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climber killed in Joshua Tree National Park 3/15
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bandycoot


Mar 17, 2009, 12:24 PM
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     Re: [caliclimbergrl] climber killed in Joshua Tree National Park 3/15 [In reply to]
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caliclimbergrl wrote:
I don't want to hijack a thread about a tragic death

Then please don't...

Someone showed me that you can search on www.mountainproject.com for "Woody Stark" and it will come up with routes that he got the FA on. They include Double Cross, The Flake, Dogleg, Spiderline, and many others.

http://www.mountainproject.com/scripts/Search?query=woody+stark&Submit=Search

He definitely found some gems back when he started climbing out there. At least he lived life to the fullest! Good man.

Josh


quiteatingmysteak


Mar 17, 2009, 12:24 PM
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He had a lot of friends, all good people. Wish I got to know him...


locker


Mar 17, 2009, 12:35 PM
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Woody was a dear and close friend and climbing partner...

at this time, PLEASE do not speculate or insult or what the fuk ever...

It WILL be disclosed in time...

Woodys daughter and son are GRIEVING and viewing these THREADS...

Post WISELY and with CARE please...

THANK YOU...

sincerely,

locker


climbsomething


Mar 17, 2009, 12:54 PM
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I didn't mean to myself. It may not be clear, but I was trying to give a perspective that, hopefully, would reduce some of the anti-media noise that is fairly common but totally unnecessary in these types of threads. It's indirect, but my hope was that explaining how the media works would temper any sentiments that could be seen as disrespectful given one of the few things that, sadly, we know for certain: Woody is no longer with us.

I'll stop now.


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 12:58 PM
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Locker, Josh, etal,

Please be aware that this thread is in the "Accident and Incident Analysis" forum of RC.com, and hence is located where discussions of what may have gone wrong occur. You may want to begin a separate thread in the "In Memory Of" forum, where such speculation is not allowed.

Curt


majid_sabet


Mar 17, 2009, 1:04 PM
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caliclimbergrl wrote:
Well, than that's probably what happened.

But why wouldn't any of his gear hold him if he got pulled off from the top while belaying? I'm sure you're right -- I've obviously never had this happen and I've never seen it happen or even really thought about it -- I've just taken care to make sure my anchors were bomber. But I have seen many experienced people belay from the top without putting in an anchor. So what would happen if you got yanked off the top with no anchor or an anchor failed? Why wouldn't any of your gear stop your fall? Why would this be so different from the follower falling and yanking the leader off the rock during a simul-climb?

Feel free to call me an idiot, but I really would like to know?

When a leader falls while belayer is controlling the system, each protection between belayer and the leader act as a cushion to reduce the falling forces in event of a leader fall and ultimately, the main anchor where belayer is secured, has to handle the total falling forces of both people (assuming both fall at the same time generating maximum falling forces).Generally, the belaying anchor should be rated to above 20 KN.

On the other hand, if a belayer is on top and attached to an anchor and somehow he looses his anchor and falls while follower is climbing, the belayer initially puts 2X of the falling forces on the lower piece (pulley effect) and if the follower falls at the same time, both climber will generate enough forces to make the entire protections fail which may result with a serious injury or fatality .

Again, it is too early to come up with any conclusion so we just have to wait for the official report from JTNP.


vivalargo


Mar 17, 2009, 4:43 PM
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     Re: [surfergirl] climber killed in Joshua Tree National Park 3/15 [In reply to]
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surfergirl wrote:
my partner saw him at the TOP of the wall, with his second following. she heard the fall, looked up, and saw the second swinging and the leader was gone.

This is not exactly clear information. If it's remotely true - that the "leader" (WS) was belaying on top, and somehow fell off (unlikely) or was pulled off (more likely) - than this is a complicated situation with all kinds of difficult to ascertain factors (anchor failure, etc.). I wouldn't expect a definitive breakdown anytime soon.

While wild speculation is imprudent and tasteless besides, this is an "Accident and Incident Analysis" site, and if anyone were to post details that are known, the real, concrete stuff, sober public
discussion might shed some light on things - and that's not to insinuate that Josh SAR will bungle the
analysis.

As someone who writes books about anchors, et al, my interest in these matters is as genuine as my respect for Woody Stark. It still seems all wrong that he's gone.

