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flagstaff_climber


Nov 7, 2005, 2:09 PM
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Ed you are almost certainly right... I have been cutting and tying cordage for the last hour and this is the only thing that really makes sense. I came to the same conclusion as you....

Rick


climberchic


Nov 7, 2005, 2:23 PM
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Thanks Chris for the e-mail regarding Shelley,

I'll post when I get ahold of myself


vivalargo


Nov 7, 2005, 2:51 PM
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My most sincere condolences to Shelley Windsor and everyone who was touched by her life. This is an aweful business, and happens far too frequently.

As Curt and others have pointed out, it's crucial to try and discover what actually happened so we can warn others about making the same mistake.

That much said, the only way to really and truly know what happened is to get a very reliable description of what riging (slings, the rope, the biner, et al) was found at the bottom, after the accident, and BEFORE anyone started tying and untying stuff and breaking it all down. You have to know what was found, how everything was arranged on the rope, and do a reverse engineering job that will tell you what happened. If no one can describe pretty much exactly what was found at the bottom, in detail, we're all guessing.


JL


tempeclimber


Nov 7, 2005, 2:52 PM
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Hi, this is Julie Ingram. This is my first post to this site, although I have spent many hours over the years enjoying the pictures and info on the site. I was a good friend of Shelley's and loved hanging out and climbing with her. Shelley introduced me to my husband, Curt, on a rock climbing trip to J-tree and we were married 6 months ago. We used to joke that I needed to return the favor. Curt and I talked to her Thurs at Hong's party and tried to convince her to climb with us last Sat, I never knew it would be the last time I would see her. Curt and I have been crying off and on ever since. We feel so indebted to her, she was a close friend and we will miss her a ton.

Our friend Amy Esplin and I are putting together a memory book for her family for the funeral this Friday. Please send pictures and stories to julieaingram@yahoo.com or aesplin@nextcare.com


epic_ed


Nov 7, 2005, 3:04 PM
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John, I'll split off the commentary re: what happen and start another thread. I'll ask that all further post to this thread be to commemorate Shelly's memory and to express condolences.

Ed


imnotafraid


Nov 7, 2005, 3:14 PM
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I still can't believe this is true. I will miss climbing with Shelly in J-tree and QC or where ever. She truly was one of the most positive, nicest persons I have met. Deepest sympathy.

Bob Spak


epic_ed


Nov 7, 2005, 3:16 PM
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I have split off the appropriate posts to start a new thread titled "Learning from Shelly's accident..." Please feel free to post all factual accounts and details of the accident to that thread. I'd ask that you keep in mind the dignity of her family and friends while doing so. Our hope, of course, is to learn from the accident and come to understand as best we can what happened.

Please keep the posts in this thread dedicated to condolences, memories and stories about Shelly, and updates for funeral arrangements and commemorative gatherings.

Thanks,

Ed


tempeclimber


Nov 7, 2005, 3:17 PM
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Love the picture. Amy and I are looking forward to more great photos from you for the memory book.
Julie


reno


Nov 7, 2005, 3:22 PM
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I had the good fortune to meet Shelley through my former roomie, and was immediately drawn to the wonderful person I met. Kind, warm, inviting, and generous, she exemplifies what all of us should strive to be.

I never had the chance to rope up with her, but we'd seen each other at the crags from time to time, and she was always quick to offer a smile, a kind word, and the occasional friendly jab at my less-than-stellar technique.

This year hasn't been a banner year, as this is the third time I've had to deal with the death of a friend. But everything happens for a reason, and though I'm not of capacity to understand that reason, I accept it as so.

Dealing with life and death on a daily basis for my job, I like to think I'm tough enough to handle it. But that's a lie, and I find myself still at a loss for words.

Those who think they can just distance themselves... physically, emotionally, or spiritually, from the death of a fellow human would do well to remember John Donne's timeless words:

"No man is an island, entire of itself...Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

For now, I'm going to mourn my friend so I can cry, remember some stories so I can laugh, think of her place in paradise so I can smile, and hug my friends so I can move on.

