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The void: what would you have done?.
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ceebo


Sep 6, 2011, 6:07 AM
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The void: what would you have done?.
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Probably a familiar topic, but anyway.

Firstly, in his exact situation, would you have cut the rope aswell? or would you have sat their till death.

Secondly, how would you escape that situation given the right gear or advanced knowledge that may not have been known at the time? (from the belayer perspective).


(This post was edited by ceebo on Sep 6, 2011, 6:16 AM)


sungam


Sep 6, 2011, 6:19 AM
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Well, Angry would have fallen out of his snow bucket on the first lower. That's all I know. Smile


billl7


Sep 6, 2011, 7:14 AM
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Re: [ceebo] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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ceebo wrote:
... how would you escape that situation given the right gear or advanced knowledge that may not have been known at the time? (from the belayer perspective).

The "right gear" for that particular problem or the "right gear" for their entire mountaineering effort? Those are not necessarily the same gear set.

I'd have cut the rope just as Simon did. Only criticism I have might be to make more of an effort in the morning to at least ascertain whether Joe was still alive. At the same time, I can't imagine the mental / physical condition Simon was in after such an epic ... and it wasn't quite finished at that point.

Bill L


moose_droppings


Sep 6, 2011, 7:55 AM
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Re: [ceebo] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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ceebo wrote:
Probably a familiar topic, but anyway.

Firstly, in his exact situation, would you have cut the rope aswell? or would you have sat their till death.

Secondly, how would you escape that situation given the right gear or advanced knowledge that may not have been known at the time? (from the belayer perspective).

I'd of cut the movie out, the book was good enough by itself.


coastal_climber


Sep 6, 2011, 8:24 AM
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Re: [billl7] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
ceebo wrote:
... how would you escape that situation given the right gear or advanced knowledge that may not have been known at the time? (from the belayer perspective).

The "right gear" for that particular problem or the "right gear" for their entire mountaineering effort? Those are not necessarily the same gear set.

I'd have cut the rope just as Simon did. Only criticism I have might be to make more of an effort in the morning to at least ascertain whether Joe was still alive. At the same time, I can't imagine the mental / physical condition Simon was in after such an epic ... and it wasn't quite finished at that point.

Bill L

+1


hugepedro


Sep 11, 2011, 11:54 PM
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Always pack your wingsuit.


notapplicable


Sep 12, 2011, 6:10 AM
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I carry two knives just to be sure I won't miss an opportunity to cut Sungams rope.


skiclimb


Sep 12, 2011, 7:19 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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In his exact situation I would have tryed to set up a knot bypass with whatever slings or spare rope i had.. even if i had cut the tail off the other rope for the purpose.

with modern techniques/gear

Same thing but a cordalette would have been easily accessable

I would have tried to tie the 2nd rope in and bypass the knot using a cordalette as a prussik and munter hitch combo.

Unfortunately not common knowledge at the time. Even today most climbers do not practice knot bypass.

On a shaky belay stance in winter conditions??? Worth a try but no guarantee.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Sep 12, 2011, 7:25 AM)


sungam


Sep 12, 2011, 7:28 AM
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Re: [skiclimb] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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skiclimb wrote:
On a shaky belay stance in winter conditions??? Worth a try but no guarantee.
Maybe not "worth a try"... If you blow it and end up giving yourself a wee shockload, you are likely in for a ride.


notapplicable wrote:
I carry two knives just to be sure I won't miss an opportunity to cut Sungams rope.
Puh-leeze. We wouldn't have made it to the first bivi. You would have had yourself an "accident" at the first cravasse we came within 5 feet of.


skiclimb


Sep 12, 2011, 7:36 AM
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Re: [sungam] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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sungam wrote:
skiclimb wrote:
On a shaky belay stance in winter conditions??? Worth a try but no guarantee.
Maybe not "worth a try"... If you blow it and end up giving yourself a wee shockload, you are likely in for a ride.

