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Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03
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roseraie


Oct 19, 2003, 11:16 PM
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Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03
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Two climbers (one from San Diego, one from Anza) died from what appeared to be a Factor 2 fall just right of the White Maiden Buttress on Tahquitz Rock today. The belayer had the anchor pieces attached to him and there were some pieces still on the rope. The climbers were still tied together.

The two fell down several pitches (estimated about 3-4) over Fool's Rush. Our best guess is that they were climbing The Step, judging from where they fell from, where their packs were, and what we learned about the ability of one of the climbers. They sustained massive injuries and shattered their helmets.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who helped in this horrible situation. The climbers at the rock reacted quickly but, unfortunately nothing could be done. Everyone showed amazing strength and compassion in the situation. Thank you also to the RMRU, the Riverside Sheriff, and the CDF, all of whom responded to the accident.

We don't know anything about these climbers except their names and ages, but I am sure they were well known and respected. Our condolences to the families of both men.

If you have any questions about the accident, Art and I witnessed the men falling and were present through the rescue efforts in the hours before the RMRU responded. Again, condolences to the families and feel free to PM or e-mail us with questions.

Meg (roseraie) and Art (artm)


roughster


Oct 19, 2003, 11:20 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Very sad news :cry: Ty for the update and my condolences to the family.


addiroids


Oct 19, 2003, 11:29 PM
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Whoa!! That is very unfortunate! And to know that two people I know witnessed it. Geez. I can't even imagine what happened, but let this be a reminder to all of us, build that anchor stronger than it would ever have to be. I have not done those routes (Fool's Rush, or the other one) but I know that area right of WMB is steep. Hopefully they didn't suffer. However, Meg did say, "rescue" not "recovery" efforts. Condolences to their families, friends, and climbing buddies. I just hope I didn't know them. That would be a horrible thing to see happen. Stay strong Meg and Art and thanks for the news, eventhough it is awful.

Sadly yours,

Cali Dirtbag


nikegirl


Oct 19, 2003, 11:32 PM
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First heart breaking stop: that came to my mind...was Art and Jorge, please don't let this be them... :(

I'm so sorry that this happened.
My condolences...for you all whom were effected so intensly and families that are now dealing with an incredibly sad event.


Goddess bless~

~T
:cry:


Partner philbox
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Oct 19, 2003, 11:35 PM
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Whoa, so sorry to hear about these climbers ending like that. Sorry to hear that you witnessed it too. In one way though as you did witness it you were able to give some evidence of what happened and this can be a very good thing.

Do you know whether anyone has been up to where they came off and investigated the placements. This I believe is an extremely important thing to do. It would be fantastic to recreate the scene. I`m guessing that this would be done at an official level for the coroner. I`d like to suggest that it would be in the climbing communities best interest for someone of sufficient experience to head up there and check out for themselves what may have happened.

There should be scratches on the rock where gear pulled. It would be highly beneficial to gain access to the gear that pulled. If no investigation has been carried out I`d like to suggest that those that were directly involved should mount a request for this to be done at the earliest opportunity. This of course is not out of morbid curiousity but more from a genuine interest in helping all climbers to become safer at what we do. This is one of the best tools for ramming home the message of safety up there.


pranaguy


Oct 19, 2003, 11:39 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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My heartfelt condolences and prayer to the families of the climbers. Also to both Meg and Art and anyone else present for witnessing such a terrible accident. It really does hit hard when fatalities occur close to home at crags you frequent... Climb safe everyone.

-Matt


addiroids


Oct 19, 2003, 11:43 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Do you know whether anyone has been up to where they came off and investigated the placements. This I believe is an extremely important thing to do. It would be fantastic to recreate the scene.

While I'm not dissing you dude, I don't think this is necessary. We all know how to place gear, and we all know that some gear can pull. There are an INFINITE number of micro-steps from choss to bomber and to try to delineate where the line got crossed is almost foolishness. To try to say what piece pulled where, is ludicrous (sp?). If it is required, that's one thing, but to take their gear off them, and go back up and see what went where just seems futile to me.

No disrespect to you, or our fallen brethren, but let's just keep in mind that gear does pull, and to use your knowledge and back questionable stuff up. Terrible to hear that their anchor pulled though.

TRADitionally yours,

Cali Dirtbag


roseraie


Oct 19, 2003, 11:52 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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What we know about the status of the victims is largely secondhand from people who had different vantage points (we were two pitches up on a climb nearby, got someone else's attention to rush to the victim and call 911, and we rapped off as quickly as was safe). We got to the scene of the accident about 45 minutes after the fall with the Stokes litter from Lunch Rock. The fall occurred at approximately 1 p.m.

From where I was belaying, I first heard rockfall and saw rocks coming down, then saw the climber falling, then the belayer. This leads us to believe that what may have happened was a flake broke off, the pieces zippered, and then the leader took a huge fall on the anchor and pulled the belayer off with him.

I doubt an official report with more detail than this will be out tomorrow, because the RMRU did not reach the victims until dark. Check out their site in a few days, they may have an updated report with whatever they find higher up on the route when they investigate tomorrow.


socalclimber


Oct 20, 2003, 2:25 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Well I have to strongly disagree here. Uncovering the anatomy of an accident is a very import teaching tool to other SAR teams and climbers. With our SAR team here in Josh (JOSAR), all incidents are considered crime scenes until it has been determined otherwise. I think it's safe to say this was no crime but indeed a horrible accident. There are also the issues of liability. Like it or not, we live in a society where people like to sue each other. Grieving families can also behave oddly when confronted with something like this. Especially when they don't understand the activity their loved ones were involved in. Remember what happened to Chounard? It's happened before, and it will happen again.

I'm sure RMRU will indeed investigate this further. When ever we have climbing accidents in the park, the scene is secured, all gear is left in place, and after EMS and the evacuation is completed, an investigation is begun. We take measuremens, pictures, interview by-standers and other people involved, and examine the gear. Sometimes it's not possible to determine exactly what happened. It all gets recorded and a report is filed. The team will then discuss the incident at the next training.

I really feel for their families and friends. My best wishes to them all. Be safe out there folks, this is a dangerous game we play.

Robert


notyetabigwaller


Oct 20, 2003, 2:38 AM
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god bless them; I am sad to hear there gone.


Partner rrrADAM


Oct 20, 2003, 3:39 AM
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Meg... I'm sorry you had to witness this. I know what you must have gone through, as I had to dp CPR on a climber who fell 80 feet to the ground 4 years ago out at the Gunks, and he did not survive.


esoteric1


Oct 20, 2003, 5:32 AM
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names? Ive got alot of climbing partners i rarely climb with, I just wanna know if i should send out a buncha emails or not....
condolonces to the famalies and children.
and remember to bonk on those flakes before ya pull on em.
mark


crazywacky


Oct 20, 2003, 6:49 AM
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God bless, and my condolences.

And please, let's triple check our anchors...


froggy


Oct 20, 2003, 9:34 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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My partner and I were there yesterday. We heard the SOS call on the whistle and and the HELP yells. We were buzzed by a rescue helicopter hours later only to send a shiver down my spine.

This is the first time Death/Climbing has been this close to home.
Please be careful when you are out there. Don't trust just 1 flake/crack for your whole anchor system. Pull from 2 or 3 if possible. If you are in a bad area for an anchor.. move up or down a little to find something better. Place a piece or two of pro right off the belay to diminish your chances of a Factor 2 fall.

I know sometimes we as climbers say that anchor is 'good enough.' Yesterday, we don't know what was going on, but it was not 'good enough'.
Be safe out there and always make it safer than it needs to be..

My thoughts go out to the family and friends of these two guys...
Take it easy,

Sara


pirateclimber


Oct 20, 2003, 10:48 AM
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It really hits home when you realize that your partners and friends were so close to such a terrible accident. I'm endlessly glad that both of you are OK. It sounds like the two of you, and everyone else on scene, did a remarkable job of keeping it together and doing everything the right way. It just reenforces the fact that I am incredibly proud of the partners I climb with.


stick233


Oct 20, 2003, 11:05 AM
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Does anyone know of any links with more info about this? I have not been able to get in touch with a friend who climbs there very often. If you know the names, please PM me. I am sorry to hear of this and I hope you understand my own personal concern.

Thank you


roseraie


Oct 20, 2003, 11:12 AM
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Sara, were you the woman I met down by the RMRU truck? I'm sorry you had to be present for all that, I'm sorry it had to happen. :(

I am looking for news stories on the accident. I will post links as soon as I find anything. I do not want to post the names of the climbers because I don't know if the authorities have contacted the families yet. If you have questions, you can PM or e-mail me.


curt


Oct 20, 2003, 11:12 AM
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Oh my God, this is terrible news. My condolences and sympathy to the friends and families of these two climbers. Also, I do think an investigation into what happened is important. We need to learn from events like this to potentially make us safer in the future.

Curt


prowsolo


Oct 20, 2003, 11:14 AM
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Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:25 am Post subject: Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Setting up anchors is not rocket science.
If you follow some simple rules accidents like this would not happen. Every accident that happens due to anchor failure is a repeat performance of what has happened in the past.

Size of placement seems to be the biggest factor in these accidents.

The climbers trusted small to medium nuts and small cams.

When you have a belay setup like this alarm bells should be going off
in your head.

Bigger is better.

Prowsolo


crotch


Oct 20, 2003, 11:15 AM
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My condolences to the friends and families of the climbers, and I can only hope it wasn't a friend of mine.... :cry:


t-dog
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Oct 20, 2003, 11:25 AM
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sh!t, and to think that me and Yosh soloed all the way to the start of Super Pooper the day before. ughhhh
This is not good news, but I guess it's a reminder that you should always be safer than you think is necessary.


mreardon


Oct 20, 2003, 11:51 AM
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Condolensces to the families. Even more to Art and Meg. Never a pretty site, and something that takes a bit of time to shake from the system. If you ever need to talk, you have my number and a handful of others here feel the same.

Don't let it stop you from enjoying the sport, but recognize that there is a reason you were given this reminder to always check your gear, anchors, etc., and climb as safe as you feel most comfortable.


elcapbuzz


Oct 20, 2003, 12:07 PM
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This is VERY sad news. My condolensces to the friends and families involved. My heart goes out to every one of you.

I also think it's important to learn from these kinds of accidents.

A factor 2 fall is very serious. It's something you don't EVER want to happen. Something will usually always break if you factor 2. It sounds like the flake broke, but if it would have held... it's very likely that carabiners would have been next.

Remember, the pieces above the anchor are just as important as the belay anchors themselves. If you can't get good pro, then clip one of the pieces in the belay.

Again, I'm sorry to hear about these kinds of accidents.... and I'm sorry to hear that some of you were there to witness such tragedy.

Be Safe, Ammon


walter


Oct 20, 2003, 12:26 PM
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Meg's post mentioned that there were some pieces between the leader & belayer ... and if a flake containing both the belay and the pro ripped, it wasn't a F2 fall - it was freefall. Let's not jump to conclusions. The consequences were horrible enough already.


roseraie


Oct 20, 2003, 12:43 PM
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The information I provided is mostly speculative. One climber who was above where they landed on the rock provided the observation of gear on the rope. We really have no idea what happened, what pulled, even which route they were on. It is all speculation. Watch for the RMRU report on the accident, they will have the chance to inspect the scene and determine what actually happened before I saw them fall. Art and I provided our best guess as to what happened based on what we saw and learned.

My condolences to friends and family of the victims, and I hope the report is out soon so we can all have answers.

Meg


Partner artm


Oct 20, 2003, 12:48 PM
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In reply to:
Meg's post mentioned that there were some pieces between the leader & belayer ... and if a flake containing both the belay and the pro ripped, it wasn't a F2 fall - it was freefall. Let's not jump to conclusions. The consequences were horrible enough already.
It could have been freefall or it could have been an F2. One of the climbers below Lunch rock heard several distinct "pops" which he believed was the leaders pro "funking out" of the rock.
Acoustics at Tahquitz are odd, your belayer can't hear a word you're screaming yet people at the parking lot can hear everything.
There was a free-soloist in the area carrying a safety whistle who gave the three blasts for help.....one of the residents below Tahquitz heard the whistle and was the first to call 911.

I'd like to state how proud of my Partner Meg I am.
She held it together, safely belaying me as I downclimbed 1/2 a pitch back to her position (near the rap anchors) all while giving other people directions to the approximate location of the 2 victims.
She performed well under very high stress conditions.

Art


roseraie


Oct 20, 2003, 12:57 PM
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You too, Art. You did awesome in the situation and held it together even though you were on the sharp end. Thank you, Art.

The person who I am most amazed at in the situation is the climber who I directed to the fallen men, he had the least enviable position of everyone who responded and we are all grateful for his strength, as I'm sure the families will be too. I just want to say again that all the climbers who responded at the rock were amazing, and it definitely gave me confidence in the climbing community.

I can't say it enough: I am sorry this happened, and my condolences to their friends and families.

Meg


mtnrsq


Oct 20, 2003, 1:44 PM
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For those who are interested, RMRU's website is www.rmru.org.

Meg and Art - You (and the other climbers who helped) are to be commended for having the skills, willingness, and focus to do what needed to be done in a difficult situation.

While it sounds as though this fall was not survivable, any one of us may find ourselves in a situation where our skills, knowledge, and strength may keep someone alive. If you haven't already, please take the time to take a Wilderness First Responder or similar course. Take a self-rescue workshop. Finally - don't be afraid to get involved. The climbing community is comprised of some of the best people that I know and that when the chips are down are right there to help someone in need.


elcapbuzz


Oct 20, 2003, 2:18 PM
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In reply to:
Meg's post mentioned that there were some pieces between the leader & belayer ... and if a flake containing both the belay and the pro ripped, it wasn't a F2 fall - it was freefall. Let's not jump to conclusions. The consequences were horrible enough already.

I was NOT jumping to conclusions. I was giving my opinion based on the reports of people who were actually there.

I was also pointing out the "chain reactions" that happens in other situations like this. Sure the end result was a free fall. BUT, a Factor 2 could have resulted in the free fall.

I don't think we'll ever know for sure.

My sympathy goes out to everyone of you, who is involved.

It's good to see the comradeship in the climbing community in these kinds of situations.

Ammon


ksolem


Oct 20, 2003, 2:25 PM
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Rosaraie - You mentioned that they may have been on "The Step". This route was the scene of major rockfall several years ago. Evidence of this may still be seen in the trees at the bottom of the gulley below the route. Also, the scarring is still visible where the route passes the left end of the huge roof of "Le Toit". The Step used to be a trade route at about 5.9 but I haven't seen or talked to many people who've done it since the rockfall. It still looks pretty weird up there where it came off.

It's really too bad you had to see this firsthand. I've been in this situation myself. If you begin to experience discomfort over this in the next few weeks you should find a professional experienced in post traumatic stress syndrome. I did and it gave me great relief. If you are wondering what I am talking about drop me an email and I'll tell you the story. It doesn't belong here.


walter


Oct 20, 2003, 2:28 PM
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Ammon, you didn't exactly jump to conclusions, but you did provide a nice little mini-lecture on safety as if it were relevent. It could be taken badly by say, relatives of the unfortunate.

I'm pointing out that nobody knows why these two people died. We may never know. Spouting off some basic safety rules might help you sleep, might make you think it won't happen to you 'cuz you know so much better ... think again.


elcapbuzz


Oct 20, 2003, 2:36 PM
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Walter,

This is the exact reason I don't visit these forums as mush I used to. There are a lot of beginners who read this and I was directing my statments for their benefit, mostly.

I hate getting into pissing matches with "The Experts".

I'm sorry if you felt like I was lecturing you...... and YES, it could happen to anyone. Me included.

Over and OUT!!!


yosemite


Oct 20, 2003, 2:50 PM
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Walter,

What on earth did Ammon say to set you off?

We all mourn the loss of the two who died at Tahquitz, and I think we all are asking ourselves if it could have been me, you, our partners, kids, or whoever. Death is a harsh teacher.

Gene


jesusismyhomeboy


Oct 20, 2003, 2:55 PM
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Sorry to hear about this awful accident. My condolences to the friends and family. It must have been awful to witness that.


davidji


Oct 20, 2003, 3:04 PM
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In reply to:
Ammon, you didn't exactly jump to conclusions, but you did provide a nice little mini-lecture on safety as if it were relevent.
It was relevant. We may not know exactly what happened, but we can discuss the accident, and try to learn. I agree with showing respect for the dead, and their friends & family, but there was nothing disrespectful in Ammon's posts.

Thanks Ammon for your regular contributions.

My condolences to the friends & family of the deceased.


walter


Oct 20, 2003, 3:07 PM
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In reply to:
What on earth did Ammon say to set you off?