JL


(This post was edited by vivalargo on Mar 17, 2009, 4:46 PM)


k.l.k


Mar 17, 2009, 4:51 PM
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     Re: [climbsomething] climber killed in Joshua Tree National Park 3/15 [In reply to]
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climbsomething wrote:
*EDIT: ok, when I said second, I meant the P-E story. Not the TV station's report or the AP brief in the Merc. That said, they do source the JTree spokesman as saying he fell and his gear "failed."

Climbsomething, yes, when I was referring to the "stupid" story, I was referring to the version that was circulating like a virus from Palm Springs and AP. I hadn't seen the link that JT posted, and when I searched P-E's site, the story didn't come up.

The editor at P-E (Borkos?) did the responsible thing by finding the thread on Supertopo and posting to ask for info from interested folks. I thought Todd's quotes were good. The only part of the piece with which I'd quibble was the brief section that more or less synopsized the AP one. It's too early for a breakdown of the accident, so I don't hold the P-E responsible for that.

I found the P-E's interest in contacting Supertopo promising, as I have the recent efforts of the NYT to publish better stories about climbing.

RIP Woody.


Partner robdotcalm


Mar 17, 2009, 5:53 PM
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surfergirl wrote:
my partner saw woody at the top, belaying, not climbing. maybe when the newspapers said all his gear failed, maybe they meant his anchor failed?

Do you (or anyone) know what route they were on?

r.c


Partner robdotcalm


Mar 17, 2009, 6:02 PM
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vivalargo wrote:
surfergirl wrote:
my partner saw him at the TOP of the wall, with his second following. she heard the fall, looked up, and saw the second swinging and the leader was gone.

This is not exactly clear information. If it's remotely true - that the "leader" (WS) was belaying on top, and somehow fell off (unlikely) or was pulled off (more likely) - than this is a complicated situation with all kinds of difficult to ascertain factors (anchor failure, etc.). I wouldn't expect a definitive breakdown anytime soon.....

As someone who writes books about anchors, et al, my interest in these matters is as genuine as my respect for Woody Stark. It still seems all wrong that he's gone.

JL

The statement is straightforward and very clear. It's an eyewitness account .

Are we not to be allowed to have information before it's officially sanctioned?

Cheers,
Rob.calm


clintcummins


Mar 17, 2009, 6:24 PM
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     Re: [robdotcalm] climber killed in Joshua Tree National Park 3/15 [In reply to]
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On the corresponding thread on supertopo.com

http://www.supertopo.com/...73&tn=0&mr=0

Wendell ("TGT") says the news reports are not accurate about the fall details. He also says he will prepare an accurate report, but promised to give it to Woody's children and belayer (Al Kwok) first.

The NPS Morning report of March 17, 2009 says Woody fell about 100 feet and hit the ground:

http://home.nps.gov/...tions/morningreport/

"Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
Man Killed, Second Injured In Climbing Accident

A 67-year-old California man died of injuries sustained in a fall that occurred last Sunday while he was climbing a rock formation called the Great Burrito. A second climber also fell in the same accident and was treated for injuries he received during his fall. At approximately 4 p.m. on Sunday, Curtis Stark, 67, and Alfred Kuok, 44, were climbing in an area near the park’s Hidden Valley nature trail, located near the Hidden Valley picnic area. The trail is a popular destination for both day hikers and rock climbers. Stark was the lead climber on the Great Burrito formation and was being followed by Kuok. Stark experienced some difficulty with his climb and began to descend. During the descent, he lost his grip and fell. As he fell, Stark struck Kuok, causing him to fall as well. Kuok’s protection held, arresting his fall, but Stark continued to fall, suffering fatal head injuries when he struck the ground. It’s estimated that Stark fell about 100 feet. Two other rock climbers immediately responded and rendered assistance to Kuok, helping lower him from the cliff face. Rangers received word of the accident at approximately 4:40 p.m. and responded along with members of the Joshua Tree Search and Rescue (JOSAR) team. Kuok was treated by emergency personnel for back pain, rib injuries, and other possible internal injuries. A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was called in and airlifted Kuok to Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs. Personnel from the Riverside County Coroner’s Office also responded to the accident scene. [Submitted by Joe Zarki, Public Information Officer]"

This report is similar to the newspaper reports, so it is apparently inaccurate as well.


