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Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday
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gblauer
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Mar 23, 2010, 11:53 AM
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Re: [ClimbClimb] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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Actually, when I was up there I heard 4 or 5 different versions of the story from people who, in their words "were right there".

It's amazing how people perceive things so differently. The common elements:
1) She was not wearing a helment
2) She was on a TR
3) She hit her head
4) She hit the tree (and her hip)
5) She did not deck (Stopped short 5-10 feet off the ground)
6) Belayer had 2nd degree burns on his hands and had to be assisted down from the top of the first pitch
7) Belayer was devastated
8) Climber was awake, talking etc

What we don't know is exactly what happened. was he using a carabiner as a belay device? A Reverso?


zeke_sf


Mar 23, 2010, 12:06 PM
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Re: [gblauer] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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Cool. I'll have to watch out for the "Gunks belay" now.


acorneau


Mar 23, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Re: [gblauer] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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I'm going to take an armchair guess here...

My bet is that the belayer hooked the Reverso on to the anchor using the rope-side biner instead of attaching it via the anchoring hole/biner.

The belayer had basically no holding power since he would have had to have locked off the device in the opposite direction of the load (straight up).

Again, just my guess.


(This post was edited by acorneau on Mar 23, 2010, 12:55 PM)


ensonik


Mar 23, 2010, 4:31 PM
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Re: [gblauer] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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From gunks.com
In reply to:
Before the "Pointless Hypothesis based on Hearsay" machine gets too badly spun up, I have an account of the incident on Ape Call (climber being lowered nearly decks) from the person who fell. I don't have her permission to share it but I do want to correct one piece of mis-info that is key. The climber was being lowered using an ATC in guide mode and not 'without a belay device'. Both climbers involved are very experienced and are badly shaken up. When they are ready I expect that they will feel more comfortable in unpacking this and we can make a reasoned attempt at understanding how and why and what not to do next time we are there. Until then, useless comments about Darwinism aren't helpful. It could be you next time, but for the grace of God and all that...

http://gunks.com/ubbthreads7/ubbthreads.php/topics/50922/Re_Accident_this_Past_Saturday#Post50922


shockabuku


Mar 23, 2010, 4:43 PM
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Re: [ensonik] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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ensonik wrote:
From gunks.com
In reply to:
Before the "Pointless Hypothesis based on Hearsay" machine gets too badly spun up, I have an account of the incident on Ape Call (climber being lowered nearly decks) from the person who fell. I don't have her permission to share it but I do want to correct one piece of mis-info that is key. The climber was being lowered using an ATC in guide mode and not 'without a belay device'. Both climbers involved are very experienced and are badly shaken up. When they are ready I expect that they will feel more comfortable in unpacking this and we can make a reasoned attempt at understanding how and why and what not to do next time we are there. Until then, useless comments about Darwinism aren't helpful. It could be you next time, but for the grace of God and all that...

http://gunks.com/...t_Saturday#Post50922


mojomonkey


Mar 23, 2010, 4:59 PM
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Re: [shockabuku] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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And the belayer posted there:

In reply to:
I was the belayer in the Ape Call accident this past Saturday. Before I give my account, I would just like to say thank you to everyone that assisted. Also, I know that I am going to be ridiculed for whatever I say, but I would like to say that whatever you may say about me or poor judgement from the event has got absolutely nothing on the way that I already feel about what I put my friend/climbing partner through.

I led Ape Call, and belayed my friend to the top of the pitch. I was then going to lower her down, so that another member of our party could climb the pitch. I belayed her using an ATC Guide in autoblock mode. The device was attached directly to the anchor (tree to the right of the top of P1). I thought to switch the belay device over, so that I would lower off of my harness and have the rope re-dirceted through the power point of the anchor, but through poor judgement thought that I would be OK to lower with it in autoblock. To lower her, I girth hitched a sling to the belay biner and re-directed it through the anchor. I then kept by brake hand (left hand) on the brake strand, and used my right to pull on the sling to release tension from the belay device. At first, tension did not release, so I pulled slightly harder and the the rope went through very quickly. The bleay device was set up properly, and at no point did my brake hand let go of the rope. I thought I released the pressure instantly from the sling, but may have been mistaken, or may not have released enough pressure from the sling. I did eventually stop my partner, but not before she hit her head and her hip on the way down. I was able to lower her in a controlled manner the rest of the way to the ground.

Almost instantly there were a number of highly qualified people on scene to help out. Thanks again to everyone that played a part on Saturday, I really cannot thank you enough. I went to the hospital with my partner. She was checked out and they said she was ok, and they helped to clean my brake hand which has some pretty significant rope burns.