Implying that "your sons died because they were stupid" is bad. Now, I doubt anyone really meant that - but some relative might read it that way.

Implying that accidents are always preventable by following neat little rules, is bad. We're always vulnerable. Always.

Reminding beginners not to set up F2 situations is good. But ... maybe some other time and place.

In reply to:
Death is a harsh teacher

Amen.


elcapbuzz


Oct 20, 2003, 3:24 PM
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In reply to:
Implying that "your sons died because they were stupid" is bad. Now, I doubt anyone really meant that - but some relative might read it that way.


You're WAY of base on that one!!!

I don't think you realize how many of my friends are gone because of rock climbing.

Do you think, I think THEY were stupid... or made a dumb mistake. No way, man. This is a dangerous lifestyle that we ALL lead. We choose to put ourselves in these situations.

I can't even begin to tell you what I've learned from rock climbing. It's helped me tremendously in life.

I wish these stupid computers can relay the tone in my voice. I don't think you would be so offended if that was possible.

I'm done defending myself.

Goodbye for now..... I need some time to mourn ALL of our lost brothers and sisters.

Ammon


toejam


Oct 20, 2003, 3:28 PM
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My sympathies to everyone affected by this sad event.

I read this forum specifically to learn from, and hopefully help avoid this sort of unfortunate event. I find the analysis of more experienced climbers to be helpful in this, speculative or not.


radclimerchick


Oct 20, 2003, 6:53 PM
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I was on The Trough yesterday when the climers fell. I am trying to get as much info as possible. I was leading my boyfriend up his first multipitch climb. He heard someone swearing a lot and then heard the fall. He heard the pieces fall out and a large moaning sound when the guy landed. I found someone on the radio to call 911 after I heard someone yelling for 911 and for a helicopter. I'm sure I was not the only one to call.

We spoke with someone this morning who said that they fell from the White Maiden's Walkway (5.4). That sounded odd and I assumed that they were novice climbers.

Can you tell me their names and ages? I thought maybe it was 2 guys that we met on the way in who seemed to have very little gear with them and who's car was still in the parking lot at about 7pm.

Thanks,
Leslie


stroker


Oct 20, 2003, 6:56 PM
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May they rest in peace. They passed happy.

-Troy Anderson


edge


Oct 20, 2003, 7:04 PM
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First of all, my sincerest condolences to all involved. From the family members, to the witnesses, to the rescue personnel, you all have been profoundly changed and I can empathise with you. May they rest in peace.

Ammon, I'm with you on this one; I completely understand where you are coming from and can relate to your point of view in so many ways. Walter, you come across as someone who wishes to make himself more important by knocking someone else down. I honestly don't know if that is the case, but it sure seems it to me. Take a step back, a deep breath, and think before you post.

May the deceased find the happiness that they sought by living life to it's fullest.


fear


Oct 20, 2003, 7:06 PM
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No one passes "happy". Never heard anyone ask not to be saved so they could die doing what they wanted to do....

The best we can do is learn from their mistakes, if there were any....

-Fear


edge


Oct 20, 2003, 7:15 PM
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I don't know you or your situation, fear, but if and when I pass it is in the mountains, then yes, I will have done so happily. My wife and children know this and would not want it any other way, given the choice.


moabbeth


Oct 20, 2003, 7:37 PM
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Oh god that is sad news. So sorry to hear...especially for the families of the victims. And Meg, aw girl I so wish I'd been there to get your call :cry: . I got back from Utah this morning and heard your voice on my machine and I can't imagine what kind of traumatizing experience would have been. We'll chat tonight. But kudos to you and Art for keeping it together while on the rock and doing what you could to assist in the situation.

As far as how the rest of this thread degenerated, it's not cool. Ammon is right in reminding us in times like this of safety issues. He was only trying to help. There's no reason to flame someone for pointing out something wise and valid to remember. Especially when if this was a case of anchor failure, it's some advice that could prevent a fatal situation from occuring.


dingus


Oct 20, 2003, 7:44 PM
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In reply to:
Reminding beginners not to set up F2 situations is good. But ... maybe some other time and place.

And your lecture is different exactly HOW?

DMT


micronut


Oct 20, 2003, 7:49 PM
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Awful, it's a serious game we play

does anybody know the names, I've got lots of friends who climb there regularly, and I can't get ahold of my best partner.


boulderqt


Oct 20, 2003, 8:00 PM
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Come on guys two people died and yes maybe we should all learn a lesson but given the info that is known and the fact that nobody is sure what went on. i think that it a bit unreasonable to be making statements about how it could have been prevented here and now. they died and out of respect i think that there is some stuff that just shouldn't be argued about in this post. my condolences to the friends and family of the climbers that lost their lives.

God bless you!


curt


Oct 20, 2003, 8:03 PM
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I found this article on the website of the Riverside Press Enterprise
In reply to:
By KENNY KLEIN / The Press-Enterprise

IDYLLWILD - Two climbers were killed Sunday after falling to their deaths while climbing Tahquitz Rock, authorities reported.

The dead were identified Monday as Kelly Tufo, 32, of Anza and David Kellogg, 41, of San Diego, Riverside County Sheriff's officials reported.

The men's bodies were discovered about 2 p.m. Sunday by hikers in the area of Tahquitz Rock, which is in Humber Park, Hemet Sheriff's Sgt. David Pike said.

Idyllwild firefighters and members of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit were sent to the scene, but it was too late. Tufo and Kellogg were pronounced dead after falling 200 feet and impacting with the rock face, deputies said.

The pair were flown out of the area by a sheriff's helicopter about 7 a.m. Monday, Pike said. The pair were not flown out Sunday because darkness and strong winds made it unsafe for a helicopter, Pike said.

A preliminary investigation revealed the climbers were in a hazardous area of Tahquitz Rock when their climbing anchor failed, Pike said.

An anchor, commonly known as protective gear, is a metal device that is put into a rock face, said Bruce Watts , manager at Nomad Ventures, a climbing business in Idyllwild. The devices are supposed to stop climbers from falling in the event of an emergency, Watts said.

Curt


el_pocho


Oct 20, 2003, 8:04 PM
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Meg and Art,
I'm a work associate of Dave's and a fellow climber. I've only climbed with him a handfull of times and have known him for a short time, but am deeply moved by his passing. Dave was a wonderful person and is survived by his wife and son. I'd like to thank you guys for trying your best and to anyone else who were present in the rescue effort.
My condolences to the family and loved ones of Both climbers.
-Asa


moabbeth


Oct 20, 2003, 8:08 PM
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Thanks for the article Curt. Condolences to their families.

Anyone know what route they were on/where the rock was where the anchor failed?


roseraie


Oct 20, 2003, 10:49 PM
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That article is very, very inaccurate. It has one age wrong (I recovered the victims' IDs, I know this for a fact), I think it has one name wrong, and the bodies were not "discovered by hikers at around 2 p.m." I SAW THEM FALL. It makes NO MENTION of the rescue efforts by the climbers at the base. Not to mention whoever wrote the damned thing has NO IDEA what an anchor is, nor can they construct sentences. "Two climbers were killed after falling to their deaths..." WTF? God, this angers me.


roseraie


Oct 20, 2003, 10:53 PM
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Oh my God. Asa, I am very very sorry for your loss. Please tell Dave's family that I send my best regards. I am so sorry that they had to lose a husband and a father. I am so sorry.

Meg


climbsomething


Oct 20, 2003, 11:45 PM
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Tragic. Words do not come easily in a situation like this, but for that one. My sincere condolences.

In reply to:
As far as how the rest of this thread degenerated, it's not cool. Ammon is right in reminding us in times like this of safety issues. He was only trying to help. There's no reason to flame someone for pointing out something wise and valid to remember. Especially when if this was a case of anchor failure, it's some advice that could prevent a fatal situation from occuring.
Indeed. walter wins the RC.com Jackass of the Week award. Way to make a first impression, n00b :roll:


overlord


Oct 21, 2003, 5:05 AM
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:shock: :shock: :shock: wow man :shock: :shock: :shock:

condolescences


duskerhu


Oct 21, 2003, 6:19 AM
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It's never easy reading or hearing about accidents like this; even from half a country away!

Condolences to the families and friends of these two climbers and all the witnesses and those involved in the rescue efforts.

Art and Meg, way to keep your wits about you in the face of such a tragedy!

duskerhu


mtnrsq


Oct 21, 2003, 8:14 AM
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Please take everything you read in the local media with a big grain of salt when it comes to situations like these. Reporters have neither the time nor the inclination to learn much detail about many stories they report on. Much of the information will likely come from second-hand sources (e.g., a Riverside Sheriff Office spokesperson), (probable) phone interviews (e.g., Bruce @ Nomad) and other quick/convenient sources.

Sad to say but these are the people shaping the general public's view of climbing.

Please convey the condolences of the mountain rescue community to the family.


Partner artm


Oct 21, 2003, 8:52 AM
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In reply to:
Meg and Art,
I'm a work associate of Dave's and a fellow climber.
-Asa
Asa
I would appreciate it if you could please convey my condolences to Davids friends and family
Thank you
Art


roseraie


Oct 21, 2003, 9:48 AM
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This one was under the headline "Equipment failure linked to two deaths."

In reply to:
By KENNY KLEIN / The Press-Enterprise
IDYLLWILD - The father of one of two climbers who fell 200 feet to his death from a sheer rock face said he woke up with an eerie feeling Monday.
Hours later, Robert Tufo's worst fears came true. Tufo learned that his son Kelly Tufo was one of two climbers who died scaling Tahquitz Rock Sunday in the San Jacinto Wilderness after a safety device failed, authorities reported.
"It was 2:30 a.m. and I just could not sleep. I thought about Kelly. I thought about his climbing. It disturbed me," the elder Tufo said by phone from his Morongo Valley home. "I just can't make sense of it."
The dead were identified Monday as Kelly Tufo, 32, of Anza and David Kellogg, 41, of San Diego, Riverside County sheriff's officials reported.
The bodies were discovered about 2 p.m. Sunday by hikers near Tahquitz Rock, which is in Humber Park, Hemet sheriff's Sgt. David Pike said by phone.
Idyllwild firefighters and members of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit went to the scene but it was too late. Kelly Tufo and his friend Kellogg were pronounced dead after falling 200 feet and smashing into the ground below the rock face, deputies said.
A sheriff's helicopter flew the bodies out of the area about 7 a.m. Monday, Pike said. Darkness and strong winds made it unsafe for a helicopter on Sunday, Pike said. A preliminary investigation revealed the climbers were on Tahquitz Rock when their climbing anchor failed, Pike said.
An anchor, commonly known as protective gear, is a metal device that is put into a rock face, said Bruce Watts, manager at Nomad Ventures, a climbing equipment business in Idyllwild. The devices are supposed to stop climbers from falling in the event of an emergency, Watts said.
Kelly Tufo's father said his son, a building contractor, recently got into climbing.
"Kelly always loved the outdoors," Robert Tufo said. "Since he was a boy, he loved to hike and camp."
Tahquitz Rock and Suicide Rock are popular climbing spots at Humber Park, Watts said. Tahquitz Rock is about a 1,000-foot climb, he said.
In 2000, two rock climbers on Tahquitz Rock also were killed. The accident occurred as one of the climbers reportedly failed to anchor himself while attempting to help his injured partner on the rock face.

I'm not a fan of this Klein guy. Way to check your facts, buddy.

In reply to:
Reach Kenny Klein at (909) 763-3466 or kklein@pe.com


roseraie


Oct 21, 2003, 10:21 AM
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ABC News:

In reply to:
Bodies of Rock Climbers Found

IDYLWILD ó The bodies of two Southland rock climbers who plunged to their deaths have now been recovered.
The tragedy occurred Sunday at Taquitz Rock, near Idylwild in Riverside County, a popular rock climbing site.
Authorities say a rack and pinion climbers use to scale rocky terrain snapped and the two men fell 6-hundred feet to the bottom of a ravine.
The victims, 32 year old Kelly Tugo of Anza and 41 year old David Kellogg of San Diego, were experienced climbers.

I am not even going to comment.


roseraie


Oct 21, 2003, 10:26 AM
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I have recieved confirmation from the girlfriend of one victim that yes, our estimate was correct. The two men were on The Step. They attempted to climb the route last weekend but had to rap off, and so they went back this weekend to finish it. Perhaps that provides some insite into what happened for the climbing community. Is anyone familiar with the route?

Meg


curt


Oct 21, 2003, 10:27 AM
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In reply to:
Authorities say a rack and pinion climbers use to scale rocky terrain snapped and the two men fell 6-hundred feet to the bottom of a ravine.
Well, there's your answer as to what went wrong. What were they doing with a car up there anyway?

Curt


cjain


Oct 21, 2003, 10:45 AM
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From The Desert Sun http://www.thedesertsun.com/news/stories2003/local/20031021040737.shtml


Climbers fall to deaths near Idyllwild


By Rick Davis
The Desert Sun
October 21, 2003

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IDYLLWILD -- Two experienced rock climbers fell to their deaths Sunday afternoon when an anchor device apparently broke loose during a climb in the Tahquitz Peak area, northeast of Idyllwild.

The victims were identified as Kelly Tufo, 32, of Anza, and David Kellogg, 41, of San Diego, whose bodies were located about 6 p.m. Sunday by the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit.

Because of darkness and rough terrain, the bodies could not be recovered from the area until Monday, according to a Riverside County Sheriffís Department report.

Sgt. David Pike of the Sheriffís Department Hemet station said witness statements indicated that the anchor came loose from its attachment point, causing both hikers to fall about 600 feet from a peak, which is east of Humber Park.

Pike said they apparently died on impact or shortly after. The bodies were discovered about 30 feet apart.

"Apparently, they had hiked that area a number of times," Pike said.

He said witnesses saw their fall. Although the report did not indicate the altitude in the area where the accident occurred, the altitude of the peak exceeds 8,400 feet.

Another accident near Humber Park three years ago claimed the lives of two other rock climbers.

Kwan Kam, 59, of Glendale and Kevin Dahn, 49, of Northridge, slipped while climbing on Lily Rock and fell about 100 feet to their deaths on July 16, 2000.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rick Davis is a sports reporter for The Desert Sun. He can be reached at (760) 778-4655.

====================================

From the LA Times http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-iebriefs21.1oct21,1,1363597.story

October 21, 2003 E-mail story Print


IN BRIEF / IDYLLWILD
2 Climbers Die in Fall After Anchor Fails


From Times Staff Reports


Two rock climbers plummeted an estimated 600 feet to their deaths Sunday when an anchor holding them failed in a area known as Tahquitz Rock.

Kelly Tufo, 32, of Anza and David Kellogg, 41, of San Diego were pronounced dead at the scene Sunday night by members of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit.

The men were climbing in an area frequented by experienced climbers because of the rocky, steep terrain, Riverside County Sheriff's spokesman John Kaiser said.

A Riverside County sheriff's helicopter was needed to remove the bodies from the hazardous area Monday morning.


ksolem


Oct 21, 2003, 10:51 AM
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Several years ago (a fraction of a second in geological time) a large section of "The Step" came off resulting in tons of rockfall. The section which fell was just where the route passes the left end of the huge roof of "Le Toit". The scar on the rock in this area is still visible and many trees at the base were destroyed or damaged by this event. The Step used to be a trade route seeing many ascents, but I have not seen anyone on it since the rockfall. If there is someone out there who has done this route recently maybe they can help to shed some light on what could have gone so terribly wrong up there.


florabel


Oct 21, 2003, 11:09 AM
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I'm the wife of David Kellogg, one of the climbers that was killed Sunday at Tahquitz....I want to thank everyone for their condolences and thoughts. Special thanks to those who helped with the rescue - I know that it will hard to cope with the aftermath of such a tragic accident.

Just a little info on Dave........Dave was an experienced climber - he'd been rockclimbing for 13 years - started climbing when he was at Humboldt State.......proud papa of 2 year old Nicolas, who is learning to climb himself. Dave loved climbing - it was his passion in life besides his son. Dave and I traveled in SE Asia for 3 months in 2001 so he could climb in Thailand (loved Krabi!), Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. He will be sorely missed by family and friends - I miss him so much already.......

The Press-Enterprise article switched the ages of Dave, 32 and Kelly, 41. I've spoken to Kenny Klein - the sheriff's dept actually transposed the ages.

Thanks again everyone,
Florabel


edge


Oct 21, 2003, 11:14 AM
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My heart goes out to you and your son, Florabel.


climbsomething


Oct 21, 2003, 11:14 AM
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In reply to:
Authorities say a rack and pinion climbers use to scale rocky terrain snapped and the two men fell 6-hundred feet to the bottom of a ravine.

A what? Pinion? What the hell is that? Piton, maybe?

