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summitchaserCJB

Be careful out there

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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.

 

Look at http://www.mountainproject.com/images/87/35/105838735_large_3088a1.jpg. For those not familiar with the climb, the belay is at the top of the slabby terrain, just to the side of the broken terrain directly below the climber in the picture. The climber's first two pieces off of the belay (the ones that held) were in that broken looking terrain. There was a chalk explosion from the climber that covered the blank looking slab on the right of this picture. The climbers fall was described as impacting this slab, and continuing over the edge.

 

Considering the second piece (the one that held) was about 10 feet above the belay (many people saw the location of this piece), a considerable amount of rope would need to be out for the climber to end up hanging over the edge PAST that slab (the burns COULD explain that, but I doubt it). The chalk explosion was way out on the slab to the right. Coupled with the quantity of rope necessary to put him over the edge and the belayer's recollection of where the leader was, it points to him being up in the corner. Plus, why would the leader have 2 micro cams on extended runners in the broken terrain with a good, handsized piece at his knees?

Edited by malcolm777b

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If the female belayer had significant rope burns on her hand, that is THE major part of the problem. No way under any scenario should you get rope burns from holding a fall. She was obviously unattentive and not prepared to lock off and it shows. No offense to newbies, but not a bad idea to have them use a autolocking belay device, afterall its your ass up there on the line. If the belayer had rope burns, she dropped the dude.

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Why would I need to see her hands? It was stated that she recieved rope burns from belaying the fall and that translates to not being attentive on the belay and allowing enough rope to feed out to burn her hands equals bad news for the lead climber. I belay all the time on a worn ATC and I never get rope burns ever from holding a fall. But I pay attention.

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Rope burns are only going to occur if the rope is sliding through your hands. If your brake hand is on the rope and goes to a lockoff position to catch a fall then the rope shouldn't be sliding. Some people do a 'soft catch' in certain circumstances (steep terrain, bad gear, etc), but this is only advisable for experienced climbers and is inadvisable where a longer fall might mean hitting a slab or anything else. So while Steve's message seems harsh, it may be correct.

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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?

 

Maybe it's A4

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I don't mean to be harsh. but rope burns on the hands after a ground fall are kind of a smoking gun. The whole things sounds like a cluster

 

He didn't ground out, he hit a ledge and two pieces blew. The story was that the top piece started to hold the climber before it blew (belayer said this). My theory is this:

 

Climber falls in upper corner and starts to come tight on top piece and belayer starts getting yanked up. Gear rips out and both climber AND belayer start falling. Belayer is somewhat stunned by multiple gear failure and is NOT PREPARED for the high fall factor that is coming after the climber bounces off the slab. The rope comes tight, the climber is now 15-20 feet below the belayer, and the rope starts running. Belayer realizes this and grabs rope with both hands and stops the fall.

 

 

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The opening paragraph of this whole thread says the leader took a ground fall. If thats not the case, sorry, I am still not getting what you are saying. The belayer was belaying from the anchors at the top of the 1st pitch. The belayer was anchored in how? I assume with a daisy and rope into the anchors, and not that much slack. If putting allot of slack into the system, thats a mistake right there. Climber falls, and pulls belayer up some until a piece pulls and the belayer drops somewhat but aren't you supposed to be prepared for that? Feet against the wall, system tensioned and ready to lock off? How far can you get pulled up and dropped if you are anchored properly? Then there is so much slack in the system as the climber is falling, and..so what? You stay locked off. Are you saying the belayer let go of the rope/belay device? and then somehow recovers it and stops the fall thus burning their hands? I guess thats a more heroic version then being asleep at the wheel, but no matter how you crunch it, its a bad belay. Sorry.

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When we got to Index the day it happened I believe Malcolm said the person took a ground fall. Perhaps we misinterpreted his explanation of the person hitting the ledge because both Mark and I thought he hit the ground from what we heard.

Edited by summitchaserCJB

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Two pieces of gear pulled in an area with adequate placements; the second was injured to one degree or another belaying; they were a relatively new pair of climbers. I think we can chalk it up to a combination of a bit of zealousness and inexperience without overthinking the details too much in the aftermath. They sound like they'll be ok and hopefully learned a lesson that will serve them well in the future.

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This is the first bit of sanity (vs. mass speculation) in this thread for some time now...

 

Speaking as one who survived a ground fall due to gear pulling, I'm glad the two are all right, and hopefully much wiser as to the realities of failure in the vertical realm. Climb on!

 

Two pieces of gear pulled in an area with adequate placements; the second was injured to one degree or another belaying; they were a relatively new pair of climbers. I think we can chalk it up to a combination of a bit of zealousness and inexperience without overthinking the details too much in the aftermath. They sound like they'll be ok and hopefully learned a lesson that will serve them well in the future.

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The opening paragraph of this whole thread says the leader took a ground fall. If thats not the case, sorry, I am still not getting what you are saying. The belayer was belaying from the anchors at the top of the 1st pitch. The belayer was anchored in how? I assume with a daisy and rope into the anchors, and not that much slack. If putting allot of slack into the system, thats a mistake right there. Climber falls, and pulls belayer up some until a piece pulls and the belayer drops somewhat but aren't you supposed to be prepared for that? Feet against the wall, system tensioned and ready to lock off? How far can you get pulled up and dropped if you are anchored properly? Then there is so much slack in the system as the climber is falling, and..so what? You stay locked off. Are you saying the belayer let go of the rope/belay device? and then somehow recovers it and stops the fall thus burning their hands? I guess thats a more heroic version then being asleep at the wheel, but no matter how you crunch it, its a bad belay. Sorry.

