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#50907 - 03/22/10 09:08 PM Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
I'd be interested to know if anyone has any more information about this accident that Gail Blauer posted about over on rc.com:

linky

Sounds like a pretty crazy incident.

Here is what Gail posted:

Quote:
Actually I don't have any of the facts, but, this is what told to me by several people in the vacinity of the climb.

Climber was on Agape or Ape and Essence (near classic/Jackie). She was being lowered by her belayer who was above at the top of the first pitch. Belayer apparently was lowering her without the benefit of a belay device. It was stated that he was lowering her using a biner only (no munter). As she cleared the roof, the friction in the system became non existent and he dropped the climber. She hit the her non helmeted head and then hit the tree on her way down. Some people suggest that the tree actually slowed her down enough for her belayer to gain control of the rope. Her belayer caught her 5 feet off the deck.

It was said that the belayer had 2nd/3rd degree burns on his hands. The climber had a head laceration and a hurt hip.

Again, I only saw the victim being transported. I only heard this from several climbers who were nearby.

I hope climber is ok and that the belayer recovers the use of his hands (and gets a belay device).


Edited by SethG (03/22/10 10:29 PM)
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#50908 - 03/22/10 09:33 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I dread this time of year when this stuff abounds. A friend also told me of an incident on Strictly where a climber was on TR and didn't have her harness on properly such that it actually fell down around her ankles somewhere near the crux. To make matters worse, the belayer then dropped the rope in order to solo up and save the day only to be saved himself by a nearby guide who intervened off a nearby climb. Wow! I may have some facts wrong as this is second hand info but it is astounding that no one got hurt, at least physically. As stated before, there was something to be said for the longer apprenticing approach that we learned BITD. You might not climb hard as fast, but you learned your systems and stayed off stuff until you knew what you were doing. Common sense isn't.
This was Saturday


Edited by chip (03/22/10 09:33 PM)

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#50911 - 03/22/10 11:22 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: chip]
tw160504 Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/02/09
Posts: 5
I heard about the person almost decking, but no details.

I met the guy who put up the toprope for the couple. Her and her boyfriend wanted to climb with the guy. The couple wanted to do high e, but the guy told them they would kill themselves, and he wouldnt climb with them, so he put up a toprope on v3 and bounced. as he was leaving, walking down the trail he heard the girl screaming and ran back. he saw the harness falling off and ran down the cliff to the guides he knew. they came over and saved the couple. i think luck was on their side, having guides close by and not falling.

things like this is like going to the natural history museum, seeing Darwinism first hand, in action.

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#50912 - 03/22/10 11:41 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: tw160504]
Chinakat Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Western NJ
I am pretty sure that quite a few of your facts are wrong on this particular event. There were 3 in the party to my knowledge: guy, girlfriend, and the woman who fell. The harness categorically did not "fall off" the woman who fell. I am one hundred percent certain of that, as I personally removed it from her as we got her onto the backboard, rather than let the ED cut it off. Among the 3 medical/paramedical personnel present, I think we all were fairly sure she wasn't as catastrophically injured as she might have been. I rather hope to hear some time that her outcome was good. As to what actually happened to cause the fall, I cannot say. I did not see the fall. My partner did and was shaken by the near miss of about 10ft off the deck. She also hit a tree on the way which helped slow her down, but was not wearing a helmet which bought her a nasty gash on the head.
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#50913 - 03/23/10 02:08 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Chinakat]
Jen Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 5
Perhaps these (unbelievable as it may seem) are two separate incidents?

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#50914 - 03/23/10 02:09 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Jen]
tw160504 Offline
stranger

Registered: 07/02/09
Posts: 5
yes, two separate incidents

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#50916 - 03/23/10 02:17 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: tw160504]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
It is quite clear from chip's post that he was talking about a different couple than the pair Gblauer posted about on rc.com. And then we learned from tw160504 that the second couple was actually on V3, not Strictly's. Or perhaps there are THREE couples, and two of them had their harnesses pop off.

Maybe that bad dad is right and there are people being carted off by ambulance every day at the Gunks.
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#50918 - 03/23/10 04:51 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: tw160504]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: tw160504
things like this is like going to the natural history museum, seeing Darwinism first hand, in action.

I still recall something Bill Ravitch once said to me: "Don't be a witness."
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- Marc

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#50920 - 03/23/10 11:48 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: MarcC]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Yes, these were separate incidents. I'm sorry if I wasn't more clear. The story was told to me over the phone on Sunday morning by the man who set the TR on Strickly for them. He was concerned that they would need a directional for the traverse but they refused it so that he could get going with his gear. I had been puking and feverish all night (the reason I called him) but I'm not mistaken that I have written what I was told.
Perhaps Hank is monitoring and can straighten out any mis-understandings if the incidents were reported.
No matter how you look at it these were very preventable and Bill R. did have some wisdom in his day.

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#50921 - 03/23/10 02:01 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: chip]
TerrieM Offline
addict

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 425
Loc: Gunks in Summer, Southwest in ...
I was stuck with work in the city this weekend(as I will be next, and then off to Jtree - finally! My winter will be over!).

On Saturday I was like "THIS SUCKS!!!! I want to be at the Gunks!" but after reading this thread, I have to admit - it's not such a bad idea to sit out the season's first weekend of stellar weather.... hahahah.

Harness falling down - on Strickly crux! - is a really frightening bit of imagery for me. Holy crap.

Glad these incidents weren't any worst than they were.

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#50922 - 03/23/10 02:06 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: chip]
ianmanger Offline
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: 2468
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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#50937 - 03/23/10 07:00 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
RG, I agree and will add one more thing: with each new innovation that comes out, it seems that some folks adopt it as their one-size-fits-all perma-solution without considering the drawbacks or other possible solutions. Autoblocks have their place, but so do 'conventional' redirects and waist belays or even a munter. Have we forgotten how to choose? I think it's partially a result of modern marketing - use this! every time! solves all problems! live forever!

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#50938 - 03/23/10 07:03 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
TerrieM Offline
addict

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 425
Loc: Gunks in Summer, Southwest in ...
Tangent Point(not related to accident)

I haven't purchased the ATC Guide, and after seeing enough people who had no idea as to how to release under weight, I now ask any new partner who has a Guide if they have ever had to do the weighted release.

If they get that....look...(you know, the one that shows this is the first time the issue has occurred to them), I make them promise they won't use the auto-locking mode while belaying me. Not that I intended to fall and be unable to get myself off the rope(I carry prussiks and have maybe more experience using them that I should admit....), but for the unanticipated problems that, heaven forbid, could occur.

It irritates me that so many people just felt they *had* to have that ATC Guide when it came out.

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#50939 - 03/23/10 07:44 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
Rich, in my experience, it's not all that annoying for seconds who want to actually climb the pitch. It's easy to tend the device, at least the Gigi which is what I used most, in a way that allows seconds to step down without the device locking. When the second falls and then wants to be lowered however it becomes somewhat of a PIA.

Julie makes a good point about choosing the right tool for the right application, and Terrie makes an equally good point about knowing how to use the tool chosen.

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#50940 - 03/23/10 08:05 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
I don't know, it doesn't make sense to me that they'd try to lower in autoblock mode. If the climber reached the top and was being lowered, I would just swap the biners on the belay device. Now it's in standard mode, to a casual passerby that saw it in autoblock mode a few minutes ago, it might not appear any different.

Then to lower, walk back to the edge so you can watch as you lower the person. But you can't forget to redirect the belay through a leg of the anchor; without that 2nd redirect, there's no friction in the system.

