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TR - I Watched Someone Die Today
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dingus


Aug 26, 2003, 10:03 AM
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TR - I Watched Someone Die Today
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another story deleted by dmt


killclimbz


Aug 26, 2003, 10:11 AM
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Good story. Pinnacles was one of my training grounds early on in my career. Your story reminds me not to be in a hurry where ever I'm going and to watch out for others like Mr. Geo. I'm sure he left the world no poorer but what a tragedy that he had to take someone with him.


curt


Aug 26, 2003, 10:12 AM
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Another great story Dingus. I too think there is something particularly troubling about deaths that are so totally senseless.

Curt


tenn_dawg


Aug 26, 2003, 10:42 AM
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The contrasts we get as climbers are amazing.

I have on multiple occations taken the calculated risk and put myself into a "no fall" position.

Every time, I have to fight to ignore the demons asking what would my friends and family do if I blew it. Yet this is an acceptable risk. Not everyone may understand it, but it is acceptable to me. I know the dangers, and the consequences, and willingly put myself into that position.

It is sad to think that while driving home recollecting on a good climb, I may be forced into the same danger I put myself in earlier that day. This time though, it's not on my own terms. Someone else's actions determine MY consequences.

It's just not fair really. Not fair at all...

Travis


leaverbiner


Aug 26, 2003, 10:45 AM
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WOW. I have a trickle of a tear in my right eye, at work, and I don't care.

I want to hug my family right now.


leaverbiner


Aug 26, 2003, 10:51 AM
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Dingus - I have a similar story from a trip to Yosemite, one that has remained silent and unspoken between the 4 of us in the car that day, even though I am sure it has been shared by countless others that were witness to the tragic events that day. Your story may inspire me to put pen to paper to finally purge some of the pent up emotions from that day. Something I probably need to do to effectively deal with it.

Thank you for your story . . . on so many levels.


epic_ed


Aug 26, 2003, 10:53 AM
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But for the grace of God...

Good timing on this recount as were heading into Labor Day weekend. Travle safe, folks. Thanks for the excellent account, Dingus. Hope the catharsis helps with the coping. That's a burden to bear. Did you ever learn about the final casuality report? Certainly the Geo driver bought it, but what about those in the Bus?

Ed


sharpender


Aug 26, 2003, 11:10 AM
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It's one thing to endanger our own lives with grounder falls and poor pro and entirely another to endanger the lives of innocent bystanders with excessive speed in traffic conditions. We see posts here all the time about "straightening noobies out" when they make mistakes and commit errors of ignorance of climbing techniques. Seems really sad that we can't reach the driver in the next car blowing it not only for himself but those around him/her.

Dingus, I wonder if you might look into getting your story published in the local paper or readers digest. Ya know I had a partner who (although he liked to drive fast, he was sometimes a trauma surgeon for accidents) always said the most dangerous part of todays climb will be the trip in the car.


holmeslovesguinness


Aug 26, 2003, 11:17 AM
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Maybe it's innapropriate to follow up one sad tale with another, but Dingus's story is unfortunately very similar to an experience I had.

I was driving home with several friends after a wonderful day of climbing at Reimer's Ranch, just outside of Austin. It's actually a beautiful drive along a windy hill country road. It was dark by the time we left, and after about 10 minutes we came to a road block with several cars parked in line at the base of a small hill, waiting. We could hear a helicopter somewhere close by (life flight as it turns out), but it was out of sight.

We got out of the car and talked to the people ahead of us - there had been a head on car wreck they said, didn't know much else. After a few minutes of waiting around a car pulls up behind us, and a middle aged woman gets out. She's still in her bed clothes and is obviously agitated. She tells us that her daughter and several friends were driving to another friends house and were supposed to have called to tell her when they arrived, but hadn't. She said they were driving a little red car.

So one of our friends runs up to the road block to talk to the police. The woman is pacing back and forth, wringing her hands, completely distraught. As our friend comes running back down the road, she decides to go and talk to the police herself. As they pass each other he is pointedly not making eye contact with her. He reaches us just before she gets to the top of the hill and sees the accident. My friend, looking pale, says "Guys, there was a little red car up there, it's completely totaled." Just about that time the woman starts wailing and screaming - it was the worst thing I have ever heard or probably ever will hear, I can still remember it with perfect clarity.

Turns out the little red car got hit head on by a Suburban full of drunk teen age boys. I believe all of the girls in the car were killed, not sure about the boys in the Suburban. As we drove by you could see at least a case of beer cans strewn about the accident scene. All of us were very quiet the rest of the drive home. I felt terrible about that woman's loss, and pissed off at how stupid young people can be.


Partner tyify


Aug 26, 2003, 11:23 AM
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Great Story...Makes me realize how much our decision can effect others.


dingus


Aug 26, 2003, 3:40 PM
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A few random thoughts, comments and responses...

I didn't write this as a purging really. I guess I got over it, or assimilated it, or what have you, a long time ago.

