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Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03
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roseraie


Oct 19, 2003, 11:16 PM
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Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03
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Two climbers (one from San Diego, one from Anza) died from what appeared to be a Factor 2 fall just right of the White Maiden Buttress on Tahquitz Rock today. The belayer had the anchor pieces attached to him and there were some pieces still on the rope. The climbers were still tied together.

The two fell down several pitches (estimated about 3-4) over Fool's Rush. Our best guess is that they were climbing The Step, judging from where they fell from, where their packs were, and what we learned about the ability of one of the climbers. They sustained massive injuries and shattered their helmets.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who helped in this horrible situation. The climbers at the rock reacted quickly but, unfortunately nothing could be done. Everyone showed amazing strength and compassion in the situation. Thank you also to the RMRU, the Riverside Sheriff, and the CDF, all of whom responded to the accident.

We don't know anything about these climbers except their names and ages, but I am sure they were well known and respected. Our condolences to the families of both men.

If you have any questions about the accident, Art and I witnessed the men falling and were present through the rescue efforts in the hours before the RMRU responded. Again, condolences to the families and feel free to PM or e-mail us with questions.

Meg (roseraie) and Art (artm)


roughster


Oct 19, 2003, 11:20 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Very sad news :cry: Ty for the update and my condolences to the family.


addiroids


Oct 19, 2003, 11:29 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Whoa!! That is very unfortunate! And to know that two people I know witnessed it. Geez. I can't even imagine what happened, but let this be a reminder to all of us, build that anchor stronger than it would ever have to be. I have not done those routes (Fool's Rush, or the other one) but I know that area right of WMB is steep. Hopefully they didn't suffer. However, Meg did say, "rescue" not "recovery" efforts. Condolences to their families, friends, and climbing buddies. I just hope I didn't know them. That would be a horrible thing to see happen. Stay strong Meg and Art and thanks for the news, eventhough it is awful.

Sadly yours,

Cali Dirtbag


nikegirl


Oct 19, 2003, 11:32 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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First heart breaking stop: that came to my mind...was Art and Jorge, please don't let this be them... :(

I'm so sorry that this happened.
My condolences...for you all whom were effected so intensly and families that are now dealing with an incredibly sad event.


Goddess bless~

~T
:cry:


Partner philbox
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Oct 19, 2003, 11:35 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Whoa, so sorry to hear about these climbers ending like that. Sorry to hear that you witnessed it too. In one way though as you did witness it you were able to give some evidence of what happened and this can be a very good thing.

Do you know whether anyone has been up to where they came off and investigated the placements. This I believe is an extremely important thing to do. It would be fantastic to recreate the scene. I`m guessing that this would be done at an official level for the coroner. I`d like to suggest that it would be in the climbing communities best interest for someone of sufficient experience to head up there and check out for themselves what may have happened.

There should be scratches on the rock where gear pulled. It would be highly beneficial to gain access to the gear that pulled. If no investigation has been carried out I`d like to suggest that those that were directly involved should mount a request for this to be done at the earliest opportunity. This of course is not out of morbid curiousity but more from a genuine interest in helping all climbers to become safer at what we do. This is one of the best tools for ramming home the message of safety up there.


pranaguy


Oct 19, 2003, 11:39 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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My heartfelt condolences and prayer to the families of the climbers. Also to both Meg and Art and anyone else present for witnessing such a terrible accident. It really does hit hard when fatalities occur close to home at crags you frequent... Climb safe everyone.

-Matt


addiroids


Oct 19, 2003, 11:43 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Do you know whether anyone has been up to where they came off and investigated the placements. This I believe is an extremely important thing to do. It would be fantastic to recreate the scene.

While I'm not dissing you dude, I don't think this is necessary. We all know how to place gear, and we all know that some gear can pull. There are an INFINITE number of micro-steps from choss to bomber and to try to delineate where the line got crossed is almost foolishness. To try to say what piece pulled where, is ludicrous (sp?). If it is required, that's one thing, but to take their gear off them, and go back up and see what went where just seems futile to me.