Of course, it could very well be loss of control while trying to unblock the device.
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#50941 - 03/23/10 08:27 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
Welle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Western Slope
I'm only familiar with ATC Guide and Reverso 3, and both device manufacturers specifically say to never let go the braking hand from the rope even in auto braking mode. IMO, auto-brake is there for extra insurance against unforseen situations that may render the belayer temporarily incapable (a bee sting, a snake sighting, rockfall, etc..), but not to completely replace the braking hand.

Also, Petzl Reverso 3 takes a biner in the release hole, and the instructions specifically say to not use any other method (sling, cord etc.) to lower the second. BD ATC Guide however relies on a cordage to release the tension. I wonder if Petzl having developed their R3 later, had found some problems when using cordage to lower the second?

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#50942 - 03/23/10 08:36 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
ianmanger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 319
Thought I would pop back to see what the Speculation Machine had spat out recently. If it helps at all with your formulatin' and a-figurin', the belayer was wearing a red shirt. Surely that has some bearing...
Either that or wait for one of the people involved to clarify.

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#50943 - 03/23/10 08:42 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: ianmanger]
cracklicker Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 8
The ATC Guide can also be released by a nut tool as opposed to a sling. Sad that people don't bother to learn how to use their gear and just pitch into the void. There seems to be such a lack of appreciation of the dangers in climbing...At least these people will get to live to climb another day if they ever decide to climb again...

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#50944 - 03/23/10 08:44 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: ianmanger]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
Ian, your point is well taken. My comments are only directed at the discussion here about auto locking devices as I have no knowledge of the accident and no desire to pre (or post) judge the conduct of the injured parties. It seems that most on this thread are of the same mind.

Wishing a speedy recovery and otherwise safe season to the climbers involved.

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#50945 - 03/23/10 08:52 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Welle]
Kent Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/21/00
Posts: 1038
Loc: The Bayards
Heya Welle, what you say about the ATC Guide and the Reverso instructions specifying that the devices are not intended for hands free use is why it is not smart for guides (or anyone else perhaps) to use them hands free. Guides moreso for liability reasons.

I don't have the Gigi instructions handy, but if my memory serves me correctly, the instructions say it is indeed intended for hands free use, which is why, among other reasons, some guides prefer it.

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#50946 - 03/23/10 09:08 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Kent]
Doug Offline
member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 176
Relax ianmanger - it is a discussion forum about the Gunks, of course people are going to talk about the accident. There isn't much else going on on this board, and you think people are really going to sit around waiting? Besides, the belayer or climber aren't necessarily good sources of info - embarrassment and / or defensiveness may temper their account, if they ever get around to giving it.

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#50947 - 03/23/10 09:25 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Kent]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Kent, it is entirely possible that my feelings about the inadequacy of the autoblock for belaying are a combination of my own ineptness (truth is, I've only used it for an upper belay on the anchor maybe twenty times total) and the ineptness of some of my (very experienced) partners, who have been unable to feed me slack when I wanted it.

I'm using a Reverso 3 by the way, and I set it up with a quickdraw in the leverage hole so that I am at least ready to give slack to the follower. Sometimes I succeed fairly well in tending it, other times not so well, it depends on the anchor set-up. I might add that with typical rock friction, I find it pretty hard to keep up with a second moving quickly on easy ground.

My friends who have the Gi-Gi say it handles better than the Reverso 3 or ATC guide.

Whatever the manufacturers say, one of the primary "advantages" of these devices, described over and over again in threads on all the major sites, is getting hands-free and doing things like eating and drinking while belaying. And, if you are belaying two climbers, one of whom is hanging on the rope, you will probably need both hand to pull the rope through the device for the other climber, and so will end up not holding on to the hanging climber's rope at all!

Ian, you seem to be confusing thread drift (caused in this case by my propensity to drift) and on-topic speculation, which most of us have avoided.

Drifting off now...

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#50948 - 03/23/10 09:38 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Doug]
ianmanger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 319
Originally Posted By: Doug
Relax ianmanger - it is a discussion forum about the Gunks, of course people are going to talk about the accident. There isn't much else going on on this board, and you think people are really going to sit around waiting?


Relax, Doug. I take your point, but surely drawing attention to, and mildly mocking the pointlessness of any discussion that is largely uninformed by the facts is an entirely valid part of participation in that same forum.


Quote:
Besides, the belayer or climber aren't necessarily good sources of info - embarrassment and / or defensiveness may temper their account, if they ever get around to giving it.


Well, in general we have been lucky to have after-accident reports that have largely cleared up our understanding of the questions. I'm just suggesting that this has been the form in the past and we might just as well wait.

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#50949 - 03/23/10 10:07 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
TerrieM Offline
addict

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 425
Loc: Gunks in Summer, Southwest in ...
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Whatever the manufacturers say, one of the primary "advantages" of these devices, described over and over again in threads on all the major sites, is getting hands-free and doing things like eating and drinking while belaying.



I think that a lot of people see that "no hands" selling point, and think "I can take pictures of my partner!" and that is why they choose the option. Being able to eat while belaying should not come into the picture at the Gunks(yeah, I know someone is going to bring up diabetics or hypoglycemiacs).

But I think the majority of people buy that damned Guide because everyone else has it and it isn't "cool" to have just a normal device. AND those same people insist on using the auto-lock mode nearly always.

I wonder the percentage of people who would not be able to demonstrate the technique of unloading a Guide under weight if you saw one on their harness, said you had been considering purchasing, but wondered about that process and could they show you how to do it.

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#50950 - 03/23/10 11:46 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: TerrieM]
kmc2 Offline
stranger

Registered: 10/02/08
Posts: 18
I was the belayer in the Ape Call accident this past Saturday. Before I give my account, I would just like to say thank you to everyone that assisted. Also, I know that I am going to be ridiculed for whatever I say, but I would like to say that whatever you may say about me or poor judgement from the event has got absolutely nothing on the way that I already feel about what I put my friend/climbing partner through.

I led Ape Call, and belayed my friend to the top of the pitch. I was then going to lower her down, so that another member of our party could climb the pitch. I belayed her using an ATC Guide in autoblock mode. The device was attached directly to the anchor (tree to the right of the top of P1). I thought to switch the belay device over, so that I would lower off of my harness and have the rope re-dirceted through the power point of the anchor, but through poor judgement thought that I would be OK to lower with it in autoblock. To lower her, I girth hitched a sling to the belay biner and re-directed it through the anchor. I then kept by brake hand (left hand) on the brake strand, and used my right to pull on the sling to release tension from the belay device. At first, tension did not release, so I pulled slightly harder and the the rope went through very quickly. The bleay device was set up properly, and at no point did my brake hand let go of the rope. I thought I released the pressure instantly from the sling, but may have been mistaken, or may not have released enough pressure from the sling. I did eventually stop my partner, but not before she hit her head and her hip on the way down. I was able to lower her in a controlled manner the rest of the way to the ground.

Almost instantly there were a number of highly qualified people on scene to help out. Thanks again to everyone that played a part on Saturday, I really cannot thank you enough. I went to the hospital with my partner. She was checked out and they said she was ok, and they helped to clean my brake hand which has some pretty significant rope burns.

I know I exercised poor judgement in this situation by lowering her while still set up in autoblock. I know that many people on this site are going to be quick to chime in about my poor judgement and all the mistakes I made. I know this is going to happen, but I assure you that nothing anyone has to say could possibly make me feel any worse than I already do. Through the years I have spent climbing at the Gunks, all the ambulances that I have heard coming to and from the crag, and even carry outs I have helped with, I never knew what it was like to have the rescue efforts focused on me, now unfortunately I have had the terrible and much worse experience of knowing what it is like to have the rescue efforts focused on your partner, friend, and someone that has put their life in your hands.

