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Tragedy in the Torngats
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Kartessa


Jul 29, 2011, 9:03 AM
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Tragedy in the Torngats
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This is an old (2004) story that I don't believe has made its way to RC.

Really interesting read about a rescue party heading into a very remote range in northern Labrador to search for a missing couple who died climbing Mount Caubvick/D'Iberville in 2003.

http://alavigne.net/...rngats2004/index.jsp


boymeetsrock


Jul 29, 2011, 9:45 AM
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Re: [Kartessa] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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That is a very sad story. Thanks for sharing.


moose_droppings


Jul 29, 2011, 10:23 AM
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Very sad indeed.

I wonder why the decision was made to not take their sat phone with them on their summit attempt?


onrockandice


Aug 2, 2011, 1:35 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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A sad story and totally needless.

I do not understand what prompts people to do this when they may not have *all* the skills necessary for the trip.

I don't know Dan's condition (physically) but from the images it appears that Susan had no business being up on that mountain. From the looks of their harness and such in the photos I really don't see any rack at all (might have been in packs) there is no mention of crampons or ice tools which would have indicated a state of mind lending to preparedness.

In such typical North American style this seems like a classic case of "Eating way too much or biting off more than you can chew."

The decision to leave the sat phone in camp ... makes me want smash my own balls with a wooden hammer just to share in a moment of what could only be described as sympathetic sepuku. Leaving the one device that *WOULD* save your life in the event of an injury or fall!? MADNESS!!!

I read the whole tale including the recreation and again and again I'm struck with how UNPREPARED they truly seemed for such an epic quest I might expect from Will Gadd and some of his friends who would have handled the thing like a weekend romp. Hell Gadd would have solo'd the whole thing in a speedo and chocos using forks for any mixed climbing.

Am I wrong? I would think you would want to be in prize fighter fitness before undertaking such an extreme venture and I'd think you should have taken some good hard hits to the guts (smaller similar climbs as preparation) before undertaking a pay-per-view blood bath bout to the death. My goodness...

Am I over-reacting?

DISCLAIMER: My tone and spirit here is full respect to the victims. I wish them no ill at all. Rather I guess I'm leaving a Black Knight "None Shall Pass" here for other inexperienced aspiring alpinist. At the very least take a guide with you...

I'll stop now, I'm just so floored by it all. I've been climbing so hard for many years now and the only spray I'd personally make is that I'm absolutely sure that I know much less than there is to know about this huge sport called "climbing".

Rant over and again, very sad. Respect to family members and victims. I'm so sorry this very avoidable thing happened to two well intentioned people.


billl7


Aug 2, 2011, 4:34 PM
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I feel that if they'd had the exact same equipment / clothing / physical fitness with the only real difference being someone in the party with significant mountaineering / climbing experience as a group leader ...

a) In good weather they'd have been just fine, probably top-roping back up the Koroc step with "power belays", or, worst case, having to unexpectedly complete the traverse as did the private recovery team a year later.

b) In bad weather like they had, the experienced person would have insisted they turn around before getting to the exposed terrain.

In short, their ambition to summit overruled any budding concern in them about the affect of the actual weather conditions on their abilities to get back to their tent.

Lack of anchor building skills may have been the trigger for the end result. That or perhaps Dan simply slipping off the side unprotected due to cold and a wind gust, barely able to just get back up to the ridge after the rope was hung in its final location. But I would agree that ambition beyond ability for the conditions was the root cause.

The above is of course my opinion handicapped by having only read what's been posted at that web site. And I'm not certain whether it would have been me about three decades ago, only out in a different part of the world with my fiance at the time ... and with the additional exception that we had exceptionally good weather.

Bill L


ClimbClimb


Aug 2, 2011, 7:15 PM
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Re: [onrockandice] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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onrockandice wrote:
A sad story and totally needless.

I do not understand what prompts people to do this when they may not have *all* the skills necessary for the trip.
Look, the same could be said of the 1939 American K2 expedition, until you consider Fitz Weissner was involved.

