Send us a suggestion!

News A Death in Robbers Roost (2011 - No Man's Canyon)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

    Messages:
    4,755
    Likes:
    5,844
    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    https://www.tennessean.com/story/li..._dc5uNXT0voIu98SFi_Ah2z7ecUf__M6MqyxTQHkZpNvA

    David Cicotello watched as the rope from which his brother rappelled whipped through the climbing anchor and fell out of sight.

    Then he panicked.

    "Louis!" David screamed his brother's name.

    "Louis! Louis! Louis!"

    Silence.

    ====

    This is a compelling re-telling of David (and Louis's) ordeal in No Man's canyon in 2011. Well worth the read.

    Tom
    Ram, Jenny, Kuenn and 3 others like this.
  2. Evan Christensen

    Evan Christensen Evan C

    Messages:
    49
    Likes:
    36
    Location:
    South Jordan , UT
    This reinforces my decision to get a Garmin Inreach mini this year.
    Jenny likes this.
  3. Kuenn

    Kuenn

    Messages:
    1,477
    Likes:
    1,579
    Great story that I hadn't heard, thanks for sharing it Tom.

    "Every one of us is on a ledge," David says. "Out there someone is going through a divorce. Facing bankruptcy. Dying of cancer.
    "Survival is the most common denominator."

    Sobering, and yet truer words never spoken.
    Ram and Jenny like this.
  4. townsend

    townsend

    Messages:
    455
    Likes:
    425
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    Tom, I read about both David and Louis Cicotelli when the story was first posted on here 2011. And I revisited the epic story several years later as well.

    I quickly decided that both of them were my heroes. There are not a lot of people I can say that about. Louis was still canyoneering at 70 years old. I don't think his age had anything to do with the tragic accident. I really don't. Sh/t happens -- we all make mistakes, and sometimes the mistakes are more costly than others.

    My admiration for David, his planning and patience as he was stranded on that ledge -- wow. He did not panic -- he saved his own life by rationing his remaining food and drink. I am sorry we lost Louis -- who can't be replaced. I am glad that David is still with us. Two quality human beings. I understand what they were doing. We humans still need adventure and exposure to the wilds. Staring at a cellphone or sitting in front of a computer just doesn't cut it. I don't need virtual reality . . . just real reality-- lakes, creeks, rivers, canyons, mountains, rock, dirt, vegetation, wild animals.

    RIP Louis Cicotelli
    Ali Miller, Kuenn, Ram and 2 others like this.
  5. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

    Messages:
    1,478
    Likes:
    1,757
    Location:
    Zions
  6. Evan Christensen

    Evan Christensen Evan C

    Messages:
    49
    Likes:
    36
    Location:
    South Jordan , UT
  7. Dan Ransom

    Dan Ransom Staff Member

    Messages:
    520
    Likes:
    657
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    I responded in the other thread, but I'll respond here as well. In the United States, a satellite communicator is super helpful, and I would argue way more helpful than a PLB. Here is what I wrote in that thread:

    Meh, I think that post seriously mischaracterizes the value of a satellite communicator. The main advantage of two-way communication is certainly not only psychological, it allows you to coordinate the entire SAR effort without sending the cavalry just to assess the situation. Having used the InReach twice to coordinate SARs (once for myself in remote grand canyon when I fell and had a compound fracture of my left arm that left a bone fully exposed, and once for a body recovery I hiked into in the Uintas) I can say their value both for the victim and the SAR crew is incredible. In the Grand Canyon, two-way communication allowed us speak directly with park personnel, explain to them what kind of landing area was available (so they could decide if a high angle rescue was required) and confirm the site was ready before they ever take off. It also allowed them to assess the severity of the injury, and decide if they should come that night (which would require flying a different helicopter with a different crew) or if it could safely wait until the next morning. With a compound fracture, there is an element of timeliness that mattered, but risking flying at night was not necessarily the best decision. It was 4:30 pm, the sun would set within the hour, so that communication was critical.