(This post was edited by clintcummins on Mar 17, 2009, 6:27 PM)


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 6:26 PM
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robdotcalm wrote:
vivalargo wrote:
surfergirl wrote:
my partner saw him at the TOP of the wall, with his second following. she heard the fall, looked up, and saw the second swinging and the leader was gone.

This is not exactly clear information. If it's remotely true - that the "leader" (WS) was belaying on top, and somehow fell off (unlikely) or was pulled off (more likely) - than this is a complicated situation with all kinds of difficult to ascertain factors (anchor failure, etc.). I wouldn't expect a definitive breakdown anytime soon.....

As someone who writes books about anchors, et al, my interest in these matters is as genuine as my respect for Woody Stark. It still seems all wrong that he's gone.

JL

The statement is straightforward and very clear. It's an eyewitness account .

Are we not to be allowed to have information before it's officially sanctioned?

Cheers,
Rob.calm

Sorry, but that is no eyewitness account. Surfergirl is relating what her climbing partner supposedly saw.

Curt


patto


Mar 17, 2009, 7:00 PM
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majid_sabet wrote:
When a leader falls while belayer is controlling the system, each protection between belayer and the leader act as a cushion to reduce the falling forces in event of a leader fall and ultimately, the main anchor where belayer is secured, has to handle the total falling forces of both people (assuming both fall at the same time generating maximum falling forces).Generally, the belaying anchor should be rated to above 20 KN.

On the other hand, if a belayer is on top and attached to an anchor and somehow he looses his anchor and falls while follower is climbing, the belayer initially puts 2X of the falling forces on the lower piece (pulley effect) and if the follower falls at the same time, both climber will generate enough forces to make the entire protections fail which may result with a serious injury or fatality .

You are wrong majid. You can't go double counting forces like that.

Not to mention that the fall factor is normally EXTREMELY low in such an event because of the quantity of rope out. And there is a belay device in the loop which would slip and further reduce forces.


vivalargo


Mar 17, 2009, 8:27 PM
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I've heard from a reliable source that some kind of statement will soon be made by folks who were either at the scene or were briefed by those who were. At that time I would suspect that enough details will be presented to encourage a serious discussion. Till then we will be grabbing for straws.

JL


billl7


Mar 17, 2009, 8:48 PM
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MountainProject.com lists about 10 routes on that wall, all single pitch, all estimated 100 feet or less.

I'm not saying that pushes the analysis in any particular direction. Probably best to hold off on any further analysis until the accident report or a condensed version is released.

Bill L


chanceboarder


Mar 17, 2009, 9:50 PM
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Had this laying around on a hard drive from back in '06.




cfarr


Mar 17, 2009, 10:14 PM
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While I am very hesitant to reply, I would like to know what happened, for closure I guess. I was the third or fourth person on the scene. I am still puzzled by what I saw. The second was about thirty feet up, hanging on what appeared to be the second rope for the third member of the party. The rope was clipped into his haul loop, with no line attached at tie in point! The lead line was hanging near the ground with the first half of a figure 8 near to the ground, and ran through 2 or 3 pieces not far from the top of the formation where the other end appeared to still be. Nothing appeared to be attached to the deceased. Too many unknowns to make conclusions, and while I have my guesses I'll keep them to myself. Hopefully someone can fill in the blanks.
Any information on how the second is doing would be very appreciated.


majid_sabet


Mar 17, 2009, 10:20 PM
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patto wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
When a leader falls while belayer is controlling the system, each protection between belayer and the leader act as a cushion to reduce the falling forces in event of a leader fall and ultimately, the main anchor where belayer is secured, has to handle the total falling forces of both people (assuming both fall at the same time generating maximum falling forces).Generally, the belaying anchor should be rated to above 20 KN.

On the other hand, if a belayer is on top and attached to an anchor and somehow he looses his anchor and falls while follower is climbing, the belayer initially puts 2X of the falling forces on the lower piece (pulley effect) and if the follower falls at the same time, both climber will generate enough forces to make the entire protections fail which may result with a serious injury or fatality .

You are wrong majid. You can't go double counting forces like that.

Not to mention that the fall factor is normally EXTREMELY low in such an event because of the quantity of rope out. And there is a belay device in the loop which would slip and further reduce forces.

