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Shelley Windsor...
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granitegod


Nov 9, 2005, 4:15 AM
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And if I go, while you're still here,
know that I still live on,
vibrating to a differeint measure,
behind a veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me, so you must have faith.

I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to the fullest.
And when you need me,
just whisper my name in your heart,
I will be there.

-- Paula Hitchcock.

Again....I am just bewildered. Another climber I did not know personally...but looks so familiar. I hope these words may bring some comfort to her firends and family.


billl7


Nov 9, 2005, 6:29 AM
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In reply to:
I think the best thing for us to get out of shelly's accident is to check ourselves and for our partners to do the same. two or more people are more likely to notice a mistake than just one person by themselves.

I totally support the above sentiment. We just need to (and I think are) get down to or be reminded of the finer points of the self-check, the kind of self-checks that present enough objective evidence that things are okay.

Note that Shelly may have "checked" her set-up as it has been established that a caught waterknot could pass the bump test. I don't know if there was anyone nearby to inspect her set-up (Edited: "inspect" was "test" - inspect was intended), very frequently there is not.


aadkins1972


Nov 9, 2005, 6:37 AM
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My brother David was with Shelley for the last few hours of her life. Our family has all her friends and family in our prayers. My brother is also a school teacher and has been climbing for many years. This tragedy has made a profound impact on our family.


daithi


Nov 9, 2005, 7:43 AM
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In reply to:
The circumference of an 18" diameter tree is 56.55 inches. Why would it not be possible for a person with a 63" wingspan to reach around such a tree?

Because the bones in the arm are rigid and can't form a perfect circle of circumference 63"!

Edited to add: Sorry I see this was already answered.

Maybe I have missed this already but is it not possible to walk behind this tree? Everyone seems to be assuming she was tying the hitch blindly while reaching around the tree. If she could barely reach around the tree, would she not girth hitch the slings first and then attempt to pass them around the tree. It is a lot easier to grab the end of sling if you can barely reach around than to attempt to girth hitch them together at your maximum reach!


trenchdigger


Nov 9, 2005, 8:08 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
The circumference of an 18" diameter tree is 56.55 inches. Why would it not be possible for a person with a 63" wingspan to reach around such a tree?

Because the bones in the arm are rigid and can't form a perfect circle of circumference 63"!

Edited to add: Sorry I see this was already answered.

Maybe I have missed this already but is it not possible to walk behind this tree? Everyone seems to be assuming she was tying the hitch blindly while reaching around the tree. If she could barely reach around the tree, would she not girth hitch the slings first and then attempt to pass them around the tree. It is a lot easier to grab the end of sling if you can barely reach around than to attempt to girth hitch them together at your maximum reach!

You don't have to be able to reach around a tree to girth hitch it. Take one sling and swing it around one side of the tree so the end (preferrably where the knot is for added momentum) swings around the other side of the tree and you grab it. Thread the other runner through, make your girth hitch and pull both ends tight. I could easily see how this could happen even if the person could not reach around the tree. I wouldn't discount this theory based solely on that fact.


leo4aclimb


Nov 9, 2005, 8:15 AM
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Registered: Dec 25, 2004
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Hi guys,
This is Dania (Leo's wife). I've been reading about everyone's theories and everyone's memories of Shelley in the past couple days trying to learn more and also to heal myself. I want to extend my condolences to her family, friends, and all the people she touched. It sounds like it would have been an honor to know her. I could only have wished to know her in this lifetime. I pray now that she is among the angels that look down on me from heaven. One day we'll meet again.

I'd would also like to help her friends and family heal and learn from this tragedy. People have asked alot of questions about recreating the scene and I think the only way to do that is for us to go back up there and recreate what we saw. Each of us has our own scars and recollections. For me I don't ever remember looking at her ropes or slings. At that point the only thing I cared about was saving Shelley's life.

What I do remember is that when I finally got to the top I wanted to see the tree because I was still in disbelief. The tree was large and sturdy. It was approximately 20 inches in diameter which would make the circumference aproximately 63 inches. I know that some had stated that Shelley had a 63 inch wingspan but I don't believe she could have reached around the tree and have her hands touch. From what I can envision in my mind I don't think that I would have been able to reach around the tree and have my hands touch either. (my wingspan in slightly larger 65-66inches) Remember a wingspan is measured when the arms are straight not when they are curled around an object. A person's reach is considerably shorter when curled around something. I just tried it at home around a basket that was 56 inches around and my hands barely touched.

