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summitchaserCJB

Be careful out there

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I can accept that. I haven't caught a lot of hard falls if any. I've backed off of climbs rather than face a fall onto the anchor. It's another piece of evidence that says to me that falls in the real world don't even approach the forces of drop tests.

 

As the commitment factor goes up with remote climbs I'd consider bringing a pair of gloves given the importance of the hands to the safety of the party and the non-issue of the weight.

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I have to side with the camp that says the rope should not burn you on belay. I've held several falls where I was picked up off the ground. I don't belay with gloves unless it's cold. Bare handed is better. Bare skin gets traction in more different conditions than any other surface. Also if there's rope damage you have a better chance of feeling it than if you're wearing gloves.

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Oh, don't get me wrong, a twenty foot fall directly onto your waist by a leader who doesn't get a first piece in is a crushing and brutal experience you don't want to have. And I had this happen a couple of times back in the days of 120' ropes, hip belaying, and before cams when anchors were often dubious or marginal. In those circumstances you didn't redirect through your sometimes dubious anchor, rather you protected the anchor both by staying off of it with your stance and by putting your [soft] body between a leader fall and the anchor.

 

A lot of my experiences like these were on early and solid Eldo 10's in the mid-70s. Coming from a background of climbing those lines in EBs with short ropes and just a set or two of nuts and hexs while hip belaying leaves you with a very different sensibility around anchors, stancing, belaying, and safety in general.

 

Today's scene basically has incredibly safe, if not luxurious equipment. Yet the flipside of that is today's cams-over-nuts mentality and an almost unconscious, unaware, and / or cavalier disregard for many aspects of climbing that are fundamental to staying alive over the long haul. Because of that I sometimes I think it was a bad idea in general to introduce springs and mechanics into climbing gear. The addition of springs in the form of cams has fostered a real [unexamined] plug-and-go mentality and the mechanics of grigris has fostered unconscious belaying.

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Ya, maybe you're right Joseph. I personally learned on passive pro at Index so I think I have a little more respect for protection than at least some people. Doing Roger's Corner with all passive gear is not something I'd recommend, but I have done it. I don't think most people who are trad climbing use GriGris. I could be wrong but I don't see it that often.

And ya, the scene today seems much safer than the olden says. I am happy that is the case.

And there are those out there that really don't know what they are doing with active cams and don't know what a good nut placement looks like.

Edited by summitchaserCJB

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I've definitely found loose flakes that I thought were solid on inspection by tugging a cam. I find that giving the sling a wiggle to test for walking immediately tests any optimism that the cam will stay in that spot. Aid climbers vigorously bounce test pieces, why should free climbers just plug and go?

 

Tugging on a cam to see if a flake expands or to see if it's a good placement is NOT the same as "setting" it. The difference is that "setting" a nut actually makes it more secure, whereas tugging on a well-placed cam doesn't make it more secure, unless there is actually something wrong with the placement, and even then it's only made more secure by fixing the placement, not simply by tugging on it.

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Summit, I guess I'm saying that I don't perceive today's scene as 'safer'; quite the contrary. I think the combination of the 'safety' of the gear combined with most folks learning in gyms has resulted in a much less safe scene. People coming out of gyms without the requisite experience with edges, exposure, and anchoring along with no notion of stancing and a very cavalier notion of belaying (//particularly in groups//) makes for some dangerous transitions from indoor to outdoor climbing and from sport to trad.

 

Similar to the interactions of windsurfers and barges in the Gorge, I'm always astounded there aren't a lot more casualties climbing than there are.

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You midwest types had a different standard....my first rope was a goldline (droped it asap) and it was 150' In CA I never climbed with anyone who had a 120 for rock climbing. By the late 70s I moved on to 165' after a bad experience in the meadows.

 

By the way instead of the "gym" I learned how to climb from the old Sierra Club Ski Mountaineering Manual and then Freedom of the hills. Straight from reading in my bedroom reading to the cliffs.

Edited by Peter_Puget

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Update: I was told the female belayer had a significant rope burn on her brake hand. Something to think about. She caught his fall tho.

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I've definitely found loose flakes that I thought were solid on inspection by tugging a cam. I find that giving the sling a wiggle to test for walking immediately tests any optimism that the cam will stay in that spot. Aid climbers vigorously bounce test pieces, why should free climbers just plug and go?

 

Tugging on a cam to see if a flake expands or to see if it's a good placement is NOT the same as "setting" it. The difference is that "setting" a nut actually makes it more secure, whereas tugging on a well-placed cam doesn't make it more secure, unless there is actually something wrong with the placement, and even then it's only made more secure by fixing the placement, not simply by tugging on it.

I didn't say anything about setting cams did I? I'm just saying that doing more than putting a cam in the crack and seeing that the lobes are in an acceptable place is a good idea. YMMV

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Peter, we eventually got 150' ropes around '76, never saw a 165' for sale in a climbing store until a few years later.

 

I was just climbing at first to take photos - no books, no ropes, no nothing; was a monkey boy up in trees my whole childhood so was just jumping on things with interesting orchids and ferns in pockets. After a few weeks on rock I met a couple of other folks who were learning and we all learned out of basic and advanced rockcraft.

 

But learning outside and on your own you are by nature cautious about risks and you experience and learn in a fairly gradual and step-by-step manner. You gain experience as you go, particularly as it pertains to anchors, exposure and operating around edges. You get limited to no experience with any of the three in a gym. Or at least I don't know of any gyms where you end up standing unroped at the top of a climb.

