Samuel Frappier, rescued climber: "I imagine people saying I'm stupid, and they're right"

Categories: News

samuel.frappier.reebok.spartan.race.565x300.jpg
Samuel Frappier in a photo from his Facebook page. More images and videos below.
Samuel Frappier is fortunate he wasn't killed by his own bad decisions, and he knows it. "I imagine people saying I'm stupid, and they're right," the nineteen-year-old Canadian told a reporter after being rescued yesterday from Long's Peak after getting stranded on a ledge (approximate elevation: 13,000) the day before.

What were his mistakes?

First, let's get our bearings. Here's a video that offers multiple angles on Long's Peak, which tops out at 14,259 feet:

The National Parks Service page devoted to Long's Peak makes it clear that summiting the 14er isn't a mission to be taken lightly. Here's an excerpt -- and yes, the bold passage is in the original:

In the summertime, when conditions allow, thousands climb to Longs' summit via the Keyhole Route. The Keyhole Route is not a hike. It is a climb that crosses enormous sheer vertical rock faces, often with falling rocks, requiring scrambling, where an unroped fall would likely be fatal. The route has narrow ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs.

For most of the year, climbing Longs Peak is in winter conditions, which requires winter mountaineering experience and the knowledge and use of specialized equipment. Disregard for the mountain environment any time of year has meant danger, injury and even death.

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A photo from Samuel Frappier's Facebook page.
Enter Frappier. He's clearly athletic, as evidenced by photos on his Facebook page (including the one at the top of this post) from the Reebok Spartan Race, described on its website as featuring "an obstacle course challenge for all: Super Sprint 5K obstacle racing, Super Spartan 8+ mile obstacle course and the Spartan Death race." The competition takes place at widely disparate locations: A challenge gets underway in New York this weekend, with an edition scheduled for Denver in 2015.

However, Frappier is described by 7News as an inexperienced mountaineer who headed up Long's Peak with a pal sans climbing equipment and wearing cotton clothes and tennis shoes.

The pair apparently had success on the way up -- but during their descent on Tuesday afternoon, Frappier got into trouble and wound up stuck at a point known as Broadway Ledge.

Here's a Rocky Mountain National Park photo of his position as taken from a helicopter....

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Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park
...and a closer view:

samuel.frappier.broadway.ledge.rocky.mountain.national.park.close.up.jpg
Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park
Frappier reached emergency crews via his cell phone -- yes, there's apparently service on Broadway Ledge -- and teams were mobilized on his behalf. In the end, 28 rescuers and several helicopters are said to have been deployed, and late yesterday afternoon, they managed to connect with him at an area called Lambs Slide and transport him to safety.

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Frappier with rescuers yesterday.
Afterward, Frappier admitted that he was lucky to have survived his ordeal. Hope he remembers that when he's presumably asked to pay for all or part of the cost expended on getting him to safety.

Here's a 7News report about Frappier, including an interview segment.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our News archive circa December 2013: "Suicide by freezing prevented by CU student's roommate, rescue crew at Chautauqua."


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101 comments
Billy Pilgrim
Billy Pilgrim

buy a hunting or fishing license and you're covered

Nancy L. Fowler-Stricker
Nancy L. Fowler-Stricker

If not pay then do a type of community service helping the rescue group(s) and telling others about how to NOT do stupid things like this

Star Stepping
Star Stepping

yes he should pay could make it commensurate with income..or go after his parents..lol

Joan Farrell
Joan Farrell

Yes!!! Sorry, but ya kinda asked for it...

Maria P. Fernandez-Yoos
Maria P. Fernandez-Yoos

I agree with you, and people should not be allowed to climb the fourteeners without experience and preparation, plus everyone should be made to pay a large fee before climbing, to help defray costs of rescue teams. Refundable, if they get down from the mountain OK.

Maria P. Fernandez-Yoos
Maria P. Fernandez-Yoos

I thought that the guy that went to Alaska in "Into the Wild", also by Krakauer was stupid and caused his own death and the worst heartache for his parents. I liked the movie, but I hated what this kid do, for his own selfish and egotistical reasons. Again, somebody without a lot of preparation and no experience.

