McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

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ClimbingFool
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by ClimbingFool »

Really appreciate you all reading this long account and providing encouraging words. I still have a lot of raw emotion pulsing through my soul before I can really step back and process. I'm encouraged that my lessons may cause some of you to evaluate your risk mitigation systems and thought processes to continue enjoying your pursuits.
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Ed_Groves
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by Ed_Groves »

Thanks for the account of your trial, ClimbingFool, and I am so glad you eventually made it through safely. You exhibited incredible patience in staying on the ledge for so long and under poor conditions, and that is another reason why you are alive to give this narrative. Your story is a perfect reminder to be intensely aware of one's ability to climb back down a route taken. In my limited experience, I have already had one very minor incident in the Tatoosh range of Mount Rainier National Park where I climbed something that was beyond my confidence to climb down. I was able to eventually pick my way across the face and find a better route back down, but it definitely made me think about how conservatively I need to approach difficult climbing.
"Education is the process of moving from cocksure ignorance to thoughtful uncertainty." (Utvich)
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by madbuck »

Glad you are OK, thank you for sharing the raw and detailed part to help us visualize the reality of the process and emotions.
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climbingcue
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by climbingcue »

ClimbingFool wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 5:35 am Really appreciate you all reading this long account and providing encouraging words. I still have a lot of raw emotion pulsing through my soul before I can really step back and process. I'm encouraged that my lessons may cause some of you to evaluate your risk mitigation systems and thought processes to continue enjoying your pursuits.
Happy to hear you made it out safely and we able to share your account. Most people would not post about something like this if it happened to them. So again thank your for sharing your story. The rain can really change things super fast.

Bill
Last edited by climbingcue on Tue Aug 16, 2022 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Consecutive months with at least one 13er or 14er, 54 months
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lauradaughtry
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by lauradaughtry »

So glad you’re alive to tell your tale—thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your story.
“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” —Aldo Leopold

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12ersRule
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by 12ersRule »

Thanks for posting this. You've obviously got some pretty strong technical chops from the climbing gym. I'm also blown away by your perseverance/endurance hanging up there for 6+ hours on a 8"/3' ledge. Definitely a lot of mental toughness there.

In the other McHenry's Notch thread, you showed a pic on where you were rescued. What was your perspective on the ground level where you decided on the middle gully? In the pic, it looked a lot steeper than the other 2 gullies. From Powell, did you look ahead to McHenrys to decide what the possibilities were?

Sorry for the armchair quarterbacking, I've definitely made my share of really really bad decisions in the mountains. Once you got in trouble, you did everything right and you got back safely. Very well done on that!

Hopefully, you get back after it. Definitely consider partnering up on routes like this in the future. I think the 14ers give a false sense of confidence since the routes are well trod on, and there's generally plenty of people on any given route even if you go solo. Remote routes on non-14ers are definitely a different animal. Feel free to hit me up on IM if there's something around the RMNP, IPW, Gores area you're feeling like you want to go for. My skillset definitely pales in comparison to a whole ton of people on this site, but it's always good to have an extra set of eyes on stuff like this. I feel like I've grown a lot from partnering up with other climbers and the conversations we've had on what they're looking at while route finding.
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ClimbingFool
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by ClimbingFool »

12ersRule wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 9:01 am In the other McHenry's Notch thread, you showed a pic on where you were rescued. What was your perspective on the ground level where you decided on the middle gully? In the pic, it looked a lot steeper than the other 2 gullies. From Powell, did you look ahead to McHenrys to decide what the possibilities were?
I've been doing a lot of thinking about lessons learned, and I think I just got tunnel vision. Some beta I found online indicated to take the obvious central gully, and so I gravitated to the middle one fairly quickly without thinking the others might be better. I now understand that the person describing the route was standing close to the notch and saw the left gully as what was central to him. I had contoured a fair amount lower and couldn't see the left gully as clearly as the one I took. Someone else indicated they both went at 5.0-5.2. In my case I didn't find a good line and was uncomfortable on the terrain. I've done three of the four grand traverses (missing LB/Blanca), and felt much more comfortable on them because the route finding seemed more obvious. It also helped that I had partners on the Bells and Crestone traverses. My lesson learned is that it takes more experience than the annual pilgrimage from the flatlands to the mountains to gain solid route finding skills.
12ersRule wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 9:01 am Feel free to hit me up on IM if there's something around the RMNP, IPW, Gores area you're feeling like you want to go for.
Thanks for the offer. Everyone has been so kind, and I really appreciate it. For now I'll lie low until next season and then reassess my risk tolerance.
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Jorts
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by Jorts »

You should go on a public speaking circuit. Many, many people don't grasp "cliffed out". You summarized how a sequence of events can lead to that situation quite well. Glad you didn't hesitate to call for a rescue and that you're no worse for the wear.
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GK83
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by GK83 »

Thanks for posting your story, as a member of a volunteer SAR team I can say you did a really good job of taking care of yourself, staying calm and not letting a small mistake cascade into a bigger one, in situations like yours that is often the difference between a successful rescue and a recovery.
when it comes to calling in a rescue keep in mind that most of us in the volunteer SAR world are really happy to go out and use all the skills we practice, even better when everyone gets to come off the mountain unharmed, there should be no stigma attached to calling for help, I'd far rather go help someone who called for help a bit early and just walk out with them than have to find them later because they didn't want to feel judged and kept making bad decisions until it went really bad.
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quinnwolf
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by quinnwolf »

That's a great story. Thanks for sharing. It helped me just to know a little bit about the decision process of when to stay put and call SAR and when to try to self-evac.

I do have one question though, and I hope I am not being too insensitive, so you definitely don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but were you charged any monetary fee or did you have to pay any money to anybody directly involved in this rescue? If not, is that normal for a helicopter rescue like this to be monetarily free (to the rescuee) or was this specific situation paid for by NPS entrance fees or something like that? I just don't know if it normally costs anything to call SAR.
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ClimbingFool
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by ClimbingFool »

Jorts wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 12:27 pm You should go on a public speaking circuit. Many, many people don't grasp "cliffed out". You summarized how a sequence of events can lead to that situation quite well. Glad you didn't hesitate to call for a rescue and that you're no worse for the wear.
Appreciate the kind words. I've been on a mini speaking tour with my family, work, and church congregation. If my experience helps others enjoy the remaining wild places in a safer way, I'm happy to help.
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ClimbingFool
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Re: McHenrys Rescue 8/11/22

Post by ClimbingFool »

quinnwolf wrote: Thu Aug 25, 2022 1:20 pm I do have one question though, and I hope I am not being too insensitive, so you definitely don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but were you charged any monetary fee or did you have to pay any money to anybody directly involved in this rescue? If not, is that normal for a helicopter rescue like this to be monetarily free (to the rescuee) or was this specific situation paid for by NPS entrance fees or something like that? I just don't know if it normally costs anything to call SAR.
A fair question, and I believe this depends on a lot of factors. As I stood on the ledge, I was prepared to pay whatever it took, and in my mind I thought I could get charged around $50k. I'd just have to work a little longer until retirement, which beats the alternative of not having a retirement. Since my rescue was coordinated by the NPS and leveraged the National Guard and Boulder's volunteer Rocky Mountain Rescue, I was not charged anything for their services. I do believe this is not always the case, especially if a volunteer SAR team must contract to obtain helicopter time or if you use air ambulance services to transport to a medical facility. That's when it can get expensive, and options like the CORSAR card or the American Alpine Club helicopter insurance can help.

Regardless of cost, I'm going to send some contributions and goodies to those involved. I also know that a couple of kids who are dear to our family are planning on sending something as well. The power of community is incredible.
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