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#50922 - 03/23/10 02:06 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: chip]
ianmanger Online   content
enthusiast

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 319
Before the "Pointless Hypothesis based on Hearsay" machine gets too badly spun up, I have an account of the incident on Ape Call (climber being lowered nearly decks) from the person who fell. I don't have her permission to share it but I do want to correct one piece of mis-info that is key. The climber was being lowered using an ATC in guide mode and not 'without a belay device'. Both climbers involved are very experienced and are badly shaken up. When they are ready I expect that they will feel more comfortable in unpacking this and we can make a reasoned attempt at understanding how and why and what not to do next time we are there. Until then, useless comments about Darwinism aren't helpful. It could be you next time, but for the grace of God and all that...

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#50923 - 03/23/10 02:39 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: ianmanger]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Originally Posted By: ianmanger
The climber was being lowered using an ATC in guide mode and not 'without a belay device'.


Well, once you remove the autoblock and try to lower in guide mode, it's pretty much the same as not having a belay device.
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#50925 - 03/23/10 03:13 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
I talked to a bunch of people ....

The Ape Call accident was reported as without any belay device by two people, and with a reverso (tho not necessarily in autoblocking mode) by two other people. I also heard that the belayer is considered very experienced, and that he is absolutely devastated. My sympathies go out to everyone involved there.

The "harness fell off" incident I heard: that a newbie/gym couple was aiming at climbing Bonnie's (with what and how, who knows?), but someone nicely set up a TR on Strictly's for them. They had a directional for the guy, but not for woman. Her harness was apparently then pulled down to her knees by the rope, which as you can imagine went below her and around the bottom of the corner/roof (I am not fully clear on whether the harness was just too big, or not doubled back). The guy started to solo up to rescue her, but was intercepted by J (who I talked to) who had traversed over and set up a belay mid-pitch, then coordinated the rest of the rescue. Pure lunacy.

I am more and more convinced that in many cases, the effects of the Telephone Game are big.

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#50928 - 03/23/10 03:32 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: quanto_the_mad
Originally Posted By: ianmanger
The climber was being lowered using an ATC in guide mode and not 'without a belay device'.


Well, once you remove the autoblock and try to lower in guide mode, it's pretty much the same as not having a belay device.

How so? Start increasing the angle coming out of the braking side by moving your brake had towards your hip. Pull the rope back all the way to your hip and you've completely locked off the climber. This is the way the original ATCs worked before they had modes, and the way the tuber worked before that, and the Sticht plate before that.
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- Marc

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#50931 - 03/23/10 04:35 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: MarcC]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Originally Posted By: MarcC
Originally Posted By: quanto_the_mad
Originally Posted By: ianmanger
The climber was being lowered using an ATC in guide mode and not 'without a belay device'.


Well, once you remove the autoblock and try to lower in guide mode, it's pretty much the same as not having a belay device.

How so? Start increasing the angle coming out of the braking side by moving your brake had towards your hip. Pull the rope back all the way to your hip and you've completely locked off the climber. This is the way the original ATCs worked before they had modes, and the way the tuber worked before that, and the Sticht plate before that.


If you use the device in autoblock mode off your harness... but who does that? It's usually attached to the anchor, above or behind the belayer. Releasing the autoblock, preparing to lower, it's just a redirect through the anchor. To create friction, you'd have to push the rope back behind the anchor, which is counter-intuitive as you're trying to hang onto the rope as it runs through your hands.
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#50932 - 03/23/10 05:26 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
artisan Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 23
facts i know to be true:

1. the climber who fell while being lowered on ape call will be ok. she had a minor concussion and some bruising and is in high spirits. she was being lowered on an ATC guide by an experienced partner, not enough information has been revealed, yet, to determine what went wrong.

2. the harness accident was not on V-3. my party was in the vicinity all day, including on that climb near the end of the day.



i would just like to point out the one inconsistency in the discussion of the ATC guide. if it is hanging from the anchor in guide mode, and the climber has weighted it (and it is in the locked position), you have to pull UP to rotate the device and release the lock. in my experience this can be difficult and sometimes requires redirecting your own (the belayers) body weight to produce enough force. if you simply let go (or stand up as the case may be) the device should return to its locking position. why this didn't happen seems like the crux mystery of the accident.

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#50933 - 03/23/10 05:54 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: artisan]
gunks Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/26/01
Posts: 84
Loc: Rosendale, NY
It is possible that the ATC Guide was not set up properly in its autoblock mode e.g. clipping the cable wire (instead of the big metal eye) to the anchor.

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#50934 - 03/23/10 06:02 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: gunks]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
I'm so glad to hear that the Ape Call climber will be okay! Thanks much for the update.

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#50935 - 03/23/10 06:14 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: artisan]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
I know nothing of the accident in question, but speaking to the subject of releasing a loaded auto locking belay device fixed to an anchor, among some guides it is (or at least was) customary to use a friction knot backup of some sort from the belayer to the slack side of the rope.

When such devices (ATC Guide, Reverso, Gigi) are released under load it can be difficult to control the rate at which the rope moves. With a friction knot backup one can pull with one hand (or one's entire body weight) to release the auto locking device while using the other hand to manipulate the friction knot and control the rate of rope movement.

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#50936 - 03/23/10 06:47 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Kent]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Autolocking belay devices have their place for experienced climbers moving fast on multipitch routes, especially in parties of three, and for guides who want to keep their clients moving up. For cragging, I think they suck for giving upper belays because of the difficulty of paying rope back out to a second who wants to step down. Guides don't care much about this; let the client end up on tension, but for seconds who would actually like to climb the pitch, an autolocker belay is an annoyance.

When it comes to lowering, they also stink. Depending on how much of the climber's weight is transmitted up to the belayer, the belayer might have to exert a lot of force in order to rotate the plate into lowering position. They might be tempted to use both hands to do this. When you release a loaded autolocker, there is a quite sudden loss of friction and the potential for a rapid drop, although the plate should lock back up in that situation once the raising force is released.

All in all, what we have is a solution to a problem that never existed. Yes, it is slightly more convenient to use guide mode, easier on your back, for instance, but you are interposing another layer of technology and then practially inviting disaster by enjoying all the hands-free "benefits" conferred by the device.

This rant may have nothing to do with the accident, of course.

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