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Sandthrax rescue, March 11, 2014

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by deeps, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Another report stated a third party (lady) at the campsite called it in when they didn't return. Doesn't seem as plausible, after 3 days. Makes more sense that his wife called it in.
  2. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Mountaineer likes this.
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Not being in management, but... I would like to remind members to please limit your heaping of scorn to prominent members of the community (public persons). For all others, please show at least a modicum of respect. Remember what your mother (should have) taught you: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
    hank moon likes this.
  5. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Thanks for the reminder, Tom. Duly noted.

    I realize that I tread too close to the edge at times....and occasionally end up in a nose dive into the water, like the french dude in the video.
  6. caverknight

    caverknight

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    Hello Everyone

    I just want to thank everyone here that helped out here. As some of you know the news sometimes get facts wrong (Fox really butchered it bad) and they spun it like a top Complete with I am goinf to die dum dum dum. The only reason that I agreed to do interviews was to help raise money for the Wayne County S.A.R So here are the facts for people that understand the outdoors and these kinds of activities.


    1. I was headed towards Leprechaun Canyon. I had the Tom Canyonnering site. One of the best Sites and information out there. I also had 2 guide book with a a map and pictures with me. With all of this I still manged to make it in the wrong canyon. This was my fault not anyone of the guide books.

    2. I had a 200' rope with petzal Helmets for everyone with racks. I do not like ATC or Figure 8 (yes you can hate me for this) This was for a canyon from multiple scores saying you just need a daisy chain or a hand line depending on what you read. I had my kids and I do not want them descending without a belay.

    3. I had 1 gallon of water for a 3-5 hour hike. I also had 2 pro meal bars. 5 cliff type bars and 3 snickers candy bar. Again for a 3-5 hour hike.

    4. I made sure that the drops we right before I commuted to the canyon by making sure that the drops where the correct height and the canyon pictures looked right in the guild books.

    5. I am a avoid outsdoorsman like many many people of this site. Many of you know what know what canyoneering is rock climbing etc. Most of the general public does not have a clue. As a community we know how important it is to have a self-rescue plan. I have been caving hiking and outdoors man for 14 years going 2-5 times a month. I have done canyoneering, Hiking, rock climbing all over the west. I have never had anything like this or close to this even happen. I appreciate most of you comments. We can all learn from this. It goes back to the basics which are

    1. Know where you are going
    2. Plan ahead.
    3. Take food and water even though some guild books say not too.
    4. Tell people where you are going and when you will be back
    5. Have a self rescue plan that will go into affect without your help a fail safe switch.

    This is my standard self-Rescue program that I have used for thousands of trips with no rescues. Never had to use the final option which is send out the rescue. I have been on rescues before that did not have a very good outcome. I know what happens when people don't come back.

    1. If I do not check in every 24-36 hours there is a problem. This area was a 48 hour check in because of lack of cell phone coverage. It was 40 mile to cell phone coverage.
    2. I leave maps and directions wit my wife.
    3. My outdoor friends know where I am exactly.
    4. If I do not report in at the time usually 24-48 hours apart. My wife is to call S.A.R to come find me.\
    5. I always have 1 gallon of water with energy bars many I try to have 8-12 in my pack with space blanket, headlamps, first aid kit, etc.

    I have rambled enough here. I thought I owned this to the community or outdoors-man to address some of the more technical questions that you had. I thank you for your support.
    hank moon, darhawk and Mountaineer like this.
  7. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    The event has certainly struck a lot of questions and ... nerves. In each of us. Certainly if the situation was reversed, temperament with constructive and productive criticism would most likely be welcome.

    As a father of boys the same age, I was admittedly glad to hear it wasn't a planned descent without additional adults there (at least).

    Using what was learned to benefit others is the best use of our energy on the event.

    Some random thoughts, not promoting nor noting deficiencies in any per se:

    a) sign at the canyon head, "Sandthrax, X difficulty"
    b) picture of the head of Sandthrax at the sign at the campground, by the warning
    c) additional detail, descriptions, gps waypoints on those that publish beta
    d) recommendation to learn about each canyon, difficulties, skills needed, etc. on every web site when canyons/canyoneering are mentioned
  8. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Caverknight, thank you for coming on and reporting the facts. Are you open to questions to help with understanding your decision process?
  9. darhawk