 

Transitioning to outdoor climbing and trad (and multipitch) from gyms and sport entails several significant leaps which can be problematic. Most people backoff and that's why the majority cite big differentials in the ratings of sport and trad routes they'll lead. In that is an implicit respect for the differences in risk and complexity which is probably healthy overall so that people don't get in over their heads at first.

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gym/sport climbers transitioning to trad are a gold mine for us old has been trad climbers looking for partners.

 

They are so thankful that someone will train them. If you do your job right, their skill will leave you in the dust in a year or two, and it's time to hookup with another one.

 

Saving lives, one life at a time.

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Update: I was told the female belayer had a significant rope burn on her brake hand. Something to think about.

 

Yeah, like maybe she wasn't in the braking position when he hit the rope, maybe he didn't yell falling either, that's something you have to practice also.

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Multiple gear pulls and burned hands - sounds like they may have gotten a bit ahead of themselves, glad they'll live to tell the tale which is always good.

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crap. I saw my buddy K. at the gym tonight wearing a cast on his arm. He is the climber who this thread is about. I also know his belayer, she was also at the gym tonight. He said two cams popped, and they were placed correctly with the cam lobes in the middle of their range. The cams were not clipped directly to the rope. He had standard long alpine slings on them. He was trained well by my friend Lisa G. and has been climbing about a year and a half. He went to Yosemite with me and Christine last September. He told my partner Christine tonight that the cam that held him was at his knee when he fell...which sort of points toward the burned hands of his belayer. I told him about this thread, maybe he will come on and give us the first person account. Poor guy, he just got over a broken back from a bicycle accident. He got a lot of hugs tonight.

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He said two cams popped... The cams were not clipped directly to the rope. He had standard long alpine slings on them. ...the cam that held him was at his knee when he fell

 

The math doesn't add up here and conflicts with the belayer's recollection of events which indicated a fall higher on the route well above the two pieces off the belay which stayed put. I'd like to know how you can place two cams with shoulder length slings and a third cam at your knee and generate enough to blow two pieces?

 

When you blow two pieces you can add up mileage fast and on this climb there are definitely some things to hit on the way down. The belayer kept her hand on the rope and reacted the best she could. I saw the belayer's hands and they were not in particularly bad shape.

 

First hand accounts from people involved in a traumatic events are sometimes unreliable. It's climbing and things happen even with experienced climbers. People who study accidents usually identify a chain smaller errors that add up. If you climb long enough you have most likely been in on of these situations. Fortunately most people get away with it. In the end both parties were fortunate and injuries will heal. It is good that the climber was wearing a helmet and the belayer made the catch.

 

Wishing the climber a speedy recovery.

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I'd like to know how you can place two cams with shoulder length slings and a third cam at your knee and generate enough to blow two pieces?

 

I immediately thought the same thing myself. Not making any judgments here but as I'm fairly new to trad I'm curious to hear more about this. How could a fall onto a piece at your knees on the 2nd pitch result in a ground fall if the belayer holds the fall? Something doesn't make sense. The forces on the other two pieces that popped were basically TR falls?

 

Sorry if rehashing this bothers anyone I'm just curious and I hope everyone involved recovers quickly!

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I'd like to know how you can place two cams with shoulder length slings and a third cam at your knee and generate enough to blow two pieces?

 

I immediately thought the same thing myself. Not making any judgments here but as I'm fairly new to trad I'm curious to hear more about this. How could a fall onto a piece at your knees on the 2nd pitch result in a ground fall if the belayer holds the fall? Something doesn't make sense. The forces on the other two pieces that popped were basically TR falls?

 

Sorry if rehashing this bothers anyone I'm just curious and I hope everyone involved recovers quickly!

 

There is a big slab at the base of the steep suff on p2 he probably hit.

 

Newish leaders (and alot of "experienced" leaders who don't fall much) often place small cams improperly oriented for the direction of pull, which can allow the cams to "lever" themselves out of placements when weighted/rotated. This is particularly an issue with U-stems and the semi u-stem, super narrow head of the c3's is prone to it. I've seen c3's lever/rotate/walk out of placements from rope drag alone so, in my mind, this is a likely failure mode in this case.

 

Which isn't to say that c3's are bad cams, just a specialty piece and not something I would want as my only small cam.

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Transitioning to outdoor climbing and trad (and multipitch) from gyms and sport entails several significant leaps which can be problematic.

 

Thread drift on this one... In defense of gym rats everywhere. All of the really hard gear climbs being done lately are being done by people with gym backgrounds. Think of Pringle climbing .14R on gear a few months after learning how to place gear. Kevin Jorgensen climbing .12C at Joshua Tree his first week trad climbing. Alex Honnold started with gym comps etc etc.

 

Obviously were talking about some very talented folks here. Starting out trad climbing you do a lot of dumb things, but how do they say, if you're gona be dumb, you better be strong. Gym climbing makes you strong, on a trad climb there is great benefit to be able to dead-hang a crimp and fiddle in some gear without getting pumped. If you're not pumped, you can spend all day hanging out firing in gear. Plus the stronger person is most likely going to climb steeper routes where the consequences of having a piece pull are less severe.

 

I think mounties/Mazamas should require mandatory hang-board training before they teach you anything about gear. If you can do 20 pulls on the 1/8in edge, you won't have any problems with that 5.4 crack they'll make you lead out at Tieton. "Who needs gear for this route, I'm stupid strong." :-)

 

-Nate

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