/ ARTICLE: A Sideways Glance at the Face of Death

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UKC Articles 18 Oct 2018
Sunrise in a magical place., 3 kbDan Moore reflects on a harrowing experience on the Matterhorn, which caused him to question his actions prior to the incident and his own personal motivations as a mountaineer...

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Harrison_Connie 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Is anyone else having trouble viewing this article? 

Luke90 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

It didn't work for me ten minutes ago but it does now.

CragRat11 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Beautiful writing about something very traumatic and difficult to process. I can't imagine how it must feel to have witnessed that. I hope the feelings have settled and you can find some peace with it.

Thanks Dan

1
Pedro50 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

No can't view it 

profitofdoom 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

> Is anyone else having trouble viewing this article? 

Not me, opened straight away just now

Harrison_Connie 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Phillips - UKC and UKH:

Thanks Paul - The link works fine. 

planetmarshall 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

> Is anyone else having trouble viewing this article? 

I found it difficult to read but for other reasons, unforunately. I found the writing very disjointed, with some strange non-sequiturs in there: "Was he dressed to impress? He looked like a kind man". I found myself skipping through it trying to find some sort of flow, but gave up. Sorry.

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BruceM 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks Dan.  I hope you get to eventually find some peace with yourself after this.

I'm sure it wouldn't change much, so wouldn't beat yourself up further...but I can't really get into this view:

"Whoever else is on the mountain is there as a separate unit whether they be with a partner, or solo. They are as much a part of the mountain scenery as a fixed rope or a loose block. But to interact with them in any serious way is to alter both their fate and yours. As a responsible partner I had not done anything to jeopardise the safety of our 'rope'. In this I am sure of my actions."

I realise you are trying to make sense of your actions, and as I say, maybe there was nothing further you could have done at the time.  Also, on one of the most crowded trophy routes in the Alps, you probably do have to try to ignore the rest of the crowd some of the time.  But it would be nice if this kind of thinking didn't become the accepted norm.

1
nniff 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I'm sure that that article was difficult to write, Dan.  Well done - it's a difficult read by virtue of the content not the style.  Life if full of 'what ifs'. Most of them pass unnoticed because you were not aware that there was a fork in the road in the first place and frequently you are neither aware, nor can possibly foresee, how some events will turn out to be connected.   With the benefit of hindsight your actions would have been different, because the outcome was neither what you wanted nor what you reasonably foresaw as the probable outcome.

Someone once asked on here when you could say that you were solid at a grade.  I replied that if you watch someone climbing, suck your teeth and walk on quickly, they're not solid at the grade.  We've all done it, but the outcome is seldom as stark as your experience.

Marmolata 18 Oct 2018
In reply to BruceM:

> Thanks Dan.  I hope you get to eventually find some peace with yourself after this.

> I'm sure it wouldn't change much, so wouldn't beat yourself up further...but I can't really get into this view:

> "Whoever else is on the mountain is there as a separate unit whether they be with a partner, or solo. They are as much a part of the mountain scenery as a fixed rope or a loose block. But to interact with them in any serious way is to alter both their fate and yours. As a responsible partner I had not done anything to jeopardise the safety of our 'rope'. In this I am sure of my actions."

> I realise you are trying to make sense of your actions, and as I say, maybe there was nothing further you could have done at the time.  Also, on one of the most crowded trophy routes in the Alps, you probably do have to try to ignore the rest of the crowd some of the time.  But it would be nice if this kind of thinking didn't become the accepted norm.

I also found that to be completely at odds with the mountaineers ethos that was taught me by my mountaineering parents and grandparents.  

1
Hardonicus 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

It's an interesting point. Two climbers obviously comfortable on the terrain having just romped up the Schmidt route walk past a soloist obviously well out of his depth and leave him to it.

How much danger would they have been put under in letting him join the rope, maybe even just down to the Solvay hut? That is a question with many factors e.g. weather and something only the author can know - no judgement from me.

I suspect the one truth here is that it probably easier to justify moving past someone in peril on the Hornli, than on a much quieter mountain ridge with fewer people around. A bit of the Everest effect at play maybe?

Dan Moore 18 Oct 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

Don't be sorry. I guess the author didn't write this as an article. Its just memory and impressions, seemingly contradictory, but occurring simultaneously. A short version of a long system of automatic questions asked when judging a situation, or person. Life's not all just goo Or prickles. Its made up of gooey prickles and prickly goo. And first impressions (looking at facade) can quickly be changed when you search deeper. 

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alexm198 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Writing with this kind of honesty and self-reflection is really, really difficult, but this is brilliantly done. Hard to read (due to the content) and, I imagine, infinitely harder to write. Thanks for sharing, Dan. 

 

Post edited at 12:42
Dan Moore 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

I think the author had been taught differently, and thought differently too. But reality in the big mountains is sometime different to how you imagined it. The man was not actually in trouble when they spoke. Sitting in a safe spot and not asking directly for help. If he was already hurt, or injured, I'm sure help would have been offered. How are you to know that 100m on, he will put a foot wrong on a tiny patch of ice and start to slide... Only in hindsight might you really think about the look of unease hidden behind the person's eyes. 

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tom84 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

fabulous piece of writing

Stuart en Écosse 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Dan

A powerfully candid piece. The worst that anyone can level at you, and that you should level at yourself, is that you are a mere human, just like the rest of us. In the postion you were in, likely tired and still on the alert on the descent, it would be asking too much to expect you (or anyone) to react to something like this in a perfect way as if there was lots of time for consideration. I think many of us have been in similar situations, meeting people whom you think don't seem in the right place, but going on with no more than a hello and then spending the rest of the day wondering if you should have said something. We get caught on the hop, put on the spot, and we can't always respond the way we might with hindsight.

It's ok to wish you had acted differently, but don't beat yourself up over it. Keep climbing, it is good to see you waltzing up those big classic routes, no surprises there.

All the best, S 

Michael Gordon 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Very tricky terrain this.

"But my responsibility was to my climbing partner. He was the one I came here with; ready, prepared, a team. Bonded through past experiences. His life was mine to protect. Not this stranger. I knew that if I did anymore for him I would jeopardise our own safety, our relationship."

I've a feeling that in the Alps and Greater Ranges people have the light-and-fast-as-safety ethos so well ingrained into them that it's possible to convince oneself of certain things which aren't necessarily the case. Would a similar decision have been made when meeting someone who appeared out of their depth during worsening weather in Scottish winter? I'm not sure.

Either way, a very honest and compelling piece of writing.

Elliot Walker 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Really amazing writing. Thought provoking and incredibly written. The fact that you can so easily imagine acting differently is what makes it so difficult. I hope you are well.

Michael Gordon 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Stuart en Écosse:

> I think many of us have been in similar situations, meeting people whom you think don't seem in the right place, but going on with no more than a hello and then spending the rest of the day wondering if you should have said something. We get caught on the hop, put on the spot, and we can't always respond the way we might with hindsight.>

Good point.

In reply to planetmarshall:

I thought the short sentences and occasional non-sequiturs worked well for conveying the impression of processing emotions, remembering snippets of scenes and thoughts and trying to make sense of it all. Won't be to everyone's taste, but I liked the style in this case.

Michael Hood 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

I agree, the author's emotional doubt and reflection about himself and the correctness of his actions are strongly conveyed.

It is a tradegy in itself that a real tradegy had to occur for us to appreciate this piece of writing. If only it was fiction...

planetmarshall 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> I thought the short sentences and occasional non-sequiturs worked well for conveying the impression of processing emotions, remembering snippets of scenes and thoughts and trying to make sense of it all. Won't be to everyone's taste, but I liked the style in this case.

Indeed it's only my opinion - but for me it's the style gets in the way of, rather than enhances, what the author is trying to express with admirable honesty. 

The truncated phrases feel overused and are interspersed with unnecessary Dan Brown-isms - "I spoke my soothing words", "I did not look back at this man, perhaps in his forties". 

There are many seemingly minor infractions that have a cumulative effect of breaking the rhythm created by the short sentences - like inconsistent use of contractions - "I wish I'd said nothing. I wish I'd said more. I wish I had...".

There are really odd turns of phrase that sound conceited when juxtaposed with the more introspective parts - "As a mountaineer I had spoken with unusual kindness and compassion."

And there are phrases which just don't make sense - "... in his eyes a hint of his destiny. Therein rose a sense of guilt that I couldn't simply cast aside." In his eyes rose the author's sense of guilt?

Somewhere in there there's a really good piece of writing, and I commend the author on his honesty but I just found the style really off-putting.

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olddirtydoggy 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

Getting to the end of it was the hard part. Brilliant writing but obvious where it was going. Really sad.

eroica64 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Beautifully written story. Thought-provoking and realistic. Thanks for posting it.

colinakmc 18 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Well written but somehow repugnant. Like others on this thread I learned old school mountaineering values in Scotland, whereby you try to help anyone in difficulties. There’s a hint. In the writing that the  “kind man” was less than coherent or engaged with his surroundings. If you couldn’t have got him off safely yourselves maybe an earlier call would have meant the chopper picking up a live person.

But probably this encounter reflects the prevalent ethos of the Alps.

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Wee Davie 18 Oct 2018
In reply to colinakmc:

That's why it's such a good article. He's being honest in admitting he feels tremendous guilt and distress at not intervening when he could have. It's very brave writing.

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Tom Knowles 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Wee Davie:

> He's being honest in admitting he feels tremendous guilt and distress at not intervening when he could have.

 

Except I don’t believe for a second the emotions are genuine. It is, sadly, yet another article that hijacks the death of someone anonymous in an attempt to elevate the author’s experience, abilities and  supposed seriousness of what they participate in. Like he’s returned from war. Frankly, I find it incredibly distasteful.

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Michael Gordon 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Knowles:

>Except I don’t believe for a second the emotions are genuine. 

I didn't come away with that impression at all. The only thing I don't like about it is the title. I guess publicly writing about it at all could be seen to be distasteful, but then it's a difficult subject to cover without rubbing some people the wrong way.

 

Andy Nisbet 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Knowles:

It feels totally honest to me and a great piece of writing.

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Wee Davie 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Knowles:

Maybe that’s the horrible ironic point of the piece. Selfishness, vanity and the essential pointlessness of climbing. 

Michael Gordon 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Wee Davie:

Yes, conflicted rather than false emotions I would say. He asks near the end whether he would still have gone had he known in advance the events which would unfold (the question goes unanswered). The answer surely has to be 'no', yet in hindsight and with the experience of the ascent to consider, he's maybe not so sure (in either way). There's also an element of 'why did this have to spoil my day?' Such are the more ugly parts of the climber/mountaineer's mind.

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mountain.martin 18 Oct 2018
In reply to colinakmc:

> Well written but somehow repugnant. Like others on this thread I learned old school mountaineering values in Scotland, whereby you try to help anyone in difficulties. 

The way I read it there were no clear indications that the man was in serious trouble. The writer stopped to talk to him and he didn't ask for help.

I'd be amazed if there is a single person with a reasonable amount of experience in the hills who hasn't at some stage walked or climbed past someone who seemed a bit out of their depth and thought "I hope they are going to be ok, but they are not my responsibility, I'm knackered, hungry and need to look after myself/partner, they got themselves into this position, if they keep it together they can get themselves out again.

I know I have several times. You'd never get along grib goch or striding edge without this approach most weekends.

I imagine 99% of us would get involved if someone was in obvious distress, or actually asked for help, but that's not what happened here from my reading of the article.

TobyA 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Would a similar decision have been made when meeting someone who appeared out of their depth during worsening weather in Scottish winter? I'm not sure.

I had two experiences last winter that led me to reflect on this issue rather. The first was in January, my self and a friend were crossing the first half Crib Goch in quite bad conditions  https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=305032 . We were using it as the approach to the climb we wanted to do on Crib Goch north side, but we walked up to the summit of Crib Goch near to a few teams out doing the ridge, all well equipped with winter gear. On the famous first bit of the ridge as you leave the summit we caught up with a couple. They both had fabric walking boots on, the guy some ok-ish but more what i'd call summer walking clothing, the girl had cotton jogging bottoms, and what seemed to be a cotton hoodie under some kind waterproof jacket, but not a proper mountain shell. What really stood out was that the both had one Grivel Lil' Monster ice tool each. The girl looked terrified and upset, her feet were slipping around. The guy seemed to be trying to encourage her on but didn't look much more experienced himself. We spoke to them as we went past, I think the guy asked us how long the ridge carried on like that - but almost instantly you get sucked into some weird dynamic - where whatever you said or did was going to be wrong in some way. Both Simon (my partner) and myself were concerned about the woman because she looked so scared, and soggy and cold. But we were concerned about the chap too, you get that horrible feeling of someone who knows enough to get themselves into a serious situation but not enough to get themselves out of it. I asked the girl if she had waterproof trousers, and suggested she put on when they got to an easier bit. We also told them where you can with care descend from the ridge. But was I more worried about the girl because I presumed she had been dragged into this by an over enthusiastic boyfriend? Perhaps I felt in the past that I had been that over enthusiastic boyfriend getting my partner to come on climbs with me that she didn't enjoy. Perhaps she had been as excited to try Crib Goch as the bloke - and they were adults with presumably the reading skills to read the warning signs all over the bottom of that route and the free will to ignore them. They had also equipped themselves with (rather inappropriate) ice axes, so it wasn't like they hadn't thought about it.  Simon and I are experienced winter climbers but we're not guides or rescue-trained. If we had persuaded them, we probably would have been able to short-rope them off safely, but who really knows. In the end we did little more than offer them some words of encouragement and advice and told them to take care. I did check that evening though to see if there had been any rescues in Snowdonia. Thankfully there hadn't.

