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Rock Climbing : News : Accidents and Injuries : Exum Guide Dies on the Grand Teton

Exum Guide Dies on the Grand Teton

Submitted by oscarlation on 2008-07-23

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by Oscar Bishop

George Gardner, an exum guide of over 20 years, falls off the lower exum ridge while soloing it on Saturday, July 19th.

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This is extremely sad. My sympathies go out to his family.
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I didn't know George but live in the area, and it wouldn't be fair to say he "fell." He died of a fall, but no one knows what caused his fall.
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DSSIMPSON, I would think it quite obious he fell, and died from the sudden stop after falling. I would also guess gravity caused his fall. Why he let go of the rock is what we will never know. (sorry for the sarcasm but I had to) It is sad to see anyone perish and my thoughts go out to his loved ones, family, and spectators, but he did kind of have it comming. The most basic protection, a rope, is all he needed to possibly still be alive today.

I personally think that people who solo do so for thier own reasons, but when they die it should not be a shock at all, but almost expected. There are two outcomes for solo'ers, they stop doing it (after being somewhat lucky), or eventually die because of risky choices. No matter how confident a climber (or crazy) is, holds break, birds atack, bees sting, snakes bite, rain falls, and for most of us, slip ups/break of concentration do happen.

I personaly gave up soloing because I finally realized the impact my hobbie was/potentially having on my friends, family, loved ones, and normally the overlooked spectators. There is more at stake when making the choice to solo than just one's own life. I hope solo'ers keep this in mind while they chase that amazing addrenaline fix. Most people are traumatized pretty bad when they see thier first splattered human, and this should be considered before soloing, or any of the other life threatening stuff I see people do almost daily at local crags.

All in all I have come to think that most free solo'ers are in fact a little selfish, my self included. Solo'ers care more about thier own chase of addrenaline, thrills, and solo first ascents than they care about the effect of thier actions on loved ones, and witnessing climbers in the area.

It makes me wonder what would have happened if he was using a 1 pound parachute for pro durring his free solo.
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Him being a guide for 20 years I am sure he has had more fulfillment then most people in their full lives. My sympathies go out to his family.

Unfortunately there is a recent glorification of solo climbing and the peer pressure of those achievements. It's a dangerous enough sport as it. Be safe and use a rope folks.

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