Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
cascadesdj

Vantage accident 3/18/12

Recommended Posts

Sunday afternoon a male climber on Sunshine Wall fell to the ground approx 40 feet (that's the rumor) and sustained non life-threatening injuries and was evacuated by chopper. Apparently the webbing on a quickdraw broke. I'm not sure how this resulted in groundfall. Hopefully someone closer to the accident can clarify.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you got the same info we do for the most part. He is a very experienced leader who introduced many of his students to climbing, including my girlfriend. We arrived shortly after the medics did. The quickdraw that failed appeared to have a 1" tubular webbing dogbone that parted when weighted at the fifth bolt of the climb leading up to Corner pockets. Still asking around for eye witnesses as to the groundfall...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was with friends near by the accident but didn't see what happened. It seemed like emergency rescue did come fairly quickly - there was a ground team and a helicopter that picked him up.

 

I hope he's ok and back to climbing soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will be interested to hear more details. 1" webbing is pretty tough to break and grounding from a fifth bolt sounds odd as well. Glad to hear it wasn't worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, it's been almost 8 years since my buddy cratered there. We still aren't sure what happened but somehow he became untied at the top of the route. He was in pretty bad shape and we weren't sure he'd make it, but recovered from a pretty bad brain injury and still works and has kids.

 

Positive vibes for you guys dealing with this!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was transferred to Harborview last night. A broken pelvis and a couple broken ribs. All things considered pretty lucky. The quickdraw was an old "Faders" and the webbing didn't appear to be sewn. But again I arrived after the fact. Many thanks to all the climbers who helped with the rescue. People helped in a variety of ways from offering pads and jackets, to hauling gear for the medics.

 

Hoping for a speedy recovery!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I helped out a little and talked to a few people right at the scene. Here is what I saw and heard, and what it led me to believe:

 

I saw the guy's rope on the wall after he fell. It ran through commercially sewn draws on the first through fourth bolts.

 

On the fifth bolt was a single, apparently closed and intact carabiner of different color than the others on the route. I also saw this myself.

 

An intact carabiner was apparently found on his rope. I heard this from a witness.

 

I saw a piece of 1" blue webbing on the ground in the fall zone. It looked shiny and new, showed no signs of abrasion, and had hot-cut marks from a cutting machine or lighter at both ends.

 

The bolts were evenly spaced.

 

The belayer was not making himself known to anybody, or saying what happened, but he also wasn't lying on the ground dead of rockfall.

 

Dude looked like he weighed around 200.

 

 

What seems likely to me:

Guy clipped his fifth bolt with a hand-tied draw (the webbing), climbed some distance above it, then fell. His fall pulled the knot out of his webbing, leaving one biner on the rope, one on the rock. The force generated by what had become a 20-foot-ish whipper could easily have pulled an unprepared belayer off his stance, causing him to drop the leader in a barely controlled fashion to the ground.

 

With the bolt spacing, if he blew the sixth clip, his fall to and past the fourth bolt could have been as much as 20-25 feet. This alone would not have put him on the ground - I didn't measure distances, but it was obviously much further from the fourth bolt to the ground than it was from the fourth to sixth bolts.

 

The only funny thing was that the blue webbing I saw looked mighty short to tie a draw with - like, the biners would have been nearly touching. But no-one mentioned anything about seeing other broken webbing around, and neither of the biners apparently had half a broken QD attached to them.

 

Anyway, that's my armchair quarterback version of the facts, and what they led me to believe. Certainly made me plan on buying a GriGri.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice writeup IndianolaTom. We can all learn a lot from your assessment. Hoping for a great recovery for him as well! :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Climber who fell is a very good friend. He's a pretty tough guy, and says he'll be OK. I wasn't present, and don't want to speculate about accident details: Facts and an analysis will come out in due time.

 

Meanwhile, he's got some work ahead of him, and a good network of family and friends to help him out. Wish him well, as he's got a bit of a road to travel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about this and I do hope that he'll consider writing up the facts and analysis for ANAM. That's one place where facts and analysis can really serve the larger community and educate us all.

 

Best wishes to him for a full recovery. Glad this wasn't even worse than it sounds like it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, I offer my sympathy and then my encouragement to hang in there and be strong. The worst thing about my falls and injuries were the healing and rehab - which are of course harder than the comeback. It will be a good analysis of the incident that could help others, as we learn together in this risky adventure of climbing. :tup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have some photos of the rescue on my blog. I also have some photos of the gear that broke and the climb with the gear hanging on it after the fall which I have not posted. If the family of the victim would like those photos they can email me directly.

 

As far as the sling that broke goes... It was not tied, and did not fail because it became untied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alasdair (are you the Cannon person I met and talked to by Pony Keg?), if you saw the broken gear firsthand, you know more about what happened than me. I tried in my post above to be delineate as clearly as possible between what I saw and what I was speculating. Maybe it was a bad choice to include my speculation at all.

 

I, too, hope he recovers quickly, and that he puts out a write-up for us all to learn from.

 

As long as we're on the topic - sometime the night before the accident or the morning of it I lost several solid-stem friends and u-stem TCUs in that general area. If anybody found them (or sees them on craigslist) please please please let me know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope not the cannon person. I was the guy who talked to you the following morning when you were looking for your cams and suggested you post here to find them. Good luck, I hope you get them back.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've met the victim and he's a helluva nice guy, and passionate about what he does, both in climbing and professionally. If you're reading this, I wish you a speedy recovery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also have some photos of the gear that broke and the climb with the gear hanging on it after the fall which I have not posted.