I would like to help in any way I can and if people plan on going back up there to re-create the scene to help learn and to help heal from this I would like to be a part of that. My numbers are just estimates of how my memory serves me and I would really like to know too.

Again my condolences to all she knew...she's climbing with the angels now.

My Deepest Regrets,
Dania


billl7


Nov 9, 2005, 8:42 AM
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For healing purposes, it does seem clear that anyone involved in the accident and/or its immediate aftermath as well as anyone truely close to Shelly (family decides) should be invited if this can be done safely.

It's obvious but wanted to state it. Perhaps this is already in the works.


jonapprill


Nov 9, 2005, 8:44 AM
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Registered: Apr 12, 2004
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Another idea: This was Shelly's third or fourth rappel station of the day. While she was breaking down the previous station, she only partially undid a girth-hitch holding the two slings together.......in essence creating the jammed knot scenerio. When she went to create the new rappel station, she saw the slings were joined (somehow) and assumed they were still girth-hitched together. She threw the two sling combo around the tree and attached the rope.


curt


Nov 9, 2005, 8:46 AM
Post #184 of 280 (34225 views)
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In reply to:
...If the user is not aware, not paying attention, hurrying, concerned about the next lead, whatever, then it is easy to see the possible mistake of missing the loop but thinking it was through.
http://www.ualberta.ca/...girth/girthfail2.gif

Perhaps Shelley was not reaching around the back of the tree to tie the knot--I don't think that part is a critical element to my proposed rappel failure mechanism. Perhaps (as trenchdigger suggested) she "whipped" one sling around the back of the tree and then fed the other one through it--as in the above drawing by jumpingrock. This makes Shelly's wingspan a non-issue.

In reply to:
When the red sling is pulled tight it is easy to see, in probably something approaching 75% of the time, (this value is made up based on my simple tests but feel free to test it yourself) how the knot could easily have locked.
http://www.ualberta.ca/...girth/girthfail3.gif

As jumpingrock indicates, when the slings are then tightened (and absent a girth-hitch actually being tied) the knot still has a fairly high probability of jamming and creating the scenario in question.

Curt


billl7


Nov 9, 2005, 8:50 AM
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In reply to:
Another idea: This was Shelly's third or fourth rappel station of the day. While she was breaking down the previous station, she only partially undid a girth-hitch holding the two slings together.......in essence creating the jammed knot scenerio. When she went to create the new rappel station, she saw the slings were joined (somehow) and assumed they were still girth-hitched together. She threw the two sling combo around the tree and attached the rope.

Possible - yes. But from the limited testing I have done it seems that the "tree" plays a part in keeping the knot caught - things seem to reliably come apart when the "tree" is removed. Again, possible - yes.

But along these lines, I've thought once or twice that it would also be good to know the size of the other tree and how close to the cliff - and whether anyone _knows_ how the anchor was arranged on this other tree. Might resolve some questions that keep resurfacing.


jonapprill


Nov 9, 2005, 8:50 AM
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Deleted....double post.


littlefingers


Nov 9, 2005, 8:54 AM
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Shelly sounds like an amazing person, without a doubt. From reading these posts, it's clear to see she is a rolemodel for myself and many others. My heart goes out to all of you who are grieving.

Regarding theories posted in this thread; I question the theory that she would reach around the tree to make the girth hitch if her arms would not reach around the tree- this seems both risky and awkward. Would it have made more sense for her to have girth hitched the slings, and then tossed one end around the tree? Apparently there was a lot of debris. When tossing, the farther end, could it have gotten snagged on a branch and through fumbling have caused the girth hitch to loosen- then when reaching around the other side of the tree, she could have pulled the wrong loop- which would have un-did the girth hitch completely. A snagged knot could have given the illusion the set up was solid when clipping in. This is just another possible theory.

In memory of Shelly, I am emphatically promising myself that I will always check and recheck my own and my partners knots, anchors, and harnesses in all future climbing excursions. I wish everyone safe climbing.

-megan


billl7


Nov 9, 2005, 8:59 AM
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I agree that the caught knot idea can still occur even if the tree was too large to reach both arms around (bear hug style). IMHO, a knot could catch any time the slings are against the tree a little (not much) circumferentially before and after the knot.


wage22


Nov 9, 2005, 9:10 AM
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Shellys fearless spirit does stick out in my memory bank. I had the pleasure of climbing with her a handful of times and it was enough to catch a breath of fresh positive air. She slithered her way up those rocks and had such a style when she did it. And Erica was right, she was an incredibly safe climber...makes me a little nervous.

