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Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall
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socalclimber


Jun 26, 2007, 5:42 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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God I don't know how many times I have to say this, but if you are climbing with a person with limited to no experience, you might as well be soloing. Take this attitude, and you'll live a lot longer.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Jun 26, 2007, 5:43 AM)


notapplicable


Jun 26, 2007, 6:49 AM
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Re: [wolfski] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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wolfski wrote:
i do see people switch hands (always leaving one had on the rope), granted i dont think i would ever practice this technique because i could totally see it leading to bad habbits but do you guys consider it a safe means of belaying?


The short answer would be that yes it is a safe practice while belaying and can add to your comfort and functionality under alot of circumstances, especially multipitch routes.

The longer answer, IMO would add the qualification that its only appropriate if you are ambidextrous enough to handle the rope properly and efficiently. The problem there (obviously) is that if a climber havent been belaying long enough to properly evaluate the safety of a belay tecnique then they could get your self into real trouble.

For all intents and purposes, I'm not ambidextrous. I can't eat, write or brush my teeth left handed but I can and do belay left handed (often placing the rope on that side of the ATC), I have caught falls that way and am completely comfortable. I would hate to recommend that you practice switch hitting and it go terribly wrong for you but I do think it is a useful tool to have at your disposal especially if you need to stay mobile to shorten a fall and using one hand over the other keeps the rope out from under your feet or when your belaying from above and you need to coil the rope on one side or the other.

If your not comfortable doing it and you can get by with out then dont. Just be aware that someday you may need to (even if its just to nurse a hand injury while hauling rope up a route with alot of drag) and then you may have to learn under less than ideal circumstances.


curator


Jun 26, 2007, 6:51 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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I was down there sunday as well. It sucked. And it made me rethink many of my views on climbing. I'm a guide here at the New and have had climbing training shoved down my throat for many years. I've always been told that folks should learn to use an atc and be proficient with it before picking up a grigri. It's the way I was taught as well. Also, as a guide, I find myself leading routes (well within my ability level) with someone that I just taught to belay.....aka soloing. I think this whole mentality needs to change. Give a beginner a grigri. If she had a grig this guy would be walking around right now, not dealing with years of rehab. And this girl wouldn't have to spend the rest of her life feeling guilty for almost killing a dude she barely knew. People think it's so important that the proper progression be used in teaching rock climbing. Tell me that again when you're standing there looking at a guy that is all fucked up and can barely breath. Most of these beginners will not go on to learn to trad climb, multi-pitch, etc. The majority of people at the crag on any given weekend are noobs and will remain so for life. Who gives a shit if they've never used atc's. Now the argument will come up....."Well, it's easy to fuck up with a grigri also, and drop someone if you don't already know how to use an atc." That's wrong. If you fuck up with a grigri it locks and gives an extra second to figure out what is happening. That same second that it takes for a body to fall 60 feet. From now on I'll be teaching beginners how to "look at the picture" and properly load a grigri, and how atc's are for advanced climbers only. As for the suggestion that green piece needs another bolt.....that is definitely not the answer. We're not in a gym.





notapplicable


Jun 26, 2007, 7:13 AM
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Re: [curator] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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curator wrote:
As for the suggestion that green piece needs another bolt.....that is definitely not the answer. We're not in a gym.


Thank you for that. Dumbing down the route is never the answer to keeping dumb people safe.


curator wrote:
From now on I'll be teaching beginners how to "look at the picture" and properly load a grigri, and how atc's are for advanced climbers only.


This approch sounds reasonable aslong as people understand (as you obviously do) that grigri's are not a license to get relaxed. I think people are so dependent on technology (in every area of our lives) that some people act as though the grigri is going to do the belaying for them. People get dropped all day long with auto lockers and although there is a back up built into the device it is only as safe as the person using it is knowledgeable.

Again, dont take this the wrong way I agree with you that most beginners should learn with grigri's (redundancy is an integral part of safety in this sport) but I'm confident you would agree that if used improperly a grigri is just as deadly as any other belay device.


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 7:27 AM
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Re: [curator] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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curator wrote:
Give a beginner a grigri. If she had a grig this guy would be walking around right now, not dealing with years of rehab. And this girl wouldn't have to spend the rest of her life feeling guilty for almost killing a dude she barely knew. People think it's so important that the proper progression be used in teaching rock climbing. Tell me that again when you're standing there looking at a guy that is all fucked up and can barely breath.

