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forrest_m

what would you do?

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Witnessed last weekend. It’s only funny because nobody actually got hurt...

 

We’re at a small crag near Banff, a wide WI4 curtain with a couple of bolted mixed climbs on either side. It’s getting near the end of the day, and one of my partners is lowering off. On the route next to us, a climber is struggling, but after a few falls, makes it past the crux. Pulling up on a cammed tool, he reaches up and slots his tool into the hacked out ice at the lip of the overhang, then matches his other tool. Our first indication of trouble comes when he says, almost calmly, “oh shit, this is very bad”

 

We look up. His crampon bail has somehow managed to clip itself into the rope end of the quickdraw on the last bolt as he moved past. The last move is too hard to reverse, and he’s rapidly pumping out trying to hold on to his leashless tools. His tools are placed at the limit of his reach and there is no way he could reach his feet even if he could let go with one hand. Everyone at the base of the cliff can visualize the guy swinging around his feet like an out-of-control bat and slamming into the wall, to be left dangling off the bolt by one foot, unconscious and unable to lower.

 

My partner swings over to try to help, but the wiregate biner has slid around in such a way that the nose can’t get past the guy’s boot. In fact, when my buddy opens the gate to try, all that happens is that the rope falls out. The guy is starting to panic now, as he shouts “get it in, get the rope back in.” After 15 tense seconds, the rope is back in the draw, but the draw is still clipped to his foot. His whole body is starting to shake, as my friend tries desperately to free the biner from his crampon without letting the rope drop out again. “I’m coming off… I can’t hold on!” he shouts. “Come on, man, stick it out, stay in there” come the shouts from the ground. The only sound is a whimper, then in slow motion we watch him come off. His hands don’t open up as much as they simply slither over the stops at the end of his tools. He seems to hang there for a second as my partner jumps sideways to get clear, and then suddenly, the guy is hanging upside down in midair. A moment later, a hail of shrapnel falls around us as the pieces of his radical crampon hit the ground. His tool augers in like something from a kung-fu movie.

 

Fortunately, his crampon exploded when his weight hit it, saving him from a potentially serious injury. Seconds later he was on the ground, shaken but not hurt. But it just goes to show that even bolt-protected climbing can be dangerous…

 

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wow! I once had my v-threader get stuck on the back of my crampon on a pitch, it was scary for a minute or two, but it got it off...that sounds much worse, it's a weird feeling to not be able to move your feet!

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This sunday I witnessed a leader fall on the first pitch of icy bc that was really scary. Fortunately the climber missed decking by about 2 feet, and only suffered a bad ankle injury. For the rest of the day all I could think about was seeing him whiz past his last screw - and that damm video that got posted last week with those two climbers ragdolling down the hill.

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what would you do?

 

use leashes? rolleyes.gif

with a good placement, he could've clipped the tool, then unclipped his foot.

glad the dude wasn't hurt.

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Jesus, John, that musta been scary. That would definitely put a damper on my climbing.

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Could you have swung over and clipped him to you from above? Can't tell from the report if you were above or to the side.

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Unclip the draw from the bolt end and leave it hanging from the crampon for the time being, then replace this quickdraw with another....?

 

 

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Yeah, I was there when that guy took the fall on Icy BC. I was to the left waiting for my friend to drop a rope down for a toprope, when I saw the guy fall, but from my vantage point I couldn't tell whether he hit the ground or not, until I walked over and saw what was going on and that he didn't hit the deck. Still scary to witness though (and really scary for the person it happened to).

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forrest_m said:

We’re at a small crag near Banff, a wide WI4 curtain with a couple of bolted mixed climbs on either side.

 

Bearspirit?

 

I woulda "got out of there quick before I had to rescue someone"

 

No seriously, it sounds like what happened was the right thing to do. UNLESS, if he had good sticks with the tools, he could throw the rope over the pinky rest or the head of one of the tools, and dog off the tool enough to get pro in or to reach down to the crampon? Or, with spurs, do the splits, heel hooking spur-on-tool with the un-caught foot and using both hands to deal with the caught foot... snaf.gif

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Seems that there are quite a few ways the guy could have "rescued" himself, which is interesting considering that he was apparently pretty calm the whole time? What was the climbing like, that he was on? Was it fat ice?

