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Accident on Mt. Lemmon
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troutboy


Dec 11, 2009, 6:44 AM
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Re: [Trixie] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Trixie wrote:
robdotcalm wrote:
The belayer has contributed the following information on Mt Project:

«What i meant by creating tension on the line was: I had my left hand on break, had take up as much slack as possible that way but at the last minute I realized there was still too much rope so with my right hand I jumped up and grabbed the climbers side of the rope to create tension while still breaking with my left.»

Well, her heart's in the right place, but I don't think her R hand was.

Cheers,
Rob.calm

Where should her right hand have been? I'm confused. If it joined her left hand on the brake, the climber would have decked at full speed. The fact that her hand got burned shows that she managed to take some energy out of the fall and probably saved his life.

How quickly can the average belayer take in slack through a belay device? Come to think of it, what is an average belayer? Laugh

Her right hand should have been anywhere, except near the rope on the climber's side of the belay device. Rob is not saying she should have been doing something with her right hand, but that she unfortunately put it in a bad location.

As I read this, the belayer was braking with her left hand and reached up with her right above the belay device because there was slack in the rope there. Grabbing the rope above the belay device would have no effect on reducing the length of the fall. Slack on the climber's side of the belay device also indicates some other things, but I am not going to explore there.

The belay may not have mattered in this case. From the accident description, it's possible the climber was well into groundfall zone, especially if he had some rope pulled up to clip when he fell (has that been mentioned in any description ?). With no place to run, it might not have been possible for even an experienced belayer to pull in enough slack to prevent the groundfall.

There are still some questions in my head about the entire fall/belay sequence, but the climber chose to proceed well into potential groundfall zone. His choice, albeit an unfortunate one. Anyone who has climbed for a reasonable amount of time eventually is faced with this choice; however, when the choice to proceed into groundfall zone means climbing at or near your ability, that's a more serious proposition.

I wish both the climber and belayer the best.

TS


Trixie


Dec 11, 2009, 7:28 AM
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Re: [patto] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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I'm obviously being thick. I can see what you're saying if they were top roping, but they werent, therefore there had to be slack in the system cos it's very awkward trying to lead climb on a tight rope. Having both hands on the brake isn't going to do a thing with thirty feet of rope out and the only pro is at 15 feet. The guy is gonna deck with slack still in the system, given that he fell trying to clip the second bolt.

As you said, you'd have both hands on the brake before the rope came tight, but it seems that what's happened is that the rope was never going to become tight - the guy was 15 feet above his only piece of pro, which itself was 15 feet from the deck.

I think I need Majid and his arrows if I'm ever going to understand this. Laugh


Trixie


Dec 11, 2009, 7:38 AM
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Re: [troutboy] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Troutboy, you've got the same take on it as me. The only thing I'm querying is that she was wrong grabbing the climber's side of the rope. Yes, she would get hurt, but she was trying to save this guy's life and probably succeeded. Even if she only managed to slow his fall by a little, then I think she did well.

It was mentioned in the original post that the climber fell trying to clip the second bolt so I think it would be fair to say that he was well into the groundfall zone.

I think in that situation knowing that the climber is going to laminate himself on the ground, most of us would have, in desperation, grabbed the climber's side of the rope.


Gmburns2000


Dec 11, 2009, 7:46 AM
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Re: [Trixie] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Trixie wrote:
Troutboy, you've got the same take on it as me. The only thing I'm querying is that she was wrong grabbing the climber's side of the rope. Yes, she would get hurt, but she was trying to save this guy's life and probably succeeded. Even if she only managed to slow his fall by a little, then I think she did well.

It was mentioned in the original post that the climber fell trying to clip the second bolt so I think it would be fair to say that he was well into the groundfall zone.

I think in that situation knowing that the climber is going to laminate himself on the ground, most of us would have, in desperation, grabbed the climber's side of the rope.

In baseball there is the belief that when running to first the runner should not lunge for firstbase when the play is going to be close. Instead, it is supposedly faster to keep running hard.

