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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries
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An interesting article.
I wonder what guide he was using. Moirs makes it pretty clear that the route from Gertrude Saddle to Lake Adelaide is alpine.
That's awful. Low visibility and/or dark conditions, easy to get the distances a little wrong if you're using map & compass, looking in the rain for some loose and slippery goat track down the mountain that the guidebook says is there but doesn't describe...pretty easy to let the mistakes build up.
Having said that a kilometre off route is a good way, and you'd hope you were being pretty damn careful if you didn't know the route, the conditions were bad, and there were 130m sheer drops all around the area.
At least he didn't have his kids or wife with him, that could have been really sad and ugly.
Really terrible story. It's not a particularly easy route and the guidebooks I've seen have really stressed this, particularly Moir's, which is telling as mostly it's pretty laconic when it comes to emphasising difficulties.
Without knowing the real details of the story it's all speculation, but the standard route is down Gifford Crack to Lake South America which is exposed and a lot of parties belay sections of this even in good weather. Me and a mate came up Giffords under bad conditions without a rope and it was one of the most deeply unpleasant experience I've ever had - it makes me shudder to imagine descending that route in deteriorating conditions as it sounds like he might have tried to do.
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