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March 2, 2006
It never fails, when s**t happens I'm always in the middle of "doing something". I was working at home on Saturday just around lunch time when I got a call from IMCS. Actually when I heard Tom's voice on the phone I figured he was calling about a drop-in at the shop wanting to go out for an afternoon at the North End. Unfortunately for all concerned he was actually rounding up people to deal with an accident on Standard Route at Frankenstein. As usual I said OK right away. I do all of these that I can, just putting my good deeds into the Karma Bank. Hey, you never know!
While I grabbed my gear, Alyssa made me a couple of sandwiches & I scooted out. It was pretty chilly, in the teens, and the further up the Notch I went the more snow was coming down. When I got there I ran into Bill King, the man who owns the house at the top of the Frankenstein parking lot. He said that the ambulance was on the way, someone had already gotten the litter from his house and one other person had arrived. Walking down the tracks I could see some abandoned ropes around and as I got closer I could see a group clustered on the tracks around the base of Standard.
Looking up I saw the lower was already in progress. The victim was packaged, but not in a litter, and there was an attendant helping keep the victim in line. Apparently the injured climber, Sid Rodrigo from Brooklyn New York, was at the top curtain on Standard. He placed a screw at the base of the curtain and climbed up about 15', not placing any more gear. At that time both of his tools popped and he fell landing upright on both feet, breaking both ankles. Fortunately Dave Kelly from the EMS climbing School was right there when it happened. He called out to IMCS guide Fred Wilkenson who was coming up below that there was a problem. As I understand it, Fred lowered his 2 clients to the ground and rapped to the base himself. The clients went for help and Fred hiked around to the top of the route.
The decision was made to stabilize him and begin the lower while others went for the litter and to call for assistance. The package and lower was superbly handled by Dave with Fred being lowered with Sid. They managed to lower the victim all the way from the upper tier to the tracks in a single 400' pass using multiple ropes.
When I arrived the victim was about level with the cave, the litter was in place at the tracks and being readied. There were about a dozen climbers queued up to help. Once at the tracks Sid was lowered directly into the litter, immediately covered to keep warm and strapped in. Within minutes he was ready to be moved and through the coordinated efforts of everyone involved the litter was slid down the tracks to a waiting ambulance from Bartlett. Because of the new snowfall we only had to carry the litter at the trestle. The process probably took no more than 45 minutes.
Here they come
Getting into the litter
Because Bill King who lives at the top of the parking lot wasn't home when the people who went for help got to his house, one of them went down to the road & flagged down a car to try & get access to a phone. They didn't realize that there is a working pay phone almost directly across from the Amphitheater at the Dry River Campground. This would have saved 20-30 minutes in the time required to notify others of the emergency. It's something to keep in mind. That said, everyone involved worked very well together to make this a very effective rescue operation. In my opinion special credit goes to Dave and Fred for their coolness and efficiency.
This was the second accident in the past 3 weeks. As an update to the one that took place on Thresher at Cathedral Ledge, the victim, Scott Triolo, has recovered consciousness and is alert after being taken off a ventilator on Monday. He has a long recovery ahead, but he is going to be OK. Thank heavens for that.
Yup, that's right, it's my new band In House that's been jamming at the Parka on Monday nights for the past month or so. If you haven't seen this group, you really should.
In House will be playing at the Common Man in Ashland Friday, March 3rd, 8:30 - 11pm
For more info call 968-7030
Randy Roos – guitar
Jimmy Alba – guitar
Al Hospers – bass
Carl Iacozili – drums
groove, jam, dub, and ambient, with occasional leanings toward jazz and hip-hop
Folks this ain't your daddy's pop music!
When I was taking my shot of Cave Route this morning from over by the Dry River Campground I was so focused on the actual route that didn't notice anything special going on. It was only after I took the initial shot that I noticed a climber lowered down on the far right side of the upper wall on Widow's Walk. Looking closer I could see a climber coming out from under the hanging fangs. I snapped off a bunch of shots as they swung around onto the dagger and up onto the ice. It was a neat thing to see and I had a nice vantage point to see what was going on. Still I wished I'd had a little longer telephoto lens. Here are a couple of the shots:
Widows Walk 1
Widows Walk 2
Widows Walk 5
Widows Walk 8
Nice job Bayard!
Up on one of the Mount Washington Valley's finest crags and want to know what that climb you're looking at is? Or maybe you're on your way up from Boston and want to check out the Ice Report for your upcoming weekend plans. Or more likely, you're at work just want to daydream about your next adventure. Well if you have a smart phone handy, you can get to NEClimbs from anywhere you have cell service. While it doesn't offer every single feature of the site and it's not an "app", in mobile form, it does do a whole lot and is very useful. Here is the live link to the mobile version of NEClimbs:
Check it out and if you have issues on your specific phone, please feel free to let me know.
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Have fun and climb safe,
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire
|Winter alpinism is hard enough without the added dilemma of free-climbing ethics.|