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#50951 - 03/23/10 11:57 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: kmc2]
Doug Offline
member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 176
Thanks for the information, glad it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

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#50952 - 03/24/10 12:52 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Doug]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Thanks kmc2, I think you have put it all to rest. I pray you recover emotionally, ASAP. You are now a much wiser partner. There is no question that most of us have done something way more stupid than this and somehow lived through it to become more sober and safer at the craft we continue to learn.

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#50953 - 03/24/10 01:00 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: chip]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
Dude, shit happens. Reading your report, I see how I could EASILY have made the same mistake. And I know I've made numerous different mistakes that I'm lucky didn't end in far worse consequences. Can any climber honestly say otherwise? Thank you for your honesty, and thank goodness it looks like everyone will be okay. Maybe you'll save others from the same potentially deadly situation.

It's natural to feel guilty about something like this and I'm sure you can't help it. But please try not to let it consume you. You'll learn from this and move on. Give it time.
_________________________
It's true, I have a blog. http://climbandpunishment.blogspot.com/

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#50954 - 03/24/10 02:14 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
KMC - first, thanks for writing. That takes bravery. This is a mistake that any of us could and would have made, given what the common knowledge about releasing autoblocks is.

I'm really glad to hear that you and your friend are okay, all things told. Be kind to yourself, please!

Interesting - the Black Diamond video I found online mentions nothing about changing the angle of the brake side of the rope, after you release the autoblock. The video shows someone doing exactly what KMC described, in fact. Only in the comments does John Wilder mention having experienced what seems to have happened here. Most of the other search results just said "hey, you can lower someone by using this hole!". Pretty serious gap.

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#50955 - 03/24/10 02:58 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Thanks KMC2.

Please understand that most of us aren't criticizing you, we're just trying to figure out what happened. Through the discussion, hopefully some will gain some knowledge and not do something similar in the future.

Wishing your partner a speedy recovery, and for you some peace of mind.
_________________________


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#50956 - 03/24/10 03:01 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
And now for accident number 2???

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#50957 - 03/24/10 03:53 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RangerRob]
cracklicker Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 8
I can't see what this guy did wrong? The device is supposed to be able to lower a climber even when it locks up. You no longer need to have a person on your belay loop so if there is an accident or problem you are already out of the system. If you put a sling through the front loop on the device or use a nut tool and slowly lever the device you can lower a climber...what did this guy do wrong? I've lowered using this method and seen it used by guides in various training classes....maybe i'm not understanding that is being said....

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#50958 - 03/24/10 11:32 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
Originally Posted By: Julie
This is a mistake that any of us could and would have made, given what the common knowledge about releasing autoblocks is.


I don't think so... maybe you but not I

Just a question people throwing around the word "experienced climber" KM how long have you been climbing for? After 15 yrs of climbing i look back and say how did i survive my first 5 years climbing. I thought then I knew everything but really was still a gumball.

Wish the best for the climber that fell.
_________________________
John Okner Photography

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#50959 - 03/24/10 11:39 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: cracklicker]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
Originally Posted By: cracklicker
I can't see what this guy did wrong? The device is supposed to be able to lower a climber even when it locks up. You no longer need to have a person on your belay loop so if there is an accident or problem you are already out of the system. If you put a sling through the front loop on the device or use a nut tool and slowly lever the device you can lower a climber...what did this guy do wrong? I've lowered using this method and seen it used by guides in various training classes....maybe i'm not understanding that is being said....


what's going to give you more control:

A. 2 hands on the rope w/ the rope redirectional. belay device on the harness
B. one hand on nut tool / sling to lift up belay device. one hand on rope. lower from power point.

I'm polish so i'm going with A
_________________________
John Okner Photography

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#50960 - 03/24/10 01:18 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: talus]
whatthegunks Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 135
Loc: High Falls, NY
An efficient system for lowering someone with a plaquette style device (Reverso, etc.) when the rope is not weighted;

1. tie an overhand or eight on bight on brake side of device and clip w/ locker to anchor (leave about a foot and a half of rope between the device and the knot to work with).

2. clip the locker that the rope runs over (the one behind the device) to the master point.

3. un-clip the locker from the side of the device that attaches it to the master point and then hang that locker up on the shelf.

4. now run the brake strand through the free locker on the shelf.

5. take control of the brake strand keeping the redirect on the shelf between your brake hand and the the device and untie the bight.

At this point the rope runs from the climber through the device (which hangs pulley like) and back up over the re-direct on the shelf. This system provides good friction/control while allowing for a smooth lower without twisting the rope a lot like a munter hitch tends to. Be certain that as the rope runs it does not rub against your cordalette other anchoring material. Also note that you can add an extra degree of safety by tying an autoblock to the brake strand and clipping it to your belay loop to back up the system

Like all rigs on which someone's life depends this set up should be practiced and mastered on the ground before some nervous person has to lean back into the void and into your hands.

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#50961 - 03/24/10 01:31 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: whatthegunks]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Crackl., I think the final mistake here was not recognizing that when you release an autoblock, it physically rotates the device such that it becomes an upside-down ATC. With that, the brake end needs to be moved up, too, so it isn't going straight into the device from below. Control of descent should still come from the brake, not the webbing releasing the autoblock.

Even then, I'd rather re-rig to lower from a redirect, so that I'd have both hands available for the brake. The released-autoblock demands a two-handed ballet .... not so great, and leaves plenty of room for distraction or misdirected attention to which hand is more important.

Rob, accident #2 was just a false alarm, in the end.

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#50962 - 03/24/10 02:08 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: whatthegunks]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: whatthegunks
An efficient system for lowering someone with a plaquette style device (Reverso, etc.) when the rope is not weighted;

1. tie an overhand or eight on bight on brake side of device and clip w/ locker to anchor (leave about a foot and a half of rope between the device and the knot to work with).

2. clip the locker that the rope runs over (the one behind the device) to the master point.

3. un-clip the locker from the side of the device that attaches it to the master point and then hang that locker up on the shelf.

4. now run the brake strand through the free locker on the shelf.

5. take control of the brake strand keeping the redirect on the shelf between your brake hand and the the device and untie the bight.

At this point the rope runs from the climber through the device (which hangs pulley like) and back up over the re-direct on the shelf. This system provides good friction/control while allowing for a smooth lower without twisting the rope a lot like a munter hitch tends to. Be certain that as the rope runs it does not rub against your cordalette other anchoring material. Also note that you can add an extra degree of safety by tying an autoblock to the brake strand and clipping it to your belay loop to back up the system

Like all rigs on which someone's life depends this set up should be practiced and mastered on the ground before some nervous person has to lean back into the void and into your hands.

5 steps for what should be a simple and obvious operation? In a safety-critical application? Really? All of which basically argues that autoblocking devices combined with belaying directly off the anchor add several layers of complexity and hence inherent risk as compared to a standard ATC type device used on the harness.

Disclaimers:
1. I do not own an autoblocking device - I played with one once on the ground and basically had difficulty figuring it out.
2. In 38 years of climbing, I've belayed directly off the anchor perhaps a half dozen times.
3. In that same time span, I've redirected the belay maybe 3 dozen times.
4. I've never carried a wank-o-lette.

