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About hyperspud

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    Moscow, ID
  1. Death at the Coulee

    I have several points I'd like to make here: First concerning the gear used by Kropp- I had a chance to examine the camalots and Metolius TCU that all pulled. One thing that Erden has not made clear is that all pieces with the possible exception of the #2 camalot with the broken biner are quite visibly damaged. The #3 has a portion of the metal on the cams ground off by the shear force of ripping it from the rock. It was set at around 1/2 cam retraction. The #1 has a mm or two of metal removed by the rock on it's cams, the cams were set at nearly full retraction. The #3 TCU is dented and has a bent axle. The #1 camalot was pulled nearly to cable failure. I think both the #3 and #1 camalots have bent axles. They were heavily loaded and pulled out. The wire on the #2 camalot (note-all camalots in use were the older, two-stem wire type)visibly dented the carabiner it was clipped into. Bottom line- there was a lot of force on the cams. Erden did not believe there was any rockfall associated with the fall. I think the rope needs to be examined. I have a static line that is indistinguishable from dynamic rope by feel. Many manufactures are now making softer static lines, such as the PMI EZ bend rope. Also a dynamic rope that is repeatedly stretched is essentially converted into a static rope, that is why the ropes break in a UIAA test, they lose their ability to absorb force and the falling wt generates enough force to break the rope. THe 3% and 7.5 % elongation numbers quoted refer to the stretch under body wt, not under a fall type load. Dynamic ropes will stretch to more than twice their length before failing, where as a static rope hardly stretches and a 4 or 5 meter fall will generate enough force to break bones. Also even in a fall factor 2 drop with a completely static belay (a knot), a dynamic rope limits the force to about 8-9 kN, the resultant force on a piece of gear, since the rope is held by both ends, is about 1.5 times the impact or about 12kN, enough to break an ope-gate biner, but Kropp's fall was closer to 20/60 or fall factor .33 and much less force than 12 kN sould have been delivered to the piece. Secondly, the question of climber access at the Coulee is a sensitive one. The coulee was nearly closed to climbing a few years ago because of perceived land degradation that was blamed on climbers. Only by working with the land managers over tha last few years have we been able to keep the coulee open. Any construction of a memorial without the OK from the manager's would be construed to be another case of disreguard for the land and could endanger climbing there. What an awful slap to Kropp's spirit if his memorial was to be the closure of a climbing area. I'm currently trying to get approval for the memorial. John Crock President, Frenchman Coulee Climber Coalition