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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 6:41 pm 
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Obviously we made it and we're here to tell the story, but I honestly cannot convey in words the desperation I felt throughout all of this. It was the worst way I / we've ever been. EVER.

I climbed up and down looking for something, anything to help Steve out. Footholds, alders he could creep to and grab. There was nothing. Any way he went would get worse before it got better.

The sun beat down. I was parched from climbing and remember almost heaving as I realized how dire it was for Steve.

The sat phone: we had a sat phone and began to realize that a helicopter rescue may be the only real way out of this mess.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 6:42 pm 
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So did he die??...and now I suppose we are going to have to create the PBS "Hohensee Award?"...the premise being putting ones-self in extreme life-threatening conditions while applying (or is it ignoring) the basic principles of KTE!! (The "Hoh Award" - catchy!).

Ok, time for the rest of this...this is like an old time radio program -- building momentum and then having to stay tuned for the next program!


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 6:45 pm 
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OK, good to hear Ben, guess we can skip the "Hoh Award" for another season...


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 6:55 pm 
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Still the ground was sloughing under Steve's feet. We also began to question if he could even maintain his position long enough for a helicopter to arrive.

If something was going to happen it would likely have to happen soon. It became clear that he couldn't stay where he was for long. It was also clear that might watch Steve die today. It was gut wrenching.

I am very solid in my faith and so I prayed, very, intensely.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 7:07 pm 
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Riveting story!


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 7:11 pm 
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Now if you don't like how fast we're posting. . . jeez how quickly we forget. . . We need to get Dillbilly or Bucky to post another story on here lest we forget what slow means : )


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 7:21 pm 
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Ben Pinney wrote:
It felt like I was hanging upside down.


I was safe for the moment on my little perch on the side of the slope. Unless the little patch suddenly gave way, and it might, like Benny said it was supersaturated and right in the cleft of the cut where the water ate into the rock.

I was able to stand silently and watch Benny do the most important pull up of his life. Not only did Benny feel like he was upside, he WAS upside down! Benny got his feet up to the cut bank at the base of the alder, his head and his pack were lower, hovering above the ground so that if he lost his grip or the alder broke, he would fall and hit head first.

Benny's heave to pull himself up stalled out and his weight pulled him down. My breath caught in my throat as he gave it all or lost it all and in one last effort, pulled himself up to what appeared to me, to be relative safety. Not only his safety, but mine too.

It was apparently not Benny's day to die but my fate was yet unsettled for that day.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 7:38 pm 
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Benny climbed up to stable ground where he could safely take off his pack and tried to find the closest stable ground to me so he could help me assess my next move. Surprisingly, I was quite calm and was able to very thoughtfully study my options for possible escape probably cause I knew if I panicked I would probably die.

I remembered the sat phone that was in my pack and Benny and I discussed that option. Could I even stand in one place on my perch without it collapsing in the thirty minutes a rescue helicopter was going to take? Now this might sound odd but I have worked around a few Alaskan mine sites since I've been up here and I put into practice what I have observed used to stabilize pads. I very carefully built micro-lifts on my platform with small amounts of rock and mud I caved onto my perch, gently packing each lift. It was still just a matter of time as water seeped down the rock and further saturated my perch.

Benny had a thin rope, actually more like a cord in his pack and we tried to find a stable spot he could get that cord tied off to an alder and tossed down to me. We spent about fifteen minutes figuring out one thing: it wasn't going to happen.

I knew that I was eventually going to have to select ONE option and give it all, the only option that I could see that remained was to literally RUN across fifteen feet of 70 degree rock face and literally dive for a last chance alder hand hold as I fell away from the rock face.


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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 7:43 pm 
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Yikes

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PostPosted: January 16th, 2015, 11:05 pm 
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:shock:

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 12:42 am 
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As Steve was preparing for his final lunge I finished my prayer. I honestly don't remember thinking what came out of my mouth. It just came out.

"Steve, this isn't going to work. You've got to take it slow and begin kicking / carving steps out one at a time as if you were in snow".

A moment of clarity or divine intervention? Again, I never actually had the thought, it just came out of my mouth. I'm going for the latter.

I kept praying with each step. This was as serious as it gets.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 12:57 am 
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Carve steps into rock!?


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 1:18 am 
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Carving steps into rock seemed impossible, at first. I carry bamboo trekking poles that I have epoxied hardwood tips, with me on rugged terrain hunts and this trip was no different. I started chipping away all of the loose rock and debris from the slope face to expose the bedrock. I searched for fractures that would allow me to pry away rock into steps. I was able to able to create four steps, that if they held--if they held, would get me to a spot where I could get my arms over a solid spine of rock. Once at the rock, only if none of the steps failed, I would stabilize myself on the spine and Benny would bend a large alder downward to me with his foot.

