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Rock Climber Falls From Half Dome In Yosemite
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justsaynototake


Sep 16, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Yes thank you for the leason on skimming. I did read that btw. Even in that case I would prefer that somebody be available so that I could get some help if needed. I understand that this totally defeats the purpose of rope soloing. So with that in mind, I don't feel that rope soloing is very safe because of the word "solo". Testing your skill as a climber, in my opinion should not be done alone. I am going to end my discussion in this topic because I am clearly being bashed by various people who don't feel like reading myopinion.

For those people who have lost someone then I am truely sorry if I offended you.

But I am not sorry for my opinion. Maybe one day when I lose my diapers as a climber and wear the big boy pants like the rest of you I will realize that doing stupid things like going out alone to "push my limits" is actually a good idea. Until then I will just keep climbing with other people so on that day that I accidently s#it in my climbing diaper and fall on that 5.5 and hurt myself, I will at least have someone to help me.


machino


Sep 16, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Justsaynototake. The "your mom" response was awesome! It reminded me of being in 1997 all over again. Anyway, the guy was roped soloing(Im sure you know all about it) so the margin of error was much smaller, but it is in no way different than biking alone, swimming alone, skiing alone, etc. Do you need your hand held everywhere you go?


crimpandgo


Sep 16, 2005, 12:14 PM
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In reply to:
Yes thank you for the leason on skimming. I did read that btw. Even in that case I would prefer that somebody be available so that I could get some help if needed. I understand that this totally defeats the purpose of rope soloing. So with that in mind, I don't feel that rope soloing is very safe because of the word "solo". Testing your skill as a climber, in my opinion should not be done alone. I am going to end my discussion in this topic because I am clearly being bashed by various people who don't feel like reading myopinion.

For those people who have lost someone then I am truely sorry if I offended you.

But I am not sorry for my opinion. Maybe one day when I lose my diapers as a climber and wear the big boy pants like the rest of you I will realize that doing stupid things like going out alone to "push my limits" is actually a good idea. Until then I will just keep climbing with other people so on that day that I accidently s#it in my climbing diaper and fall on that 5.5 and hurt myself, I will at least have someone to help me.

Remind me what good "someone" would be when you have just fallen 100 ft. Chances are that "someone" isn't gonna be much help. Do you realize what 100 ft equates to? Your missing the point in the big picture if the fact that he climbed alone is the only issue you can concentrate on. Go back to the gym where it is safe and your partner can surely assist you in dusting the chalk off your ass when he drops you.


jred


Sep 16, 2005, 12:30 PM
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In reply to:
Yes thank you for the leason on skimming. I did read that btw. Even in that case I would prefer that somebody be available so that I could get some help if needed. I understand that this totally defeats the purpose of rope soloing. So with that in mind, I don't feel that rope soloing is very safe because of the word "solo". Testing your skill as a climber, in my opinion should not be done alone. I am going to end my discussion in this topic because I am clearly being bashed by various people who don't feel like reading myopinion.

For those people who have lost someone then I am truly sorry if I offended you.

But I am not sorry for my opinion. Maybe one day when I lose my diapers as a climber and wear the big boy pants like the rest of you I will realize that doing stupid things like going out alone to "push my limits" is actually a good idea. Until then I will just keep climbing with other people so on that day that I accidentally s#it in my climbing diaper and fall on that 5.5 and hurt myself, I will at least have someone to help me.
Firstly I would like to express my condolences to the family of the fallen climber. We are a small community and every loss is felt. Now as for the insensitive idiot.There is a time and a place for "opinions" and this most certainly is not it. Would you start preaching about seat belt use to someone who lost somebody in a auto accident? Did you openly question American foreign policy on Sept.12 to family members of the deceased? No one asked for your opinion, did they? Maybe you should not refer to certain styles of climbing (which you obviously know nothing about) negatively on a climbing web-site. Learn some tact and then learn about climbing before you shoot your mouth off.


