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#54059 - 08/09/18 04:51 PM Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2240
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
"Summit fever, a lack of mountaineering skills, and the allure of social media are leading to serious accidents on the lower 48's highest peak. Can anything be done to stop the injuries and deaths?"

This article in Outside mentions our favourite site, even referencing the "How not to die on Whitney" ethos.
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#54060 - 08/09/18 05:38 PM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: wagga]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1007
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Okay, I'll bite, for the fun of discussion.

Theatrical Title of Outside article:
Whitney Has Turned Into an Overcrowded Catastrophe

"Turned into an overcrowded" -
-well not turned into, has been for some time.
Same for Half Dome, and many popular small and large peaks in both the East and the West.

"Catastrophe"
- no, think of the hundreds and hundred of good stories.
Yes, there are, sadly, injuries and deaths, but it is probably safer than living in Chicago. The author happened to be there on a bad day with dangerous conditions and unprepared or inexperienced people. This is not new.

Is there objective proof of this catastrophe? Here is a quote from the article

"the public information officer at the Inyo County Search and Rescue office that serves Whitney, told me that accident rates jump up and down. Over the past five years, theyíve performed between six and 20 rescues a year within the Whitney Basin," i.e. it varies widely.

Are these rescues actually more than there were 50 years ago. Is there any solution?
Education/experience requirement versus restricting access, or both. But Park Service does not have capacity to do the former, only the latter.

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#54062 - 08/09/18 09:59 PM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7527
Loc: Fresno, CA
Well, at least the author linked to WhitneyZone.

She picked the worst day in the last 20 years as her day to climb. Except for a day with a fatality, this was definitely the worst accident, considering the number of people sliding out of control. Fortunately all the people she saw have recovered (I am assuming that.)

The other issue is that the accident occurred pretty early in the morning -- before temperatures rose to make the snow less icy. People got up high too early, and found dangerous conditions for anyone without crampons.

My recent Shasta climb was a good example. I (unfortunately) took the ranger's advice, and left Helen Lake at 4 AM (too early). That put me on the summit by 9, starting down at 10. Temps, just like on Whitney that day in June, were so cold the snow was too icy to glissade comfortably. It was hell trying to use my ice axe to keep the descent under control. An hour later would have been better, 2 hours even more.

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#54064 - 08/10/18 06:16 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: wagga]
RichardK Offline


Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 90
Loc: East Coast Florida
Put up some signs similar to these at the trailhead.


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#54066 - 08/10/18 07:54 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: RichardK]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7527
Loc: Fresno, CA
There used to be a sign on the board at the trailhead:
"People die here!"

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#54070 - 08/10/18 11:59 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: Steve C]
Wedggy Offline


Registered: 07/12/18
Posts: 3
Loc: 91387
On the summit yesterday a girl had taken off her pack and was going thru it on top of the summit register as I was going to sign it. I told her to go ahead and do what she needed to do and in a couple minutes there's a line to get at the register and she is pretty much starting to set up a picnic on top of it. I tell her I need to get going and there's 3 other people who want to sign it too, she gets all huffy like we are inconveniencing her, grabs her stuff and says "WHATEVER".
That's the kind of stuff I don't like but unfortunately seems to be on the rise.

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#54071 - 08/10/18 01:29 PM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: Wedggy]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7527
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Wedggy
she gets all huffy like we are inconveniencing her, grabs her stuff and says "WHATEVER".

grin LOL

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#54074 - 08/11/18 05:05 PM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: Steve C]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 826
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Must have been a vallee girrl...Like you knowww???

I would have performed my magic trick...

Ladies and Gentlemen...I will now attempt to yank the table cloth off of the summit register WITHOUT pulling off the picnic ware on top...

One...two...three...

Oops.

Oh well...

Whateverrrrr!!!
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#54075 - 08/11/18 05:07 PM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: RichardK]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 826
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
Some people just don't read...

Cool Hand Luke...

"What we got here is failure to communicate..."
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#54077 - 08/12/18 08:38 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: Wedggy]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 349
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Iíve been climbing fairly remote peaks this year. In each case, Iíve been the first, second, or third party in 2018 to sign the register (if there was one).

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#54089 - 08/15/18 06:47 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: bobpickering]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 591
Loc: Manchester, NH
The article in "Outside" is a great example of "look who's calling the kettle black".

I stopped reading that publication years ago. They sell magazines by hyping extreme sports. Way too many jocks and jockettes out there. Testosterone poisoning has its downside.

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#54092 - 08/16/18 04:08 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: KevinR]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2240
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Your original poster put this up because of the WZ reference. And some hope that this would stimulate some discussion.

In other news, online magazines desperately resort to clickbait to generate revenue...
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#54093 - 08/16/18 07:46 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: wagga]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1130
Loc: NorCal
Thanks for sharing, Wagga. I think the article is good overall, and not just about Whitney. This is a human nature problem that never goes away. A little sensationalism is not all bad when you're trying to alert people.

Steve, I added a link to this article in our Feature Topic "Links: Safe Mountaineering" The link might expire someday, but it seems to fit under "Accidents Happen, Learn from Them" The article refers to that post.


Edited by SierraNevada (08/16/18 07:52 AM)

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#54104 - 08/17/18 10:15 AM Re: Whitney Has Turned into a Overcrowed Catastrophe [Re: SierraNevada]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 80
Loc: Novato, CA
I don't see Whitney any different than I did 25 years ago. Still have quotas so the trail is not getting more crowded. The people now, at least to me, seem even friendlier than they use to.

Is there any data to support that more accidents/deaths occur now on the mountain then in years past? If not, then I agree this article is clickbait.


Edited by bruce (08/17/18 10:15 AM)

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