Critical Thinking in Mountaineering HAMS 2013
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Critical Thinking in Mountaineering HAMS 2013






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Critical Thinking in Mountaineering HAMS 2013 Critical Thinking in Mountaineering HAMS 2013 Presentation Transcript

  • Critical Thinking in Mountaineering or Things That Make You Go Hmmm! Denali 2012 by Steve Hughes
  • Success! • RMI Team – Successful Summit on June 12th after 10 days at 17,000 camp • Per guide blog, “a bit of an epic night” • Perseverance! • Dedication! • Good Planning! • Admiration and hope!
  • Or Maybe Not! • • • • • Behind the curtain…per NPS Depleted levels of energy! Desperation! Stubbornness! 20 – 30 MPH + poor decisions = FROSTBITE!
  • What to take away.. • Trust no one, question all decisions! • Understand all potential consequences for your choices! • Understand and know your limitations…
  • It Can’t Happen to Me • 5 Japanese climbers descending Motorcycle Hill at 1 AM on June 14th • 800 feet long, 200-300 feet wide, 3-4 feet deep • 4 die after being swept into crevasse • 69 year old survivor climbed 60 feet out of crevasse and traveled from 11,000 to base camp before getting assistance
  • What to take away.. • Wait longer for snow to settle.. • Wrong place at the wrong time.. • Anything can happen any time..
  • West Buttress isn’t Technical • • • • • • Multiple climbers descending solo Multiple skiers descending solo Middle of June – summer melt out Skiers not always following trail for safety Skiers/Climbers pulling sleds Crevasse self rescue – solo – not probable!
  • What to take away.. • Non technical does not mean no crevasses, ice fall, rock fall, or danger! • Snow bridges can be and are hidden.. • Solo + sled can mean a slow death.. • Read “The Ledge”!
  • Know Your Equipment • PVC poles to pull sleds broke • Gas flare up with MSR stove melted clothing and almost caused tent fire – Gas to Propane conversion • Issues with over boot cost 45 minutes of time on summit attempt
  • What to take away… • Test and use your equipment several times before trip. • If sharing stoves or other essential gear, ask for a how-to lesson • Attention to detail is a must • Make sure you have a robust repair kit..
  • Know your partners • Group climber with great resume made it to Camp 1 collapsing and not able to help with camp duties. Team took climber back to base camp to leave mountain – not ready for environment or terrain • Group attempt from 14K to summit, split apart and descended solo • Team of 5 not all agreeing on ascent strategy from start of climb caused dynamics issues • Team of 5 not agreeing on summit attempt timeline from 14,000 camp almost leading to split
  • What to take away.. • Teaming up with climbing partners over the internet may not be the best choice • Resumes can lie.. • Train with your teammates to learn their strengths or weaknesses • There will be some type of conflict no matter how well you know your teammates • Identify how major decisions are to be made by group prior to trip
  • Case Study #1 – Say Again? • The Main Character – Swami • He, who would not be denied.. • Followed Team DDD from 14K to 17K solo with 60 pound pack on 6/29/12 • Camped solo in Bibler First Light Tent • No lighter, 2 days of food, light on fuel • Summited solo the following day during small storm dropping 6 inches of snow with wind
  • Swami – It’s a long story • Began trip with internet climbing partner • Partner left him and mountain after finding out Swami had diabetes and was having problems adjusting to altitude • Swami found new partners – Indian and Japanese…just a small language barrier • Team “Chaos” had one tent blow away (recovered) and one catch on fire
  • I mean a really long story! • After all issues he still got in a summit attempt, made it to 19,500, had summit in site when Japanese partner declared victory and headed down • Borrowed Bibler First Light tent after partners headed back down mountain • Followed Team DDD up mountain to 17,000 camp • You know the rest of the story…
  • What to take away.. • Where to start….. or if you really have to ask find a new hobby!
  • Case Study #2 – Miss Guided Youth • • • • The Cast – Danish College Students We’re in no rush…we have 40 days Flew into base camp on July 30th NPS begins closing up on 30th, no NPS staff on mountain after July 7th • No 24 hour Walmart in Talkeetna to buy extra food or fuel, however it was last day planes would drop climbers off
  • Beggars should not be choosers! • Enterprising Danish climbers begged for food and fuel from descending groups although they did not like freeze-dried! • Limited glaciers experience, air-craft radio only, not sure of exit route… • Made it to 14,000 only to have multiple days of heavy snow and avalanche danger keep them from 17,000 camp
  • Listen to your elders. • Experienced guide Dave Hahn (RMI) advised to wait and let snow danger settle before moving to 17,000 camp or summit. • Danish climbers ascend to 17,000 camp and make summit attempt via Denali Pass on July 22nd • Trigger 600 foot avalanche at 17,600 which leaves them 200 meters from camp • 2 our of 3 climbers hurt. 1 uninjured climber carries injured climbers back to 17,000 camp
  • A Stroke of Luck • Climbers stay in camp hoping to hike out on their own • Radio Telkeetna Air plane for assistance while it is on Denali Flying tour • All climbers rescued from 17,000 camp by NPS helicopter on July 26th.
  • It’s not all bad news • • • • Plan ahead Choose your partners wisely Test your skills in a safe environment Continue to learn through schools and experienced like minded climbing partners
  • Look before you leap • “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” ― Edward Whymper, Scrambles Amongst the Alps