No doubt. Let us say then.. a worthwhile idea ..perhaps possible.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Sep 12, 2011, 7:38 AM)


sungam


Sep 12, 2011, 7:47 AM
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Re: [skiclimb] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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skiclimb wrote:
sungam wrote:
skiclimb wrote:
On a shaky belay stance in winter conditions??? Worth a try but no guarantee.
Maybe not "worth a try"... If you blow it and end up giving yourself a wee shockload, you are likely in for a ride.

No doubt. Let us say then.. a worthwhile idea ..perhaps possible.
I think a more interesting question would be "if you had prussiks [or maybe even tiblocs] and everything else you needed to pass the knot, wouldd you have tried?"

I am not convinced that I would have been able to make myself try. If his snow bucket was really crumbling around him as much as he implied then there was not a lot of room for error...


skiclimb


Sep 12, 2011, 8:29 AM
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Re: [sungam] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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Just getting that far under those conditions.. Hell if I know if i could do that.

I know I would want to do the knot bypass.. and I'd be willing to risk alot.. but whether I would actually attempt it would depend on the situation at hand and I certainly was not there.

then would I be able to do it? harness under pressure trying to get a second system set up on it in a cold exhausted situation under extreme stress , cold hands.. on and on.. do so smoothly and fast enough not to blow out the stance ...

Who knows. Probably not even those guys.

I got no problem with how things went down.. be glad to buy either of them a beer or more.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Sep 12, 2011, 8:30 AM)


petsfed


Sep 12, 2011, 9:52 AM
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Re: [ceebo] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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I think the only way to really get out of that situation differently would've been to not get into it to begin with.

Had Simon setup a proper belay every time, Joe would've died of exposure a third of the way down the mountain. If they'd packed a fluke, expecting any eventuality, they would've packed a shit ton of other stuff, slowing them down, precluding an alpine-style ascent, in which case they probably wouldn't have summited, and probably would've avoided the accident entirely.

By the time Simon had to consider cutting the rope, his path was chosen. Every other option was simply not available because of decisions, perhaps bad ones, that had already been made.

What he needed was a solid belay anchor so that he could get the load off of his belay plate without dropping Joe. Without that, all of the fancy rescue techniques in the world are useless. As precarious as the stance reportedly was, there's no way he could pull his pack off, set up a bollard with it (or use a fluke he may or may not have had) and escape the belay without the platform collapsing. Period.

Add in the elements of exhaustion, dehydration, and fear, I doubt anyone, self-professed mountain hardman or not, would've acted differently.


bill123


Sep 12, 2011, 10:10 AM
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"What he needed was a solid belay anchor so that he could get the load off of his belay plate without dropping Joe. Without that, all of the fancy rescue techniques in the world are useless."

All other factors (hypothermia, exhaustion, dehydration, fear, hunger, etc.) aside, passing a knot from a belay device attached to your harness is physically possible. Not saying it would be easy, but it can be done.


billl7


Sep 12, 2011, 10:55 AM
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bill123 wrote:
All other factors (hypothermia, exhaustion, dehydration, fear, hunger, etc.) aside, passing a knot from a belay device attached to your harness is physically possible. Not saying it would be easy, but it can be done.

Even assuming it was possible ... knowing almost for certain that your partner is hanging in mid-air ... not knowing how much farther down it is until he can unweight the rope ... the thought of paying out ALL of the remaining rope currently under your control only to possibly end up in the exact same predicament ...

If I recall correctly, Simon used the remaining rope in the morning to get down to easier terrain.

If Simon had free-fallen from his position - whether out of his bucket or because he didn't have any rope in the morning - it seems likely he would have died. The third fellow back at camp may not have hung around as long as he and Simon did (while Simon recovered some). Joe likely would have died later if Simon had died in a fall and then Joe had gotten back to camp and no one was there. Yes - all said with a kind of hindsight view; at the same time, it goes to show how much their lives were in the balance.

What a crap shoot whether either one would get back alive once Joe broke his leg and Simon decided to not leave him high on the mountain.

Lastly and kind of as an aside more than anything else; Joe didn't call for a belay when he got to the steep section where he broke his leg. Perhaps Joe bears some responsibility there. (edit: ... recognizing that their not protecting that kind of terrain may have been critical for speed in their getting down alive.)