600 feet or 200 feet? And hikers and climbers are not the same- at least, they shouldn't be within the same story.

But regarding the technical errors in the articles, I can also say- reporters either simply don't understand, or have to write for an audience that is not expected to understand, every technical nuance of a specific area of interest. Not to justify their errors or confusing writing per se, but not every reporter and editor is a climber and getting a crash course (if you will) in such detailed, relatively obscure terminology that seems like second nature to an experienced climber is difficult to impossible. When Klein interviewed Bruce from Nomad, perhaps Bruce himself gave Klein a hazy answer knowing that he was dealing with a non-climber; being a non-climber, perhaps Klein did not even think to ask for clarification (maybe he thought he didn't need it. He might have thought he understood.) We know that anchors are not there specifically for emergency purposes, but think about it- could you see yourself similarly explaining the purpose of your belay anchor to your mom ("what's that for?" "oh, I attach myself to it, that way, in case my partner or I accidentally slip I'll stay safe." see how it could be easily misinterpreted?)

Also, sometimes sources make the errors (as in the case with the sheriff's dept transposing the men's ages) and pass on the bad info to the reporter. Sure, there's fact checking, but if I were Klein and the sheriff told me the men were 32 and 41 respectively, I would have considered that a sufficient single source/authority. (FYI: Perhaps this isn't common knowledge in the rc.com world, but I am a reporter/journalist. That is where this little rant is coming from ;) )

Anyway. That is your little lesson in reporting etc.


cthcrockclimber


Oct 21, 2003, 11:37 AM
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I would say something but I feel that anything I write will be inadequate. So all I can say is my heart and my sincerest condolences go out to the families and friends of these climbers. :cry:


nnichols


Oct 21, 2003, 11:39 AM
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my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family, friends, and climbing community for this tragic loss. :cry:


thegreytradster


Oct 21, 2003, 12:01 PM
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First my condolences to the relatives friends and witnesses.

For the rest of us, all that can be done at this point is try to learn from what happened. Not always simple as often the true facts are impossible to determine.

The Step never was really a "trade route" and was mis-graded for many years and always had a little mystery about it. The mentioned rockfall was between The Step and Fools Rush and I don't think it affected the route, although things can change instantly. I haven't done it for a few years, but I think it was after the last major rockfall.

From Bad Traverse Ledge you do a short pitch to an uncomfortable but solid belay at a tree. You need to do this to allow enough rope for the next long pitch.

The next pitch goes up to a strenuous but very well protected move over a small roof, (5.8 on some of the older route descriptions but closer to 10b.c) There's another 10a crux after that and it is a little devious, not at all obvious how it goes. There aren't any good places to belay between the two. There is a good belay after the second crux. It's a rope stretcher with a 50m rope from the tree and I don't think you could get there with a 60m from Bad Traverse Ledge.

The next pitch goes up a right facing dihedral, (seem to remember it being rather wide) to "The Step" near its top.

From there you can go right and finish with Super Pooper or left to Fools Rush. It would be easy to get lost here and end up on Price of Fear, (a Sorensen 10c) or run out face near the top.
This area has some loose blocks and flakes also.

The following comments need to be taken only as general observations that have been getting people in trouble in recent years and may have no relevance to this event, but should be kept in mind.

Tahquitz is most properly characterized as an alpine area. It's not a sport crag or even a completely clean trad area like parts of the Valley, Suicide, Needles etc. Most climbs involve at least some spots where you must deal with less than ideal rock. You need to climb here with an alpine mind set, (minus the speed requirements). Test every thing. Even if you've done the route multiple times. Place pro to account for possibly faulty rock, not just your ability to climb it.

Even the easier trade routes involve significant route finding problems. Even in the Valley it's often possible to walk out in the meadows and scope out a route. That doesn't happen here often. If you are unsure, back off, ask for help, or go the most obvious easiest way. If you miss a pitch, it will be there later. Better than getting to a dead end with no good anchors. Making up your own variations at the top can lead to real trouble. If there's lots of lichen, there's a reason, and it's not that no one has thought of going that way before.

60M ropes have lead to many unnecessary epics here. Most of the routes here were established with 120 ft ropes and a bowline on a coil. That means that the traditional pitch lengths are around 100 ft. (120-140 ft or so with later routes done with 150s). Run out your 60M to the end and you could find yourself in a bit of a predicament with no decent anchors. When you get to a comfortable belay with a good anchor, use it. Even if it was only a 100 ft pitch.

Again this is not meant to even imply that any of these things are what happened in this incident. I climb there almost every weekend and kind of see it as my backyard playground. I just don't want to see anyone get hurt there.


ksolem


Oct 21, 2003, 12:13 PM
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Gray - Thanks for the info. You are right, I probably used the term "trade route" a little loosely. It's just that I used to see pepole up there fairly regularly, but not anymore. And you are absolutley right on all you tips for climbing on Tahquitz. Even the "easy" routes present complicated challenges and dangers.


jv


Oct 21, 2003, 12:23 PM
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To the families, please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss.

In reply to:
The Step never was really a "trade route" and was mis-graded for many years and always had a little mystery about it. The mentioned rockfall was between The Step and Fools Rush and I don't think it affected the route, although things can change instantly. I haven't done it for a few years, but I think it was after the last major rockfall.

I did The Step a couple of years ago with Ben Craft, well after the big earthquake. It used to be one of my favorite routes. I can say without any doubt that the Step had changed dramatically at the horizontal weakness that runs across from Fool's Rush, and which forms the overhang on Le Toit. What used to be reasonable but continuous 5.8 is now strenuous .10b/c. The rest of the pitch, including the headwall/mantle that was uprated from .8 to .10a, was exactly as it was in the 70's when I first climbed it, as was the following pitch.

That said, I'm not going to publicly speculate what caused this tragic and horrible accident. We don't know which route they were on, only that they fell from the area to the right of the Maiden buttress. Even if we knew it was The Step, I don't think it is appropriate to speculate about the possible causes in this thread where the wife of one of the victims has posted her thanks for our condolences.

JV


robmcc


Oct 21, 2003, 1:24 PM
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I wasn't going to post here, but seeing as the wife of one of the fallen climbers did read this, I feel like I should. I have nothing new to add, no insights beyond what's already been said, but these men are in my thoughts. I imagine that's small comfort to grieving family, but I think a lot of people on the climbing community are feeling a tiny piece of your grief as well, even though we didn't know them. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Rob


grigriese


Oct 21, 2003, 1:53 PM
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florabel - my heart goes out to you, your son and the Klein family for your mutual loss.

It is unfortunate that the reporters in their effort to write news didn't take the time to do so accurately.


runningclimber


Oct 21, 2003, 2:06 PM
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Wow. I guess I am jumping on this one a little bit late, but I also offer my sincerest condolences to the friends and families of the two climbers. And to all who witnessed this incident...I cannot even imagine. Way to keep it together.

Meg, hang in there, girl. Feel free to drop me a line if you need to talk or anything.

~shelby


hangerlessbolt


Oct 21, 2003, 4:28 PM
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I feel my eyes welling up with tearsÖ

I feel terrible about what happened.

Terrible

-Robert


vivalargo


Oct 21, 2003, 4:52 PM
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Friends,

My most heartfelt sorrow to all family members and friends of the fallen, as well as those who assisted on the recovery. Tht's heartbreaking work.

So far as to the causal chain of events that led to the accident, since it sounds like the rope was not cut and the climbers were still connected, the only explanation possible is that the principal belay blew out, so the question is how. Did the leader fall straight onto the belay? Did he have pro in that ripped, leaving him to shockload onto the belay? Need to check the rope above the belayer to see what's attatched to the rope (unless any pro came unclipped), and you'd need to investigate the route to find any evidence, if any is to be gotten. The exact details are hard to pin down -- such as rock breaking, et al -- but with total anchor failure, the general scenario can only be a one of a limited few things.

Lastly, the mid to upper reaches of The Step -- and that whole stretch of rock -- becomes very nebulous with no really distinct lines and a maze of crossing cracks and strange ramps, and all through this section bomber pro is often hard to get. As someone mentioned, Tahqauitz has more of an alpine feel than a regular "trad" feel, where things are straightforward. Many tahquitz routes wander toward the top, where the cracks get shallow and the line obscure.

JL


moabbeth


Oct 21, 2003, 5:12 PM
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In reply to:
fin Is anyone familiar with the route?

Meg

Meg - a friend of mine knew Dave, and saw him that morning. Here's a little of what he told me:

My partner and I ran into Dave and Kelly Sunday morning at Humber Park, and I gave them beta on The Step (10a), which they said they were going to climb, and which I've done a number of times over the past few years. I warned them about the third pitch, which although only rated 5.6/7 is very funky climbing and hard to protect. Don't know if that's where it happened, but the rest of the climb, including the crux, has always seemed to me easier to protect at least. I also warned them of reports I'd heard recently of rockfall on the route, although it has never in the past seemed particularly loose to me.


Hope that provides a little insight. I will put you guys in contact cause I think it might help for you guys to have each other to talk to about this.


hisdudeness


Oct 21, 2003, 6:21 PM
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I too, am an acquaintance and work associate of Dave Kellogg. I met him through a co-worker who several months ago got me into bouldering on Wednesday nights at the Santee Boulders, and have had the pleasure of meeting and climbing with Dave several times (when I could make it to the ritualistic Wednesday night climb).

I must say that I was shocked when I heard the news, and for those of us here that knew him (and us that worked with him), it will be difficult on those Wednesday nights in the future.

With that said, I wanted to pass on my personal condolences to his wife and young boy, as well as to others that knew him and/or his climbing partner that day. Nothing makes a new climber more nervous than heading out so soon after losing one of your own.

Andy


nattydread


Oct 21, 2003, 7:24 PM
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http://kapali.net/...ty/misc/DaveDrum.jpg

Just thought I'd put a face to the name of one of the climbers, Dave Kellogg. He loved climbing so much and tried to instill his passion for the sport into everyone. Climbing will never be the same for most of us who had the pleasure of his company at Joshua Tree, Red Rocks, or anywhere you wanted to go climb. He will be missed and never forgotten


"Send it! Never say 'take'!" - words of Dave Kellogg


barnett


Oct 21, 2003, 9:24 PM
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Kelly Tufo was one of the most giving, caring, selfless people I have ever had the pleasure to know. A brilliant, loving, and positive wit. Always you before him. I have been a friend and admirer of his for 13 plus years. His absence on this earth will create ripples in many, many ponds. My heart goes out to the many people that were influenced, loved, and enamored by/with both Kelly and Dave.

Peace to all.

Barnett


surfclimber


Oct 22, 2003, 1:18 AM
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Hello All,
Dave Kellogg was a personal friend of mine (I didn't know Kelly). I just found out the news a short while ago and, suffice it to say, I am absolutely dumbfounded and devastated. Dave was an exceptionally talented climber and I am confident that the only way he could have died is through equipment failure. He was ALWAYS the one double, triple, quadruple checking his gear, knots, EVERYTHING. He's logged well over a decade of climbing and, besides his wife and 2 year old son, there was nothing else on this Earth he loved more. Climbing was his passion. He even confided to me on occasions that he didn't want to die, but if it had to be, then let it be climbing. Even so, I still find it a hard pill to swallow under the circumstances.

Dave always shared his immense knowledge with me, given my scant 3.5 years of climbing experience. He always helped me push my limits, but again, NEVER at the expense of safety. We'd been in touch recently trying to nail down some dates to climb together. One of those dates was this past weekend. For a number of reasons, I was unable to go with him. We'd planned on getting together in November.

I know this is so cliche, but news like this hammers home the old adage, "life is short." I am a better person for having known him and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Rest in peace Dave.

Bill Sukala


howdyjeff


Oct 22, 2003, 8:31 AM
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I'm a very good friend of Dave's, and I've climbed with him for many years, often, and recently. We had plans to climb together the following weekend at Red Rocks. My partner and I were climbing at Tahquitz Sunday, and we spoke with Dave and Kelly Sunday morning at Humber Park before heading up. We finished our route and left early in the day, unaware that anything had happened at the time.

I was familiar with the climbersí abilities, and I am familiar with the route. I'd like to give my two cents, clarify, and speculate. I personally think there is a ton to be learned in combining evidence, experience, and speculation about what might have happened. For those of you interested, read on; otherwise, simply donít. Speculation and a particular warning from my own experience with the route may be particularly interesting for those planning on doing the climb and who welcome a little beta. You might also be surprised at what I think probably happened, and itís a good lesson for less experienced climbers and a good reminder for experienced ones. Anyway, I welcome constructive criticism.

First, thanks for all the support. I spent Monday morning trying to help Dave's girlfriend find out why he had not returned home or called. I was referred to and spoke with a number of different offices in and around Idyllwild but was unable to get any solid information other than that a rescue of some sort on behalf of some undisclosed climbers had been initiated on Sunday and was continued on Monday. I was on my way out the door with gear and ropes around noon Monday, planning on heading back up to Idyllwild from San Diego, when the Riverside County Sheriff's office finally returned a message I left with them earlier and gave me the terrible news.

I mention this because after struggling all morning to get information on what happened and who was involved, I was amazed at how quickly word spread afterward and how much support was generated so quickly. It is a testament to the climbing community, and it is evidence, I think, of one of the reasons that Dave loved climbing. He climbed with and was known and liked by many, and he participated in and fed off of the unique camaraderie that is sometimes easy to forget in an endeavor that is usually a very one-on-one, or even somewhat private, experience.

Iíd also like to thank the people involved in the rescue/recovery efforts. Having worked with other climbers myself in a successful rescue at Tahquitz a couple years ago, I understand the tremendous, selfless work and stress that is involved, and I would also urge all climbers to do what they can to train for such an eventuality.

As his girlfriend Florabel indicated, Dave and Kelly had attempted The Step (10a) the previous weekend, and they told me they were headed up for another try on The Step Sunday morning. I think itís fairly safe to assume they were on The Step, and Iíd like to present a speculative analysis of what I think might have happened, based on the evidence so far and my own past experience with the climb. If youíd prefer not to hear beta on the route, stop reading here.

I have climbed The Step about four or five times over as many years, and itís one of my favorite moderates at Tahquitz, although Iím afraid itís never going to be the same route for me again after what has happened. I climbed it as recently as last season.

In my experience, the route has never struck me as particularly loose in the sense that a leader might encounter spontaneous rockfall directly from the route itself or a hold pulling off or something like that, although rock does weather and change and does not always appear loose, so such is always possible. Also, I canít of course speak for rockfall coming from above or beside the route where Iíve never climbed, although the route is pretty vertical, and I donít recall ever encountering any particularly loose rock above. In any case, I was a little surprised to hear reports of recent rockfall on the route from someone, and I mentioned it to Dave Sunday morning. I do know from the direct experience of hearing and seeing the obvious effects of it that rockfall has occurred in the past couple years between Whodunnit and White Maiden and also in the vicinity of Human Fright.

The issue of rockfall is important, but I donít believe that it probably caused the fall in this case in the sense of rock falling on the party. This seems to be consistent with the reports by those in the area of the sound of cursing and gear slipping, then rockfall. I believe the evidence and reports of a normal lead fall in which gear pulled, causing a factor two fall onto an anchor that pulled. More on that later.

The Step is most certainly a Tahquitz 10a, which means that the crux is perhaps a letter grade or two harder than 10a, as a previous poster suggested. Not only is the crux somewhat physically demanding, but more importantly it is somewhat baffling, involving an unobvious and sketchy sequence of moves to get above a roof. Once a person has done the climb and knows the moves, it seems perhaps a bit more 10a, but the first time it may seem harder. This is the case with plenty of other climbs at Tahquitz, such as Super Pooper, and this is one reason that people quibble about ratings. Weíve all heard it before: ratings are somewhat subjective.

In addition to this, I feel that the guidebook (1993 edition) may have the crux wrong, if you read the topo a certain way. I can't speak for the new edition, but again, weíve heard it before: topos are often ambiguous or just plain wrong. I personally always assumed that the topo was accurate in showing the crack leading up to the first roof as 5.8 and the roof itself as 10a, the crux. The roof Iím talking about is the one with a sling to the right on Le Toit. Discussing the route with Dave early last week I discovered that he assumed that the topo had the roof as 5.8, but he was surprised that it was so hard, and thatís where they backed off the route the weekend before. I told him, having myself climbed the entire route a number of times, that I always felt the roof was in fact the technical crux. Nothing above it ever seemed particularly more difficult.

In the end though, I donít think the question of whether the topo has the crux wrong, or whether it is ambiguous or not, really matters anyway, because I donít feel that they fell at the crux (the first roof). Accounts suggest that they fell from higher up, and I would believe it, given how late in the day those same reports say the fall occurred.