    Honestly, the biggest advantage of a satellite communicator is simply getting help WITHOUT calling for the calvary. Last November we were on a 25 day river trip and someone suffered a serious laceration on Day 8 of 25. We had antibiotics with us, but wanted a doctor to confirm which course would be appropriate, and have a professional opinion about risk management when it came to whether we should evacuate or not. The person stayed on the trip, ran a course of antibiotics, and continued to use the communicator to relay their progress daily to a doctor to make sure a serious infection didn't set it or become dangerous, requiring an evacuation. (And yes, we had multiple people trained with WFRs on the trip, but given how long a GC trip is an how difficult an evacuation can be depending on where you are at, staying ahead of an injury like that is key.)

    Not saying a PLB isn't a great tool, it certainly is. But that post paints a very incomplete picture of the value of a satellite communicator. Kinda surprised to see it posted here as if it's gospel.
  8. Dan Ransom

    Dan Ransom Staff Member

    Messages:
    520
    Likes:
    657
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    I will also say the InReach is crazy useful in super remote places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - we used it quite extensively on our 2 week traverse last year. We used it to monitor weather and communicate with half our group who was grounded in Arctic Village while we were grounded in Fort Yukon. That gave us a huge advantage in coordinating with the pilot to get our group back together when the cloud ceiling lifted. We also used it to change our route plans when bad weather prevented us from paddling out onto the arctic ocean, and we instead went overland to Kaktovik. Certainly those situations are not necessarily a matter of life and death, but they certainly make life a lot easier and make it a lot easier to manage risk in the field.

    As always, YMMV.
    ratagonia, Evan Christensen and Ram like this.
  9. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

    Messages:
    1,478
    Likes:
    1,757
    Location:
    Zions
    Hi Evan

    To clarify: that was not my post, but a re-post from a FB group (link at top of OP - there's good discussion there). I have only recently considered buying such a device and might pull the trigger on one this year. If I do, it will be a PLB, likely the ResQLink. My purpose is to be able to summon a rescue if needed and I think that a PLB is the most reliable means of doing that. As Dan has pointed out, SENDs can have tremendous value as well and it's clear that having both would be ideal.
    Evan Christensen and ratagonia like this.
  10. Ram

    Ram

    Messages:
    2,345
    Likes:
    4,320
    From the Yahoo Group's archive. First the report compiled by Shane about the accident.

    The 2nd link is David's post to the group, discussing his letter to the editor on an Outside Magazine article that mentioned the accident. The link to the article is provided there too

    The 3rd link is a retrospective about Louis

    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/death-in-no-mans.16267/#post-63383
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/tourist-trap.17175/#post-67930
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/a-true-human-being.17168/#post-67899
    townsend and ratagonia like this.
  11. Craig

    Craig Feeling My Way

    Messages:
    68
    Likes:
    61
    Does there exist a discussion of this tragedy on CanyonCollective? After revisiting all the links in this thread my first question is, "How would I handle the situation if I had been in Louis position?"

    In the past, I know I've read several posts that mention a technique that can even up the ends of a double rope rappel. I can envision in my mind that locking off the short strand and then continuing my rappel should cause the rope to pull through the anchor in a controlled manner. I'd like some advice on the details before I go out and start practicing.
  12. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

    Messages:
    1,478
    Likes:
    1,757
    Location:
    Zions
    Post deleted
Similar Threads: Death Robbers
Forum Title Date
Accidents and Near Misses Analysis: Death in Robbers Roost (2011 - No Man's Canyon) Apr 12, 2019
Trip Reports Mystery Canyon - Death Gully Jul 1, 2019
Accidents and Near Misses Box Death Hollow SAR May 27, 2019
Accidents and Near Misses Death Valley Rappel fatality, March 23, 2019 Mar 25, 2019
Accidents and Near Misses Styx Canyon Death Valley NP - anchor failure, short fall November 2018 Nov 3, 2018
Accidents and Near Misses Wrongful death suit filed by parent of man who drowned Aug 23, 2018