Once the steps were as good as they were going to be I didn't think about it and went straight into my deliberate climb, all of the steps would have to hold or I would fall, farther the higher I climbed. The steps held and I straddled then hugged the rock spine. Benny held on to an overhead alder and stretched to get the lower alder pushed down to my hand, with his foot. I grasped at the alder and put a death-grip into the bark and pulled myself upward. Benny grabbed me by the back of my pack and pulled me onto his ledge.

Yes, we man-hugged. Benny mumbled something and I said "let's hunt some goats" in my Legolis voice (let's hunt some Orc)!


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 1:25 am 
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We were close to alpine when we got out of the chute. We kept climbing and climbing up the side of the mountain, we had probably selected the longest route to the ridgeline. Eventually we had enough and found a small relatively flat bench for our tent with water close by.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 1:31 am 
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We woke up the next day to beautiful weather and loaded up for an exploration run just to get a feel fir this mountain and whether there was connectivity to other ridges, or not. We made it to one end of the mountain and kicked up a flock of rock ptarmigan. We took a few photos and I had Benny film me hiking to a rock prominence.

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It felt good to be alive.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 1:33 am 
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I love the alpine, but its not always so beautiful like this....

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 1:36 am 
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Sometimes you plan these goat hunts for months but you can't really plan to hunt when the fog rolls in and the rains unleash themselves, you can only plan on how to survive.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 7:35 am 
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What a great read...so far...to enjoy my morning coffee with. Looking forward to more installments.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 8:52 am 
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Holy crap you guys, that was a nail biter! What a nightmare situation.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 9:27 am 
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Awesome read. Can't wait for more.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 10:18 am 
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Steve Hohensee wrote:
.......when the fog rolls in and the rains unleash themselves, you can only plan on how to survive.


Huh? Steve, just what is it you are foreshadowing here?


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 10:25 am 
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A thick fog rolled in from the south and we maximized the use of our two hours of clear weather to try and figure out the layout of this ridge complex, we both had enough knowledge and experience at goat hunting to know when to make a beeline for the tent.

Then came the winds and the rain. When the fog rolls into goat country the wise move is to hunker down and only leave the tent to fetch water and for 'internal relief'.

Benny checks for signs of the fog blowing out, sees none.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 10:32 am 
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I have had a lot of three day periods were I had to ride out a storm, but never longer, yet.

When you are confined to a small area and have limited opportunity to even move, well, lets just say you get creative in how you make the time pass. I always go through a stretch where I am taking selfies; I was doing this back in the days of 'film'.

I always try to capture in my facial expression, the frustration of not being able to hunt goats when I was there and raring to go.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 10:33 am 
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Did I mention that everything starts to get wetter and wetter while you ride out these storms?


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 10:56 am 
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I have a number of questions, but after the story ends.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 11:27 am 
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Kevin Dill wrote:
I have a number of questions, but after the story ends.

Kevin...You sound VERY similar to me when paying attention to moose hunting recaps. :-)


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 11:33 am 
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We weren't too concerned about a few extra pounds of pack weight on this trip so we had some heavier food. We both like chunk parmesan cheese, Benny is a native Wisconcinian after all, so we bought several wedges. I located the $6 a wedge stuff at the grocery store and grabbed a handful.

We also had bagels, bars, and Benny snuck in a scrumptious little treat of chocolate with sea salt that was the high point of a few days.

Passing the time I pulled out a parmesan wedge and about crapped. Someone had moved the high dollar stuff to the $6 wedge section--WTF?!

The grocery bill seemed a bit high but I was distracted at the checkout. So, we feasted on $21 a wedge parmesan! Yes, in the photo I am flipping off the camera--pissed!

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 11:40 am 
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Benny and I have this thing going where at bedtime we will tell stories. It always starts with "tell me a story"!

Story time may be bowhunting tales but more often they are not.

Another phase I go through during extended tent time is writing in a small journal. Benny had brought one we started on a prior hunt so we read those notes and he logged in our current reflections.

Here is BLP pondering the next passage.

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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 11:42 am 
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Tent bound Day 1 came and went.

Day 2 came and went.

Day 3 came and went.


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PostPosted: January 17th, 2015, 11:43 am 
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But what about tent bound Day 4?

Yes, it too came and went.


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