Text © Brutus of Wyde, used with permission. Originally inspired by Russ Walling's FISH catalog disclaimer, and later a few parts were stolen from a rumored sign at Seneca Rocks. Slightly modified for my website.
Pictures © Guillaume Dargaud 1992-2008.
"Your worst day when you're alive is better than your best day when you're dead."
Left: My bloody face after a heated discussion with a rock coming down from Spearhead. Yes, that was just after I took off my helmet, and 2 weeks after the same thing happened at Devil's Tower.
This inaccurate website is based on dim recollections, half-baked guesses, gossip, blind speculation, and outright lies. In NO WAY does it tell the full story. You would probably be better off just trying to find your own way up the mountain, than you would be if you used information gathered from this website. But that statement in no way implies that I am in any way responsible if you don't use the information I give you here, and something bad happens anyway.
Nature is unpredictable and unsafe. Mountains are dangerous. Many books have been written about these dangers, and there's no way I can even list them all here, let alone discussing how to reduce risk from these dangers. Read the books.
The areas depicted by this website are covered in steep terrain with loose, slippery and unstable footing. The weather can make matters worse. Sheer drops are everywhere. You may fall, be injured or die. There are hidden holes. You could break your leg. There are overhanging outcroppings and low-growing tree branches where you could bump your head (see picture on left). There are wild animals, which may be vicious, poisonous, hungry or carriers of dread diseases. These may include poisonous amphibians, reptiles, and insects; insects to which you have allergies, or whose multiple stings can cause anaphylactic shock; mammals which may include skunks, badgers, marmots, lions, tigers, and bears (see picture on right); predatory birds, and all other manner of beasts. Plants can be poisonous as well, and even when not poisonous, can inflict serious injury like a sharp stick in the eye. Mushrooms growing in those areas are very likely extremely poisonous. This website, and the author of this website, will not do anything to protect you from any of this. I do not inspect, supervise or maintain the ground, rocks, cliffs, wildlife, vegetation or other features, natural or otherwise.
Right: A Grizzly, way too close, met in Alaska.
Real dangers are present even on approach trails. Trails are not sidewalks, and folks have died and been seriously injured even on sidewalks when they have tripped on cracked concrete, plunged into meter boxes with missing covers, been mugged, hit by cars, had pianos fall on them... Trails can be, and are, steep, slippery and dangerous. Trail features made or enhanced by humans, such as bridges, steps, walls and railings (if any) can break, collapse, or otherwise fail catastrophically at any time. I don't promise to inspect, supervise or maintain them in any way. They may be negligently constructed or repaired. Some trails in the area are only maintained by Nelson Bighorn Sheep, who have little regard for human life or human safety, or any humans whatsoever. In summary, trails are unsafe, period. Live with it or stay away.
Stay on the trails whenever possible. The terrain, in addition to being dangerous, is surprisingly complex. You may get lost. You probably WILL get lost. The chances of getting lost multiply geometrically after the sun goes down, due to poor visibility. The sun goes down at least once a day in those areas (even in Antarctica, depending on how you define 'day'). Not to say that you won't get lost during daylight hours. In either event, carry a flashlight, extra bulb and batteries, compass, GPS, maps, altimeter, cellular phone, food, water, matches and first aid supplies at all times. My advising you of this does not mean there are not other things you should be carrying. Carry them as well, and know how to use them. I am not responsible for the consequences if you fail to heed this advice. In fact, I am not responsible for the consequences even if you DO heed this advice, nor am I responsible if you carry so much stuff along that you end up moving so slowly that you get benighted. Tough luck.
Left: That's me holding my broken crampon while solo in the middle of the Paretone in Central Italy. Question: how do you get out of the middle of a 1650m face with only one crampon ? Answer
Rocks and other objects can, and probably will, fall from the cliffs. They can tumble down slopes. This can happen naturally, or be caused by people above you, such as climbers. Rocks of all sizes, including huge boulders, can shift, move or fall with no warning. If you don't believe me check out the talus slopes at the base of some of the rock walls. They didn't just grow there. Use of helmets is advised for anyone approaching the rock formations. In fact, you shouldn't really be approaching the rock formations anyway. That is a really stupid thing to do. If you do decide to approach the formations, shoulder pads, knee pads, elbow pads, athletic cups and supporters and other body armor may be handy as well as helmets. These items can be purchased or rented from mountaineering shops and athletic supply stores. They won't save you if you get hit by or scrape against something big or on another part of your body. A whole rock formation might collapse on you and squash you like a bug. Don't think it can't happen. It does, and it probably will.