Partner tim


Sep 16, 2005, 12:35 PM
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We (as climbers) tend to celebrate boldness when it succeeds, and paper over the tremendous cost of failure (often death or disfiguring/crippling injury) in this sport, despite the existentially trivial rewards of the risks.

While I do not suggest that we dishonor the dead -- it's not like they stand to gain much from armchair quarterbacks second-guessing their decisions -- it is worth noting that each increment of boldness brings the risk-taker a bit closer to traumatic or fatal disappointments. Just as in any other endeavor, the greatest rewards tend to accumulate to those who take the biggest risks -- and succeed. There are plenty of investors and gamblers who risked everything -- and lost everything. The difference, of course, is that those who risked it all and won accrued concrete rewards, whereas the high spirits of a successful free solo or a superalpine push are ephemeral.

I've soloed enough easy ground to know that I'd be pretty embarrassed to die on it. I've broken holds simulclimbing with 150' of rope out, I've run it out on vertical ice while wondering what would happen if I fucked up the next placement, and I climb loose crap on a regular basis. And I am NOT a very bold climber relative to many of the people I tie in with. I've met plenty of others who put it all on the line and solo at a high level (5.11 and up) just because they can. This sport is fundamentally selfish. The rewards are not proportionate to the risks. It's quite silly, really.

Nonetheless, heaping disdain upon the dead is a mark of weakness and shows a lack of restraint, perhaps a lack of confidence in one's own choices. The foundation of nobility is not to do that which is convenient; it is the ability to do what you know is right, when you'd rather not. Honesty and bluntness are overrated -- I admire tact, restraint, and depth much more, if only because I personally find them difficult to practice regularly.

Rest in peace, oh ye of questionable judgement. There but for the grace of god go I, and plenty of others among us. (as was previously noted by DMT)

(edit: the spell checker cannot catch semantic mistakes... I did not want to wish that the victim rest in piece(s), but rather peace (tranquility). Oops.)


enjoimx


Sep 16, 2005, 12:39 PM
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I hope this wasnt the same Bela I met last year in Jtree...

Hope his family is doing ok.

:(


Partner neuroshock


Sep 16, 2005, 12:41 PM
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my sincere condolences to Bela's family and friends.


in Camp 4, i had lent my ascenders on tuesday to someone going up Half Dome on wednesday. when i saw him wednesday afternoon and he handed the ascenders back i had wondered what happened. he and his partner, naturally, lost their desire for the route after arriving on scene and calling 911 but he wouldn't elaborate on details.


killclimbz


Sep 16, 2005, 12:48 PM
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Yes, condolences to this person's family.


justsaynototake


Sep 16, 2005, 12:50 PM
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In reply to:
We (as climbers) tend to celebrate boldness when it succeeds and paper over the tremendous cost of failure (often death or disfiguring/crippling injury) in this sport, despite the existentially trivial rewards of the risks.

While I do not suggest that we dishonor the dead -- it's not like they stand to gain much from armchair quarterbacks second-guessing their decisions -- it is worth noting that each increment of boldness brings the risk-taker a bit closer to traumatic or fatal disappointments. Just as in any other endeavor, the greatest rewards tend to accumulate to those who take the biggest risks -- and succeed. There are plenty of investors and gamblers who risked everything -- and lost everything. The difference, of course, is that those who risked it all and won accrued concrete rewards, whereas the high spirits of a successful free solo or a superalpine push are ephemeral.

I've soloed enough easy ground to know that I'd be pretty embarrassed to die on it. I've broken holds simulclimbing with 150' of rope out, I've run it out on vertical ice while wondering what would happen if I fucked up the next placement, and I climb loose crap on a regular basis. And I am NOT a very bold climber relative to many of the people I tie in with. I've met plenty of others who put it all on the line and solo at a high level (5.11 and up) just because they can. This sport is fundamentally selfish. The rewards are not proportionate to the risks. It's quite silly, really.