The second episode was a few weeks later. I was walking on Sunday afternoon around the southern edge of Kinder. There was snow up top and it was cold and windy, but as I walked from Ringing Roger towards the top of Grindsbrook Clough the cloud came in, it started snowing hard and it was a proper blizzard. I was very glad I had thought to chuck ski googles in to my pack. Out of the murk I suddenly came across a family of four - mum and dad and two girls who were I think 10 and 11. All of them were well equipped with good walking clothes, boots gaiters etc. But I think the blizzard had surprised them and they were confused as to where they were. Again there was at first a weird dynamic because I think the kids at least weren't convinced that dad who had the map and compass knew where they were or where to go, and the little girls just directly said to me would I show them. I tried not to undermine the parents in front of the kids, but I showed them where they were on their map and showed them my phone on which I have OS maps that work with the GPS. I walked with them to the top of the path down the clough and explained that would take them back to Edale. I was going to carry on along the plateau edge further before dropping down, but the afternoon was passing, I couldn't see anything in the blizzard anyway and I was parked at Edale, so turned back and used the same path down soon catching the family up. I helped them down the little steep bit at the top and then just walked and chatted with them as we lost height. Soon the wind eased significantly, there was less snow on the ground and we came below the cloud. The kids seemed much less scared than up on the plateau, mum and dad knew where they were and where to go, it's a big path along the valley floor that takes you only back to the village, so at that point I said bye a second time and went on ahead.

I don't know if I did something better on Kinder than I did on Crib Goch. Kids were involved in the former, not in the latter. I knew I could help by just showing the way down from Kinder, I wasn't sure what help we could offer on Crib Goch. But I'm also well aware on Kinder I had had a nice walk and would soon be heading down myself, whilst on Crib Goch we had got up at 4 am, driven 3 hours to get there. Walked up a big hill and hadn't even got to the base of the climb we wanted to try, so perhaps selfishness played a much bigger part than i'd like to admit.

Post edited at 22:50
Robert Durran 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Ok. I'm a bit confused here.

When I click on your username at the top of your post I find that you have written an article on UKC under the name Daniel Moore about climbing the N. Face of the Eiger with a partner you call Mario which is the same name as Dan's partner in this Matterhorn article. So obviously I am wondering whether you are in fact the author of both articles and are now replying to posts about this article under another name.

I wonder if you could clear this up.

I only stumbled on this because I know a climber called Dan Moore who very occasionally posts on here under a pseudonym, but whom I am virtually certain has not done the Eiger, but I was trying to work out whether he was the author of this article.

Rick Graham 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Well spotted.

If you look at the posts following the Eiger article, Joseph Robertson replies twice, once impling he is the author, the second as if he is another person.

misleading or deceiving, cock up or conspiracy ?

perhaps Dan Joseph or Daniel can explain.

Post edited at 23:12
Robert Durran 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

> If you look at the posts following the Eiger article, Joseph Robertson replies twice, once impling he is the author, the second as if he is another person.

It is certainly somewhat bizarre......

> misleading or deceiving, cock up or conspiracy ?

At best misleading I think.

 

Paul Sagar 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Agreed - I think this is, stylistically, one of the best things I’ve read on UKC. 

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Stuart en Écosse 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Now I've read yours and Rick's posts I am also intrigued, as I assumed it was the Dan Moore that we know, used to be Submariner on here, (and is more than capable of waltzing up the Schmidt) which is why I responded to the OP in a familiar manner.

Joseph/Daniel: can you clear this up please, at least seeing as there may be another climber of the same name who gets mistaken for you?   

CurlyStevo 18 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Good spot I also wondered if the other post was the dan Moore we know. Certainly a bit odd.

Robert Durran 19 Oct 2018
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Looking at the posting history of  "Joseph Robertson" I am now certain he is not the Dan Moore we know, which is a relief because there seems to be something odd going on.

This seems to be the Dan Moore/Joseph Robertson of the articles: (some of the Matterhorn article's photos are there):

https://m.facebook.com/danmooreclimbing

Post edited at 00:52
Deadeye 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

why do you refer to yourself in the third person when discussing articles you have writtern (here and as Dan Moore)?

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Well sir, you've got me. Daniel Joseph Robertson Moore. It does seem there is another Dan 'Submariner' Moore on here - though he is no relation of mine, and I do not know about his climbing exploits. When I first made my profile here, as with other sites I did not use my first/family names (technophobia). I didn't think much about the name thing... why my comments implied me, why this time I played carelessly with it. Misleading, deceiving and a cockup are well received. Conspiracy is a little harsh... Perhaps a punch for unsubtle foul play? Anyway, I enjoy the debates sparked by the many articles on here. As well as all criticism. I will change my profile to my real name. And face you mano e mano. Here I am, a hurting, weak, loving, strong human being like all the rest. Cut me up, or forgive me. But know this about the 'article'.

I only agreed to this being published, if the person's last words were left out, and if details about them were changed, so as to be sensitive to their memory. The story is true. The emotion is real. The hurt is real. The point of sharing this with you is clearly not to question what I could've/should've done, and I make no attempt to defend or excuse my actions. 

All those who go to the mountains are at risk of being exposed to dangerous/sad situations, whether they be the witness or the victim. Perhaps others will be persuaded to think about these questions more before they go. So they may be more prepared than I was. We all know that this 'game' is dangerous, and it 'can' happen. But we all secretly harbour a feeling and a hope, like with being in a car crash, that it probably wont happen to me...

This article is about facing one's self (which ironically I'm having to do again now).

Post edited at 01:31
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Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

You sound like a very educated creative writing guru. You have taught me new phrases like 'non-sequeter' and 'truncated' and 'inconsistent use of contractions' (doesn't that happen during difficult childbirth?). I am positively uneducated and therefore/in/of free to write however the huck I like about my memories. AND make mistakes in the writing. I've a lot to learn. Compared to you I'm like a curious toddler building wobbly towers out of Duplo. But maybe I like them wobbly.

 

6
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Knowles:

I can take any criticism Tom. But this is not criticism, only very cruel and false assumptions about me as a person. I wrote this firstly for myself, living the whole day over, as you would - from the start, the absolute joy of living a dream... through to the horrible end. When published I could of left out details of my own climb - because your kind of reaction was inevitable. Thank you though, I will hopefully learn from this in the future.

But it really, honestly cuts me deeply when you say my emotions are not genuine; worse that I hijack someone's death for my own gain. I only agreed to share this, after removing/changing physical details about that person out of respect. Their last words are mine alone. I shared this because I thought, even if it makes ONE person just a tiny bit more prepared for such a situation; makes them think just a little bit about the possible scenarios they might face, and question themselves before they go to the mountains - then it will be worth it. I don't see any glory in mountaineering. I know it is a pointless, privileged hobby. 

Distasteful? What about your comment 'supposed seriousness'? Is it not serious that a person died - I could give more detail - was smashed into pieces before my eyes?

Post edited at 02:49
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Matt Vigg 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Knowles:

Tom I think this is very harsh, I’ve seen someone die in the mountains - luckily for me from a distance, followed by a helicopter and later a body bag in the valley. I never met the person but it still affected me a lot. This is a climbing site, where else does writing like this belong? And why on earth would you start from the assumption that the writer isn’t genuine?

Edit: btw, I should add, when I read this article last night it reminded me of my experience and my first thought was posting a reply about it. I quickly changed my mind for precisely the reasoning you’re giving, having read your post though it felt appropriate to defend the author. I also don’t want this to come across as overly critical of your position, this medium is a strange way to communicate, perhaps this is why in part you think things like this shouldn’t become articles in the first place.

Post edited at 07:13
1
Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I think I probably see the situations much the same way as you do. Walking them off Kinder was fairly easy and cost you nothing, while getting someone off Crib Goch may be a bit trickier. Later in the day (like in the article) when you're descending anyway, climbers are probably more inclined to help when they're going the same way (off the hill), not when they're wanting to start a route!

Robert Durran 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Matt Vigg:

> ...........my first thougt was posting a reply about it. I quickly changed my mind........

I too felt an immediate and quite strong reaction to the article and I might well have posted it had there not been a possibility (even though I thought it slight from the start) that the author was the Dan Moore I know rather than the Dan Moore who wrote the Eiger article I remembered.

I am now conflicted about whether or not to keep my views to myself. All articles on here come with a discussion thread attached and so invite discussion - the author will have known this - but it is difficult to know how far it is tasteful to speculate about the author's psychology given the subject matter (though the article seems to be largely about the author's state of mind, and so ought to be a fair subject of discussion). Then throw into the psychological mix the fact that the author felt the need to reply to comments under another name as if he was not the author........

Anyway, certainly food for thought.

Post edited at 07:41
planetmarshall 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> I am positively uneducated and therefore/in/of free to write however the huck I like about my memories. AND make mistakes in the writing.

You are of course free to write whatever you like. Just as I am free to pass comment on anything published in the public domain, I assume that anything published on UKC as an article is up for discussion, whether it be about style or content.

I could have just given the article a dislike and left it at that but prefer to give my reasons. Any criticism of the article is in no way a comment on you, your actions or your education. 'Education', or lack thereof, is absolutely no barrier to good writing.

 

4
Rick Graham 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

I read both articles assuming they were works of fact not fiction.

I am also wary of anything on the internet.

Both articles are now belittled in my view by the inconsistencies so far uncovered.

As ever, a UKC user profile works wonders in how a forum post or article is interpreted.

Rick Graham, still in bed, lie in, off to dentists soon.

Sorry, Richard Oliver Graham

Post edited at 08:25
1
Hardonicus 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Then throw into the psychological mix the fact that the author felt the need to reply to comments under another name as if he was not the author........

The apparent narcissism surrounding this action certainly adds another flavour to the interpretation of the article...

2
Rick Graham 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

It might stop some confusion over mine and other comments re your user and author name if you added to your profile that you have just edited your user name from Joseph Robertson to Dan Moore.

 

Rick Graham 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Hardonicus:

> The apparent narcissism surrounding this action certainly adds another flavour to the interpretation of the article...

My gut feeling ATM about the articles are 60%factual/40%fiction.

Rampikino 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

It is important to remember that the subject of this piece may be the fallen climber, but the object is the author himself.  This is reflective writing - a look in the mirror and an assessment of own responses to a very harrowing experience.

As such the piece is very self-indulgent.  This is not a criticism.  Reflective writing, by its very nature, tends to be very self-indulgent.  That is the point.  We look at our own responses and reactions and consider how they may have had an impact and how we could have done something in a different way.

There is no lack of emotion here.  Dan is exploring his very real feelings about a fantastic day that turned sour, but particularly his own actions which have left him feeling guilty.  Should he have done something different?  Let's not beat about the bush - Dan is using the piece to put his case for forgiveness forward, and not only from himself but from the wider community.  The piece has a side to it that is seeking justification for his actions.  Again, this is not a criticism, I am sure that anyone who has been through such a thing would want, in some way, to have reassurance that they were not to blame.

This exploration of the guilt, which is quite nicely written albeit with some odd grammar, a drop into staccato writing and some very peculiar phrasing (as previously mentioned), is understandable.  Yet what about the subject?

The subject is reduced to a blur of colours, a handful of words, the briefest of description and ultimately a cadaver.  The subject is dehumanised.  Perhaps this is the way that the author manages his emotions - by distancing himself from the subject.  The more human he makes the subject the more difficult it is to wipe away the horrendous and vivid memories of seeing a person fall to their death.  What it ultimately does, for me, is it displays a lack of empathy.  Coupled with the self-indulgent search for justification, this lack of empathy meant that the piece grated on me for quite a while until I could put my finger on it.

Perhaps this is just the writing style, perhaps it is just the struggle for Dan to truly come to terms with what happened.  In the following posts Dan talked about not wanting to discuss the climber's last words and identity.  The identity I can understand, the last words less so.  If the last words were; "hey, I'm fine, don't worry..." then that puts a totally different spin on the story whereas if they were something more worrying then they indicate more about the state of mind of the climber.  In a very proprietary moment, Dan has decided that these last words belong only to him.