Dave was a very experienced and solid climber, and although he regularly climbed low to middle 10s, these were at the upper end of his ability. This is supported by the fact that the two bailed off the route the previous weekend but were ready to try again so soon. Kelly was not quite as strong or regular a climber as Dave, I think, though in climbing with him once or twice before I feel he was probably capable of successfully following the entire route, perhaps with a fall or two.

It has always been my impression that route finding on The Step is fairly straightforward by Tahquitz standards. The belays are also pretty obvious. The first belay is directly off the ledge the climb shares with Super Pooper. After a very short and easy pitch, the second belay is at a very small but bomber bush/tree, which I often use as part of the belay anchor. Above this is the roof, which I believe to be the crux. The pitch leading up to it, as well as the crux itself, I have always felt, are both pretty easy to protect, although Iím fairly sure itís difficult to get good (or any) pro above the crux before you make the move, so if you donít make it youíll fall a little ways back down below the roof. The section above the roof doesnít particularly stand out in my mind, but as I said before, I donít remember it being more difficult than the roof move, despite how you might read the topo. I also donít remember it being particularly difficult to protect. In short, my speculation is that the two may have successfully climbed the first and second (crux) pitch this time and made it to the bottom of the third pitch.

My feeling is that they probably fell from the third pitch. This may be surprising, and also very telling for those who have not climbed the route, in that the third pitch is rated 5.6/7. But in my opinion, this pitch is a bit ďRĒ. The pitch is not really a dihedral as previously reported, but rather a massive right-facing flake on the face. The rock is very vertical here, and although you use some edges on the face, you also sort of half-chimney/arm-bar/scum up the entire pitch under the flake. Because the space between the flake and the face is very wide, deep, and flaring, the pitch is very hard to protect. You can get gear in only a few places on the entire pitch where the rock constricts under the flake, and as such these placements are very susceptible to walking out, especially if they donít have long runners. I donít recall ever having anything big enough on my rack to do much more than that.

The only place on the pitch to get really good pro, in my opinion, is in a horizontal crack that forms the bottom of the flake, just a move or two above the belay. So, it is very important to get good gear there before you launch off on the pitch. Even better, extend part of the belay anchor up to this placement. The belay stance itself is not bad, however if I remember correctly, it is very tempting to just put small to medium gear for a belay anchor under some small (inch to two-inch thick?) right-facing flakes right at the stance. This is just the sort of belay anchor, however well-constructed, that would not hold a factor two fall due to the nature of the rock itself, which would explain the anchor pulling and rockfall, and itís the sort of pitch on which it would not be difficult to simply slip on lead, pull sparse and sketchy gear, and take such a fall. I made it a special point to warn Dave about the details of this pitch prior to his climb.

It would be interesting to know also who it looked like was leading at the time of the fall. This would not be difficult to determine, given an examination of the configuration of belay anchor gear on the rope after the fall, although I havenít heard the details of that. Given that Dave was the stronger climber, I wouldnít be surprised if Kelly lead the first (easy, short) pitch, Dave the crux pitch, and then Kelly the third pitch, which although indicated to be only 5.6/7, is actually pretty sketchy, and very difficult to protect effectively for a strong climber, much less one not as experienced.

Itís also possible that the fall occurred on pitch four to the top. If as the book indicates the party belays directly from the top of the massive flake, I think there is a large detached block sitting on top of that flake that would provide the only anchor, but it might be questionable whether this block would hold a long fall. But in that case, there would have been a bigger rockfall than was my impression from the reports. I personally have never been comfortable enough with the big block to belay from the spot where the book indicates. Instead, I always traverse left a ways to a medium-sized tree that provides a bomber anchor that is part of the White Maiden, and I just deal with a little rope drag.

I have always finished the route going right, up the remainder of Super Pooper to the top, which although it offers little decent protection is relatively easy climbing. Because of this, and based on the reports, my feeling is that they probably did not fall from the final pitch, but from the third.

Remember that this is only speculation, and that perhaps more evidence will be discovered that suggests a different scenario. In any case, in my own and othersí defense, I feel that speculation and attempts to try to explain such an accident can be helpful in getting through something like this. It is also helpful, I think, as a learning experience that in some small way attempts to vindicate such a tragic situation and may also better prepare those who are interested in climbing the route in the future. It reminds us that the crux pitch on a route may not necessarily be the most dangerous. It reminds us once again to really beef up our belay anchors, and to climb conservatively when we are trad leading, and in the end it suggests that in climbing there are situations that are just plain dangerous regardless of the care we take.

It is easy for experienced climbers to become complacent when setting belay anchors. We usually only think about being able to catch normal leader falls in which gear does not pull, which are short, and which involve minimal upward pull. Having said that, I don't think that the climbers would have been necessarily complacent in setting an anchor here. The truth is, Iíve seen plenty of gear-based belay anchors out there that would be very hard-pressed to hold a factor two fall, not always because the placements were necessarily bad, but because the rock itself in which they were placed was inadequate. In fact, considering the shock force generated by such a fall, I wouldn't be surprised at gear breaking in such a situation. Although I know it is a touchy subject, I think that this pitch on this route is a very good candidate for the installation of bolts at the belay and perhaps at least one mid-pitch. In any case, I feel that a factor two fall on such a gear anchor as I have described would most likely always be catastrophic.

Finally, I want to leave the technical rationalizing and express the depth of my feeling about what a good friend and jolly guy I knew Dave to be, and also what a truly sensitive and good person Kelly seemed to me to be, the couple times I met him. I will miss both dearly, but instead of continuing to be sad over their deaths, I'm going to try to celebrate their lives.


vivalargo


Oct 22, 2003, 8:51 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Friends,

I think Howdyjeff's thoughts are instructive. In talking about this accident last night with Jack Marshall (both of us grew up climbing at Tahquitz), we reflected how the top part of most all the routes around The Step are sketchy, bottoming and weird to protect, and we concluded that adding a belay bolt at key places is probably a good idea. Jack also wondered if at least part of the failed belay involved old fixed pins, which tend to be bunk.

A lesson here is that all belays must be able to withstand a force 2 fall, and every leader needs to get a bombproof piece of pro in off the belay. Anything less and it's a crapshoot if someone comes off. This has always been, and will always be the case with any and all climbs, regardless if they are at Tahquitz or the Valley or wherever. And if such pro is not obtainable, it's time to slap in a few bolts.

Again, condolences to all involved.

JL


socalclimber


Oct 22, 2003, 9:37 AM
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One other observation concerning Howyjeff's comments, just because the rating is "easy" doesn't mean the climbing is. 5.7, 5.8, 5.9 or 5.anything doesn't always mean much. The scariest lead I ever did was with Tucker Tech and Grant Hiskes. I lead a 5.6 choss pile Tucker had said he soloed. Now I know why. I wished I had done the same. The gear was all garbage, so was the rock for that matter. Dave Mayville (sp?) told me the scariest lead he ever did was on a 5.7 at the Gunks. Don't get complacent with ratings. It's climbing, it's dangerous.


Robert


ride


Oct 22, 2003, 9:39 AM
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Rosarie and Art, I'm sorry you had to witness that accident, stay strong learn from it, try not to let it freak you out.

I hate it when someone gets hurt or worse climbing, but tis the nature of the beast.
We fight gravity for fun, sometimes it wins.

At least these guys went out doing something they absolutly loved, I can only hope that I at least die doing something that I love and not in a car accident or something....

my condolences to everyone involved.


annandjese


Oct 22, 2003, 9:44 AM
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DAVE AND KELLY WERE TWO OF MY BEST FRIENDS AND CLIMBING PARTNERS. HAVING KNOWN DAVE FOR OVER 15 YEARS AND KELLY FOR OVER 5, I AM TOTALLY DEVASTATED OVER WHAT HAPPENED. I THINK JEFFS SPECULATION ON WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED IS RIGHT ON THE MONEY, I'M SURE DAVE LEAD THE HARDER PITCHES AND LET KELLY LEAD THE EASY ONES, AS DAVE HAS DONE WITH ME OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS.

MY WIFE ANN AND I LOVED THOSE TWO DEARLY, AFTER ALL WE INTRODUCED THEM TO EACK OTHER. WE ARE FILLED WITH WONDERFUL MEMORIES OF DAVE AND KELLY ESPECIALLY WHEN I THINK OF ALL OUR TRIPS TO JOSHUA TREE. BOTH OF THEM WERE OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUALS AND A GREAT LOSS TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. I WILL MISS THEM DEARLY.

MY DEEPEST SYMPATHIES TO FLORABEL, NICHOLAS, THE ENTIRE KELLOGG FAMILY, THE TUFO FAMILY, AND TO ALL THE DEAR FRIENDS THAT LOVE THEM AS MUCH AS I DO.

JESSE AND ANN CASTRO


howdyjeff


Oct 22, 2003, 9:47 AM
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John,

Thanks for the support of a true master. I think it's safe to say that both Dave and I were inspired by and probably learned more from you about preserving our lives while climbing than anywhere else, except perhaps on the rock itself.

In response to one of your points, I don't recall there being any fixed belay pitons on the route since I've climbed it.

Jeff


granitegod


Oct 22, 2003, 9:49 AM
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In reply to:
Don't get complacent with ratings. It's climbing, it's dangerous.

Robert

So true. See recent post about near accident at City of Rocks involving two AMGA guides.

Recently I reached the top of a 5.8 pitch and found my tie in know was not tied correctly. I had double checked it....but I was just in such a hurry, I didn't notice.

Experience counts when placing gear, but aint worth nothing if you're lazy, complacent, or don't pay attention.

Does anyone know if there will be a fund set up for Dave's kids? Did Kelly have wife and/or kids? I would be happy to contribute. Please PM, or post new thread.


annandjese


Oct 22, 2003, 11:46 AM
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THE IMAGE SENT OF ONE OF THE CLIMBERS IS HOW I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER DAVE KELLOGG. MY HUSBANDS HIGH SCHOOL BUDDY AND CLIMBING PARTNER HAS ALWAYS HAD AN ADVENTUROUS, FUN LOVING SPIRIT. KELLY TUFO WAS ALSO A DEAR FRIEND OF OURS AND ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR RECENTLY REMODELING AND CREATING OUR BEAUTIFUL NEW SALON. A TRUE CRAFTSMAN WITH A GENUINE LOVE FOR THE OUTDOORS.
IMAGES AND MEMORIES OF BOTH OF OUR FRIENDS ARE SO FRESH IN OUR MINDS. THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES TO SHARE. I CAN'T POSSIBLY WRITE THEM ALL.
I THINK OF FLORABEL AND NICOLAS-DAVE'S WIFE AND SON. AND SQUIGGY-KELLY'S DOG AND COMPANION FOR 7 YEARS. I WISH I COULD HUG ALL OF THEM. THEY SAY TIME WILL HEAL BUT AT THE MOMENT THAT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE.
THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR CORRESPONDECE. IT'S SUCH A COMFORT KNOWING SO MANY PEOPLE CARE SO MUCH.

~ANN CASTRO


walter


Oct 22, 2003, 12:06 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Jeff, thanks for some really well-informed and well-thought-out analyses.

In thinking about possible scenarios, is it also possible that Dave set up the suspect anchor you describe at the top of the second pitch, Kelly might have fallen following the crux, and everything ripped? This would still leave a few pieces between them on the rope, but in this case the gear arrangement on their harnesses would be different. Much less force than a big lead fall, but still a possiblity.

It would be infomative to inspect that shallow flake at the base of the third pitch - if it's still there.

My sympathies to everyone who knew Dave and Kelly.


ernie


Oct 22, 2003, 12:54 PM
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I went up Tuesday morning to see if I could piece together any clues. Markus Jolliff and I climbed the step on 6/9/03. It does have a loose looking scar at the same hight as the le toit roof, but that area looks the same as it has for about 6 years. I did notice that the red sling thats been hanging just below the crux of le toit (right before the lip)is now either broken or untied. It would be hard to be off route on le toit (12a) the moves getting up to the crux are a bit harder than anything on the step. I'll go up again on Thursday with a rope to look for more clues. If I find anything I'll post it on Friday a.m. It would he helpful to know what gear was on the rope and in what order and what gear was attatched to the belayer.

Peace to all involved
Ernie Ale


roseraie


Oct 22, 2003, 1:10 PM
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The anchor was on the belayer, who fell second. We are pretty sure the belayer was Kelly. I guess he could have been belaying from the top, with Dave following the pitch, but they would not have weighted the anchor nearly enough to pull it if that were the scenario.

They fell from too high up to have been on the second pitch or even the base of the third. Based on Jeff's information, my guess would be that the leader took a fall on the fourth pitch and pulled the flake that held the belay. If the men were swinging leads, with Dave, the stronger climber, leading the crux pitch, he would have been on lead again on the fourth.

Art and I most definitely heard very loud rockfall, it is what drew our attention to the area in time to witness the fall.

And Ernie, the two men fell from above where could be seen from the ground, so I doubt the sling you spotted was related to the accident. Art and I were about two pitches up on Angel's Fright, and they fell from above where we could see.

I hope some of this information helps everyone in their quest to figure out this horrible accident. I'm sorry I don't have more information about the gear on the line. I am waiting somewhat impatiently for the RMRU report.

Meg


annandjese


Oct 22, 2003, 1:27 PM
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I WOULD LIKE TO SEND AN IMAGE OF KELLY TUFO. WHAT IS THE EMAIL ADDRESS SO THAT I CAN PROPERLY SEND THIS?


Partner artm


Oct 22, 2003, 1:29 PM
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We were actually on the 3rd pitch of Angels Fright heading for Lunch Ledge. We bypassed the first 2 short pitches by doing Human Fright instead. So we were higher than it sounds. Meg later pointed out to me the area that she first spotted Dave and Kelly falling, which was around the arch leading to the roof of Le Toit or near the roof itself.


socalclimber


Oct 22, 2003, 2:36 PM
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Rosarie,

Did you by chance see what the anchor consisted of??? BTW, hats off to you both for handling a really bad situation very well.

Again, my condolences to the friends and families. Sounds like two really great people!

Robert


helene


Oct 22, 2003, 2:56 PM
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word


anothertucsonclimber


Oct 22, 2003, 3:05 PM
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My condolences to the friends and families of this tragedy. I have read this entire post and they seem like two great guys who will be missed. I'm sorry that I did not have the chance to ever meet them.

Dale


Partner artm


Oct 22, 2003, 3:10 PM
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Helene and Adam
Thanks for everything you two did that day.
Great thanks especially to Adam for being the first to reach Dave or Kelly and staying with him the entire time as the rest of us attempted to locate the other man.


miker


Oct 22, 2003, 3:55 PM
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Condolences to all involved.

Kudos to Art and Meg and everyone else involved for all you have done and are doing.

It seems so much more personal, even though I didn't know Dave or Kelly, I did know the rock and feel like I was there.

Much Sadness

miker


mtnrsq


Oct 22, 2003, 5:11 PM
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I would encourage people to NOT, I repeat NOT climb all over the route. RMRU and others doing follow-up need to have an undisturbed "scene". This IS being checked out.

Leave gear in-situ, etc.


howdyjeff


Oct 22, 2003, 7:46 PM
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Meg, your point about this probably not being the follower's fall pulling the belay from above is just what I was going to suggest to Walter. The belayer can usually very easily absorb the much lower forces generated by such a short fall, often without even much force being put on the anchors.

I don't want to make too much out of this, but I'm going to stick with my theory about a fall from pitch three. I don't think it necessarily conflicts with what you saw, Meg. Here's my reasoning:

First, remember that the start of The Step itself is very high on the rock to begin with. I took a look at a very detailed digital photo I have, today, and I think that the initial belay from the ledge it shares with Super Pooper is probably close to the same height as Lunch Ledge, which is the top of the fourth pitch on Angel's Fright. Coupled with the fact that the second pitch on The Step is very long, that means that the third pitch is actually very high on the rock. I don't know that you can actually see much of the route above the second pitch from the base or from your position on Angel's Fright, though I could be mistaken. All I'm saying here is that both the third and fourth pitches are very high up.

Second, there is the report of climbers low and far to the right hearing swearing, gear popping, and rockfall. In this case, I think that it would be much more likely that the fall occurred on pitch three than four. The pitch four finish, right, onto Super Pooper, has only very few thin to medium gear placements. There is a placement shortly above the belay in an upward-facing crack behind a small bulge. This is the bulge, by the way, that has for many years sported a sling fixed only by it's jammed knot (beware). A few face moves then lead to a wall/roof that offers more gear placements and that is traversed up and right, then surmounted. This is all pretty easy climbing. Above this, there is a slab move or two that are just enough steeper than any on the slab above Lunch Ledge to be pretty sketchy. Anyway, this means that, given the reports of gear discovered on the rope after the fall, I think that, if on pitch four, the leader would have been rounding the slab to the top. Now think about how difficult it is to hear your partner while yelling at the top of your lungs back and forth over just one pitch between the top of the rock and Lunch Ledge, over on the west face. If the climbers were on the upper section of pitch four, I think it would be very hard to hear anything at all so far below. Perhaps not, though, if they were on pitch three.