I miss you, Shelley. We'll meet again, someday.

"They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We shall remember them."


reno


Nov 7, 2005, 3:29 PM
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I missed Mark's description/retelling of the accident last night, as I didn't get out of work until 1900, and arrived at the meeting around 1940.

Am I correct in my understanding that the webbing used for the anchors had NO knots in it at all?


msbrenne


Nov 7, 2005, 3:37 PM
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I know Shelley wanted to climb the Mace in Sedona every year and on our last attempt this year we got rained and snowed on. Mark B.


curt


Nov 7, 2005, 3:52 PM
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In reply to:
I missed Mark's description/retelling of the accident last night, as I didn't get out of work until 1900, and arrived at the meeting around 1940.

Am I correct in my understanding that the webbing used for the anchors had NO knots in it at all?

No. Read my posts above. According to Mark, each of the two pieces of webbing was tied into a loop using a water knot. These two loops were found still clipped into Shelley's locking anchor carabiner at the bottom of the rappel site. i.e. all of the anchor went down along with Shelley, except for the tree itself.

Curt


vivalargo


Nov 7, 2005, 4:03 PM
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Hey, Curt--

I'm not exactly sure I have it right here. In the simpliest possible terms, what was actually found on the locking biner at the bottom of the accident?

Were there two long runners, not connected to each other, but each one en tact and tied into individual loops with water knots?

JL


Partner cindylou


Nov 7, 2005, 4:08 PM
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Sincere condolences to Shelley's family and friends. She sounds like she was an amazing person. I wish I could have had the opportunity to share a rope with her.

I'm so very very sorry.


curt


Nov 7, 2005, 4:09 PM
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In reply to:
Hey, Curt--

I'm not exactly sure I have it right here. In the simpliest possible terms, what was actually found on the locking biner at the bottom of the accident?

Were there two long runners, not connected to each other, but each one en tact and tied into individual loops with water knots?

JL

Yes, according to her climbing partner that day (Mark) that is exactly the way things were found. The two slings were not connected together in any way--but each seperate circular loop was clipped into the locking anchor carabiner, as was the rope.

Curt


billl7


Nov 7, 2005, 4:29 PM
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Girth hitching one sling to another sling is a possibility. Another would be something like what is shown as the thief knot, shown here:

http://www.cherokeescouting.org/knots/Thief.htm





curt


Nov 7, 2005, 4:33 PM
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In reply to:
Girth hitching one sling to another sling is a possibility. Another would be something like what is shown as the thief knot, shown here:

http://www.cherokeescouting.org/knots/Thief.htm




That isn't a possibility here though, because the two slings in question were pre-tied into loops using water knots.

Curt


billl7


Nov 7, 2005, 4:41 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Girth hitching one sling to another sling is a possibility. Another would be something like what is shown as the thief knot, shown here:http://www.cherokeescouting.org/knots/Thief.htm
[/quote]

That isn't a possibility here though, because the two slings in question were pre-tied into loops using water knots.

Curt[/quote]

I wasn't clear. I didn't mean to tie it as shown in the animation.

Feed the end of first loop through the second loop; open that end of the first loop and pass the other end of the second loop through the just opened loop.

Kind of hard to write about but I'm sure it can be done - and is what comes to my mind for joining two slings. Try doing with arms around a tree with large slings and it might get confusing.


dirtineye


Nov 7, 2005, 4:42 PM
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This is terrible.

Rappel accidents always seem so preventable, IN HINDSIGHT, and yet, they continue to happen. There was one a year or two ago, where two experienced climbers were hurrying down a mountain, and one failed to check his partner's rappel setup, and when he looked around, the other guy was gone. Either the knot in the double ropes came out, or it was never tied.

