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Needless death at Mt. Woodson
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ronamick


Aug 30, 2003, 1:53 PM
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Needless death at Mt. Woodson
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About 12 years ago or so, I happened upon the scene of a climbing accident at Mt. Woodson shortly after it happened. A teenage girl had fallen approx. 50 feet from the top of the Uncertainty Principle rock, landing amongst boulders on the east side of the rock. There was much hand wringing and panic, but nobody seemed to be attending to the injured girl, so I went to see what I could do. When I got to her, she was lying on her back between 2 large rocks, just as she had fallen, and it was obvious that she was seriously injured.

Two other climbers came up, and I had them start breaking a wide enough trail to get a litter through the brush and down to the life flight chopper, which had just landed on the road below. She couldn't move or speak, but her eyes stayed locked on mine, and I know she wanted someone to tell her she was going to be ok. What I told her was that "we're going to get you out of here". She began slipping into unconsciousness by the time the litter arrived.

We had three people on each side of her, and each was responsible for lifting a portion of her body onto the litter. We would lift her using her clothes, to cradle her and keep from pulling on broken extremeties. On a count of three, we all lifted at once, and I could feel that her pelvis and maybe femur were broken. Her body bent were there were no joints, and was bound where her joints were supposed to be. When we lifted, she let out an awful groan of pain even though she had been unconscious for 10 minutes. By the time the helicopter took off, she had gone from scared to comatose.

I found the people she was climbing with and asked them what happened. This is what I was told.

This girl was not a climber, and had been talked into trying it by her friend. The friend was an 18 year old guy with virtually zero climbing experience, who had no business tying anyone into a rope. The more I talked to him, the angrier I got. This was her first climb. When she got to the top and leaned back on the rope to get lowered, the knot came untied and she free fell 50', landing flat on her back.

By the time I had finshed talking with that motherfuker he was in tears, but I didn't feel sorry for him. I needed to let him know what he had done and make it clear that it was 100% his fault. When he started blubbering for forgiveness I told him to shut the f**k up, get to the hospital and do your begging there.

I found out the next day that she died before she reached the hospital.


bertman


Aug 30, 2003, 2:00 PM
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That is a truly saddening story. People like that guy disgust me. My deepest regards to the girl's family and friends.


duracellbunny


Aug 30, 2003, 2:21 PM
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:cry: This is very sad.......I am speechless.
My condolences to her family.


collegekid


Aug 30, 2003, 3:47 PM
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That's really messed up. Not just the fact that the guy let that happen, but that you chose to make him feel more guilty about it. Having a death on one's mind can cause serious problems later on in life. I would bet the guy is on lithium by now, and if not, he's depressed or dead.

Anyway, regardless of social pressures and advice given by friends, your own safety is ultimately your sole responsibility. I like to think i'm a wuss...for good reason. If someone pressures me to do something that I don't feel totally safe and secure doing, I refuse. When my friend first taught me to climb, i was on hardly a 20 foot highball boulder problem...grade 5.6...with super solid anchors...and i was freaked out and overgripping the rock. I don't see how someone could climb for the first time and not be apprehensive, especially with a bad rocky landing and a partner who is obviously inexperienced.

I'm not saying it's the girl's fault, but people should try to take responsibility for their own welfare sometimes, especially when it's life and death.


rcaret


Aug 30, 2003, 4:09 PM
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A very sad story and I wounder if someone had given them some pointers on safe climbing if they would have listen as many people I have given advice to or have seen people give advice to mostly ignore it or get angry becouse they always belive they know better .


dontfall


Aug 30, 2003, 6:29 PM
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In reply to:
A very sad story and I wounder if someone had given them some pointers on safe climbing if they would have listen as many people I have given advice to or have seen people give advice to mostly ignore it or get angry becouse they always belive they know better .

And then look where stupidity and ignorance leads to.


pehperboy


Aug 30, 2003, 6:41 PM
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In reply to:
Anyway, regardless of social pressures and advice given by friends, your own safety is ultimately your sole responsibility...
I'm not saying it's the girl's fault, but people should try to take responsibility for their own welfare sometimes, especially when it's life and death.