My thoughts are with her friends and family.
Amanda


daithi


Nov 9, 2005, 9:16 AM
Post #190 of 280 (34225 views)
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Would it have made more sense for her to have girth hitched the slings, and then tossed one end around the tree?

This was my point. Surely you would girth hitch the two slings before you attempt to put them around the tree. It is unlikely in my opinion she attempted to tie this knot unsighted due to the dimensions of the tree and the impracticalities of doing it. The current theory as I understand is..

In reply to:
...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...

In reply to:
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.

In my opinion it is improbable that she tied this girth hitch unsighted which also reduces the probability of not tying it correctly. Given what was found (or at least what was posted on this forum), the most likely cause was indeed incorrectly girth hitching two slings together. However, I cannot imagine the events that caused this girth hitch to be incorrectly tied.


curt


Nov 9, 2005, 9:35 AM
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I think that looking again at this drawing is particularly useful.

http://www.ualberta.ca/...girth/girthfail2.gif

Notice, at this point, that if either of the two red loops is passed through the other red loop, a girth hitch will result. Also notice, however, that if it is believed that this has been done--but in fact it has not, that this can lead to the "jammed knot" scenario, when the red loop without the knot is the one that is pulled tight.

Curt


paulv7


Nov 9, 2005, 10:29 AM
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To throw another idea out.

Was this their last rap of the day?

I am wonder if she was planning on leaving the webbing and biner behind. Maybe she had the slings around a horn or a broken branch with the hopes of flicking it off. The webbing could of rolled off a horn. She may not have used the tree at all. Just some other thoughts.


roy_hinkley_jr


Nov 9, 2005, 10:44 AM
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This was my point. Surely you would girth hitch the two slings before you attempt to put them around the tree. It is unlikely in my opinion she attempted to tie this knot unsighted due to the dimensions of the tree and the impracticalities of doing it.

In my opinion it is improbable that she tied this girth hitch unsighted which also reduces the probability of not tying it correctly. Given what was found (or at least what was posted on this forum), the most likely cause was indeed incorrectly girth hitching two slings together. However, I cannot imagine the events that caused this girth hitch to be incorrectly tied.

Agreed, the previous theories just don't make sense. Just seems too illogical to be futzing when it's so much easier to pre-girth and toss. Has the area really been searched for other evidence?


curt


Nov 9, 2005, 11:02 AM
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In reply to:
This was my point. Surely you would girth hitch the two slings before you attempt to put them around the tree. It is unlikely in my opinion she attempted to tie this knot unsighted due to the dimensions of the tree and the impracticalities of doing it.

In my opinion it is improbable that she tied this girth hitch unsighted which also reduces the probability of not tying it correctly. Given what was found (or at least what was posted on this forum), the most likely cause was indeed incorrectly girth hitching two slings together. However, I cannot imagine the events that caused this girth hitch to be incorrectly tied.

Agreed, the previous theories just don't make sense...

Unless you can offer a better explanation of what actually happened (that is consistent with all of the known facts) this rather broad statement is totally unwarranted.

Curt


qqac


Nov 9, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Question for Shelley's regular climbing partners: Did Shelley like to use bowlines? Did she tie bowlines one-handed, which tends to result in shorter tails? Was she in the habit of not tying backup knots on the tail?

A 10 foot sling (measured as a loop, end to end) would go completely around the large 5 foot circumference pine at East of Eden and leave plenty of length to tie a bowline. The bowline would be tied treating the flattened loop as a single strand. I am not talking about a double bowline or a conventional bowline on a bight, although this bowline technically would be on a bight.

HYPOTHESIS:

She could have tied each sling as a bowline, leaving a loop at the load end to clip into. She could have tied two slings separately this way for redundancy, and clipped both load-end loops. This rig would not allow the anchor biner to go below the edge, but she was descending to the climb on a single, fixed strand so rope rubbing over the edge was not an issue. Even under the girth hitch theory, two 10 foot slings girth hitched together around a 20" diameter tree would not have reached the edge 15-20 feet away anyway--it would only have reached about 8 feet from the tree. This bowline rig had the benefit of allowing her to approach the edge safely on rappel beginning close to the tree.

FAILURE MODE:

If not dressed tightly and with a solid backup knot, a bowline tied in webbing can collapse and slip completely apart. (A bowline in rope is much more resistant to collapsing).