I wrote this story to illustrate a few of the concepts we climbers deal with every day we climb; risk, objective hazards, the drive home. As a climber I am finely tuned to risk (or at least pretend to be!). In the car I am certainly less aware of the million ways to die. We've all heard the declaration: the drive home is far more dangerous than the climb.

In climbing we can often control our risks, or at least manage them in a way to give the illusion of control. In a car, on a crowded freeway, when another vehicle suddenly veers out of control and comes staight at us? Where's the choice in that? What, by getting in the car and starting it I chose to die?

And then BLAM! The reality of a nice day, a blue sky and the warmth of a holiday trip are shattered by a random moron bent seemingly on a suicide mission.

Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping to strike a conversation about it, something I don't normally do with my stories.

Cheers,
DMT


atg200


Aug 26, 2003, 4:02 PM
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really well written, and it hits home. i also had a similar experience driving home from climbing at castlewood canyon on superbowl sunday. a drunk in a big silverado was driving 90 up a 4 lane road(not highway). i had to swerve hard to avoid being hit by him, and i was going 50 so that wasn't too easy. right in front of me, he went off the road and wrapped the truck around a telephone pole. he died, a bunch of us pulled over, and i think all of us who barely avoided being hit by the guy were feeling very lucky to be alive.

all drives are dangerous, but around the holidays it is worse. thanks for writing this dingus.


tradmanclimbs


Aug 26, 2003, 4:21 PM
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scary stuff. especialy if you drive a buss like I do. My best friend killed himself on a motorcycle when we were both 21. I have allwas appreciated the fact that he did not kill the lady in the car that he hit.


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Aug 26, 2003, 5:10 PM
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I love the juxtaposition of the very real possibility of a ground fall death of the climber and the actual deaths of those poor unfortunate people in the VW bus. I guess that in climbing there can be risks that can never be attenuated such as a big falling block taking us out which is analogous to the Geo taking out the poor innocent people in the bus.

What I am saying is that this story spoke to me on a couple of levels. Very sad for the people involved in the accident. I rejoiced along with Dingus when he gets home to be greeted by the energetic greeting from his obviously full of life daughters and his ever loving wife. Quite a contrast to those that will never go home again and the loneliness of those who would be waiting for them to arrive home.

Then there are thoughts of some of the risks we take upon ourselves that could result in just such a tragedy befalling our own families if we somehow do not return home.....


Ever.


climbsomething


Aug 26, 2003, 6:12 PM
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This story stirs so many emotions in me.

It makes me mad, that somebody would drive so recklessly and destroy another life. How and why they are given that "privilege" (!) is beyond me. I am a very emotional and imaginative person. A reckless driver, on parole for making bombs and without a valid driver's license, killed my best friend before she could form a thought; she never even saw him. All I wanted, and still want, even if it is unhealthy, is to run that man over with his own car. When a drunk creams an elderly crossing guard in front of his elementary school charges (happened here in Tucson), when liquored-up assjackets who have no business operating a car wipe out entire families and get a bruise on the forehead for their troubles... I get so angry I cry, thinking about how those drivers also should be impaled by metal and glass for their last moments on this earth. I feel terribly for this.

I feel heartsick, like a more normal person would, if not more. I cry when we make roadkill on country highways. And that's dogs, jackrabbits, coyotes, not humans. I am fragile enough to know how I'd react in a human casualty accident...

You can see the polar opposites here that teem in my brain. It's a bizarre juxtaposition that I am not comfortable with...

Thanks for the therapy ;) *sniff*


orangekyak


Aug 26, 2003, 6:20 PM
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When people ask me if climbing is dangerous, I always say the most dangerous part of the day is going to and coming from the crag.

I love climbing because I can choose situations with objective dangers which I do my best to control. Upon successful ascent, or descent, I feel more than success. I feel like I controlled enough of my environment and utilized a system that kept me safe while I performed acts that 99% of the world probably regards as insane behavior.

On the highway, there's far less you can control. The best you can do is "don't be that guy." I often feel that while yellow lights are a signal to yield to traffic, they remind us to be cautious and deliberate. We all blow through yellow lights on the road, but we also ignore yellow lights that appear in our lives.

Thanks for sharing with us. Enjoy your family.


hellclimber


Aug 26, 2003, 6:27 PM
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Really tragic well written horribly sad story. Scares me a bit to think that I have driven pretty reckless once or twice in the past. No accidents but it could easily have gone wrong. The tragic part of such accidents is that there seems to be no villain to blame. Just a stupid driver killing innocent people. Hope your story registers with some of the younger audience on this site and makes them think twice before putting the pedal to the medal getting behind the wheel with a shiny new drivers license.

hellclimber


jerryw


Aug 26, 2003, 7:00 PM
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Wow... that story put goosebumps all the way up and down my back...