Can't agree with that. She was a 15-year-old girl. Her safety in this instance was not her responsibility. Few teenagers have any innate sense of what's safe, and at that age people are only beginning to sort out what responsibility is. I'm sure her parents were working very hard at teaching her that, and then this moron convinces her to get on a 50-foot climb in a totally unsafe situation. He wasn't much older than her but he should have known better. Seems he was the one not doing too well in getting the responsibility lessons.
So, who was responsible? One could argue that ultiimately her parents were. To this day I would wager they haven't forgiven themselves for not asking where she going, what she was doing and who she was doing it with that day. One could also argue the 18-year-old was since he was practically an adult. But really, I don't think an answer is required. Ultimately it is a tragedy but I don't disagree with ronamick getting in the kid's face at the time.


collegekid


Aug 30, 2003, 7:56 PM
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ultimately, it is sad tragedy, ending a life far too early...However, you can't lay sole responsibility on the guy. He was just as naive as she was.

In reply to:
He wasn't much older than her but he should have known better. Seems he was the one not doing too well in getting the responsibility lessons.

Why should he have known better, yet she should not? Are you saying he purposely put her life in danger?
I'm pretty much on your side, as I do feel it was 85% his responsibility for the death. He thought he knew what he was doing, but apparently did not. As you can probably tell, i'm on the fence as to whether it was a case of "two ignorant kids being stupid" or "cocky asshole allows girl's death." According to Ron Amick, it was the latter, but i'd like some proof beyond his personal opinion.

-I'd like to know if he was charged criminally and how this event effected the guy later in life.
-and, Do you have a link to the story online? I could easily make up my mind if i knew some more details on this.

This type of story is actually pretty common; every year in my hometown, some high schooler crashes his tricked-out car while doing 90 down the main strip, killing his three friends that were along for the ride. However, the driver usually doesn't get blamed too critically, as he's either dead or severely injured. It's simply a case of being a wreckless teenager that doesn't know any better.

(edited because i don't know how to use quotes)


roughster


Aug 30, 2003, 8:03 PM
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After reading about this, I thought back to the numerous times I have made bad decisions about climbing. Some of them made in ignorance, some of the made in stupidity, and yes some even involving others.

Fortunately I and the others lived through them, by either the grace of God or the luck of the fools, but either way, if I or one of my friends wouldn't have I am not sure how I would have reacted.

Sometimes it is a willing accompliss. Sometimes others get badgered into doing things they wouldn't normally do, on BOTH ends. Meaning, it very well may have been the gf telling her bf that she wanted to go climbing. Now it doesn't sound it from Rons side, but you never know. I agree w/College, we just don't have enough info to make a conclusive decision on who's fault the situations really was. I know emotions in that type of situation run very high so I do not fault Ron for flipping out.

Hopefully some of the newbies on the site will read this and take it to heart. Climbing is a dangerous game, and even when you DO know all the rules, it still is dangerous. Learn everything you can upfront BEFORE trying something out at the crags.

Playing with your life, or worse yet, others, is just not something you want to be doing :(


neeshman


Aug 30, 2003, 8:17 PM
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Wow, thats unbelievable. I am not sure if you can blame any "one" person for this kind of thing. Yes, the 18 year old guy was the one tying the knot and getting her on the climb. But the girl probably had a brain and probably looked over everything before she started. Think about when you guys started, I know that I was asking all kinds of questions about the knots, the safety, what happens with this, what happens with that. I looked out for myself.

In reply to:
Can't agree with that. She was a 15-year-old girl. Her safety in this instance was not her responsibility.

