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#51311 - 04/15/10 07:09 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Welle]
pitfall Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/01/00
Posts: 1165
Loc: Albany
This discussion makes me wonder why anyone would buy a harness these days that doesn't automatically double back. everyone goes out any buys the latest cams, ice screws etc, but why not get a harness that doesn't need to be doubled back? They've been around for at least 10 years.
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#51313 - 04/15/10 07:42 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: pitfall]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Same reason everyone didn't go out and buy harnesses with full strength gear loops.
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#51316 - 04/15/10 09:37 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: pitfall]
Welle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Western Slope
Originally Posted By: pitfall
This discussion makes me wonder why anyone would buy a harness these days that doesn't automatically double back. everyone goes out any buys the latest cams, ice screws etc, but why not get a harness that doesn't need to be doubled back? They've been around for at least 10 years.


better question is why manufacturers don't adapt automatic double-backs as the standard? Is there some IP issue? I'd think 10 years would be sufficient for any patent to expire.
my usual harness is Petzl Luna, sometimes, when I don't feel like taking all the crap off it to climb in the gym, I use and older BD harness. Last night at the gym, I was annoyed at myself for forgetting to double-back after I took it off for a pilates class...

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#51321 - 04/16/10 04:15 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Welle]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
jjay - glad you are Ok.

Many (most?) better harneeses do use pre-threaded buckles. But when I choose a harness, pre-threaded buckles are pretty low on my priority list. Fit, comfort and gear loops I can use are at the top.

Anyone notice that the webbing that goes through a modern buckle is about like 9/16 webbing? My old outdated harnesses let you put the whole belt through.

A new harness is on my list. It won't be an Arteryx solely because they don't offer one that fits me. I am fairly short and like top mounted gear loops that are fairly far forward.

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#51326 - 04/16/10 01:20 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Mark Heyman]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
I really dislike the auto-double-back harnesses. Like many women, I have hips. I am tired of squiggling a pre-fastened waist belt up over them, while trying to squiggle the leg loops up at the same time. It's almost impossible to find an "old-style" harness anymore, tho.

Mike, see my post earlier - the rescuer explained to me that jjay was climbing Strictly without a directional, and the rope was caught under the roof, thus pulling downward on her harness.

JJay, I am sure glad you're okay. I've got to say, though, that in the same situation I would absolutely kick my SO's a** if he soloed up to me. The first rule of rescue is: avoid becoming another victim. It really sounds like you need to learn some skills on your own, so that you don't put yourself (or let yourself be put) in a dangerous place again, and if you do, you can deal with it yourself.

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#51328 - 04/16/10 02:38 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
retr2327 Offline
member

Registered: 06/14/07
Posts: 108
"jjay was climbing Strictly without a directional, and the rope was caught under the roof, thus pulling downward on her harness."

Where to begin . . . .

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#51329 - 04/16/10 02:42 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: retr2327]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 714
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: retr2327
"jjay was climbing Strictly without a directional, and the rope was caught under the roof, thus pulling downward on her harness."

Where to begin . . . .


Oy.

My harness requires me to double it back, and checking it is one of the routine things I do. I can see the merit in having it already done for me, but I'm so used to it that I think visually checking a differnt buckle would be disorienting to me. Granted, I'm sure I'd get over it quickly. Another thing I worry about is having more than one type of harness. I want them ALL to close the same way, so I don't ever get out of the habit of checking that I've doubled it back.
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#51334 - 04/16/10 03:34 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
A double-back buckle that hasn't been doubled back will slip at lower than acceptable loads, but it won't drop the harness around your knees. Sounds like the buckle wasn't even fully singly threaded.

jjay wrote ...all this time, i'd been living... thinking my life was invincible. never thinking that something could happen to me.

jjay, you've just been through an experience that could easily have got you killed, and we're all glad you're ok. The lesson to be extracted isn't about doubling back the buckles on your harness, the real lesson is that a carefree attitude of invincibility will get you killed very fast in the climbing world.

Climbing is inherently dangerous, a fact that seems increasingly concealed from new enthusiasts by all the fancy but idiosyncratic technology, the availability of all kinds of lessons and information, and the general air of nonchalance that is typical of most top-rope environments. The reality is that a pleasant low-key experience can turn deadly in an instant.