Finally, there is the issue of where the climbers were discovered after the fall. The reports mention Fool's Rush, which is to the left of The Step. But pitch four of the climb curves up and right. This would place the results of a fall closer to the base of Super Pooper or even farther right. A fall from pitch three (or lower) is more likely to go left.

Unfortunately, I think that we might have taken the speculation as far as it can go at this point, and that we're just going to have to wait to see if the investigators can discover any hard evidence.

Again, I'll leave the facts and speculation now and finish with the more important heart-felt, human things. Florabel has been a trooper all along. Although she has had moments of deep sadness, she has also shown great strength. My heart goes out to her. For my part, I think that the real effects of losing a great friend like Dave will only begin to emerge slowly, over time. I just keep expecting him to swing by my place any day now on his way home from work for a beer and a philosophical chat about climbing, or life.

Jeff


adamzappal


Oct 22, 2003, 9:05 PM
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The anchor was with a yellow accessory cord like 7mm or so and David had anchored himself in with a pinkish accessory cord (6mm maybe) tied directly to his belay loop with a figure8

Anchor
(1) Size .5 Camelot This was damaged as the cams were kinda stuck and you had to move it with your fingers to get it to retract. **at first I thought it was 2x .5 sized Camalots. Looking at the gear later I saw the supposed 2nd was actually clipped to his harness with a variety of other cams and a few larger stoppers**

(1) Size 1 Camelot (which was only piece I had unclipped from the anchor) and set aside.

(?)There may have been a Size 2 Camelot as well or another piece, as I did not want to pull all the gear out from under Davids back or really move him in the first place.


roseraie


Oct 22, 2003, 9:06 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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This one is from the Idyllwild Town Crier:

In reply to:
Climbers fall to death
By Darla Priest
Staff Reporter
A witness who stayed with one of the two climbers who fell about 160 feet to his death while climbing White Maiden route on Tahquitz Rock last Sunday said he heard the climbers fall.

Climber Adam Baroumand of Irvine, reached the top of Lunch Rock Trail, where he was preparing to climb The Trough, when he heard three loud popping sounds followed by two hard thugs.

"It sounded like gears ripping out ... Then, I heard tons of rock fall," Baroumand said.

"Another climber, [an unknown female witness], who was on the route above was calling out 'Are you all right down there?'"

An accident had occurred on Tahquitz Rock.

At about 1:30 p.m., Baroumand's climbing partner Helene Herron of Irvine, went for help and used her cell phone to call 911.

"I just got to the top of the trail ... Adam was going to teach me how to climb but then the accident happened," Herron said. "I dropped my backpack and went for help."

Baroumand soon realized that two climbers had fallen from somewhere near the West Face Bulge and went to assist one of the fallen climbers who was still alive.

"I don't know if he could hear me but I kept telling him everything was going to be all right and to hang in there because help was on the way," Baroumand said. †

The other climber had fallen about 200 feet and died instantly.

"I knew it was bad when I saw shattered helmets," Baroumand said. "I stayed with him for about 30 minutes until help arrived.

"Apparently, the lead climber took a factor two fall and fell past the belay [where the rope is anchored] and the two climbers both fell ... The load was directly on the anchor."

The two fallen climbers were identified as Kelly Tufo, 32, of Anza, and David Kellogg, 41, of San Diego.

Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU), Idyllwild Fire Protection District, Riverside County Sheriffís Department and the Forest Service responded to the scene.

RMRU responded to the scene at about 2 p.m.

"We had about 18 volunteers there from RMRU who helped carry equipment to the scene and were there to assist the sheriff's† department," said Jim Fairchild, RMRU.

RMRU rescuers located the bodies and lowered them to a safe location for transporting.

RMRU members Glen Henderson, Kirk Cloyd, Dave Webb, Dana Potts and Michael George were instrumental in the rescue.

"The bodies were lowered, put into body bags, then placed on stretchers," Fairchild said. "Everyone helped."

Due to darkness and the safety of the rescuers, the extraction of the victims was postponed until 7 a.m. Monday.

RMRU members Potts and George stayed with the victims throughout the night until the bodies were extracted by helicopter.

"Rock climbers are a family within themselves ... When someone gets hurt they stop and help each other," said Pat Boss, Forest Service public information officer. "After a fatal fall it takes a toll on all of the climbers. They say, 'It could have been me.'"

The two fallen climbers were climbing up the White Maiden route heading toward the vicinity of the Vampire which is located near the West Face Bulge, RMRU officials said.

This section of Tahquitz Rock features the large, bulging headwall on the west face of the rock. The area can be viewed from a distance at Humber Park.

About 200 routes exist on Tahquitz Rock which is known for its crack climbing.

The history of rock climbing on Tahquitz dates back to the beginnings of technical rock climbing in America.

The Trough route was first ascended in 1936. It is the easiest route up the cliff and an excellent introduction to multi-pitch climbing.

By 1940, about a dozen more routes had been established.

In 1952, Royal Robbins had established one of the hardest free climbs in America, The Open Book. It's one of Tahquitz's classic lines.

Before climbing Tahquitz Rock climbers should consider the following:

Attend a professional rock climbing class on climbing techniques and equipment and never climb alone or take unnecessary chances.


acohen


Oct 22, 2003, 11:34 PM
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my deepest sorrows for my friend DCK........ I will miss him. I am no climber but I know he was,

He would not go all the way unless it was "safe".....
Any responses to understand would be helpful....
email:http://[b]adam_c_4me@yahoo.com [/b]


radclimerchick


Oct 23, 2003, 5:23 AM
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Regarding the comments made to "radclimerchick," if you knew me or what happened on my end, you would never have said this. I will not use this forum to defend myself, nor do not feel like I should have to.

I am at peace with myself and my actions.

Leslie


socalclimber


Oct 23, 2003, 5:30 AM
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adamzappal, thanks for the info on the anchor. Was there any other gear still clipped to the rope? Or was the only gear the belay? Any idea of how much rope was out between them?

Thanks
Robert


azeini


Oct 23, 2003, 8:31 AM
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I did not know those two fallen climbers and I am not from US, but my heart is with the family members and friends of those climbers. My condolences to all involved in this tragedy.


surfngreaser


Oct 23, 2003, 10:46 AM
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David was a co-worker of mine and someone who I shared more than a few laughs with. He will be deeply missed. I am not a climber myself but I understand the camaraderie and sense of family you all have for each other so I thought I'd pass along this info:

Memorial Services for David Kellogg
Wednesday October 29 at 10 AM
Solana Beach Presbyterian Church
120 Stevens Avenue
Solana Beach, CA 92075

Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be sent to:
Nicolas Dylan Kellogg College Fund
C/o USA Federal Credit Union
9889 Erma Road
San Diego, CA 92131
A/C # 719100


Cards and letters can be sent to his home address:
6320 Rustic Drive
San Diego, CA 92139


"KIT come quick I need you"


howdyjeff


Oct 23, 2003, 12:00 PM
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One word: Respect.

Respect the journalists, even if they get it a little wrong. They are climbing's link to the public, and it does no good to alienate them. Instead, try to politely increase climbing awareness and learning in those who are interested.

Respect the posters who, in trying to come to terms with this, provide what you might believe to be questionable information or opinion. Polite disagreement and constructive criticism is fine, but sometimes it's just best to let go of blame, suspicion, and arguments over who was or was not there, and what should or should not have been done. In any case, what's really important here will rise to the surface, and the rest will just fade away.

Respect the rescue workers and other officials involved, and, as climbers, get involved in these sorts of efforts yourselves, when appropriate. Work to increase safety and prevent accidents, support climbing advocacy organizations, learn self-rescue and how to aid others. Communicate to non-climbers, who may not understand, that climbing is not about recklessness and danger, but rather a very valid and important expression of the human spirit. These efforts are important, because they preserve our freedom to continue to pursue such expression in the future. Friends know that this is what Dave strived for in himself.

If we respect these things, we respect the fact that this thread is about Dave and Kelly: honoring them, learning from them, preserving our memory of them, and supporting those close to them.

Jeff


josher


Oct 23, 2003, 12:02 PM
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WORD


stevekapali


Oct 23, 2003, 12:07 PM
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or as Dave would say - "Palabra!"


howdyjeff


Oct 23, 2003, 12:11 PM
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Here's another one of my favorites of Dave, which I took on a recent aid climbing trip to Zion. He always thought he looked like a dork in the helmet, but I think he looks pretty sharp.

http://home.earthlink.net/...n0503/dave_ledge.jpg

Jeff


ricardol


Oct 23, 2003, 12:29 PM
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i am truly saddened by their passing ..

-- ricardo


jarmani


Oct 23, 2003, 12:30 PM
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I would like to send my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of both Kelly and Dave.

I also want to thank the climbers who witnessed the accident and to those on hand to assist that afternoon. I canít imagine your own pain, and am so grateful for your continual strength and courage. Thank you too, for your postings on this site. The information youíve provided, and the dialogue youíve inspired, have been invaluable to those in and outside of the climbing community to piece together what exactly happened. I am astounded and deeply comforted by the responses Iíve found here.

I would like to write a little bit about Kelly Tufo, one of the fallen climbers. I only knew Kelly for a short time this past summer, but in that brief time Kelly managed to teach me so much. Kelly was one of the most genuine and loving people I have ever met. He had such a kind and gentle way about him. Over those short few months, he was so easy to know, and irresistible to love.

Kelly was the type of person who had so much energy all of the time. He had a passion for life, learning, and for experiencing everything he possibly could while he was here. Kelly loved music and books, good food and better conversation. He loved to laugh and he loved his dog Squiggy. He loved the art of hard, honest work. He loved adventure and testing the upper most limits of the human spirit.

Kelly loved the outdoors and Mother Nature. He loved the planet and throughout his life, strived to live harmoniously with her.

Kelly had a magic about him and a way of looking at the world through the eyes of a child, with utter and complete awe. He was so fascinated and curious about everything around him, big and small.

Kelly had selfless love and compassion for so many things beyond himself.

I truly believe in this world that indeed, energy can neither be created, nor destroyed. I believe both Dave and Kelly will live on in more ways than one. During this difficult time, I wish all affected by this tragedy peace, strength, and courage.

Jennifer


nattydread


Oct 23, 2003, 12:58 PM
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Thanks, Jeff. I think you summed it up well.

This post has been wonderful. I, and no doubt many others who knew Dave and Kelly (including yourself), have been reading this thread daily, trying to find answers and some way to deal with our loss. I appreciate everyone's comments.

To the folks involved in the rescue, thank you so much for being there for our friends. It's a great relief to know Dave and Kelly were not alone and that if there had been a chance of their survival, you guys would've made it happen.

Jennifer, funny you mentioned that about their energies being perpetuated. Steve and I had a very similar discussion last night. I believe their energies and love of life are still with us as well.

Thanks again for all who've posted.

Natasha


Partner artm


Oct 23, 2003, 1:06 PM
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I'd like to personally acknowledge all the other climbers who came to Dave and Kelly's assistance along with Meg and I

Adam Baroumand (first climber on scene)
Helene Herron
Tom
Jeremiah
Ryan
Brent

There were a few others who's names I've forgotten or didn't receive and for that I apologize.


cjain


Oct 23, 2003, 1:12 PM
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In reply to:
Regarding the comments made to "radclimerchick," if you knew me or what happened on my end, you would never have said this. I will not use this forum to defend myself, nor do not feel like I should have to.

I am at peace with myself and my actions.

Leslie

I'm glad to see that the comments referred to above have been deleted. Radclimerchick is a friend of mine and she's legit. (And in fact my fiance, Michelle, and I had tentativley planned to link up with her at Humber Park that fateful Sunday but were unable to make it due to last-minute family obligations.) Anyway, let's not let this distract us from the much more important issues being discussed.

Chris Jain
Irvine, CA


mmarc


Oct 23, 2003, 2:46 PM
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My name is Marc Kellogg,the brother of Dave Kellogg killed this past Sunday climbing at Tahquitz.

The time of the service is 2 pm not 10 am

I want to thank everyone for their support over these very difficult times. I especially would like to thank all of you who were on the rock that day and helped with the recovery of Dave and his friend Kelly.

I know how much he and all of you love your sport. The best way to honor dave is to load up your gear and go climbing.


florabel


Oct 23, 2003, 3:19 PM
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Okay, the incorrect time was my fault!!! I didn't reconfirm the time when I spoke with his father.......


Memorial Services for David Kellogg

Wednesday, October 29, 2003, 2PM
Solana Beach Presbyterian Church
120 Stevens Avenue
Solana Beach, CA 92075


Thanks again everybody!!!
Florabel


yosemite


Oct 23, 2003, 3:45 PM
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In reply to:
My name is Marc Kellogg,the brother of Dave Kellogg killed this past Sunday climbing at Tahquitz.

The best way to honor dave is to load up your gear and go climbing.

Marc,

I am moved by the way you want the climbing community to honor the memory of your brother Dave. It tells me the kind of family Dave has, and something about Dave himself.

Our thoughts are with you and the family.

Gene Malone & Family


stevekapali


Oct 23, 2003, 4:15 PM
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I wish i could thank all of you in person.

Thank you Meg for beginning this discussion. It has been an awesome source of inspiration to help deal with this tragic event. Thank you to both you and Art for doing what you could do to help out our friends. Thank you for listing the names of the others that helped out: Adam Baroumand, Helene Herron, Tom, Jeremiah, Ryan, and Brent - Thank you so much. I also would like to thank Potts and George for spending the night with my fallen bros - I believe these guys are volunteers too. Thank you so much.
Thanks Jeff - FOR EVERYTHING. For posting your thought and feed back on the route. It really helped to clarify some of the mystery of it all. Reading that post helped me be with my friend on that fatal route. Thanks for being there for Florabel on Monday and i'm sorry you had to break the news to her. I know you and Dave were close climbing buddies - i weep with you.


I would like to give my deepest and sincerest condolences to everyone affected by this. To the family and friends of Kelly - I'm so sorry. I met Kelly once on a climbing trip in Josh. He was a great guy. Fun and great to talk to.

Dave is a dear friend of mine. To all those who knew him and was blessed to be in his presence, know what a good spirit Dave is. He is all about the rock. He also all about safety. I can't tell you how many safety meetings we had before a climb. He was the one that brought me into climbing and looked over me as i progressed. His passion for the sport was contagious. He loved climbing. We took a trip to Costa Rica and it was pretty much gonna be a trip where we would go do some tourist things and maybe get some surf. What did Dave do - he packed up his whole rack - just in case he found some rock. No guide book, no beta - just in case. The boy loved to climb.

It has been extremely difficult to accept that fact that my friend is gone. However, i know that this is the way he would have wanted to go. I'm not saying he wanted to die - he definitely didn't want to die. He was always excited about growing up with his son. Nicolas was bound to be a climber with his dad. He would be so excited to tell us how Nicolas has the grip of a climber and how he sent routes up the couch and various things around the house.

I miss you Dave.

Palabra!


taso


Oct 23, 2003, 5:02 PM
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Kelly was my friend. He lives in my memories, joking and philosophizing. I will remember him as someone with tremendous character; someone whom I was very glad to know.

I will miss him.


http://www.triplecherry.com/friends/kelly1.jpg

http://www.triplecherry.com/friends/kelly2.jpg

http://www.triplecherry.com/friends/kelly3.jpg

Thanks to Jesse for these photos.


blynn


Oct 23, 2003, 5:55 PM
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:( My Deepest sympothies to the family and friends of both Dave and Kelly. I went to high school with Dave and I am truly saddened that he is gone. I can recall some really great times I had with Dave (The Grateful Deads last show @ Irvine Meadows!) comes to mind.
Dave had a very enthusiastic way of looking at life back then, and from all that I have read in this site and heard from friends that enthusiasm never faded away. When someone has a passion in their life it is a true blessing. Climbing rocks was obviously the passion within Dave.

Brian Lynn


annandjese


Oct 23, 2003, 7:28 PM
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I would like to thank all the people involved in this forum for adding their insight and comforting words about Kelly, Dave, and this tragic accident. Again, my wife Ann and I were extremely close friends to both men.

