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gapertimmy

cinamon slab accident 11/30

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i think we've all seen things like this happening at smith, stuff that just makes you shake your head, and usually give some advice to people about safety, interesting read though.

 

this accident happened yesterday at cinamon slab. i would venture to guess it was on ginger snap or one of the other beginer routes over there.

 

Background:

Katherine has been climbing in rock gyms weekly since March of this year with occasional outdoor climbs. She was climbing with another novice climber who was on her second outdoor climb. They had been to Smith Rock once before (last Sunday). They were climbing a relatively easy route in the Cinnamon Slab area of Smith Rock. Katherine was lead climbing the route. Near the top, she discovered that their "shortened" 50 meter rope was not long enough to reach the ground so she down climbed and tied an "extension" onto the existing rope. With the extension in place, she then proceeded to top out the climb and back to the base of the climb. After belaying for her partner (Rebecca) on the route, Katherine then untied the extension and climbed back up to clean the protection. Rebecca was belaying. Katherine finished cleaning the pro and then proceeded back down the route. Approximately 30 feet above the base, the shortened rope ran out through Rebecca's ATC and Katherine fell the remaining distance to the base, landing on her back. She remained there (with complaints of back pain and in a semi-conscious state) until packaged and transported to the bridge.

 

Numerous people stated that she was very lucky to be alive as she was not wearing a helmet and fell without warning directly onto the rocks at the base of the cliff.

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that woman is lucky to be alive! that area (ginger snap) scares the crap out of me because the potential for a "death fall" even on belay. frown.gif

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I'm not trying to be judgemental or second-guess or anything, just really curious: When did it become the norm to not have a climber tied into each end of the rope? Or do I just come from a place and time that is unique regarding this practice?

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Or do I just come from a place and time that is unique regarding this practice?

 

no, not unique... My mentor required it... But then I learned on ice and alpine stuff, not just single pitch sport routes. Could be a style thing? confused.gif

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It is my experience and how I was taught that that we do not tie into both ends of the rope to TOP ROPE, or to lead SHORT (known) single pitch climbs. But on longer, unknown, or multipich climbs, we tie into both ends.

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That sucks. I guess they were aware that what was going on was dangerous from what I read. Also it seemed as if they were just lowering each other which backs up this more.

 

Just bring a second line and finish the climb and belay from the top is a way to avoid this. Then make a safe rap. Even if they did not know before hand they at least knew what they were doing was unsafe. I'm not raggin on anyone but frown.gif the truth is the truth. There could have been other options.

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Unfortunately, i think this type of stuff will become more common as the popularity of the sport grows. I've seen similar things like this happen at smith quite often.

 

When I see something that doesn't look right, or a newby that is having a hard time with belaying or something, I usually try to offer help... do others do this as well, or should I just mind my own business.

 

A few months back, me and another cc.com'er had to rescue some folks off the belay ledge above the 1st pitch of super slab cuz they only had 1 50meter rope and coudn't get off the route.

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Although I was nearby and heard the "whomp" from the fall, I did not directly witness the event, know the cause of it, or the extent of the girl’s injuries. Several theories about the cause of the accident were circulating, but the most convincing was that the rope that was being used (40m is what I heard) was inadequate for the climb, and that the accident occurred when the climber was being lowered and the rope went through the belayer’s device.

 

I do hope the girl in question has a full recovery. I find it so sad that if this was what happened that it was so easily preventable. Insuring that the rope we use is adequately long seems so fundamental.

 

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seems like life is difficult in general with anything less than a 60m at Smith. Most people do not tie into the end as belayer because the climbs are so well-traveled that the rope length is general knowledge. But if there is any question (and there is at smith with a 50m on a large number of routes) for pete's sake at least put a knot at the end or watch the rope coming through. Glad she's alive.

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I saw the lady heading out too. Can't say I always tie into the end of the rope when I'm on know short routes, this might change my mind.

I heard from one of her friends the next day that she didn't suffer a single broken bone.

I'd buy some lottery tickets if I were her.

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If i hear an update on her condition i'll post. Very scary stuff... again, try to look out for folks who are on routes nearby and I think accidents like this could be avoided.