Regarding the paranoia about escaping the belay that appears to be prevalent among the newer climbers I've encountered - neither I or any climber I've ever met has ever had to escape the belay in other than a training situation. I'll take the risk of the added time for a belay escape over the possibility of dropping my partner.
_________________________
- Marc

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#50964 - 03/24/10 02:41 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: MarcC]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
You don't fall (or your partner) then you never need to figure out how to escape the belay

You don't get sick (or your family) you don't need health insurance


Another insightful back and fourth 'my system is better then yours' chest beating at gunks dot com

Hope all involved over this past weekend is doing well, and shit happens.

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#50965 - 03/24/10 02:49 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Smike]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
A false alarm in the end? We should think before we dial those 3 little numbers, because once we do, our emergency becomes everyones emergency.

RR


Edited by RangerRob (03/24/10 02:50 PM)

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#50967 - 03/24/10 03:05 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: MarcC]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Sadly, my original post is looking prophetic. And although the present accident had worse than usual consequences, I've heard of occasions when someone has been dropped, usually just a a foot or two, by a suddenly released autoblock.

I have friends who find an autoblock to be effective and convenient, and who have the experience and intelligence to know when not to use it, so a universal condemnation is hardly appropriate. But personally, I still think it is a special-purpose device with dangerous idiosyncracies (see Julie's spot-on post above). Although it can be used for lowering (and in some cases, once employed for belaying, must be used for lowering), it is surely an inferior option for this purpose.

The the five-part lowering regimen described above is, for me, a testimony to everything that is wrong with the propensity to seek technological solutions to problems that don't need them: concoct a device with substantial drawbacks and then invent ever more elaborate ways of working around the problems. At least one of the carabiner transfers mentioned in the five-part scenario could require the belayer to lift a fully-weighted device under load an inch or two---it seems almost certain to me that there will be circumstances in which this may not be possible. And if anything slips during the process (a possibility I do no think is remote) and the climber ends up hanging from a clipped-in figure eight, further lowering will be impossible unless the hanging climber can unweight the rope. (This last problem could be alleviated by using a Munter mule rather than a figure-eight backup.)

A far simpler approach, recalling Julie's observation, is to clip the brake strand to a biner overhead, so that when the device is tilted into release position, the belay strand is automatically properly oriented to provide friction through the device. Still, none of these approaches can conceal the inferiority of the autoblock when it comes to lowering, and it is best employed when the nature of the route and the climbers on it makes lowering a very unlikely outcome.

I also second Marc's observations about belay escape---the principles involved are certainly worth knowing, but it is hardly worth modifying otherwise effective practices in order to accommodate a scenario that is exceptionally unlikely to ever be part of a climber's experience. I might add that many people seem to have little or no idea what they would do after an escape, the procedures described in the books on the subject are fraught with difficulties and dangers that do not seem to me to receive adequate discussion, and it is entirely possible that a belayer on autopilot under pressure might make the situation considerably worse by prematurely escaping the belay.

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#50968 - 03/24/10 04:01 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RangerRob]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Rob, the party I talked to (I think one is a local guide) said: the Mohonk Preserve had closed for the day, and the Mountain House told them to call 911. I don't know if they looked for a Preserve ranger. They did call pre-emptively, but it was looking bad for a few moments at least, with one climber's harness at the knees and her boyfriend soloing up to her.

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#50969 - 03/24/10 04:11 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
I'm still a bit jaw-dropped from this video:
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb/knowledge/howto-video-using-an-atc-guide

which shows exactly what KMC did.

I really think it's a good bit due to the marketing: lower climbers easily!, just use the hole! solves all problems! reverses aging! (ok, maybe not the last one) ... combined with a serious lack of attention to the drawbacks and risks.

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#50970 - 03/24/10 04:12 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
So being the curious fellow that I am, I need a chime in from you ladies. Does the guy on Strictly get hero status for being willing to solo up to his damsel or damnation for not making sure her harness was set? Seriously I hope they are fine and get back out together again to enjoy the rock.
Y'all can watch me tie in and harness up all the time 'cause it isn't that hard to get distracted. My rule is that once I start either of the above I will not divert my attention until it is finished.

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#50971 - 03/24/10 04:18 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Smike]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: Smike
Another insightful back and fourth 'my system is better then yours' chest beating at gunks dot com

Not at all. I was just relating what has worked well for me and that, imho, simpler is better. YMMV.

Originally Posted By: Smike
Hope all involved over this past weekend is doing well, and shit happens.

Me too.
_________________________
- Marc

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#50973 - 03/24/10 04:33 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
whatthegunks Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 135
Loc: High Falls, NY
Jeez, I've been climbing a long time too (i think over twenty five years qualifies as a long time) and I've been happy to evolve my way of doing things as gear and ideas have. The above is a straight forward system for transitioning from belaying from above with an "auto-locking" device to lowering someone when the rope is not weighted, especially in the circumstances detailed in the accident above (when the second is at top of pitch and needs a gentle ride down). It is not complicated and takes about a minute to set up.

Of course there are many options for belaying at the top of a route and each has it's best course of action for a given maneuver, strengths and weaknesses. It is generally agreed upon by a lot of climbers who spend a nauseating amount of time thinking about and practicing this stuff that belaying from the top directly from your harness is lame-est, that a redirect is better and working directly from a master point is best. Whether you use a munter hitch (which i like), a gri-gri (which works very smoothly and is easy on the elbows) or a plaquette device (auto-locking) you should be clear and practiced at it so that you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each technique and what to do when you want to transition into a lower or raise, if you need to transfer the load or escape the belay. It's all good to know and fun to master.

Of course you might decide that belaying from your harness provides the lowest possible chance dropping your partner based on your experience and that's ok, but please be sure to always use your marc-o-lette.

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#50976 - 03/24/10 04:59 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: kmc2]
Chinakat Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Western NJ
First, I am relieved to know that all are OK physically, if not quite emotionally. As per my earlier post, I was involved in the response.

Second, to the climbing community. I love you all and this sport too. This is my second season, and one of the reason's I've become a fan is the sense of community. In many industries, (such as mine--healthcare) a process known as "Root Cause Analysis" is used to analyze what occurred during an incident. The goal is not to assign blame. Rather, the idea is to discover what may have happened to contribute to the mishap, and endeavor to create safety initiatives so that similar circumstances do not happen in the future. I must say we would all of us be better served by keeping the negative remarks and name calling out of the discussion. Fingerpointing and the blame game do not help. Rather, let's look at what we can all improve upon so that we can all climb safer in the future. KMC2 has already done plenty of self-flagellation as I saw in his reaction at the climb, and on this post. We need to help each other with support and effective, analytical debriefing with an eye toward a safer day the next time we are out.
_________________________
My feet finally took root in the earth, but I got me a nice little place in the stars.

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#50979 - 03/24/10 05:25 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Chinakat]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I plead guilty to missing the "when the rope is not weighted" part of the five-part scenario, so my subsequent comment becomes, do not try this with a weighted rope (which is, of course, the most likely time when lowering with an autoblock would happen). I don't, however, see any good reason to retract the rest of my remarks.

Personally, I'm at a loss to see why, once both party members are on the ledge, they don't just individually rap off. Rapelling is just being lowered, except that you are in charge of your own fate. Perhaps in a guided situation in which the guide trusts himself or herself more than the client, this might make sense, but otherwise it is just substituting a poorly performing system (and one much less practiced for most people) for a much better one (that is much more familiar to most people and which can be effectively backed up in multiple ways).

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#50980 - 03/24/10 05:30 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Chinakat]
palladia Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/24/10
Posts: 1
Loc: New Joisey
Hey kmc2. Glad everyone is OK.
My partner Chinakat was the nurse on the scene helping out. I assisted in the stretcher team to bring your partner down to the pickup.
This incident has gotten me thinking that I am not up to speed on lowering a partner while on an ATC guide in autoblock mode. It's sobering to think that I could have been in the same situation you were in on Saturday.
Hope to see you all back at the crag soon.

