[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Dr John Lowder, Was [pct-l] Re: ice axe


I find it incredible that an experienced backpacker like John Lowder didn't
have an axe. My understanding is that only a fool would attempt the Sierra
in mid-June without an axe. Everybody has said that John was no fool. Isn't
it likely that it as ripped from his hand during the fall and not found?

The story that I saw published in 1999 was that John became tired, possibly
even despondant, with the bad weather and decided to bail out. Others tried
to talk him out of the New Army Pass route but he insisted. I would be
suprised that his companions allowed him to try New Army Pass in storm
conditions without an axe. No storm or whiteout condition was mentioned in
the accounts that I read.

-----Original Message-----
From: Brick Robbins [mailto:brick@fastpack.com]
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2002 7:25 PM
To: PCT-L@mailman.backcountry.net
Subject: Re: Dr John Lowder, Was [pct-l] Re: ice axe

At 06:18 PM 2/22/02, Sly wrote:
>Not that I'm disagreeing with you Brick, but I think I mentioned this 
>before, the story I got from someone that was in John's party immediately 
>before the incident was that John bailed out during a storm because he was 
>running low on food and thought it was his best option.  He was most 
>likely in whiteout conditions when he fell and may not have had time to 
>react.  The others bivouacked.

I am not questioning WHY he fell, or why he was leaving the Mountains, or 
why he chose New Army pass to egress instead of Trail Pass or Cottonwood 
Pass .........

I am questioning why he could not stop himself after he fell. He was 
knowledgeable and experienced......

"Time to react" is doesn't matter if you have an ice axe in your hand (and 
you are trained), it is automatic. The times I've had to self arrest I did 
not expect to go down - which is probably why I fell in the first place - 
and I was able to self arrest.

He did not have an ice axe.........He died.  Would the ice axe have saved 
his life?

I wasn't there, so I don't know, but I think he would have stood a much 
greater chance with one.

If had not have fallen, it wouldn't have mattered.


Brick Robbins                       mailto:brick@fastpack.com

PCT-L mailing list