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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 4 of 5. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 82
Author
Tim Holding was missing - now found
audtracol
2/09/2009
8:56:35 PM
On 2/09/2009 nmonteith wrote:
I actually thinks its pretty awesome that a politician is out in the wilds having an adventure. He would be unlikely to be voting for draconian regulation on adventure sports or for extreme urban development in alpine areas. In effect he is 'one of us'.

Just like Peter Garrett is an environmentalist!!!!!
patto
3/09/2009
1:38:05 AM
I just finished listening to the Tim Holding interview.

It sounds like he summited via the razorback ridge line. He fell westward and met other people on the Northwest Spur Track trying to summit from that direction. (I suspect this was the steeper ascent those from the MUMC hut use).

The northwest spur track heads in two directions here, one direction towards the hut and the other direction is a lower traverse to Federation hut. He could have traversed along the lower track and still reach Federation hut. But no, he decided to 'escape' into the tree line for 'safety'.

It was this decision that got him lost. If he had a map or had asked for directions off the people he met then he would have likely been fine. But it sounds like he didn't know what he was doing.

Him getting lost had nothing do with his equipment. It had everything to do with a stupid decision to leave to KNOWN tracks. Shit even if there were 4 people with an EPIRB then if the same stupid decisions were made then the result would have been the same.

cruze
3/09/2009
9:18:57 AM
Can someone with experience in ascending feathertop in bad conditions please explain the condition of the tracks up there and how visible they would be if you were disoriented after a 100m slide down ice?

As an aside, patto, I think it is a bit harsh to criticise his decisions as being "stupid" from the comfort of your armchair. Perhaps hindsight can be used here to encourage people to take the appropriate actions in the future, rather than criticise the actions of those that are in the past.
Bob Saki
3/09/2009
9:49:47 AM
On 2/09/2009 nmonteith wrote:
>On 2/09/2009 Bob Saki wrote:
>>If I was in the same situation I would fit the bill myself so regardless
>>of rank/title/wealth this applies.
>
>So if they said you owe them $375,590 you would be happy to pay it? <-
>that figure is a total guesstimate. Choppers, spy planes, 80 searchers
>- all adds up to a BIG bill IMHO. Emergency services are there for a reason
>- that's why we pay taxes. If we need to use them once in a blue moon then
>it works out ok. Imagine if you had to pay for the Police to come and investigate
>the murder of your wife, or the fireman to come and put out your burning
>house....? if you feel a bit guilty then just throw a nice (anonymous)
>donation to whoever you feel best needs it.

I was partly tongue in cheek as I know that the cost is beyond most and as a society we should try to assist our fellow man.

In all honesty though some of those rescued should be on call to assist in other rescues.
I firmly believe that to be equitable.
Bob Saki
3/09/2009
9:56:26 AM
On 2/09/2009 patto wrote:
>>So what if you managed to sprain your ankle? And you don't have any means
>of communication.
>
>Lets say you're rambo and manage to hobble out regardless but it takes
>several more days than expected. Meanwhile your friends and family worry
>and a 80 people are mobilised. You hobble out on the 6th day, yet through
>no fault of you own and not even needing the rescue you are handed a bill
>for $300,000.
>
>Does that sound reasonable?


First mistake, I have no friends so there would be no unnecessary calls made by them.

2nd I said to the wife give me a 2 - 3 day window past my expected time as the country is rough and there may be a chance of some minor deviations.

3rd if you honestly play it safe all you have to worry about are freak turns of events and they are just that (rare occurrences). 99% of people who perform solo activities in these regions return safely those that don't usually have stories to tell that make you shudder at lack or prep/knowledge of just plain awful luck
JohnK
3/09/2009
9:57:11 AM
ok, I'll bite at this one and chip in 2 cents worth having been up there twice this winter season already.

I think it's awesome that guys like Tim are prepared to get out there - going solo as well is almost like a spiritual experience especially for those in high level high stress jobs.

As usual, it's a series of small mistakes that then contribute to a near miss or a catastrophy. Personally, I dont like to go above the snow line in steep terrain without crampons and an ice axe - that's my choice and not everyone has to do this - but AUS alpine regions are notorious for for being warm after a snow fall and the freezing overnight turning even moderate slopes into slippery dangerous slides. Overall, it's far easier to walk on icy terrain with crampons.

Overall, I think there is a significant difference between being a "bush walker" and going above the snow line - above the snow line creates a whole new set of challanges that are potentially more life threatening then below the snow line.