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on Sep 12, 2011, 11:00 AM)


bill123


Sep 12, 2011, 11:06 AM
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I wouldn't argue with anything that you have said, or pass judgement on decisions made by either of the climbers. I just pointed out that passing a knot in the situation shown in the movie is technically possible. Whether it would have made a difference or not, who knows?


billl7


Sep 12, 2011, 11:13 AM
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No worries. To be honest, it didn't dawn on me that passing the knot was a possible option to get them further down the path they had been heading - duh! You just pushed that along and opened the door about what might happen after doing so.


hugepedro


Sep 12, 2011, 9:48 PM
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Re: [ceebo] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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A skilled snow/glacier craftsman knows how to build an anchor and transfer the load to it, without assistance. Especially if they've done much 2-person glacier work. However, knowing how vs. being able to in that situation are two different things. With the snow conditions as described, I don't think I could have done it, regardless of any gear I might have that they didn't.


skiclimb


Sep 13, 2011, 7:11 AM
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Re: [hugepedro] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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Never considered a second anchor.. Just figured to do the knot bypass off the harness. Simpler yet still rediculously risky and difficult under reported conditions.

The OPs questions are ones i think any climber who is familiar with the story has definitely considered.

The fact is a knot bypass is technically possible. Actually possible without dying under those circumstances.. ????

This is a good question that quickly leads to the knot bypass answer and hopefully it leads some people to learn various efficient ways to do knot bypass.

Handy on manky fixed lines. Handy for hauling if you mess up and leave a gri-gri stuck in the middle of the haul line (heh trust me it can happen lol). Handy if you need to lower a person who got hurt.


erclimb


Sep 13, 2011, 8:06 AM
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firstly: simon saved joe's life; if not for simon, joe would have frozen to death high on that mountain...cut the rope


what was wrong with their gear; and, with advanced knowledge, it would be impossible for anyone to be in "their exact situation"


iknowfear


Sep 13, 2011, 8:55 AM
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erclimb wrote:
firstly: simon saved joe's life; if not for simon, joe would have frozen to death high on that mountain...cut the rope


what was wrong with their gear; and, with advanced knowledge, it would be impossible for anyone to be in "their exact situation"

read the book.
what was wrong was the lack of one additional canister of gas.


ceebo


Sep 13, 2011, 3:04 PM
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I don't know shit about alpine and what not. But.. the reason i asked was because i thought of something that seemed straight forward (but likely totally wrong).

The knot was the half way mark of the two ropes?, could the belayer not have thrown the other half of the rope down to the guy off the edge?. Maybe by tying something to the end to help it slide down?. Then i guess the guy over the edge had some kinde chance of hauling up with the friction on the snow?.

Sorry if this is a stupid thing to be saying ;p.


billl7


Sep 13, 2011, 4:41 PM
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ceebo wrote:
The knot was the half way mark of the two ropes?, could the belayer not have thrown the other half of the rope down to the guy off the edge?. Maybe by tying something to the end to help it slide down?. Then i guess the guy over the edge had some kinde chance of hauling up with the friction on the snow?

As I recall, Joe was free-hanging at that point. He could have and did try to assemble cordage to ascend the loaded rope. But he dropped that cordage (I believe due to cold hands?). And I guess he had nothing else suitable since he didn't try after that point. (?)

Dropping an unloaded rope to Joe offers some options. Would it be long enough to reach the bottom of the other rope that was loaded with Joe's weight? Seems doubtful although I'm not familiar with how stretchy climbing / mountaineering ropes were back then. (edit: ... or whether the two ropes were the same length.)

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on Sep 13, 2011, 4:44 PM)


mushroom


Sep 20, 2011, 8:21 PM
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Re: [ceebo] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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*snip*

He didn't think to cut the rope because it was an option. It became the way.


(This post was edited by mushroom on Sep 20, 2011, 8:23 PM)


rtwilli4


Sep 20, 2011, 9:46 PM
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Re: [ceebo] The void: what would you have done?. [In reply to]
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The "bill's" and "petsfed" have pretty much nailed it down from every angle.

Me... I would have been dead long before that point.


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