This current event really hits hard, cause I spend a lot of time in wilderness areas, on the edge of cliffs, both exploring for new routes and setting up rappels, and as recently as yesterday, I was thinking, "Gee, one good screw up here and you're just dead." I wound up sort of ignoring the immediacy of the situation. Hell, we all do after enough time spent on the edge.

But that's wrong.

Maybe the lesson here is, stay sharp. Don't fuck up, and pay attention even if it is the 1000th time, cause if you make one mistake it could be your last.

I swear I know I've lived through a lot of climbing related potential fuck ups by luck rather than skill, and I hope I can learn to use better judgement and NEVER get complacent.


veganboyjosh


Nov 7, 2005, 5:00 PM
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my sincerest condolences to the friends and family and people who were on the scene of this accident.

i'd like to thank david and the other contributors to this thread for keeping it civil and productive.

while it saddens me deeply to learn of another climber's passing, i do appreciate the candor (not to mention difficulty for those close to the victim and/or accident) in explaining/discussing the details so that we may all learn from this tragedy.


jstreet


Nov 7, 2005, 5:02 PM
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I first meet Shelley around 5 years ago and knew her well while I lived in Arizona. I am at a loss of words about the accident, she will be missed dearly by many people. My brother was one of the sheriff's deputies on the helicopter that flew her out, he was very impressed with the work of everyone who assisted after the accident. Thank you to all that did there best to help her and God bless her family.

Jared Street


vivalargo


Nov 7, 2005, 5:12 PM
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Here's the feedback I've received so far:

"There was a roomful of people last night that got to hear the story from Shelley's partner Mark, and one of the people who tried to rescue her. Curt Shannon was there, myself, and a bunch of others. You could ask some of the attendees for details if you don't feel comfortable doing so on the public forum.

A couple of facts not listed on the rc.com dialogue:

They set up and broke down multiple rappels during the day, based on the routes they were climbing at the time. I believe that the accident was on the third rappel of the day. The third rap was in the same location -- including same tree, as mentioned by Mark -- as the first rappel of the day. For what it's worth, I believe that it was Shelley who set up the earlier rap at the same location. So, whatever she did, it worked the first time.

Single tree used, so there wasn't a back-up -- e.g., one piece of web to tree A and a second piece to tree B.

One person coiled the rope while the other set the anchor. They didn't check each other's anchors. When Shelley and I had climbed together, you didn't get to leave the ground without checking each person's harness, tie-in knot, and belay device. Good compulsive behavior, but partners hardly ever check my anchors when we're outside.

There was some discussion that the two pieces of web were short (10 feet) and the same color, and that this may have contributed to a mix-up. For TR anchors, I carry two 30' pieces of web -- one red and the other purple to help keep strands distinct.

Hope this helps."

This description suggests that Shelly had previously set up and successfully rapped from the same tree earlier in the day--and quite possibly if not probably set the first rap up, she believed, the same way she rigged the failed rap.

In the clearest terms, Curt described to me what was found on the rope at the bottom of the cliff, after the accident.

"There were two pieces of blue one-inch webbing, each of which was tied into a loop with a water knot. When Shelley was found, she was connected to the single line rappel by her belay / rap device and carabiner. The rope was connected to the anchor carabiner with a figure-eight knot on a bight. The anchor carabiner (still locked) also had both loops of the blue one-inch webbing locked into it. So, when she fell, the entire anchor (except the tree) went to the bottom with her.

I am guessing that she meant to tie the two one-inch loops of webbing together with a girth-hitch, but didn't actually girth hitch the webbing. I suspect that she may have reached around the tree and passed one sling through the other sling and then pulled the slings through until she felt something become tight. However, I am further guessing that what "came tight" was merely one of the water knots coming up against the loop of the other piece of webbing--i.e. the knot merely jammed in the other piece of webbing.

