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How did Dan Osman die?
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xcire


Oct 2, 2003, 9:20 PM
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How did Dan Osman die?
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Im new to the sport and just bought Masters of stone 4. I thought how could someone do this. Im in no way bashing free soloing but doesnt everyone fall some time. Please tell me the details and i thought i read somewhere that his school age daughter was now with out a father and money could be donated to help. The one thing I know for sure is climders (what ever there diffrences are are a faimly) we all can spare some money to help a Daughter know that her father was respected and loved.


tenn_dawg


Oct 2, 2003, 9:26 PM
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Re: How did Dan osman die? [In reply to]
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He died in a roped jumping accident. He was the pioneer of new activity, similar to bunjee jumping, but it was done with normal climbing gear.

His system broke when he was going for the record jump off of the Leaning Tower in Yosemite.

He did indeed leave a daughter behind. If you are interested, I"ll post the address for donations.

Travis


camhead


Oct 2, 2003, 9:29 PM
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he died rope jumping. like, bungee jumping, but with a lot of dynamic climbing ropes tied together. one of the knots was loaded the wrong way on a jump off of leaning tower, and it broke. the fact that the rope had been sitting out in the weather for a while may have also contributed to the break.

that's the version I've heard the most. all kinds of different versions have been floating around on the web, though. I'm sure you'll hear them all by tomorrow.


jono


Oct 2, 2003, 9:31 PM
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yeah he was my favorite. try reading "fall of the phantom lord"(spelling?) that was a good book on him.


Partner coldclimb


Oct 2, 2003, 9:31 PM
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The version I heard was that his jumping line and retrieval line accidentally crossed in the jump, and the friction and melting weakened the rope enough to break. Not much difference in the outcome though, whatever happened. :cry:


melekzek


Oct 2, 2003, 9:32 PM
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In reply to:
His system broke when he was going for the record jump off of the Leaning Tower in Yosemite.

If I remember correct, after he put the setup he got arrested. After he got released the weather was bad, raining for some time, and the setup stayed there for some weeks (days ?). Then when he went there to collect his gear, he decided to go for the jump.
There was long discussions about the mechanics of the accident, apparently the knot get caugth in the pulley and breaking....


xcire


Oct 2, 2003, 9:32 PM
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Does anyone know if he is the one in Masters 4 swinging on the arcches and ridding off on his Skateboard. When did this happen? And yes I would like the donation adrees I dont have much but $10 or $20 from half the user of this site could get her a start in college or help get by


bishopclimber


Oct 2, 2003, 9:37 PM
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yes, that was Dan riding his skateboard off those arches.


hooker


Oct 2, 2003, 9:52 PM
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melekzek: very close. At the last moment he decided to change his jump and try to jump farther than he had gone before. He moved the rig to go off at a different angle then had previously been set. There is speculations as to what actually transpired during the jump, but most evidence does seem to indicate that by moving the jump location, an engineering problem occured which did allow the retrieval line and the jump line to become entamgled. Whether this was the direct cause of the line breaking or due to excess exposure to UV while awaiting the jump is arguable.

Whatever the cause, it was ceratinly a shockingly tragic and untimely death of one of the most outrageous and talented guys of his era. I only hope that it is permissiable to question why he continuesd to pursue such a high-risk activity while not providing fro the impact of his own loss without being accused of being overly insensitive.

And while I wholly support any efforts to help his surviving family members, I can't help but wonder if the whole thing can't help show some others that some risks may not be worth taking.


tenn_dawg


Oct 2, 2003, 9:54 PM
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Verbatum from: "The Fall of the Phantom Lord" by Andrew Todhunter

A trust fund has been established for Osman's daughter Emma, age twelve at this writing [1998]. While one of the world's finest climbers, he had no insurance or assets at the time of his death. Donations may be sent too:

