Friday, October 24, 2003

Basically we did the first pitch of Human Fright (skipping the first 2 pitches of Angels fright) then scrambled up some ledges to a better belay so we could switch over to AF so we were already 1/2 way up on the 3rd pitch heading to the roof section and lunch ledge. I decided to string the remainder of pitch 3 and pitch 4 together.
I was 30 feet above the belay for the second pitch of Human Fright (where the rap slings are) on the 4th pitch of Angels fright when we heard rockfall. It was really loud like thunder.
I looked up and Meg looked right and left. No rocks........then she said "I see people falling" I looked over just in time to see what I thought was a jacket falling. It was falling too fast to be a jacket though.
Meg asked me to get a piece in and clip it (I thought she was going to faint so did so immediately) Meg watched them fall all the way and noted approx where they landed (she lost sight of them in bushes/trees). We started calling out to them asking if they were all right,
we didn't expect anyone to answer back but were hoping somehow they survived I guess. There was a soloist in the area who started yelling call 911 and blowing SOS on his safety whistle. So we started yelling for 911 hoping someone up top or at the parking lot would hear us.
Meg spotted someone running up from lunch rock so she started giving them directions to where they were and I started down climbing back to the rap slings on the 2nd pitch of HF. Once I got to the slings I asked her how she felt about rapping off them, she wasn't comfortable with it so I downclimbed to her position.
Adam (the guy at lunch rock had reached the climbers and started yelling call 911 we need a chopper, Adam kept calling for help so we kept yelling "we're rapping off we're moving as fast as
we can". We agreed to triple check everything we did down to re-examining our tie in knots and our buckles. I belayed Meg back down to the rap station at HF (bolts) then downclimbed to her. We rapped off (at this point I was on autopilot and automatically dropped my rack and pulled my rope wasting valuable time which I now regret) changed our shoes (mistake-losing more time) I kept my camelbak on because Meg asked me to bring water and we ran down to get the stokes litter.
While I untied the litter Meg rummaged thru a pack at lunch rock looking for a first aid kit. We started to carried the litter over when a Helicopter buzzed by above us Meg tried to flag them down with her shirt while they flew back and forth but they flew away.
We arrived with the litter to find someone at the base of the area where the climbers fell (Jeremiah). He informed us that Adam was with one man and couldn't
find the other. We asked Adam the condition of the man he was with, he had a faint pulse. We asked if the rope ran below or above where he was and he said "below". He also told us to be careful there was a lot of loose rock all around where he was.
Jeremiah and I decided to scramble up to Adam who was asking us to hurry. We looked at the section of rock in front of us (easy fifth class) and decided I should go first as I had my 5.10 Mountain Guides approach shoes on.
Jeremiah asked me how good my shoes were and I said "they're good these are technical". He gave me a bottle of water (plus I had my camelbak on) so we could hydrate the victims and I
started climbing. A thin dirt filled crack and a polished slab covered the first 15-20 feet to a wider crack with an area you can stand in and then it's fourth class.
I warned Jeremiah that the first section was really polished so he decided to back off rather than risk injuring himself (wise choice). I got up to a ledge about 50 feet from the ground (I know this because we later used a bi-color rope and the halfway mark was at the ledge) and below Adam's location. I again asked Adam where the rope went and he again answered "below me, be careful there's a lot of loose stuff up here".
At this point other people had begun to arrive Helene (Adams girlfriend) and Tom the soloist. Tom had downclimbed above and to the right of Adam. Helene said she'd called 911. I spotted the rope which led to a another ledge below Adam and about 10-15 feet above me. The only way to get there was a thin crack which appeared 5.6-5.7ish.
Adam asked me to hurry as he'd lost the pulse. Helene asked him if he knew CPR and Adam answered no.
Helene asked Adam to perform CPR anyway and Adam responded that he couldn't (we found out later that the victim had been coughing up blood from internal injuries and wasn't positioned very well ie; he could slip off anytime and fall).Someone asked me if I could get to the 2nd
climber and I replied that I needed my rack and a rope. I told them I need to be really calm and focused when I solo harder than 5.6 and while I was in control I was not in the right frame of mind to solo. Jeremiah asked if I could climb higher and traverse across.
I asked Tom if I could get to the other victim from higher up and he said no. I asked for someone to get my rack and Meg took off, I assumed she was going to get my rack but she was going back to search in the pack at lunch rock for a first aid kit. While we waited I asked Adam how he was doing and he said he was okay but that the victim was dead.
Meg came back with a first aid kit but no rack. Two other climbers showed up (Ryan and Brent) and we asked them for a rack. I explained again how I wasn't in the right
frame of mind to solo. Ryan agreed to climb part of the way up and pass me a space blanket to cover the 2nd victim. I down climbed the fourth class section and got the blanket. I again asked for a rack. Ryan agreed to lead up to where I was and then lead up to the 2nd victim. I climbed back to the ledge and Ryan led up to me. I offered to lead up to the 2nd victim if he didn't want to but he declined (Ryan knew CPR and I didn't). Ryan climbed up to the 2nd man (based on the way he climbed I would guess the section was 5.5-5.6 if Ryan was a 5.8-5.9 leader and 5.7-5.9 if Ryan was a 5.10 leader). Ryan reached the 2nd man and said he was cold and without a pulse. Ryan climbed up to Adam and waited with him. I down climbed back to the ground and waited with everyone else.
A 2nd Helicopter flew by and Hovered but didn't land. We finally all agreed to walk down to the base and meet the SAR guys and Sheriff down there as it was getting close to dark.
I wasn't paying attention to what everybody was doing all the time and
couldn't see everyone. Some stuff is left out and I'm sure I've forgotten things or have them slightly wrong. the sequence of events may not be totally right either.


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