    darhawk

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    Thank you, CaverKnight. I'm very happy to hear you and your kids are well. I also appreciate knowing some of the specifics straight from you. The GMA segment was helpful as well. The Fox segment made me say: Huh? So, glad to hear they butchered it. As I actually did East Lep on Friday with my 16-year-old son and was camped not far from where you were stuck without knowing it, I feel a strong connection to this story and am very pleased with the happy ending. It's great to see you take responsibility and address the issues without undue defensiveness. And, as Tom said, good job making right decisions after making a potentially disastrous wrong one. Dropping into the wrong canyon worries more than lots of other things. I always try to get GPS coordinates and double-check with my GPS. Perhaps many canyoneers don't take them along as they are often useless down in canyons.
  10. caverknight

    caverknight

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    Yes. I am not the first sucker who got sucked down that canyon while trying to get to other much safer canyons. Some other people that I have heard was the people the opened up this area. They all look the same. I would love nothing more than a sign that says "sandthrax" and the first bolt down.
  11. caverknight

    caverknight

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    Yes Fire away.
  12. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Jason, first let me commend you for being a good sport and handling, replying and or passively ignoring attacks against your knowledge, skills - both technical and navigational - and yet attempting to respond to the question at hand. I would hope if the shoe was on the other foot any one of us would respond in like fashion.

    I jumped over on bogely and have had many of my questions answered, but I still have a few.

    My questions surround when you first realized you were in trouble, what were your options and thinking at that time; i.e. when separating yourself from your sons seemed like the appropriate pursuit.

    Was there a rope anchored where your boys were?

    Was back tracking and or ascending back to them ever an option, at any time?

    Knowing how important voice contact is with your group (as a caver, and especially when novices/children are involved), why did you continue to push forward beyond voice contact?
    If the answer to the previous question is, "in hopes of finding a way out", why would you continue to pursue, even a foot further, if you knew you could not retreat back to at least voice contact?

    It would be interesting to know your thoughts during the extended time of separation from your sons (which must have been agonizing) when you came to grasp with the realization that your sons and your survival was dependent upon a rescue.

    (Last question, and you may chose to ignore it, or any of them for that matter.)
    It is obvious to me from reading your posts that you considered yourself prepared and confident in your abilities/experience. Given this and looking back, do you think that confidence actually served as a detriment to you once you realized you had messed up? In other words, did you continue to "dig the pit deeper" because you were confident that you were able to handle it, or did you continue to push on strictly out of desperation?

    Thanks in advance.
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Uh, actually, I think you are. There have been MANY epics in SandThrax, but I have not heard of any other group that was not in the canyon they intended.

    Tom
  14. hank moon

    hank moon kinetically bulbous

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    X?

    If you cannot restrain yourself from posting personal attacks, scorn, SARcasm, etc., please do it elsewhere. There are many places on the 'net where stirring (and re-stirring) filth is a welcome and respected activity. Here, it is not.

    Thank you

    hank
  15. caverknight

    caverknight

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    Erik, Kuenn, hank moon and 3 others like this.
  16. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Jason, I have a question, something on my mind at least since the rescue. The mental side. Any tricks or techniques that you employed to help you through it all, and pass time? Sleep?

    I figure if I keep at this activity long enough, the chances of me getting Monday morning quarterbacked increase. My turn for the shoe as Kuenn metaphorically states. Your insight on the mental could prove valuable.
  17. caverknight

    caverknight

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  18. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Jason, thanks again for sharing your experience and thought processes. I am not going to second guess any of your decisions, I know you did what you thought was best at the time, under the circumstances.

    For what it's worth, your experience has reminded me again of a standard that I think is preeminent. Call it Monday morning quarterbacking if you will, but it is this:

    When leading a group of beginners on a "risk inclined" outing, don't take them to a place you have not previously visited, especially when there is "only one expert/leader" in the group. By beginners, in this instance, I mean anyone in a group who is not able to step into the role of the leader, should something happen to the designated leader. I personally think there is sound judgement in this standard, which reduces risk on several fronts.
    MrAdam likes this.
  19. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    It is unfortunate that Jason chose to remove his answers.

    Tom

    UPDATE: sorry Jason. I see that your answers were imbedded within the tags. You can manually go in and add tags to get your answers to display properly, if you wish.

    Tom (3-24)
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  20. caverknight

    caverknight

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    I did not think that I removed answers. If you have any questions just ask and I will try to remember. It looks like from your thread sandthrax has been bolted. Not Cool. When I had my mishap I saw one bolt in the canyon that was located at the top on the drop before you climb up into the area that you bridge.
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