Category Archives: Accidents

My comments on the passing of Dean Potter – just my humble opinion

Big wall climbing

Dean Potter – a view we won’t see anymore.

Dean Potter was a superb big wall climber. Not only was he a fixture at Yosemite, but he went up many many of the hardest climbs.  While he did them the normal way, he also morphed into a higher adrenalin regime – FREE solo climbing. No ropes – just a bag  of chalk.

He died Saturday. A big loss to the community. R.I.P.

I recently blogged about his record run up Half Dome. He didn’t go the whole way up the normal trail. He climbed up Snake Dike…a dike on the western side of the rock. Wow. And he still set a record of 2 hrs 17 min.. Kyle Williams held the record at 2 hrs 23 min.  Watch Kyle’s description in this video.

I am not a climber…not that I’m afraid of falling…no, it’s that if you do fall, the sudden stop concerns me.  You are being pulled to the center of the earth at 32 feet per second – PER SECOND. You are accelerating as fast as a rock thrown off the Tower of Pisa. Ask Galileo.

Potter later got into the QUOTE Sport UNQUOTE of wing suit

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Are you ready for your post-Yosemite excursion . . . Zion

If you need a change of scenery from Yosemite, can I suggest the Utah parks. Zion is my favorite. Angels’s Landing is a trek kinda similar – but shorter – than Half Dome. Maybe 5 hours RT. It’s pretty scary trundling your way to the top.

Another fun day at Zion is hiking down to the slot canyons. There are dozens to try. But be careful. You need to don a wetsuit to walk down the river with water waist high on short folks.  Flash floods are a major concern.

Rapelling down a slot canyon

Canyoneeering at Zion

You can get in some big trouble if you decide to extend yourself and go Canyoneering. But “stuff” happens.

Back in early April, the park had to rescue a man who got in big trouble. It took 5 hours to save his bacon. Seems a guy broke his ankle in Pine Creek Canyon. Pine Creek is Zion’s most popular technical canyon for visitors.

His group had tried to rappel up a slot but was unable to get out.  The rescue team of 15 SAR personnel used a high line with a system called a “reeve.”  This is a rope that is strung across the canyon.  Then another …

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Lesson learned from two recent Half Dome rescues

Page back to see the Story 1 and Story 2 discussion about two close calls on Yosemite’s Half Dome trail. There have been no fatal falls off the 8,842’ rock, but folks can still get in trouble.

The Half Dome hike can be done safely...if...

The Half Dome hike can be done safely…if…

I won’t rehash the incidents, but here’s what I see as a better way to do the hike.

1. Read my book: “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome.” Really. It is the only guide book on how to safely do this hike. Almost 200 pages of tips and pix to help novices out. It’s at the park, at REI, my website and many other sources. You need to know more that the altitude and that there are cables.

2. Drink water. This may sound like a “duh,” but I see people with one 16-oz bottle. “I don’t drink much.”  HUH?  And why? Your cells need the O2 and H to produce energy. Toss in some electrolytes also – as your body will use up what it has on an endurance hike.

3. Bring a mechanical water filter. Use it at the Merced and the Little Spring. There is plenty for your hike.

4. Use hiking …

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