Maria P. Fernandez-Yoos
Maria P. Fernandez-Yoos

I am sorry that this happened to him; but I agree, too many people take climbing one of the "fourteeners" in Colorado way to casually. This takes preparation and experience; otherwise, people like this young man come and tax our resources by having to have rescuers and rescue equipment sent after them. People should not be allowed to just go climb a mountain when they think they want to before showing they have some experience. This is difficult and dangerous. Read books by one of my favorite authors and mountain climber expert Jon Krakauer, who's scaled everest and other mountains and would be the first one to tell you that you don't try to climb the mountains with preparation and experience. Jon was one of the few survivors from the Everest tragedy a few years ago, who live to write about it in his novel "Into Thin Air", which was also made into a movie, to demonstrate that even having all the money in the world to pay for Sherpas and other help to get you up to the mountain, it won't do you any good, because you may die anyway, if you know nothing about what you're doing.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_Thin_Air

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

The Repuglycan Solution = Privatized For-Profit Rescue Services ... run by Halliburton or DynCorp


If you don't have the $$ for your rescue, then start braying to your Jesus for salvation.



Michael Roque
Michael Roque

Because, Josh, then you'd be broke. And where would the money go to? As a kickback to us taxpayers? Yeah I'll be looking for my check for pennies in the mail. Our taxes already go to pay for these services so that in the event that someone needs rescuing there will be a team there to do so. I don't understand some people's need to send everyone a bill for every single thing. SAR teams are paid daily for their work, yet they aren't performing rescues on a daily basis. By your logic, they should only get paid when they actually rescue someone.

Michael Roque
Michael Roque

Pretty sure they're trained to fly that close to mountains and rescue people. That's literally their job. And most of their rescues are people like this that make a mistake. If nobody made mistakes, no matter the experience level or preparedness, then there would be no need for a rescue team.

Michael Roque
Michael Roque

These guys are paid to rescue people. He needed rescuing and they did their job. So no, he shouldn't have to pay. I'd say he paid enough by clinging to the side of a mountain all day.

Elizabeth Parker
Elizabeth Parker

Cheers for the heads-up. I've done Mt Evans twice by car, and went up early to beat the crowds/weather. A hike requires extra early, especially as I notice the effects of altitude from about 7,000ft and up (not in a feeling bad way, just get winded after a while and have to rest for a couple of minutes - I live at 300ft ;-) ). The first time I went up Mt Evans in 2010 I did the usual factor 15 on my face (I tan pretty well considering we don't get much sun on this side of the Atlantic - still got faint tan lines from last August in CO!) but my nose ended up looking somewhat Rudolph-esque. Factor 50 on the snout last summer! xx

Barton Dahl
Barton Dahl

Strangely enough I've never commented on poor grammar in a post... I could not help myself, it was so bad. At least there was a joke in there related to the topic. But, ur rite. i gues i shuld mak my pointz more internet friendly. lol. etc.

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

"I imagine people saying I'm stupid" ... try including the 2nd person singular present/1st, 2nd, 3rd person plural present of be and you won't sound so stupid.

Zed Lepplin
Zed Lepplin

Do you know how much money we spend saving these ppl who come here and fall off of mountains? I don't either, but I bet it's a lot.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

It's sad to read how these little pseudo victims whine about someone being rescued.  Fine them, take them out back and beat them up.  It's what the baby republican jeeeEEEeeesus would do!

Daisy Rothschild
Daisy Rothschild

...one of my faves. One last suggestion-- go up early! We nearly always have thunderstorms in the afternoon, up there, they start as early as noon, and a few years ago, a tornado even. Check the weather before you go, friend. (oh, and sunscreen of course, our UV is insane here)

Kevin Michaels
Kevin Michaels

Fined and stuck with the bill and not tax payers!

James Speiser
James Speiser

Just a kid to me...I'm 40. I did a lot worse. That's not really something to get all down on somebody about.