In my mind, some of the small "mistakes" or judgments he made during his trip then led to the situation he got himself into:

1. The weather forecast was not good - yet he still decided to go (and remember his original plan was to walk across the Razorback)
2. Dont think he had been up there in winter before - so he did not fully appreciate the potential conditions up there
3. Did not take appropriate tools for above the snow line - apperantly he could not put up his tent because he did not have snow pegs; he could not hold his footing because he did not have crampons; he could not adequately arrest his slide because he did not have an ice axe or could not use his stocks (if he had some) to self arrest
4. Not sure if he had a map / compass - if he did he would have realised that going down to the tree line was not the best option, and even if he did, then we could have been able to re-orient himself and get back to Fed or the MUMC hut or the track
5. Even when he came across others he told them he was ok - he could have asked them for directions to the track/nearest hut (like MUMC or Fed) or asked to stick with them as he was having some difficulties


So overall, well done Tim and an adventure that will be hard to forget and that is easy to get into, but some good learnings for all (especially "bushwalkers") on how to bettter handle things when going above the snow line which is a whole different ball game and creates generally more rather than less risks.

p.s. dont agree on people having to pay for their rescues - rescues will happen even for the most experienced people out there - that's what our taxes are for - however good education programs are necessary - and forcing people to carry EPIRB's that's overkill for just going walking, hiking and mountaineering but at people's discetion rather than being compolsury.


earwig
3/09/2009
10:00:07 AM
I wonder how the annual average cost of search and rescues compares to the annual average cost of maintaining the health of the hordes who choose to do little physical activity apart from eating crap food and watching tv! Personally, I'd rather my taxes were spent on Search & Rescue then paying an obese smokers medical bills.

wallwombat
3/09/2009
10:01:48 AM
On 3/09/2009 JohnK wrote:
>5. Even when he came across others he told them he was ok - he could have
>asked them for directions to the track/nearest hut (like MUMC or Fed) or
>asked to stick with them as he was having some difficulties
>

According to the news report last night, the other bushwalkers that he met after his slide, offered to escort him to safety and he declined their help.
patto
3/09/2009
10:35:01 AM
On 3/09/2009 cruze wrote:
>Can someone with experience in ascending feathertop in bad conditions please
>explain the condition of the tracks up there and how visible they would
>be if you were disoriented after a 100m slide down ice?
>
>As an aside, patto, I think it is a bit harsh to criticise his decisions
>as being "stupid" from the comfort of your armchair. Perhaps hindsight
>can be used here to encourage people to take the appropriate actions in
>the future, rather than criticise the actions of those that are in the
>past.

Cruze. If you have read the rest of my comments then you would realise that I have been defending him. You would realise that I have been pointing out to others the danger of criticism from my armchair. However after gathering further details of the events and knowing the area well I feel that it is quite appropriate to make the comment.

Cruze. I think the evidence QUITE CLEARLY indicates that the decision to head to the treeline was a stupid decison. That decision not the fall led him off track and into unknown and difficult territory.

He felt that he couldn't safely regain his original track along the ridgeline. Knowing the area that is correct. He could have asked for directions from the ascending team or he could have traversed below the ridgeline until he regained his original track in less than a kilometre. Or he could have easily gone down the northwest spur (he probably didnt know this, unless he had a map). All these options would have had him home on Sunday. Instead he chose the one option that is guaranteed not to get him home that day. To me that seesm like a stupid decision.

Sabu
3/09/2009
10:37:13 AM
Patto, did it say that he actually summited? I'm not sure how far up he got but I'd be surprised if he got that far!

On 3/09/2009 cruze wrote:
>Can someone with experience in ascending feathertop in bad conditions please
>explain the condition of the tracks up there and how visible they would
>be if you were disoriented after a 100m slide down ice?
It all depends on the snow - fresh snow means no tracks!
However, Bungalow spur is the access track up the Fed hut and is very sheltered and obvious - it would be very hard to get lost on it.
From Fed hut the tracks aren't very obvious in the snow unless people have walked them already.
The Summit route is hardly a track, you essentially just follow the ridge line up. Earlier this season i did it in a near white out and the only means of knowing where on the mountain you are is to try keep
the ridge line in sight (but not too close thanks to the cornice!). If you were to slide here, it would be very difficult to reorient yourself. I guess my strategy would be to haul out the compass and try head
back up to reach the ridge or start traversing south toward Fed hut (keeping above the tree line).
Also on the last trip i went on we were on the SE face trying to descend to cross some gullies, after going too low we hit that thick regrowth scrub like he probably did - it was monstrously hard to deal
with, so i'm not surprised he had trouble.

