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chris_stolz

Leavenworth Accident report

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yOu can wear a helmet at Vantage but it isn't gonna help much if the whole column you are bear hugging topples like positive vibrations did.

 

that column was jacked by some jerks...it didn't fall over. if they cared about the safety of the climb, they could have anchored it to columns behind it. that was just advanced trundling by some bad actors.

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It seems to me that there are a few things that climbers could learn from this situation. Helmets even for belayers make sense, downclimbing is a skill that we need to practice, look ahead and anticipate pro placements--if there is a cruxy move within the first 20 feet, place some pro near it to protect yourself and your belayer.

 

Rad, I like your top 10 reasons. Yes, I have newbie climbers wear helmets, even if they are just top roping. It is a good habit IMO. I have turned back from a bike ride that included a ferry ride because Irealized on the boat that I forgot my helmet.

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Chris, great job helping out the injured climbers. And thanks for posting your account here. I think that for a lot of us, trying to understand how an accident happened is one of the best ways that we can learn how to climb more safely.

 

I'm not surprised that this thread has moved into a debate on whether or not helmets are necessary, because it really sounds like both the climber and the belayer might have been saved some injury if they'd been wearing hard hats. Though it's hard to tell without more information - maybe it wouldn't have made a difference.

 

My two cents - I always wear one, no exceptions. It doesn't get in my way and gives me some peace of mind when rockfall, dropped gear, beer bottles flung off the top of Rocky Butte, whatever... is a possibility - basically anytime I'm climbing. Plus I whack my noggin on roofs more than I care to admit.

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I think it's pretty simple. If you still don't think that wearing a helmet is a good idea, then the thought of several quarts of blood gushing out of your head must not bother you.

 

Me, I don't like the sound of that. But I also don't like the idea of falling at all. You could still fall and break your leg and bleed to death, even with a helmet on. As much as it's a good idea to wear a helmet (and it is), it's an even better idea to do what you have to in order to prevent a fall from happening in the first place.

 

Now I know in our modern sporto/bouldermonkey world people end up falling as much as (or more than) they climb, this is of course necessary in order to work insanely difficult and acrobatic moves. But then hitting your head is a lot less likely on this type of rock, as it is usually very steep (i.e. you fall away from the wall), the pro is safe, or can be stick-clipped, or in the case of bouldering, you have spotters and strategically placed crash pads. So not very many people wear helmets sport climbing and bouldering, and this is understandable.

 

Trad, alpine, and ice climbing are different. Ice climbing is obvious. Alpine climbing is almost as obvious, although a caveat to the helmet issue there is that you simply don't fall on an alpine route. But you still need a helmet for rockfall.

 

Trad climbing, while in the right hands can be just as safe or safer than sport climbing, is pretty hazardous if you're not careful. You have to set all your own pro, which can sometimes be difficult, and sometimes this pro will fail. Hence falls can be unpredictable, and the carnage potential is a lot higher. On top of that, you've already loaded a crapload of gear onto your body, so how much more is really going to bother you to put a helmet on? It's more comfortable than the 16 cams hanging on your shoulder. rolleyes.gif

 

One more thing--and I don't want to sound like I'm nitpicking, because this is pretty important--on a crag climb (sport or trad) the belayer should spot the leader (as in bouldering) until the leader can clip into their first pro.

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I'm glad to hear they are gonna make it. Nice work helping with the resuce.

_____

 

I'm guessing they were on winter solstice? (a nice route).

 

Down very very low there is one low angle face move that is all balance and in the heat and sun it is conceiveable that the leader's shoe rubber or finger pads blew? I often do winter solstice a couple of times on a castle outing and the low face move that I am speaking about seems really out character. I'll bet this is where the guy came off? The belayer earns a purple heart if he gave him a "spot" from there. I wish them a speedy recovery.

 

Glad too, to hear they're OK.

Easy tho it may be, incidents on the Jello Tower pitch of Midway are not with out precedent.

An friend of mine once managed to slip somehow in the first 20 or so feet of the pitch, and without having placed anything yet tumbled down through the rubble to the lower corner of Jello Tower. He was injured not seriously enough to call out the Mounties, but badly enough that half a dozen of us improvised a litter & carried him down to the highway.

 

Near the same point in time the father of a friend was leading the same pitch; he had just reached the little alcove place below the top and clipped into the ring piton that used to live there when he fainted, apparently from the heat. No further incident but if he'd fainted ten seconds earlier he'd have gone to the ground.

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i guess god has spoken... rolleyes.gif

 

how 'bout this? except that i don't want to...

