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Jarred_Jackman

Death at the Coulee

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quote:

Originally posted by Norman Clyde:

get yourself to an orthopedic surgeon. PM me if you want some names.

I PM'ed you.

 

Erden.

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I personally dont think that if the rope was a static rope or not has any affect on the fact that the #3 cam pulled at the top I think it should have been a #4. The #3 pulled--the rope did not make that cam pull nor did it break the biener in the next cam that held-- a person falling caused it all--if the rope was weak--should it not have ripped apart? just my thought--

 

[sNAFFLEHOUND]

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quote:

Originally posted by Bad[lasma:

if the rope was weak--should it not have ripped apart?

A static rope is not necessarily a weak rope. The argument is that a static rope will not stretch, and will not absorb any of the kinetic energy of the fall. The resulting downward forces at the top piece will be magnified as a result, making it more likely to fail.

 

In addition, the no-strecth will also mean that the falling leader will be stopped more abruptly after their fall. This along with the high forces is likely to cause injury.

 

And a person falling is the source of the kinetic energy that is being fed into the safety system. This kinetic energy has to be countered by the spring action of the stretched rope that takes up some of that kinetic energy as potential energy, rest is translated to heat and dissipated, and friction forces in the slipping/stretching system do 'work' against the kinetic energy of the fall. All of this is physics, and comes out of conservation of energy.

 

So as trivial as it is, the falling person is the source of all the troubles. We could simply put it that the falling person caused the death at the Coulee - that does not answer any questions, nor does it draw any lessons to be learned. We know more than that.

 

Erden.

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Hey Bad

 

As a firefighter and a climber you need to learn the difference between static and dynamic ropes. A static rope is not necessarily weaker than a dynamic rope. The important difference between the two is that a dynamic rope stretches to absorb the impact of a lead fall and a static one does not, at least not nearly as much.

 

Static ropes are commonly used in rescue work and caving or as fixed or haul lines in rock climbing and mountaineering. They are sometimes used for top-roped climbing because they are usually more durable. They must never be used for lead climbing.

 

In the event of a fall, a static rope, unlike a dynamic one, would absorb very little of the impact force of a fall; consequently damaging and ripping out gear or breaking carabiners. Even if the gear held, a lead fall on a static rope would transmit very severe forces to the contact points where the harness met the climber’s body. On a single pitch climb, a climber might have a better chance of survival if he hit the ground before this kind of force was transmitted to his body through the harness.

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quote:

Originally posted by freeclimb9:

Is the rope static, or dynamic?

(I've become discombobulated by all the pages of this thread.)

Once again everyone, the rope is at Grant County Sheriff's evidence room. It handled like dynamic rope, and it is a 60m rope. These we know for sure. It has been argued here that a dynamic rope will behave more like a static rope on the subsequent pieces, once the stretch is taken out of it by the first piece.

 

That is all we know about the rope until it is verified otherwise by an independent lab. So let us not speculate about the rope involved in the accident any more.

 

Erden.

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It is not my intention to push people around, but I think there are some urgent issues. Again, no offense intended. The following are only my suggestions, but I think you may agree with me on the urgency.

 

Erden:

 

I hear that AAC is well aware of the accident, and I believe that Jed Williamson is expecting you. I will PM his e-mail address to you, and it is probably a good idea if you contact him as soon as possible.

 

I understand that you are planning to finance the investigation yourself. I neither think you should feel obliged to do that, neither is it suitable that an investigation is paid by anyone directly involved in the accident. I have information that the cost for an investigation is on the order of 1,000 USD. I would like to suggest that a fund is organized, which can provide the necessary financial guarantee to AAC or another investigating organization. It would be ideal if someone familiar with Washington state legislation, and having the formal qualifications, could take care of this. I have no doubt that we can cover the costs collectively.

 

I would also like to suggest that you transfer the relevant equipment you still have into the custody of the county sheriff, if possible. Then it will all be in one, safe place, and help to eliminate speculation. I believe it may also be advisable from a legal point of view.