While she may have slowed the rope down some by grabbing the climber's side of the rope, I wonder if there was something better that she could have done otherwise. I'm not sure what that could have been (some have mentioned sitting down), but it certainly is worth thinking about it.


troutboy


Dec 11, 2009, 8:02 AM
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Re: [Trixie] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Trixie wrote:
I'm obviously being thick. I can see what you're saying if they were top roping, but they werent, therefore there had to be slack in the system cos it's very awkward trying to lead climb on a tight rope.

OK. now I see your issue. Yes, it's a fine line between enough slack to clip and too much. My perspective was too much slack out during the clip, but perhaps this was not the case. And once the climber starts to fall, there will be nothing but slack on the climbers side (because there is no way a belayer could take in rope as fast as the climber is falling in a free fall situation). Perhaps that is when the belayer grabbed the climber's side (as opposed to before the fall or simultaneouly with the onset of the fall). There is also a fine line regarding knowing whether or not you should lock off or try to take in a bit more slack first. Situation-specific, split-second decision in a stressful situation that is instinctual from catching many previous falls in more controlled situations.

I also want to clarify: my questions regarding the fall/belay sequence stem from inadequate descriptions/incomplete information only to determine if the climber faced certain groundfall. If that were the case, without the ability to run, the belayer could do nothing to stop said groundfall.

TS


jt512


Dec 11, 2009, 8:34 AM
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Re: [troutboy] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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troutboy wrote:
Her right hand should have been anywhere, except near the rope on the climber's side of the belay device.

Really? Where is your guide hand when you belay?

Jay


troutboy


Dec 11, 2009, 8:41 AM
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Re: [jt512] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
troutboy wrote:
Her right hand should have been anywhere, except near the rope on the climber's side of the belay device.

Really? Where is your guide hand when you belay?

Jay

Oops. Quite right. As worded, stupid statement. I was picturing having the off hand at or near the belay device during the fall catch and getting sucked into the device/rope. Obviously, the off hand is constantly pulling in or paying out rope during the actual belay. Depends on when she tried to grab the rope with the off hand. Generally, once I begin to lock off, I pull my off hand well away from the rope, sometimes locking off with both hands. Perhaps others do not.

Thanks for the headsmack Jay.

TS


jt512


Dec 11, 2009, 9:11 AM
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Re: [Trixie] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Trixie wrote:
I think in that situation knowing that the climber is going to laminate himself on the ground, most of us would have, in desperation, grabbed the climber's side of the rope.

I don't think I would have. What would one be trying to accomplish by grabbing the leader's side of the rope. Pulling in slack? You pull slack through the belay device from the brake side of the rope. Duh! This is exactly why the brake side of the rope should be kept by default in a neutral position—as I have been arguing for at least the last decade—not locked off all the time. With a 30-foot fall that she should have seen coming, starting with the brake rope held 60–90 degrees from the leader's rope, she probably would have had time to take in two armfuls of slack, hand over hand on the brake side of the rope before locking off with both hands (on the brake side of the rope) and diving to the ground.

What happened here was an inexperienced and/or poorly trained belayer, probably using an inferior "modern" locked-off-by-default belay technique, panicked and reacted improperly in response to the fall—none of which, of course, mitigates her gumby partner's culpability in the accident.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Dec 11, 2009, 9:13 AM)


dugl33


Dec 11, 2009, 1:20 PM
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Re: [jt512] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
What happened here was an inexperienced and/or poorly trained belayer, probably using an inferior "modern" locked-off-by-default belay technique, panicked and reacted improperly in response to the fall—none of which, of course, mitigates her gumby partner's culpability in the accident.

Jay

I think the jury is still out on that one. If my math is correct, and its probably not, it takes around 1.37 seconds to free fall 30', and you're travelling close to 30 mph after that distance.

One-mississipi-one-mis. That's all you got. You'd be doing well to take in two pulls of slack, although probably(?) possible. If she indeed took in slack, locked off, and then pulled in yet more slack on the guide side, I would speculate this provided some added benefit, with a personal sacrifice of rope burn. Sitting down would help more because it would be a true gain.

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

and, to no one in particular...