Sorry to say Bull-Shaft man, but I am going to. You have to give a 15 year old girl more credit than that. She definitely had some responsibility in the matter, it's just that she put her faith in the wrong person. He is totally responsible as well. It is your job to keep yourself alive. Who knows, maybe he just tied some random knot that looked good. There are so many variables. It is so easy to point fingers at someone and say YOU DID IT!!!!!, but it's never that easy.


dirtineye


Aug 30, 2003, 8:22 PM
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Seems like if the guy took the girl climbing for the first time, it was his responsibility to tie her in correctly.


corpse


Aug 30, 2003, 8:39 PM
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Of course, I don't know details, but lets say he tied an overhand knot and told her it would hold, why should she not believe him? She apparently trusted him, and didn't understand what she was getting into.. But he also sounds like quite a dumbass.. He should have known the risks as well, and learned the proper way to deal with them. And I hate to sound sexist or whatever, but guys generally have more analyitcal thinking, so I think guys are more likely to question the advice given, whereas the girls will generally just accept it as fact - and the poor girl is looking up to this older guy, believing what he say, and then that happens. I hope the verbal thrashing he game the kid scarred him for life - the truth hurts. I would never knowingly put anyone in harms way.


roughster


Aug 30, 2003, 8:50 PM
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I would never knowingly put anyone in harms way.

Thats the problem, most likely the guy didn't "knowingly" put her in danger. I can hardly believe that he did it maliciously. Based upon that, we now see why in todays day and age, ignorance reigns supreme and the assumption of idocy should be the 1st and foremost thing in people's mind.


alpnclmbr1


Aug 30, 2003, 11:25 PM
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I agree that people have to be responsible for their own safety, but this is not an aspect of life that we are normally confronted with in today’s society.

Taking someone climbing is or should be a scary thing to do. If you don’t really know what your doing, why would you do it? This seems to be a reoccurring theme where a girl pays the price for a guy’s ego.

The guy knew more then the girl, the guy apparently provided the equipment. For myself this is most likely a situation that was caused by someone having the desire to showboat.
Bottom line: if you allow someone to die on his or her first climb, it is your fault.


ropeburn


Aug 30, 2003, 11:57 PM
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I agree with the actions ronamick took. I belive it was the right thing to do telling this kid that it was totaly his fault that a person expired. Sometimes the truth hurts, sometimes it scars, other times it kills. Its just the way it has to be. Ronamick slapped some reality on this punk, maybe it stoped him from injuring anyone else, yes it was harsh but what other kind of response would attract his attention more?

My thoughts go out to the girls family.




:(

Edited for spelling


norushnomore


Aug 31, 2003, 12:11 AM
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Nothing else to discuss but the 12 years old accident?
Whah, oh, what can we learn from this?

Amen


collegekid


Aug 31, 2003, 12:14 AM
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i have a helmet. it's a blue one.


overlord


Aug 31, 2003, 12:29 AM
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hes fault all the way. irresponsible bastard. and what kind of knot did he use??? it untied on a TR??? even a prussik should hold. even if he used the knot with wich he ties hes shoes it should hold. damn moron.

(im not saying that im using anything other htan figure8 or double bowline to tie in)


timstich


Aug 31, 2003, 1:48 AM
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In reply to:
dang i'm bored. And addicted to this website.

Helpful hint. Pretype lame follow ups when you're logged off. Examples you can cut and paste for later if you are both bored and lazy:

Boy, this thread has gone to hell.

I don't know

You would think that, huh?

I have a helmet. It's a white one.

You're welcome.


roughster


Aug 31, 2003, 3:02 AM
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Maybe I am getting old, or maybe because I have children of my own, but I just don't see the good in hammering in the blame on the living.

Will words make the girl come back? Will words EVER replace what was lost? Once someone has died, the only thing left is those who knew them and are still living. Why ruin two lives over one tragic event? Now if the kid was acting non-chalant, uncaring, etc... I could see it. However, he was obviously shaken (from the sounds of the intial post) and had obviousy already accepted the blame (profuse appoligies from 1st post).