Mike, with all due respect, you're citing one accident and ignoring all the others that involved beginners with Gri-gris. I think you're missing the common thread, which is the inexperienced belayer. The only truly safe approach to this conundrum is not to lead AT ALL with an inexperienced belayer holding your rope alone, no matter what type of device he or she is using.

(Now, I know you're guiding and, sometimes, that's what guides do. But you also have the opportunity to exert a lot of control over your circumstances. You have skill and insight -- which the average climber does not possess -- that you can use to mitigate certain risks and bring them down to an acceptable level. And even then, as you mentioned, for all intents and purposes you're soloing.)

In reply to:
As for the suggestion that green piece needs another bolt.....that is definitely not the answer. We're not in a gym.

Damn right. Countless people have taken that fall and walked away unscathed. The belayer does his or her job and it simply isn't a problem.


bobruef


Jun 26, 2007, 7:29 AM
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Re: [curator] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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The device is not the issue here. She could have just as easily messed up with a gri gri. There is no mechanical panacea for a beginner's impropper technique.


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 7:31 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
curator wrote:
From now on I'll be teaching beginners how to "look at the picture" and properly load a grigri, and how atc's are for advanced climbers only.


This approch sounds reasonable...

...under no circumstances I can imagine. Gri-gri or tube-style device is a false dichotomy. There are a whole range of other options.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Jun 26, 2007, 7:33 AM)


Partner cracklover


Jun 26, 2007, 7:57 AM
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Re: [curator] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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First off, my best wishes for a full and a speedy recovery to the fallen climber, and my best wishes to the belayer and all the friends and family.

Second, a big thanks to everyone who helped out!

Now... Curator, I know how shocking and how sad it is to be involved in an accident. And I feel for you. Honestly. So I'm tempted to let your statement slide. But I'm sorry, I can't do that, because I've seen where that mindset leads: to thinking that a gri-gri can substitute for a good belayer. If this is actually what you think, I'm sorry, but you're dead wrong.

I've been involved with carryouts where the belayer was using a gri-gri. I almost had to do one this last weekend at Rumney. There's nothing wrong with using a gri-gri, and in some situations, they're superior to an ATC, but in an incompetent belayer's hands, they're just as bad or worse than an ATC.

A gri-gri absolutely, positively, cannot replace a competent belayer.

I don't want to get into the stuff I've seen. This isn't the place. Maybe I'll start another thread. Not that it hasn't all been said before...

GO


curator


Jun 26, 2007, 8:02 AM
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Re: [bobruef] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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Jay, of course you're right. i'm citing one incident. And of course my entire philosophy on rock climbing instruction cannot be summed up in a paragraph on the internet. But in response to bobruef's claim that "the device is not the issue here. She could just as easily messed up with a gri gri." Of course the belayer was at fault not the device but.....in this case in particular if she had a grigri this wouldn't have happened. That is a fact. If the belayer had a grigri instead of an atc we wouldn't have a seriously injured climber in the hospital. No one can argue that. She didn't catch the fall, the grigri would have done it for her. I don't want to berate the poor girl who dropped her partner, I feel bad for her. All I'm suggesting is, why not make climbing as safe as possible and as easy to learn as possible for the beginner. When you've got a beginner with a blank slate of a brain it's just as easy to teach proper grigri use as it is to teach proper atc use. And as a bonus the grigri offers an extra margin of safety. I apologize for my emotionally charged previous post and admit that it was a touch close minded. But I think this is a worth while debate to have and hope that knowledgeable folks will respond.


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 8:33 AM
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Re: [curator] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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curator wrote:
Of course the belayer was at fault not the device but.....in this case in particular if she had a grigri this wouldn't have happened. That is a fact. If the belayer had a grigri instead of an atc we wouldn't have a seriously injured climber in the hospital. No one can argue that. She didn't catch the fall, the grigri would have done it for her.

I don't think we can safely make that assumption. I've seen and heard of substantially more accidents involving belayer-Gri-gri error than belayer-ATC error, so I'm left with the conclusion that Gri-gris are more difficult to operate safely. Add to this that I know how to use both and still think that an ATC is wildly simpler to use and I have to disagree with you on that point. All things being equal, if, by the end of the day, I'll be leading with an inexperienced belayer and I have teach him/her either the Gri-gri or the ATC, I think I'll still chose the ATC.

Not that it matter, though. The only circumstance in which I can picture myself actually leading like that is if I'm guiding. And as we discussed, if I'm guiding, I'm virtually soloing. I will assume that a fall means death and I'll rappel before I'll lower.