Nonetheless, heaping disdain upon the dead is a mark of weakness and shows a lack of restraint, perhaps a lack of confidence in one's own choices. The foundation of nobility is not to do that which is convenient; it is the ability to do what you know is right, when you'd rather not. Honesty and bluntness are overrated -- I admire tact, restraint, and depth much more, if only because I personally find them difficult to practice regularly.

Rest in piece, oh ye of questionable judgement. There but for the grace of god go I, and plenty of others among us.

That was well said. Fine, I will agree that my tact was lacking in this instance and I will agree that my opinion was not asked for. I will also agree that I have never tried to rope solo, but only because I care not to. My purpose in this sport is to have fun and not necessarily pull myself out from the rest by doing great things. Other people obviously have other purposes and maybe they also are at it to have fun. If they end up paying the price for it whether it was because of the choices that they made or the choices that others made for them, then it is sad. Let this be the end of it, no matter what you think of me, my tact, my opinion, or my apparent lack of climbing ability.

Again my apologies to those who have lost someone in similar accidents


edge


Sep 16, 2005, 12:51 PM
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Until then I will just keep climbing with other people so on that day that I accidently s#it in my climbing diaper and fall on that 5.5 and hurt myself, I will at least have someone to help me.

Some of us, believe it or not, actually relish the thought of being alone in the mountains, to challenge them on their own terms. More times than not, I have taken off without word, preferring to place myself in my own hands and not to risk the lives of would-be rescuers. I have never brought a cell phone more than 50 feet away from pavement, nor will I ever.

I couldn't begin to tell you the number of climbs that I have soloed, just as I previously could not have told you the immense hurt that I would have inflicted on my family if I had taken the ultimate leap; believe me, I have been very close on several occasions.

I now know, as the father of a young climber, that the wounds of loss would cut deep. However, if she took a calculated risk to embrace the mountains with arms outspread, and the results were for the worst, I could at least admire her persuing her dreams and reaping their potential rewards. I have personally never felt more alive in the mountains than when I am alone; this is obviously nothing that I can convey to someone of your relatively limited experience.

Yes, you may very well hurt someone you love in the pursuit of your dreams, but if you fail to live up to them, aren't you also cheating yourself?

May God bless this poor climber's soul, and his family find peace.


climbsomething


Sep 16, 2005, 1:13 PM
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Tim rules.


lumberg


Sep 16, 2005, 2:10 PM
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First, my condolences to the family.

Second, it seems like there are two issues here:

1) being sloppy and crude with one's words, to the point of disrespect

2) raising a potentially important topic regarding safety

I agree that the wording of his post was seriously inconsiderate and inappropriate, AND none of you have yet addressed the point he is raising about safety. One is not related to the other. And let me point out the purpose of this forum. It is NOT just to announce that someone has died and to say nice things about them (althought that is the minimum standard of decency in our community). The stated purpose of this forum (with which I agree) is for the climbing community to learn from our mistakes. Nothing is learned by avoiding discussing the choices which lead up to a fatal accident. In fact, one could argue that it is disrespectful to his family to not try to make something positive out of his death by helping the climbing community learn something useful through honest (but not blunt and tactless) discussion. When I was young, I made a lot of stupid choices while climbing and it is essentially just due to dumb luck that I didn't get splattered. If I had, I know I would prefer for someone else to learn from it so they don't get splattered in the future.

We can be respectful AND learn something here. It's not one or the other.


killclimbz


Sep 16, 2005, 2:36 PM
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In reply to:
First, my condolences to the family.

Second, it seems like there are two issues here:

1) being sloppy and crude with one's words, to the point of disrespect

2) raising a potentially important topic regarding safety

I agree that the wording of his post was seriously inconsiderate and inappropriate, AND none of you have yet addressed the point he is raising about safety. One is not related to the other. And let me point out the purpose of this forum. It is NOT just to announce that someone has died and to say nice things about them (althought that is the minimum standard of decency in our community). The stated purpose of this forum (with which I agree) is for the climbing community to learn from our mistakes. Nothing is learned by avoiding discussing the choices which lead up to a fatal accident. In fact, one could argue that it is disrespectful to his family to not try to make something positive out of his death by helping the climbing community learn something useful through honest (but not blunt and tactless) discussion. When I was young, I made a lot of stupid choices while climbing and it is essentially just due to dumb luck that I didn't get splattered. If I had, I know I would prefer for someone else to learn from it so they don't get splattered in the future.

