Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summit Registers: How they can offer comfort in a time of need.

We received this touching email to our office from Mountain Rescue Aspen team regarding a fallen climber from the North Face of North Maroon Peak on 7/24.  Summit registers, which can be seen as a controversial topic regarding Leave No Trace rules, can do more than offer a sense of accomplishment-it can comfort a family. The Colorado Mountain Club has been the keepers of Colorado summit registers since 1912.

"I think this is an incredible testament to the power of "the web" and social media. I will try to make it as short as I can but I believe each "Portal" through which the information flowed need to be acknowledged.

The story, as the register is concerned, began on Monday 7/23 late in the afternoon. When at my request, one of our team members "posted" a "Missing Climber" report on the site a website. The subject's had posted via mobile transmission his having reached the summit of South Maroon "Now for part 2!"

His post had been interpreted by some as a reference to the tough descent of S. Maroon but to many as "He's going for the traverse".

While our team was in the field attempting to eliminate the eastern aspects of the two bells as search areas, the internet was at work.

Terry M., a regular on the website had remembered a "Trip Report" from N. Maroon that had been posted on 7/21, two days after the last communications from the climber. Not a normal trip report as this one contained video content and a photo of the summit registry log; presumably as a keepsake of the group having been there. Terry, went back and looked at the photo, noticed that the name of the missing climber was on this register! He sent it to some of the 
subjects co-workers who are also using social media to get the word out. The co-workers not only confirmed the handwriting but noticed his FDNY (fire dept New York) badge number in the photo and confirmed it to Terry. By this time the climber had been found. It had been determined that the subject had taken a fatal fall while descending N. Maroon, his family had been notified and his body recovered. There was more on the ledger that could not be seen in the photo and family and friends wanted (I guess needed) to know what he last ones were.

So Terry got the ball rolling. Posted a "Request from the FDNY in memory of Lenny Joyner"

While the 14ers community was throwing around ideas and figuring out "Who" was going to N. Maroon next to get a high quality photo of the register, the request for a "High Quality Photo" was coming through official channels.

I cannot take credit for originating the idea to take the original page, but do take responsibility for executing it.

So off to the summit I went with another member of the team. After removing the page I had planned to take a photo, but felt compelled to make the short video, offering our condolences and to inform the FDNY and his family that the summit ledger was in our custody and we were getting it back to them."

Main StreetGallery in Carbondale Colorado worked overnight in the middle of an art show to frame the piece for us and refused to accept any money for the frame job.

Attached you will find a scanned copy for your summit record keeping. Your registry made it possible for a family to feel the joy of the climber's accomplishment of reach the summit before his fatal fall on the north face."

Respectfully submitted by Mountain Rescue Aspen

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