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I heard she was on Ginger Snap when she fell. How high is that? 50 ft. maybe?So the rope had to have been shorter than 40 meters. Maybe more like 30 meters. There isn't much at Smith you can do with that amount of rope and for her to fall 20-30 ft. from the bottom means that the rope had to be even shorter. Say 3 ft to tie in, on a 50ft. route and saying she fell 20 ft. instead of 30 ft. means that they were climbing on a 25 meter rope!!!!!! (up to the anchor is 50 ft, and back down is 30 ft. for a collective 80 ft. plus 3 ft to tie in is 83 ft = ~25 meters).

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to climb ginger snap you have to scramble up like 20 or 30 feet of jaggedy scetchy rock just to get to the first bolt, and from there if I remember corectly it is a fair smith climb in length....

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Ginger Snap - 5.8 ***

 

Protection - 4 bolts to the anchor

Rope - 50m

 

A 4th class scramble leads onto an

enjoyable knobby face. Stemming on

either side of the face will slash the

grade to 5.7.

 

First ascent - Alan Watts, JoAnn Miller-Watts

The short but steep wall to the right of Cinnamon slab has just enough holds and bolts!

 

From my recollection, it is a short Smith route. 50 meters would get you all the way down to the bottom, but anything shorter would leave you having to do a second rappel, if that is what they were doing. Hope she recovers, but just because you can see the parking lot doesn't mean you have to leave you mind up there at the car.

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Bummer but if need for retreat and this line is bolted they could have left a sling on a bolt and rapped off that? Plenty of people around probably willing to climb up and get their slings too.

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okay... so it is a short smith climb.... it looks longer when you are standing on the ledge just below the first bolt with your legs doing an Elvis impersonation. blush.gif

 

IMHO that is not a beginner climb...just because of the scrambeling and the pain potentioal if you fall between the first and second bolt.

 

just goes to show that because you can do the moves does not make you an experienced climber. I hope that girl is okay.

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I've usually belayed from partway up that scramble when doing that climb. Otherwise you're belaying from way the heck out there. From the scramble it is very short to the chains at the top of the 1st pitch of Cinnamon Slab. 4 bolts maybe, and that's like what, 4 feet at Smith? grin.gif (there's no winking smiley anymore).

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Let's not poopoo the beginners, I've seen the exact same thing happen to experienced climbers. A couple months ago a guy who had just led New Testament in perfect style was lowered off the end of the rope by a belayer who knew his rope reached the ground from the BBQ the Pope anchors, when the climber had in fact gone to the higher anchors of New Testament proper. He also fell onto his back onto the 6x6's from about 15 feet up, and miraculously he also was okay. He even climbed again later that day, with the same belayer!

 

Moral: Whether you climb 5.4 or 5.14, whether you've climbed for 30 days or 30 years, for chrissake tie the free end of the rope to the belayer, or to a rope bag!

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agingclimber wrote-Let's not poopoo the beginners, I've seen the exact same thing happen to experienced climbers. A couple months ago a guy who had just led New Testament in perfect style was lowered off the end of the rope by a belayer who knew his rope reached the ground from the BBQ the Pope anchors, when the climber had in fact gone to the higher anchors of New Testament proper. He also fell onto his back onto the 6x6's from about 15 feet up, and miraculously he also was okay. He even climbed again later that day, with the same belayer!

 

Moral: Whether you climb 5.4 or 5.14, whether you've climbed for 30 days or 30 years, for chrissake tie the free end of the rope to the belayer, or to a rope bag!

 

**********************************************

 

I'd like to try and agree with you but I can't. The contraption being set by the beginners was a situation where the danger was clear. The other people made an error but it was not the same.

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Maybe this should be a different thread but the makes me wonder how many of you own/use/would use anything less than a 50m rope? I've always viewed a shortened rope as an accessory but not my climbing rope. I've gotten in the habit of just dealing w/the extra length/weight of a 60m rope.

 

As for tying into both ends of the rope, I don't always tie in when I'm belaying (depends on the route) but I always knot the free end.

 

This was clearly a mistake set up by inexperience but none the less we all do stupid things from time to time. Thankfully they'll live to learn from their mistakes.

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