 

Thats your personal choice and everyone here respects it, I hope. I'm sure you do wear one when you are out climbing with your kids though....:D

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I have to wear a helmet all day at work but very seldom wear one when climbing.A helmet can be false security and will not save you from bad decisions , standing in the rock fall zone at the crag(the trail under sushine wall rolleyes.gif) Falling without pro, climbing a route that is known for loose rock under another party and the most offen made mistake (like RUMR said)is having that rope behind your leg, when ever I even feel the slightest touch of the rope behind my leg I get tweeked and my only though is to fix it before I make another move.

We all make mistakes, STACK THE ODDS

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I have to wear a helmet all day at work but very seldom wear one when climbing.A helmet can be false security and will not save you from bad decisions , standing in the rock fall zone at the crag(the trail under sushine wall rolleyes.gif) Falling without pro, climbing a route that is known for loose rock under another party and the most offen made mistake (like RUMR said)is haveing that rope behind your leg, when ever I even feel the slightest touch of the rope behind my leg I get tweeked and my only though is to fix it before I make another move.

We all make mistakes, STACK THE ODDS

 

and Wear a Helmet.

 

It certainly doesn't protect you from bad decisions but does tend to improve how often you survive them.

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i guess god has spoken... rolleyes.gif

 

how 'bout this? except that i don't want to...

 

Thats your personal choice and everyone here respects it, I hope. I'm sure you do wear one when you are out climbing with your kids though....:D

 

They wear a helmet...i don't...

 

Only on loose stuff do i wear one...its not to protect me from when i fall but to protect me from falling stuff...i also don't like climbing under other parties...

 

the treatsie on accidents in the yosemite guidebook by don reid on serious trauma and fatalities said that for certain only 5 cases would a helmet have made a difference in falls...that was over 250 cases...his statement was that the amount of trauma (i'm paraphrasing here) was so high that a helmet wouldn't have amounted to much protection...look at the percentages...

 

don't kid yourself...you fuck up, you're dead, helmet or not...best bet is don't fuck up...

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i guess god has spoken... rolleyes.gif

 

how 'bout this? except that i don't want to...

 

Thats your personal choice and everyone here respects it, I hope. I'm sure you do wear one when you are out climbing with your kids though....:D

 

Second those who have suggested this thread is a poor place for a helmet debate.

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Can I get out of jail yet? I edited my reply, admitted it was thoughtless, apologized, and blew sunshine up his ass. I will still stand by my questions though....why post an accident report in the first place? Yes, to let people know...but why not use the opportunity to ask a couple of questions and maybe help prevent another one?
if accidents were 100% prevntable they would never happen. each person must take risk where they feel comfortable and then accept the consequences. I rarely wear a helmet when cragging. especialy sport cragging, generaly only if I lead. asking questions is okay, but telling seasond climbers that you think you might know more than they do is a mistake.

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but telling seasond climbers that you think you might know more than they do is a mistake.

 

If you bat your eyelashes enough, you can get away with it. It doesn't work for me, but I know it works for Ms. Muffington. wink.gif

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but telling seasond climbers that you think you might know more than they do is a mistake.

 

If you bat your eyelashes enough, you can get away with it. It doesn't work for me, but I know it works for Ms. Muffington. wink.gif

Geek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gif hey when do I get to be a seasond climber????

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but telling seasond climbers that you think you might know more than they do is a mistake.

 

If you bat your eyelashes enough, you can get away with it. It doesn't work for me, but I know it works for Ms. Muffington. wink.gif

Geek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gif hey when do I get to be a seasond climber????

 

Well, you're pretty spicy, so you're probably properly seasoned. Bwahahahaha!!!! Who knows. I've found there's always someone who is more "seasoned" than I, so I just always act new.

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I am suprised nobody has metioned anything about wearing helmets while bouldering. IMO bouldering is the time that you should be wearing a helmet the most. This is the time that you are most likely to hit your head during a fall. The reason that helmets will never be extremely popular is because they interfer with your climbing. People who push themselves hard do everything they can to make climbing easier for them (i.e. lighter gear, better shoes, etc.). It is just like bike racing. Those guys don't wear helmets most of the time even though any crash could result in a severe head injury. It may be a really stupid and unsafe choice to make, but so is climbing a rock.

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by the by, having climbed in the area once, I think it is easy to get on the wrong route...or under estimate the dificulty of the climbing... I am glad all will recover.

Edited by Muffy_The_Wanker_Sprayer

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Now that you mention this, Muffy, doing your homework and looking at the topo, or studying the route before you get on it can be just as important to your safety. It get's your head into what you are doing, so to speak.