No disrespect to you, or our fallen brethren, but let's just keep in mind that gear does pull, and to use your knowledge and back questionable stuff up. Terrible to hear that their anchor pulled though.

TRADitionally yours,

Cali Dirtbag


roseraie


Oct 19, 2003, 11:52 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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What we know about the status of the victims is largely secondhand from people who had different vantage points (we were two pitches up on a climb nearby, got someone else's attention to rush to the victim and call 911, and we rapped off as quickly as was safe). We got to the scene of the accident about 45 minutes after the fall with the Stokes litter from Lunch Rock. The fall occurred at approximately 1 p.m.

From where I was belaying, I first heard rockfall and saw rocks coming down, then saw the climber falling, then the belayer. This leads us to believe that what may have happened was a flake broke off, the pieces zippered, and then the leader took a huge fall on the anchor and pulled the belayer off with him.

I doubt an official report with more detail than this will be out tomorrow, because the RMRU did not reach the victims until dark. Check out their site in a few days, they may have an updated report with whatever they find higher up on the route when they investigate tomorrow.


socalclimber


Oct 20, 2003, 2:25 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Well I have to strongly disagree here. Uncovering the anatomy of an accident is a very import teaching tool to other SAR teams and climbers. With our SAR team here in Josh (JOSAR), all incidents are considered crime scenes until it has been determined otherwise. I think it's safe to say this was no crime but indeed a horrible accident. There are also the issues of liability. Like it or not, we live in a society where people like to sue each other. Grieving families can also behave oddly when confronted with something like this. Especially when they don't understand the activity their loved ones were involved in. Remember what happened to Chounard? It's happened before, and it will happen again.

I'm sure RMRU will indeed investigate this further. When ever we have climbing accidents in the park, the scene is secured, all gear is left in place, and after EMS and the evacuation is completed, an investigation is begun. We take measuremens, pictures, interview by-standers and other people involved, and examine the gear. Sometimes it's not possible to determine exactly what happened. It all gets recorded and a report is filed. The team will then discuss the incident at the next training.

I really feel for their families and friends. My best wishes to them all. Be safe out there folks, this is a dangerous game we play.

Robert


notyetabigwaller


Oct 20, 2003, 2:38 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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god bless them; I am sad to hear there gone.


Partner rrrADAM


Oct 20, 2003, 3:39 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Meg... I'm sorry you had to witness this. I know what you must have gone through, as I had to dp CPR on a climber who fell 80 feet to the ground 4 years ago out at the Gunks, and he did not survive.


esoteric1


Oct 20, 2003, 5:32 AM
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names? Ive got alot of climbing partners i rarely climb with, I just wanna know if i should send out a buncha emails or not....
condolonces to the famalies and children.
and remember to bonk on those flakes before ya pull on em.
mark


crazywacky


Oct 20, 2003, 6:49 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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God bless, and my condolences.

And please, let's triple check our anchors...


froggy


Oct 20, 2003, 9:34 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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My partner and I were there yesterday. We heard the SOS call on the whistle and and the HELP yells. We were buzzed by a rescue helicopter hours later only to send a shiver down my spine.

This is the first time Death/Climbing has been this close to home.
Please be careful when you are out there. Don't trust just 1 flake/crack for your whole anchor system. Pull from 2 or 3 if possible. If you are in a bad area for an anchor.. move up or down a little to find something better. Place a piece or two of pro right off the belay to diminish your chances of a Factor 2 fall.

I know sometimes we as climbers say that anchor is 'good enough.' Yesterday, we don't know what was going on, but it was not 'good enough'.
Be safe out there and always make it safer than it needs to be..