The Emma Osman Trust Fund
c/o Andrea Osman-Brown
1760 Roper Court
Reno, NV 89506


alpnclmbr1


Oct 2, 2003, 9:55 PM
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In reply to:
Subject: My Dan Osman Rope Failure Analysis
From: Chris Harmston
Newsgroups: rec.climbing
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 1999 12:09:11 -0600
I think it is time I spoke up publicly. I have reviewed Dano's rope in
some detail. My findings and theory support those published by Kevin
Worrall in Climbing (No 183, March 1999, Pg 90).
This statement is mine personally and NOT that of Black Diamond Equipment!
This is obvious as you read below.
Irrelevant Background:
I am a Materials Engineer with BS degrees in Physics and Materials
Engineering and a ME in Materials Engineering (I nearly finished a PhD but
bailed once I learned I did not enjoy being a scientist any longer). I
know lots about atomic layer semiconductor crystal growth. I have been
the Quality Assurance Manager for Black Diamond Equipment for 6 years. My
primary responsibility is the testing and analysis of climbing equipment,
among other stuff. I have been involved in the ASTM climbing and
mountaineering standards development for the last 4 years. I investigate
all accidents I hear of involving equipment failure, whether they are BD's
or not. I review rec.climbing every day looking specifically for posts
related to accidents, gear, misuses of gear, issues about BD, etc. I, and
others at BD, go out of our way on this news group to publish information
above and beyond what is required by the standards that climbing gear is
designed to (see the recent lame thread on "Gear Safety" which I will not
respond to specifically. See Karl Lew's web site. Search under my name
on dejanews for examples). I do not post to this news group as a general
rule unless I think that posts from various people are specifically wrong
or misleading, as is the current case (in fact I try to avoid posting
because of commercial conflict of interest). I respond to individuals on
this news group constantly and my comments to these people come back into
this group (see the current RP thread on soldering cable fatigue). I
respond in detail to individuals who ask me questions, even when they do
not like what BD is about (see recent Camalot threads and failure analysis
associated with this thread).
Even more irrelevant background:
I have been rock climbing since 1981, and am primarily a trad climber. I
am a risk taker because I climb. Climbing IS dangerous and anyone who
thinks otherwise if fooling themselves. Anyone who climbs is a risk taker
in my opinion. I climb 5.12 on any rock type (that I have been on) and
style (except offwidth, so far) and have onsighted up to 12c/d. I climb
WI6 and possibly harder (ice is either hard or easy to me and is my
primary passion). I climb M8. I establish new rock, ice and mixed
routes ground up with and without bolts. I have no aid or alpine
experience. I weight 190 lbs and take upside-down 40 to 60 footers
without my helmet on. I have nearly killed myself several times due to
falling off 5.8. I am a climber, climbing eventually involves falling,
which may very well kill or maim me. Most people, including myself, would
consider me to be reckless because of how I climb. I climb for my own
reasons and no one else's. I don't care what people think about me in
general. Why Dano jumped off cliffs is his own personal choice that
nobody has a right to argue against, even if he had children in my
opinion. I certainly have no right to judge his reasons for doing what he
did. I respect Dano for pushing the limits way way beyond where they had
been previously. I met Dano twice but did not know him. I know many of
his friends.
Relevant Background:
My expertise in the analysis of broken climbing ropes is very limited.
This is due to the fact that climbing ropes very rarely break or cut in
actual use. The only previous experience I have with rope failure
analysis was that of Matt Baxter who died on El Cap several years ago when
his rope was cut by a flake after a carabiner had broken (see dejanews for
more info on this, send a Freedom of Information Request to the NPS-I
recommend you do it for the Dano accident as well and then you can have a
copy of my official report, or look at ANAM). I have also reviewed
several ropes with sheaths shredded due to the open back regular carabiner
gates in minor axis. This lack of experience could indicate that my
findings are incorrect or suspect.
I first became involved in Dano's accident when news of Dano's death
spread across this news group with the associated rumors that the NPS
might have purposely cut his rope. On December 9, 1998 I sent an email to
John Dill (YOSAR director) letting him know of these rumors on this news
group and offered my assistance in the analysis of Dano's equipment. John