Right: Jenny hanging onto the tent during a 3 day windstorm in Sarek, Sweden.
Weather can be dangerous, regardless of the forecast. Be prepared with extra clothing, including rain gear. Hypothermia, heat stroke, dehydration, frostbite, lightning, ice and snow, runoff from rainstorms, flashfloods, etc. can kill you. Rain can turn easy terrain into a deathtrap, can drown you if you're looking up into the sky with your mouth open, and vastly decreases traction on pavement. Snow is even worse, the hazards ranging from snowball fight injuries to avalanches (Picture on right).
Left: Lightning strike on a Colorado house.
If you scramble in high places (scrambling is moving over terrain steep enough to use your hands) without proper experience, training and equipment, or allow children to do so, you are making a terrible mistake. Even if you know what you're doing and are the most experienced and safest climber the world has ever known, you are still making a terrible mistake: lots of things can and do go wrong and you may be injured or die. It happens all the time.
Right: Avalanche down the Messner couloir (with two japanese snowboarders inside), Mt McKinley.
Furthermore, scrambling amongst the huge boulders inside canyons, even without exposure of high places, can result in serious physical and/or emotional injury, or death.
Those areas, and those routes, are not provided with any rangers or security personnel on any regular basis. The other people in the area, including other visitors, park employees, foreign agents, biologists and nature freaks, terrorists and anyone else who might sneak in, may be stupid, reckless, a religious fanatic, or otherwise dangerous. They may be mentally ill, criminally insane, drunk, using illegal drugs and/or armed with anything from nail clippers to deadly weapons and ready to use them. I'm not going to do anything about that. I refuse to take responsibility.
Left: Jenny rappelling down Torre Venezia in a rainstorm, Dolomite
Excessive consumption of alcohol, use of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and/or controlled substances while frequenting those areas can and probably will affect your mental state, alertness, and decision-making abilities, and could make an already dangerous situation even worse. Even hyperventilation or spinning around rapidly and repeatedly can affect your equilibrium to the point that even on a flat paved surface you may fall and injure yourself. Even abstinence from consciousness-altering substances and actions won't protect you from the actions of others under the influence of said substances or actions. That's your problem, and yours alone. Not my fault.
Right: Crashed car along a bad Utah road.
The driveways, freeways, highways, streets, alleys, back roads and unimproved 4WD tracks leading to those areas kill hundreds of folks each year. Many of these fatalities are folks who aren't even on their way to those places, who in fact have never heard of those places, but are simply innocent victims. Not so you. You have been warned. You could get killed driving to the trailhead. Wearing your seatbelt tightly fastened with the lap belt low across your waist improves your chances of survival, in most cases (except that one steep section of road) but does not and cannot guarantee your safety. You might die before ever stepping out of your vehicle at the trailhead, or on the way home. It can happen any time. If you think you are immune from this kind of thing, you're fooling yourself.
Left: Tonino, suffering from a cold and HAPE symptoms, is put into a pressure tank for the afternoon so he can rest better while we pump him down Cho Oyu.
This is not a sterile environment. Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, protoviruses, fungi and other forms of life and protolife which may or may not be currently included in either the plant or animal kingdom are capable of causing you serious bodily harm, illness, or death. These kinds of biological agents are both endemic in the area or present in the plant and animal populations; and are also capable of being carried or transmitted by your climbing partners and traveling companions. I'm not going to take responsibility for this, either. My advice for you to treat drinking water, wash your hands before and after going to the bathroom and before eating, to not breathe hanta-virus-contaminated dust, and to not indulge in unprotected sex in those areas, in no way obligates me to be responsible for the consequences if you fail to do so, nor does it mean that even if you DO take these precautions and something happens anyway, that I am to blame. Not so. Forget it. Nada. Negativo.