As for the other tracks (like up to MUMC or the North razorback) I couldn't comment as I haven't been on them.

On 3/09/2009 JohnK wrote:
>Overall, I think there is a significant difference between being a "bush
>walker" and going above the snow line - above the snow line creates a whole
>new set of challanges that are potentially more life threatening then below
>the snow line.

My sentiments exactly.

patto
3/09/2009
10:51:06 AM
Here is the interview for anybody who hasn't yet seen it.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2009/09/02/2674518.htm

Also Google Earth is an excellent resource to get a good idea of how the tracks are laid out. Change the angle of the view to see just how steep the summit is.

On 3/09/2009 Sabu wrote:
>Patto, did it say that he actually summited? I'm not sure how far up he
>got but I'd be surprised if he got that far!

Yes he says that he summited and from most indications he did. Along the razorback ridgeline it is not steep at all so it isn't surprising. From his description I believe I have a very good idea where he fell.

On 3/09/2009 Sabu wrote:
>It all depends on the snow - fresh snow means no tracks!
>However, Bungalow spur is the access track up the Fed hut and is very
>sheltered and obvious - it would be very hard to get lost on it.
>From Fed hut the tracks aren't very obvious in the snow unless people
>have walked them already.
>The Summit route is hardly a track, you essentially just follow the ridge
>line up. Earlier this season i did it in a near white out and the only
>means of knowing where on the mountain you are is to try keep
>the ridge line in sight (but not too close thanks to the cornice!). If
>you were to slide here, it would be very difficult to reorient yourself.
>I guess my strategy would be to haul out the compass and try head
>back up to reach the ridge or start traversing south toward Fed hut (keeping
>above the tree line).
Exactly. That would have been the far better course of action.

On 3/09/2009 Sabu wrote:
>As for the other tracks (like up to MUMC or the North razorback) I couldn't
>comment as I haven't been on them.
Gaining the track to MUMC would have been a dead easy ridgeline walk. But he wouldn't have known this and without a map and compass he couldn't have worked it out.
One Day Hero
3/09/2009
10:56:27 AM
This guy is a pussy! Why would you not traverse around and rejoin the ascent route lower down? The problem isn't that he lacked epirb etc. It's that he had a little spill, couldn't compute the tiny change in plan required to get him home, then sat down for a sook instead of walking himself out of the (very minor) shit he'd gotten into. Christ, I was in substantially more trouble than that (with worse gear and less experience) numerous times as a teenage bushwalking numpty........however, I quickly learned that a smidge of 'sit down and think clearly' mixed with a good chunk of 'harden the f--- up' can get you out of most situations.

Army Reserve?! I've always found those kooks to be a bunch of puffed up dipshits with no cajones and no idea....this is one more example!

cruze
3/09/2009
10:57:36 AM
So overall it sounds like he could have done a better job with a) the benefit of hindsight, b) a map and c) knowledge/experience of how to walk in snow in poor visibility. You can't plan for a). Having about 19 years of experience walking through bush offtracks I can say with a fair degree of certainity that having a map and even knowing how to use it doesn't guarantee that you wont get lost, particularly with poor visibility. And as for c) I have no specific experience so I will not comment, other than to say that we all start somewhere, it just seems that he got into the shit on his first effort.
patto
3/09/2009
11:15:01 AM
On 3/09/2009 cruze wrote:
>So overall it sounds like he could have done a better job with a) the benefit
>of hindsight, b) a map and c) knowledge/experience of how to walk in snow
>in poor visibility. You can't plan for a). Having about 19 years of experience
>walking through bush offtracks I can say with a fair degree of certainity
>that having a map and even knowing how to use it doesn't guarantee that
>you wont get lost, particularly with poor visibility. And as for c) I have
>no specific experience so I will not comment, other than to say that we
>all start somewhere, it just seems that he got into the shit on his first
>effort.

A better Job!? You think!? If he had fallen, broken his leg and had nobody around and needed a rescue then I wouldn't fault him. But was his poor decisions after the fall and not the fall itself that cause him to need a rescue.

Cruze I think the benefit of hindsight has nothing to do with it.

It is a stupid decision to leave behind known tracks when there are other clear and safe possibilities of regaining the known tracks. If for some these other possibilities were not clear to him then he should have damn well asked for and insisted on help from the walkers. (They did offer help but he refused.)

Many many people go up feathertop each weekend. 99.9% of them get home without the assistance of emergency services. He certainly isn't the first in poor weather and he certainly isn't the first to go for a slide.