To debunk the bruce-jenner belay a bit more, if the first pro is 15 feet up, and you manage to go from 2' away from the cliff to 15' back, you have only taken in around 5 feet of slack with your 13 foot run.

If the first pro is 30 feet up, you get a measly 3 - 1/2' feet of slack reduction for your efforts. You're better off staying put, yarding in slack, and sitting down. Remember, one-mississipi-one... Not a lot of time.

If you really want to bruce-jenner that sucker, you have to have a bomb proof redirect at waist height. This is the only way to get one-to-one slack reduction out of your run.

dig? Tongue


Lazlo


Dec 11, 2009, 2:20 PM
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Re: [jt512] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
zeke_sf wrote:
jt512 wrote:
robdotcalm wrote:
jt512 wrote:

This is plausible. I have had my hand get quite hot through a glove when trying to lower a climber quickly.

Jay

Lowering a climber so fast that your hand gets hot thru a glove seems to be a gratuitously unsafe thing to do. Why does anyone do that other than to show off (as I've observed in gyms and sport crags)?

Doing laps for endurance training, you want to simulate continuous climbing, so you want to get the climber to the ground as quickly as possible, to minimize the break between laps. That's one reason.

Jay

I'd rather downclimb than get decked fagging off like that.

So would I, but I'd rather get lowered quickly without getting decked than downclimbing.

Jay

I laughed.


patto


Dec 11, 2009, 2:45 PM
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Re: Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Some very good posts there Troutboy, Jay and Dugl33.

(To be honost im embarassed not to have realised the limited benefit of a running away belay. That said I've never done it and never advocated it.)

Inspite of the belayers description the notion that the fall was 'well within the ground fall zone' is flawed. If the rope ran through here hands it implies that the rope cam tense thus at the most the ground was within the stretch zone. Even so, if you are locked off properly there should be very limited amount of rope movement on the guide side anyway!


billl7


Dec 11, 2009, 4:07 PM
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Re: [patto] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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I have seen a well-intentioned but somewhat inexperienced belayer get 2nd degree burns on the guide hand but NOT on the brake hand. This was from a leader fall on vertical terrain; FF 2/3? The leader was caught just fine. Unfortunately, the belayer had rather instinctively pulled in the rope with the guide hand and simply held it tight until the slack zipped back out.

Seems pretty clear that the leader knew he was making a decision to go to the margin of his protection.

Bill L


socalclimber


Dec 11, 2009, 5:47 PM
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Re: [billl7] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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This whole accident has IDIOTS written all over it. The level of failure here lies on both sides.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Dec 11, 2009, 5:51 PM)


billl7


Dec 11, 2009, 5:57 PM
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Re: [socalclimber] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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I would agree about on "both sides" if the belayer had been cool about the leader pressing on to the second bolt.


socalclimber


Dec 11, 2009, 6:11 PM
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Re: [billl7] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
I would agree about on "both sides" if the belayer had been cool about the leader pressing on to the second bolt.

Here's my take on it. Part of the whole process of climbing with partners is that it is indeed a partnership. The leader clearly failed to account for the partners lack of skills and abilities.


jt512


Dec 11, 2009, 6:27 PM
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Re: [socalclimber] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
The leader clearly failed to account for the partners lack of skills and abilities.

The leader didn't even account for his own lack of skills and abilities, never mind his partner's.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Dec 11, 2009, 6:55 PM)


socalclimber


Dec 11, 2009, 6:33 PM
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Re: [jt512] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Agreed. Point taken!


notapplicable


Dec 12, 2009, 8:57 AM
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Re: [Trixie] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Trixie wrote:
The only thing I'm querying is that she was wrong grabbing the climber's side of the rope. Yes, she would get hurt, but she was trying to save this guy's life and probably succeeded. Even if she only managed to slow his fall by a little, then I think she did well.

I would disagree with the notion that grabbing above accumulated slack on the climbers side of the rope slowed the fall enough to make any kind of difference. Too much mass, traveling to damn fast.

