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261 Learning Mountain Lessons 2010-07-30

stormy weather over the tetons

Last week in the Tetons there was a massive electric storm which killed one climber and injured 16 or so others. The climbers probably made some bad decisions, but mainly they just had bad luck. It was a tough time for all climbers as they tried to reconcile the death and injuries.

We arrived in the area on the day of the storm. The mountains growled as we crossed Togwotee Pass. There was an air of fury still lingering over the peaks as we descended into the valley.

It was not until the next day that we learned of the tragic incident. We first learned of the tragedy from friends calling to make sure that we were okay. The accident made national news.

Meaning no disrespect, it is important to learn from accidents. Reviewing the reported facts teaches us how the mountain acts. The Jackson Hole News and Guide and the NPS Report were our main sources; but there are many unanswered questions.

One thing is for sure, someone died on the mountain. Mountaineering is not a game. The mountain does not win. The climbers do not win. But, there are safe practices and lessons to learn.

The mountaineering community lost a soul. Our hearts go out to all those who were involved. From the rescuers to the injured parties to the family and friends of the victim; all were affected by the mountains fury. All who were involved were taught a lesson. Learning the lessons are not cheap. Sometime the lessons cost more than others. Hopefully, mountaineers will learn from the accident.

Dear soul, RIP.

Happy safe and learned trails.


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