He made bad decision. And it was a bad decision even given the lack of a compass, map, ice axe, epirb and knowledge.
JohnK
3/09/2009
11:21:46 AM
On 3/09/2009 One Day Hero wrote:
>Why would you not traverse around and rejoin the ascent
>route lower down?

I think that's because the way up from Fed hut is steeper than the way down the other way (so that's why he propably decided not to go back down that way - and it's easier to go up than down climb down) and once you get to the other side it's even more difficult to traverse across in icy conditions and poor footwear.

Below are some shots of the spur that eventually heads to MUMC and you can see the potential traverse in the background - its does not look that steep but it is especially in icy conditions and poor vis it would be a no go area without crampons / skis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkazanas/3499121172/in/set-72157617571057947/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkazanas/3499123148/in/set-72157617571057947/

cruze
3/09/2009
11:29:09 AM
>He made bad decision. And it was a bad decision even given the lack of
>a compass, map, ice axe, epirb and knowledge.
I can agree with that. I just didn't like the way you referred to it as a "stupid" decision. We all make "bad" decisions from time to time when presented with alternatives. I am sure Tim would have done things differently if he had known how it would pan out. But I think that only the person that is there, and presented with the choices that they may or may not have had has the right to call a decision, or in this case probably many little decisions, "stupid". It disrespects their ability to make any decisions at all.

As an example, if a person makes the decisions to run out bouldery moves close to the ground and then decks, is that a bad decision with the benefit of hindsight (because it wasn't a bad decision if they don't deck) or a stupid decision such that if anyone ever does it they are stupid? I can see the difference there.
One Day Hero
3/09/2009
11:38:13 AM
On 3/09/2009 JohnK wrote:
>I think that's because the way up from Fed hut is steeper than the way
>down the other way (so that's why he propably decided not to go back down
>that way - and it's easier to go up than down climb down) and once you
>get to the other side it's even more difficult to traverse across in icy
>conditions and poor footwear.
>
>Below are some shots of the spur that eventually heads to MUMC and you
>can see the potential traverse in the background - its does not look that
>steep but it is especially in icy conditions and poor vis it would be a
>no go area without crampons / skis:
>
Well, it depends on your frame of reference.....sure as hell looks like gentle, rolling hills with lots of rocks sticking out of the 'ice'. Didn't Dave Jones solo the Aguille di Midi with plastic bags under sneakers and butter knives for axes?

Anyway, somwhere between the 'impenetrable bush' and the 'death dealing vertical ice' there has to be be a contour with reasonable bush and reasonable ice.

Pussy, I says!
One Day Hero
3/09/2009
11:45:11 AM
On 3/09/2009 cruze wrote:
>So overall it sounds like he could have done a better job with a) the benefit
>of hindsight, b) a map and c) knowledge/experience of how to walk in snow
>in poor visibility. You can't plan for a). Having about 19 years of experience
>walking through bush offtracks I can say with a fair degree of certainity
>that having a map and even knowing how to use it doesn't guarantee that
>you wont get lost, particularly with poor visibility. And as for c) I have
>no specific experience so I will not comment, other than to say that we
>all start somewhere, it just seems that he got into the shit on his first
>effort.

He didn't need any of a), b) or c). He needed to say to himself, "righto dickhead, it's only 4k's back to the car, get off your arse and march!"
kieranl
3/09/2009
4:05:42 PM
Having heard the reports I think that you can only really criticise his actions before the fall and then, it was just inexperience.
After the fall he was obviously badly shaken and made all the wrong decisions a badly shaken person does. Rejecting help from the party that found him is classic.
Ideally that party would have inisisted on him accompanying them back to MUMC hut and settling him down and then sending him down North-west spur. Not to criticise that party - it's a pretty drastic step - you have to be very sure of yourself to impose your will on someone in that situation.
In his shaken condition he was just going to make one wrong decision after another. He probably still thinks that he was being rational, but he wasn't.
lacto
3/09/2009
6:17:51 PM
It sound like he ended up in the creek near the spring and it would be very very icy to traverse back to the memorial cross (that section is nearly always icy even when the rest is relatively soft snow . His only choices were to go back up or go down the creek (though nw spur would have been a breeze from there ) Had he gone up the spur the goes up to little feathertop he could have got back to federation hut . By sidling or going down he got into very steep territory and was actually heading away from bungalow . At least he got below the snow line but following stony creek down would have been horrendeous . I wonder how often Sabu has been up feathertop to be able to make claims like he has about what gear etc is appropriate

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