responded back that Yosemite Law Enforcement (YLE) was investigating the
accident and that they had to finish their investigation before I might be
able to see the ropes (they too knew of the rumors of murder and were
investigating this as well I suspect). As you all should know Dan's ropes
stayed on the wall for over a month and YLE was unable to recover them.
Given the rumors of tampering by the NPS a climber took matters into his
own hands. He recovered the ropes and sent them directly to BD. As soon
as I received the ropes I contacted YLE because I was in possession of
stolen federal evidence from an active investigation. I was told to
return the ropes immediately and reveal the name of the person who sent me
the ropes. While on the phone with the lead investigator another phone
call came into BD from "someone within YLE" stating that the FBI would be
at BD to arrest me if I did not send the ropes back the next day. I was
freaking out to say the least. Meanwhile I looked at the rope in some
detail. It was melted through. It looked as if there were the
possibility that someone had hot cut the rope. When I called YLE back and
told them this they wanted me to conduct my full investigation and allowed
me to keep the rope for two weeks. No FBI showed up to haul me away.
Analysis:
I only saw the one section of rope that was cut down and contained the
failure point. I did not see the rigging, retrieval rope, or the section
that was attached to Dan directly.
Everything I did was visual examination. I did not untie any knot or
tamper with the rope in any way other than prying the knots to see inside.
With some insight from Doug Heinrich I concluded that the failure of Dan's
rope was not due to tensile overload or from being tampered with. I
strongly believe that Dan did miscalculate on his last jump. For some
reason he moved his jump site. In doing so he crossed the ropes (either
on the retrieval line or on the main jump line). When he jumped the first
knot above the one he was tied in with slid down a section of rope several
lengths up. The sheath was heavily melted and removed in several sections
on this upper part of the rope. The knot that slid down the rope was
melted in multiple locations and was melted nearly completely through,
deep inside the knot. This knot was not tight, yet others in the system
were (this is the one open question that is unresolved as far as I know).
It is my conclusion that Dan's rope was cut by his own rope sliding
against itself. Use of a magnifying glass indicated to me that the cut
surface was due to sliding action in one direction. There was no evidence
of hot cutting with a knife or other type of instrument. I conducted
further experiments in my lab to see if tensile overload could have caused
this failure. The samples I tested were significantly different in that
they were heavily frayed and tattered. My analysis of Dan's ropes in
general was that they were in great condition. There was no evidence to
me of damage due to previous falls, uv exposure, or weather. I would have
climbed on these ropes without any hesitation had they not been from this
accident. I do not believe that the condition of the ropes had anything
at all to do with the failure of the ropes. Nor do I believe that Dan's
basic shock absorbing setup was incorrect. Crossing the ropes was the
problem.
I was asked by YLE not to make my findings public until they had finished
their criminal investigation. They forced me to tell them who sent me the
rope and they pressed charges against this individual (I will have to live
with the fact that I was unable to keep this information confidential). I
still have not heard back from YLE about closure of this accident and
decided to make my findings public now due to the vast numbers of
misinformed posts relative to this subject. Maybe my analysis will stop
some of the useless bickering many of you are currently engaged in.
Conclusions:
What is to be learned from this accident? NEVER LET NYLON SLIDE AGAINST
NYLON! You should already know this.
I also know that Dano's rigging setup was reviewed by more than a couple
of technically competent people. I also know that he tested it multiple
times. I personally do not think that what Dan was doing (when done
properly as he had done on earlier jumps) was any more dangerous than
modern ice climbers doing hard thin ice routes (like in Maple Canyon and
elsewhere), in fact his setup was most likely safer in my personal
opinion. Dan's death was a tragedy and an accident.
Again, this summary is mine personally and not that of Black Diamond.
Chris Harmston (chrish@bdel.com).
Quality Assurance Manager. Materials Engineer BS, ME.
Black Diamond Equipment Ltd.
2084 East 3900 South, SLC, UT 84124 phone: 801-278-5552
DISCLAIMER: Unless otherwise indicated, this correspondence is personal
opinion and NOT an official statement of Black Diamond Equipment Ltd.


