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Making mistakes on Princeton

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby KentonB » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:01 pm

Glad things worked out in the end! We had a similar experience on Princeton years ago but with a slightly worse outcome. About 5 min from the summit, a cloud bank moved in causing the temperature to drop. One member of our 3-person group was exhausted and cold and wanted to turn back. He decided to head back with another group who were descending. Me and my other partner summitted, then heard lightning and took the "shortcut" you described... only to see the other group coming out of the cloud bank in the distance... without our friend! Turns out he fell behind them, got lost in the fog and went down the right-side of the ridgeline... down 2000 feet of scree where he cliffed out at Agnes Vaille falls! Meanwhile, it started raining and he was soaking wet... with no more food, water or rain gear.

Long story short, Chaffee County Search & Rescue folks are awesome and found him right away... though it ended up being the longest "day hike" of my life.

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby CO Native » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:59 pm

From my experience in SAR the vast majority of incidents are caused by a series of small mistakes and/or poor choices. It's rarely one mistake that leads to an emergency. When recounting what happened I'm amazed by how often the story begins with "we got a later start than we planned". One seemingly insignificant mistake at the very start of a day, but it effects the next decision that would normally be benign but in an attempt to make up for the first mistake often another is made. Like taking short cuts or letting the group get spread out instead of taking breaks and regrouping to make up for lost time. Or trying to find the easy way out of a situation rather than dealing with the difficult but right solution. The snowball just continues to build. The take-away I see is to learn to recognize that progression and stop it. Stop and talk/think things through. Come up with a plan and stick to it. If your plan is to wait for someone set a time that you'll wait until, then wait until that time before re-evaluating. Often people waiting for someone stop to do so but quickly get bored with it and start second guessing themselves. Hastily made plans lead to a cycle of second guessing and changing the plan.

Admittedly I don't just speak from my experience with SAR, I've got first hand experience of making a series of poor decisions. One in particular I can think of nearly got my brother killed. Fortunately I heeded that wake up call and we turned back within 200 feet of a summit that day. Best decision I've ever made, and my return trip went much better.
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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby sunny1 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:13 pm

The longest distance between two points is a shortcut.

My "rules" are keeping my partner(s) within eyesight at all times.
Anyone who diverges from the original plan/route or wants to do something different than the group plan - whether taking a different route, turning around, etc - requires a group discussion, consensus and plan where and when we'll meet up.
The other thing that can be very helpful is to discuss your hiking pace ahead of time, especially if hiking with someone you don't know.

Glad things worked out for you guys. Lots of lessons!
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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby GeezerClimber » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:39 pm

I don't know how many think the way my partners and I do concerning climbs. We all agree that we are responsible for each other and comprise a team. We are good friends (plus my wife) so we enjoy each other's company anyway and want to share the climb/adventure. When a decision needs to be made such as turning back, everyone is in on it and everyone turns. This is the agreement made beforehand. A few years ago, on Belford's summit, a flatlander asked if he could join the three of us to Oxford and leave his partner behind. We grilled him good about his experience and if he understood the extra effort that would be required. The reason we did this was because, if we agreed, we also accepted responsibility for him just as we would for each other. He actually had extensive experience and we agreed. His partner was instructed to stay put or, if descending had to be done, to absolutely take the trail he climbed.
If someone ever joined us descending, we would not leave them behind either. I know some people think everybody for themselves up high. This attitude keeps SAR busy. Ever notice how many rescues involve people who were separated from the main party?

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby mike_kadow » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:06 pm

sunny1 wrote:Anyone who diverges from the original plan/route or wants to do something different than the group plan - whether taking a different route, turning around, etc - requires a group discussion, consensus and plan where and when we'll meet up.

Sorry to bring this up, but does anyone know what became of the 72 year old (I think,) lady that went missing this past year here in Colorado when she decided to take her own way back from a group on a seemingly easy hike? Maybe it was two years ago. They said she had some dementia but I cannot recall the outcome and have always been curious. As a relative newbie to CO's outdoors and hiking, I enjoy learning from others' experiences.
Last edited by mike_kadow on Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby DaveSwink » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:54 pm

mike_kadow wrote:Sorry to bring this up, but does anyone know what became of the 72 year old (I think,) lady that went missing this past year here in Colorado when she decided to take her own way back from a a group on a seemingly easy hike?


I don't think she has been found. http://www.denverpost.com/opinioncolumnists/ci_21429973/daughter-missing-lafayette-hiker-says-ordeal-has-brought

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby Aug_Dog » Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:56 pm

scootmanjones wrote:MISTAKE #3: While working my way down the endless boulder field, I stumble, take a fall and slide about 10 feet. I definitely should have really jacked myself up (broken wrist, scraped up face, concussion) but I only bruised my hip. Looking back I think I was moving too quickly trying to keep up with Anna.