Personally I think that more could have been done in the piece to talk about the climber and his last words (even in a roundabout way) which would have demonstrated a more human connection with the man - a display of empathy.  He could have talked about how he rationalised it with his climbing partner, how they talked it through.  It is striking to me that Dan only talks about his own encounter with the climber - did his partner not see him and speak to him too?  Dan has decided to leave all this out, and the result is the coldness and lack of genuine connection.

Narcissistic?  Soul-searching?  We weren't there, so we can't say for certain - we have to take it on trust.  It is certainly bold to publish such an article on UKC and open oneself up for criticism.  I hope the family and friends of the climber find comfort and ways to deal with the loss.  I hope Dan finds the inner peace he wants, but UKC is not the place to seek forgiveness - we are not in a position to grant it.

 

Addendum:  Dan said words to the effect of; "I only agreed to publish this article on the condition that..."

This is odd.  As the author he can write the article as he wants.  The statement implies that he was under some kind of pressure to publish the article in the first place.  I'm afraid the way this statement is written comes across as a bit self-important.  Again, perhaps it's a misreading/misinterpretation.

3
Derek Ryden 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Article

I believe that this article, together with the ensuing discussion is probably the most significant one I have ever read on UKC. The fact that it's not perfect from a literary standpoint is absolutely irrelevant - it did what it needed to do - it instigated a profound and rich discussion which has included pretty much every shade of opinion imaginable. Are we, the author and the commentators, somehow exploiting someone else's tragedy, or are we trying, as best we can, to address some of the biggest questions of climbing, and of life? I chose to believe the latter. I reject the unwritten assumption behind some of the replies, that because climbing is an essentially flippant activity, the experiences it engenders are somehow less than completely authentic. Any human experience, documented with as much honestly as an author can muster, is authentic. I don't even care whether the events described are fact, or fiction. I believe that the discussion, both within the article, and in the ensuing thread are justification enough. I would like to see more forums where climbers discuss the big issues, rather than skirt round them.

1
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Derek Ryden:

Thank you. For choosing the latter. Someone who has really got the point.

 

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yes Robert. The name thing was foolish. 

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

Gut feelings are a very important thing to have in the mountains. But your gut feeling here is 39.9% wrong. Apart from physical description of the person, it is one day as I experienced it. And accusing me of making it up... worse than any criticism.

Post edited at 11:39
4
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

I prefer that you state your reasons than just dislike. I mean it when I say thank you. 

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Rampikino:

I know little about objects and subjects, or truncations, and the larger part of what you discuss is irrelevant. Although it is a long contemplation and therefore a good thing. Sharing this is nothing to do with me. I don't want pity. I don't want forgiveness! Actual I, has no importance in this story. I do not give more detail about the climber who died, because I have no right to do so. I do not give more detail about my climbing partner, because I have no right to do so - I'll only say that he was solemn and calm while I was on the verge of loosing my shit. He passed by the man a little further away and did not talk to him. Call me what you will. It is inevitable. But perhaps, instead of contemplating my story, try to contemplate your story. Contemplate only that this sort of thing can happen. And how ready you'll be when it does. Derek Ryden is the first person to concisely hit the nail on the PROVERBIAL

3
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Hardonicus:

Narcissism? Do you really think I seek admiration for my actions? Do you really think I'm selfish in sharing this story. I cut myself open and hold it out to you. Not so you look at me, but so you might look deeper at yourself. Plain stupid more sums up the name thing...

This is not about my experience, its about everyone's experiences: all other similar incidents that have just been forgotten, stories untold. The police in Zermatt (where we had to give a statement) said its one of their main jobs... identifying the numerous bodies brought down off that flipping mountain. Imagine their job. And imagine how many other similar, chance encounters occur before an accident.  

Please see Derek Ryden's comment; this is an example of the true reason for sharing. 

Post edited at 12:31
6
Robert Durran 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> Yes Robert. The name thing was foolish. 

Ok. I'll accept it as no more than that. We all do foolish little things sometimes.

MarkT 19 Oct 2018

Dan,

Some of the responses you have received betray a staggering immaturity, ignorance and lack of consideration; I would encourage you to ignore them.

If you haven’t read ‘Touching the void’ by Joe Simpson I urge you to do so, it has clear analogies with the predicament you found yourself in; the decisions made entirely justified and respected by both parties. 

In 2010 I was a lone first-aider at an RTC involving three seriously ill casualties, one a seven year old girl who I was confidently told would not survive despite my efforts and those of the professionals (on arrival). I was also told in no uncertain terms to seek counselling, which I did. Those six sessions (funded by my employer) allowed me to come to terms with what I had experienced. I learnt one year later that the girl had survived. 

These experiences take us to our own private hell but there are routes back out, no matter what the outcome. Writing is not the only therapy.

You made the right decision, let no one tell you otherwise.

 

timparkin 19 Oct 2018
In reply to planetmarshall:

> I could have just given the article a dislike and left it at that but prefer to give my reasons. Any criticism of the article is in no way a comment on you, your actions or your education. 'Education', or lack thereof, is absolutely no barrier to good writing.

You can learn the techniques of 'proper' writing quite easily - however it takes some innate passion and style to write something that moves people and that's what Dan's work did for me, regardless of my own thoughts.  

1
Rick Graham 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> Gut feelings are a very important thing to have in the mountains. But your gut feeling here is 39.9% wrong. Apart from physical description of the person, it is one day as I experienced it. And accusing me of making it up... worse than any criticism.

Just giving my opinion.

To be fair this thread is digging deeper and creating more discussion than whether the story is fact or fiction.

I am personally not totally convinced either way at the moment. Honest!

2
Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Hardonicus:

> The apparent narcissism surrounding this action certainly adds another flavour to the interpretation of the article...

Indeed. I know the author strenuously disagrees (as he would), but since one of the main themes of the article is self-questioning, it does cast some doubt in my mind over the sincerity of such. Tom Knowles may have been correct (to an extent) after all... 

Post edited at 13:49
Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to MarkT:

> If you haven’t read ‘Touching the void’ by Joe Simpson I urge you to do so, it has clear analogies with the predicament you found yourself in; the decisions made entirely justified and respected by both parties. >

I honestly can't see any similarities whatsoever.

> You made the right decision, let no one tell you otherwise.

I'm sure the author will agree that there is right, wrong, and there are shades of grey in many decisions we take. 

1
what the hex 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Why would someone make up a story that portrays them in an ambiguous light? If the author was a Walter Mitty type, there would be no introspection.

No-one can say how they would react when things go wrong. Balancing self preservation with altruism isn’t straight forward. We human beings are wired to put ourselves first in extremis, an evolutionary quirk. Shock (psychological) can also shut you down.

Nothing’s black and white. You’re desire to view people as either good or bad is a bit immature.

Post edited at 13:59
Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to what the hex:

> Why would someone make up a story that portrays them in an ambiguous light? >

I didn't say he had made up the story. 

> Nothing’s black and white. You’re desire to view people as either good or bad is a bit immature.

I suggest you read the last sentence of the last post I made, immediately above yours.

what the hex 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I didn't say he had made up the story. 

Good point, I re-read your post and you didn't.

> I suggest you read the last sentence of the last post I made, immediately above yours.

Again, you are right. We must have been typing simultaneously. 

Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to what the hex:

OK thanks

Deadeye 19 Oct 2018
In reply to MarkT:

> If you haven’t read ‘Touching the void’ by Joe Simpson I urge you to do so, it has clear analogies with the predicament you found yourself in; the decisions made entirely justified and respected by both parties. 

Well, no.  The very important and relevant differences utterly outweigh any superficial similarities.

Joe survived. I've often wondered how the story would sound and be viewed if he hadn't. Simon was given a hard time in some quarters as it was.

The decision in TTV was retrospectively agreed by the two. At the time it was unilateral because no communication was possible.

The decision here was also unilateral but a conversation was possible.  I hope if I'm ever in the position described here that I might choose differently - but I can see how I might be tempted not to.

 

Goucho 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Sorry to be the unpopular one to say it, but the OP and his partner should have helped this guy.

If the OP had spent as much time enquiring if this guy needed assistance, as he did making detailed notes about his appearance - right down to his neatly trimmed beard - maybe there might have been a different outcome?

They'd just made a pretty quick ascent of the NF, so clearly had plenty of technical skill and experience in reserve, and I can't see any mention of either bad weather, exhaustion or darkness threatening?

So all this talk of only being responsible for himself and his partner, sounds to me like over dramatic bollocks to justify the fact they basically were completely indifferent to this guys situation, and simply couldn't be arsed.

To then write an article with the central theme being a naval gazing stream of self concious introspection, all about how the OP felt after the accident waiting to happen, is to me, rather self indulgent and distasteful.

I am of course expecting a thorough flaming for this.

4
Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

> Well, no.  The very important and relevant differences utterly outweigh any superficial similarities.

> Joe survived. I've often wondered how the story would sound and be viewed if he hadn't. Simon was given a hard time in some quarters as it was.

> The decision in TTV was retrospectively agreed by the two. At the time it was unilateral because no communication was possible.

> The decision here was also unilateral but a conversation was possible.  I hope if I'm ever in the position described here that I might choose differently - but I can see how I might be tempted not to.

Another very big difference is that in actual fact Simon didn't have a choice. As far as I understand it, he was being slowly pulled off his stance, and without a decent belay there was no possibility of tie-ing off his partner. As it was, he literally did everything he could to try and get his partner off the mountain. As a partial defence of the author of this article, this was not his partner so the 'bond of the rope' doesn't come into it.   

Lusk 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

> ..........

> I am of course expecting a thorough flaming for this.

Not from me, it's exactly what I was thinking, just needed someone to express it better than I could.
The poor guy was obviously freaked out and they just abandoned him!

1
Michael Hood 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

I think the final words, which the author is keeping to himself, might be pertinent.

At the two extremes, "I'm ok, don't worry about me" is slightly different to "I'm way out of my depth, please help me get back down".

Matt Vigg 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

Don’t necessarily disagree with your first paragraph and it’s possible the author doesn’t either. The rest of your post isn’t based on a whole lot and may indeed deserve a flaming!

9
Trangia 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

 

> I am of course expecting a thorough flaming for this.

Not from me you won't, because I have been turning this over in my mind all day, and you have echoed my thoughts precisely and expressed them better than I could have.

I keep wondering why the author felt the need to write this publicly? If he is just recounting a very unpleasant event then I find it thoroughly disturbing and insensitive, particularly the detail he goes into about the fall. Just imagine how the victim's poor family will feel if they read it? As a father and grandfather I know that if the victim had been one of my sons or grandchildren I would have wanted to have asked these two individuals why the hell they failed to offer assistance to someone out of their comfort zone and in a such a potentially dangerous situation? These were two experienced mountaineers, so I find the explanation, volunteered by the author, that they were primarily responsible for each other so could/would not assist a fellow mountaineer in such a situation very very thin. It goes against the whole ethos of mountaineering.

I think that understandably, the author is struggling here with the demons of guilt for their actions/inactions. That is understandable, they are human beings, and as humans we all make mistakes, and misjudgements. I think that this article was written as a means of trying to exorcise those demons, but it doesn't, if anything it probably makes them worse and has stirred up a lot of criticism like yours, mine and others.

I can sympathise with the author for the terrible anguish this horrific event has caused him, but I suggest he needs to seek professional help in tackling these demons of guilt, rather than resorting to an article like the one he has written.

 

2
Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Trangia:

To give the author some due, the article is about uncertainty, conflicting emotions (hopefully genuine), self-questioning (ditto), rationalising situations (self-delusion?), reasoning with oneself, selfishness and - possibly - regret. All fascinating subject matter and more so in a discussion with different points of view.

2
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Hello, I'm here. Laid Bare. All the impressions I had of this man - are etched into my brain because of what happened a short time after. We passed already maybe 20 other people on our way down. Surely half of them I thought, 'eesh hope they'll be ok'. We were ALMOST down. He did not ask for help. He was soloing. He was moving under his own steam. He had one more set of abseils left to make and then just scrambling to safety. I only realised after just how nervous he seemed. I would be too if I was soloing. Where he fell was a walking section, just before the abseils. A tiny patch of ice covered the path. He did not have his crampons on when he flew past me. He didn't have his ice axe in his hand... I could not predict this.

The point is not what I should or could have done. The point is to question yourself (believe me I did a lot more questioning). This 'article' is pretty much a raw diary entry I wrote, within a week of the accident, as a form of therapy to deal with it. And I share it with you now, a long time since it occurred. Hoping that other mountain goers might look more inwardly, and be mentally prepared for just such a scenario. I have long since come to terms with it. Words are too simple to convey it all. I thought I was aware and ready for something like that. But afterwards I realised I obviously still harboured that feeling like we all do (as with having a car crash) that it probably wont happen to/around me. If just One person gains a tiny bit more awareness, and prepares themselves mentally for such and incident, then it will have been worth sharing this thing. Speculate all you want. It will not change the past, but it may alter the future. No flaming required. 