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#50982 - 03/24/10 05:52 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: palladia]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
I think "root cause analysis" is essentially what everyone is doing here, and aside from some snarky remarks about newbies at the start of the thread the response to the actual individual involved in the incident has been very constructive. I am very interested to read all of this because as a user of both the ATC Guide and the Reverso 3 I realize that, in spite of my efforts to learn how to lower someone properly with the device, I could easily have made the same mistake kmc2 did.

One thing I can't figure out, and I am actually not completely joking in asking this, is why you would climb just pitch one of Ape Call? If I ever grow nuts big enough to lead the R-rated start of the first pitch, I'm sure as hell going to do the second-pitch roof afterward!


Edited by SethG (03/24/10 05:53 PM)
_________________________
It's true, I have a blog. http://climbandpunishment.blogspot.com/

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#50983 - 03/24/10 06:03 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
Welle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Western Slope
Originally Posted By: SethG

One thing I can't figure out, and I am actually not completely joking in asking this, is why you would climb just pitch one of Ape Call? If I ever grow nuts big enough to lead the R-rated start of the first pitch, I'm sure as hell going to do the second-pitch roof afterward!


was wondering the same, but KMC stated he lowered the first second in order to bring the other second. perhaps they only had one rope between 3 of them?

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#50984 - 03/24/10 06:26 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: SethG
One thing I can't figure out, and I am actually not completely joking in asking this, is why you would climb just pitch one of Ape Call? If I ever grow nuts big enough to lead the R-rated start of the first pitch, I'm sure as hell going to do the second-pitch roof afterward!

From a fall factor / amount of rope out perspective, I always included the "2nd pitch" roof as the very end of the first pitch, belaying just above the overhang.
_________________________
- Marc

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#50985 - 03/24/10 06:27 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Welle]
cracklicker Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 8
Thanks for the clarification @ Julie.

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#50988 - 03/24/10 08:50 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: MarcC]
tradjunkie Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 364
Originally Posted By: MarcC

From a fall factor / amount of rope out perspective, I always included the "2nd pitch" roof as the very end of the first pitch, belaying just above the overhang.


That doesn't sound very comfortable! I remember thinking there, "I'm glad there's a decent belay over at the tree."

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#50989 - 03/24/10 09:09 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: cracklicker]
kmc2 Offline
stranger

Registered: 10/02/08
Posts: 18
Thank you to everyone for not ripping me to shreds. To attempt to tie up some loose ends... I never said that I was a very experienced climber, or claimed to be any good. I have been climbing for about 9 years, which is not a very long amount of time, but feel that in that amount of time, I have gotten a pretty decent amount of mileage in. Also, I actually climbed both pitches of Ape Call, but dont usually carry the guidebook with me, and guess I never really looked at the route description, and I didn't realize it was considered 2 pitches. Seems way to short to break it up. I meant that I was belaying from the ledge, with the tree and rap station to the right after the final overhang(below the final pitch of RMC).

I dont know what I was thinking by lowering with the device in guide mode. I have lowered people before with the same setup but know that it is not the ideal method, especially when it would have been easy to switch to lower off of my harness. I have lowered people with this set up when practicing in the gym, at a short height off of the deck, and in "real life" climbing situations. I never just wing it an try to pull something off without studying it and practicing it first, however I obviously exercised poor judgement in this case.

I believe rappelling from the top of the climb was mentioned. I would typically do so to get down from a climb, but I was lowering my partner so that she could re-clip the pieces she had left for directionals for the remaining member of our party (piece above the roof before the traverse to the anchor, pieces along traverse under roof, etc.)

Any other questions that could clear things up, I will do my best to answer.

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#50990 - 03/24/10 09:25 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: kmc2]
Big Jimmy Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/19/08
Posts: 6
Loc: Hotel Millbrook
I think I may know what went wrong, kmc2.
You explained that "To lower her, I girth hitched a sling to the belay biner and re-directed it through the anchor."
The ATC Guide is designed to be released by threading that little hole on the front of the device next to the two grooves, NOT the belay biner (see the video someone posted earlier). When you girth hitched the belay biner and pulled on that, it disengaged the biner from the ATC, turning a belay device into a pulley, losing all its friction. If you had hitched the little hole, the biner would stay engaged, and you would be able to lower in a controlled way. This is sort of hard to explain in words, but if you watch the video, you'll see that she hitches the ATC itself, not the biner. The fault is not in the design of the device as many of you have claimed, but classic user error.
I'm glad you're both OK.

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#50991 - 03/24/10 09:38 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: kmc2]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
I do have one more question for you, about the geometry. As I understand it, you were off at a tree to the side. Then to lower your partner, did the rope go more horizontally from the tree, or vertically? If the rope went horizontally from you, or had a significant sideways component, that could have contributed to the conversion from guide-mode to upside-down ATC. The device would only have to change direction a very little bit to be "upside down" with respect to the rope.

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#50992 - 03/24/10 10:36 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: cracklicker]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2359
Loc: Boston
KMC2 - thanks so much for posting. I knew when I first heard the story that it didn't sound accurate, so I'm glad to know what really happened. Hope your hands heal quickly.

A question. You said:
Quote:
I belayed her using an ATC Guide in autoblock mode. The device was attached directly to the anchor (tree to the right of the top of P1). I thought to switch the belay device over, so that I would lower off of my harness and have the rope re-dirceted through the power point of the anchor, but through poor judgement thought that I would be OK to lower with it in autoblock. To lower her, I girth hitched a sling to the belay biner and re-directed it through the anchor. I then kept by brake hand (left hand) on the brake strand, and used my right to pull on the sling to release tension from the belay device.

(emphasis mine)

Does this mean that you did move the belay device off the anchor and onto your harness, but left it in autoblock mode, redirecting the rope through the powerpoint? Or did you not move it to your harness, and simply left it as-is, on the anchor?

Thanks!

GO

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#50993 - 03/24/10 11:37 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Big Jimmy]
HR1 Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/20/08
Posts: 34
Loc: New Paltz
Originally Posted By: Big Jimmy
I think I may know what went wrong, kmc2.
You explained that "To lower her, I girth hitched a sling to the belay biner and re-directed it through the anchor."
The ATC Guide is designed to be released by threading that little hole on the front of the device next to the two grooves, NOT the belay biner (see the video someone posted earlier). When you girth hitched the belay biner and pulled on that, it disengaged the biner from the ATC, turning a belay device into a pulley, losing all its friction. ...


Did you maybe try or at least think this through before posting it? Although this is not the correct method to lower while in 'guide' mode, as most of the friction is provided by the grooves on the device it would work to lower under control as long as the brake strand is kept in the groove.

kmc2, thank you for being willing to share. Glad that this was not worse and everyone will be OK.

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#50994 - 03/24/10 11:52 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: GOclimb]
kmc2 Offline
stranger

Registered: 10/02/08
Posts: 18
GO,

The device was left as is. The climber was belayed and lowered from the belay device being set up in auto block with the belay device attached directly to the power point of the anchor. I was saying that I should have changed it so that I lowered off of my harness, and re-directed through the power point. I did use a sling, and redirect it through a separate biner on the power point of the anchor to release tension from the belay device.

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#50996 - 03/25/10 12:23 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: kmc2]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2359
Loc: Boston
Thanks for the response kmc2. So yes, this is exactly the method pictured in the BD video linked above by Julie - and one which elicited a comment from John Wilder saying that when he tried it, he also dropped his climber. John's a very competent climber.