She then took the free ends of the webbing loops, closest to the rappel point, clipped them together, and clipped the rope and locker to the slings. Such a scenario would result in being able to pull with some force on the rappel point carabiner before the water knot "popped" through the other looped sling. Once fully weighted, however, the knot pulled through leading to complete anchor failure."

In investigating these accidents, with such a precise description as Curt has supplied, you can reverse engineer the scenario and draw reliable conclusions. First you eliminate the impossible. For instance, the runners could not have been girth hitched together because once weighted, girth hitched slings, connected via a locking biner, cannot magically become un hitched. It's a physical impossibility. The only other possibility was that the two runners found on the locking biner had once been connected by either another sling, or a biner, either of which broke in the process of the belay and could likely be found behind or by the tree. Because this is so unlikely (and could be ruled out if anyone inspected the tree), Curt's description is almost certainly what actually happened since there are virtually no other possible options.

The last two missing details are, what is the position of the tree and how thick is it, and, how far down the rope, beneath the locker, did Shelley get before the anchor failed. A water knot snagged on another runner could actually hold for awhile if the tensions were just so, but the first little bounce on the rap and I can only believe that the knot/snag would pull through.

The position of the tree and how thick it was can possibly allow us to recreat how the riging accident happened. If the tree was somewhat thick and in the back of an alcove or lee, or was in a position where getting behind it was difficult, I can imagine Shelley reaching one hand around the tree with a runner, and reaching around the other side of the tree with the other hand holding another runner. She would be left to feed one runner through the other to form the girth hitch. Doing so only on feel, rather than by sight, she didn't thread the one runner back through itself to accomplish the girth hitch. Rather, as Curt described, when the water knot hung up on the other runner, she though the girth hitch was mint. The snagged water knot probably held while she weighted the rope before rapping off the lip. I'd imagine that it didn't hold for long, however, and that, at the bottom, her belay/rap devise was positioned on the rope mere feet below that point on the rope where it passed over the brink.

This is only a provisional, but in my mind, pretty plausible explanation, though my exact description is just what I have imagined, not knowing the girth or position of the tree.

The thing to remember is that we should always girth hitch the slings together BEFORE we wrap them around the tree, so we can visually varify that the hitch is indeed secure.

JL


climbaddic


Nov 7, 2005, 5:13 PM
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So far speculation is this

In front of the tree was like this (nothing wrong in this side)
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=64149

Where back of the tree was something like this:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=64150

Two webbings on the back of tree should have been girth hitched. However, it was much more confusing due to same color of webbings and water knot was much closer to the "girth hitch".


curt


Nov 7, 2005, 5:13 PM
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In reply to:
...I bet that when she intended to girth-hitch one sling to the other, she passed one sling through the second one--but not then back through itself. If one of the water knots was in the back of the tree, where the two slings met, the water knot could provide the illusion that the slings were truly girth-hitched because under a light force this knot may not pull through the other sling, particularly if it is being forced up against the tree. Under a larger load, however, the knot would pull through the loop of the other sling. Obviously, this scenario is mere speculation, but it is consistent with all of the facts, as I currently understand them to be...

I have now been able to recreate this anchor scenario around an 18" diameter tree in my yard. It works pretty much as I speculated. The surprising finding was that I could occasionally get the water knot of one sling to "jam" in the second sling so tightly (when pulled against the tree) that it could hold far more force than I thought it would.

Curt


curt


Nov 7, 2005, 5:19 PM
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So far speculation is this

In front of the tree was like this (nothing wrong in this side)
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=64149

Where back of the tree was something like this:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=64150

Two webbings on the back of tree should have been girth hitched. However, it was much more confusing due to same color of webbings and water knot was much closer to the "girth hitch".

Except, in your second picture pass one of the water knots through the loop formed by the other sling--and then pull the slings tight, up against the back of a tree. The water knot will effectively jam in the second sling, up against the tree, perhaps giving a false sense that an actual hitch has been tied there.

Curt

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