 

2
Goucho 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Read the long second paragraph of your article.

You describe how he asked "where's the path?" and how he appeared lost both literally and in himself, and confused. In fact you describe his frame of mind as far from good.

If those aren't clues as big as the f*cking Hollywood sign, that this guy needed help, then I don't know what are?

I'm not surprised you've struggled with feelings of guilt. I know I certainly would have!

11
Mick Ward 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

>  I only realised after just how nervous he seemed.

It seems to me that this is a (the?) key point. At the time, the encounter came in amid a load of other stuff that was going on around you. Sure, it struck false notes. But the diary entry/'article' was written in full knowledge of the awful conclusion. So - understandably - in the account, the false notes scream out at you/us. Did they scream out enough at the time, though? Only you can answer that question. But my guess is that no, they didn't - at least not sufficiently. If the guy had asked for help and you'd ignored him, well then I'd feel you were in the wrong. But seemingly (not knowing the poor man's last words), that didn't happen. 

As I'm sure you're painfully aware, there are no easy answers. Most of us - if we're being honest - have made mistakes in climbing which could have got people killed. Many of us have to live with regret anyway - about what we did and/or about what we didn't. Our worst critics are ourselves. In the end, you just have to take what lessons you can take, let it go, stagger on somehow.

Mick

 

 

 

 

 

 

TobyA 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

I really don't think that's either helpful or particularly fair - we weren't there, we don't really know what the guy looked like. And Dan says he changed the last words.

Really don't know much. Maybe it was obvious the guy needed help, maybe the opposite. If he didn't ask for help how was anyone to know?

4
teh_mark 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

No flaming here.

I've avoided commenting so far because I'm struggling to express my opinion in a sensitive and empathetic tone. The article makes me feel distinctly uncomfortable. Not because of the subject matter, but because of the recurring themes of I'm only responsible for my partner and helping would have placed us in danger. With all due respect, that's bollocks. You've cruised the Schmid Route, but you don't have the skills to help someone on technically easy ground? Really? And you're happy to delude yourself that we don't have some common responsibility for each other in the mountains when in need? That is incredibly disappointing and I can only hope that attitude doesn't prevail.

I appreciate that perhaps the need for help wasn't obvious, perhaps you genuinely though he was ok. I'm honestly not judging on that basis, because I can understand and empathise entirely with how you came to the decision you did. I'm judging the bizarre belief that you were powerless to offer any assistance regardless. It's just not true.

Stylistically? I personally find it reads quite pretentiously, but like all art it's a personal thing isn't it? Clearly many people here think the writing was effective, and who am I to tell them otherwise?

3
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

"I'm judging the bizarre belief that you were powerless to offer any assistance regardless. It's just not true."

Absolutely! This is indeed 'just not true' - where in all of this do I say that I was powerless to help? The whole entry is an admission that I may have been able to do so. But chose not to, based on my overall belief in that moment that he, like the countless others I have met and worried about, would probably be ok. All the others so far have came back smiling. He did not. 

If someone asked for my help, if they had slipped but were alive and reachable, if they were physically shaking on the spot, if they were injured, I know for certain that I would have stopped whatever I was doing, going up/going down and go to their aid. You are free to judge. I know its coming. I know more will lash out. But honestly, compared to the heartbreak I felt back then, you are just picking my scabs.

As well as dwelling on a past situation you were not involved in, one which words are hard to describe, I hope you will also think about yourself, about how precious your own life is, about about how easily it can be thrown away. 

Post edited at 20:39
teh_mark 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> where in all of this do I say that I was powerless to help?

...my responsibility was to my climbing partner...his life was mine to protect. Not this stranger. I knew that if I did anymore for him I would jeopardise our own safety...

Like I said, I'm not judging that you didn't offer any help. I understand that entirely. I also wasn't there, and the situation is not for me to judge. It's the general attitude that comes across in your words that strikes a discord with me. It's wrong. It doesn't have a place in the mountains that I know and love.

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Lusk:

> The poor guy was obviously freaked out and they just abandoned him!

It was indeed obvious, and imprinted on my brain, after I watched him fall. But "abandoned him!" He was moving, we were moving, other teams were moving down: indeed a guided team, just behind us, passed him on their way, moments before he slipped. He was not sitting still like a puppy. He just sat to rest at the moment I passed him. He was not pleaing or begging for help. He was not injured. Multiple people walking in the same direction and one slips. How is this abandonment? 

Again. Its ok to speculate. But I hope you also think about your own life, and how precious it is.

 

1
Derek Ryden 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

We all know he should have stayed to help the guy. With the benefit of 20:20 hindsight this is bleeding obvious, and the author knows this better than any of us. The article is not his attempt to justify his action, it's him examining his own motives for not having acted, and sharing them with us as a gift, in hopes that we won't make the same mistake as him. Cut the guy some slack.

Michael Gordon 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Mick Ward:

> It seems to me that this is a (the?) key point. At the time, the encounter came in amid a load of other stuff that was going on around you. Sure, it struck false notes. But the diary entry/'article' was written in full knowledge of the awful conclusion. So - understandably - in the account, the false notes scream out at you/us. > 

I think this is fair. It's entirely possible he may not have even remembered the meeting now, had the events that followed not done so. Some things are only clear in hindsight, if indeed they ever are. 

Kevster 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Hats off for writing and publicly sharing. No one wants to find themselves experience this kind of tragic situation in person. When an accident happens, there is always something someone could have done differently.

I have lost 2 climbing partners to climbing type related accidents. Neither of which I was present for. Both have had significant impacts on myself and others. Both were lottery type incedents with fatal outcomes.

I have been directly involved in an accident, rather my partners accident. I could have done more, and if I had not been trying to take photos etc and paid more attention, he may not have needed that ambulance. It's taken a few years to be comfortable in expressing this.

Climbing is pointless, therefore it is a selfish activity. It has inherent risk, how many times are we soloing in company? How many times do we face a ground fall? How many times could we have been safer?

Most of us enter into climbing activities knowing the risks. Some of us exit, because of the risks. We accept those terms, and do not take assistance for granted when in difficulty. Yes it's nice to be nice, but getting being nice right is also difficult when so frequently we find ourselves in difficult situations (or potentially dangerous ones) at the same time.

We are only human. 

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

It doesn't have a place in the mountains that I know and love. I agree with you about the statement in and of itself. But again - where do I say I believe I was powerless to help? I only show what I chose to focus on in the moment (which was totally without words). More, that I obviously question this decision later. 

If you want to strip me bare then do it. But i put it to you: Would you choose a stranger over your rope mate? Would you jeopardise yours, and his (your rope mate's safety) for someone which, from your overall impression in the moment, seemed 'out of his comfort zone'. But was not injured, was in easy terrain and did not ask for help (simple facts - without speculation)? 

Please, continue. It may help other people to really contemplate where they might stand, and at where their own boundaries might truly lie. 

Post edited at 21:16
Goucho 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> If you want to strip me bare then do it. But i put it to you: Would you choose a stranger over your rope mate? Would you jeopardise yours, and his (your rope mate's safety) for someone which, from your overall impression in the moment, seemed 'out of his comfort zone'. But was not injured, was in easy terrain and did not ask for help (simple facts - without speculation)? 

Could you please expand on why helping this guy would have resulted in you choosing him over your rope mate, and  'jeopardised' you and your partners safety?

Are there some other facts pertaining to the situation missing - along with this poor guys final words?

 

6
Matt Vigg 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Mick Ward:

> >  I only realised after just how nervous he seemed.

> It seems to me that this is a (the?) key point. At the time, the encounter came in amid a load of other stuff that was going on around you. Sure, it struck false notes. But the diary entry/'article' was written in full knowledge of the awful conclusion....

Exactly, it’s easy for people to read the complete story and criticise, how many people can say for sure they would have acted differently when it mattered and been able to make the judgement that they should. Kind of a pointless question given none of us were there so we probably should just use the sad story as a reminder to double (triple?) check people are ok if anything similar happens to us.

Misha 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

I thought this was a good article which raises important points.

> We passed already maybe 20 other people on our way down. Surely half of them I thought, 'eesh hope they'll be ok'. We were ALMOST down. He did not ask for help. He was soloing. He was moving under his own steam. He had one more set of abseils left to make and then just scrambling to safety. I only realised after just how nervous he seemed. I would be too if I was soloing. Where he fell was a walking section, just before the abseils. A tiny patch of ice covered the path. He did not have his crampons on when he flew past me. He didn't have his ice axe in his hand... I could not predict this.

Thank you for clarifying the circumstances - this is important context. I don't agree with your view that in the mountains you only need to look after yourself and your partner(s). I think the answer is far more nuanced and will depend on the circumstances. Location, time of day, route and weather conditions, relative experience of the parties, injury or other distress and so on - in short, it depends on the seriousness of the situation. There will be times when, as an experienced mountaineer, it would be appropriate or even necessary to help someone or at least to point out the risks of the situation and offer help.

From what you've said above, it sounds like what you did was not unreasonable. He had presumably managed to descend a fair way (even if he hadn't reached the summit), he wasn't far from the bottom, he hadn't asked you for help, he wasn't injured and he wasn't physically or psychologically exhausted (as far as we know and of course this is something which wouldn't have been easy to assess anyway, particularly psychological stress).

I'm perplexed by your references to the unfortunate climber's last words. Why mention it at all? If it was something that identified him in some way, for example he said what his name was or where he was from, of course it wouldn't be appropriate to include that. But if he said something that's relevant to the message of the articles (for example if he asked for help or indeed said thanks for showing him the way and that he'd be fine to carry on) then it's something that should really be mentioned. That fact that you mention it but don't say what it was about makes me think that there's an important piece we're missing which might change our view on the story but perhaps I'm reading too much into it.

(Edited re the climber not asking for help or being injured in light of your later post - again, thanks for clarifying).

Post edited at 21:42
1
Misha 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> Would you choose a stranger over your rope mate? Would you jeopardise yours, and his (your rope mate's safety) for someone which, from your overall impression in the moment, seemed 'out of his comfort zone'.

Again, it depends. It might not be safe to carry on in a rope of three (eg there is a storm coming in and you are concerned it would be too slow). Or you might be concerned that you would not be able to safely descend as a rope of three, particularly on scrambling terrain with someone you don't know who doesn't seem to be solid on their feet. Presumably you were moving together and it's fair enough not to want to do that with someone who might fall - you'd need to short rope them and that's not something most people can do safely (I'm just starting to learn how to do it after 15 years of climbing). After all, if he had slipped on the same bit of ice while roped up with you, that could have been three people dead instead of one. I guess you would have insisted on him wearing crampons if he were to tie in with you but even then he might have slipped. Whereas say abseiling down in a three isn't something that normally adds to your own risk, as long as the anchors are reasonable.

So the important point when deciding to help someone is whether you can manage the situation safely. 

teh_mark 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

I don't understand why you've decided it's a choice between the climber potentially in need and your partner (who presumably isn't an automaton and has the ability to think independently and discuss his own thoughts with you to reach a team consensus). If you were a guide with responsibilities to a less capable client I could understand not being in a position to help directly, but you've romped up a TD north face with a partner who we can only assume is equally capable.

I can't make sense of it. Help me out.

Misha 19 Oct 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

Alpine terrain where you want to be roped up just in case but can't afford anyone in the party falling?

James Mann 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Dan,

In writing this, you have made a good attempt to put a horrific experience into the public domain. I am not sure that it is a great piece of writing, but also I am not convinced that this was the point of it. 

When climbing, particularly in the Alps, it isn’t uncommon to come across parties whose actions potentially jeopardise the safety of your own party. On these occasions, I know that I have definitely done what I can to make myself and partner safe and have actively avoided involvement with other parties. I am of course, not talking about those who are in difficulty. Those, I have helped on a number of occasions, offering kindness and no judgement to the actions that have led to the situation. I have also lost good friends to the mountains over the years and have at times felt guilt about this.

 

The situation that the the author found himself in after the accident is desperate. There is no blame or fault and none should be apportioned. Those attempting to do this should put themselves in this situation; the end of a long descent after climbing through the night and then think about what could have been. 

 

My thoughts, for what they’re worth. 

 

James

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

The entire passage of thoughts, in the moment which included that set of words was a split second of logical reasoning without words, which I later tried to pull into words. 'Jeopordise' is related to the first thought canItakeHimonOurRope? I am completely unqualified to guide someone and therefore liable to cause an accident rather than avoid one. (Choose: Unless someone is injured, really clearly unmistakably in immediate trouble, or asks for help - it is a choice to focus on him, rather than your own climbing partner. If any of these things were crystal clear - it would not have been a choice, only a reaction. 