We can be respectful AND learn something here. It's not one or the other.

Hey, the guy was rope soloing. That is a far cry from free soloing. For the most part if you know what you are doing, a rope solo is not a hell of a lot more dangerous than climbing with a partner. From what I read, and I haven't gone in depth. He had gear pull that resulted in this accident. Did a bad decision or two contribute to this? Maybe, I don't see this as reckless behavior on the climbers part though. Anyone who says they haven't made a bad decision climbing, hasn't been climbing for that long.


lumberg


Sep 16, 2005, 2:58 PM
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"Anyone who says they haven't made a bad decision climbing, hasn't been climbing for that long."

Yeah, I agree, but admitting a bad decision was made (if indeed it was) is the first part of learning from something, not the end point of the discussion. I don't think anyone here is claiming they have never made a bad decision. The point of this forum, as I understand it, is to look for decisions that may have contributed to an accident and figure out ways to prevent ourselves and our friends from making similar ones in the future.


edge


Sep 16, 2005, 5:06 PM
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In reply to:
The point of this forum, as I understand it, is to look for decisions that may have contributed to an accident and figure out ways to prevent ourselves and our friends from making similar ones in the future.

In reply to:
and Accidents"] Climbing accidents and injuries are not a joke. In a sport this dangerous you have to be a freak when it comes to safety. We'd like to know about some of the accidents or injuries you've experienced, seen, or heard of. Let's honor those people who've passed on by not making the same mistake!

Not every injury is an accident; indeed for many of us it is a conscious choice with little room for error. What some call a mistake is instead a calculated risk. To lose this particular bet is to hurt one's family, but to never even lay the chip down is to deprive those you love out of that which
is you.

This thought is the "great unwashed", and yet it still exists after more than 150 years of mountaineering achievement.

Someone may be actually convinced of their need to solo/rope solo/trad climb/sport climb a particular route. Who is anyone to question that, short of their immediate family? If I were to be forbidden to practice climbing as I know it, I do not think that is a reasonable request. Statistically, I could also demand that my wife or kids not drive to school.

"But then we can't perform/work/get grades."

Neither can I.

If I wanted to toil in anonymity, (which BTW I pretty much have) then I could have taken the safe road out of college and been divorced twice by now, like my frat buddies are. Instead I chose to live life, and accept it. I live for the thrill of life, and try to pass that on to my kids.

Perhaps that is hard for some of you to understand, and I truly respect your opinions. You will not, however, convince me otherwise.

Ever.

Again, I hope to iluminate to the bereaved family a small part of Bela's reasoning. I may not have captured his reasoning, but in the brotherhood of climbing, I hope that I have captured his spirit; he will live on in all of us.

Loran Smith


glyrocks


Sep 16, 2005, 5:40 PM
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Some of us, believe it or not, actually relish the thought of being alone in the mountains, to challenge them on their own terms....

...if she took a calculated risk to embrace the mountains with arms outspread, and the results were for the worst, I could at least admire her persuing her dreams and reaping their potential rewards. I have personally never felt more alive in the mountains than when I am alone; this is obviously nothing that I can convey to someone of your relatively limited experience.

Yes, you may very well hurt someone you love in the pursuit of your dreams, but if you fail to live up to them, aren't you also cheating yourself?

In reply to:
Not every injury is an accident; indeed for many of us it is a conscious choice with little room for error. What some call a mistake is instead a calculated risk. To lose this particular bet is to hurt one's family, but to never even lay the chip down is to deprive those you love out of that which is you.

Edge, that's a fantastic explanation of what I've tried to express countless times to countless people. Thanks.


cam


Sep 16, 2005, 7:36 PM
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First and foremost, my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the fallen.

