of your tirade except to let you know now that you were NOT in the exact position I was. Already you've told me enough to tell me that your experience on Rainier was vastly different than mine on Mt. Shasta, though you're claiming that there is no difference.

I'll put up my report for those on SP who genuinely care about what happened beyond the basic newspaper reports, let it speak for itself, and if you're still not satisfied, you can just shove it.
Posted May 25, 2010 12:26 pm

MarmadukeRe: Since you asked

Marmaduke

Voted 10/10

Heeeee's Back....What an egotistcal, pompous ass. Again, I don't know Mark so I'm not some close buddy defending him. I am seeing you and only you making these type of accusations and character slander. Not one other person in this site and there are a lot of huge egos with their opinions, have offer this line of thinking you have.
Posted May 25, 2010 12:46 pm

Augie MedinaRe: Since you asked

Augie Medina

Voted 10/10

I don't know Mark/PellucidWombat so I have no personal bias. I don't know you either so this is not personal. When I first replied to your initial hard-edged post you responded to me in a post that you have now deleted, as well as deleting your original post. I give you credit for deleting your original b/c it was unnecessarily insensitive. In the second of your deleted posts you stated up front that you were a judgmental person but at the end of your post you seemed to back off and said something to the effect that you hadn't intended to contend that Mark's decisions (which apparently you had predicted from his Mt. Nebos TR) cost his partner his life. I was tempted to reply that your first post wasn't consistent with your new position that you had been misconstrued. I didn't reply b/c I figured you had maybe concluded that although your avowed intention was educational, you had fired off an overly heavy-handed critique and would just let things be.

Now you've come back around to attempt to fortify your first post arguing that your upbringing "in the shadow of Mt. Rainier" and some article you read on this incident enables you to spotlight 6 "bad decisions" that Mark made that culminated in the death of his partner.

But frankly, your analysis simply doesn't hang together. As examples, one of the 6 bad decisions is that they chose "a harder route" on ascent and descent. Harder than what? Another of the "bad decisions" was that they "chose to camp near the summit." But the very article you quote is clear that this was not a voluntary decision. You also accuse them of "inexperience" with the weather around Shasta." How do you know that? I'll stop there.

I find it interesting that you claim you found yourself in "the exact position" on Rainier one time as these two. Yet there were no bad decisions involved on your part?

So you've had your say as is your right. I don't blame Mark for saying that he isn't going to respond back to you. I hope he doesn't regret writing his article here because it was a moving tribute and I sense part of his healing process.
Posted May 25, 2010 4:18 pm

DigglerRe: Since you asked

Diggler

Voted 10/10

Perhaps some analysis of your own "safety" guidelines might allow you to learn to be a more competent mountaineer as well, & maybe even a better human being. For the record, Mark's own informed self analyses are far harsher than those of someone with less ability & experience (dozens of lesser peaks aside).

1) You chose to be high on the mountain as darkness fell. (Is this really true!)
Choosing to spend the night on a 14er when circumstances permit is NOT inherently dangerous- do you seriously not know how warm & safe a snow cave can be? Have you ever done a peak where it took longer than you thought, & didn't want to get lost on an involved descent???

2) You chose a more difficult route with a more difficult decent [sic].
And??????? If you want to undertake dozens upon dozens of hikes up easier peaks where there is little challenge, that is your prerogative. If you want to join the unlimited supply of armchair mountaineers out there who want to lambast those who strive for things that they could never achieve, why are you on this site to begin with?

3) You chose to camp near the summit above 14,000 feet without proper acclimatization.
Perhaps you should reread the account before making (yet another) uninformed comment- both of them had already camped at 10,000 ft. the night prior, after virtually summiting TWO days before. You don't need to be on a mountain for 30 days to properly acclimatize.

4) You chose to continue to the summit when the weather was turning bad.
They were close enough to the summit when the wind hit that taking the small amount of time to summit was fairly trivial. As Mark's judgment demonstrates, staying at the summit was the prudent thing to do under the circumstances- the weather was good in the window that they had given themselves the next morning (also see no. 1).

5) You had inexperience with the type of weather a volcanic peak on the west coast can create and the warning signs of dangerous weather.
All of your 'growing up under the shadow of Rainier' bullshit aside, Mark has plenty of experience with "volcanic peaks on the west coast"- with the exception of perhaps the climbing ranger at Shasta, Mark has done more routes on that mountain than anyone I know (& I know a lot of people that have done that mountain).

6) You were lacking the proper gear for intense weather. Placing wands to the summit would have given you the confidence to descend during a storm instead of trying to wait out the storm, a typical death sentence on these peaks. Storms last for days, you can't afford to "hang out" at the summit. Wands are an essential piece of gear that few climbers outside the northwest realize.
They spent the night at the summit, & suffered no ill effects from the cold. What else is there to say???

All of your "advice" reeks of ignorance and arrogance. Basically all of your comments boil down to the foolish belief that mountains are safe, & that all risk & uncertainty can be eliminated. Contrary to your ignorant remarks, & apparant beliefs, climbing mountains is about risk management, not risk elimination. At every step of the way, Mark's a)experience, & b)judgment, were exemplary. Your obvious character flaws aside, I would undertake a climb like the last one Mark & Tom did with someone like Mark than some small-minded, judgmental, & honestly less experienced (I don't care how many lesser peaks you've done) person like you. Get a clue, & leave your harmful remarks towards a stronger and more experienced climber, and person, who's had to lose a friend, behind.
Posted May 26, 2010 1:30 pm

PellucidWombatRe: Really enjoyed

PellucidWombat

Hasn't voted

Thanks dynamokiev98 - may we cross paths in the mountains. Until then, climb safe!
Posted May 26, 2010 7:02 am

Brad MarshallNice Article

Brad Marshall

Voted 10/10

Nice article Mark and a great tribute to Tom. I didn't have a chance to read the original personal attack referred to above but know how they hurt given the tragic situation you were involved in. Criticism in mountaineering can be a useful tool for others to learn from but it still requires tact. It's difficult to criticize many aspects of climbing because in so many situations there is no right and wrong.

- Climb in bad weather? Define bad.
- Should we rope up or go unroped?
- Rap off one piece of protection or two? How much gear do you have and how many raps to get down?
- Take bivy gear on a summit attempt or go fast and light?

All personal choices between partners. Most of the time nothing bad happens but some times it does.

Take care and keep climbing.

Regards.
Posted May 25, 2010 7:07 pm

Viewing: 1-20 of 34 « PREV 1 2 NEXT »