Michael Beckerman
Michael Beckerman

Mountain are a lot like oceans. You need to have a healthy respect for them and fear of them - otherwise they will gladly kill you.

Sheila Fisher
Sheila Fisher

My stepdad had a hunting license and his group needed to be rescued in a snow storm and they had to pay. I think he should have to pay.

Scott McMahon
Scott McMahon

Going up longs peak in June in a cotton t-shirt and sneakers is NOT a mistake. I can give him 1/10000 credit for being dumb enough to climb down the east face as a "mistake", but going up longs in that gear is the same as saying me trying to fly a plane is a mistake. And yeah people are saying you are stupid because you are.

Steven M Palmer
Steven M Palmer

You already do pay for it through taxes and park entrance fees.

Douglas Cave
Douglas Cave

Better signage at the base could save lives.

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Sorry, 19 is NOT "just a kid." He's obviously not new to the outdoors. Not just "anybody" hikes a 14er this early especially after the snowpack we had this year (still getting snow as of a few days ago).

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Why should stupidity not come with a monetary repercussion? How many people do you know that need rescuing twice? He should be responsible for a good portion of the bill. What if something went wrong during the rescue and rescuers were killed? Stupidity of this degree should not be protected. He had ample time to realize it was a bad idea and turn around. Instead he kept plugging along like the idiot he is (Long's can be hard even in the summer, too many people don't respect 14ers) until he got royally screwed and had to put other people in danger for no reason other than he isn't anywhere near the brightest bulb.

Sher Quintana
Sher Quintana

YES! those rescuers have to be paid and had to risk their own lives for his stupidity!! The training they go through cost money...why shouldnt he have to pay? Why is it ok for him to not take such a climb seriously?

Zac Taylor
Zac Taylor

Search and rescue isn't cheap u do have to pay unless u pay for a fishing license then u get rescued for free so get a fishing license even if u don't fish cause search and rescue can get to 10000-20000$ real quick

Sherri Scott
Sherri Scott

Who doesn't make mistakes in life? Who doesn't need a 2nd chance ?

J.j. Southard
J.j. Southard

^so we should pay for all the morons mistakes? Are you one of these types? A reckless disregarder?

J.j. Southard
J.j. Southard

^exactly & have to pay a fine. Unlike alot of these fools who walk away costing us alot of money.

Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

There are also signs posted warming drivers of hefty fines for speeding in construction or school zones; yet, there are drivers that willfully disregard them and get cited.

Bradford Ashington
Bradford Ashington

Um, if you are truly aware of how basic human nature and curiosity work, then you'd realize that people will continue to resort to seemingly insane or just plain dumb behavior, regardless of any sign posted or the existence of any emergency rescue service within the vicinity. Some asshole will still feed the bears despite the signs explicitly prohibiting it; people still drive through flooded roadways despite numerous pleas by meteorologists and public officials to avoid unnecessary travel during inclement weather; lastly, some KID will try to prove his/her bravado amongst his/her peers by attempting to climb a dangerous peak despite a glaring lack of experience. The existence of rescue teams is because they expect a rather small segment of the population to willfully ignore warnings and engage in dangerous behavior without adequate experience.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

So you want a nanny state?

thelocker517
thelocker517

I know several Larimer County SAR team members. They are not paid. The CSAR card/fishing license only mildly offsets the costs (not the risks) these folks experience everyday.


Also, no one is charged as a matter of safety. If you ad to pay $41,000 you wouldn't call. It would be a body recovery every time. 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

So Beck, are you saying that mountains and oceans can exhibit "gladness"?  Wow, that is a monumental scientific discovery.  

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Very good points, Michael. Thanks for weighing in.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

So they went hunting without a license?  Possibly before s&r insurance wasn't included in a license?

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

You make a strong argument, Sheila. Thanks.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

A lot of our readers agree with you, Josh. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Your point about the rescuers risking their own lives is well taken, Sher. Thanks for posting.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Very interesting post, Andres. We're going to feature it as an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

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