This gave me goosebumps when I read it. I had the EXACT same thing happen to me on Princeton and it seems like it was probably in a very similar area. We were coming down off the saddle in the rotten section. My buddy and I were moving at a pretty good clip when all of a sudden my toe caught what seemed to be a rock and I tumbled head first down the mountain. Keep in mind that this was on talus and large boulders, so I got really banged up. I was lucky it wasn't FAR worse. I actually hit my head on a boulder, but it wasn't severe enough to be real bad. It could have killed me if I weren't so lucky. I have a huge gash STILL in my leg from that fall. It was nuts. It really, really shook me up. For some reason that day, I was just exhausted. It was not a fun day. It was super windy and chilly up top and that mountain, I swear, just has an eerie feel to it. It's by far my least favorite 14er so far.

We camped above the radio towers the night before, up from Denver, so I'm thinking being at elevation for so long really zapped me. I also think that mountain might be haunted. To me it just had a sad, dark vibe. Remember that a woman was struck by lightning on Princeton. People have said before they hear buzzing and all kinds of weird s**t happening on that mountain, so I'm not gonna say I don't buy into a little bit. What was so crazy about my fall was it felt like someone tripped me, like someone grabbed my foot.

I'm not one to buy into that stuff too much, but I do wonder about that day ... I swore I will never hike that mountain again. Oh, also, I recall a group taking a really stupid route down the mountain, parallel to a remaining snow field down the steepest part of the mountain. We couldn't figure out why anyone would descend that route. It was so strange. I think they ended up getting lost. It kind of seemed to me like the holy Holy Cross Bermuda Triangle thing. The damn trail is RIGHT THERE AND IT'S NOT HARD!

Crazy mountain.
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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby moneymike » Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:49 pm

My advice is to leave your cell phone at home (or in the car and turned off). I can't stand the stupid sh*t my female friends routinely do because they expect their cell phones will save them from every problem in life. I'm pretty sure that excessive cell phone use is causing mental retardation. One thing I notice about cell phone addicts is that they do not like to plan ahead, and their decisions are very impulsive. Cell phones brake, batteries die, and they lose service. If you stop relying on that crutch, you will probably find that you will start using your brain more, you will start planning ahead, and you will begin making better decisions.

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby KentonB » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:20 pm

Aug_Dog wrote:I also think that mountain might be haunted. To me it just had a sad, dark vibe. Remember that a woman was struck by lightning on Princeton. People have said before they hear buzzing and all kinds of weird s**t happening on that mountain, so I'm not gonna say I don't buy into a little bit. What was so crazy about my fall was it felt like someone tripped me, like someone grabbed my foot.

Has anyone had a GOOD experience on Princeton??? Goes down as one of my worst moments in climbing too!

moneymike wrote:My advice is to leave your cell phone at home (or in the car and turned off). I can't stand the stupid sh*t my female friends routinely do because they expect their cell phones will save them from every problem in life. I'm pretty sure that excessive cell phone use is causing mental retardation. One thing I notice about cell phone addicts is that they do not like to plan ahead, and their decisions are very impulsive. Cell phones brake, batteries die, and they lose service. If you stop relying on that crutch, you will probably find that you will start using your brain more, you will start planning ahead, and you will begin making better decisions.

MoneyMike, tell us how you REALLY feel! LOL

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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:32 pm

moneymike wrote:My advice is to leave your cell phone at home (or in the car and turned off). I can't stand the stupid sh*t my female friends routinely do because they expect their cell phones will save them from every problem in life. I'm pretty sure that excessive cell phone use is causing mental retardation. One thing I notice about cell phone addicts is that they do not like to plan ahead, and their decisions are very impulsive. Cell phones brake, batteries die, and they lose service. If you stop relying on that crutch, you will probably find that you will start using your brain more, you will start planning ahead, and you will begin making better decisions.

lol

KentonB wrote:Has anyone had a GOOD experience on Princeton???

Yes!
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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby Dex » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:21 pm

moneymike wrote:My advice is to leave your cell phone at home (or in the car and turned off). I can't stand the stupid sh*t my female friends routinely do because they expect their cell phones will save them from every problem in life. I'm pretty sure that excessive cell phone use is causing mental retardation. One thing I notice about cell phone addicts is that they do not like to plan ahead, and their decisions are very impulsive. Cell phones brake, batteries die, and they lose service. If you stop relying on that crutch, you will probably find that you will start using your brain more, you will start planning ahead, and you will begin making better decisions.



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Re: Making mistakes on Princeton

Postby JenGa » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:44 pm

Guilty! I was hiking with a friend of mine on Sunday, and.. no kidding, this was the conversation: "Did you bring your GPS? What if we get lost?" Answer from my now ex-hiking partner: "We can't get lost, I have my phone." We didn't go very far after that. The mountains are always serious business.

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