Try this experiment. The next time you have a lead rope strung up on something, grab a single strand and try to hold just your own body weight off the ground. Now imagine there is a climber on the other end who both out weights you and has just fallen 30' and you are trying to stop them. Are you make a difference?

It's unlikely the belayer made the situation worse by her actions but the way that rope went through her fingers, she might as well have been trying to grab a fist full of water.


claramie


Dec 12, 2009, 10:32 AM
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Re: [jt512] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
Gumby belayer drops gumby leader. Welcome to Tucson, the Pennsylvania of the West.

Jay

... and some people online are more concerned with talking shit and showcasing their own superiority than offering any valuable advice...

well played on all sides


(This post was edited by claramie on Dec 12, 2009, 10:33 AM)


Trixie


Dec 12, 2009, 10:53 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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In reply to:
It's unlikely the belayer made the situation worse by her actions but the way that rope went through her fingers, she might as well have been trying to grab a fist full of water.

Yes, I agree that she might not have made any difference, but then again she might have. Who knows? However in that situation, could you just stand and do nothing? Personally, I'd grab the rope. Sitting down wouldn't help me at all, cos it would only make a difference of 2 feet (I'm only 4'11" and I've measured the difference in distance of my waist from the ground, standing and sitting.


socalclimber


Dec 12, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Re: [claramie] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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claramie wrote:
jt512 wrote:
Gumby belayer drops gumby leader. Welcome to Tucson, the Pennsylvania of the West.

Jay

... and some people online are more concerned with talking shit and showcasing their own superiority than offering any valuable advice...

well played on all sides

No dumb fuck. The point is spot on.

Maybe since you don't understand this we will be reading about you someday.


notapplicable


Dec 12, 2009, 1:13 PM
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Re: [Trixie] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Trixie wrote:
In reply to:
It's unlikely the belayer made the situation worse by her actions but the way that rope went through her fingers, she might as well have been trying to grab a fist full of water.

Yes, I agree that she might not have made any difference, but then again she might have. Who knows? However in that situation, could you just stand and do nothing? Personally, I'd grab the rope. Sitting down wouldn't help me at all, cos it would only make a difference of 2 feet (I'm only 4'11" and I've measured the difference in distance of my waist from the ground, standing and sitting.

I'm very confident that any friction she added to the system by grabbing the rope was well in to the negligible range. I'm also very confident that the two feet of slack you'll eliminate by diving to the deck will help more than any friction you can add by grabbing the rope.

10 years of bricklaying and 6+ years of climbing has given me an above average grip strength and it would never occur to me to try and slow a fall like that by grabbing the rope with a single hand. It's just not gonna do any good. Personally I would have done exactly what Jay described. Take in as much slack as possible and hit the deck.

Not a whole lot more you can do unless you plan ahead and sling a nearby tree as a redirect so you can sprint away from the wall. That system has several downsides including hindering normal belay processes though, so I've only ever used it for badly runout (30+ feet between placements) slab climbing. IMO that is the only time a "running belay" can shorten a fall by a wide enough margin to offset it's potential inconveniences and dangers.


notapplicable


Dec 12, 2009, 1:23 PM
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Re: [socalclimber] Accident on Mt. Lemmon [In reply to]
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Why hasn't this post been recycled yet?

Oh thats right, the modz are too busy arguing about whether a freesoloing thread is climbing related to moderate the one forum that actually needs it.

Nice.


edited because I apparently can not spell "thread"


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Dec 12, 2009, 1:25 PM)


Trixie


Dec 12, 2009, 2:45 PM
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Thanks for that explanation. You're right, 2 feet of slack removed is better than nothing. I really hope I never end up in that situation, it does seem to be a lose/lose one.

TrixieCool


jt512


Dec 12, 2009, 2:56 PM
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Trixie wrote:
Thanks for that explanation. You're right, 2 feet of slack removed is better than nothing. I really hope I never end up in that situation, it does seem to be a lose/lose one.

TrixieCool

Please wake up and start taking this sport seriously. If you climb long enough you almost certainly will be in a situation (more than once) when your actions as a belayer will (or won't) keep your partner from decking. If don't think you can handle that coolly and competently, find another sport.

Jay

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