In reply to:
All I'm suggesting is, why not make climbing as safe as possible and as easy to learn as possible for the beginner.

I absolutely agree. I only disagree that this...

In reply to:
When you've got a beginner with a blank slate of a brain it's just as easy to teach proper grigri use as it is to teach proper atc use. And as a bonus the grigri offers an extra margin of safety.

Is the way to do it. I think the Gri-gri decreases the margin of safety in the hands of a beginner.

In reply to:
I apologize for my emotionally charged previous post and admit that it was a touch close minded. But I think this is a worth while debate to have and hope that knowledgeable folks will respond.

Dood, no apologies necessary. Smile


Dillbag


Jun 26, 2007, 8:39 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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Let's debate the merits of belay devices in another thread and attempt for the first time in RC.com history to keep this one about the accident.

Wishing the best to the injured climber!


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 8:44 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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I posted this in a thread that actually spun off from this one, I think. Notice that, at no point in my post, does the type of belay device being used enter into the equation. Instead, it's entirely an issue of trust and belayer competency. Mike, I'll concede that some people are undoubtedly capable of teaching good Gri-gri use to a beginner, but even then, that beginner would be in my fourth tier.

j_ung wrote:
For me to really push my limits -- onsighting -- I have to be with one of those in the top tier. I don't pick the people in it. My trust in them, which is absolute and unflinching, is not something I can choose to give. When I'm maxed out, cruxing way above gear and I know the catch will have to be a gold glove winner, I'll either trust or not, commit or not, and there isn't an iota of conscious thought that goes into the decision. It's all gut instinct.

My second tier is a big one. I trust those folks, but only enough to push through a hard redpoint burn or on routes that are a little below my max. I have to convince myself to go for it. They hear, "Watch me," fairly often. They're close to top tier, but they just haven't quite earned my subconscious trust. They haven't done anything to not be in the top tier, but I like I said, I can't choose who's up there. Most of my regular partners are in this tier.

Third tier contains many people I've never climbed with and people who I think are good belayers, but maybe they haven't proven themselves yet. I'll climb with them, but I want to see them belay and hold falls first, and even then, I probably won't push it.

I won't let anybody in the fourth tier belay me without a back-up belayer who I trust. These folks are either inexperienced belayers or I've seen them belay and it scares me. Some of them are accidents waiting to happen. Some of them have dropped climbers. Some of them just don't seem quite comfortable with it yet, or maybe they use a belay technique that I don't like.


I'll add that the entire tiered system kind formed itself. It existed long before I ever recognized it and put it into words.


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 8:47 AM
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Re: [Dillbag] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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Dillbag wrote:
Let's debate the merits of belay devices in another thread and attempt for the first time in RC.com history to keep this one about the accident.

Wishing the best to the injured climber!

You're probably right, but I think the fact that the prognosis is so good allows us a little leeway (as long as it stays polite). Had it turned out worse, I never would have gone there.

If a moderator wants to split the thread, I certainly won't complain.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Jun 26, 2007, 8:49 AM)


majid_sabet


Jun 26, 2007, 9:15 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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If you are using a n00b to do your belay PLEASE
GIVE THEM A GRI GRI AND NOT an ATC


The chances of them locking a Gri Gri is 1%

The chances of them locking the rope with ATC is 0

Zero% vs. 1%

Which one sound better?

Ps
That 1% is by act of god when rope flies in to Gri Gri and get locked by a some miracle knot


markc


Jun 26, 2007, 9:35 AM
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Re: [curator] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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curator wrote:
Of course the belayer was at fault not the device but.....in this case in particular if she had a grigri this wouldn't have happened. That is a fact.

I will agree that with a Gri-Gri the mode of failure would have been different. However, an inexperienced belayer could still fail to protect the leader with a Gri-Gri. I've heard of an accident where a belayer was pinching the cam to feed rope to the leader. When his partner fell, the belayer didn't release the cam and the climber decked. I've personally witnessed someone pulling the handle on a Gri-Gri all the way without a hand on the brake strand. It was very lucky that she released the handle when the climber yelled. An inexperienced belayer may have to do a bit more work to hurt someone with a Gri-Gri, but quite a few people have been willing to put forth that effort.


notapplicable


Jun 26, 2007, 9:49 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
curator wrote:
From now on I'll be teaching beginners how to "look at the picture" and properly load a grigri, and how atc's are for advanced climbers only.