If I had reacted, it would have been to strongly encourage him to call the heli, or if he was unable to, call myself. (This, granted would not jeopardise anyone). But you cant call a heli for someone who does not want one.

Have you been on the Hornli Ridge, Mr Goucho? A swiss guide, at least all the ones I personally know, would never guide two people up it. It is mostly short roping in near-unprotectable terrain. I therefore know that as a responsible, and completely unqualified climber, I would never take a stranger, THERE, onto my rope. 

Post edited at 22:12
2
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Misha:

I don't agree with your view that in the mountains you only need to look after yourself and your partner

That is not my view!!! This is a SPLIT SECOND logical thought process, for one moment/situation pulled into words, and wholly and deeply questioned. 

Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Misha:

The very terrain.

teh_mark 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Misha:

Fair. I've not ventured onto the Hornli Ridge myself; I'm not a huge fan of fighting my way through the crowds, or of climbing choss, or of fighting my way through the crowds whilst climbing choss. I'd assumed that, whilst obviously no one in their right mind would pitch the entire ridge, there would be some reasonable albeit slow method of protecting it adequately. Clearly that's an incorrect assumption.

Though the devil's advocate in me is shouting out to ask why you'd rope up just in case, if the likely result is two deaths rather than one. That's about the time I'd be putting the rope away!

1
McHeath 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> I don't agree with your view that in the mountains you only need to look after yourself and your partner

> That is not my view!!! This is a SPLIT SECOND logical thought process, for one moment/situation pulled into words, and wholly and deeply questioned. 


Not in this case. It wasn't a split second decision (as in the case of rockfall for example); you talked to him, neither of you were in a hurry. And logical? He was apparently in trouble (we shouldn't forget the 80kmh winds you mentioned), and your partner definitely wasn't. You not only made the decision on the mountain; you justified it here in depth for all to read.

Quite honestly, there's so much more I could write about which niggles ("We were ALMOST down" - no, you weren't, you were above the Solvay hut ... "I turned my heart to steel" - why did you need to do that?). But I have the feeling I'd be arguing in the half-dark, since you've chosen not to include the important last exchange.

Yes, I'm criticising, I'm also exasperated, but I'm also very sorry that you had to experience this, and hope you find a successful way of coping with it.

3
McHeath 19 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

>It is mostly short roping in near-unprotectable terrain. I therefore know that as a responsible, and completely unqualified climber, I would never take a stranger, THERE, onto my rope. 

Neither would I; the guides spend months practicing the method. But simply being accompanied down the mountain by two very experienced climbers who could keep an eye on what he was doing, and where he was putting his feet, would probably have changed his state of mind considerably.

1
paul mitchell 19 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Karma  will arise from action and karma will arise from inaction. ''I turned my heart to steel''.Indeed,an all too British tendency.As  for  someone on the mountain being a ''stranger'' ,I thought we were all brothers and sisters on the mountain.I guess I inhabit a different world....

Post edited at 23:42
7
Dan Moore 19 Oct 2018
In reply to McHeath:

 "We were ALMOST down" - no, you weren't, you were above the Solvay hut ... "

Are you seriously telling where I was on the mountain? I was not above the solvay hut, one person commented something about the solvay hut, but we were closer to the Hornli hut. The wind was on the summit ridge. There was liitle to no wind all the way down here, on the lee side of the mountain. Do you know how wind works in the high mountains? It was a walking section... I have repeatedly indicated that his, very much private, last words did not indicate a desire or need to be rescued. Other people will ask for these last words too but that is plain disrespect. Again I reiterate... You dwell in the past, and on my experience, which you have no chance of understanding, when you could instead contemplate your own future/possible futures. And please check facts before picking my scabs.

Post edited at 23:46
McHeath 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

>  "We were ALMOST down" - no, you weren't, you were above the Solvay hut ... "

> Are you seriously telling where I was on the mountain? I was not above the solvay hut, one person commented something about the solvay hut, but we were closer to the Hornli hut.

Where on earth do you need to abseil lower than the Solvay? It's basically scrambling as I remember it.

 

1
Dan Moore 20 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Some of the retrospective speculations and wondering assumptions that have come up here are proving to be harder to deal with for me than the event itself. I have felt forced to defend myself due to some of the resopnses, while others, I know are so incredible I should ignore them. In the original thing/ diary entry I make no excuse. I open myself up and show you all my doubts at the extreme. I do not want pity. I especially do not want anyone to tell me I did the right thing.

My part in this tale is over. I cant keep following, I cant keep staying awake. I have a life to live. So do you. I only hope that, along with the inevitable continued speculation about a past event, hastily scribbled into black and white, that will never be sovled, for anyone... that just ONE, or some of you, might contemplate something else. Might be more prepared for death, when he finally finds you, or when by chance he stands at your side and takes another beautiful creature from before your eyes. 

If someone needs something, give it to them. If you can do something, do it. If you chose not to, or cant, then at least offer compassion. 

Perhaps I should have shared a comedy. Lets face it, thats what we’d all rather read. No hard feelings to any of you... Some might cringe if I say this, but honestly, I love you all.

Go slowly. Be safe. I’m Out.

 

Post edited at 00:29
Misha 20 Oct 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

I’ve not done the Hornli either, just speculating. I was thinking of moving together situations where it’s not steep enough to abseil but plenty steep enough to take a lethal fall, so you stick a piece of gear in every 5-10-15-20 metres whilst recognising that if anyone falls it won’t be pretty... But you’re right, quite often in such situations you just put the rope away if there’s a lot of ground like that to cover. 

mountain.martin 20 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I've seldom seen a thread about a mountain incident with such polarised views. 

From my view i find it incredibly hard to understand the heavily judgemental posts from people who weren't there and are basing their opinions on a few sentences in a short article that appears written to convey feelings and emotions and not necessarily produced as forensic analysis of the incident.

I would have expected a greater understanding of the role that hindsight might be playing in your judgements and some more compassion for a fellow climber who has undergone a very traumatic incident.

 

1
brunoschull 20 Oct 2018

Dan, I know you said your part in this tale is over, but I suspect you'll be back on the site in the morning, reading and processing.  I understand the impulse--last summer I got sucked into a silly back-and-forth on this site about Chris Froome and the TdF, and I could not tear myself away for days. 

Anyway, I think you have done a good job or explaining yourself and your conflicted feelings.  At this point, anybody who accuses you of making more than a simple though extremely consequential mistake, or accuses you of somehow not being moral, or not sharing the "values of the mountains," is treading on dangerously thin ice.  In  my opinion, these judgements reveal more about people's lack of experience, both in the mountains and in life and general, and their own ignorance of the same.  

Please note, with all due respect, I'm not saying I don't think you might have made a mistake, only that anybody who can't see how these mistakes can so easily happen, or understand that they could just as likely make a similar mistake, again, in my opinion, simply hasn't reflected sufficiently on their own experiences.

There's lots we could discuss (style, mountain writing, the ultimate motivation behind writing, how to fit style to purpose, and so on) but I'll focus on the incident itself.

I come at this from the perspective of somebody with a fair amount of emergency medical training and experience. I'm not a professional, by any means, but I worked at an outdoor school where I was required to maintain a medical certification, and where we were responsible for the health and safety of our students (and each other) for extended trips in the mountains.  I also did the training to work on an ambulance, and, for better or worse, in my 45 years on this planet, I've been involved in dozens of medical situations with strangers, some of them very serious, some of them fatal.  

So, when I read your words, I completely and entirely understand how, at that time and place, in that situation, on that mountain, on that descent, you could so easily have walked past this climber, looked at him closely (details which will only become more indelible afterwards because of the trauma), spoke to him quickly and with some concern, and continued.  I can easily see that taking place.  And I could easily have done the same. 

At the same time, thinking about this situation in retrospect, I wonder how I would have how reacted, and if I would have done anything differently.  When I read these stories, I always sort of "makes notes to myself" about how to potentially handle situations like this in the future.  In that respect, your post has served your intended purpose.  You have made at lest one reader, me, and, judging by the number of responses, many others, reflect on how they would handle the same situation.

What would I have done differently?  Or what would I like to think I would have done differently?  Well, I guess I would have tried to have a short conversation with the man.  I would have tried to figure out  little more closely his mental and physical state.  What was his mental status?  Was he disoriented?  Was he exhausted?  Was he suffering from some kind if injury, including simple things like a sprained ankle, or less obvious conditions, like diabetes or heart disease?  And then I like to think that I would have made a decision to leave him, as you did, depending on his answers, or to try to help him, if he wanted it (and potentially even if he didn't want it) by either calling in a rescue, or trying to aid him down.  If I did try to aid him down, it would probably be by encouraging him to rest for a moment, eat some food, drink some water, get himself together, put on his crampons, get his axe, and so on.  And then, if necessary, I might have helped him descend.  I don't think I would have tied him into my rope--it doesn't seem like that kind if terrain, and short roping is notoriously dangerous--but I might have tried to gently coach and encourage him, help him set up his rappels, while keeping a close eye on his movements, and so forth. 

So that's what I might have done.  But, again, I can completely see how you acted as you did.  I think the most you can say to yourself is that perhaps you should have stopped for a moment and had a somewhat closer conversation with the guy, just to get a reading.  But, as you said, so many others passed as well.  You were not, and are not alone.

And, just to emphasize, I'm not posting about what I might have done differently to set myself apart from you, or make myself appear better than you, but to explore the different possible options that we all have in these situations.  I think it's important to think through these situations as objectively and rationally as possible (as difficult as that is) so that we can learn from them. 

OK, all that said, there is another aspect to this conversation that I think should be addressed.

There is a consistent theme of the "brotherhood of the rope" and the "camaraderie in the mountains" and the set of behaviors that we should all share in the mountains.  I understand this, and even feel it myself.  It's the same in any group of like-minded passionate people who participate in activities with risks, like sailors, or soldiers, of whatever.  But I recognize that there is an element of self-agrandizing bravado in these statements, as if we, as climbers, are somehow different, or more brave, or more caring, than anybody else. 

What abut bravery and companionship in every day life?  Some people here appear convinced that they would help other climbers on the mountains in every situation.  What about the unconscious man lying on the street when you leave the bar?  Or the dirty, somewhat shifty-looking drug addict in crisis on the corner?  Or the man being threatened by a group or others?  Or the woman who crashes her scooter in the middle of a crowded, trafficked street?  Or the stranger covered in blood some kind of accident?  Or the building with smoke coming out and people potentially inside?

I'm just trying to present examples where the dangers and risks to oneself are not heroic, such as descending a mountain ridge in high wind, but simply dangerous and scary, like the risk of contracting a disease, being injured or robbed, being hit by a car or hurt in a fire, and so on. 

Can we all be so sure that we would act correctly and decently in these situations?  How are they different from the mountains? 

Unless one can say, with honesty and from experience, that they would always do the right thing in these situations (whatever the right thing is), then I don't think they should judge others in the mountains, either. 

Bruno

 

 

 

Michael Gordon 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

By writing an article like this you must have expected some critical responses? At the same time, surely you must understand that one of the most interesting and useful aspects of analysing incidents is considering what went wrong, or perhaps more usefully what would others have done in your case? That is maybe a way people can continue to understand and deal with situations on the mountain as they find them.

In contrast, what on earth is the use of a normal person preparing to face death in the mountains? Not only is this impossible, it's completely pointless. Far better to try and contemplate why something happened so another incident may be avoided. 

I'm not saying my response would necessarily have been different from yours, indeed I suspect it would have been the same, though there's nothing to say we wouldn't have had a different impression of the competence of the soloist (in either way) or exchanged different words which may have borne a different response. It's unlikely, but possible.

The trouble with an article like this is you've had to walk a thin line between 'seeing something in the person's eyes' which set alarm bells off, but not loudly enough to look like you were consciously abandoning them. Others may see this as a contradiction, and lines such as "I turned my heart to steel" are troubling in this context since they imply a conscious decision rather than indecision due to failing to notice warning signs. But I also agree with 'mountain.martin' that I'm surprised at the lack of appreciation from some here of the usefulness of hindsight.  

JimR 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

Groucho, you have articulated my feelings as well. 

MarkH55 20 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Myself and my partner came across a Japanese guy in Nike trainers, jeans and a windproof above the Solvay hut.  By this time all the guides parties were off or well down the mountain and we were now in the middle of a thunder storm, we hadn't read the weather report posted in the Hut that morning.

We were trying to move down as quickly as possible and now had a choice, leave the guy or take him with us and move much more slowly.  We took him with us and got back down to the Hut to our very worried girl friends at 8.30pm. 

Our rope jammed in the last abseil and as we messed around getting it back he just went off.  We found him in the hut lording it up at the head of the table with his friends who had stayed àt the Hornli.  He'd already written in ascent book 'I climb Matterhorn peak in sneakers' we just added 'with a little bit of help from his friend's and drew a union jack.