So you're clearly far from unique in running into this issue.

GO

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#50997 - 03/25/10 12:24 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: kmc2]
ianmanger Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 319
Originally Posted By: kmc2
To attempt to tie up some loose ends... I never said that I was a very experienced climber,


that was me. If I'd known you were such a noob, I'd have left you to twist in the wind...

Quote:
or claimed to be any good.


I don't think anyone was suggesting anything like that :-)

I am so glad that you guys are OK and I'll echo the thoughts of others that I appreciate you taking time to explain. Hope the burns are healing and to see you soon.
Cheers,
Ian

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#50998 - 03/25/10 12:59 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: GOclimb]
Big Jimmy Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/19/08
Posts: 6
Loc: Hotel Millbrook
I hoped I wouldn't get sucked into this, but I think this is kind of important. A lot of people use these devices, and not all of them know how they are designed to work.
If you read kmc2's description of his set up, it does not match the BD video. Pulling up on the belay biner and not the little hole that was specifically designed to release the device in guide mode would make a very big difference.

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#50999 - 03/25/10 02:05 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Big Jimmy]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
BJ may be right about kmc2's particular set-up, but the potential for dropping a lowered climber is still present, as described by several of us above, if you do everything "right." In addition to the hearsay I already quoted, we now also have the testimony on the BD site itself from John Wilder, who certainly knows his way around the block.

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#51001 - 03/25/10 03:30 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
whatthegunks Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 135
Loc: High Falls, NY
To clarify it might be good to refer to the device in auto-lock mode rather that auto-block which is a type of friction hitch and is what I was referring to up thread as a good backup to use while lowering.

Also; thanks to kmc2 for posting, it's helpful to hear directly what went on.

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#51002 - 03/25/10 03:48 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: whatthegunks]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Originally Posted By: whatthegunks
To clarify it might be good to refer to the device in auto-lock mode rather that auto-block which is a type of friction hitch and is what I was referring to up thread as a good backup to use while lowering.


BD refers to the ATC Guide as an "autoblock" device in their journal.
_________________________


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#51004 - 03/25/10 10:22 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
whatthegunks Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 135
Loc: High Falls, NY
It's true and one of the comments as you scroll down points out the potential for confusion. In AMGA courses I have been involved in these auto-locking devices are referred to as "plaquette" style devices including ATC Guide, Gi-Gi and Reversos.

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#51006 - 03/25/10 11:45 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: rg@ofmc]
HR1 Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/20/08
Posts: 34
Loc: New Paltz
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
BJ may be right about kmc2's particular set-up, but the potential for dropping a lowered climber is still present, as described by several of us above, if you do everything "right." In addition to the hearsay I already quoted, we now also have the testimony on the BD site itself from John Wilder, who certainly knows his way around the block.


What BJ said is akin to saying that my car slows to a stop due to pressure on the seat from my back. Sure somthing must provide the "equal but opposite" force from that pressing on the brake pedal, but it is not requisite that it be the seat. When the device is rotated out of the autoblock mode, it applies friction in the same fashion as a normal atc, only since it is hanging "upside-down" the the brake strand must be lifted up to slow the decent.

That said, I agree that for lowering this is an award set up at best and I avoid using it if I think that lowering will be likely.

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#51013 - 03/25/10 02:57 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: HR1]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2359
Loc: Boston
I just tried playing around with my wife's ATC Guide yesterday. She was kind enough to act as "fallen climber" (actually, we took turns.) Anyway, I found that when you pull on the brake strand of the rope in addition to pulling on the pull cord the device will open/invert completely. At that point you must either completely brake hard with the brake strand (meaning push straight up, hard), or release the brake strand and release the pull cord. Any other combination of actions will allow the climber to fall out of control.

GO

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#51019 - 03/25/10 04:59 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: GOclimb]
mbt14 Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/15/07
Posts: 3
Loc: New Jersey
Hi everyone-
I am the climber that fell and I am doing just fine, still a little sore and shaken up( in California at the moment). I think it is a miracle that I am here and in one piece. First, I want to thank everyone that helped me after the accident. I remember there was a doctor named Seth?, a Nurse ( thank you for removing my harness!) and First Responder. I am wondering who used their shirt to compress my head and stop the bleeding? I would like to replace it for you. Thank you to everyone that carried my down to the carriage road, that felt more scary than the fall...and that awful long ride to the hospital. Poughkeepsie should move closer to New Paltz, or we need some kind of trauma unit in New Paltz. From my perspective, the last words I heard were, "it may be a bumpy ride," and then I just went flying, hit the right side of my head under the roof, spun around, hit the left side my hip on a bulge, fell into/through a tree ( I would call that a stick standing straight up rather than a tree), and finally came to a stop above a large rock on the ground. I am beyond impressed that my friend and partner was able to eventually arrest the fall with his hands. I am so glad that both myself and my friend/partner are fine, and I am certain we will both be back at the Gunks soon, once we heal physically and mentally.
Michele


Edited by mbt14 (03/25/10 05:01 PM)

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#51021 - 03/25/10 05:57 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: mbt14]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
mbt14, best wishes to you for a full recovery.

I would be grateful if kmc2 would clarify his initial posting. Reading it originally, I assumed he meant to say he girth hitched the sling to his "belay device" (as in the BD instructions), and not the "belay biner" as he said, which would be not what the instructions specify, as Big Jimmy points out. Personally I don't know how this would change the operation of the device but I think it is valuable to know for sure what happened.


Edited by SethG (03/25/10 05:57 PM)
_________________________
It's true, I have a blog. http://climbandpunishment.blogspot.com/

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#51024 - 03/25/10 07:12 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
acdnyc Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 208
Loc: NYC/Kerhonkson
Hey mbt14,

Glad to hear u r ok and in good spirits. I arrived late on the scene and caught people and spotted them as they carried you down to the carriage road. I have been a part of a few rescues and have seen a few, I'm always impressed how everyone jumps in and helps. Hope u heal quickly, mind and body. I took a bad fall unrelated to climbing last summer and I jumped back on the horse, so to speak, as soon as I could.

I don't use the ATC Guide device or autoblock/lock device. I just use a ATC on my gear loop. I anchor off so the weight of the climber, in case of a fall or call for take, is on the anchor. I use as little gear as possible between me and my partner. In belay or rappelling less is more, too me. It comes from many early experiences with guides and work. In work, I have to rig equipment and the less you use the less chance something will fail.

I carried that over to the climbing world. I also looked up and read most of the posts and info on the ATC guide. If a device can be set up wrong and injury or worse is it worth it? For me it's not but for some it may be. I know when I get to the top of a climb and a partner has some belay device hanging from a tree or anchor I always get an uneasy feeling.

This is a link sorry if its been posted before that explains problems?!?!? with the ATC guide. Problems in climbing cause injury or worse, not to repeat myself, but why use it?
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/blog/index/view/slug/qc-lab-autoblock-misuse
_________________________
jugs or mugs

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#51025 - 03/25/10 07:18 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
RobA Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/09
Posts: 46
Loc: Alta, UT
Originally Posted By: SethG
Reading it originally, I assumed he meant to say he girth hitched the sling to his "belay device" (as in the BD instructions), and not the "belay biner" as he said, which would be not what the instructions specify, as Big Jimmy points out. Personally I don't know how this would change the operation of the device but I think it is valuable to know for sure what happened.


first off, im glad that all involved are ok and will climb again. thats the most important part.

also, i hope that everyone who has one of these "autoblock" devices takes a couple of minutes next time at the gym or crag to make sure they know how to use all the features in the proper way. if we can't learn from others mistakes, what the point?

but i still have a couple of questions..