I had the opportunity to work with Kelly for several months this spring while we remodeled my new business. During this time Kelly and Squiggy (the smartest dog ever) stayed at my home, (since his house in Anza is so far away). Even though Kelly and I had known each other for about 5 years this gave us the opportunity to really get close (like brothers).Many long days of Kelly patiently teaching me the tricks of the trade. In reality I was just a laborer, assisting him with the non skill components of the job. He was a true master of all facets of construction and held a general contractors license. Even more impressive than his skills was his unbelievable work ethic. He worked harder than three men put together, no joke! Kelly would absolutely wear me out. Everything he did he did with remarkable enthusiasm. He had a wonderfully quirky personality; he was a truly unique individual.

The conversations are what I will really miss. Well read and deeply philosophical Kelly and I could go on for hours. That is why it was so great to spend time with him in the outdoors away from distractions. There was never a dull moment. Kelly and I over the years have experienced many things together, from snowboarding trips, to camping and climbing he was always up for adventure. His caring and selfless spirit will always be remembered.

Dave was my friend for over 15 years, truly. In our busy lives itís easy to loose touch with people, but Dave and I hardly had a lull in the entire time. I too was brought to climbing by Dave. He was such a remarkable influence on people in regards to climbing. He loved it to no end. His happy go lucky personality was a tribute to the peace he always found through climbing. I donít know how many times Dave drove 12 hours from Humboldt State to meet me at Red Rocks for a short weekend of climbing. There is nothing he loved more than to ďsendĒ a new route.

Dave had so many special qualities and so many admirers that I always felt that I was forced to share him. I feel privileged to have had so much one on one time with him. I know he is loved and respected by many.




There are three memorial services that I would l like to post:

Memorial for David Kellogg and Kelly Tufo
Saturday October 25th at 11 am
Humber Park in Idlewild



Memorial for Kelly Tofo
Monday October 27th 7pm
Diesel Salon (which Kelly built)
4222 Adams ave.
San Diego, Ca. 92116
619-281-6863


Memorial for David Kellogg
Wednesday October 29th at 2pm
120 Stevens ave.
Solana Beach, Ca. 92075


I would like to encourage anyone who was touched by these men to please join us in remembering their wonderful spirits.


A personal thanks to the potential rescuers who responded selflessly to this tragic accident. Special thanks to Adam for having the strength and courage to deal with a hard situation. I feel good knowing my friends were not alone in their last moments. Thanks again to everyone interacting through this thread, it has helped me tremendously.


Best wishes to all,

Jesse Castro


florabel


Oct 23, 2003, 7:50 PM
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Just wanted to share pictures of Dave and Nicolas with everyone - this is our little boy that he was sooooooooo proud of!! He's going to be a climber like his Papa!
http://home.earthlink.net/...f/david_nicholas.jpg
Biosite picnic July 2002
http://home.earthlink.net/...eff/nicolas_dave.jpg
Klamath River July 2003


annandjese


Oct 23, 2003, 10:04 PM
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Quick note,

The event on saturday is very informal. Just some friends and family getting together. Anyone is invited. 11 am Humber Park.

Also, I made a typo on Kelly Tufo's name one time. Sorry

Jesse


vivalargo


Oct 24, 2003, 9:46 AM
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Friends,

In reading over the review of the anchor configuration -- although the facts are still not firmly established -- it looks like the entire anchor (which failed) was built on SLCD's (spring loaded camming devices). Opinions will pour in about the relative safety/danger of using only SLCD's for a primary anchor, and I suspect that in light of the fact that the cams were Camalot's, that brand will take some heat as well. But for whatever my opinion is worth, I believe the problem is not with Camalots, rather with rigging any primary anchor only with SLCD's. Because SLCD's can pivot under a shockload, I have always been terrified of rigging a anchor exclusively from said units. I always try and get a big taper or Hex in or better yet, a natural anchor. Not always possible, but the recent tradegy would seem to suggest we should try whenever possible.

JL


chad


Oct 24, 2003, 10:47 AM
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In reply to:
David was a co-worker of mine and someone who I shared more than a few laughs with. He will be deeply missed. I am not a climber myself but I understand the camaraderie and sense of family you all have for each other so I thought I'd pass along this info:

Memorial Services for David Kellogg
Wednesday October 29 at 10 AM
Solana Beach Presbyterian Church
120 Stevens Avenue
Solana Beach, CA 92075

Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be sent to:
Nicolas Dylan Kellogg College Fund
C/o USA Federal Credit Union
9889 Erma Road
San Diego, CA 92131
A/C # 719100


Cards and letters can be sent to his home address:
6320 Rustic Drive
San Diego, CA 92139


"KIT come quick I need you"

for David

http://img.villagephotos.com/...est_picture_ever.jpg


adamzappal


Oct 24, 2003, 2:29 PM
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I was not able to see if there was gear between the belayer (Dave) and the person climbing (Kelly). I think Meg found Daves ID in his pack at the base. Ryan made it up to the ledge about 5 minutes after Dave passed away; Ryan made an anchor toward the back of the ledge then founds Kellyís ID right around there was also a Nalgine standing upside down fully filled with water with a broken loop at the rear of the ledge near a blue piece of foam from Daveís helmet. Also there was an REI/Wales bent-gate carabiner not to far from this stuff, laying there all by itself.


howdyjeff


Oct 24, 2003, 4:39 PM
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Thanks again for your commentary, John. I agree completely with what you say about the importance of getting a combination of types of gear in at a belay. Of course I would agree: you wrote the book on it! Unfortunately, as you also suggested before, there are not too many good nut or hex placements to be had on the upper pitches of the routes in that vicinity.

Anyway, if my memory serves me, the gear sizes Adam reported are consistent with the placements available at the bottom of pitch three on The Step. I think the placements there, however, are pretty much downward facing, though perhaps angled a bit to the side, which might make them susceptible to levering out under such force. But my concern would, again, be more with the rock quality there than anything else. In that case, more good advice would be also to choose a few separate cracks or features to use when building an anchor. Also, of course, always equalize the anchor to limit the force on any one piece of gear and on the rock itself, which I knew Dave did religiously and which he seems to have done in this case.

Johnís warning about cams pivoting is extremely well said if the belay was from the block at the top of that pitch. Iíve seen many such situations where climbers just shove a couple cams down head first behind a block they are sitting on, often not thinking about whether downward pull will rotate the cams out, whether their attachment to the anchor is too far extended, or even whether the block is detached and not massive enough to hold such placements. Again I would definitely recommend traversing left at the top of pitch three, to the tree near White Maiden, for a bomber belay there.

I would also like to hope, and think that it is probably the case anyway knowing many of them myself, that the folks involved in this do not blame the gear, and, really, do not look for ďblame,Ē per se, anywhere.

Safety in climbing is only in part a matter of the physical gear. But as John suggests, also involved are such things as technique, habit, judgment, etc. And in the end, the consequences of climbing are a matter of the climbers involved themselves taking full personal responsibility for choosing to climb every time they tie in. Dave did.

This means even taking personal responsibility, or at least not blaming anyone, for things that may happen that are entirely unpredictable and out of a climberís control. This includes choosing to climb with a partner whose own choices for themself may often in some unforeseen way effect you. To take another example, think about a situation involving rock accidentally knocked down on climbers below by a party above them. There is no malicious intent here. And even perhaps if there were some carelessness, climbers would tend to understand this as an accident. Hopefully no one would be seriously hurt by it, but the lesson would be simply to be more careful next time, because now we have experienced firsthand the results of such a moment of thoughtlessness. It is interesting to note that this is very different from what tends to happen in the city, for example, if someone accidentally drops a brick on your head from a building they are working on. Our culture today is so used to looking somewhere for blame. But in general this attitude is very far from the spirit of climbing, and I think thatís a good thing.

So, for the non-climbers reading this and trying to understand, after saying all this, why would a climber want to put themself in a situation where unpredictable things can happen that are even sometimes out of their control? Well, Iíd like to suggest, first of all, that accidents like this one, assuming a long factor two fall directly onto the belay, are actually pretty rare, as far as I can tell. Climbs are established and situations set up so that such a serious fall is almost always avoidable. Not necessarily so perhaps, if one is not extremely careful, on pitch three of The Step. I now feel very lucky myself to have never taken a leader fall there. I personally find myself more often afraid for my life racing at top speed sometimes along with rush hour traffic in San Diego than I do in most climbing situations. But Iím not saying that such accidents donít happen. And itís important for climbers not to forget that, because that is one of the things that leads to complacency.

I mentioned earlier that as climbers we need to try to communicate to those outside the climbing community why we would choose to do such a thing as climbing, to help them better understand a situation like this. Not everyone may be as understanding as Kellyís brother Marc in telling us to ďload up our gear and go.Ē And by now, I think youíve probably noticed that just about everything Iíve tried to write on this thread is also in part my attempt to provide a eulogy for Dave and Kelly. So bear with me if I wax poetic. I canít speak for all climbers, but for myself and for what I knew of Dave, we climbed together in part to challenge ourselves to apply skill, experience, and judgment to situations that we could often largely control, to meet and overcome the challenge of unpredictability that each new route posed, and to do what we could to rise to the occasion when something more powerful threw everything it could at us.

These are challenges that society has largely tried to eliminate from elsewhere in our lives, which makes it a safer place perhaps, but also fairly predictable, homogeneous, and a little alienating sometimes to a human spirit, like Daveís I think, that truly lived and shined in adventure. It is this spirit of adventure, the beauty and spirituality of the natural settings, the art of technique and the craft of tools, the perfection of style, the feel of flow in climbing, the very direct and real participation in the tradition of climbing history, the unique bond of trust and friendship among climbers, and other such rare things that drove Dave and Kelly, and continues to drive many other climbers I know, to climb.

Jeff


thegreytradster


Oct 24, 2003, 5:38 PM
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Accidents in the climbing world seem to be generally viewed by the climbing community in three broadly divided classifications.

1.Boy I'd never do anything that stupid. (self explanatory)

2.Their number was up. (unforseen rockfall, lightning etc.)

3.There but for the grace of God go I. (no obvious mistake or external cause)

This one falls into the last group.

The 24K or so views up to this point reflect that. We all want to understand what really happened, as well as express our sorrow and support.
I hope that information on the details continues to be forthcoming.
It seems like catastrophic belay failures are becoming increasingly common and happening at about six month intervals some where in N. America. Maybe this is just a personal observation and not statistically valid or a function of more participants in the sport. Can someone that is really into the statistics can fill us in on that?

This has been one of the most crowded years at Tahquitz that I remember. The weekend before, my partner and I were downing a beer in the parking lot after what we assumed would be the last day of the season before switching to Josh. I remarked that not only had we had a better season than last for a couple of old guys. Maybe there was still some years left in us. But, it had been a good season for everyone else with only a few serious injurys for as crowded as it had been. Feel bad about thinking that now.

One other thing that needs to be clarified; one post by a witness indicated that the belayer was tied directly to the anchor with a sling/cord. If this is true, and he wasn't tied in with the climbing rope an important potential shock reducing component of the belay chain was missing. Whatever happened it was a disaster composed of small details and it will benefit us all to understand what they were.


bdwalsh


Oct 24, 2003, 5:50 PM
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Dave was my best friend. I met him in High School over 15 years ago. We became good friends during college at Humboldt State University. We spent most of the nineties there, and were roommates for several of those years. During that time, he became the closest friend that I've ever had. When I moved back to San Diego, he soon followed, and we once again lived together for a few more years, along with his brother, Marcus.

When I phoned Marcus today, he told me about this forum. He warned me to wait until after work today to read it, that it would take over an hour to read it all. I couldn't help myself. Due to the desire to learn more about the circumstances, I've spent almost all day reading...

I really want to thank you all for sharing your observations, opinions, and stories. It has really helped me to cope with my friends death. I especially want to thank all of you who helped with his recovery that day. Not being a climber, your insights have helped me to better understand the sport that was his passion.

Dave always told me that there were two things in life that he really loved: climbing and his son Nicolas, in no particular order. My thoughts go out to Dave's girlfriend Florabel and son Nicolas.

I also want to thank Jeff for helping Florabel on Monday, and for his thoughtful postings. Dave mentioned you often.

Dave was always trying to get me to come climbing with him. He would try to get me to come camping at Joshua Tree, so I could meet all of his climbing buddies. I wish now that I had. I was always afraid to tell him that I'm afraid of heights, and more specifically falls.

Even though he had many friends, he still found time away from climbing and being with his son to spend time with each of them. He was always there to pull me out of the house to go SCUBA Diving or Disc Golfing. I'm really going to miss hearing his voice on my answering machine, and as he came through the gate in my backyard, calling me by my nickname "Big Daddy" Brian Walsh!

I apologize for getting so personal here. If you knew Dave, you'd understand why. He had such a magnanimous personality.

All week I've been reminded of a poem that we both heard Ken Kesey read during a Grateful Dead concert, in homage to his fallen friend Bill Graham. It was written by E.E. Cummings:

Buffalo Bill's
defunct
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive clay pidgeons just like that
Jesus
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blue-eyed boy now
mr. death?


robmcc


Oct 24, 2003, 6:16 PM
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In reply to:
I apologize for getting so personal here. If you knew Dave, you'd understand why. He had such a magnanimous personality.

I can't speak for anyone else, but as far as I'm concerned you have nothing to apologise for. Too often things like this happen. Accident reports. Names, dates, and facts.. Sterile. Ironic though it may be, posts like yours have brought these guys, who I'll never meet, to life for me. Something which isn't without a measure of pain under the circumstances, but I'm glad to know them in this small way.


moabbeth


Oct 24, 2003, 6:24 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I apologize for getting so personal here. If you knew Dave, you'd understand why. He had such a magnanimous personality.





I can't speak for anyone else, but as far as I'm concerned you have nothing to apologise for. Too often things like this happen. Accident reports. Names, dates, and facts.. Sterile. Ironic though it may be, posts like yours have brought these guys, who I'll never meet, to life for me. Something which isn't without a measure of pain under the circumstances, but I'm glad to know them in this small way.

Very well said. I feel the same way. I keep coming back to this thread constantly...and while it's painful in the reasons that it's even here, it's also incredibly inspirational in so many ways. Especially the recollections of Kelly and Dave's friends. Makes me wish I'd had the pleasure of climbing with them, they sound like remarkable individuals.


socalclimber


Oct 24, 2003, 6:25 PM
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bdwalsh,

There is no need to appologize. There are a number of us who know precisely how you feel. Your friend died doing something he loved, surrounded by people who had his passion for climbing. This particular thread has been wonderful in terms of support. This is exactly what the climbing community is all about.

Best wishes to you.
Robert


lucytufo


Oct 26, 2003, 4:54 PM
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Hi, I am Christine the sister in law of Kelly Tufo. I wanted to thank all who were part of the team who aided Kelly and David after their fall. Its been hard to read all the comments and has taken awhile to do so. His brother Lane and our entire family are amazed at the friends Kelly had within the climbing community. Thank you for taking such good care when we could not be there to do so. He was an awesome brother, friend and uncle to our four children. He made us feel incredibley special and will be forever missed and loved. Most of all never forgotten. Each of us has many special memorries of Kelly and we thank all of you for adding to them with your personal storries. We know Kelly loved everything that had to do with outdoors and he did them all with such passion. He never took anything light that had to do with the outdoors and the safety of others. Kelly my man I love you and will miss you. All our prayers are with you all and especially Daves family as we all try to find comfort in these very hard times.


jess


Oct 27, 2003, 6:50 AM
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Of the handful of times I had met Dave, we bouldered at Santee one of them. This just goes to show you how much he loved climbing. Any time someone dies at such a young age it makes you really take a step back and think about life, those you love, and the time you spend with them. Those pictures of Dave and Nicolas are priceless! My heart goes out to Florabel and all of Dave and Kelly's family and friends...
~Jess


ksolem


Oct 27, 2003, 10:38 AM
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Largo. Your point about the anchor being built of SLCD's is interesting. I would like to raise a related question, using as an example an accident which occurred over 20 years ago on Wallface, a large cliff in the Adirondack Mountains in New york. In this case the belay anchor failed following a factor 2 fall by the leader, who was 15-20 feet out with no pro in. The belayer was standing on a small ledge clipped to 3 medium sized friends (very new devices at the time) in a good 2 inch crack in solid rock. At the time there was speculation that the tie in to the anchor was slack, that is to say that the belayer was not weighting the anchor at the time of the fall. Has anyone done any studies on the holding power of camming devices when pre-loaded (such as in a hanging belay) or loaded on a curve (such as a typical lead fall with a dynamic rope) vs. sudden shock loading (such as in a factor 2 fall on an unloaded anchor)?


timstich


Oct 27, 2003, 11:06 AM
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An excerpt from a rec.climbing post concerning a similar accident:

"Dunnwiddie and Eldridge most likely fell while climbing on the upper
pitches of the Direct North Buttress (DNB). When I found them at the
base of the cliff both were still tied into their lead ropes and all
of their gear seemed to have fallen with them. It appeared from what
we found that Dunnwiddie was leading on two nine millimeter lead ropes
while Eldridge belayed from a "traditional" anchor (built with their
own gear with no bolts of fixed gear). That anchor remained attached
to Eldridge's tie in point and consisted of the following: a blue
Alien and a small stopper (approximately #5 BD) clove hitched together
to one of the lead ropes, and a .5 and .75 Camalot each independently
clove hitched about a foot apart to the other lead rope. All of these
pieces were somewhat damaged, though it is impossible to know whether
that damage occurred at the time of the accident or during their fall.
We found no "lead protection" attached to the lead ropes between the
two climbers, and they were separated by approximately twenty-five
feet of rope when we found them. We also found a loose quick draw and
a few other miscellaneous pieces of climbing equipment around the
scene."