In this failure scenario, each sling would be left in a separate loop, with no knots other than the water knot joint, and each sling would be clipped to the anchor biner, consistent with the findings.

REFERENCES:

Josh "goodguy" stated from firsthand observation the pine is 15-20 feet back from the edge.

Dania "leo4aclimb" stated from firsthand observation the tree was about 20" in diameter, 5 feet in circumference.

Other witnesses have settled that the anchor biner was clipped to each of two, separate, 10' webbing loops, and the loops had no knots other than the joining water knot and had no signs of damage.

http://img484.imageshack.us/...4/3294/bw17bx.th.jpg

http://img484.imageshack.us/...4/5645/bw26fg.th.jpg

http://img484.imageshack.us/...4/9078/bw34aj.th.jpg

http://img484.imageshack.us/...84/512/bw49sh.th.jpg

http://img441.imageshack.us/...1/8423/bw52qd.th.jpg


boulderinemt


Nov 9, 2005, 11:49 AM
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god...this is the first time i've looked at this thread for awhile. and i saw this.... i really don't know what to say. everybody was supportive of those of us who lost dwight, so now its our turn to be supportive. it seems like we lose too many good people every year. i didn't know shelley that well, we only talked a couple of times, but her posts usually gave me a grin and a laugh. she will be missed by all, anyone who every talked to her was made a better person. my condolences to her family and friends.


epic_ed


Nov 9, 2005, 11:51 AM
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In reply to:
To throw another idea out.

Was this their last rap of the day?

I am wonder if she was planning on leaving the webbing and biner behind. Maybe she had the slings around a horn or a broken branch with the hopes of flicking it off. The webbing could of rolled off a horn. She may not have used the tree at all. Just some other thoughts.

No. Paradise Forks is a canyon. You have to rappel in to get to the start of any climb. You are always going to be returning to the point of rappel before heading back to the parking lot.

Ed


melekzek


Nov 9, 2005, 11:55 AM
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However, I cannot imagine the events that caused this girth hitch to be incorrectly tied.

have you ever tied a girth hitch in a hurry or distracted, and two slings just pass through each other ?

I know I did, and more than once. You stare at the slings, and tie again, and forget about the incident.


qqac


Nov 9, 2005, 11:56 AM
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One more thing: a webbing bowline is particularly vulnerable to collapsing when the two legs behind the knot are not able to equalize the load (such as when wrapped around a large tree with rough bark) and when the load is placed more on the "rabbit hole" strand (where the knot is not carefully centered with the direction of load).


curt


Nov 9, 2005, 11:58 AM
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In reply to:
Question for Shelley's regular climbing partners: Did Shelley like to use bowlines? Did she tie bowlines one-handed, which tends to result in shorter tails? Was she in the habit of not tying backup knots on the tail?

A 10 foot sling (measured as a loop, end to end) would go completely around the large 5 foot circumference pine at East of Eden and leave plenty of length to tie a bowline. The bowline would be tied treating the flattened loop as a single strand. I am not talking about a double bowline or a conventional bowline on a bight, although this bowline technically would be on a bight.

HYPOTHESIS:

She could have tied each sling as a bowline, leaving a loop at the load end to clip into. She could have tied two slings separately this way for redundancy, and clipped both load-end loops. This rig would not allow the anchor biner to go below the edge, but she was descending to the climb on a single, fixed strand so rope rubbing over the edge was not an issue. Even under the girth hitch theory, two 10 foot slings girth hitched together around a 20" diameter tree would not have reached the edge 15-20 feet away anyway--it would only have reached about 8 feet from the tree. This bowline rig had the benefit of allowing her to approach the edge safely on rappel beginning close to the tree.

FAILURE MODE:

If not dressed tightly and with a solid backup knot, a bowline tied in webbing can collapse and slip completely apart. (A bowline in rope is much more resistant to collapsing).

In this failure scenario, each sling would be left in a separate loop, with no knots other than the water knot joint, and each sling would be clipped to the anchor biner, consistent with the findings.

REFERENCES:

Josh "goodguy" stated from firsthand observation the pine is 15-20 feet back from the edge.

Dania "leo4aclimb" stated from firsthand observation the tree was about 20" in diameter, 5 feet in circumference.

Other witnesses have settled that the anchor biner was clipped to each of two, separate, 10' webbing loops, and the loops had no knots other than the joining water knot and had no signs of damage.

That's certainly possible, but failure of both bowline knots would be required for the accident to happen as you describe.

Curt

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