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#67909 - 04/23/13 12:30 AM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: Gail]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
I think the lesson is don't redirect your belay through a single nut. Glad it worked out okay.
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#67912 - 04/23/13 04:15 AM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: SethG]
Jeff D. Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/10/05
Posts: 75
Loc: NY, NJ
Personally, I'm surprised more of these types of accidents don't happen. Its often that I see directional pieces placed that, if they were to fail, would cause a significant fall to be experienced by the second. Even toproping, I see people place single pieces as directionals that could cause in excess of 15 or 20 feet of rope to enter the system if the piece were to pull. A groundfall from 15 or 20ft is absolutely unacceptable, especially when people are climbing under the assumption that they are protected by a toprope.

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#67915 - 04/23/13 12:42 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: Jeff D.]
Adrian Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 73
Glad everyone is OK now. Unless I misread something, if you are belaying off your harness, regardless of direct or redirect, the breaking method is the same "Down to your hip".

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#67916 - 04/23/13 12:48 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: Jeff D.]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I'm glad to hear the party is recovering and that their injuries are not extremely serious. The outcome could easily have been a lot worse.

As the incident illustrates, a belay redirection point has to be either the belay anchor itself (i.e. a multiple-point distributed anchor when gear is involved), or has to be constructed like a belay anchor, meaning at least two pieces and load-distributing rigging.

The same goes for a directional point that is way off to the side of the belay, as Jeff D. says. Such anchors absolutely cannot fail and so should never consist of a single piece, no matter how apparently bombproof it seems to be.

I've seen this principle violated repeatedly on Pink Laurel, where the leader traverses way left to the bolted anchor over Jackie. Using just a single piece for a directional at the top of the Pink Laurel corner is dangerously incompetent (no matter how purportedly experienced the leader is)---the failure of that piece would result in a horrendous pendulum, probably terminating in a ground fall, and there is plenty of opportunity to rig a multiple-point anchor there.

Leaders have choices about how much protection they use, but seconds are entirely dependent on what the leader chooses to do for them. This means that there is, or ought to be, a much higher standard for the protection of the second then there is for the leader.

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#67917 - 04/23/13 12:54 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: Adrian]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Originally Posted By: Adrian
Unless I misread something, if you are belaying off your harness, regardless of direct or redirect, the breaking method is the same "Down to your hip".


Absolutely not. If you are belaying off your harness with an ATC type device, the braking position is up near the chest, and this was the the primary reason that the belayer in this accident was not able to control the fall once the directional pulled.

Once the redirection point had failed, the "down to the hip" hand position has no braking effect and the belayer effectively has nothing more than the rope making a 180 degree bend around the device carabiner for friction. This is the reason an ATC belayer belaying the leader begins with a palm-up braking hand position and is ready to bring their braking hand to their chest in case the leader falls with no pro in.

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#67918 - 04/23/13 01:15 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: rg@ofmc]
Doug Offline
member

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 176
Thanks for posting details on the circumstances. Glad to hear everyone is recovering.

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#67919 - 04/23/13 03:14 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: rg@ofmc]
Adrian Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 73
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Originally Posted By: Adrian
Unless I misread something, if you are belaying off your harness, regardless of direct or redirect, the breaking method is the same "Down to your hip".


Absolutely not. If you are belaying off your harness with an ATC type device, the braking position is up near the chest, and this was the the primary reason that the belayer in this accident was not able to control the fall once the directional pulled.

Once the redirection point had failed, the "down to the hip" hand position has no braking effect and the belayer effectively has nothing more than the rope making a 180 degree bend around the device carabiner for friction. This is the reason an ATC belayer belaying the leader begins with a palm-up braking hand position and is ready to bring their braking hand to their chest in case the leader falls with no pro in.


I think my mental picture is completely off. In belaying leader, the brake position is brake hand down to the hip. In this video, at 2'50.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvEQrKOtUZg

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#67921 - 04/23/13 04:18 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: Adrian]
gunkette Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/23/11
Posts: 21
But the accident didn't occur while belaying a leader - it happened while belaying a second from the top. If the redirect pulled, the braking position is in fact the opposite direction from what it would be with an intact redirect.

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#67922 - 04/23/13 04:40 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: Adrian]
whatthegunks Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 135
Loc: High Falls, NY
It's great to hear that the climbers involved in this accident are going to be ok. Scary.

There are a couple points that I'd like to make about this scenario. First is to add to RG's comment about redirects. This set up must be built like a top rope anchor because that's just what it is, it's got to be able to support the forces/weight of the falling climber + the weight of the belayer, both are hanging frrom it when the second falls. You would never make a slingshot top rope anchor with a single piece and a redirected top belay must be viewed the same way; strong, equalized and redundant.

The second point is that a redirected top belay is not the correct technique for the situation, it is less good, a lot less. Because of the significant weight difference between the belayer and second even a bomb proof redirected belay presents significant faillure potential. My understanding is that the second outweighed the leader by nearly 100lbs. This means that with even a small amount of slack in the system the falling second will be pulled quite a distance towards the redirect/anchor. Assuming that the leader used some sort of sling to tether themselves to the anchor they were probably a few feet, at most, from the master point. Not a stretch to assume that the belayer will likely be smash into the redirect making loss of control of the brake strand a significant possibility.
There is a lot of debate out there about whether belaying directly from the anchor or using a redirect is preferable. It seems to me that, especially in this scenario, a belay with a munter, gri gri or plaquette style device directly from the master point is infinitely better than a redirected belay from the leaders waist and would have prevented the accident.

From some of the posts it appears that folks might not completely understand how these techniques work. Please, please, puh-lease figure this stuff out before your life and that of your climbing partner depends on it.

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#67923 - 04/23/13 04:43 PM Re: Accident in the Nears on Saturday [Re: gunkette]
Adrian Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 73
Originally Posted By: gunkette
But the accident didn't occur while belaying a leader - it happened while belaying a second from the top. If the redirect pulled, the braking position is in fact the opposite direction from what it would be with an intact redirect.

I was just following r's comment about belaying the leader. I kinda get what R's saying, but I probably just getting the words and mental pictures wrong.

When belaying second off the harness with redirect, the ATC configured is in the same mode of lead belay (not in guide mode), the brake hand position is the hip position, no?

Anyway, I probably should start a different thread to clear this for myself.

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