Maroon Bells Rescue

Threads related to Colorado mountaineering accidents but please keep it civil and respectful. Friends and relatives of fallen climbers will be reading these posts.
Forum rules
Please be respectful when posting - family and friends of fallen climbers might be reading this forum.
User avatar
B_2
Posts: 146
Joined: 7/30/2008
14ers:summits55 winter2 
13ers:summits155 ski7 winter4 
Contact:

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by B_2 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:37 am

I have a whole new appreciation for such discussions since I myself was plucked off the side of El Diente N Buttress just last Friday by a USFS heli and life-flighted to Durango with my husband - although there have been no public reports of this that I have found. We were on a steeper section, and a rock the size of a dishwasher peeled off when I weighted it, I fell 15 feet backwards onto my shoulder and head, which blew out my shoulder, then the rock hit my face, then it mowed over my husband (had nowhere to run as we were in a bit of a slot - specifically seeking more solid rock :roll: ) resulting in a lot of bleeding for both of us, both of us left with a useless R arm and me with a whiplash and head injury on loose class 3 terrain perched on a 3 foot deep ledge at 13,200ft.

s**t happens and thank God there are people who are willing to and can help when it does. I get the criticism and analysis to a certain level for educational purposes, but we were being extremely careful, had all the gear, did all the research, did nothing wrong and it happened. I am guessing a majority of experienced climbers have probably had more than one "close call".

I am just glad they are safe.

When it comes to not knowing the terrain and route, that is indeed a point to be criticized but for some people you don't know until you know...you know?? And this is unfortunately a ruthless stage for that to play out on. How do we know what level of knowledge they had? I admit I also had some trouble navigating the route on Maroon and had done all but a couple of the other "hard" 14ers and have done around 200 climbs...

Furthermore, if you haven't seen anything like that before and you realize you're in over your head, it could become overwhelming...I heard from people who witnessed it, about yet another person starting to head down the deadly "shortcut" on Capitol just the other day...and they managed to call him back up before it was too late. Apparently that person was freaked out and just wanted down, and it was actually difficult to convince him to come back up. "You are going to die!!" had to be yelled. High emotion, stress, fatigue all lead to bad decisions, especially with lower levels of experience. How are people supposed to know that they are not ready for such a climb? I'm supposing most people who are out there think that they are ready or they wouldn't try it? (I mean besides the obvious - just starting out climbing) Is there some sort of informational source out there that is making these routes sound like lollipops and daydreams that is misleading people to think it is a much lesser undertaking than it really is? Maybe it's Instagram and FB making it sound easy to them??? Idk...
Sleep?! Sleep when you're dead...
Update: I wrote that in 2008. Now I really love sleep - like, a lot.
User avatar
EZsummits
Posts: 104
Joined: 6/14/2014
14ers:summits58 
13ers:summits15 

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by EZsummits » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:55 am

B_2 wrote:I have a whole new appreciation for such discussions since I myself was plucked off the side of El Diente N Buttress just last Friday by a USFS heli and life-flighted to Durango with my husband - although there have been no public reports of this that I have found. We were on a steeper section, and a rock the size of a dishwasher peeled off when I weighted it, I fell 15 feet backwards onto my shoulder and head, which blew out my shoulder, then the rock hit my face, then it mowed over my husband (had nowhere to run as we were in a bit of a slot - specifically seeking more solid rock :roll: ) resulting in a lot of bleeding for both of us, both of us left with a useless R arm and me with a whiplash and head injury on loose class 3 terrain perched on a 3 foot deep ledge at 13,200ft.

s**t happens and thank God there are people who are willing to and can help when it does. I get the criticism and analysis to a certain level for educational purposes, but we were being extremely careful, had all the gear, did all the research, did nothing wrong and it happened. I am guessing a majority of experienced climbers have probably had more than one "close call".
Wow, glad you and your husband are okay! The N Buttress route doesn't leave much opportunity for forgiveness so it's a huge blessing you stopped on that small ledge :-SS . Hopefully you both are recovering well without any major issues.

