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#28120 - 09/27/12 10:13 PM Summit Fever Stories
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
There have been several stories recently of hikers heading to the top in spite of injuries or AMS (Altitude Sickness), putting themselves in danger, making problems for their group members, and even requiring SAR to get involved.

The stories make good reading, and certainly serve to warn others of the risks and potential pitfalls of pushing on when turning around and returning another time would be better.

So I am hoping people will contribute their stories here.

Thanks!

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#28121 - 09/27/12 10:52 PM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Okay. Good idea in theory, as long as everyone participating agrees that:

1. Pointless ridicule (example: Idiot! Fool! They should pay for their rescue!) is not a useful part of the learning process

2. Bee kind. By now, the person(s) knows that he/she made a mistake(mistakes in my one episode)and it takes a lot of courage to admit this to the often brutal audience of the message board(s)

With that in mind, I hope that people share anecdotes much like they do at the end of many enthusiast periodicals (such as I have previously mentioned, I Learned About -- Flying,Diving, etc. -- From That...)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#28123 - 09/27/12 11:36 PM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: Bee]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Accidents in North American Mountaineering is a bible of this sort of thing, and fascinating reading of what can go wrong.

Getting bashed in the head by a rock is terrible, but 10 people rappelling off the end of a rope in separate incidents, which happens each year, is truely tragic.

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#28124 - 09/27/12 11:45 PM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: Ken]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Wioletta Roslan dies during "last" jump

not exactly summit fever, but basically the same thing.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...n.html?ITO=1490


I found this quite haunting.

[quote]
Her boyfriend Aleksander Domalewski jumped alongside her and could do nothing but watch as she realised her parachute wouldn't open and spread her arms awaiting the impact of the 990ft drop.[/quote]


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#28127 - 09/28/12 07:51 AM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
From my hike on 9/22/12:

0n the switchbacks, my hiking partner (Dave) and I ran into a lady hiking solo. We played leapfrog with her for a bit and started talking. There was something odd about her, but not knowing her, I didn't know if that was just the way she was, or if it was something else. One thing that I noticed is that she'd go flying by us like she wasn't working hard at all, then five mins later I'd see her nearly passed out, sitting on a rock. I tried telling her that she was better off going slow and steady instead taking long breaks after sprinting up the trail. She said she needed to go fast b/c her group was waiting for her.
When I got to trailcrest, Dave was talking to her at the top. I noticed that she looked really cold - shivering a little. I told her that if she was that cold, she might want to consider heading down, as it probably wouldn't be warmer headed towards the summit. Dave and I regrouped, took a bunch of pictures and headed towards the summit. On the way to the summit, I asked Dave about the lady and told him I hoped she turned around and headed back down. When talking to her, Dave said that she repeatedly answered his questions with 'It's just the altitude.... I'm in great shape, not winded, it's just the altitude,' or some variation of that idea. At that point, I started thinking that I should've spent more time talking to her and really encouraged her to get off the mtn.
When Dave and I got to the summit, we learned about a hiker with a broken foot. A ranger was at the hut with this person, waiting for a helicopter. After about 30 mins we started the trip back to the Portal. About a mile down, we ran into the lady. She was with a friend now, but was vomiting and was using an emergency blanket to stay warm. She had made it to the summit (yesterday I realized she's in one of my pics). I hiked with the two of them for the next hour or so. At some point, we were joined by 2 others that were in her group.

Talking to one of them, I learned that the lady started vomiting near Outpost Camp. Two of the people in the group had just met her the night before (not sure about her relationship with the 3rd member). One of the guys gave her the keys to his car at Outpost and told her to head down and meet them that night after the hike. Apparently the AMS lady slept at outpost for 20 mins and headed up the mountain. They were all surprised to see her on the summit. The group also had some information about the injured hiker at the hut (we had just seen the helicopter land and take off a few minutes earlier). Apparently the person had injured their foot before Outpost Camp, hiked to the summit, then decided that they needed to be rescued!

When the trail started heading uphill (near the JMT junction), the AMS lady was stopping every 50-100 ft to rest and wrap up in her emergency blanket. One of the group members tried to take her pack, but she refused b/c 'she needed her water.' I was able to get her to give up her pack by saying 'Your water isn't doing you any good. You're puking all of it up, and the weight is slowing you down. The most important thing is getting off the mtn right now.'

Talking to the group, I learned that they had friends at Trail Camp and that their plan was to leave her there overnight so that she could hike out on her own in the morning. At that point, I may have gotten a little rude, but starting explaining that she could have AMS, which could progress to HACE and/or HAPE and that if she goes to sleep at Trail Camp, she may not wake up in the morning. Soon after that, I was asked if I was actually a Dr (I'm not). Not sure if they were questioning the validity of my statements or if they wanted someone to examine her.

When we got to the Portal around 930 pm, a sheriff told us that the lady had made it off the mountain and was doing ok.