This approch sounds reasonable...

...under no circumstances I can imagine. Gri-gri or tube-style device is a false dichotomy. There are a whole range of other options.

True, true, I've belayed many a slab pitch around the waist.Wink

Sure you can get a third person to back up the belay or use a back up above or below the device much like you would on rappel and under alot of circumstances this approach is appropriate. That being said an auto locking device doesnt rely on the belayer to create the friction needed to stop a fall and that (all things being equal, device threaded properly and belayer knowledgeable of its use) IMO reduces the potential for human error in catching a fall. Auto lockers are not the answer to fuck ups fucking up but I can see the logic in useing them to teach beginners aslong as the same care in teaching proper use of the device is take as you would with any other device, tube style, friction plate, 8, hip, foot, tree, etc...


overlord


Jun 26, 2007, 9:53 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
curator wrote:
Give a beginner a grigri. If she had a grig this guy would be walking around right now, not dealing with years of rehab. And this girl wouldn't have to spend the rest of her life feeling guilty for almost killing a dude she barely knew. People think it's so important that the proper progression be used in teaching rock climbing. Tell me that again when you're standing there looking at a guy that is all fucked up and can barely breath.

Mike, with all due respect, you're citing one accident and ignoring all the others that involved beginners with Gri-gris. I think you're missing the common thread, which is the inexperienced belayer. The only truly safe approach to this conundrum is not to lead AT ALL with an inexperienced belayer holding your rope alone, no matter what type of device he or she is using.

ditto that. i was actually dropped by an experienced belayer who was using a grigri for the first time. it switched hes brake hand and he tried to brake with the lead part of the rope (which would normally be the brake end). i was luckier than he though, he got some really nasty ropeburn.

and there have been other instances of ppl being dropped with a grigri. a guy that sometimes climbs with me in a gym (we havent yet been outdoors together) broke hes heel that way.


dbrayack


Jun 26, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
If you are using a n00b to do your belay PLEASE
GIVE THEM A GRI GRI AND NOT an ATC


The chances of them locking a Gri Gri is 1%

The chances of them locking the rope with ATC is 0

Zero% vs. 1%

Which one sound better?

Ps
That 1% is by act of god when rope flies in to Gri Gri and get locked by a some miracle knot

I concur, except the "The chances of them locking a Gri Gri is 99.9%"


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 11:55 AM
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Re: [dbrayack] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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dbrayack wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
If you are using a n00b to do your belay PLEASE
GIVE THEM A GRI GRI AND NOT an ATC


The chances of them locking a Gri Gri is 1%

The chances of them locking the rope with ATC is 0

Zero% vs. 1%

Which one sound better?

Ps
That 1% is by act of god when rope flies in to Gri Gri and get locked by a some miracle knot

I concur, except the "The chances of them locking a Gri Gri is 99.9%"

In no way, shape or form is that an acceptable percentage to me. As mentioned above the best option -- by far -- is simply not to lead with an inexperienced belayer who isn't backed up. I can't imagine circumstances (outside of guiding) in which I have to lead climb so badly that I'll choose otherwise. I'll pick toproping (maybe) or bouldering, if I absolutely must climb and the only other person I can find has a 1 in 1000 chance of dirting me.

And FYI: Gri-gri-related accidents also occur when leaders fall while belayers are feeding rope, when belayers short rope lead climbers in the middle of desperate clips, and when belayers attempt to hold the load line instead of the brake when catching and lowering.

Actual accidents don't seem to bear out this notion that slapping a Gri-gri into the hands of an inexperienced belayer equals safety. Don't mistake what I'm saying here. I'm not telling you using an ATC is safer than using a Gri-gri. I'm telling you that, unless your belayer is competent, neither is really all that safe.

I can't even count the number of threads on this very site in which somebody was dropped by an inexperienced belayer with a Gri-gri. And in those threads, that person is inevitably told that what they needed wasn't a Gri-gri, it was to pick a better belayer.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Jun 26, 2007, 12:07 PM)


dbrayack


Jun 26, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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Personally, I think that the Gri-Gri and similar devices are making the ATC and the likes obsolete for most cases.

cough sputter cough Angelic


noell


Jun 26, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Re: [curator] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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Hey Mike,

Sorry you were down there for this whole thing, but then again, I am glad you were. I am sure that you and the others that were down there played a vital role in helping this guy out, and for that we thank you.