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Now that you mention this, Muffy, doing your homework and looking at the topo, or studying the route before you get on it can be just as important to your safety. It get's your head into what you are doing, so to speak.
I think that is the most important thing you can do when you are in a new area... but again that is just my oppinion.

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I really can't believe people are arguing over whether or not one should wear a helmet while climbing....grow the fuk up. It is a personal choice; just as wearing one while riding a bicycle.

I recently was in an accident, hiking off a peak sans helmet....it probably would have prevented the head injury I obtained during the fall but who knows..maybe the helmet would've changed my mass of balance enough to where I hit the rock with my chin or face or "?"

 

The one problem with this world; everyone thinks they know what is best for the other person....Respect one's choice and if they choose to climb without a helmet so be it...

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I really can't believe people are arguing over whether or not one should wear a helmet while climbing....grow the fuk up. It is a personal choice; just as wearing one while riding a bicycle.

I recently was in an accident, hiking off a peak sans helmet....it probably would have prevented the head injury I obtained during the fall but who knows..maybe the helmet would've changed my mass of balance enough to where I hit the rock with my chin or face or "?"

 

The one problem with this world; everyone thinks they know what is best for the other person....Respect one's choice and if they choose to climb without a helmet so be it...

RIGHT ON thumbs_up.gif

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I realize this may be totally random, but speaking of head injuries reminded me of something...

 

In the book "Totem Pole" page 69, there is a musing by Paul Pritchard's neurosurgeon about what would have happened (theoretically) if he'd been wearing a helmet; that it (the helmet) might have transferred to force (of the rock that hit him on the head and made him a hemiplegic) from his skull to his cervical spine and similar to what it seen in motorcycle accidents result in quadraplegia instead of a head injury.

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Laura, your paragraph has grammatical errors in it that cause me to fail to fathom your point. What exactly were you trying to say? (And why are you reading a page 69?)

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But jakowski (sorry I can't pronounce your name), what if someone was more critically injured without a helmet than they would have been had they been wearing one, and the resultingly more significant injuries placed the rescuers in greater danger due to the increased time and complexity involved in the extraction? Would it be fair for a rescuer to call the injured climber's decision to go sans helmet into question? How about that rescuers wife and kids and family?

 

You see, you can look at climbing as a series of personal choices, and many people on this site choose to do so. But when you are hurt, or when you are helping others who are hurt, or even when you are just plain overdue, it is no longer all about you.

 

To my way of thinking, once we engage in an inherently dangerous sport, we should do everyone who could be affected by an accident right by stacking the odds in our favor.

 

The thought that someone can't pull a bouldering move because their helmet weighs them down is truly the stupidist idea I've heard. Do they really think that? I know Chase thinks boulderers should wear helmets, and though I have never bouldered, I have to agree. Then again, maybe in a Darwinian sense we should encourage some of these kids to go without a brainbucket.

 

Sharp

Edited by Juan

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I think she's saying that,(as Paul Pritchard himself stated when he spoke here in Portland a couple of years ago)if he'd been wearing a helmet,the force of impact from the TV-sized rock which struck him,would have been tranferred directly to his cervical vertebrae,resulting in massive injury which would have rendered him either hemi- or quadriplegic.

 

As it was,he suffered traumatic brain injury ( the impact was absorbed by the relatively softer skull and brain) and as a result he walks,albeit with a limp,and has limited use of his right arm,both of these disabilities due to damage to control centers in the brain,not spinal cord trauma.Pritchard's physicians theorized that his lack of a helmet may actually have saved his life,as well as sparing him paralysis.

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Thank you mtguide, for translating...

 

it would have rendered him a quad. The level of injury would have been quite high, due to where helmets sit at the back of your neck. He would have been lucky to shrug his shoulders (cranial nerves control shoulder shrugging, and are therefor not indicative of the "level" of injury)

 

Klenke, I was merely giving the page number for those who were interested in reading the text.

 

Hemi is what he was - one side of his body was paralysed due to the brain injury

 

Quad is what he wasn't - 4 limbs paralyzed, due ot spinal cord damage.

 

The brain is very elastic (medical term for it can figure out new ways to do things) allowing for better recovery potential than a cord injury.

 

I'm not advocating not wearing a helmet, just thought it was an interesting story that had some relevance to the topic being discussed.

 

Thank you Juan for making that point. What some people don't realize is that our local trauma hospital actually holds an operating room open when we know a damaged person is inbound. Recently we held a room open all weekend for a climber, so that we could rush them straight to surgery, no delays, if needed. The effects of accidents are huge. They go far beyond the partner, the rescuers, the family...

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