It would seem pictures of the gear that broke would be helpful to see and wouldn't be an issue with the victim or family as opposed to pictures of the victim himself. Maybe you could elaborate a bit on the sensitivity issue you think is involved relative to the gear? I'd like to see them (here or on some other thread) to better understand this incident.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also have some photos of the gear that broke and the climb with the gear hanging on it after the fall which I have not posted.

 

Good on ya for holding off until you're sure it's ok...

 

d

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also have some photos of the gear that broke and the climb with the gear hanging on it after the fall which I have not posted.

It would seem pictures of the gear that broke would be helpful to see and wouldn't be an issue with the victim or family as opposed to pictures of the victim himself. Maybe you could elaborate a bit on the sensitivity issue you think is involved relative to the gear? I'd like to see them (here or on some other thread) to better understand this incident.

 

I know the climber involved, and know he will give details when he can--right now he's got other, more important worries. Rather than speculate further about what you might see or don't see in photos, etc., I can tell you right now photos will not tell the whole story. I ask you please to show patience and respect, and wait until the climber can tell the story: it will be a matter of days if not a week or more until he's able to easily and fully communicate. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also have some photos of the gear that broke and the climb with the gear hanging on it after the fall which I have not posted.

 

Good on ya for holding off until you're sure it's ok...

 

d

 

Indeed, Alasdair, thanks very much for your respect. I'm surprised you weren't out on Sunday enjoying all the new PNW snow with the only somewhat buried, wonderful, breakable crust!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have questions about the belay details: i.e. specific belay device? brand,model,diameter of rope? was belayer gloved or barehanded? was he/she burned? what was belayer's experience level (had he or she ever caught a significant fall on belay)? presuming the quick-draw was tied, which knot was used? (I have myself experienced failure of the "water knot" under load, and no longer use, nor recommend, this knot for constructing slings or otherwise joining webbing)

 

About twelve years ago, I ledged out on a 20+-foot fall when my belayer, using an "older" slotted belay device, burnt a bloody groove into his brake hand trying to stop me. I wasn't badly hurt that time, but it was an eye-opener because every detail of the belay system was rigged "by the book". This event provided a vivid reminder that not every belay device works equally effectively with every rope. I have in fact survived TWO belay failures; the second resulted from failing to account for the stretch to be expected in a sling-shot top-rope rig using two 60m half-ropes tied together to yield 400ft single strand skinny rope in service -- broke both ankles... top-roping...

 

Back in 1972, I survived a HARNESS FAILURE midway down a 150ft free-hanging rappel. What saved me was setting up routing the brake rope from the rappel-brake between my legs to my brake hand -- when I became disconnected from the rappel-brake, my brake-hand came instinctively to my belly (the old hip-belay movement), and I found myself sitting in a bight of rope. With my free hand, I flipped the brake rope over my head, creating a "dulfersitz" rig to complete the rappel. Forty years later, I still teach newbies to route the brake rope between their legs, demonstrating why, and having them practice this survival maneuver.

 

After hearing a regular partner describe catching a fall where his partner's rope "auto-unclipped" from two "back-clipped" quickdraws, I started rigging most of my quickdraws with lightweight locking carabiners for the rope end of the draw.

 

Whether we admit it or not, systems fail - sometimes even when constructed and used apparently correctly. The protocols that help to keep us safe have evolved, and continue to evolve, in response to exactly this sort of event.

 

Accidents and close-calls are among our community's most valuable teachers. Let's hope this belayer can step forward without fear of judgment or condemnation and let us learn from his/her experience.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After hearing a regular partner describe catching a fall where his partner's rope "auto-unclipped" from two "back-clipped" quickdraws, I started rigging most of my quickdraws with lightweight locking carabiners for the rope end of the draw.

 

Sorry to hear about this, makes you wonder about tat fixed draws at popular crags. Hope he gets better soon.

 

Thread drift>piton. You put lockers on your draws? For heavens sake, why? I can't imagine how scary it would be trying to fiddle a locker while pumped out at a clip. Maybe I'm weak but I'd blow 75% of my clips if I had to use a locker on them. Blowing clips is scary and sometimes results in some long falls. Yuck.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About lockers on all the draws:

Saw some dude doing this same thing in Jtree a few years ago. His follower did not appreciate.

 

Hope the injured recovers fully!

Edited by Crillz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It might be over-kill on the lockers, but what ever works; hopefully we find out some things "not to do" from this experience when we hear the real story. Hopefully, we will get some answers to some of Monty's questions - he's obviously old school like me, and certainly the details will help us understand how to stay out of trouble.

Sometimes, you think you are doing every thing right - and then shit happens. I had a friend who missed a clip at the second draw, and hit the ground, resulting in a fractured vertabrae. It was a built-in grounder with the first bolt 10 ft up and the second bolt was 15ft up. So I teach my friends to "Hang Dog or Die". This obviously is not anything to do with the present issue - but we all develop a fix to something, ie. lockers on draws. Always take care and no shortcuts.

Get well soon. :tup:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×