 

As for your friend, whoever suggested just replacing the draw with another one had the right idea... that way the guy could even have finished the pitch smirk.gif

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fleblebleb said:

Seems that there are quite a few ways the guy could have "rescued" himself, which is interesting considering that he was apparently pretty calm the whole time? What was the climbing like, that he was on? Was it fat ice?

 

As for your friend, whoever suggested just replacing the draw with another one had the right idea... that way the guy could even have finished the pitch smirk.gif

 

i agree, the best "rescue" would have been to replace the draw, that didn't occur to anyone in the short time that he was there. we did think about tying him off to my friend's rope, but he had to pendulum hard to get over there and by the time we realized that we couldn't just unclip the crampon, it was basically over. He tried to get the crampon off, it seemed like trying to get the ankle strap off he was going to pull the guy off - he was pretty pumped out even BEFORE this whole incident got started.

 

but my question was more along the lines of "what would you do to help yourself"... the only thing that i think might have worked was to loop the rope over the guard of the tool. even this would have been very scary, since his tools were just hooked over kicked out footsteps. the ice was not real solid - it was a curtain of icicles that had been broken off at the lip of a roof, so the ice began abruptly in a horizontal line, maybe 3-4 inches thick and very picked out from many ascents.

 

i think if it had been me, i would have tried to reverse the last move, hard as it might have been - hanging on with one hand, reaching down and slotting the pick back into the "undercling" and trying to get low enough to grab the draw. at least if you fell, you'd be closer to the bolt.

 

yes, bearspirit/quarry creek

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What an amazing story! My heart is still pumping. I would do what happened. Shit. I've had random shit clip while climbing, but nothing that fucking scary!

 

Damn!

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Yikes, my mouth was getting a little dry just reading this.

This is a good idea, to spend some time thinking about the options available in bad situations. I'd like to condition my brain to think better when things go amiss itstead of switching into "panic and whimper" mode.

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but erik it could also happen while trad climbing with crampons on!!

 

but never with the new Charlet Dart with better designed heel bail, or with those bolt on crampons you attach to hockey skates!

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It probably wouldn't have happened if he hadn't used those stupid stiffy dogbone draws, eh ChucK?

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Regarding the Icy BC fall, I was belaying JJA and saw the guy take a 30+ foot wipper almost hitting the deck. Thank god he was able to be carried away with apparently only a gash to his head and a broken/sprained ankle. bigdrink.gif to everyone for helping get him out.

 

 

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Crazy story! Wow! I felt my pulse racing just reading it.

 

I almost took a digger when my crampon point caught a doubled draw hanging off the back of my harness. As someone earlier mentioned, its a pretty strange--and alarming--sensation to not be able to extend your leg back out. I no longer carry long draws on my harness when wearing crampons.

 

Thanks for sharing that Forrest.

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If he was climbing with leashless, could he have taken one of his tools and placed the pick into the hole in the ferule so one tool hung from the other and then lowered himself down to the end of the lower tool. Maybe then he would be low enough to grab draw and let himself invert easily until rescued. Easy to say when your not pumped, Eh??

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Sounds like a similar experience on midnight rambler earlier this year. skisports placed his foot a few inches above a recently clipped screw, the ice broke and his foot slid down a normally harmless few inches. It got caught in the draw however and when he couldn't immediately free it things got quite hectic quickly. I distinctly remember him saying "josh, a little help here!" as I sat worthlessly at the belay, unable to help. My only response was "shit, get your foot out! I can't do anything!" pitty.gif It was pretty intense watching him wondering if I was going to have to catch a leader fall on ice. Luckily he was able to calm down, extend off one tool as far down as possible and jimmy the draw until it unhooked itself. thumbs_up.gif

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I had once been in the middle of a few scary aid moves when my aider that was hanging below me cliped itself into a draw a a couple of peices down. I had to go back down on a couple of pieces that had just scared the shit out of me, that sucked...

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