I totally agree that s**t happens, even to the most skilled and prepared. Whenever we head into the next adventure we are practicing risk management, and if we do it enough times eventually we will see or personally experience the risk that can't be fully managed away. To me, the best response is gratitude when the outcome is good. If we can learn anything from it that is a nice bonus, but not the priority.
User avatar
B_2
Posts: 146
Joined: 7/30/2008
14ers:summits55 winter2 
13ers:summits155 ski7 winter4 
Contact:

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by B_2 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:15 pm

EZsummits wrote: Wow, glad you and your husband are okay! The N Buttress route doesn't leave much opportunity for forgiveness so it's a huge blessing you stopped on that small ledge :-SS . Hopefully you both are recovering well without any major issues.

I totally agree that s**t happens, even to the most skilled and prepared. Whenever we head into the next adventure we are practicing risk management, and if we do it enough times eventually we will see or personally experience the risk that can't be fully managed away. To me, the best response is gratitude when the outcome is good. If we can learn anything from it that is a nice bonus, but not the priority.

Thanks - separated shoulder w/what i'm guessing is a also quite a RTC tear (can't do anything with R arm), cant chew stuff with a nice big scar on my chin, hubz has what looks like a mutilated (but intact) R forearm with a lot of stitches, R hip and leg got shredded/badly bruised but no stitches. And I agree with your point. Gratitude that people made it out, including the rescuers, is best...Nobody does it on purpose. I feel very guilty about it, and we were in pretty bad shape.

AND btw, something else to chew on, if my husband did not have full boots on instead of trail runners or approach shoes, I think his ankle would have been just smashed by the rock. The ankle sleeve saved him, still has a huge scab and bad bruising from the impact THROUGH the boot. He almost wore approach shoes...In the end we were very lucky on many fronts. Going through the what-ifs is honestly terrifying.
Sleep?! Sleep when you're dead...
Update: I wrote that in 2008. Now I really love sleep - like, a lot.
User avatar
EZsummits
Posts: 104
Joined: 6/14/2014
14ers:summits58 
13ers:summits15 

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by EZsummits » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:11 pm

B_2 wrote: Thanks - separated shoulder w/what i'm guessing is a also quite a RTC tear (can't do anything with R arm), cant chew stuff with a nice big scar on my chin, hubz has what looks like a mutilated (but intact) R forearm with a lot of stitches, R hip and leg got shredded/badly bruised but no stitches. And I agree with your point. Gratitude that people made it out, including the rescuers, is best...Nobody does it on purpose. I feel very guilty about it, and we were in pretty bad shape.

AND btw, something else to chew on, if my husband did not have full boots on instead of trail runners or approach shoes, I think his ankle would have been just smashed by the rock. The ankle sleeve saved him, still has a huge scab and bad bruising from the impact THROUGH the boot. He almost wore approach shoes...In the end we were very lucky on many fronts. Going through the what-ifs is honestly terrifying.
Wishing you both a full and speedy recovery. I can relate to the emotions, I fell over 25 feet doing the bells traverse and had to get rescued by a blackhawk. I shattered my ankle, detached a tendon, severely bruised my ribs and right hip and was bleeding pretty strongly from my right ear and still battled feeling guilty about the rescue. I can tell you that it gets better over time and that focusing on what I was grateful for helped me with the mental battle. I still vividly remember the overwhelming sense of gratefulness to be alive once I was in the helicopter. It's awesome that we have such amazing people willing to help us out when we need it, and we all need help at some point.
User avatar
B_2
Posts: 146
Joined: 7/30/2008
14ers:summits55 winter2 
13ers:summits155 ski7 winter4 
Contact:

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by B_2 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:49 pm