On the hike down from Trail Camp, I was wondering if I should've done more or should have been more pushy about telling her that she needed to get of off the mountain. When I was asked if I was a doctor or not, I thought that I may have overstepped my bounds and my help wasn't wanted/needed. It made me feel better to know that she did get off the mountain ok, but as we all know, this isn't always the case.


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#28128 - 09/28/12 08:07 AM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
1982jeep Offline


Registered: 01/22/12
Posts: 41
Loc: southern California
Quote:
Soon after that, I was asked if I was actually a Dr (I'm not). Not sure if they were questioning the validity of my statements or if they wanted someone to examine her.

When we got to the Portal around 930 pm, a sheriff told us that the lady had made it off the mountain and was doing ok.

On the hike down from Trail Camp, I was wondering if I should've done more or should have been more pushy about telling her that she needed to get of off the mountain. When I was asked if I was a doctor or not, I thought that I may have overstepped my bounds and my help wasn't wanted/needed. It made me feel better to know that she did get off the mountain ok, but as we all know, this isn't always the case.


63 Chevyll Don't worry about being asked if you are a doctor. An expert in something doesn't always require a medical degree. I am an ER nurse with tons of expertise in Emergency Medicine however that doesn't necessarily translate to Wilderness Medicine (different animal). I have learned a lot about Wilderness Medicine from this board. I applaud grin you trying to do what is right for the lady. This just reenforces for me the need to only hike with people who know me because they will stick up for what is best for me and not the climb.
_________________________
Tina - A REAL Orange County Housewife (Okay so I don't stay home)

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#28131 - 09/28/12 08:31 AM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: 1982jeep]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks! I wanted to say 'No, I'm not a doctor, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night,' but wasn't sure if it was a good time for jokes. I ended up telling them that I've researched the subject, online and in books. After I said that, I wished I had gone with the Holiday Inn line!

Originally Posted By: 1982jeep
This just reenforces for me the need to only hike with people who know me because they will stick up for what is best for me and not the climb.

This is something that I've been thinking about lately... I'm planning a Cactus 2 Clouds hike next month. 'Friends of Friends' have inquired about going, but I really only want to go with people that I've personally hiked with. Not sure how to 'enforce' this without looking like a jerk.
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HikingGeek.com

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#28133 - 09/28/12 08:46 AM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
1982jeep Offline


Registered: 01/22/12
Posts: 41
Loc: southern California
It really comes down to your safety. You can just let the people know you will be taking this trip with close friends. In the future I can expand it. Not rude just keeping true to yourself.
_________________________
Tina - A REAL Orange County Housewife (Okay so I don't stay home)

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#28135 - 09/28/12 09:06 AM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
Thanks! I wanted to say 'No, I'm not a doctor, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night,' but wasn't sure if it was a good time for jokes. I ended up telling them that I've researched the subject, online and in books. After I said that, I wished I had gone with the Holiday Inn line!

Originally Posted By: 1982jeep
This just reenforces for me the need to only hike with people who know me because they will stick up for what is best for me and not the climb.

This is something that I've been thinking about lately... I'm planning a Cactus 2 Clouds hike next month. 'Friends of Friends' have inquired about going, but I really only want to go with people that I've personally hiked with. Not sure how to 'enforce' this without looking like a jerk.


C2C is an animal of a different breed. It involves what I think is serious situations, under the best of circumstances. Just like I wouldn't climb Jacinto via Snow Creek with people I didn't know, I wouldn't climb this route, either.

"trip is full" for the 1am start may discourage some.

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#28141 - 09/28/12 10:45 AM Re: Summit Fever Stories [Re: Ken]
AJF Offline


Registered: 08/24/12
Posts: 14
Loc: Probably someplace above 10k
I've seen this many times, a couple of occasions they did not turn out well (I'll skip talking about those ones for now). Some of the most extreme cases that I've seen were actually the guides.

On Kilimanjaro I saw people literally being carried, pushed and pulled up to the summit by their guides and porters. We saw them as they passed our high camp later, almost being dragged by their guides down the mountain because they were so exhausted and/or sick.

On Aconcagua this year, we saw one individual loose his balance and fall (25-30 slope) about 20 feet off the trail, and unable to climb back up to the trail himself. I helped with this effort and kept him on the trail as his guides talked in a different language, He almost fell off the trail again from a sitting position. After heading away to complete my own summit push I saw his guides short-roping him up.

I think these all come in the name of the guides summit success rate, which later they use as advertising, more than the safety and enjoyment of the climbers.

On the contrary though I have met several international guides who do their best to make sure that their clients enjoy the trip safely.

I'm lucky enough that I've been able to tell myself that the mountain will always be there next season... except for Mt. St. Helens that is grin
_________________________
Photos, trip reports and blogs at:
www.anthonyfrabbiele.com and
http://stealthyeti.photoshelter.com

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