I think that the climbers who are the safest are ones who are first of all able to maintain a background vigilance, a part of their consciousness that is always evaluating what might go wrong and what the consequences would be, and second of all manage to do this without becoming overwhelmed with morbid thoughts or paralyzed with fear. This is a very peculiar type of double-think, which requires a clear-eyed evaluation of risk followed by the ability to have fun once the decision about response has been made.

For example, if your harness didn't slip but was pulled down by the rope running under something, then both you and your belayer suffered a critical lapse of attention with respect to the rope orientation.

If you're not that double-think kind of person, you'll never be safe as a climber, although you might climb a long time without incident. But remember, "being safe as a climber" does not, in any case, mean that you will not have an accident. Their are probabilities involved, and even the most experienced misjudge things.

Speaking of safety issues, it sounds as if you and your partner had a party you knew nothing about set up a top-rope for you, with an anchor arrangement that you could not inspect for yourself. Considering the possible levels of incompetence out there, this was already a potentially fatal error. If indeed the anchor needed to have a directional on it to be safe, then your incident was in fact caused by your decision to give up responsibility for your safety to an unknown party.

As for a partner soloing up to help you, it is certainly a touching expression of love, but that does not necessarily make it a functional response. Soloing up to give aid or off a climb to get help is in fact an option for highly experienced climbers, and one that has been employed and has contributed to saving other's lives.

But your boyfriend is an inexperienced climber and so, as Julie says, was as likely to become a second victim as he was likely to provide any help. We don't know what he did with your belay rope once he started soloing, but keeping control of it would have been critical, since even with the harness around your knees you still had a chance of surviving a fall if the belay was available. If he abandoned the belay rope in order to attend to soloing, then he would have unintentionally made your situation even more dire. On the other hand, if he had control of the belay rope and fell himself, it could have jerked the harness off you completely or toppled you off your stance. So the safest, if not the most chivalrous, thing to do would have been to urgently call for help from surrounding parties while maintaining a careful watch on the admittedly compromised belay and trying to speak to you calmly to help you get in control of your situation.

Which brings me to my last point, which is you need a few quiet moments of introspection about your panic reaction. Not that it isn't understandable mind you, but that emotional control is an important ingredient in real climbing situations, because our emotions lead us in directions that are often not good for our health. You need to think, in retrospect, about all the things you could have done yourself to mitigate your situation, and have to ask yourself what you can do to stay focused and effective the next time something unexpected and dangerous happens.

One of the reasons you see climbers endlessly obsessing over accident reports and discussing what might have been done ad nauseum is that there is actually a very healthy process going on, in which people continually review and add to their store of emergency strategies and responses, so that they are less likely to end up like a deer in the headlights when something goes wrong.

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#51335 - 04/16/10 03:57 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
Originally Posted By: Julie
I really dislike the auto-double-back harnesses. Like many women, I have hips. I am tired of squiggling a pre-fastened waist belt up over them, while trying to squiggle the leg loops up at the same time.


I am not overweight or female, but this is the exact problem I had with the sole pre-threaded harness I have tried. In summer clothes I could barely get one size on, and the next larger wouldn't cinch down tight enough, and even them the amount of excess adjustment webbing was ridiculous.

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#51336 - 04/16/10 04:09 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Mark Heyman]
Welle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Western Slope
Originally Posted By: Mark Heyman
Originally Posted By: Julie
I really dislike the auto-double-back harnesses. Like many women, I have hips. I am tired of squiggling a pre-fastened waist belt up over them, while trying to squiggle the leg loops up at the same time.


I am not overweight or female, but this is the exact problem I had with the sole pre-threaded harness I have tried. In summer clothes I could barely get one size on, and the next larger wouldn


i'm female with hips and a waistline. I have no problems with my Petzl Luna both winter and summer (it's a female version of Adjama, maybe Mark you can try Adjama). I can unbuckle the whole harness easily as well - I do it in the winter when I don't want to stab myself with crampons). unfortunately, the gear loops are not top-mounted though...

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