Arguably, any injury or death when climbing or mountaineering is "needless".

onrockandice wrote:
I don't know Dan's condition (physically) but from the images it appears that Susan had no business being up on that mountain.

Can you share links & more explanation on this?


billl7


Aug 2, 2011, 9:31 PM
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onrockandice wrote:
I don't know Dan's condition (physically) but from the images it appears that Susan had no business being up on that mountain.

Maybe for a little perspective ...

Dan had previously climbed Rainier, summiting on the second attempt; he was no stranger to knowing what kind of shape one had to be in to make time on a mountain. Sue doesn't look all that out of shape to me, at least in the pictures available through the above link. I have had mountaineering friends who look in way worse shape on Mount Olympus in Washington State, around 1800 feet taller than Mt. Caubvick.

In addition, the summit pictures indicate to me that they were feeling not necessarily so desperate or worn out. They took the time to take three pictures on the summit. One of the pictures used a timer on the camera. Another is likewise using the timer, of them holding a melding of two flags (from the summit register I think). The pictures don't strike me as folks necessarily whipped.

Sure, maybe they were good actors on the summit. At the same time, I guess I just don't see the evidence via the above link that either one was not physically up to summiting and gettting back down that day.

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on Aug 2, 2011, 9:33 PM)


onrockandice


Aug 2, 2011, 9:41 PM
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Re: [ClimbClimb] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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ClimbClimb wrote:

Can you share links & more explanation on this?

There's a photo of Susan in there with Dan and she's got about 60 extra pounds.


onrockandice


Aug 2, 2011, 9:42 PM
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Re: [ClimbClimb] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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My wife needs the PC I'll post the link to the photo soon.


billl7


Aug 2, 2011, 9:50 PM
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Re: [onrockandice] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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Dan & Sue ...

... with the canoe loaded on their vehicle for the trip:
http://alavigne.net/...ataDanSue/Scan21.jsp

... at the border of Quebec, a mere 8 days before they summitted:
http://alavigne.net/...&sa=null&md=

(couldn't seem to post this as full images)

Edit: Heh, maybe I am just not used to hanging around the kind of mountaineering babes that you are.Wink


(This post was edited by billl7 on Aug 2, 2011, 9:55 PM)


onrockandice


Aug 3, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Re: [billl7] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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I saw one picture of Sue at a different angle and it was *NOT* flattering.

Given those two photos I'd say Dan looked to be fit but appearances can deceive. Susan appears to be sort of fit and again appearances can deceive.

I withdraw my previous judgements to some degree. I still think that their itenerary was really, really aggressive.

Again, condolences to everyone and not one bit of malice or disrespect here.

If I made a trip like that I'd want to make sure that I could swim extremely well and hike a 10-miler uphill with a 60 pound pack pretty easily...


billl7


Aug 3, 2011, 12:51 PM
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Re: [onrockandice] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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onrockandice wrote:
I saw one picture of Sue at a different angle and it was *NOT* flattering.
Since this is a sensitive forum, please locate the picture and post here to support what you are saying about one of the victims.

No offense intended. And perhaps I'm just biased since I don't think fitness had much if anything to do with this accident.


fnfolen


Aug 3, 2011, 1:01 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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As mentioned in the linked page 'Missing in the Torngats' doesn't seem to be online anymore but there is some audio from one of those involved(below).

Interestingly Missing in the Torngats was in the 2008 Banff festival, but I don't know how you get a hold of those films either :/
http://www.banffcentre.ca/...08/films/entries.asp

audio interview

"
Our next guest has first-hand experience of the Torngats. He led a civilian expedition to find two people…Susan Barnes and Daniel Pauzé…who died there in 2003.
"

http://www.cbc.ca/...he-torngat-mountain/


onrockandice


Aug 3, 2011, 1:01 PM
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Re: [billl7] Tragedy in the Torngats [In reply to]
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Sure. By not flattering I mean the angle or something was off. She looks much better in the photos you posted. I'll go have a look. Maybe I was just being hyper judgmental and your comments are not missed by me. You make a good point and if I'm being disrespectful I apologize profusely. Obviously a mistake on my part but I cannot take back what I said. I'll go dig it up.