If we hadn't taken him with us the guy would probably have fallen or frozen to death, would I do it again, yes.  Personally, I couldn't look the other way even if the other person was a complete knob, which was evident even when we first met him.

Post edited at 10:40
Wanderer100 20 Oct 2018
In reply to MarkH55:

Jeans and trainers? Above the Solvay hut?? The mind boggles!!

Goucho 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Actually I have been on the Hornli a few times, and I'm thinking you probably weren't that far from reaching all the fixed gear on the Moseley Slabs?

Many years ago a friend of mine wanted to do the Matterhorn. He was an experienced hillwalker and very fit triathlete, so I said yes.

Prior to the Matterhorn I took him up Monte Rosa to see how he was at altitude.

On the way back down, we met a solo climber. He wasn't injured, or exhausted, but I could tell he was anxious and uncertain.

Unlike you, we weren't lucky enough that he spoke English, but between my pigeon French and Italian we established communication.

He was unsure whether he was going the right way. So we all sat down for a while, I gave him some coffee from our flask, and a offered him a cigarette, which he gratefully accepted.

We then asked him if he'd like to join us for the rest of the descent, to which he smiled and nodded yes.

We all got down with no complications. I kept a close eye on him, but he was fine.

Sometimes, we just need the psychological and emotional reassurance of the company of others to lift our spirits, quell the anxiety and put the juice back into the engine.

Climbing - especially in the alps - is often about confidence.

What we did was nothing special. It was simply the companionship and brotherhood of the mountains.

 

 

 

 

3
The Grist 20 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Interesting article that I really enjoyed reading. 

Given the context I do not see how or why the writer should be criticised. The unfortunate guy who fell made the decision to take off his crampons which probably led to his death. I have walked past many people in the mountains who should be better equipped......is it my duty to tell them to go down? I have suggested it numerous times but that is as far as it goes. It sounds like he was almost down. Retrospect is a dangerous thing. If we had done this or that? The reality is somewhat different and most of us would have walked on by and got on with our own day / climb unless someone was more obviously in need of help or asked for it. 

 

Misha 20 Oct 2018
In reply to brunoschull:

Best comment yet. 

shantaram 20 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

One of the most thought provoking articles, and following discussion, I have read on UKC for a long time. Thanks Dan for your honesty and strength in putting your experience into words. 

Joe79 20 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

This is an exceptionally thought provoking article, thank you for having the bravery to post it. 

I struggle to believe those who boast of their own magnanimous largesse in the mountains while cruelly poking their fingers in the mental wounds this incident has inflicted on you. Those who cast themselves as the heroes in their own anecdotes in response to this or mention karma are narcissistic and heartless.  

7
Timmd 20 Oct 2018
In reply to BruceM:

> Thanks Dan.  I hope you get to eventually find some peace with yourself after this.

> I'm sure it wouldn't change much, so wouldn't beat yourself up further...but I can't really get into this view:

> "Whoever else is on the mountain is there as a separate unit whether they be with a partner, or solo. They are as much a part of the mountain scenery as a fixed rope or a loose block. But to interact with them in any serious way is to alter both their fate and yours. As a responsible partner I had not done anything to jeopardise the safety of our 'rope'. In this I am sure of my actions."

> I realise you are trying to make sense of your actions, and as I say, maybe there was nothing further you could have done at the time.  Also, on one of the most crowded trophy routes in the Alps, you probably do have to try to ignore the rest of the crowd some of the time.  But it would be nice if this kind of thinking didn't become the accepted norm.

I found that, reading the article as a whole, my perception was that he seemed to question the viewpoint he describes? He has, after all, spoken to the man, and thought that he seemed kind. Hindsight makes it obvious what ourselves and others should have done, and perhaps you're not critiquing him as harshly as I imagine, but I don't think it would be fair to critique him on airing that point of view as a part of his musings on what happened, on the basis that it's the perspective which he may have, or may have adopted at the time. 

Post edited at 23:16
Michael Gordon 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Joe79:

> I struggle to believe those who boast of their own magnanimous largesse in the mountains while cruelly poking their fingers in the mental wounds this incident has inflicted on you. Those who cast themselves as the heroes in their own anecdotes in response to this or mention karma are narcissistic and heartless.  

So they made their stories up?

Michael Gordon 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Timmd:

I thought that saying to a soloist to 'be careful and take it slowly' was fairly useless and hardly an example of compassion. Again I'm not judging him for his actions as it's likely I wouldn't have done any differently, but that line sounds like something you'd say to make clear that you are going to leave them in their situation.

Timmd 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Derek Ryden:

> In reply to UKC Article

> I believe that this article, together with the ensuing discussion is probably the most significant one I have ever read on UKC. The fact that it's not perfect from a literary standpoint is absolutely irrelevant - it did what it needed to do - it instigated a profound and rich discussion which has included pretty much every shade of opinion imaginable. Are we, the author and the commentators, somehow exploiting someone else's tragedy, or are we trying, as best we can, to address some of the biggest questions of climbing, and of life? I chose to believe the latter. I reject the unwritten assumption behind some of the replies, that because climbing is an essentially flippant activity, the experiences it engenders are somehow less than completely authentic. Any human experience, documented with as much honestly as an author can muster, is authentic. I don't even care whether the events described are fact, or fiction. I believe that the discussion, both within the article, and in the ensuing thread are justification enough. I would like to see more forums where climbers discuss the big issues, rather than skirt round them.

I wholly agree. I also don't think m/any of the more critical people on this thread would have done anything different to the OP, because of the pressures of needing to get down a mountain safely while dealing with tiredness which can gradually find it's way into one's mind and make one less safe, and while having to think about the other person in the partnership.  How many of us in everyday life, too, turn away slightly from people who could use our help as a way of protecting our own happiness, or tell ourselves that somebody is going to be okay, when realistically they probably won't be?  The need to survive and helping others can often be two things between which there is some tension, or some kind of conflict. The capacity to help others is different between individuals. 

Edit: I'm sure, given his experiences, the OP would act different if faced with the same circumstances again. As might many who have read his article too. It has certainly set me thinking.

Post edited at 23:34
Timmd 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I thought that saying to a soloist to 'be careful and take it slowly' was fairly useless and hardly an example of compassion. Again I'm not judging him for his actions as it's likely I wouldn't have done any differently, but that line sounds like something you'd say to make clear that you are going to leave them in their situation.

You're saying that because the other person died, though. If he'd been okay, one might be musing that it might have been just what he may have needed to hear to put him into the right head space - do you see what I mean? 

Hindsight makes all mistakes and short comings plain to see, and easy to muse over. It's rather unflinching like that.

Post edited at 23:32
Michael Gordon 20 Oct 2018
In reply to Timmd:

> You're saying that because the other person died, though. If he'd been okay, one might be musing that it might have been just what he may have needed to hear to put him into the right head space - do you see what I mean? 

I just don't think that "There are many ways down off this mountain, and all of them are dangerous. Go SLOWLY, be safe and concentrate." is any help whatsoever. How could a soloist not know that they had to be careful and concentrate? 

> Hindsight makes all mistakes and short comings plain to see, and easy to muse over.

Agreed.

Bobling 21 Oct 2018
In reply to brunoschull:

Bravo! Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Post edited at 00:03
Timmd 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Derek Ryden:

> We all know he should have stayed to help the guy. With the benefit of 20:20 hindsight this is bleeding obvious, and the author knows this better than any of us. The article is not his attempt to justify his action, it's him examining his own motives for not having acted, and sharing them with us as a gift, in hopes that we won't make the same mistake as him. Cut the guy some slack.

Absolutely. 

Dan Moore 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

(( Screw it. I'm IN. I sent this to Mr Goucho Personally, but since he has not responded, so rapidly as he has with all his comments. I share it with you now. Remember my story was written as an intense self analysis immediately following watching someone fall to their death. I do not defend myself. I only present it as it was written, so that others might question their own actions, inactions and contemplate that the mountains can quite suddenly be a place of tragedy. I never blame the person themselves. I never describe anyone else's action/inaction. Paul Mitchell is right. I believe in Karma. Perhaps I will accrue a tincy wincy bit of good karma back, for sharing my great loss with you... never enough and I don't expect any. ))

 

You come at me with pre-conceived ideas about my complete and overall character. Therefore you will continue going until you have the last word. I will let you have it. I will no longer defend myself ((well that's changed)) Its yours. You win! Your are obviously a better person than I. BASED on your single - completely separate and totally irrelevant story of helping someone out. Which may or may not be true. NO? I will let the people believe you though. But please, personally ((now publicly)) From me to you! Who I honestly have so much compassion for:

 

"Actually I have been on the Hornli a few times, (well done) and I'm thinking you probably weren't that far from reaching all the fixed gear on the Moseley Slabs?"

- Why are you thinking that? WHY? No, we weren't. We were much lower than this. Why does this matter?

 

Many years ago (vague) a friend of mine wanted to do the Matterhorn. He was an experienced hillwalker and very fit triathlete, so I said yes.

- Great, a completely different story.

 

Prior to the Matterhorn I took him up Monte Rosa to see how he was at altitude.

- The Monte Rosa Massif has around 20 peaks and satellite peaks... But I assume you climbed the Dufourspitze via the Silbersattel (not based on anything).  Its mostly glacier walking.

 

On the way back down, we met a solo climber. He wasn't injured, or exhausted, but I could tell he was anxious and uncertain.

Did you find him while glacier walking? (And what tells you that I haven't on several occasions previously, and since joined teams with strangers/soloists, to cross glaciers? For you it was entirely clear he was in need of help in the moment. Great. For me it wasn’t. Perhaps I totally over exaggerated/f*cked up with the words 'turned my heart to steel...' When I wrote this everything was dark around me - and I was heavily criticising myself; I see now that these words OBVIOUSLY reflected my mental state at that time. Perhaps, a better representation of the moment they describe would have been; he didn't seem solid, but then, neither had at least half of the other people I saw on the mountain that day, and I thought: he’ll be ok! 

-Have you never seen people in the mountains and thought - “Geeeesh what are they doing? Look like they're gonna get themselves killed.” … in passing.

 

"Unlike you, we weren't lucky enough that he spoke English."

Do you mean me. Or do you mean "unlike the victim of your narrative" 

And, how do you know that the person I met spoke ENGLISH? Because he said 'wheres the path' (wer is pathe) and 'no, I...' Could he for example have been German or Spanish? And known a couple of words of very poor english? How do you know HE was a he? As I have said the only thing I changed about the story is physical description of this person. Not saying that he wasn't - of course.

 

But between my pigeon French and Italian we established communication.....

If someone really really needs help, you don't need any WORDS to understand that.

 

"He was unsure whether he was going the right way. So we all sat down for a while, I gave him some coffee from our flask, and a offered him a cigarette, which he gratefully accepted. "

- This could sound to a lot of people more like you were all a bit lost, all sat down together - probably all jollied each other up, and all agreed to move on together. You had time to get to know each other if you stopped for, what? at least 5 mins for a fag. While I paused mid step for perhaps more than 10secs, less than 20secs.

And what makes you think I have not donated rations, even useful healthy ones, in the mountains that others needed more than I? Not saying I have, or haven't.

 

We then asked him if he'd like to join us for the rest of the descent, to which he smiled and nodded yes.

Did you ask him, or did he really ask you during your five minute bonding session if it would be ok to tag along?

 

We all got down with no complications. I kept a close eye on him, but he was fine.

- You kept a close eye on him!? What does that even mean? What are you talking about? KEPT A CLOSE EYE ON him... Did you usher him onwards like a baby lamb. Did you whisper sweat nothings to him?

 

Sometimes, we just need the psychological and emotional reassurance of the company of others to lift our spirits, quell the anxiety and put the juice back into the engine.

I'm sure you all did. If your friend came straight out from England (I'M ASSUMING) he must have been completely buggered - sea level straight to 4500m. Was he acclimatised , wasn't he? I’m ASSUMING by the way you write this that he comes straight from sea level. And has never before been at that altitude. So you were all knackered, all sat down a bit unsure of where you were during descent. Regrouped, figured it out and stumbled on together.

 

Climbing - especially in the alps - is often about confidence.

- Totally agree.

 

What we did was nothing special. It was simply the companionship and brotherhood of the mountains.

- Totally agree. 

 

If I had posted this publicly, which I still bloody well might! ((I have)) You have put yourself in an interesting situation.

The guy is Alive. Your Friend is alive. Since no one got hurt, could you confirm the soloist's name please? And ask him to confirm your story?

 

Even if you don't, I CHOOSE to believe your story. Which sets you up to be a much better man than I. But do you see how easy it is to focus on words, and twist them, change them, scrutinise them? If you met me, you would not be so quick to judge me. As you have been. Constantly for several days. How do you have the time and energy for such, dogmatic bloody-mindedness? I completely forgive you. And never expect the same in return. My heart, truly goes out to you.