Incidentally, I edited out the link as it was too long.


roseraie


Oct 27, 2003, 1:17 PM
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I spoke with someone from the RMRU who estimated that the report should be out by Wednesday. Keep an eye on www.rmru.org for updates on what they found when they investigated the route this weekend.

Meg


adamzappal


Oct 27, 2003, 2:46 PM
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Hello, Iím not sure what to say really, or donít even know if I should say anythingÖ and its 10/22/2003 2:37am as I began to write this and Iím pretty tired. But I stumbled along this site after performing a few Google searches couple days after the accident in which what happened which has been hitting me pretty hard. I stopped writing this about half way through because I changed my mind about posting it, now itís 10/27/03 and Iím finishing up and editing this report. If anyone wants me to edit or delete this post please let me know.

Iím not sure if I want to go into the detail of some things, but I feel that I should write since Iím here at this site and I was there and have some information to share despite my poor writing skills and current mood, I feel I should explain some things to help everyone gain an additional insight. This is not at all easy to write. And Iím just writing as I remember it.

In the following statements I will use the words like: maybe, or so, possibly, I think, I guess, somewhat, might have, or whateverÖ which means I canít say for sure and the following statements can be incorrect. And the timing of everything can be off, but Iím writing this as best I can remember it.

Around 1pm or 1:30ish I arrived at lunch rock and was catching a breather and looking up at two parties of climbers in front of me (Meg and Art) and another two (unknown) nearing the top of some route about 50 yards to the right and thinking wow coolÖ then began to overlook the Trough while waiting for my girl friend Helene which she was about 5 minutes behind me on the trail. I wanted to have her follow me and expose her to her first airy multi-pitch experienceÖ

It didnít seem like I was standing there for more then a minute and just as I was beginning to look at the Trough, I heard the brief metallic jingling sound (you know that sound when someone that has lots of gear on when they take a ďwhipperĒ) immediately followed by three (not sure, I heard 2 or 3 or 4 **could have been more** it happened so fast) rapid popping sounding like gear ripping out(but now when I think about itÖ it could have been the sound of rock breaking with the gear) Then immediately heard a louder in volume rock cracking/popping, then one of the climbers gave out a short brief grunt/yelp like ďwahhhgh!Ē; to me is somewhat sounded like a flake or block shifted and came down with them the first rock fall crash was loud and thick in impact at the same time of hearing two softer sounding thudsÖ for a few seconds after the fall, smaller rocks, but still big rocks, are still heard falling. Bear in mind I did not see them or rocks fall I just heard this from Lunch rock and not sure as to what happened. Right at first I thought that did not sound good, then I heard a female (Meg I think) voicing over in that direction ďare you ok?Ē and I heard a males voice far to the left say ďare you ok?Ē No response. I set down my pack and started going to my left in that direction. Meg was up belaying Art on Human Fright second pitch or something and she had said down to me that two climbers fell, Meg directed me to go to the 3rd class system to go diagonally left and up, Meg said ďmore around this sideĒ after a few short minutes I came up to a ledge where Dave Kellogg was laying on his back head on top of a skinny tree and branches helmet shattered with couple pieces of the helmet further up the ledge. (Now when I think about it, despite the shattered helmet, I think the design of that Petzl helmet with the foam protected his head to some degree), his left eye was slightly open, I kneeled down beside him and it seemed to me he was in some way responsive and semi-conscious, then I stood up and yelled a couple times towards the south ďcall 911!Ē I guess around that time several people had used their cells phones to summon emergency help. I spent the next few which seemed to be long minutes contemplating what to do to help or comfort him. I told him help is on the way is on the way. And he vocally groaned. Daveís wrist and arm was caught and pinched between the rope and his chest under tight tension of his rope to going to Kelly below the ledge and the accessory cord tied in a figure 8 to his belay loop going to the anchor he had and its was going along his right shoulder to the anchors which his back was on top of tangled in the tree branches. The cordlette was under tight tension too going over his chest and over his right shoulder and I had to untie the figure 8 from his belay loop, He was grunting a little bit as I frantically tried to ease the tension of the rope and cordelette. I right away wanted to get rid of the tension and pressure on his arm and chest by just disconnecting his belay device. But there was a considerable amount of tension I had to struggle pull in some slack to unhook his locking carabiner out of the belay loop. After unhooking the belay device I laid his arms to his side and he was quiet for a few seconds and I said ďstay with meĒ and he groaned. All around this time Meg and Art were getting off their climb to come over, and a Freesolost (Tom, I think) appeared on a small ledge to the left on the Maiden higher over looking me and Dave across the gully. He asked me if I was trained in first aid, I said yea but itís been a long time. He said I think you need to get the blood out of his mouth. I thought to myself yes i would like to get the blood out but I couldnít imagine turning him over to his side or stomach. And besides doing so could have dislodged loose rocks and I wasnít sure if his neck was broken. I said no I donít want to move him. I just took Daveís legs which were slanting slightly up the ledge and I straightened out his legs. Tom was there only for a couple short minutes, then he went back around the ledge and began down-climbing to the base.
Approximately 10 or so minutes went by (which seemed like forever) while I was wanting to keep Dave responsive by talking to him every now and then ďsaying donít fall asleep on meĒ ďhang in thereĒ ďhelicopter in on its wayĒ. He would respond with a crying groan gurgling up blood which seemed he was tying to fight and hang in there (I was just thinking or hoping a helicopter with medics would come fairly soon and lower down and lift him outta there on a stretcher and do what they can) around all this time I unbuckled Daveís harness because I really thought flight for life helicopter was on its way and they would want the harness off. Soon after I could see a quiet sounding smaller helicopter approaching very fast I started swinging my shirt around in the air. The chopper flew over the summit and then back over and departed straight back the direction it came from.

Now several people were at the base of the rock directly below the ledge. I immediately warned them of big loose rocks on the ledge. And I donít know if I wasnít convincing enough or what, but they continued to stay there, and to my surprise someone(Ryan) started getting ready to rope-up and lead up directly to the ledge at that point I repeated that there are loose rocks watch-out. Anyway, from the base it was hard to see or tell where Kelly was. All I knew the live end of the rope was going down that way over the ledge. Ryan halfway up the climb spotted Kelly and traversed over to him and Ryan said he is inverted; he felt his arm, and said he was cold. Ryan made it up to the ledge about 5 minutes after Dave passed away; Ryan made an anchor toward the back of the ledge then founds Kellyís ID right around there was also a Nalgine fully filled with water with a broken loop at the rear of the ledge near a blue piece of foam from Daveís helmet. Also there was an REI/Wales bent-gate carabiner not to far from this stuff, laying there all by itself.

A short while after Dave passed away, I removed one of his leg loops from this harness and left the other then I picked up his right leg and placed it more to the right or of quite large triangular rock that had an extensive amount of blood on it that was kind of ready to slide off the ledge to the slightest bump, so I used Daveís right leg as a stop as a preventive measure. None of the injuries Dave had seemed consistent with the amount of blood that was on that rock and left me to think Kelly struck that rock or the rock struck Kelly.

Later a couple other guys came up on the ledge and around that time a Fire Department helicopter was circling in the valley, they were checking out the situation and terrain for a few short minutes then left.

I might add to this, edit this, or delete thisÖ


Partner artm


Oct 27, 2003, 3:09 PM
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This account is from Meg's perspective and mine.
Meg and I have slightly differing memories of what happened but agree on all the major points.
Basically we did the first pitch of Human Fright (skipping the first 2 pitches of Angels fright) then scrambled up some ledges to a better belay so we could switch over to AF so we were already 1/2 way up on the 3rd pitch heading to the roof section and lunch ledge. I decided to string the remainder of pitch 3 and pitch 4 together.
I was 30 feet above the belay for the second pitch of Human Fright (where the rap slings are) on the 4th pitch of Angels fright when we heard rockfall. It was really loud like thunder.
I looked up and Meg looked right and left. No rocks........then she said "I see people falling" I looked over just in time to see what I thought was a jacket falling. It was falling too fast to be a jacket though.
Meg asked me to get a piece in and clip it (I thought she was going to faint so did so immediately) Meg watched them fall all the way and noted approx where they landed (she lost sight of them in bushes/trees). We started calling out to them asking if they were all right,
we didn't expect anyone to answer back but were hoping somehow they survived I guess.
Meg spotted someone running up from lunch rock so she started giving them directions to where they were and I started down climbing back to the rap slings on the 2nd pitch of HF. Once I got to the slings I asked her how she felt about rapping off them, she wasn't comfortable with it so I downclimbed to her position.
Adam (the guy at lunch rock had reached the climbers and started yelling call 911 we need a chopper, Adam kept calling for help so we kept yelling "we're rapping off we're moving as fast as
we can". There was a soloist in the area who started yelling call 911 and blowing SOS on his safety whistle. So we started yelling for 911 hoping someone up top or at the parking lot would hear us. We agreed to triple check everything we did down to re-examining our tie in knots and our buckles. I belayed Meg back down to the first rap station at Human Fright (bolts) then downclimbed to her. We rapped off (at this point I was on autopilot and automatically dropped my rack and pulled my rope wasting valuable time which I now regret) changed our shoes (mistake-losing more time) I kept my camelbak on because Meg asked me to bring water and we ran down to get the stokes litter.
While I untied the litter Meg rummaged thru a pack at lunch rock looking for a first aid kit. We started to carried the litter over when a Helicopter buzzed by above us Meg tried to flag them down with her shirt while they flew back and forth but they flew away.
We arrived with the litter to find someone at the base of the area where the climbers fell (Jeremiah). He informed us that Adam was with one man and couldn't find the other. We asked Adam the condition of the man he was with, he had a faint pulse. We asked if the rope ran below or above where he was and he said "below". He also told us to be careful there was a lot of loose rock all around where he was.
Jeremiah and I decided to scramble up to Adam who was asking us to hurry. We looked at the section of rock in front of us (easy fifth class) and decided I should go first as I had my 5.10 Mountain Guides approach shoes on.
Jeremiah gave me a bottle of water (plus I had my camelbak on) so we could hydrate the victims and I started climbing. A thin dirt filled crack and a polished slab covered the first 15-20 feet to a wider crack with an area you can stand in and then it's fourth class.
I warned Jeremiah that the first section was really polished so he decided to back off rather than risk injuring himself (wise choice). I got up to a ledge about 50 feet from the ground (I know this because we later used a bi-color rope and the halfway mark was at the ledge) and below Adam's location. I again asked Adam where the rope went and he again answered "below me, be careful there's a lot of loose stuff up here".
At this point other people had begun to arrive Helene (Adams girlfriend) and Tom the soloist. Tom had downclimbed above and to the right of Adam. Helene said she'd called 911. I spotted the rope which led to a another ledge below Adam and about 10-15 feet above me. The only way to get there was a thin crack which appeared 5.6-5.7ish.
Someone asked me if I could get to the 2nd climber and I replied that I needed my rack and a rope. I told them I need to be really calm and focused when I solo harder than 5.6 and while I was in control I was not in the right frame of mind to solo. Jeremiah asked if I could climb higher and traverse across.
I asked Tom if I could get to the other victim from higher up and he said no. I asked for someone to get my rack and Meg took off, I assumed she was going to get my rack but she was going back to search in the pack at lunch rock for a first aid kit. While we waited I asked Adam how he was doing and he said he was okay but that the victim was dead.
Meg came back with a first aid kit but no rack. Two other climbers showed up (Ryan and Brent) and we asked them for a rack. I explained again how I wasn't in the right frame of mind to solo. Ryan agreed to climb part of the way up and pass me a space blanket to cover the 2nd victim. I down climbed the fourth class section and got the blanket. I again asked for a rack. Ryan agreed to lead up to where I was and then lead up to the 2nd victim. I climbed back to the ledge and Ryan led up to me. I offered to lead up to the 2nd victim if he didn't want to but he declined (Ryan knew CPR and I didn't). Ryan climbed up to the 2nd man. Ryan reached the 2nd man and said he was cold and without a pulse. Ryan climbed up to Adam and waited with him. I down climbed back to the ground and waited with everyone else.
A 2nd Helicopter flew by and Hovered but didn't land. We finally all agreed to walk down to the base and meet the SAR guys and Sheriff down there as it was getting close to dark.
I wasn't paying attention to what everybody was doing all the time and
couldn't see everyone. Some stuff is left out and I'm sure I've forgotten things or have them slightly wrong. the sequence of events may not be totally right either.
Adam you and Helene have my number and you can call me anytime if you need to talk.


curt


Oct 27, 2003, 4:45 PM
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In reply to:
Largo. Your point about the anchor being built of SLCD's is interesting. I would like to raise a related question, using as an example an accident which occurred over 20 years ago on Wallface, a large cliff in the Adirondack Mountains in New york. In this case the belay anchor failed following a factor 2 fall by the leader, who was 15-20 feet out with no pro in. The belayer was standing on a small ledge clipped to 3 medium sized friends (very new devices at the time) in a good 2 inch crack in solid rock. At the time there was speculation that the tie in to the anchor was slack, that is to say that the belayer was not weighting the anchor at the time of the fall. Has anyone done any studies on the holding power of camming devices when pre-loaded (such as in a hanging belay) or loaded on a curve (such as a typical lead fall with a dynamic rope) vs. sudden shock loading (such as in a factor 2 fall on an unloaded anchor)?

ksolem,

I believe that one of those killed in the accident you are citing was a good friend of mine named Andy Metz. His name appears in the "Death and Climbing" thread that I started a few days ago, which was actually prompted by this thread.

Andy and his partner (Lee Fowler) were climbing on an upper pitch of Wallface in July of 1983 when Lee, who was leading, fell (fall factor = 2) above Andy, who was belaying. The anchor was a friend, it pulled and both Lee and Andy fell to their deaths. For reference, this accident is in the 1984 "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" on page 41.

Curt


Partner philbox
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Oct 27, 2003, 4:57 PM
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Thank you ever so much Adam for posting this information. You are in rather a unique position of having been first on the scene and very close to the scene when the shocking events unfolded.

I am suggesting that you should not alter this post of yours. If you wish to add anything to it then you should simply add another post entirely to this thread.

You did the best that you thought was in your power to do given the situation and I don`t think that anyone can critisize you for this. I`d also like to add a comment to all that Adam would be somewhat traumatised even now after some time after having had to deal with a bad situation. He needs our support as does everyone who is affected by this.

I would like to say something in general and not at all directed at you Adam. I believe that everyone who ventures outdoors should have an up to date knowledge of first aid best practice.

Once again Adam I thank you for posting this information for us all and if there is any way any of us can help you come to terms with this tragedy then please allow us to help.

I will say again that I can only offer my sincerest condolonces to those that lost loved ones. The people who had to deal with this bad situation need our support also as they have to go on living with these memories.

I hope I have not said anything that could be considered in poor taste and if I have then I apologise.

I believe that there is still some way to go yet to fully understand the complete picture of this catastrophic failure. I look forward to the report from the people who went up to investigate the route.

Edit to remove the body of text quoted from Adam.


robmcc


Oct 27, 2003, 7:34 PM
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In reply to:
I hope I have not said anything that could be considered in poor taste and if I have then I apologise.

Not poor taste, but I think it's reasonable to allow Adam the option of removing his post if HE decides it shouldn't be there. I'd suggest deleting yours to return that option to him. I agree that his words have value and should stay, but I won't take that choice from him.


bobtufo


Oct 28, 2003, 6:40 AM
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We have been trying to log on so that we could express our deep gratitude for all of the loving and caring messages that have been posted. We want to thank those people, who were at the scene and summoned help and/or stayed with Dave and Kelly until the helicopter arrived. We also appreciate all of the information shared, the speculation, and each person's input. We read every word and have continued to check this site each day for any additional messages.

My condolences to Dave's family. We were grateful to meet Floribel and friends of Dave and Kelly on Saturday morning at Humber Park in Idyllwild. Thank you to everyone, who came and shared with us. We especially thank Florabel for arranging this gathering.