EZsummits wrote: Wishing you both a full and speedy recovery. I can relate to the emotions, I fell over 25 feet doing the bells traverse and had to get rescued by a blackhawk. I shattered my ankle, detached a tendon, severely bruised my ribs and right hip and was bleeding pretty strongly from my right ear and still battled feeling guilty about the rescue. I can tell you that it gets better over time and that focusing on what I was grateful for helped me with the mental battle. I still vividly remember the overwhelming sense of gratefulness to be alive once I was in the helicopter. It's awesome that we have such amazing people willing to help us out when we need it, and we all need help at some point.
OMG. Thanks for the insight and support and sharing a little of what sounds like a horrific experience...
Sleep?! Sleep when you're dead...
Update: I wrote that in 2008. Now I really love sleep - like, a lot.
User avatar
WolverPete
Posts: 65
Joined: 6/21/2013
14ers:summits55 

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by WolverPete » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:08 pm

EZsummits wrote:
B_2 wrote:I have a whole new appreciation for such discussions since I myself was plucked off the side of El Diente N Buttress just last Friday by a USFS heli and life-flighted to Durango with my husband - although there have been no public reports of this that I have found. We were on a steeper section, and a rock the size of a dishwasher peeled off when I weighted it, I fell 15 feet backwards onto my shoulder and head, which blew out my shoulder, then the rock hit my face, then it mowed over my husband (had nowhere to run as we were in a bit of a slot - specifically seeking more solid rock :roll: ) resulting in a lot of bleeding for both of us, both of us left with a useless R arm and me with a whiplash and head injury on loose class 3 terrain perched on a 3 foot deep ledge at 13,200ft.
Thank you for sharing your story. I was doing a solo climb of Wilson Peak that day and was wondering what was going on and to whom? When I got home over the next few days I went online to figure out what happen. And I could't find anything. I am so glad to hear you are both survived as well as you did. Here's a pic from Wilson Peak of the helicopter on it's way to rescue you. Quite the experience. Thanks again.
Attachments
PMK_8344 (1).jpg
PMK_8344 (1).jpg (1.45 MiB) Viewed 2472 times
User avatar
B_2
Posts: 146
Joined: 7/30/2008
14ers:summits55 winter2 
13ers:summits155 ski7 winter4 
Contact:

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by B_2 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:21 pm

WolverPete wrote: Thank you for sharing your story. I was doing a solo climb of Wilson Peak that day and was wondering what was going on and to whom? When I got home over the next few days I went online to figure out what happen. And I could't find anything. I am so glad to hear you are both survived as well as you did. Here's a pic from Wilson Peak of the helicopter on it's way to rescue you. Quite the experience. Thanks again.
Thanks for the support. Yeah, they had to circle 5-6x before they spotted us. I was thinking about how much that was disrupting everyone else's fun...Glad to be here, but sorry about the fuss! Surgical consult tomorrow for my shoulder! :-SS
Sleep?! Sleep when you're dead...
Update: I wrote that in 2008. Now I really love sleep - like, a lot.
User avatar
Phill the Thrill
Posts: 904
Joined: 6/20/2005
14ers:summits58 winter4 
Trip Reports (6)

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by Phill the Thrill » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:37 pm

B_2 wrote:I have a whole new appreciation for such discussions since I myself was plucked off the side of El Diente N Buttress just last Friday by a USFS heli and life-flighted to Durango with my husband - although there have been no public reports of this that I have found. We were on a steeper section, and a rock the size of a dishwasher peeled off when I weighted it, I fell 15 feet backwards onto my shoulder and head, which blew out my shoulder, then the rock hit my face, then it mowed over my husband (had nowhere to run as we were in a bit of a slot - specifically seeking more solid rock :roll: ) resulting in a lot of bleeding for both of us, both of us left with a useless R arm and me with a whiplash and head injury on loose class 3 terrain perched on a 3 foot deep ledge at 13,200ft.
B_2, very happy to hear that you and husband are ok, though surely with a long healing process ahead. Best wishes to you both, and I hope you're back out there before long. Thank you to all the Colorado SAR teams - they do amazing work and save so many lives.
"Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." - Andy Rooney
User avatar
Hershel
Posts: 43
Joined: 8/5/2013
14ers:summits43 winter1 
13ers:summits2 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by Hershel » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:55 pm

Wow y'all. I just gotta say posts like this are why I'm a part of this community. The best we can do is support and learn from each other. I'm glad all parties here are okay!