Feel free to respond…

Post edited at 09:32
17
Deadeye 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Dan

You're losing it now.  It'll be hard, but you could just walk away from the thread and not open it again.  I can't see how it's going to do you or anyone else any good extending it.

Goucho 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

> (( Screw it. I'm IN. I sent this to Mr Goucho Personally, but since he has not responded, so rapidly as he has with all his comments. I share it with you now. Remember my story was written as an intense self analysis immediately following watching someone fall to their death. I do not defend myself. I only present it as it was written, so that others might question their own actions, inactions and contemplate that the mountains can quite suddenly be a place of tragedy. I never blame the person themselves. I never describe anyone else's action/inaction. Paul Mitchell is right. I believe in Karma. Perhaps I will accrue a tincy wincy bit of good karma back, for sharing my great loss with you... never enough and I don't expect any. ))

Your great loss? Once again, you make this all about how you. Sod the poor bugger who died.

> You come at me with pre-conceived ideas about my complete and overall character. Therefore you will continue going until you have the last word. I will let you have it. I will no longer defend myself ((well that's changed)) Its yours. You win! Your are obviously a better person than I. BASED on your single - completely separate and totally irrelevant story of helping someone out. Which may or may not be true. NO? I will let the people believe you though. But please, personally ((now publicly)) From me to you! Who I honestly have so much compassion for:

My 'story' was simply a way of pointing out, that sometimes you don't need to help someone physically, just provide some companionship to give their mental state a boost so they help themselves.

> "Actually I have been on the Hornli a few times, (well done) and I'm thinking you probably weren't that far from reaching all the fixed gear on the Moseley Slabs?"

> - Why are you thinking that? WHY? No, we weren't. We were much lower than this. Why does this matter?

Much lower? How much lower? 

> Many years ago (vague) a friend of mine wanted to do the Matterhorn. He was an experienced hillwalker and very fit triathlete, so I said yes.

> - Great, a completely different story.

> Prior to the Matterhorn I took him up Monte Rosa to see how he was at altitude.

> - The Monte Rosa Massif has around 20 peaks and satellite peaks... But I assume you climbed the Dufourspitze via the Silbersattel (not based on anything).  Its mostly glacier walking.

> On the way back down, we met a solo climber. He wasn't injured, or exhausted, but I could tell he was anxious and uncertain.

> Did you find him while glacier walking? (And what tells you that I haven't on several occasions previously, and since joined teams with strangers/soloists, to cross glaciers? For you it was entirely clear he was in need of help in the moment. Great. For me it wasn’t. Perhaps I totally over exaggerated/f*cked up with the words 'turned my heart to steel...' When I wrote this everything was dark around me - and I was heavily criticising myself; I see now that these words OBVIOUSLY reflected my mental state at that time. Perhaps, a better representation of the moment they describe would have been; he didn't seem solid, but then, neither had at least half of the other people I saw on the mountain that day, and I thought: he’ll be ok! 

When you use such dramatic phrases as "I turned my heart to steel", this implies you were making a decision you knew was harsh - if he was OK, what's the problem - people are obviously going to read between the lines?

> -Have you never seen people in the mountains and thought - “Geeeesh what are they doing? Look like they're gonna get themselves killed.” … in passing.

Many times, and when it's up a big mountain, I usually make a friendly enquiry as to whether they're ok.

> "Unlike you, we weren't lucky enough that he spoke English."

> Do you mean me. Or do you mean "unlike the victim of your narrative" 

Now you're getting paranoid.

> And, how do you know that the person I met spoke ENGLISH? Because he said 'wheres the path' (wer is pathe) and 'no, I...' Could he for example have been German or Spanish? And known a couple of words of very poor english? How do you know HE was a he? As I have said the only thing I changed about the story is physical description of this person. Not saying that he wasn't - of course.

> But between my pigeon French and Italian we established communication.....

> If someone really really needs help, you don't need any WORDS to understand that.

Rubbish.

> "He was unsure whether he was going the right way. So we all sat down for a while, I gave him some coffee from our flask, and a offered him a cigarette, which he gratefully accepted. "

> - This could sound to a lot of people more like you were all a bit lost, all sat down together - probably all jollied each other up, and all agreed to move on together. You had time to get to know each other if you stopped for, what? at least 5 mins for a fag. While I paused mid step for perhaps more than 10secs, less than 20secs.

You took in a lot in those few seconds, the colour of his clothing, his helmet, his neatly trimmed beard, he seemed kind, he was in his forties?

> And what makes you think I have not donated rations, even useful healthy ones, in the mountains that others needed more than I? Not saying I have, or haven't.

Irrelevant.

> We then asked him if he'd like to join us for the rest of the descent, to which he smiled and nodded yes.

> Did you ask him, or did he really ask you during your five minute bonding session if it would be ok to tag along?

No. I asked him.

> We all got down with no complications. I kept a close eye on him, but he was fine.

> - You kept a close eye on him!? What does that even mean? What are you talking about? KEPT A CLOSE EYE ON him... Did you usher him onwards like a baby lamb. Did you whisper sweat nothings to him?

No, I kept an eye on him like I was my partner. It's what you do when you've invited someone to join you because they might have been anxious. Maybe not something you do?

> Sometimes, we just need the psychological and emotional reassurance of the company of others to lift our spirits, quell the anxiety and put the juice back into the engine.

> I'm sure you all did. If your friend came straight out from England (I'M ASSUMING) he must have been completely buggered - sea level straight to 4500m. Was he acclimatised , wasn't he? I’m ASSUMING by the way you write this that he comes straight from sea level. And has never before been at that altitude. So you were all knackered, all sat down a bit unsure of where you were during descent. Regrouped, figured it out and stumbled on together.

You assume wrong, and without wishing to engage in a cock waiving contest, I am a reasonably proficient and experienced alpinist 

> Climbing - especially in the alps - is often about confidence.

> - Totally agree.

> What we did was nothing special. It was simply the companionship and brotherhood of the mountains.

> - Totally agree. 

> If I had posted this publicly, which I still bloody well might! ((I have)) You have put yourself in an interesting situation.

> The guy is Alive. Your Friend is alive. Since no one got hurt, could you confirm the soloist's name please? And ask him to confirm your story?

> Even if you don't, I CHOOSE to believe your story. Which sets you up to be a much better man than I. But do you see how easy it is to focus on words, and twist them, change them, scrutinise them? If you met me, you would not be so quick to judge me. As you have been. Constantly for several days. How do you have the time and energy for such, dogmatic bloody-mindedness? I completely forgive you. And never expect the same in return. My heart, truly goes out to you.

Lets cut through all this bollocks. You wrote and published an article on UKC, which as well as coming across as self indulgent 'woe is me' also contains some glaring contradictions.

You've been picked up on these - not just by me. That's the nature of an Internet forum.

Basically, shit happens, both on and off the mountains. It's called life.

 

25
Dan Moore 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Deadeye:

You are right. I'll try harder to walk away now. But put it this way: There is a knife in my heart. I can take it if you pull out a little, leave it where it is, or even push it in a bit deeper.

But I can't take it being twisted by arrogance. 

17
Offwidth 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

Everything here is published,  forum posts included, and everything can be judged on its humanity. 

1
Dan Moore 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho:

Just this then:

Me:

" The guy is Alive. Your Friend is alive. Since no one got hurt, could you confirm the soloist's name please? And ask him to confirm your story?

Even if you don't, I CHOOSE to believe your story. Which sets you up to be a much better man than I. But do you see how easy it is to focus on words, and twist them, change them, scrutinise them? If you met me, you would not be so quick to judge me. As you have been. Constantly for several days. How do you have the time and energy for such, dogmatic bloody-mindedness? I completely forgive you. And never expect the same in return. My heart, truly goes out to you.

You:

"Lets cut through all this bollocks." 

No further comments.

Post edited at 11:03
15
timparkin 21 Oct 2018
In reply to brunoschull:

> What about bravery and companionship in every day life?  Some people here appear convinced that they would help other climbers on the mountains in every situation.  What about the unconscious man lying on the street when you leave the bar?  Or the dirty, somewhat shifty-looking drug addict in crisis on the corner?  Or the man being threatened by a group or others?  Or the woman who crashes her scooter in the middle of a crowded, trafficked street?  Or the stranger covered in blood some kind of accident?  Or the building with smoke coming out and people potentially inside?

> I'm just trying to present examples where the dangers and risks to oneself are not heroic, such as descending a mountain ridge in high wind, but simply dangerous and scary, like the risk of contracting a disease, being injured or robbed, being hit by a car or hurt in a fire, and so on. 

This! I was so close to posting exactly the same comment. I've got involved in these situations and the danger is real. I've also walked past many, many more. Was I right or wrong every time? Who knows, probably not. Theory and reality never meet very neatly, if at all.

 

Timmd 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Goucho: I think you're being horrible to the OP.  I think anybody who writes about not helping somebody and them dying is already playing over in their mind how they could have helped them and had them live. What is it that you want out of your exchanges?

 

Post edited at 14:40
7
Robert Durran 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

It is not clear to me from the opening paragraph whether the article was written shortly after the incident (with that paragraph added later for publication) or whether it was all written recently. Anyway, if the article was written shortly after the incident (in June, I think), do you still stand by what you wrote then or have your thoughts about your actions changed? I am wondering whether the idea was to present your thoughts/justifications as they were in the immediate aftermath without necessarily implying that they had not evolved in the months since, or whether it was to present your thoughts/justifications as they stand now.

Dominic Green 21 Oct 2018

I think it is very difficult to look past our hindsight bias when levelling criticism at the actions of the writer. I would personally not be confident to make some of the critical comments that have been posted based on this account, which is offered as a subjective recalling of events that have been clearly very traumatic to experience. I am not sure what the criticism has added, I don't think that it has added clarity or veracity. 

 

2
JimR 21 Oct 2018

I rather suspect the author should have let the story stand and be judged on its own merits as a story. By wading in and contributing in the way he has, I don't see that he has done himself or the original story any favours. If anything it may lead to the perception that some of the harsher critics may have had a point. Had the story been left as it was, the thought provoking discussion that ensued may have taken a more positive direction. Too late now, but maybe a lesson for other authors.

 

2
mountainbagger 21 Oct 2018
In reply to JimR:

I respectfully disagree. Imperfection has made this all the more interesting. Much like real life.

1
alexjrt94 21 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

What rankles me is not the decision that Dan made at the time - most among us have seen someone out of their depth, whether at the crag or in the mountains, and chosen not to get involved. Rather it's the fact that the lesson he seems to have drawn from this, and wants us to learn, is that we should be prepared to see death in the mountains. I think the more useful thing to take away is that we should be more compassionate, and when we have the resources, time and safety margin to offer some assistance we should see if it's needed. Invoking the cliched brotherhood of the rope as a defence of his actions seems a cop-out.

Dominic Green 21 Oct 2018
In reply to JimR:

> I rather suspect the author should have let the story stand and be judged on its own merits as a story. By wading in and contributing in the way he has, I don't see that he has done himself or the original story any favours. If anything it may lead to the perception that some of the harsher critics may have had a point. Had the story been left as it was, the thought provoking discussion that ensued may have taken a more positive direction. Too late now, but maybe a lesson for other authors.

I don't agree, I thought he responded in an honest and yet reasonably measured way and attempted to address some very harsh criticism.

I think the 'wading in' was on the part of others, including me and you for that matter!

Dan Moore 21 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Thank you for your comment. You make reasonable enquiries. 

> It is not clear to me from the opening paragraph whether the article was written shortly after the incident (with that paragraph added later for publication)

- Quite obvious yes? That the first paragraph was added, as an introduction (bold, separated by a photograph, describing the scene) much later. Along with much of the last two paragraphs: shallow attempt at conclusion.

> I am wondering whether the idea was to present your thoughts/justifications as they were in the immediate aftermath without necessarily implying that they had not evolved in the months since

- Certainly. I present my state of mind - full of self scrutiny and guilt - in the immediate aftermath of watching someone, who I interacted with, however minimally, die a short time later. In that dark cloud I was 'the heartless wretch: that KNEW and still walked away'. Do you really think I knew?

I know NOW. And I wish with all my soul I had foreseen what was coming... that I had put my arms around him, given him a bearhug (let me give you one too), told him he was a beautiful person, to relax and wait for the Heli... and wait with him. Have my thoughts evolved? My entire life has changed in the months since this accident. I hope that in the future I can be more certain about my actions. And I hope that sharing this will encourage other people to make more in-depth enquiries of themselves, before and after, days in the mountains. To ask, even when there was a happy ending, were we right, or just lucky...  

Dan Moore 21 Oct 2018
In reply to alexjrt94:

Just seen after replying to Robert.

