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Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby big_red_pride » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:58 am

RIP Sean. May his friends and family find peace in these difficult times. Everyone please be safe out there!

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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby Johnson » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:10 am

This is sad news indeed. Will be praying for his family and friends. I am shaken by this news. Poignant to see his smiling face from the summit.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. - Psalm 95:4

"I would be doing myself a disservice and every member of this band if I didn't perform the hell out of this." - Gene

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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby Tim McMarmot » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:03 am

Rest in peace, Sean.

Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby mtsuji » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:57 am

My heart sank when I saw this, I was on snowmass yesterday and when I left the summit area at around 1pm he was still conscious and coherent. The group I hiked down with all thought he was going to be alright. RIP man

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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby matthewbe » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:16 am

Such a terrible end to a beautiful last week in the mountains. RIP Sean.
Isn't this time of year dangerous for rockfall now that much of the snow and ice has melted away?
Not all who wander are lost.

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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby wildlobo71 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:28 am

matthewbe wrote:Such a terrible end to a beautiful last week in the mountains. RIP Sean.
Isn't this time of year dangerous for rockfall now that much of the snow and ice has melted away?


The danger is the water/ice that gets into the micro-fractures in the rock that are created over time... a good season of snow, and drastic freeze-thaw cycles will eventually break apart any "stable" rock, and under those conditions it will fall regardless of any other type of manipulation (stepped on, used as a hold, etc...) This year there is still a lot of snowpack and water *in* the mountains, which needs to be considered and scrutinized. I'm not sure of the accident the took Sean, but this sounds like an accident of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby highpilgrim » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:49 am

wildlobo71 wrote: but this sounds like an accident of being in the wrong place at the wrong time


The western route up Snowmass is ridiculously loose. And many of the boulders are easily moved especially in the steep area near the top. We climbed very carefully and still had a couple of microwave size rocks break loose. Last year it was bad because it had been very rainy and the saturated soil couldn't hold anything together. Maybe the high snowfall this year has produced the same conditions.

Everyone be careful out there; these threads are getting very old.

Condolences to Sean's family and friends.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby matthewbe » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:53 am

Thanks for the info and I thought that was how it worked just wondered if it would be exaggerated this year because of lingering moisture up there. It's amazing how easily rock falls seem to happen. I've never witnessed one in the mountains, but did in the Grand Canyon hiking- pretty scary. I just keep sending thoughts and prayers for everyone's safety.
Not all who wander are lost.

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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby wildlobo71 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:57 am

highpilgrim wrote:
wildlobo71 wrote: but this sounds like an accident of being in the wrong place at the wrong time


The western route up Snowmass is ridiculously loose. And many of the boulders are easily moved especially in the steep area near the top. We climbed very carefully and still had a couple of microwave size rocks break loose. Last year it was bad because it had been very rainy and the saturated soil couldn't hold anything together. Maybe the high snowfall this year has produced the same conditions.

Everyone be careful out there; these threads are getting very old.

Condolences to Sean's family and friends.


Are you talking about the S-Ridge proper or just the west face below the summit? I climbed the standard Lake route last year and found myself snaking around for the path of least resistance on the west side once we gained the ridge, and I didn't get the loose rock experience... perhaps I was to close to the summit.

My response you quoted above is in regards to him traveling solo, and being the victim of rock falling on him with no "encouragement" from outside forces other than gravity. Either way is pure speculation and still tragic.
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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby highpilgrim » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:02 am

wildlobo71 wrote:Are you talking about the S-Ridge proper or just the west face below the summit?


We climbed the west side from Geneva Lake and once you got into the gulley, it was loose almost in it's entirety. The worst loose I've seen. Only a rock rib in the middle near the top was fairly stable; everything else moved almost without provocation.

It was unsettling. I'm climbing the standard route next time even if it longer...
Last edited by highpilgrim on Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby unclegar » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:03 am

My condolences and prayers go out for the family.
...the mountain peaks belong to Him. -- PS 95:4

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Re: Rescue underway on Snowmass Mountain

Postby MtHurd » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:05 am

R.I.P.

I climbed that route and thought it was a beautiful and there were no people at all on that route the day we did it. It was loose, but it didn't seem that bad to me.

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