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Author Topic: False-legs climber dies on Rainier, while training for Everest  (Read 4113 times)

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September 25 2002
The mountaineer Ed Hommer defied death time after time, scaling astounding heights and tackling windswept peaks with every step of his prosthetic legs. But it was a mountain that took him in the end.

Mr Hommer, 46, was killed less than 1000 metres from the top of Mount Rainier's 4393m summit by a large rock that hit him in the head. He and three companions were ascending the south-east face of the mountain in preparation for an attempt next year to scale Mount Everest.

Park rangers said Mr Hommer, a double amputee who had been climbing for 26 years, was hit by a rock about the "size of a basketball". The others, who were not injured, called rangers on a mobile telephone. Mr Hommer was found without a helmet, but rangers said it was probably knocked off when the rock hit him. They believe that the rock was loosened from the top of a large outcrop.

The climbers, led by a well-known Seattle mountaineer, Jim Wickwire, 62, were roped together, about 10m apart. Mr Wickwire was leading and Mr Hommer was last. The two were the most experienced in the group.
"They knew something was wrong when the third man felt a tug of the rope. It stopped moving, and they knew something was amiss," said Lee Taylor, a spokeswoman for Mount Rainier National Park.

Mr Wickwire climbed 40m back down the face to find his dead companion.
"Obviously they were very shaken up. Jim Wickwire has experienced mountaineering deaths before. He seemed to be in disbelief that it could happen again. The other two climbers were in a state of shock," Mr Taylor said.

By all accounts, Mr Hommer is lucky he lived this long.
During a sightseeing tour of Mount McKinley in 1981, he crashed a small plane in a storm. He and three others waited for nearly a week on the freezing mountain. Two died. By the time rescuers reached the survivors, Mr Hommer had suffered severe frostbite and both legs had to be amputated below the knee.

This year five others have died trying to climb Mount Rainier, two from hypothermia and four in accidents

(From smh.com.au)
« Last Edit: Sep 30 2002, 16:48 by 7summits »
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"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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