... the lesson he seems to have drawn from this, and wants us to learn, is that we should be prepared to see death in the mountains.

Not the only lesson - I'm not morbid - but death is a hard fact of life... perhaps contemplate the worst, and therefore plan for the best... A mutual understanding of our mortality, might be what leads some to your understanding. 

For you say it perfectly:

I think the more useful thing to take away is that we should be more compassionate, and when we have the resources, time and safety margin to offer some assistance, we should see if it's needed. 

Post edited at 23:18
NottsRich 22 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

I'm not very good at empathy, so I'll leave that alone, other than to say it must be hard to deal with what you are dealing with. In many ways this thread can't be helping that, but hopefully in other ways it can - perhaps not now but in the future.

But I've got to say, I lost a lot of respect I had for you when you wrote one particular sentence. I can't really express why, other than that your apparent contempt of the mountain environment disgusts me. Other people in this thread have mentioned that some of the things you wrote have been bugging them for a few days before they came back to write anything. The same is true of this for me - one line that has stuck in my head since I read your article and continues to bother me. Like I said, I'm not good at empathy, but other things do bother me.

 

"A crap on a slate hurled down slope."

 

I hope you manage to deal with your feelings and move on happily. Whether that be put them in a box and ignore them (my poor method) or to speak openly about them, share them, and feel at ease afterwards. Good luck.

 

Post edited at 12:48
10
kaiser 22 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Jim Perrin's "For Arnold Pines", is a very good piece about climbing, mortality and those we meet briefly and by chance on the hill

 

Recommended for those that enjoyed this article (as I did)

Michael Gordon 22 Oct 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

Of all the things to pick him up on from the article!

Dan Moore 22 Oct 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

Very good point! Issues regarding the environment are also very important.

Let me explain my method. Developed in light of finding so many people's crap in the immediate facility of huts, paths, climbing routes, on the ridges themselves, along with piles of paper. Put your hand in it, foot, elbo you name it... i've done, or almost done it. One method is to scrape your doodaas on a rock so it bakes in the sun. One is to bury it. How many holes/rocks do you think are left around the Hornli hut to bury your crap in/under? Can you imagine the state of the toilet in the 'emergency room' of the Hornli hut - (which should not be used as a winter room, but which everyone does) after and entire winter without checking/maintenance - the hut was due to open for the first time this season the following week. I try as much as possible to bag my paper, burn it or bury it deeply. But the doodaas...

Well if you are certain that there are absolutely NO routes coming up a side of the mountain. That there will be no people walking on the glacier below, if there is a nice strip of snow couloir, for things to slide down... then maybe instead of just crapping on the floor for someone to step in (I have often been this someone) - what if you find a nice flat stone, do your necessaries (keep/burn paper) and then Frisbee it into terraincognita, where it will be broken up and deteriorate, far from other climbers and walkers/hikers... 

I care incredibly about the environment (I studied Environmental Science), so much that I developed this technique for specific environments... actually, to my friends its know as the 'Shit Frisbee'.

Please debate! The method is in the early stages of development. Certainly not an option for Britain, where every hill has a thousand routes on it. 

 

Post edited at 15:02
1
Rick Graham 22 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Talking about crap on the Matterhorn, what bemused me, doing the nf in august 92, a very dry year, was the shit stream visible flowing down from the solvay hut.

This toilet outlet drops into a couloir line which is an escape route from the top of the initial ice slope of the schmitt.

This line was first climbed in c 1923 I think.

Most guidebooks ignore this unpleasant objective danger.

jon 22 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

It's a method lots of folk use for all the reasons you mention.

 

NottsRich 22 Oct 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Thanks for the explanation! I understand there's no right method for all places - perhaps distancing your doings from habitable places like the hut might be a good start in this case. Smearing it on a rock to bake in the sun was a new experience for me in the USA a few years ago. I'm not sure I agree with your method in this case, but you're certainly more aware of it than many people. The fact that you have clearly considered it is good - but your single sentence in your article did not imply at all that you had, hence my disgust. I was wrong. I judged you on a single short sentence. Saying that, your whole article consisted of many short sentences - I wonder how many of those have been misjudged too.

1
Dan Moore 22 Oct 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

No mate. Great that you brought it up. Ironically, a breath of fresh air!

Post edited at 16:38
Tyler 22 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I often go on the hills and see people slightly out of their depth and struggling. I might speak to them and give them the opportunity to ask for help but I don't force myself on them and assume if the situation deteriorates they will ask some of the other people also on the hill. Should I be admonished for all of these?

I'm surprised that of all the people commenting on this thread only me and Dan Moore have been in this situation. Given the amount of incompetence I see I assume the (foot) hills are alive with people being frogmarched off by officious bystanders.

8
Michael Gordon 22 Oct 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> I'm surprised that of all the people commenting on this thread only me and Dan Moore have been in this situation. 

Where do you get that idea from?

 

1
Trangia 23 Oct 2018
In reply to Tyler:

 

> I'm surprised that of all the people commenting on this thread only me and Dan Moore have been in this situation. Given the amount of incompetence I see I assume the (foot) hills are alive with people being frogmarched off by officious bystanders.

Bolocks!

What a ridiculous statement to make,

 

Post edited at 00:21
5
mountain.martin 23 Oct 2018
In reply to Tyler:

I tried to give you a like for your first paragraph, and a dislike for your second.

It seems we can't give both.

Rich W Parker 23 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

In all honesty I find the situation described and the decision made quite discomforting, but Dan, if you could would you have made a different decision?

1
Tyler 23 Oct 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> > I'm surprised that of all the people commenting on this thread only me and Dan Moore have been in this situation. 

> Where do you get that idea from?

From all the people on here berating the author for not having done more. I was sarcastically pointing out that this sort of scenario happens all the time on the hills (we see someone struggling but do little more than exchange pleasantries) but a lot on here are piously making out they act differently, whereas I believe people often act in the same way but it just doesn't register. It probably wouldn't have registered with the author himself if the poor victim had not been thrust back into his consciousness a short time later.

Tyler 23 Oct 2018
In reply to Trangia:

> Bolocks!

> What a ridiculous statement to make,

Well of course it was an exaggeration, jeeze. But if you think the point I was making is wrong read this for an alternative view as to how struggling people that, crucially, don't meet a grizzly fate are treated:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/expedition+alpine/open_letter_to_the_scottish_mountain_guide_tour_ronde_030913-562467

As you seem to be such a literalist I should point out that I don't see the two situations as entirely analogous and also I recognise there a re a range of views on both threads but its an interesting comparitor.

Mike Stretford 23 Oct 2018
In reply to Tyler:

> From all the people on here berating the author for not having done more. I was sarcastically pointing out that this sort of scenario happens all the time on the hills (we see someone struggling but do little more than exchange pleasantries) but a lot on here are piously making out they act differently, whereas I believe people often act in the same way but it just doesn't register.

There's 2 things going on... the first is the writer had a bad feeling, but not enough to elevate the situation to a rescue of some kind. I reckon we can all relate to that, who wants to cause a big fuss when it will probably be ok? Hindsight ect.

It is however conflated with these statements about the climbers only being responsible for each other. I don't believe it is that black and white, I think it always should be matter of weighing up the risks, the competency of your own team? What can be done?

Dan does describe this as a 'raw' piece of writing. That does show, and is not always a bad thing, but in this case I think the editorial team could have talked it through with Dan and maybe suggested a rewrite of some of it, after reflection.

malk 23 Oct 2018
In reply to Mike Stretford:

i guess the ideal team would communicate concern about others and assess the situation together.

 

 

 

Post edited at 16:03
In reply to Tyler:

> Well of course it was an exaggeration, jeeze. But if you think the point I was making is wrong read this for an alternative view as to how struggling people that, crucially, don't meet a grizzly fate are treated:

Do you mean a grisly fate?

(though this lot nearly did meet a grizzly fate:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2015/12/boswell_and_bullock_survive_grizzly_bear_attack-70117 )

 

1
Rich W Parker 24 Oct 2018
In reply to Tyler:

But many do help. And more should do so, if they can. 

1
Wren67 29 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

As a starting point, we all recognise that, "Climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions."

We have to assume that the climber who fell, and all those he interacted with on the mountain, would have understood this. It doesn't make it any easier though, and I hope those involved find some peace and healing after this traumatic experience. 

As a wider point, and in common with many others on here, I disagree with one of the author's assertions; I believe that we do have responsibilities to one another, how ever we choose to dress it up. In unforgiving places, at sea, in the mountains, we cannot simply be bystanders in someone else's drama. It would seem that the author has discovered this; even if we choose not to get involved, and however we try to justify that to ourselves, it will affect us and we will have live with ourselves afterwards. Abandoning someone, an action that might be justifiable at 8000m, will not necessarily so at 4000m. Of course we have a primary responsibility to ourselves, and those with whom we are climbing, but I hope most mountaineers would at least try to assist others, in a way that inconvenienced rather than jeopardised their party. Short roping an unknown and possibly unreliable climber down a fairly serious route is almost certainly asking too much, but allowing them to abseil down your ropes from fixed anchors, under your supervision, seems totally reasonable. Treating other humans as part of the scenery is callous in the extreme. 

1
CragRat11 30 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Sometimes I wonder if UKC should ever have been invented.

3
Rick Graham 30 Oct 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

> Sometimes I wonder if UKC should ever have been invented.

 

I sometimes wonder if Dan Moore and the article were invented by the UKC  staff to boost ratings and stir up some interest.

1
Robert Durran 30 Oct 2018
In reply to CragRat11:

> Sometimes I wonder if UKC should ever have been invented.

Why do you say that in relation to this article and thread? Genuinely interested.

Seems to me this is pretty much UKC at its best.

JimR 30 Oct 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

Basically the issue is whether the author knew the deceased was in trouble at the time he walked past, or the perception of trouble was in retrospect after the fall occurred. If the former then ... if the latter then very understandable introspective thoughts.

CragRat11 30 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

I read the article shortly after it was posted and have only just returned to see the forum. Looking at it objectively, it's just very strange to see the conversational tangents and rabbit holes people go down in order to have some kind of say. Reactions and investigations based on minimal of information in the best case, character assassinations at worst. 

There are things said on here that would never be said to someone's face, but that's an old story now. It's just the internet.

It's just a weird way to communicate. I can't say it's wrong....but it is weird, you have to admit.

1
jon 31 Oct 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

> I sometimes wonder if Dan Moore and the article were invented by the UKC  staff to boost ratings and stir up some interest.

I'd imagine you could think of others you could apply that to, Rick... You should start a thread.

Rick Graham 31 Oct 2018
In reply to jon:

> I'd imagine you could think of others you could apply that to, Rick... You should start a thread.

I did once, I  got begged to take it down.

BTW, I am real, are you? 

jon 31 Oct 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

> BTW, I am real, are you? 

Aha...! I think you should do it!

 

freeflyer 31 Oct 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

It seems to me that few posters have considered the situation and personal responsibility of the faller.

Two years ago, I sat with my father as he was dying, and when it was over, I sat with him for a while thinking of all the things, good and bad, that had led up to this moment. It struck me forcibly that in a certain way, he was utterly responsible for his situation - an accumulation of all those little decisions and choices that add up to a life.

I believe the same applies to this man, and to all of us. He had choices, and he made them.

I think it's very likely that nearly all of us are still here because at one time or another, we have been in a similar situation, and somehow got away with it. Was it merely chance, or was it that accumulation?

Thankyou for this thread, and for the generosity you have shown helping those that asked.

Michael Gordon 31 Oct 2018
In reply to freeflyer:

> I believe the same applies to this man, and to all of us. He had choices, and he made them.

> I think it's very likely that nearly all of us are still here because at one time or another, we have been in a similar situation, and somehow got away with it. >

If we're going to discuss the moral ethics of soloing we may need another thread! I agree with what you say above, but at the same time if someone is too ambitious or makes the wrong choice, one might hope that others would help them out if possible to do so.

Post edited at 19:01
paul mitchell 17 Nov 2018

 

 

Post edited at 11:01
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TheGeneralist 17 Nov 2018
In reply to somebody:

> You made the right decision, let no one tell you otherwise

 

Goodness. Really not sure I agree with that.

I may have misread the article, but the general gist of it seemed to be that OP saw someone who he thought at the time needed help but didn't give it. His justification was that he only/mainly owed support to his partner.

Have I misread it?

CurlyStevo 17 Nov 2018
In reply to Dan Moore:

Ignoring whatever anyone else says to you, do you think you did the right thing? How much impact on your safety or day do you think it would have had to give him the benefit of the doubt and go with your suspicions and see him off the hill safely. Anything else is irrelevant imo. 

bogpetre 30 Dec 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

This article really resonated with me, and got me thinking about my own behavior in the mountains. Some people seem to disagree, but for my part I'm glad to have read it. Thanks for writing.

Post edited at 22:22

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