 

Paul (Paul detrick):

 

It would be highly appreciated if you could make a detailed record of where you removed the Cam #2, and the TCU, if you have the opportunity. You could do as follows:

1. Find white adhesive tape, 1-2 inches wide. Climb the route on top rope, and stick sections of tape horizontally to one side of the route every five feet, creating a kind of huge, vertical ruler, each "notch" being, say, about a foot. You can measure the five-feet distance by preparing a cordelette, or simply by measuring the length on your body.

2. Take several high-resolution photos of the route including the stripes. Also include photos of the base of the route, as well as the talus slope, and any other relevant locations.

3. Rap down the route and carefully identify the positons of the devices you removed. Also, take photos of these locations, preferrably timing it so that you have sunlight into the crack. It is useful if you include a size reference in the pictures, for instance, a biner.

4. Try to find the locations of the two cams that pulled by looking for scratches, and document these if you can find them, even if there is little hope that they can be found. It could be an idea to temporarily cordon off the route, until it has been thoroughly investigated.

5. When photos are ready, comments on the placements from climbers familiar with the route would be valuable, on this list or elsewhere.

 

Please don't feel harrassed. I write this because I'm anxious that weather conditions may soon render careful investigations difficult or impossible. Also, it is important to document your observations, while you still have them fresh in memory.

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quote:

Originally posted by Dr.Nil:

It is not my intention to push people around

Yeah, push me around, I can take it! [smile]

 

Plans changed. I am planning to go to investigate Air Guitar on Saturday, and I will see if Paul and I can do the "ruler" project that you suggest, Dr.Nil. That is a good method to approach the investigation. It improves on what I had in mind.

 

I like the idea of turning over the equipment that was involved in the accident to the Sheriff's Office to consolidate the gear. I will try to see if we can do that on Saturday as well.

 

We will deal with the costs of the investigation as they come. I will keep track of them, so we know. I do not have the time, nor the energy to pursue "someone familiar with Washington state legislation, and having the formal qualifications." Already I am challenged to keep up. If anyone wants to participate, it will have to be after I return from Sweden on Nov 12, and they will have to let me know. Expanding the scope of the investigation beyond what I have planned is going to be challenging and it will take even longer.

 

As for AAC needing financial guarantee to participate in the investigation, I am not fond of how that was stated. I would think that AAC would be more forthcoming than that. If AAC needs payment to participate, they were not on my radar screen to begin with, and I will go to the EN Certified Lab in England first, bypassing AAC. They will then receive just the accident report for the next issue of Accidents in NA.

 

Let's keep in mind that I am involved because I have a reason to understand, to help resolve the mystery, and to bring a closure to this investigation. For me to turn it over to someone else, however qualified would mean that they would have to take ownership, to feel as professionally dedicated to it, and to do it on a voluntary basis. I do not have the time to set up a fund, nor do I have the means to finance it. Tell me so, if I am on a one track mind about this...

 

Erden.

 

[ 10-25-2002, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: erden ]

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Erden,

 

*No one* said that AAC requires a guarantee, nor any money at all! Any thoroughly carried out investigation will cost, and require an economic guarantee, as you are certain to find out if you try to arrange it on your own (and 1kUSD is on the low side). (Btw, I'm not connected to the AAC or UIAA, not located in the US, do not represent any organization, and any opinions I express are solely my own.)

 

I fully understand your wish to find out everything yourself, as soon as possible. However, be aware that carrying out an investigation yourself, including selecting investigator/laboratory, may legally work in your disfavor, and I strongly advise against it. I think that you should ask AAC and/or UIAA for advice on how to proceed, not necessarily carrying out the investigation. This is because they are simply the appropriate authorities in the area.

 

I apologize if I have expressed myself in any way that could be misinterpreted. I wish as much as anyone the accident can be explained quickly.

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Please see a separate thread on this site, immortalizing Göran Kropp in our daily language...

 

We need your help in propagating the language use that we have evolved on this thread. Please read that other thread, and think about whom you could alert about it?