My thoughts go out to the family and friends of these two guys...
Take it easy,

Sara


pirateclimber


Oct 20, 2003, 10:48 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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It really hits home when you realize that your partners and friends were so close to such a terrible accident. I'm endlessly glad that both of you are OK. It sounds like the two of you, and everyone else on scene, did a remarkable job of keeping it together and doing everything the right way. It just reenforces the fact that I am incredibly proud of the partners I climb with.


stick233


Oct 20, 2003, 11:05 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Does anyone know of any links with more info about this? I have not been able to get in touch with a friend who climbs there very often. If you know the names, please PM me. I am sorry to hear of this and I hope you understand my own personal concern.

Thank you


roseraie


Oct 20, 2003, 11:12 AM
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Sara, were you the woman I met down by the RMRU truck? I'm sorry you had to be present for all that, I'm sorry it had to happen. :(

I am looking for news stories on the accident. I will post links as soon as I find anything. I do not want to post the names of the climbers because I don't know if the authorities have contacted the families yet. If you have questions, you can PM or e-mail me.


curt


Oct 20, 2003, 11:12 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Oh my God, this is terrible news. My condolences and sympathy to the friends and families of these two climbers. Also, I do think an investigation into what happened is important. We need to learn from events like this to potentially make us safer in the future.

Curt


prowsolo


Oct 20, 2003, 11:14 AM
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Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:25 am Post subject: Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Setting up anchors is not rocket science.
If you follow some simple rules accidents like this would not happen. Every accident that happens due to anchor failure is a repeat performance of what has happened in the past.

Size of placement seems to be the biggest factor in these accidents.

The climbers trusted small to medium nuts and small cams.

When you have a belay setup like this alarm bells should be going off
in your head.

Bigger is better.

Prowsolo


crotch


Oct 20, 2003, 11:15 AM
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My condolences to the friends and families of the climbers, and I can only hope it wasn't a friend of mine.... :cry:


t-dog
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Oct 20, 2003, 11:25 AM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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sh!t, and to think that me and Yosh soloed all the way to the start of Super Pooper the day before. ughhhh
This is not good news, but I guess it's a reminder that you should always be safer than you think is necessary.


mreardon


Oct 20, 2003, 11:51 AM
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Condolensces to the families. Even more to Art and Meg. Never a pretty site, and something that takes a bit of time to shake from the system. If you ever need to talk, you have my number and a handful of others here feel the same.

Don't let it stop you from enjoying the sport, but recognize that there is a reason you were given this reminder to always check your gear, anchors, etc., and climb as safe as you feel most comfortable.


elcapbuzz


Oct 20, 2003, 12:07 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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This is VERY sad news. My condolensces to the friends and families involved. My heart goes out to every one of you.

I also think it's important to learn from these kinds of accidents.

A factor 2 fall is very serious. It's something you don't EVER want to happen. Something will usually always break if you factor 2. It sounds like the flake broke, but if it would have held... it's very likely that carabiners would have been next.

Remember, the pieces above the anchor are just as important as the belay anchors themselves. If you can't get good pro, then clip one of the pieces in the belay.

Again, I'm sorry to hear about these kinds of accidents.... and I'm sorry to hear that some of you were there to witness such tragedy.

Be Safe, Ammon


walter


Oct 20, 2003, 12:26 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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Meg's post mentioned that there were some pieces between the leader & belayer ... and if a flake containing both the belay and the pro ripped, it wasn't a F2 fall - it was freefall. Let's not jump to conclusions. The consequences were horrible enough already.


roseraie


Oct 20, 2003, 12:43 PM
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Re: Fatal accident at Tahquitz 10/19/03 [In reply to]
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The information I provided is mostly speculative. One climber who was above where they landed on the rock provided the observation of gear on the rope. We really have no idea what happened, what pulled, even which route they were on. It is all speculation. Watch for the RMRU report on the accident, they will have the chance to inspect the scene and determine what actually happened before I saw them fall. Art and I provided our best guess as to what happened based on what we saw and learned.

My condolences to friends and family of the victims, and I hope the report is out soon so we can all have answers.

Meg

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