jefffski


Oct 3, 2003, 12:12 AM
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there is a book about dan called 'fall of the phantom lord" by andrew todhunter, doubleday 1998.


katydid


Oct 3, 2003, 12:32 PM
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katydid moved this thread [In reply to]
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katydid moved this thread from Regional Discussions to Climbing History & Trivia.


slhappy


Oct 3, 2003, 7:44 PM
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idiot!...selfish motives left a daughter fatherless. As climbers we all experience some degree of risk which should (as a parent) never outweigh our primary obligation to our children. It is a shame that he died in a tragic way, but even more shameful that his daughter will grow up with only a memory of her father.


braon


Oct 3, 2003, 8:23 PM
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In reply to:
idiot!...selfish motives left a daughter fatherless. As climbers we all experience some degree of risk which should (as a parent) never outweigh our primary obligation to our children. It is a shame that he died in a tragic way, but even more shameful that his daughter will grow up with only a memory of her father.

Everyone takes risks that they feel are acceptable. Would you say the same thing if he had been killed in a car accident? It's dangerous to drive as well. Just because you wouldn't take the same risks yourself doesn't mean that the person taking them is irresponsible or an idiot.

On another note, does anyone know anything about Dan's anchor systems? I'd be interested in finding out more about the engineering behind them. Just what did he think was suitable to stop a 1000 foot fall?


alpnclmbr1


Oct 4, 2003, 1:15 AM
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...He had a tyrolean rope between Leaning tower and fifi buttress. In the middle of this was tied the 900' jump rope and they would tie into the end of it and jump off the top of the tower. it was more like base jumping as they would be able to track out in the 8 to 9 second fall. once they have stopped bouncing they deploy a 4mm rappel line and rap off to the ground. There was a small retrieval cord attached to the jump rope that would allow them to pull the rope back up to the top of the tower. it was a very complex system where the tyrolean was attached at the ends. it had pulleys and screamers as well as more screamers where the jump rope was attached to the tyrolean. when they had 2 sceamers nothing was blowing but with one at each end they were blowing a little bit. they were 900lb screamers.


riceplate


Oct 4, 2003, 8:39 AM
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In reply to:
idiot!...selfish motives left a daughter fatherless. As climbers we all experience some degree of risk which should (as a parent) never outweigh our primary obligation to our children.

Look moron, are you telling us YOU don't take risks when you climb? Dano was well versed in equipment safety systems. His actions, though they seem reckless, were calculated and not a "death wish." Those who knew him would agree. That is not to say that he didn't make a mistake. clearly he did.

Just don't be so quick to judge someone, lest you sound like a hypocrite. accidents happen in this sport. If you can't handle the burdon of that, then perhaps you should not participate.


flamer


Oct 4, 2003, 9:24 AM
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Dan Osman was a MASTER rigger. His miscalculation on his final jump has been blamed on the park service's handling of the incident. He was not in the right frame of mind to make the judgement call he made after spending several days(weeks??) in the Valley jail- and he was never charged with a crime. Upon release the park demanded that he go up and remove his rig right then, thus thrusting him into a situation that he was clearly not ready to be in.
None of that matters now, the climbing community lost a very good source of knowledge and inspiration with his death.
For anyone Questioning his motive's and risk taking...COME ON!!!
You can die sitting on the couch eating potato chips!!!
josh


darkside


Oct 4, 2003, 10:37 AM
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In reply to:
idiot!...selfish motives left a daughter fatherless. As climbers we all experience some degree of risk which should (as a parent) never outweigh our primary obligation to our children. It is a shame that he died in a tragic way, but even more shameful that his daughter will grow up with only a memory of her father.
I was trying to understand where this comment came from so I checked your profile. My first thought was that you were trolling, or showing some sort of fake rightous indignation. Then I saw you are a father and suspected that fact to be the source of the comment, until the pic downloaded. I then wondered how someone making such condemnations would allow his daughter to climb so high as to fall in such way. As with the Osman case though, I do not have the whole picture, and as such it is not right for me to attempt to sit in judgement on how you allow your daughter to get into such a fall.

Climbing is inherantly dangerous with some forms of climbing being more so than others. Every climber has to minimize and handle those risks to where they are acceptable. Most climbers can look at another and think that the other is taking unacceptable risks because those risks are more than personally acceptable. This is how boundaries are pushed though.

Take three climbers. A rock soloist views an aid climber; An aid climber views an ice climber; An ice climber views a rock soloist. Who is being the most dangerous, most at risk, least responsible. The other guy of course!!!! Each must handle themselves as each sees fit. Each must make their own decisions. Each may be both content and competant with their own activity but not necessarily so with anothers activity. Neither does competency preclude mistakes or accidents.