 

So far, I have written to:

  • The helicopter crew that lifted us from the Coulee
  • Mountaineers
  • American Alpine Club
  • Alpine Club of Canada
  • UIAA
  • Seattle Times
  • Aftonbladet (Swedish newspaper)
  • Expressa (Swedish newspaper)
  • REI
  • American Mountain Guides Association
  • Climbing Magazine
  • Rock & Ice Magazine
  • Seattle Mountain Rescue
  • Swedish Climbing Association
  • Grant County Journal
  • Frenchman Coulee Climbers' Association
  • My former dojo and judo buddies
  • A communications PhD friend of mine who does linguistics and ESL
  • Cascade Crags
  • Professional friends
  • rockclimbing.com
  • summitpost.com
  • Adventure Cycling Association

I hope to extend this personal list, and hope that you too can come up with additional ones.

Erden.

 

[ 10-26-2002, 09:06 AM: Message edited by: erden ]

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Another point of clarification. "Static rope" is a convenient misnomer. In truth, they are all "low-elongation ropes" since they do stretch and absorb forces. In tests by one rope company using an 80kg mass falling 10 feet (FF =1), a 10.5mm dynamic had an impact force of 1225 lbf while a 10mm static reached 2085 lbf. In this fall, the top piece would feel about 1.6 times that or 1960 lbf on the dynamic and 3336 lbf. If the rope were truly static, the forces would be much higher. But with any rope these forces can only be achieved if there is no slippage in the belay device.

 

While there is a lot of concern here about the rope, the belay is the limiting factor unless there is a lot of rope drag, which does not appear to be the case. It's highly unlikely that anyone could give a static belay in this scenario. So check out the rope but I don't think that was the real issue.

 

To be honest, I don't think there's much mystery left about this unfortunate accident. Don't let me discourage further investigation, since I could be wrong and more knowledge is always good. But everything seems quite plausible.

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quote:

Originally posted by Clyde Soles:

It's highly unlikely that anyone could give a static belay in this scenario.

There were two belay mechanisms in series. One loop around my arm, then the Reverso.

 

The only dynamics in that system was the limited slip that burned my arm, and unnoticable lift that I may have received. The assumption should be that the belay was closer to static than not.

 

Erden.

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quote:

Originally posted by Dr.Nil:

...However, be aware that carrying out an investigation yourself, including selecting investigator/laboratory, may legally work in your disfavor, and I strongly advise against it...

Dr.Nil,

Your language disturbs me very much and seems to be symptomatic of moral and spiritual ills now ingrained in our society.

Just what legal favor/disfavor are you alluding to?

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Dr. Nil wrote:

 

"However, be aware that carrying out an investigation yourself, including selecting investigator/laboratory, may legally work in your disfavor, and I strongly advise against it. I think that you should ask AAC and/or UIAA for advice on how to proceed, not necessarily carrying out the investigation. This is because they are simply the appropriate authorities in the area."

 

What is this supposed to mean? Are you saying that a private individual may incur some type of legal liability for carrying out an investigation? If you are...well...you just plain wrong. If you meant something else maybe explain yourself. I see no legal liability basis at all.

 

While the AAC and the like certainly have experience in the matter, thay are not any form of a legal authority. They are simply a 501 ©(3) non-profit organization. So is greenpeace, they are not any form of legal authority.

 

Maybe I have misunderstood your statement. If so please explain.

 

Keep up the good work Erden..... [big Drink]

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Even though I have been climbing almost thirty years, I am not sure what a Petzl Reverso is. Can this device cause a static stop? If so, then in my opinion, the role of belay device needs to examined. I refered to the increase of fall load in the thread "load multiplication..." in regard to Gri-gri's, and carabiner breakage in "why things break". I believe that the recently published work of the UIAA (AAC Alpine News most recent issue) has some bearing on this accident.

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quote:

Originally posted by crazyjz:

Even though I have been climbing almost thirty years, I am not sure what a Petzl Reverso is. Can this device cause a static stop?

In lead belay mode it is almost identical to the ATC in function. Try a google search or see one here.

 

It's probably more static than a hip belay though [big Grin][Wink]

 

[ 10-27-2002, 02:48 PM: Message edited by: snoboy ]

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Given the reaction by Retrosaurus and Rodchester, I feel obligated to make a statement.

