To clarify they all had headlamps, they just couldnít figure out where the route went from that pitch 7 little chimney, especially when it got dark. Iíve gotten lost there in broad daylight my first 2 times climbing Moby Grape but found an exit out to the right. Probably couldnít find it in the dark and Iíve climbed the Grape 6 or 7 times now. They were dressed for daytime Fall temps on Cannonm but not prepared with any bivy gear. They assumed the route would take 8 hours and that would be that.
Itís easy to cast accusations, but I wonít forget how little I knew the first few years I climbed. I remember people flying by me on Lakeview when I was a first year climber, 16 years old, and they were shaking their head. I didnít understand what they disapproved of. Maybe my helmet-less head, lack of a pack, shoddy looking anchor, etc. I think it was sheer dumb look I was never rescued my first couple of years.
That being said, the one question I wish I asked these guys on the hike out is ďSo why didnít you rappel the route when it was getting dark?Ē They had two ropes, and plenty of shiny gear to leave behind. The two non-leader climbers were encouraging the leader to keep going despite the late hour. If they werenít all comfortable with multi-pitch rappelling in the dark they should not be on Cannon, period.
As one of the rescuers commented on the hike out ďLearning to turn around is one of the hardest things for a climber to learn.Ē
Those are some words of wisdom.
Iíd ask you go easy on these guys and remember we all fuck up once in awhile. These guys were sincerely embarrassed when the saw how many people were working to get them off the cliff at 1AM, and looked for opportunities to help with the final haul and gear break down. Good kids, bad decision that day. All worked out well.