To the Forum,

just as Justsaynototake's comments were somewhat cold and under-calculated, so were our comments to him. His profile shows not only his climbing experience "climbing for about a year" but his experience level in this forum. Those of us who have been here for a while have come to expect some harsh words directed at us regarding comments we may have made in a heated state. It's the nature of an anonymous Internet forum. Don't get me wrong, his words were overly blunt and cold which I will address in a moment but how many times have we read the same reaction to the same sort of accident from someone else who is equally new to our environment and the notion of soloing roped or un-roped. No one would clobber a child for not being able to walk without some tenuous first steps so lets exercise some tolerance and patience with new forum members.

Justsaynototake, I hear what you're saying and I understand your stance as I once shared it. I'm not saying that soloing is okay or not. What I am saying is that I understand the desire some folks develop over time to experience it. It's like when I first started climbing. I started in a gym and quickly grew anxious to experience climbing on a new level...outdoors. From there I wanted to take my climbing to new and exciting places with road trips and the transitions one makes between top roping and leading or sport and trad or routes and bouldering. Whatever. The point is, at some time in every-ones climbing career, one is faced with new possibilities and choices. Most of them play out as we intend them to (some with nothing but blind luck) and a few result in less than desirable outcomes. I noticed the pic in your profile of you at the top your first multipitch sport route. Believe it or not, the top of that route also represented a fork in the road of your growth as a climber. You could have chosen either to never climb multipitch ever again, or begin looking forward to your next multipitch adventure. At some point, the deceased also stood at a similar fork accept the choice he made brought him to that route on that day...alone.

I have a story that may illustrate my point better...

A friend, my wife and I had done some trad climbing a few years ago that brought us to a 5.10something hidden gem. Really great route with interesting and varied climbing. For us at that time this is what fun was made of. Anyhoo, after a few runs on a climb you get to know what the climb demands of you and familiarity brings with it an easy comfort. My friend felt so comfortable on this climb in fact, that he decided this was the climb on which he would cut his roped-soloing teeth. We were both confident in his ability to successfully negotiate the climbing and gear placement thus far and after some lengthy discussion about the how's, why's and what-if's I felt confident that he could pull it off. My wife voiced some concern about the wisdom in his decision and the logistical problems regarding extrication should something go wrong. A dry run on the ground, however unrealistic and foolish it was, did set her at ease enough to permit a continuance.

Well, about 20 feet off the deck and too far above his last piece of gear to make it of any real use it was apparent that my friend (and I) had misjudged his ability to handle the increased demands of mental focus, commitment and rope management. While fiddling with a loop that had formed in the rope preventing him from advancing further to easier rock my friend began to lose his balance and in an effort to regain control he stepped right through a loop of rope which, had he lost his grip, would likely have flipped him upside down before coming to a stop on his head on the ground. Long story short, he recovered his composure, sorted out the rope and completed the route.

My wife was livid with both my friend and I (but mostly my friend) for putting her in that situation. She launched into the familiar lecture about selfishness and responsibility and made us both feel quite guilty. She could not fathom why he would want to take such a huge risk or why I let him do so. I understood why he wanted to do it because I had been there already. I had stood at the fork I mentioned earlier and had made the same choice as he did. My wife did not understand, simply because she had not yet come to that point herself.

When people refer to your inexperience as a climber, it is not meant as a put down but rather a guage we use to determine ones ability to deal with and judge situations. Your inexperience leaves you without the tools needed to understand why and how this man found himself alone on that route on that day and while you are entitled to your opinion, you are not able to pass judgment on him or his fate.

Inexperience simply means more room to learn. Everyone starts there with everything they do. No one is born an expert at anything. With experience, your perspective will evolve. All the forum here asks of you is that you try to not shit on people who are at a different point in their evolution than yourself. Voice your opinion if you must but please do so respectfully. Those who are close to the fallen may at some point read this thread and the last thing they need is to read about how selfish or irresponsible or stupid someone thinks their friend has been.