 

Please do not confront Dr.Nil as such. Dr.Nil is meaning well, providing a different perspective, wanting no holes in our case when we make it. I have had offline PM exchanges with Dr.Nil, and we are not thinking any differently. This is a process of elimination, and it may all come down to just the lessons learned.

 

I have taken the suggestion by Dr.Nil to contact Helmut Microys, as well as Jed Williamson. Dr. Microys is the National delegate to the UIAA Safety Commission for the USA and Canada. Jed Williamson represents the AAC Safety Commission and he believes that the information that we gather will be very useful, and supports our efforts to gather additional information. Dr. Microys has requested specific information, and I am providing that to him.

 

Officer Brent Mullings, who was assigned to investigate the accident by the Grant County Sheriff, respected our desire to find out more, and applauded our willingness to help and to provide all information that we had and that we would gather. I had handed him a printed copy of my accident report when I had returned to the accident site that same week to search for the biner piece that we eventually found.

 

Also Dr.Nil is thinking alike in that we have asked the Grant County Sheriff's Office to keep the evidence, including the good chunk of the carabiner, until further notice.

 

Here is a memo that I wrote to Dr.Nil which I would like to share, and Dr.Nil is not debating my position on this:

 

quote:

I understand the legal concerns. In the time available, and with the funds at hand, this is the best that we can do. I do not have legal advice, cannot hire one. I will make my case in front of a judge pro se.

 

I had turned over the gear involved in the accident to Gerhard Kropp (Göran's father) when they visited Seattle to go to the accident site, and explained that there is more work to be done to understand what happened. Gerhard handed the gear back to me, and said that "I trust you, you can investigate." This is more authority than any insurance company can debate, and it will stand in court.

 

If a court challenges my investigation, that will also imply that they challenge my accident report; this will send a chilling message to all accident participants in the future and they will not say a word without legal advice, and we will only hear legalise from lawyers. I will not stand for that, and I will go down in flames if necessary.

 

I am tempted to write this up publicly as well, but I will sleep over that.

 

I hope you understand. I am not offended or anything, it is just that I disagree on the approach. At the beginning, I was told to not post any details, just tell them the time of the accident and shut up. I have told more than that, and I have done the right thing. I trust my instincts on this and I am taking into account your warning. We are making sure that the pieces at the sheriff's office remain untainted...


Erden.

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I am leaving for Sweden today, and will return on Nov 12th. I may not be able to participate on this forum in the meantime. I will probably have limited access to email. I will try to stay connected, worse case, I will catch up when I return.

 

Please climb safely.

 

Erden.

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quote:

Originally posted by erden:

[QB]...Please do not confront Dr.Nil as such. Dr.Nil is meaning well, providing a different perspective, wanting no holes in our case when we make it...


Weird. Making a legal case, and why?

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Figger Eight:

 

If you mean could Erden have a case...the plain answer is no. The court s would not consider Erden to have been harmed. If you mean could Kropp have a case...the answer is pretty much no.

 

Two legal theories could be used as a basis fo suit. First, that Erden did something wrong (negligence theory) and second that the biner manufacturer produced a defective product (products liability theory). Niether of these would get to the jury for various reasons. The highest hurdle being what attorney's call a "per se" bar to suit.

 

Not to get into this in to much boaring legal detail, but here goes:

 

In Wash (and most states) we have adopted what is called Restatement (Torts) Second section 520 and 523. Under 520, I believe that climbing is what is termed an Abnormally Dangerous Activity (these usually involve heights, fire, or water). If one participates in an abnormaly dangerous activity knowingly (surely Kropp knew of the dangers of climbing) then he is found to have accepted the risks under 523. The is what is called a "per se" bar to suit....in otherwords there is no liability.

 

There are some minor excepts, fraud, duress, and extremely unusual situations may be argued to over come 523. I've never really found any cases that do so. This is certainly not one to do so.

 

Suits involving climbing are very rare and are almost universally thrown out by the bench (judge). Some suits are settled on what the insurance companies call nuisance amounts (just make it go away) or for a cost of defense amount.

 

This is the quick and dirty and is not meant to be legal advice to anyone, just my reading of the law. I'm just a climber.

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