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Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby BSquared » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:55 am

Amen, Sparky.

The signs at the tops of the falls really are incredibly explicit. They show drawings of panicked people trying to get out of the water, and as I recall, the statement, "if you go over the falls, you will die." Could it be that kids are exposed to so much death and destruction in all kinds of media (from music videos to video games to the nightly news) that it becomes somehow unreal to them? Nah, probably not. :cool:
—B²



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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby John Dittli » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:59 pm

I would only be able to assign blame to the leader if he/she hadn't warned against swimming or was aware of the swimming and didn't "attempt" to do something about it.

A nineteen year old can read and comprehend. That said, my life would have been pretty boring if I hadn't had taken risks. Some may call the risks stupid. Is free soloing stupid? Is running waterfalls in a kayak stupid? Is iceskating wild lakes stupid? Some would think backpacking where you can be eaten by wild animals stupid!

I don't think kids are anymore isolated from death as they ever were, the young in general don't respect it, it's part of the freedom of youth!

I'm glad I've done the stupid things I've done in my life! I'm guessing we've all done them, some of us are just lucky enough to live to tell the tales....
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby whrdafamI? » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:58 am

John Dittli wrote: Some may call the risks stupid. Is free soloing stupid? Is running waterfalls in a kayak stupid? .



Somehow I don't see you taking a kayak over a 600' drop.
Last edited by whrdafamI? on Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:16 pm

Whereas we don't know the full details of this tragedy, I still believe a 19-year-old is ultimately responsible for making the right decisions, particularly when so many signs warn against such behavior. I think our society has shown an increasing tendency to place blame on leaders, or larger entities, for the foolish actions of others.

Another aspect, too, is that there are many of us, even if we know better, will do things that are beyond foolish. Accordingly, whereas I can sit back and say this young person was a fool, so was I at his age, for, as a 19-year-old, I did a whole series of boneheaded things in the High Sierra but was lucky enough to survive. There was no excuse for me: I was a seasoned High Sierra wilderness person by that time, having been hiking in the High Sierra since I was 6, I did well in school, and would eventually become an academic, yet.... I leaped across the notorious Junction Meadow crossing of Bubbs Creek in early May 1979. A slightly bad landing on one of those submerged rocks and I was a goner. On the same trip I took one of those soft-spring-snow falls on the E. Ridge of Mt Brewer and (as is so common with soft steep spring snow) it looked as if I wouldn't be able to self arrest before going over a 500' cliff (fortunately for me the self arrest was successful after what seemed an agonizing long period of the point simply carving a high speed furrow in the snow). The fall was precipitated by my attempting to glissade the headwall on the E. Ridge instead of carefully downclimbing it. Earlier the same year I attempted a solo dayhike climb of Mt. Montgomery from the Benton town dump. Got to about 12900 before I turned around. I was way over my head--it was bitterly cold (standing water frozen in Benton), my snot was frozen Himalayan style, I was following a careful line to avoid stepping on cornices on the (in those winter conditions) dramatic W ridge (pedestrian in other seasons). This was not something I had experience in and I had no business doing it.

Anyhow, my point is that I believe that young adults are responsible for their own actions and we read all the time about young adults making poor decisions. But I whereas I read those things and think to myself that the person was a dumb---, that doesn't mean I forget that I wasn't a dumb---, too. I was just a luckier dumb---. I remember my dad did not chew me out any of the times I told him about my alpine screw ups. He basically shrugged and said that those were risks I assumed when I went up there.
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby frediver » Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:04 pm

He was old enough to vote!
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby oldranger » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:54 am

I initially had the same response as Russ, basically another candidate for a Darwin award. But giantbrookie really nailed it. Then I reflected on my youth and I still get shivers at some of the really stupid things I did, mainly at the steeringwheel of a car. It was only dumb luck that on one or two occasions I did not kill myself or others. But luck was with me and I didn't even have an accident or get stopped by the police. Despite not using drugs or alcohol on a couple of instances I was incredibly reckless. So yes Russ it was pretty stupid but I think that is basically what we are as youth in at least one aspect of our life.

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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:08 am

My comments were not intended to assess "blame". First, this should not have happened as part of an organized group with well informed leadership. That is not to "blame" the leaders. Simply my conjecture that the leaders were not experienced/informed enough. What we all did as youth, on our own, with plenty of risk, is not the issue. Second, I am a mother. Regardless of how stupid my kids were (and lived to tell), if such a tragedy happened (yes it IS a tragedy), it would have broken my heart. We do not know the details, and may never.

I have cooled my feet in the apparently calm pool above Nevada Falls. It is deceptive. At the upper end of this pool, you seem far from the falls. There are many danger signs posted in Yosemite. One is posted at the top of Tenaya Canyon that basically says you will die of you go down this canyon. I lead a trip of six people (mountaineers) down this canyon. We had experience and equipment needed to do it safely. I spent a considerable time researching the route and timing it late in the Fall when water was really low. I do not feel what we did was risky, or at least any more risky than the average technical climbs we always did. As backpackers we all take risks, but with proper information and experience we are able to mitigate the risk to an acceptable level. I do not feel this church group or the individual had such experience or information.
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby gdurkee » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:52 pm

No, campers, it's still sad no matter how many signs are around -- and I've pulled a number of bodies from the base of that very waterfall, almost all of them males in their teens or early 20s. Urban types usually know at an early age not to run out from behind parked cars. If a kid who's been warned does so and gets hit is he at fault? Is it somehow not sad and so the subject of critical talk about responsibility etc.? Same is true of wild settings. People just don't know. The guy's 19. It was sad.

g.
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby BSquared » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:27 am

Yes. Thanks for the perspective, George.
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:34 am

I agree with GB 100%. we all did stuff that was risky in our youth. I vow to not use stupid on this forum again. Now it's "unfortunate."

We all have different perspectives. George, you signed up for recovery as part of your job description. I can see that as a "sad" perspective. I've only seen 3 people die in my lifetime. None were at the bottom of a fall, and that would be really bad, given the drop.

It's unfortunate the 19 year old didn't appreciate that soaking his legs would be enough to cool down.

The part i'm most excited about is no one else tried to jump in and save him. That would have been catastrophic as we've seen before.

It's probably worse on his family.
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby artrock23 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:16 am

On another website, someone made a good suggestion regarding assistance to people in danger of going over the falls in Yosemite: why not have life preservers attached to ropes above the falls? One could then give someone in the water a good chance of being saved from going over, without endangering themselves. O:)
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Re: Another Nevada Falls Tragedy

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:27 am

Given the force of the water once you get into the main current and the speed at which things happen, I think the idea of throwing in a floating devise, may not work, or worse, pull in another person. Perhaps farther upstream the idea may work. Given the hordes of people that are at the top of Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls and the tempting swimming "pools" perhaps the park service needs to patrol those areas more. I have never seen a ranger up there.

Just in the last week they have pulled two bodies out of the Sacramento River - swimmers who got pulled under. There even is a regulation that children are required to wear PFD, free PFD's are hung up all around, yet it is ignored. I think people are really uninformed about the power of water.
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