1) did kmc2 girth hitch the rope biner?

2) if kmc2's initial post was a slip of the keyboard, and he did girth hitch the small loop, does that potentially mean that there is a design flaw in the ATC guide where it can release?

here are pictures i took last night when i set up my ATC guide for lowering. the first picture is following bd's instructions. the second picture is with the rope biner girth hitched instead of the loop.

maybe pictures will help clear things up.





another thing i found in the BD instructions is that they recommend attaching the girth hitched sling or cord from the small hole and after it's been redirected, attach it to you belay loop. i like this idea, it allows you to use body weight to release the belay device and allows you to keep 2 hands on the brake strand!


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#51026 - 03/25/10 07:33 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RobA]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Sooo good to hear you are well!
I'm really happy with my ATC guide and have used it in the manner illustrated by BD in my basement to lower a couch. Works fine. I wouldn't ever set it up like that for a lower if the second wasn't already hanging in the air but it is nice to know it works. Another arrow in the climbing quiver. Climb on!

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#51030 - 03/25/10 11:54 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RobA]
Big Jimmy Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/19/08
Posts: 6
Loc: Hotel Millbrook
Thank you RobA! That is exactly what I was trying to explain.

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#51031 - 03/26/10 12:16 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Big Jimmy]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Glad to hear everyone is okay. You all seem to be hung up on the textbook operation of ATC Guides and reverso and all that gibberish, and you're missing the actual "What the F***???" scenario that happened later in the day. I had heard something about a harness falling off of someone midpitch and the belayer then trying to solo up to her to rescue her. I didn;t think this could possibly be true, so I wrote it off. Then Julie reiterates basically the same story.

This is the "did this actually happen? And if so, how and why?" scenario that should be getting analyzed right now. every so often you hear of an accident/situation that makes you scratch your head and say " What the F***???" I would love to hear the actual details from someove involved in this. Notice I am not juding or criticizing anyone.....yet. Just kidding smile

RR

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#51033 - 03/26/10 12:37 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Big Jimmy]
HR1 Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/20/08
Posts: 34
Loc: New Paltz
Originally Posted By: Big Jimmy
Thank you RobA! That is exactly what I was trying to explain.


Now explain how picture A isn't going to drop the climber just as fast as picture B.

RR: since no one is fessing up to the the "actual wtf moment of the day", we are left to discuss the dangers of lowering a climber w/ an atc type device in autoblock mode. Something well worth considering given the apparent widespread use of such set-ups. Oh, and I think the dangers of not wearing your harness properly are a bit more self evident.


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#51037 - 03/26/10 02:37 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: HR1]
TerrieM Offline
addict

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 425
Loc: Gunks in Summer, Southwest in ...
I'll go for *total* conjecture on the harness and suggest that perhaps the person may have had it doubled back but cinched nowhere near tight enough. Perhaps even buckling at the hips instead of waist as supposed to be. In such a scenario, it's not tooooo difficult to imagine a harness working it's way past the bum, and once it's past the bum....although that must have been a pretty loose TR.


I am SO glad that situation didn't end badly. It sends shiver up my spine imagining the scenario.

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#51042 - 03/26/10 12:39 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: TerrieM]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
You know, low rise harnesses are all the trend lately, especially with a cute pair of flats. Oh wait....wrong forum...he he

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#51044 - 03/26/10 01:47 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RangerRob]
Doug Offline
member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 176
Originally Posted By: RangerRob
This is the "did this actually happen? And if so, how and why?" scenario that should be getting analyzed right now.


What is there to analyze? She didn't put her harness on correctly. My friends witnessed a similar situation on Baby last year - the guy's harness fell down to his ankles while he was leading because he hadn't buckled it (just the velcro, probably). He had to hang out and get it back on and buckled.

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#51046 - 03/26/10 01:56 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Doug]
quanto_the_mad Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/14/02
Posts: 2628
Loc: brooklyn
Originally Posted By: Doug
Originally Posted By: RangerRob
This is the "did this actually happen? And if so, how and why?" scenario that should be getting analyzed right now.


What is there to analyze? She didn't put her harness on correctly. My friends witnessed a similar situation on Baby last year - the guy's harness fell down to his ankles while he was leading because he hadn't buckled it (just the velcro, probably). He had to hang out and get it back on and buckled.


+1


_________________________


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#51051 - 03/26/10 04:19 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: quanto_the_mad]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
My friend, who had set up the TR, was really devastated by the ensuing drama. He had difficulty even talking about it and how he had looked up to see her harness falling down. It is an easy mistake to make when you are the least bit distracted.
This is not the first time someone didn't have a harness on correctly and we all know stories, such as with Lynn Hill's bad fall. She is a tough bird and came back strong but not everyone will have the emotional fortitude to do so. Heck, some people get re-married and live through to fight again!

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#51054 - 03/26/10 04:33 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Doug]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Originally Posted By: Doug
Originally Posted By: RangerRob
This is the "did this actually happen? And if so, how and why?" scenario that should be getting analyzed right now.


What is there to analyze? She didn't put her harness on correctly. My friends witnessed a similar situation on Baby last year - the guy's harness fell down to his ankles while he was leading because he hadn't buckled it (just the velcro, probably). He had to hang out and get it back on and buckled.


An alternate total conjecture:
Perhaps she was using a borrowed harness that was too large for her? Example: my friend talked his wife into trying climbing*. She is a size 2. Not only did I not have a spare harness that would fit, I discovered that both Black Diamond and Petzl don't make a woman's harness that small. Any of their smallest harni easily pulled down over her hips.

*: Yeah, I know - not a good idea at all. I also had little doubt that it would ever be more than a one-day experiment.
_________________________
- Marc

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#51055 - 03/26/10 05:03 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
Does it matter? Is using an ill-fitting harness any worse than not putting the harness on correctly in the first place?

So they made a mistake. Luckily nobody got hurt. Maybe we want to discuss his decision to solo up to help, but as far as the harness goes, doesn't seem like much to discuss.
_________________________


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#51074 - 03/27/10 06:57 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: mbt14]
Chinakat Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Western NJ
Michele, glad you are OK. I'm the nurse-chick. I know they'll just cut first and ask questions later in the ED, so I was pretty sure that in the process of moving you onto the awful backboard I could get the harness off intact. (Hey, I bathe and diaper 200lb people on a regular basis, so no sweat right?) I'd hate to see about $100 worth of gear get shredded, so off it went.

Anyway, all kidding aside, I really am glad everyone is OK. And you know the old saw about falling off horses? Well, get back out there and [/u]climb on![u]
_________________________
My feet finally took root in the earth, but I got me a nice little place in the stars.

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#51077 - 03/27/10 10:54 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
Climb_On Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 11
Loc: Pennsylvania
I'd like to publicly state what a great nurse Chinakat was at the accident scene. She diligently helped the fallen climber and then even proceeded to help the belayer with his badly injured hand. She had a full med kit and was able to debride the wound and place a dressing. Great work!

Here is a picture on lowering with a Petlz Reverso. It uses the same technique the belayer used, with one important exception: first attach the brake end of the rope to the belay loop via a Munter hitch on a locking carabiner.