Reminds me of a scene I saw on Hwy 401 in Ontario somewhere east of Kingston. I was driving on the eastbound side and realised that the westbound lanes were eeriely empty. A couple more minutes later I came across a scene of an accident. There was a tractor-trailer pulled over to the side of the highway, with its rear set of wheels (8 wheels on 2 axles) sprawled out on the opposite side of the road. About 200 yards behind the trailer, a blue van sits in the middle of the highway with its front section completely smashed in. You can see shattered windshield glass pieces all over the asphalt around the wreckage, bent metal parts spread across all lanes. The front half of the van was utterly unrecognizable; I wouldn't believe anyone in that vehicle would've survived the crash.


hombre_x


Aug 26, 2003, 7:18 PM
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Hey Dingus and all else who shared,

Thanks for sharing with us. It really hit home with me; I was in an accident a week before I graduated from high school. My friend and I (being 17 and 18 at the time) were in his truck, driving too fast. We were in a rollover, wrote off the vehicle, and both of us walked away fine. I had a broken nose, but after seeing the truck...

The thing that scares me: whoever says your life flashes before your eyes doesn't know anything. It was so odd; nothing can prepare you for it. I remember seeing trees in front of the windshield and hearing the roof hit the ground two or three times. And nothing else except this eery silence sticks with me.

It gave me a bit of perspective on my life: everyone takes risks; you really have to weigh out what is and isn't worth it. That one maybe was and maybe wasn't for me: it made me focus on what was really important in my life and block out the menial stuff; in the same way, I would never want to go through it again.

I guess I think: hug your spouse goodbye, tell your kids you love them. You never know what's going to happen.

Take care,
Luke


therelic


Aug 26, 2003, 7:40 PM
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Dingus,

I can't disagree with the people that say yours is a sad story and so avoidable. In my 27 years as a fire department Captain I have seen far too many of these crashes that were equally tragic and avoidable. Sometimes it is very much worse than the story you describe most of the time not as bad but almost always totally avoidable. While I admit I am a high energy person that drives faster than most has always hiked into remote trailess locations alone with no chance for rescue if I needed it and was catching live rattlesnakes when I was 10 years old. I don't fear these things or most of the other things I do. What I do fear however is when I am on the road with other drivers coming towards me at 60 miles per hour who don't have a clue how fast things happen with a microsecond lapse of attention to their driving. If they wander two feet from their path just at the moment we are passing I'm dead. Driving is dangerous it requires restraint, safe equipment and your full attention.

Bill


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Aug 26, 2003, 7:53 PM
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In reply to:
Dingus,

Driving is dangerous it requires restraint, safe equipment and your full attention.

Bill

And a big bull bar.


mungeclimber


Aug 26, 2003, 10:02 PM
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In reply to:

In climbing we can often control our risks, or at least manage them in a way to give the illusion of control. In a car, on a crowded freeway, when another vehicle suddenly veers out of control and comes staight at us? Where's the choice in that? What, by getting in the car and starting it I chose to die?

Dingus, i almost posted a reply earlier in the day. I was going to find some meaningful quote to post up that would hopefully put fingers on the pulse of what you were saying. I failed in that endeavor.

But your random thoughts really draw out what I was thinking when i read it...

Choice, the problem is choice.

To rudely borrow from Neo, for me, choice is always the issue. Do i run it out? Do i hang dog now or power through? Do i assume conditions around me are determined, or can I make an acute break with my memory and history to form something new; to re-create. In the exact moment of our fates, we also find our liberation. Even though i may be destined to fall under certain circumstances, it is the liberation of my abilities from my own cognitive trap that often allows me to send. And in your case, maybe it is the destined destruction of the reckless driving and his victims that fertilize the rebirth of an appreciation for your loved ones.

How does one make sense of something so dishearteningly paradoxical? I don't know. Maybe the breadth of tears is deeper than clarity of reason.

I raise my Sam Adams beer, and ponder, and plan my next adventure.

cheers!
Munge
ps- my apologies for having majored in Philosophy for too many years. :)


overlord


Aug 26, 2003, 10:42 PM
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damn, thats bad. i hate those reckless morons. and it usually someone elase who gets screwed because of them. i believe that one year ago a young driver (20 years) was driving at over 160kmh on a road with 90kmh limit, tried to overtake where overtaking is forbidden and slammed right into a family car. both parents died and both kids were severly injured. the ones in the car that coused the accident were unhurt.


passthepitonspete


Aug 29, 2003, 2:56 PM
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Stories like this, and memories of Andria's death, remind me to always be thankful - always.

Never assume that you will wake up tomorrow morning, because there's no guarantee. Your life can be snuffed out in the twinkling of an eye, just like those unfortunates. It could be you, or it could be someone you love.

Make the most of every day, and be thankful. Always.


timstich


Aug 29, 2003, 4:39 PM
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Notice where you all are reading this story. In the new forum titled TRIP REPORTS. Thanks for that, too, Dingus and rc.com crew. I've been wanting to write about my 0-9 Well experiences and I think I might finally have the time and distance from that event to do it well. It's very painful to delve into, but I think it could be worth it. I've had many insights into both myself and others since then. Plus, Dingus just inspires me. What can I say? So does this red wine. :wink:

Talk to you all later.


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