Ultimately, Dan Osman appears to have made a mistake that cost him his life. The cost to others such as friends and family is also high. Was it fair of him to leave a daughter like that? Probably not, in most peoples eyes. Is it fair for anyone to sit in judgement on his activities? I don't think it is. We have to conform to certain standards in society. We have to answer to ourselves. We have to answer to a higher power. We do not have to answer to strangers in an online forum, and Dan Osman CANNOT answer to others, nor defend himself.


pywiak


Oct 4, 2003, 10:56 AM
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Dan Osman died of massive trauma from impacting the ground at high speed following a catastrophic equipment failure in the rigging of a rope jump system. This was undoubtedly very messy and likely quite traumatic for those who recovered his remains.

All the analyses of the incident point to an error in the rigging system resulting in dynamically crossing nylon ropes under tension during the jump. This severed his line, removing his belay. There was no redundancy or backup built into his jumping system. Responsibility for the failure of the jumping system must ultimately lie with the rigger, Dan Osman. The NPS and the manufacturers of the equipment used in the jumping rig bear no responsibility for this incident or its consequences.

Responsibility for the decision to attempt the jump lies completely with the jumper, Dan Osman. It is pointless to speculate upon his state of mind prior to the jump. Based upon his documented experience and history, it may be safe to conclude: 1) He knew exactly what he was doing; 2) He knew the consequences of a failure in his rigging system; 3) He accepted the risk of those consequences; 4) He placed a higher value on the personal gratification and community recognition ensuing from a successful jump than the abdication of his responsibilities to his family and friends in the event of failure. In retrospect, he made a poor decision.

What lessons can be learned from Dan Osman's demise?

1. Equipment fails, often in unusual and unanticipated ways.
2. The likelihood of equipment failure may be increased when it is used in ways for which it was not intended or designed.
3. There is risk in every activity. This risk can be mitigated by knowledge, skill, experience, and equipment, but it can never be completely eliminated.
4. Individuals must balance the risks inherent in their activity choices against their responsibilities.
5. Dan Osman's death was not accidental. It was a direct consequence of his decisions and his choices.
6. Those he left behind mourn his passing, and were impacted by his presence and his absence.


flamer


Oct 4, 2003, 11:26 AM
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In reply to:
Dan Osman died of massive trauma from impacting the ground at high speed following a catastrophic equipment failure in the rigging of a rope jump system. This was undoubtedly very messy and likely quite traumatic for those who recovered his remains.

Hmmmm, I wonder have you ever talked to any of them?
Because if you had you would know that it was not messy. In fact they all said his body was in very good shape. Most people believed that his rig had all ready begun to slow him down well before the failure.

5. Dan Osman's death was not accidental. It was a direct consequence of his decisions and his choices.
You're right!! HE MEANT TO DIE!!!! He was trying with everything he had to leave his daughter fatherless.
josh


alwaysforward


Oct 4, 2003, 9:18 PM
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He made the record jump, left the scence to come back later and retrieve gear. He got there, throught it was fun so he jumped again on gear sitting in the weather for 2 weeks. He died.


flamer


Oct 5, 2003, 12:48 AM
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In reply to:
He made the record jump, left the scence to come back later and retrieve gear. He got there, throught it was fun so he jumped again on gear sitting in the weather for 2 weeks. He died.
This is simply not the whole story...and not one to over simplify.
josh


Partner coldclimb


Oct 5, 2003, 9:19 AM
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In reply to:
idiot!...selfish motives left a daughter fatherless. As climbers we all experience some degree of risk which should (as a parent) never outweigh our primary obligation to our children. It is a shame that he died in a tragic way, but even more shameful that his daughter will grow up with only a memory of her father.

On the one hand I do agree with you. Put aside the fact that he was incredibly good, and he shouldn't have been doing that as a father.

But on the other hand, I have been climbing, and I love it too much to stop for anything. He knew what he was doing, and with all his expertise, he thought it was perfectly safe. Accidents happen. You wouldn't call him selfish if he had died in a car accident on the freeway. People who love driving and who are really good at it die on the roads due to accidents.


antigrav


Oct 5, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Mmm... But illegally high speed, drinking, drugs, faulty cars, tired drivers etc. is also an important factor in car accidents. The point being that only a fraction of "accidents" are 100% acts of God and purely attributable to "bad luck". Climbing and driving alike.

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