 

Belayer was anchored to the chains at the top of p1. I'm not sure the method. The climber was caught before the ground, but the climber hit the slab on the way down.

 

How the accident happened is conjecture on my part, but I'd bet anything that the belayer saw something that she was completely unprepared for. Most climbers get trained catching easy sport falls, but have no clue how much force can be generated in higher factor falls. If I'm right that she was completely unprepared for it, then she is my hero.

 

 

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When we got to Index the day it happened I believe Malcolm said the person took a ground fall. Perhaps we misinterpreted his explanation of the person hitting the ledge because both Mark and I thought he hit the ground from what we heard.

 

Sorry. I think I used the term 'decked' when I talked to you at Index. I could have been more clear that it was the slab that was impacted and not the dirt. Regardless, it was a terrible accident.

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I agree with Joseph that is sounds like they were relatively inexperienced climbers on a multipitch trad lead at Index.

I guess I have been sounding like a a-hole and thats not my intention, but I try to be hyper aware of belays and consequences. I don't know Malcolm why you say this is a high factor fall? Sounds to me like not. Short falls on short amounts of rope cause harsh fall factor, and sounds like they had some rope out. Also curious what you mean "If she was completely unprepared for it, then she is your hero"? She was off the ground belaying a lead climber on a trad lead, better have your shit togather if you are going to do this. and if you are not going to use a autolocking belay device, then you better never take your hand off the rope, and be prepared to act. My best wishes to the climbers for a fast recovery and the opportunity for reflection on what went wrong. Many people don't get a second chance.

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I agree with Joseph that is sounds like they were relatively inexperienced climbers on a multipitch trad lead at Index.

I guess I have been sounding like a a-hole and thats not my intention, but I try to be hyper aware of belays and consequences. I don't know Malcolm why you say this is a high factor fall? Sounds to me like not. Short falls on short amounts of rope cause harsh fall factor, and sounds like they had some rope out. Also curious what you mean "If she was completely unprepared for it, then she is your hero"? She was off the ground belaying a lead climber on a trad lead, better have your shit togather if you are going to do this. and if you are not going to use a autolocking belay device, then you better never take your hand off the rope, and be prepared to act.

 

How much energy the impact of the slab, the pulled gear etc took up, I don't know. I DO know that the piece that caught the climber was less than 10 feet above the belay. The climber ended up at least 20 feet below the belayer. Let's say 30 feet of rope was out. That puts the theoretical fall factor OVER 1. Obviously the impact lessened that SOME, but any fall where the climber falls below the belayer is going to hit hard.

 

If the belayer didn't know how bad a high factor fall could be, yet took rope burn on both hands and stopped him, then she should be commended. If you don't know what you don't know, then how would you know that you are unprepared to handle a situation like that? Good thing this ended up like it did and all involved (and not) can learn from it.

 

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The ledge is large and flat enough to argue that it wasn't a ground fall is specious. He basically took a grounder, and then fell off a cliff.

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God, some of you guys sound like total hard-ons. A bunch of regular sleuths. How many of you have actually spoken with the climbers?

 

You should apply your forensic powers to even bigger problems, like who stole the Lindbergh baby, or how that block got knocked off of city park. You're on a roll! :tup:

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Alright I had to add this, I know self promotion for my YouTube account, but what the hell. Here is a video of a buddy of mine making his redpoint attempt on Rogers Corner...Warning it is the full climb. This is the top range of his ability to climb at Index. Try to pin point where the accident happened.

 

 

Note: I was present for the rescue of the climber. Several of us kept going back to the scene to get info...Then we climbed the route right after to see if we could pin point what happened. I took the info at hand and then climbing the route to come up with my hypothesis. Best I could do without being a Monday Morning Armchair Quarterback like a few people we know.

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Here is the breakdown what I heard about the accident and what I saw first hand. I used the Youtube video as a reference point:

 

Min 1:45 Where climber came to rest and was dangling. Blood all over rock

Min 2:40 Where chalk was present and most likely where climber struck and bounced off rock

Min 3:35 Where we rocovered the cam which held the fall

Min 4:10-4:22 Loose flake area

Min 4:27-4:45 Where we were told the last 2 pieces of gear where placed (the ones that popped out)

Min 5:38 Where he fell? I was told this is where he fell. But I have doubts that he was this high when he fell. I believe the injury would have been greater.

 

And that's the best I can do to fully illustrate what I saw, heard, and observed. Still waiting for climber to reply.

 

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I only showed up for the update and got mesmerized by your wiggling avatar pic Flash. I think Couilar use to have her but I guess they both moved on.

 

Thanks for that!

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I told K., the guy who fell, about this thread. I'm guessing K. knows how facts and people get shredded on this board and doesn't want to deal with it yet. He is still on pain meds, has his arm in a massive cast and bandage, rope burns on his legs, looks like he might have had stitches in his forehead. He was in pain, but walking around the edgeworks gym yesterday, getting hugs from all the women.

 

If you have a cam or something to give back to him, pm me with your contact info and I will pass it on to him, or call edgeworksclimbing.com. They can get a message to him. Everyone at the desk knows what happened, and to whom.

 

I'd have to agree with someone earlier in this thread who commented that these two did the best they could at the time, with the skills that they had. She did catch him, maybe not as early as she might have, but we weren't there, and all this talk is just speculation. V. is a nice young lady and doesn't deserve a grand jury inquisition about this. No one died, K. will be fine after his arm heals. I'm sure they will learn from this.

 

As Arno says: place gear like you vote, early and often.

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