Accident on Whitney

Posted by: Whitney Zone

Accident on Whitney - 03/17/05 01:00 PM

I saw this on the Inyo SAR site. Anyone have any further details?

On Monday afternoon 03-14-05 unrelated climbers reported a possible overdue
climber on Mt.Whitney. A solo male climber was seen on the mountaineer's route
attempting to summit the mountain in a snowstorm, which arrived Sunday
afternoon mostly effecting the higher elevations. The climber was not seen
returning. The group found an empty campsite the following afternoon and
reported the possible overdue climber. Ground search operations started early
Tuesday morning for Richard Ferrari age 37 from Los Angeles. CHP helicopter H-
80 out of Victorville spotted Ferrari's body at the base of an ice chute on the
north side of the summit. This location is in Sequoia National Park. Recovery
efforts were turned over to NPS. No further assistance was requested from Inyo
SAR.


Posted by Matthew Du Puy, 03-17-05
Sh*t. My buddy and I passed a solo climber in the chute on the way up to the notch Sunday the 13th. We summited by 2:00PM and headed back down while a group of 3 remained up there melting snow (wtf?). He was resting in the notch by the time we downclimbed the first chute. As we left iceburg lake, we could see the clouds had come in and assumed they were having white out conditions on the summit. It was snowing lightly on us so we were glad to be down. I wonder if this was the guy.


Posted by Matthew Du Puy, 03-17-05
Come to think of it, I have two picture of him in the distance resting in the notch as we started out down climb of the first chute on the north side of the mountain:
Here he is the little dark spec in the middle of the picture next to a small boulder in the notch.
Here he is standing in the notch to the right of the frame, watching us climb down. We chatted with him a bit when we got there and told him to be careful entering the chute on the rocks and the rest was easy following the post holes and using an ice axe (which he had). He had been up before in the summer and remembered it being icy at bottom.
He was moving a lot slower than we were climbing up to the notch but seemed fine.


Posted by why ask why, 03-17-05
Matthew, my wife and I were the 2 people camped just below the waterfall at Iceberg Lake. We've contacted the group of 3 that were on top and we'll try to find out whether he fell after he left the top or if they found him at the bottom. I'm glad the storm didn't effect anyone else's trip and everyone got down safe. On a separate note, how was the snow on the lower portion on the MR? When we came down late Sun afternoon the snow was real rotted and I kept punching through to the alder and rocks below.


Posted by Matthew Du Puy, 03-17-05
It sounds like they found him at the bottom. Did you see him go up to Iceberg before us? Did he tell you his name?

The drainage below LBSL was really melted and slippery for us. Progress was much slower going down that than from the notch down to LBSL where you could just bound through the powder. We stayed on snow shoes and fell a lot but I only punched completely through a snow bridge with one leg once. I imagine if we stayed on crampons, we'd of had better traction but punched through a lot more. We could see your tracks or the tracks of a pair of french guys we saw coming down from the notch pretty well. I'm glad you made it out safe.


Posted by brian s, 03-17-05
I'm suprised at the lack of coverage of this incident. I haven't been able to find any news of this anywhere else. I'm assuming the SAR site is correct.


Posted by mooses, 03-18-05
Really sad. I was with Matthew D. on Sunday for our summit. The guy (Richard Ferrari) was obviously tired and was affected by elevation we found from chatting with him quickly and assessing his condition, but not overly so. As Matt and I got off the peak and down to Iceberg weather moved in shortly after. My bet is that this played a part.

Usually I read these stories and feel unaffected. But having met him on the main chute to the Notch this feels much closer to home.

My thoughts go out to his family. For what it's worth, if the family happens upon this thread: Richard, while tired, seemed very happy to be where he was and showed a lot of courage pressing on to the summit despite being exhausted.


Posted by marketingenius, 03-18-05
Richard Ferrari was a good friend, genius Avid Engineer, politically active and socially just a good guy to know. Thank you for your thoughts of him. He did fall 1,000 ft, probably late Sunday and his body wasn't recovered until Wednesday. If anyone knew Richard or have any thoughts of his last days I would appreciate a response. I will share those with his wife. Thank you for the post!


Posted 03-21-05
Matt,
Would you be so kind as to explain the term "wtf?" which you used in one of your narratives?


Posted 03-21-05
People, please respect the privacy due the family and friends of this man - your random and reckless speculation will serve no one well.


Posted 03-21-05
I agree with you marketinggenius 110%!!! I too knew & worked with Richard Ferrari and he was a great guy and good friend!!! He was the type of person you liked instantly with his friendly and outgoing personality. This is a truly sad & tragic loss and I'm sure anyone who knew Richard is just shaken to the core. My deepest condolences from the bottom of my heart to Richard's wife and family. My thoughts and Prayers are with you....PT


Posted 03-24-05
I also worked with Richard and although it was brief, what a great human being. Everyone who knew him is still in shock and my heart goes out to his wife and his family. He will be missed dearly.

He was fearless and a real New Jersey born straight-up guy in a town full of plastic people. He had a wicked sense of humor and we laughed a lot about the absurdity of our jobs. Yet he also had real soul and an appreciation for life that extended way beyond technology and Hollywood. I really looked up to him and his true grit with intelligence. We will all miss his presence. Heart and soul all the way.


Posted 03-25-05
Rick was my good friend for many years and that loss will be felt by me for long time to come. He was as others have mentioned a truly brilliant guy with a real sense of adventure and the heart and balls to go it alone when he had to. Rick and I were friends literally from the day we met, in part due to our having a common New Jersey background and more so just because we made each other laugh. He was a unique man with great talents and for those of us who truly knew him it is a sad day. If there is a silver lining to be found it is that he left this place doing what he loved. I don't know what waits for us beyond this rock we all share but I hope that one day I get to have another laugh with my dear friend. Till then you will be missed. I love you Brother.


Posted by marketingenius, 04-06-05
WE had a small solemn ceremony on Sunday. Many extremely talented and super intellects attended. That was a direct reflection of Richard and who he connected with. His wife created a beautiful power point presentation sharing the many private and sentimental moments they shared. The music and format were so touching. SOOOOOOOOO many pictures depicting love and connection. Richard was a great guy. So, all of you live life, don't just go for your dream, but show appreciation and validity to those who love and support you. Above all...get your loose ends tied up, because you may find yourself unable to finish what you have begun. THank you all for your encouragement and strengthening words. It helped me to be strong and help his wife get through. Thank you for the last few photos. One note on that, is his camera was found and the chip was in tact. So we have a photo of his name on the register at the summit...then some really awesome sunset creations....his last views were of beauty and peace and nature at her best. May Richard find his summit in eternity and also always be at the summit. I miss you Richard!

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