Yaa sure


majid_sabet


Mar 17, 2009, 10:23 PM
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vivalargo wrote:
I've heard from a reliable source that some kind of statement will soon be made by folks who were either at the scene or were briefed by those who were. At that time I would suspect that enough details will be presented to encourage a serious discussion. Till then we will be grabbing for straws.

JL

Thanks John


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 10:36 PM
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cfarr wrote:
While I am very hesitant to reply, I would like to know what happened, for closure I guess. I was the third or fourth person on the scene. I am still puzzled by what I saw. The second was about thirty feet up, hanging on what appeared to be the second rope for the third member of the party. The rope was clipped into his haul loop, with no line attached at tie in point!

So, the rope that the second was trailing (from his gear loop) appeared to be supporting the second--some 30 feet off the ground. What exactly (if you can recall) was holding him up? Was the rope simply caught on something or was someone else holding it?

cfarr wrote:
The lead line was hanging near the ground with the first half of a figure 8 near to the ground, and ran through 2 or 3 pieces not far from the top of the formation where the other end appeared to still be. Nothing appeared to be attached to the deceased.

It's not unheard of for a climber to start up a climb without finishing his figure eight knot. However, in the scenario you are painting, the lead rope came detached from both the leader and the belayer/follower--and that would be quite remarkable. Do you think anyone on the scene before you could have untied the rope from either of them?

cfarr wrote:
Too many unknowns to make conclusions, and while I have my guesses I'll keep them to myself. Hopefully someone can fill in the blanks.

Yes, this is quite odd and I hope we do eventually know what happened. Thanks for your post.

cfarr wrote:
Any information on how the second is doing would be very appreciated.

I understand he is already back at work.

Curt


southswell


Mar 17, 2009, 10:40 PM
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First of all, I am very sorry to here about Mr Stark. Although I did not know him, I climb in JT often and appreciate the efforts of all FA'rs out there. Its obvious he will be missed.
RIP

Now,
I have to put in my 2 cents. And I certainly mean absolutely no disrespect. If it did happen like the fellow on the Sentinel said, it could have happened like this: the leader (being tied into one end of the rope) tops out and builds his anchor, pulls up the slack and puts his follower on belay directly from the anchor. Follower begins to climb. Leader loses stance (Possibly caused by follower falling) and falls.

If they were using an auto locking belay the follower would stay where he fell, and on most climbs on the GB (depending on rope length and height of the follower) the leader (who is not tied in short to his anchor) would have enough slack to deck. I could imagine not wanting to be tied to the belay on top of the GB. From what i remember, gear placements on top can make it fairly uncomfortable to belay from your harness. It is much easier to tie in short to the anchor and then belay your partner from the anchor itself. The key to making this a safe belay is for the leader to tie himself in SHORT.

Also, the top of the GB is a dangerous place. If you fall down, trip, stumble, step on a shoe lace, whatever, there is very little to stop you from tumbling off the side. There are few boulders or features on top. Just sloping slab up to shear drops on either side.

Again, I mean no disrespect. As a climber I cannot help imagining and trying to recreate the circumstances that lead to accidents like this.
My heart breaks for this man, and his family.


jt512


Mar 17, 2009, 10:41 PM
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cfarr wrote:
Any information on how the second is doing would be very appreciated.

Al has reported to friends that his injuries were relatively minor, a few cracked ribs.

Jay


cfarr


Mar 17, 2009, 10:52 PM
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The second was hanging by the line he had been trailing, which was attached to his rear haul loop, not gear loop.
It is my understanding that he fell from the top and it is unknown why he stopped after roughly 70 feet.
Thanks for the info on Al.


(This post was edited by cfarr on Mar 17, 2009, 10:54 PM)


curt


Mar 17, 2009, 10:58 PM
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cfarr wrote:
The second was hanging by the line he had been trailing, which was attached to his rear haul loop, not gear loop.
It is my understanding that he fell from the top and it is unknown why he stopped after roughly 70 feet.
Thanks for the info on Al.

No problem. So, if I understand you correctly, the rope that the second was trailing from his haul loop went back up to the top of the route, and was somehow attached up there, right?

Curt


cfarr


Mar 17, 2009, 10:59 PM
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Yes.

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