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#51286 - 04/14/10 09:32 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
jjay Offline
stranger

Registered: 04/14/10
Posts: 1
this discussion happened a couple weeks ago but i came across this forum today and I know a couple of you were wondering what happened at strictly. i was toproping strictly when to my horror my harness came off almost to the top of the first pitch. i started panicking, shaking and tried frantically to hook my harness back together........ but i couldn't. My first thought was that the harness backfired but i later realized after everything was over, that i made a VERY VERY STUPID MISTAKE and had doublebacked my harness incorrectly.
i've never been so scared in my entire life. all this time, i'd been living... thinking my life was invincible. never thinking that something could happen to me. My boyfriend heroically, but dangerously climbed up solo to save me. I want to thank the other climber who met him halfway from the left and tied him to his harness to keep him safe, in case he fell climbing up to me and all the other wonderful people who came to aid me. the person who came to belay me to the bottom and the climber who rappelled down towards me. I want to thank you all and everyone else that came to help. I am trully lucky and would probably not be here today if it were not for these people.... especially my courageous boyfriend, who risked his life for me.

Since this event, we have been back at the gunks but we are extra cautious and triple check our harness and gear every time. A hard lesson learned....

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#51291 - 04/15/10 01:15 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: jjay]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Always check your harness, knots, and anchor. Don't use up all of your luck.

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#51305 - 04/15/10 04:22 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: alicex4]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
Thank goodness you were at a stance where you could hang on, jjay! It sounds to me like you were just below the overhangs that you climb up into before moving right to the ledge with the chains? If so, it's a good thing the harness didn't come off a few moves later, necessitating a downclimb or free solo to the anchor!

Thank you for the report. It is a mistake anyone could make-- elite climbers have died making the same error. You're never too experienced to double-check your own harness and your partner's.
_________________________
It's true, I have a blog. http://climbandpunishment.blogspot.com/

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#51308 - 04/15/10 06:22 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: SethG]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Why wouldn't a snug toprope keep the harness up on your body? (A pair of leg loops will support your body weight without undue drama)

So I guess I am still confused about this...

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#51309 - 04/15/10 06:30 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Mike Rawdon]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I am sooooo glad you are well and that both of you have returned for more.

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#51310 - 04/15/10 06:41 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Mike Rawdon]
Welle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Western Slope
Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
Why wouldn't a snug toprope keep the harness up on your body? (A pair of leg loops will support your body weight without undue drama)

So I guess I am still confused about this...


leg loop buckles also double-backed incorrectly?

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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: 709
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 Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
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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#51337 - 04/16/10 04:30 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Welle]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Uh ... thanks, Mark. mad

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#51338 - 04/16/10 04:39 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
Frank Florence Offline
addict

Registered: 01/05/00
Posts: 528
Loc: moved to Bend
Quote:
It's almost impossible to find an "old-style" harness anymore, tho.

Julie, take a look at some of the models made by Misty Mountain and Metolius. There might be options there for you.

RG, your reflective response to this incident is a not only an considerate analysis of the specific event, but also a worthy template for considering any accident or potential accident. Thanks.

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#51339 - 04/16/10 04:48 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Personally, I dislike double-back harnesses because of the annoyance of putting on and taking off clothing. The double-back harnesses I used in the past required, after a while, some effort to thread the doubled back end through the buckle, and this made it frustratingly slow to throw on a fleece or windshell and tuck it under the harness. Maybe the more recent double-backs have eliminated this issue; I'm on my second Petzl and so haven't used a double-back for eight years or so.

The safety aspect of non-double-back buckles seem to me to be a minor plus, just one less item on the preflight check list.

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#51342 - 04/16/10 05:16 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Welle]
Aya Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/18/04
Posts: 754
Loc: Climbing somewhere
It's all what we're used to - I learned how to climb with a double back harness. It's no big deal to check it for me; I do it automatically. I bought a petzl luna a few years ago, thinking hey great, it's pre-doubled back. One less step/thing to worry about.

Apart from being the most uncomfortable harness I've ever had the displeasure of trying on (their frame construction means that when you're hanging for extended times, all the load is being taken right across the top edge of the harness, right where it digs in, with no padding), I find it really annoying to unbuckle to take on and off (it doesn't fit over my hips so I need to, or else do lots of squirming). No, it's not hard. But it has a tab, and I find it annoying to have to feed it through the buckle - So if I'm going to have to unbuckle a harness to get it on and off anyway, I'd rather have the easiest possible one to do so.

And, you're going to be checking it anyway. You're an idiot if you're not.

p.s. just bought a BD Lotus harness, and it's WAY more comfortable. Yes, also stupid automatically doubled back buckles that I have to undo but it's way more comfortable. I didn't realize until I used it that I'd forgotten how comfortable harnesses could be... I just sort of forgot when I was wearing the Luna... the digging in seemed normal. Of course, this is completely off topic and I'm just sharing my revalation about petzl's frame construction. I really wish I could get one of those fancy arcteryx harnesses so my harness doesn't take up so much room in my pack, but they don't make one with ice clipper slots that fit women. Booooo.
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#51344 - 04/16/10 06:15 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Julie]
talus Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1259
Originally Posted By: Julie
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.


What you can get webbing at any climbing shop and make a swami now that's old style harness. I hate leg loops and often climb w/ a swami.
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#51345 - 04/16/10 06:26 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: talus]
Welle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Western Slope
^^bowline is less gear intensive

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#51347 - 04/16/10 06:44 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Welle]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Actually you're right, a triple wrapped bowline is less gear intensive, and just as safe as your fanchy schmancy pre double backed gadgetry.

I think Rich's earilier response is the most poignant reminder of what we do when we climb. If anyone here thinks that an "accident" like this is a normal part of climbing....please go back and re read what RG wrote. We all make mistakes yes, but when you start compiling mistakes on top of mistakes is when tragedy strikes. RG's analysis shows very clearly that the mistakes started occuring long before the "accident" happened.

RR

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#51349 - 04/16/10 08:43 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RangerRob]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Originally Posted By: RangerRob
Actually you're right, a triple wrapped bowline is less gear intensive, and just as safe as your fanchy schmancy pre double backed gadgetry.


What he says...

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#51353 - 04/17/10 01:23 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Mike Rawdon]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
A couple years ago I was at Rumney with some friends and hiked up to a wall without my harness. I asked to jump on and TR the climb that had just been put up and was refused a belay when an individual saw me doing the old bowline on a coil, stating she wouldn't be a party to something so dangerous. It is just a matter of what you are exposed to and think through, but to think that the rope you fall on isn't good enough to wrap around your waist was pretty funny.

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#51361 - 04/17/10 12:48 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: chip]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
There was a guy who used to troll the base of the cliffs asking for topropes, and he wore jeans and old leather mountaineering boots. He would do the same thing. Shocked the hell out of me in my first day of climbing outside when he flew up P-38, in those boots, and a bowline around his waist. Anyone remember who that was? This was mid 90's

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#51369 - 04/17/10 02:08 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RangerRob]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I know who you mean but can't place a name. The dude was a BOSS.

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#51380 - 04/18/10 09:49 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RangerRob]
whatthegunks Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 135
Loc: High Falls, NY
Ice climbing is over Mike.

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#51395 - 04/19/10 11:48 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: chip]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Jimmy Madison?

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#51453 - 04/20/10 11:53 AM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: alicex4]
AOR Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/27/04
Posts: 392
I doubt it...Jimmy M. had climbing shoes.

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#51456 - 04/20/10 01:02 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: AOR]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
Was it Allen Perry?

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#51528 - 04/21/10 03:14 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: RangerRob]
Dana Offline
addict

Registered: 07/13/00
Posts: 619
I would bet money it was Don Perry. A lot of great stories associated with that name.

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#51542 - 04/21/10 04:58 PM Re: Accident this Past Saturday, 3/20/10 [Re: Dana]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5968
Loc: 212 land
I would bet money it was Don Perry. A lot of great stories associated with that name.

I recall belaying as he led Never Never Land in crepe-soled boots, having a hard time believing my eyes.
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