Think about the burden that guy will carry around for the rest of his life. Think about if you were his friend/parent/etc... Would you still act so callous if it was your son? Of course the flip side of the coin is think about the parents of the girl, and they get my absolute sympathies (yes I know it happened 15 years ago), however do you think they would have supported berating him? I don't know, but then again, I don't think anyone here passing judgement knows either.

I had a good friend during college. His brother had a few too many drinks one night after work, and on the way home smashed into a Cal Trans crew. He ended up killing one of them. Now I was at my friends house studying when they got the call. I left shortly after I found out what had happened, but I saw the effects on my friend and parents, as well as his brother. It was not pretty and too this day, my friend can't talk about it, and he didn't even have anything to do with it.

Everyone is human. Everyone make mistakes. Be thankfull that the ones you have made have not cost someone else their life. I am sure if you think back long and hard EVERY single one of you can remember a time where you seriously jeopardized yours and others lifes whether it be from drinking, speeding, recklessness, carelessness, or stupidity. Think about how you would feel if in that one moment everything hadn't gone right and something would have happened. Would you still have the same calloused attitude?


ambler


Aug 31, 2003, 7:03 AM
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In reply to:
Maybe I am getting old, or maybe because I have children of my own, but I just don't see the good in hammering in the blame on the living.
That's a fine thoughtful post in an angry thread.


torvum


Aug 31, 2003, 7:50 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Anyway, regardless of social pressures and advice given by friends, your own safety is ultimately your sole responsibility...
I'm not saying it's the girl's fault, but people should try to take responsibility for their own welfare sometimes, especially when it's life and death.

Can't agree with that. She was a 15-year-old girl. Her safety in this instance was not her responsibility. Few teenagers have any innate sense of what's safe, and at that age people are only beginning to sort out what responsibility is. I'm sure her parents were working very hard at teaching her that, and then this moron convinces her to get on a 50-foot climb in a totally unsafe situation. He wasn't much older than her but he should have known better. Seems he was the one not doing too well in getting the responsibility lessons.
So, who was responsible? One could argue that ultiimately her parents were. To this day I would wager they haven't forgiven themselves for not asking where she going, what she was doing and who she was doing it with that day. One could also argue the 18-year-old was since he was practically an adult. But really, I don't think an answer is required. Ultimately it is a tragedy but I don't disagree with ronamick getting in the kid's face at the time.

Wow, I can't disagree with you more. I think you forget when you were 15. You are definately mature enough to make your own decisions. I mean, you can get a liscence when your 16, and thats basically putting your life as well as the lives of all the drivers around you in your hands.

Secondly, I completely disagree with Ronamick getting in the kids face. His friend just fell off a cliff and died, I don't think yelling in the kids face is going to help him one bit - thats just stupid. Imagine you did something stupid and your friend died. You're beating yourself up about how big of an idiot your are, your're balling your eyes out and you're so full of sorrow and regret when suddenly some jerk comes up to you and starts yelling at you. Man, you don't need that right now. Im sure the kid new exactly what he did wrong and is completely sorry about what he did. Instead of yelling at him, you should have comforted him and helped him out in some way.

But thats just my opinion.


Partner rrrADAM


Aug 31, 2003, 8:23 AM
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Moved to the Injuries & Accidents Forum. ~Adam


ryanhos


Aug 31, 2003, 8:29 AM
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Sometimes I sit out in front of 31 Flavors and when the 8 year old girls come out of the store and drop their ice cream on the sidewalk, I get right up in their face and tell them how clumsy and irresponsible they are.

They cry and I feel better about myself as a person.


alpnclmbr1


Aug 31, 2003, 10:26 AM
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In reply to:
Maybe I am getting old, or maybe because I have children of my own, but I just don't see the good in hammering in the blame on the living.

Do you think the reason Ron posted this accident report was to berate the “eighteen year old”? Do you think anything written here has any effect on him whatsoever?

I would think that the only reason to start a thread like this is to try and prevent it from reoccurring. In the context of life, sh*t happens and life goes on. In the context of the climbing community scenarios like this are inexcusable and should be treated as such.

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