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#49808 - 05/15/17 11:28 PM Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Fresno Bee and a number of news outlets report the rescue Sunday morning from the Mt Whitney Summit.

Here's the Fresno Bee page, complete with video from one of the paramedics.

Here's a picture from the video:
Caption: Paramedic Mike Crain (closer to the California Highway Patrol helicopter) carries a hiker
suffering from hypothermia on his back during a rescue from the top of Mount Whitney on Sunday, May 14, 2017

CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL


They camped Friday night at Outpost Camp, then hiked to the summit on Saturday. The woman's shoes became wet due to climbing in snow. Once at the summit, they tried to take shelter in the summit hut -- it is filled with snow, and the door came off during the winter.

She was able to phone her mother at 10:30 PM who alerted rescue people. The CHP helicopter reached the summit at 5 a.m. Sunday.

Doug at the Portal Store reported they reached the summit at 9 p.m.
...death wish ???????????








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#49810 - 05/16/17 09:49 AM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: Steve C]
pcieluch Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 23
Loc: duluth,mn
Hard to imagine the difficulty in climbing this time of the year. I did it in the middle of August last summer and had perfect conditions. Hard to understand a attempt like this without the proper gear. And yes they are extremely fortunate to have gotten off with all their finger and toes.

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#49811 - 05/16/17 10:42 AM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: pcieluch]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
This is about the worst case of Summit Fever I have ever heard of over all the years watching Mt Whitney.

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#49813 - 05/16/17 10:58 AM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: pcieluch]
Brandon Riza Offline


Registered: 05/16/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles
We ran into them just above Outpost Camp and again just below Trail Camp. I noticed their microspikes, single ice ax (between them), inadequate speed, general discombobulation and complete unfamiliarity with the terrain (they apparently thought Trail Crest was the summit) and encouraged them to turn around. I guess they didn't. We watched two dots meander very slowly up the chute at about 5-7pm and wondered why. I was fully expecting to see one or both of those dots tomahawk down that chute. I'm glad that didn't happen. Heli'd off the summit with frostbite and snowblindness is a huge fail, but it's better than dying.

We also saw at least three people glissading with crampons on while holding their ice axes upside down. Where are people learning this "technique"? It seems rampant. I watched one girl lose control of a glissade and saw her left crampon get ripped off her foot while her ax was lashed to her pack. She managed to stop (without a snapped tib-fib), put her crampon back on, get her ax off the pack, then amazingly attempt to continue her glissade, which she lost control of again, and since she was holding her ax upside down, it was ripped from her grip (physics...) and she slid 30 feet towards more serious terrain before she waddled to a lucky and awkward stop.

Sometimes it's a tough call when you're in the mountains and you see things you want to intervene on. On this particular outing, I put away that hesitation and intervened a lot. I wish more people would listen...

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#49822 - 05/16/17 01:47 PM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: Steve C]
pcieluch Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 23
Loc: duluth,mn
So what happens to their gear they left at Trial Camp? Does someone go get it for them or what? These two should be held somewhat responsible for what happened. Going up the chute at 5:00 PM and mistaking Trail Crest for the summit. This one would make good made for TV movie.

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#49824 - 05/16/17 02:35 PM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: pcieluch]
Scott H Offline


Registered: 01/08/17
Posts: 6
Loc: San Diego
yes there stuff is at outpost camp, we saw there tent set up there sunday and when we were coming down Monday and it was still there we checked to make sure no one was in there frozen,yellow tent set up below where you go up to mirror lake

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#49825 - 05/16/17 05:35 PM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: Brandon Riza]
TedS Offline


Registered: 03/24/17
Posts: 2
Loc: WA
Originally Posted By: Brandon Riza
We also saw at least three people glissading with crampons on while holding their ice axes upside down. Where are people learning this "technique"? It seems rampant. I watched one girl lose control of a glissade and saw her left crampon get ripped off her foot while her ax was lashed to her pack. She managed to stop (without a snapped tib-fib), put her crampon back on, get her ax off the pack, then amazingly attempt to continue her glissade, which she lost control of again, and since she was holding her ax upside down, it was ripped from her grip (physics...) and she slid 30 feet towards more serious terrain before she waddled to a lucky and awkward stop.