My brief $.02:

I have taken that ride many a-times when I was starting to lead 5.10's. Safe ride. No need for extra bolts.

I learned to belay w/an ATC, then a gri-gri. I was telling my partner last night how glad I was this was the order I learned to belay. If someone falls when I am belaying, the instinct is for me to lock down w/the brakehand, NOT to let go, NOT to clamp down on the gri gri, but to hold on to the rope the same way whether its w/a gri gri or ATC - LOCK down! Don't let go! Brake hand!!!

If I had learned w/a gri gri first, I don't know of my reflexes would be the same....

And to ditto what others said - I have heard of more stories of someone decking (Red, Rifle, Maple, Obed, New, whatever) while on belay w/a gri gri than ATC. But my experience is limited to a couple of years and to mainly sport crags.

Thanks again Mike. And to the others that helped. I will probably be down there this weekend! Yahoo!


dbrayack


Jun 26, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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I agree with you Jay, but just to argue the other point for kicks:

Consider the case when a climber is soloing on a Gri-Gri. Essentially, there is NO belayer whatsoever; You're just trusting the device to do its job. Granted this is not official use of a Gri-Gri, people do it all the time (and safely.) How is much different from handing a newer belayer a Gri-Gri, giving them a short lesson and then going for it?

Of course, common practice is to tie catastrophe knots (figure 8s so you don't zip all the way).

We really should talk about this in another forum.

WHen we get an update from the climber who fell, I'd certainly like to hear how he is doing. That sucks big time, you're in our prayers dude.

-Danno


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 12:18 PM
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Re: [noell] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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noell wrote:
Hey Mike,

Sorry you were down there for this whole thing, but then again, I am glad you were. I am sure that you and the others that were down there played a vital role in helping this guy out, and for that we thank you.

My brief $.02:

I have taken that ride many a-times when I was starting to lead 5.10's. Safe ride. No need for extra bolts.

I learned to belay w/an ATC, then a gri-gri. I was telling my partner last night how glad I was this was the order I learned to belay. If someone falls when I am belaying, the instinct is for me to lock down w/the brakehand, NOT to let go, NOT to clamp down on the gri gri, but to hold on to the rope the same way whether its w/a gri gri or ATC - LOCK down! Don't let go! Brake hand!!!

If I had learned w/a gri gri first, I don't know of my reflexes would be the same....

And to ditto what others said - I have heard of more stories of someone decking (Red, Rifle, Maple, Obed, New, whatever) while on belay w/a gri gri than ATC. But my experience is limited to a couple of years and to mainly sport crags.

Thanks again Mike. And to the others that helped. I will probably be down there this weekend! Yahoo!

I don't think I said it yet, but my thanks as well. It reaffirms my faith in the climbing community when an accident response is as thorough and effective as yours obviously was. Good on ya!

And, I've been climbing longer than any Gri-gri has and I concur. I've heard of more Gri-gri-related accidents than any other, except perhaps rappelling.


Partner j_ung


Jun 26, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Re: [dbrayack] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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dbrayack wrote:
Consider the case when a climber is soloing on a Gri-Gri. Essentially, there is NO belayer whatsoever; You're just trusting the device to do its job. Granted this is not official use of a Gri-Gri, people do it all the time (and safely.) How is much different from handing a newer belayer a Gri-Gri, giving them a short lesson and then going for it?

In the latter, you've added a person who may very well be incompetent to the equation. Your (in the figurative sense -- not YOU, DBRAYACK Tongue) mistake is in thinking that this is somehow better than letting a Gri-gri do its thing unmolested or, in the case of rope soloing, minded by the hopefully experienced climber.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Jun 26, 2007, 12:29 PM)


medicus


Jun 26, 2007, 12:28 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Gorge climber injured in 40 ft fall [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
If you are using a n00b to do your belay PLEASE
GIVE THEM A GRI GRI AND NOT an ATC


The chances of them locking a Gri Gri is 1%

The chances of them locking the rope with ATC is 0

Zero% vs. 1%

Which one sound better?

Ps
That 1% is by act of god when rope flies in to Gri Gri and get locked by a some miracle knot

That chances of my falling off a route where I would ACTUALLY allow an inexperienced belayer to lead belay me...
ATC- 1% because I can at least move up if s/he doesn't pay out slack quickly enough
Gri-Gri- 99% because it will indefinitely lock up when slack needs to be paid out pulling me off the climb.


That being said, I won't lead with an inexperienced belayer.

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