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Re: Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak

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avatar Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak
August 05, 2013 03:21PM
North Cascades National Park (WA)
Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak

On Sunday, July 28th, a party of four mountaineers from the Seattle area attempted the Northeast Ridge of 8,970-foot-high Black Peak.

The climbers split into two rope teams and quickly found that the first rope team was ascending at a faster pace. The teams became separated along the Northeast Ridge, with one summiting the peak and then descending the south face route back to their camp, having lost contact with the other two climbers.

The two climbers who had summited could see their friends about midway up the ascent route, and observed that they were stationary for hours, well into the night. The two stranded climbers began flashing headlamps, presumably to alert their friends. The climbers at camp asked other visitors who were leaving the area to call 911 when they got into cell phone range and request assistance. Rangers received this call for assistance at 2 a.m. on Monday morning, with it unclear if either of the stranded climbers was injured.

Early on Monday, rangers made a recon flight to Black Peak, making visual contact with the stranded climbers but unable to rule out injuries to either of them. By then, they’d been stranded at the same location for almost 24 hours, just before a steep pitch on the most technical part of the route.

A ranger team, using the park’s contracted HiLine Helicopters MD500D, evacuated each climber individually by short haul to their base camp. The rescued climbers appeared to be shaken up by the experience, but were uninjured. All parties agreed that steep technical mountaineering routes with thousands of feet of exposure above massive glaciers are much more difficult than the same level of climbing difficulty in a gym, which they were more accustomed to.
avatar Re: Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak
August 05, 2013 03:37PM
It was pounded into my head as a kid that the whole group hikes at the pace of the slowest hiker. I guess they don't do that anymore.
avatar Re: Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak
August 05, 2013 04:10PM
Quote
Dave
It was pounded into my head as a kid that the whole group hikes at the pace of the slowest hiker. I guess they don't do that anymore.

Especially in the Boy Sprouts: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700050141/Rangers-find-Las-Vegas-Boy-Scout-dead-in-Zion-park.html?pg=all
avatar Re: Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak
August 05, 2013 06:08PM
Quote
Dave
It was pounded into my head as a kid that the whole group hikes at the pace of the slowest hiker. I guess they don't do that anymore.

Many hikers sure don't apply this time-honoured practice on the Whitney Main Trail; a huge percentage of the problems that occur on the trail are because folks split up, and the poor stragglers end up going down the JMT instead of to the Portal.



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/05/2013 06:09PM by Bee.
Re: Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak
August 07, 2013 07:09PM
Rules for hikers may not be the same rules for mountaineers. It is common for people who don't actually do something to think they expertly know how someone should do such an activity......they almost never do.

For example, I would not use a "Boy Scout Guide" as the primer for mountaineering, inasmuch as they don't do that activity.

In mountaineering, risk is often directly related to the amount of time one spends exposed to a dangerous situation...such as rockfall. Getting out of that situation as quickly as possible is usually the desired outcome. When you tie into a rope, THAT is the unit of activity, NOT the whole group. For example, different rope teams of the same group on Everest are routinely on very different parts of the mountain.
avatar Re: Stranded Climbers Evacuated From Black Peak
August 08, 2013 04:49PM
Note to self: Climb with "teams" that have the decency to assure that the sum of the group's parts "summits" before decending (regardless of which guidebook applies to everyone else according)

End of note.



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
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