Just reading that is equal parts terrifying and baffling.

Feels like crampons while glissading is becoming more common. Though I think "we" all try to point it out, you're dead on about how hard it is to get people to listen or realize an axe hold direction actually matters.

Hopefully reports like yours get seen enough to impact people's decisions but I suspect we need the shops / brands to actually put warnings in for wide recognition (obviously everyone should be actually training but that's not happening.)

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#49826 - 05/16/17 07:54 PM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: TedS]
Brandon Riza Offline


Registered: 05/16/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles
I've started referring to it as SoCal Syndrome.
I got some interesting drone footage from Trail Camp at about :35 in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YpG3XknYyE

It blows my mind that people would look at that ridge and at that chute under those conditions and think microspikes and two trek poles are the required kit, or that somebody would carry an ice ax all the way to fourteen thousand feet with no idea of what it's for. Why not just carry a brick?
But the same thing happens on Baldy. (no helmets in the bowl at noon while standing on melting snow over piles of scree under walls of rock and not processing how that scree got there, for example, while stones rain down...)

I agree with you 100% about the training, and i think it's partially a failure of local authorities on the subject, both commercial and government (a sign on the Baldy ranger station spelling "crampons", "cramp-ons" is just one small indicative example), and on the media reporting of tragic events up high that are incomplete and incorrect, referring to "the victims of the dangerous mountains" when in reality it's almost always a subjective hazard, not a marginally-manageable objective one, that kills or injures people, then not explaining the critical difference.

I'd love to do some sort of outreach, i just don't really know how best to make it happen. In just ten minutes, once could impart to an attentive mind enough actionable intelligence to avoid the majority of the deaths and accidents we see in SoCal and in some areas of the Sierra. On the other hand, much of time i attempt to reach out with some advice, it's met with ego and a continuation of the behavior.

Shrugs...
_________________________
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BRANDONRIZA | www.brandonriza.com

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#49847 - 05/18/17 09:42 AM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: Brandon Riza]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 446
Loc: Saugus, CA
I talked to three people two years ago in the space of 2 hours "telling" them to remove their crampons. I related the story of an experienced mountaineer who cartwheeled out of control on SJP's Snow Creek after he caught a crampon point. They seemed pretty eager to remove the spikes at that point.

P.S. Brandon, I've been enjoying your photos for years, you do some really great work!
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#49850 - 05/18/17 12:22 PM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: Snacking Bear]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
It's no longer available, but Bob Rockwell has posted the picture of his Xray of his broken leg caused by glissading the slope while wearing crampons.

You might say he learned the hard way!

(Is there a link to BR's pictures?)

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#49862 - 05/20/17 07:21 AM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: Steve C]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 578
Loc: Manchester, NH
I clicked on this Youtube video more or less at random, and skipped through it. At about 13:30 there's a section of glissading with crampons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1d5zU_v50Y

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#49869 - 05/20/17 10:13 PM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: KevinR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: KevinR
I clicked on this Youtube video more or less at random, and skipped through it. At about 13:30 there's a section of glissading with crampons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1d5zU_v50Y


They say 99% make it out just fine. Those gals are plumb lucky.
Sounds like they were the ones glissading with the ice axe attached to their pack. One catch of the crampons and a leg could snap. So lucky!

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#49910 - 05/23/17 04:33 PM Re: Whitney Summit helicopter rescue 5-14-2017 [Re: Steve C]
Brandon Riza Offline


Registered: 05/16/17
Posts: 5
Loc: Los Angeles
Affirmative.
You can actually see me on the ridge in that video at 13:31 in the very upper left corner standing in a white top next to a guy wearing a dark top. This was when I first topped out and noticed them. They edited out my shouts of "Get your ax off your pack! Don't glissade with crampons on! ... Now you're holding your axe upside down!" The girl glissading was in front. The one who lost her ax was behind her.

Comments on the video are disabled.
I wonder if these people actually google technique after being advised by strangers on the mountain or if they just don't care.

Oh well.
_________________________
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BRANDONRIZA | www.brandonriza.com

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