Kelly was a blessing to his family, and he was very happy at this time of his life. He loved climbing, his friends and his dog, Squiggy. He loved his life and the outdoors. He was also in love with a beautiful lady, Karissa. We will miss him, and we cherish our wonderful memories of the time we shared.

My husband regrets giving Kelly's incorrect age to the reporter at Press Enterprise. We await the report which RMRU is preparing based on their investigation. Thank you again to everyone involved, on the scene, and those offering your memories or perspective. This is a comfort to us.

Sincerely,

Toni & Bob Tufo


prana0777


Oct 28, 2003, 5:32 PM
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my thoughts go out to their family and friends.. it is very sad to hear about this one.


socalclimber


Oct 28, 2003, 6:16 PM
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It is really wonderful to see the family and friends observing and contributing to this thread. It's sad that it had to be under these circumstances. My point is, they have an opputunity to see what the climbing community is really all about, and how and why their loved ones were so committed to climbing.

This has been a tragic yet very wonderful thread. I work Search And Rescue in Joshua Tree NP and I have seen some tragic things, I've seen the shocked and sadden faces of the relatives and friends. My heart goes out to the families and friends of both climbers.

Be safe.
Robert


hishopper


Oct 28, 2003, 8:37 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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I am so sorry for the losses of two beautiful (from posts) souls.

Those who climb cannot entirely forget the world that lies below,
but the world below will never know what is at the top. Truly both men have made it to the top.

To the loved one who said "rack up in memory" - I can't thank you enough for saying that, I'm sure those words did not come easily - they will be remembered.

To those who helped and were a part of the rescue efforts, have you been a part of any Post Trauma debreifing? If not, I humbly and sincerely suggest you contact the EMT/Fire dept to find the local coordinator... Critical Incident Stress Management is not psychology, nor is it therapy or a self-help group - it's education designed to give you coping tools, and a safe place to share grief (if so desired). No matter how "strong" a person you are, we were just not built to experience such things. Even if you feel like you are ok, a CISD can only help - for instance do you know that flashbacks, sleeplessness, irritibility, loss of appetite and huge list of other things (some dramatic) are normal reactions to abnormal circumstances?

To the community who has lovingly supported all of the above, thank you.

Donald


mtnrsq


Oct 29, 2003, 8:52 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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I know many people are waiting for RMRU to post some of their findings in the hope that it sheds more light on this tragedy.

While we wait for info. specific to this accident, I would like to share some general thoughts and what I would consider "best practices" in responding to an accident either as a first responder or subject.

First - Use your head. It is your best piece of equipment. It does no one any good if you create more victims. STOP and THINK before "leaping" into action.

Second - Take an advanced first aid course. Even better - a wilderness first aid or first responder course. After the course - build a modular first aid kit that can be tweaked according to your destination, etc. Cragging a short distance from the car? A simple kit is better. Climbing in a remote backcountry spot? Adjust as approp. Remember - keep it simple. The reality is that no kit can be comprehensive enough for a major accident. Learn to improvise with your "regular" gear (see the course above particularly WFR).

Third - Know how to deal with the "technical" aspects of a climbing accident. Escaping a belay, lowering/raising an injured partner, assisted rappels, etc. Learn that discretion is the better part of valor. Better to secure someone in a safe location and get help than to overreach your capabilities in a self-rescue (this often leads to tragedy).

Fourth - High angle rescue situations are special and require specialized response from emergency agencies. High angle rescues in a wilderness environment (i.e., away from the road) are even more complicated. An effective response requires that the dispatchers you contact know the nature of the incident. You MUST be very specific and ensure that they are aware that the rescue is a "cliff", "high angle" or "mountain" rescue. Know who the APPROPRIATE local resources are - ask for them specifically. Remember it is always better to ask for help and not need it than NOT ask and need it after hours have elapsed. Be VERY specific about location - don't use "insider" names (i.e., Joe's Rad Crack Climb) unless it is widely known outside the climbing community (e.g., Half Dome). Give trailheads/names, distances and other info. that can help narrow the location down (if you have a GPS - use it!). Tell them the nature of the accident. Tell them how they can contact you ("I'll wait at the trailhead", "My cell # is......"). If you are using a cell phone (or similar) - SAVE THE BATTERY. Do NOT make extra calls (I can't tell you how many times people drain their batteries calling friends, etc.). Always remember - when you dial 9-1-1 you may be talking to someone far away, from another agency, etc. Your information is what the initial response will be framed upon.

Fifth - If helicopters are needed - ask for them. If you can - ask for a HOIST equipped or short-haul capable helicopter (they may not use those capabilities, but having them on a helo that is on-scene is better than having to wait for one.....). Inform dispatchers of any hazards that you are aware of (especially WIRES) and secure loose items. Tell dispatch how you will signal the helicopter (if nec.) ("We'll be waving a red jacket").

One last thought - if you want to give back to the larger climbing (and outdoor) community consider joining a local search and rescue team.

There are many other things to consider, but I've ranted enough and you get the idea......

Adam, Art, Meg, Helene, and the other non-professional first responders performed quite well given the situation on the 19th. We should all ask ourselves what we, god forbid, would have done if we were in their shoes.


rebmilc


Oct 29, 2003, 9:45 AM
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Our results to our investigation will not be posted today. We are waiting for the coroner to let us re-examine the gear. As soon as that is completed we'll post our report on our website. Thank you to all of you that were on scene and helped. Our condolences go out to Dave and Kelly's family and friends.
Thank you,
RMRU


cjain


Oct 29, 2003, 12:49 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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In reply to:
...
To those who helped and were a part of the rescue efforts, have you been a part of any Post Trauma debreifing? If not, I humbly and sincerely suggest you contact the EMT/Fire dept to find the local coordinator... Critical Incident Stress Management is not psychology, nor is it therapy or a self-help group - it's education designed to give you coping tools, and a safe place to share grief (if so desired). No matter how "strong" a person you are, we were just not built to experience such things. Even if you feel like you are ok, a CISD can only help - for instance do you know that flashbacks, sleeplessness, irritibility, loss of appetite and huge list of other things (some dramatic) are normal reactions to abnormal circumstances?
...
Donald

Well said. Some of these symptoms may not even show up right away. There is a good discussion about this kind of thing in the book, Medicine for Mountaineering, Ch. 4. Worth reading, in my opinion.


vivalargo


Oct 29, 2003, 4:06 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Our results to our investigation will not be posted today. We are waiting for the coroner to let us re-examine the gear. As soon as that is completed we'll post our report on our website. RMRU

I can't imagine that the victims (RIP, I pray) are still roped together and harnessed up, so any investigation of gear will perforce involve single nuts and cams, et al, unless the bodies were extracted from the harnesses and the entire climbing chain kept en tact (which is what you always want to do, but which rarely happens).

Unless an investigator knows how the gear figured into the anchoring matrix, or was protection attatched to the rope between the leader/follower and the belayer, one can easily confuse gear racked on either climber (which is likely banged up from the fall), with components in the anchor matrix and/or protection that possibly ripped during a leader fall -- if, in fact, the accident happed by means of a leader fall, or because the second fell off (rock fall??) and pulled off the belayer.

In my experience (with YOSAR) with this dreadful but essential work, the only way to credibly reconstruct what happened is for someone to have kept the entire chain en tact, or to have taken exact notes and photos of both ends of the rope as they were connected to the climbers. The anchor end will have a series of knots, with equipment attached, close to the climber's harness, indicating the exact configuration of the belay anchor. If possible you want to "build" a "dry" anchor with the gear just as it on the rope and thereby reconstruct the anchor in a generic way. You'll also want to check the rope running between the two climbers, hoping any pro didn't get dislodged during the fall.

Questions such as rock fall et al can only be learned from eye-witness accounts, and this is often conflicting owing to the stressors of the situation on all involved.

An investigation of the exact spot where the anchor blew is also desirable, but usually takes some snooping around for probable locations.

Lastly, once you understand how things failed in a general way, you start examining individual pieces of gear, such as cams and nuts, et al.

In other words, you have to start with the macro, and work down, not the other way around, which I trust is the way things are coming down. I tried various times to reconstruct things from the micro up to the macro (because the system was cut into pieces or totally deconstructed during the rescue), and each time was never certain of my findings. If you have everything en tact, and know what you're looking at, the thing pretty much describes itself.

In the final word, the only lasting value in doing this kind of investigation is in coming up with some general guidlines per what we can all do or look for to avoid this kind of dreadful accident in the first place. If we don't learn from this, we are all at an even bigger loss. For that reason, this investigation is an essential service to all of us who tie into the rope.

Sincerely,
JL


maculated


Oct 29, 2003, 10:48 PM
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I never posted anything to this thread because I felt it would be useless, but I do want to say that I love what this thread has become: simulataneously a lot of instruction, a lot of support, and a lot of love. Thanks a lot, you guys.

Thank you to those of you who logged on to share your thoughts and feelings about your friends.


vivalargo


Nov 3, 2003, 8:42 AM
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Friends,

This morning I had an interesting conversation with a member of the Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit. Rescue team members are revisiting the equipment at the coroners office today, and hope to post a report of their findings by Wednesday. It is unresponsible for me to speculate or preempt the rescue officials per what they feel caused the accident, but from what I learned from the team member, this new information will shed entirely new light on the situation. Sadly, this new light will not in any way change what happened, but it's important and instructional to find out what actually did happen in a definitive way.

JL


socalclimber


Nov 3, 2003, 9:33 AM
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I concur with John. I too have spoken with a person over the weekend who was doing the investigation, and when I heard his findings my jaw dropped. I will be curious to see what the final report says.

John is right on the money.

Robert


mmarc


Nov 3, 2003, 6:32 PM
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Thanks again for all the support this board has shown.


rebmilc


Nov 4, 2003, 10:16 AM
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We will be posting our information on our website by the end of this week.

RMRU


howdyjeff


Nov 6, 2003, 10:19 AM
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Yes, I would like to suggest that RMRU come out with their report soon, and on the other hand that everyone remain patient. We don't want to rush or pressure them and risk losing important details or thoughtful evaluation.

It now sounds like they will, although announcing an actual deadline date is often helpful in keeping writers honest with themselves and in quieting the rabble. This is the sort of thing I bet could be worked on forever and still not satisfy. Rumors, too, are starting to fly, although they are not as ďjaw droppingĒ as some have led us to believe, I think.

More importantly, I would also like to suggest that this might be delaying the process of moving forward for some of the people closely involved. Much of the expression and feeling necessary here has not, and will not, go on over the sort of public forum that this thread has provided, but rather in private, face to face among friends, and thatís going to become my focus now.

At the same time, I donít think we should expect the report to necessarily resolve much for us. I donít expect that the investigators will have found the definitive answer to what happened, as that is quite likely to be impossible in this case. The best thing perhaps would be a little more detail about the length of rope that was out, the sizes, sequence, and condition of gear on the rope, anything that may have been found up on the rock itself, etc. If that level of detail is not available, thatís OK too.

We must also understand that there have probably been a lot of other things going on for the people involved in producing the report, given the recent fires in southern California. At the risk of being dramatic, but for the benefit of those reading this who do not live here, many of us woke up the other morning to what would prove to be a number of days in a row of dusky brown skies smelling of smoke; a dim, red apocalyptic sun; a rain of ash covering a city in which all normal activity came to a standstill; and reports and images on the news, always frustratingly vague as to location, about fires that were raging uncontrolled through the surrounding countryside and through parts of the city. Some had homes directly threatened or destroyed. If it has been a very surreal experience for everyone here over the past couple weeks due to the fires, it has been all the more surreal for those also close to the accident, and it has further delayed feeling and expressing what we need to about this.

I have no reason to doubt that RMRU will stick closely to the facts and make reasonable inferences from them. Realize however, that sensitivity is not the primary goal of such a report, and we would not want to sacrifice any important details for it. In investigations like this one I think, there is usually very little obvious or directly related evidence to begin with. Those of us who knew and climbed with Dave and Kelly have few facts to go on. Investigators with only a handful of facts did not know the climbers, their abilities, or their practices. And no one was there with them high up on the rock, when it happened.

I havenít had a chance to mention it, but it was good to see the reports from Art, Meg, and Adam a little while ago. That was very brave of them, and it was necessary for everyone. But in reflecting on my own response to reading them, Iíve got to admit that I think the substance of those and any other report is going to have limited emotional value now for those of us closely involved in getting through this.

We must be prepared for the likelihood that any sort of report will probably not help us to resolve our feelings. Iím beginning to understand now that more about what specifically might have happened will most certainly only do the opposite: set us back temporarily. Reports will give us a few more facts and speculations to feed our already obsessive imagination about what has happened. And I suppose it may be time for me to curb my habit of checking back here every morning for "answers."

I can really only speak for myself, but I expect that it is now becoming apparent for many of us involved that we were in shock about the accident during the first week. That we were also in shock about the fires during the second week has not helped. A sort of disbelief has allowed me to continue with my life in what feels like a normal, if numb, way for a little while. That has also been my experience in dealing with a couple other, non-climbing-related, traumatic times in my life, but in getting past them I guess Iíd forgotten that things are going to be more complicated, and that we donít get off as easily as just being numb about it.

People who are not directly involved in this may not understand some of what Iím saying here, but thatís just because understanding in this case is not a matter of intellect--youíve got to be living and feeling it. Dealing with something like this involves riding out a river of emotions that you canít abstract, objectify, or control.

Some have been expressing their feelings about it more, or better, than others of us, but each in a way that is unique and probably necessary for that person. For the first week I had been going through the motions. I buried myself in the details. You may call it avoidance, but over the years Iíve in some ways changed and become better at confronting difficult things in my life, and in other ways Iíve come to accept thatís just how I operate. Because it is apparently an important part of what makes us human, some of us struggled to make sense of this and find meaning in it, even perhaps where there may be none in the end. We have had memorials and funerals to honor and remember Dave and Kelly and the good things in their lives and to give each other mutual support. The memorials are also supposed to be an aid for us to find catharsis and closure. But for some of us, it looks far too soon for that, and these things will be measured in months or years, not days.

At the end of the first week, I attended the memorial at Humber Park. It was a wonderful gathering of people, and it was good to meet some old friends I hadnít seen in awhile as well as some new folks and relatives of Dave and Kelly Iíd never met. It made me realize that although I had climbed off and on with Dave for many years, there was in fact much about him I didn't know, that he had really only recently begun to open up to me as a confidant about his life outside of climbing, that he had his foibles as we all do, and also that he had more friends and had touched more people than I had expected. All of these folks have been tremendously supportive and understanding, and I have tried to do my best too, but I feel I have come up short not only in offering friendship, but even in just being friendly sometimes about things right now. Depending on my mood, I have made some appearances, and I have also avoided making others. I attended Kellyís memorial and Daveís funeral, but I did not stay long afterward.

Now, before anyone writes back in response to this letter to send their support or to suggest one therapy or the other, I would instead simply ask for understanding for those of us who may be acting a little strange right now. Thatís my theme: dealing with getting through this myself, helping friends when I can, and extending understanding to others.

This did not end with Dave and Kelly. That was only the beginning for the rest of us. As climbing has become a lifestyle for me, Iím discovering that this incident--the climbing death of a friend--is in a deep and very real way threatening the continuation of my lifestyle as I have come to understand it. Iím beginning to discover that it is not simply a matter of choosing to get back out and climb for me. I face losing something that has seemed to me one of the few things in my life at which I had a true natural talent and confidence, an unreserved zest for sharing with others, and an uncomplicated enjoyment. Other friends and climbers I know, too, are also just beginning to feel that this will have more profound effects on their lives than was initially apparent.

A partner and I left Humber Park early on the day of the memorial a couple weeks ago to hike up and do what will be our last climb of the season at Tahquitz this year and perhaps for some time. Part of our purpose was to carry out our own more personal memorial in placing prayer flags on the summit. Another part of my own unspoken purpose was to discover whether it might be necessary for me to carry out a sort of memorial for my own climbing, and lifestyle, as I have known it for the past several years. Nothing was resolved for me on that climb.

I have gone from as powerful a desire this summer to climb the big peaks of the Sierra, and to perhaps make guiding something I could do, at least in part, for a meager but satisfying living, to as powerful a reality now as having lost much of my joy in climbing for the time being. And thereís something that we as climbers do in performing that little trick in our minds about risk and fear in order to climb boldly and even safely, that simply does not hold up under circumstances like these.

It will be difficult for me to look at climbing in the same way as before, knowing firsthand that there is the possibility that I could put people who care about me through what some of us, friends and family, are experiencing now. And it will be difficult, feeling very clearly the conflict between a love of climbing, and the fact that, because of climbing, we have all lost such an important friend to us.

Jeff


roseraie


Nov 7, 2003, 11:26 PM
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