Kartessa


Aug 3, 2011, 1:03 PM
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It's worth mentioning that the recovery party wasn't necessarily in fighting shape either and they all got home in one piece.

Caubvick/D'Iberville isn't a very technically or physically demanding peak. Sue and Dan were probably more than able to get up and down in one piece, but they got dealt a shitty hand on this go. Mix in the fact that they left the sat phone at camp (only reason I can think of is if it was one of those imarsat beasts from 2003), and it made a shitty situation worse.

There are times when strong, competent people don't make it off a mountain, its shitty but it happens.


onrockandice


Aug 3, 2011, 1:04 PM
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The whole thing is there. I read it start to end yesterday.


onrockandice


Aug 3, 2011, 1:08 PM
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Kartessa wrote:
There are times when strong, competent people don't make it off a mountain, its shitty but it happens.

Yeah there is that. My comments were more about the canoe trip on the river. The hike even in the snow looks manageable. Things just went bad and fast.

Without flooding tons of replies here is the photo:
http://alavigne.net/...&sa=null&md=

It was the only photo I saw of them and it made Sue look really large to me. Seeing her in other photos the mountain climb seems reasonable. You are right the line doesn't look too challenging.

In the interest of not becoming a sideshow distraction to a sad story I'll drop any further comments I have. It was the only photo I saw and as you clicked through this series it was all summit photos so I kind of figured that was the bulk of it. Now after going back over the article there plenty of other photos too.

Poor judgement on my part.


Edit: Adding another photo.

Now this photo is exactly opposite. She looks lean and trim here. Her jacket was just really bulking out and I mistook that for poor fitness.

http://alavigne.net/...wDataDanSue/m002.jsp

Had I seen that photo I would have been quiet. Wow, crow doesn't taste so good.


(This post was edited by onrockandice on Aug 3, 2011, 1:12 PM)


billl7


Aug 3, 2011, 1:49 PM
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Kartessa wrote:
It's worth mentioning that the recovery party wasn't necessarily in fighting shape either and they all got home in one piece.

Very true ... not in fighting shape and some individuals with seemingly no recent mountain experience given that some of the slow-down was for "extra" belays. Significant differences were they had excellent weather plus may have had others at a better experience / skill level.

onrockandice wrote:
Had I seen that photo I would have been quiet. Wow, crow doesn't taste so good.

No worries. Anyone near to Dan and Sue would likely read the whole thread.

There's that saying that the climb isn't over until everyone is back down. It of course is related to the fact that many accidents happen after the hard stuff is over when folks let down their guard some.

It's very plausible that this accident was triggered by Dan somehow falling off the ridge when returning from the summit**, perhaps after his letting the proverbial guard down a bit. Also plausible that the same thing happened later out on the "football field" after the point where Susan took off her harness.

Bill L

** I'm assuming one possible scenario is: Dan stumbled off the ridge, got hurt but was not immediately disabled; Susan retrieved, fixed and lowered the rope; and Dan got back up on the ridge and there succumbed to the full effect of the presumed injury.


onrockandice


Aug 4, 2011, 3:01 PM
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I just cannot imagine what there last moments together must have been like. So sad... so desperate...

Sue sees that Dan is really hurt. Knows she *must* get back to camp but is overcome with emotions.

Dan lays there believing that Sue is going for help.

Sue never comes back.

Dan slowly goes to sleep and it's over. The cold winter night seals the deal on them both.

What a horrible and tragic ending. When you stop and think about those last few hours and how truly lonely and alone they must have felt...

I can just imagine the wind and intense cold. The sudden shock at how quickly things go from "Wow. We made it. We are both okay. Let's get back down now. I cannot believe we made it."

To, "Dan? Dan! Are you okay? What happened?"

And nobody knows. The snow keeps falling. The temperature keeps dropping and then it's completely quiet again. Like nothing happened at all.

What a horrible, empty and final silence.UnsureUnsureUnsure


rockie


Aug 5, 2011, 4:51 PM
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Very sad, and an awful way to die.


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