American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Party Separated, Lost, Unfamiliar with Terrain, Exhaustion

California, Mt. Shasta Wilderness, Avalanche Gulch

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

On June 16 a middle-aged climber with novice mountaineering skills, Chinyet Lin, was reported missing after an attempted one-day climb up the Avalanche Gulch route. Lin was part of a “meet up” group off the Internet. The party was high on the mountain late in the day when Chinyet decided to take a “nap” at an unknown location. He was out of view of other members of his party, and thus they did not see him along the route on their descent. Chinyet continued toward the top after his nap and summited at 4 p.m. He was not familiar with the mountain and ended up descending the West Face. Fortunately, along the route he met a Shasta Mountain Guides group that aided in his walk back to the trailhead.

Analysis

This is a comment rather than an analysis. We see a number of these “meet up” groups on Mt. Shasta. The first question is, are they pirate guiding? It is a difficult thing to determine sometimes! But more importantly, concerning safety, these groups are people that usually have never met before. We are finding more and more of these climbing parties separating with very little responsibility or care for other members of the group. We think this is because of lack of connection or responsibility, lack of experience climbing together, etc. Basically, it would seem the attitude is, “Let’s climb together, but I’m really in this for myself.” This is a dangerous attitude. (Source: Nick Meyers, Lead Climbing Ranger and Avalanche Specialist.)

(Editor’s note: This was not counted as a climbing accident. It is included because of the “meet up” syndrome. We also call it “Climbing with Blind Dates.” Mostly not a good idea.)

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