Last summer in a span of 8 days, I hiked Pyramid, South Maroon, and Little Bear. It was quite an epic experience. My most difficult climbs before were Sunlight and Mount Wilson (from Kilpacker). I was pretty anxious in the preparation of these hikes. I read TONS of stories I could get my hands on about climbs gone wrong, the majority of them fatal. What I found interesting was that in nearly all of these stories, the climber who perished was very experienced and was never in over their head regarding the climb attempt. Something that I learned that I now believe, is that experience doesn't equal safety. You can do everything right, make conservative calls to stay safe, meticulously prepare, yet it could still be your last day on the mountain. I think we all take that risk when we step onto trail, regardless of our experience and preparation.

Please don't be so quick to judge, even if/when facts point to stupid avoidable mistakes. Unless you were there, you don't know what happened.
Every Man Dies, Not Every Man Really Lives -William Wallace
User avatar
gonefishing05
Posts: 113
Joined: 11/20/2013
14ers:summits5 winter2 
13ers:summits2 winter1 

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by gonefishing05 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:42 pm

B2, curious how you called your rescue in. Sorry if I missed it.
User avatar
CheapCigarMan
Posts: 323
Joined: 12/10/2014
14ers:summits58 winter2 
13ers:summits32 winter2 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by CheapCigarMan » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:26 pm

rijaca wrote:Why were they in the Bell Cord couloir at 6 pm? :-s
.....at 6pm?

Why are they in the Bell Cord in the end of July?
I should be on a mountain
User avatar
stephakett
Posts: 773
Joined: 5/30/2014
14ers:summits28 
13ers:summits34 
Trip Reports (1)
Contact:

Re: Maroon Bells Rescue

Post by stephakett » Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:02 am

B_2 wrote:I have a whole new appreciation for such discussions since I myself was plucked off the side of El Diente N Buttress just last Friday by a USFS heli and life-flighted to Durango with my husband - although there have been no public reports of this that I have found. We were on a steeper section, and a rock the size of a dishwasher peeled off when I weighted it, I fell 15 feet backwards onto my shoulder and head, which blew out my shoulder, then the rock hit my face, then it mowed over my husband (had nowhere to run as we were in a bit of a slot - specifically seeking more solid rock :roll: ) resulting in a lot of bleeding for both of us, both of us left with a useless R arm and me with a whiplash and head injury on loose class 3 terrain perched on a 3 foot deep ledge at 13,200ft.

s**t happens and thank God there are people who are willing to and can help when it does. I get the criticism and analysis to a certain level for educational purposes, but we were being extremely careful, had all the gear, did all the research, did nothing wrong and it happened. I am guessing a majority of experienced climbers have probably had more than one "close call".

I am just glad they are safe.

When it comes to not knowing the terrain and route, that is indeed a point to be criticized but for some people you don't know until you know...you know?? And this is unfortunately a ruthless stage for that to play out on. How do we know what level of knowledge they had? I admit I also had some trouble navigating the route on Maroon and had done all but a couple of the other "hard" 14ers and have done around 200 climbs...

Furthermore, if you haven't seen anything like that before and you realize you're in over your head, it could become overwhelming...I heard from people who witnessed it, about yet another person starting to head down the deadly "shortcut" on Capitol just the other day...and they managed to call him back up before it was too late. Apparently that person was freaked out and just wanted down, and it was actually difficult to convince him to come back up. "You are going to die!!" had to be yelled. High emotion, stress, fatigue all lead to bad decisions, especially with lower levels of experience. How are people supposed to know that they are not ready for such a climb? I'm supposing most people who are out there think that they are ready or they wouldn't try it? (I mean besides the obvious - just starting out climbing) Is there some sort of informational source out there that is making these routes sound like lollipops and daydreams that is misleading people to think it is a much lesser undertaking than it really is? Maybe it's Instagram and FB making it sound easy to them??? Idk...
!!! best wishes for a full and speedy recovery
“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.” (Aldous Huxley)
Post Reply