If you climb, you may die or be seriously injured. And the longer you climb the greater your risk of bad luck, which may or may not be compounded by hubris, catching up to you. This is true whether you are experienced or not, trained or not, and equipped or not, though training, experience and equipment may help. It's a fact, climbing is extremely dangerous. If you don't like it, stay at home. You really shouldn't be doing it anyway. I do not provide supervision or instruction. I am not responsible for, and do not inspect or maintain, climbing anchors (including bolts, pitons, slings, trees, etc). As far as I know, any of them can and probably will suddenly fail without warning and send you plunging to your death with a bloodcurdling scream, likely pulling your partner to his or her doom as well. There are countless tons of loose rock ready to be dislodged and fall on you or someone else. There are any number of unobvious, extremely and unusually dangerous conditions existing on and around the rocks, and elsewhere. I probably don't know about any specific hazard, but even if I do, don't expect this website or its author to try to warn you. You're on your own.
Right: Amateur brain surgery at 4000m on Mt Hunter, after a lead fall where Mark hit his head with his axe. Those Aussies will survive anything.
We won't even begin to discuss rappelling. If you are thinking of traveling here for the express purpose of rappelling, do us all a favor: Just take a nice nap in the fast lane of an interstate truck route. But be advised that, if you do, I am in no way responsible for the consequences of that, either.
Furthermore, the fact that I'm not trying to stop you from being in those areas in no way implies, nor should it be inferred, that I approve, recommend, advocate, or otherwise in any way affirm that such action on your part is anything but incredibly stupid.
Left: That's me hanging by one arm after the base of the ice column fell off with a kick. No first ascent today in the Monti della Laga...
Rescue services are not provided by anyone near those climbs, and may not be available quickly or at all. In fact, if anything really serious happens to you in those areas, you'll probably be dead before word ever reaches civilization. Local rescue squads may not be equipped for or trained in mountain rescue. They probably won't be. If you are lucky enough to have somebody try to rescue you or treat your injuries, they will probably be incompetent or worse. This includes doctors and hospitals. I assume no responsibility. Also, if you decide to participate in a rescue of some other unfortunate, that's your choice. Don't do it unless you are willing to assume all risks, and don't blame me when it goes bad and you end up getting yourself sued in the process.
By using, or even just looking at this website, you are agreeing that I owe you no duty of care or any other duty, you agree to release me, my relatives, heirs, dependents, and anyone else I care to name, now and forevermore, from any and all claims of liability, even though my actions may be grossly negligent and/or be construed as reckless endangerment, manslaughter, or other misconduct up to and including premeditated murder. By downloading any byte off this website, you agree to waive forever any rights that you, your partners, dependents, heirs, in-laws, and others known or unknown to you may have, to legal compensation resulting from anything that has anything to do with this website, including but in no way limited to paper cuts from the edge of a print you might have done. If you try to sue me in spite of all this, you agree to pay my lawyers fees regardless of the outcome of the suit, and you expressly agree to reimburse me for any loss or injury, be it financial, physical, emotional, or imagined, which I may experience as a result of such lawsuit.
Right: Laurence de la Ferrière having her frozen toes checked by the Dome C doctor during her traverse of Antarctica.
I promise you nothing. I do not and will not even try to keep those areas safe for any purpose. Those areas are NOT safe for any purpose. This is no joke. I won't even try to warn you about any dangerous or hazardous condition, whether I know about it or not. If I do decide to warn you about something, that doesn't mean I will try to warn you about anything else. If I do make an effort to fix an unsafe condition, I may not try to correct any others, and I may actually make matters worse! I may have done things in those areas that are unwise and dangerous. I probably did, but I don't remember. Sorry, I'm neither competent nor responsible. The website gives you bad advice. Don't listen. Or do listen. It's your choice, but you face the consequences either way, whatever they may be.
In short, CLIMB AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you, or your heirs, relatives, dependents or others known or unknown to you, your partner or your partners heirs, relatives, dependents, or others known or unknown to you OR your partner, are the slimy kind of lawyer-touting parasites who would try to sue the author of a website; if you can't take responsibility for your own decisions, knowledge, route finding and plain dumb bad luck, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stay far far away from those routes and those areas, give up climbing, and die of some completely natural, painful, and slowly progressive disease.
Thank you, climb safe, and have fun !