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As per my previous post I have met and spoken to Joe about his epic ordeal and also spoken to Simon whom I met whilst climbing with a guy who knew him. You are correct in that any climber with even basic ropework skills could have securely anchored Joe to the mountain while Simon abseiled down to check what was taking Joe so long to descend etc. However, the severe storm that they were trying desperately to descend in was horrific and they were both physically and mentally exhausted from both the climb and from exposure and they absolutely had to get off that mountain that night or face serious frostbite injuries or even death in their state. They also had no food to eat or gas left to melt snow to rehydrate so it was a desperate situation as i'm sure you can imagine. So, as i'm sure you can imagine a very rapid descent was their only option if they wanted to get off that mountain alive or at least in one piece which is why they both decided not to belay down the mountain but for Simon to lower Joe (rather painfully) down the mountain as setting up and clearing belays would have taken too long. Also, they were both very experienced and accomplished climbers who understood the risk they were taking by not setting up belays but they both understood the desperate situation they were in and took a calculated decision not to belay.


Therefore, I wouldn't put all the blame on Simon. Even Joe is a fierce defender of Simon and gets pretty angry whenever people both in the climbing community and outside blame Simon for Joe's ordeal.

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You know that bond of commitment that is the climbing rope right? HE SLICED IT UP!! CUT THE ROPE! There's ABSOLUTELY no reason to ever cut the rope when your partner is in an unknown state. IMHO he should be sentenced to a life of free soloing! They were careless straight up, and surely could have avoided this situation!


In three seasons working Yosemite SAR I've seen many a body scraped off the granite cause someone was too lazy to set a decent belay anchor, THOUGHT they had to get down because of closing weather that prolly wouldn't have killed them anyway, or Feared they would starve/go hungry. Shit, I've done it too of course. Last winter we were stuck on a porta-ledge for four days in an blizzard with two days of food/three days water ( we spent 7 on the wall). Just this spring we were doing a mixed FA we've been eying for years on peak 10,084 in Toulumne, the fifth pitch was easy, and my partner only placed two pieces, a red alien, and the second piece(s) were a pair of BD nuts. The pitch topped out at a super wide ledge where we were gonna spend the rest of the day, and bivy for the night. We were really worried about a big roof on the next pitch... In the morning the whole **** rack was gone except for the two nuts and the alien left on my harness. That **** didn't secure the rack. Anyway, we had to rap 3 pitches on one piece each(two on single nuts), and downclimb a pitch off a mere corner of a crack, the other off a flakeusing my last cordlette. Needless to say our partnership is OVER (although we work together, and are still good friends). But really, I should have checked that the rack was secure, I **** up too. If I was him I wouldn't want to climb with me either cause I didn't have his back. That's climbing! Two as one. Point being, I realize people make mistakes but he cut the rope.


Anyways... even a total newb would know that being in a cave would be much safer than being in the elements in those conditions (weather even cleared the next day). They were scared... prolly do to inexperience (they WERE NOT that accomplished/experienced at that point in their careers).


Also, even if Joe defends him, ask him why they never not only climbed together again but engaged in conversation outside greetings.


BTW, I also met Simon Yates back in Patagonia...seems nice.



-Would you climb with a partner whom cut a partner free leaving them for dead?

I can't imagine being pumped on a crux on pitch 17 of 29 with weather closing in thinking about the time my belayer cut his partner free.

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