Kudos to you for stepping up and admitting you were in error. It shows that you have the stones to admit when you're wrong and believe me, people who lack that ability do not last long in this game.

cam out.


climbingnurse


Sep 17, 2005, 2:10 PM
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To JustSayNoToTake:

Life is dangerous. If you really want to be safe, stay home on your couch. Then you can become an obese, hypertensive, diabetic like the rest of America. I work in an ER and I treat a lot more of them than I do rock climbers.

This man died living. Not everyone gets to do that. God bless and Godspeed to him and his loved ones.

By the way, it's always safer to yell take than to take the fall.


tallnik


Sep 17, 2005, 3:12 PM
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Condolences to family and friends.

Nik


dead_milkman


Sep 17, 2005, 4:38 PM
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I don't care what kind of rush it gives you to free solo (not what this guy was doing), or what kind of peace it gives you to go climbing alone (what he was doing). Climbing like this is wreckless and stupid. It is sad that this guy died but I really have little to no sympathy for those people who climb like they are invinsible and then get hurt or die. Just like that f*#ker who chopped his own arm off.

Justsaynotake... You know what they say about opinions... Fuck you. Asshole.

Editted because I saw an apology... How nice of you. Nonetheless, I think I have to get my kick at the proverbial cat as well; you should have thought a little before posting such tripe.


timstich


Sep 17, 2005, 5:46 PM
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Registered: Feb 2, 2003
Posts: 6267

Re: Rock Climber Falls From Half Dome In Yosemite [In reply to]
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Well, justsaynototake, I guess this has been a learning experience in reacting to a climbing death for you. If you climb long enough, hell, live long enough, you will no doubt go through changes in how you react to these sorts of things, especially the senseless ones. You yourself may loose a friend to a simple mistake like not puting both ropes into the rappel device. But I do understand your current reaction, as I have both seen it in others and felt it in the past. It is good that you are getting grief for your tactless guff at the moment, but I am sure you will look back and feel differently in time.

That said, my sincerest condolences to the friends and family of our fallen comrade.


oldrnotboldr


Sep 18, 2005, 1:33 PM
Post #47 of 62 (14999 views)
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Registered: May 23, 2005
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Re: Rock Climber Falls From Half Dome In Yosemite [In reply to]
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Deepest condolences to all family and friends.

As with all climbs/treks there are always factors that we cannot control, somethings are truly accidents.


billcoe_


Sep 18, 2005, 8:00 PM
Post #48 of 62 (14999 views)
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Re: Rock Climber Falls From Half Dome In Yosemite [In reply to]
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Well spoken Tims

I have started a new thread where the facts, as best known right now, are presented.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1190819#1190819

Why bury it at the back of a thread like this.

TAKE: if you are interested, you can go to your first post, click the "EDIT" tab next to the "QUOTE" and "REPLY" tabs, and make that post anything you want.

Or you can leave it. Your choice.

Every climbing fatality leaves holes in the hearts of many many people. I'm sure this one is no different.


justsaynototake


Sep 19, 2005, 6:38 PM
Post #49 of 62 (14999 views)
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Re: Rock Climber Falls From Half Dome In Yosemite [In reply to]
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Done


zoratao


Sep 19, 2005, 7:20 PM
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Registered: Feb 24, 2005
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Re: Rock Climber Falls From Half Dome In Yosemite [In reply to]
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I love the formulaic stuff, 1) someone is injured or died, 2) someone heartless posts something offensive to most, 3) Everyone else flames the heartless guy while sending out prayers and condolences to families who probably wont read this. Maybe they do, I don't know. Either way it sucks when someone dies in our community or out of it. It is an unfortunate fact of life though and getting too wrapped up about it is kinda pointless too.
Asandh, the point being made in your article is about people whose lives can be exposed to open inspection and interpretation. This guy, a proverbial nobody, dies and his life was his own not open to the public interpretation that public figures are exposed to. Making statements about things that can't really be examined this way seems pointless to me. Making statements about statements not so.

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