I know I exercised poor judgement in this situation by lowering her while still set up in autoblock. I know that many people on this site are going to be quick to chime in about my poor judgement and all the mistakes I made. I know this is going to happen, but I assure you that nothing anyone has to say could possibly make me feel any worse than I already do. Through the years I have spent climbing at the Gunks, all the ambulances that I have heard coming to and from the crag, and even carry outs I have helped with, I never knew what it was like to have the rescue efforts focused on me, now unfortunately I have had the terrible and much worse experience of knowing what it is like to have the rescue efforts focused on your partner, friend, and someone that has put their life in your hands.


johnwesely


Mar 23, 2010, 5:05 PM
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Re: [mojomonkey] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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That is why it is crucial to practice releasing an auto block belay device on the ground when nothing is at stake.


meanandugly


Mar 23, 2010, 5:17 PM
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Re: [mojomonkey] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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Good judgment comes from poor decisions. Lesson learned, I hope. Hopefully other will learn from your. I to have screwed up in the past and all you can do at this point is endeavor to do better.


patto


Mar 25, 2010, 5:42 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
That is why it is crucial to practice releasing an auto block belay device on the ground when nothing is at stake.

Or just use common sense.

It sounds like this guy was locking off with brake rope BELOW the device. This is absurd as the device gives no friction like this. Lock off above the device this should be obvious. (If you are going to be lowering for any distance then redirecting the brake rope through a bomber higher piece can be effective and allow you to brake in a more comfortable way.)

EDIT:

After reading the gunks page it seems many people do not understand how the belay device opperates in friction guide mode. It is scary.

JUST BECAUSE IT IS A BRAKE ROPE AND YOU ARE HOLDING IT IN YOUR BRAKE HAND DOESN'T MEAN IT WILL BRAKE!!!

You need to hold it at the correct angle. This is fundamental to the functioning of a belay device, think about it.

EDIT2:

OMFG!!!

Even Black Diamond don't know how to use their own device! Death video:
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/...lay-rappel/atc-guide


(This post was edited by patto on Mar 25, 2010, 6:18 AM)


johnwesely


Mar 25, 2010, 6:11 AM
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Re: [patto] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
That is why it is crucial to practice releasing an auto block belay device on the ground when nothing is at stake.

Or just use common sense.

It sounds like this guy was locking off with brake rope BELOW the device. This is absurd as the device gives no friction like this. Lock off above the device this should be obvious. (If you are going to be lowering for any distance then redirecting the brake rope through a bomber higher piece can be effective and allow you to brake in a more comfortable way.)

EDIT

After reading the gunks page it seems many people do not understand how the belay device opperates in friction guide mode. It is scary.

JUST BECAUSE IT IS A BRAKE ROPE AND YOU ARE HOLDING IT IN YOUR BRAKE HAND DOESN'T MEAN IT WILL BRAKE!!!

You need to hold it at the correct angle. This is fundamental to the functioning of a belay device, think about it.

If you were to practice on the ground, it would take you all of five seconds to figure that out. I know it is not a replacement for common sense, but it probably would have prevented this accident.


Gmburns2000


Mar 25, 2010, 6:14 AM
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Re: [mojomonkey] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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thanks for posting that here, MM.

I hope everyone involved recovers quickly, both physically and emotionally.

mojomonkey wrote:
And the belayer posted there:

In reply to:
I was the belayer in the Ape Call accident this past Saturday. Before I give my account, I would just like to say thank you to everyone that assisted. Also, I know that I am going to be ridiculed for whatever I say, but I would like to say that whatever you may say about me or poor judgement from the event has got absolutely nothing on the way that I already feel about what I put my friend/climbing partner through.

I led Ape Call, and belayed my friend to the top of the pitch. I was then going to lower her down, so that another member of our party could climb the pitch. I belayed her using an ATC Guide in autoblock mode. The device was attached directly to the anchor (tree to the right of the top of P1). I thought to switch the belay device over, so that I would lower off of my harness and have the rope re-dirceted through the power point of the anchor, but through poor judgement thought that I would be OK to lower with it in autoblock. To lower her, I girth hitched a sling to the belay biner and re-directed it through the anchor. I then kept by brake hand (left hand) on the brake strand, and used my right to pull on the sling to release tension from the belay device. At first, tension did not release, so I pulled slightly harder and the the rope went through very quickly. The bleay device was set up properly, and at no point did my brake hand let go of the rope. I thought I released the pressure instantly from the sling, but may have been mistaken, or may not have released enough pressure from the sling. I did eventually stop my partner, but not before she hit her head and her hip on the way down. I was able to lower her in a controlled manner the rest of the way to the ground.

Almost instantly there were a number of highly qualified people on scene to help out. Thanks again to everyone that played a part on Saturday, I really cannot thank you enough. I went to the hospital with my partner. She was checked out and they said she was ok, and they helped to clean my brake hand which has some pretty significant rope burns.

I know I exercised poor judgement in this situation by lowering her while still set up in autoblock. I know that many people on this site are going to be quick to chime in about my poor judgement and all the mistakes I made. I know this is going to happen, but I assure you that nothing anyone has to say could possibly make me feel any worse than I already do. Through the years I have spent climbing at the Gunks, all the ambulances that I have heard coming to and from the crag, and even carry outs I have helped with, I never knew what it was like to have the rescue efforts focused on me, now unfortunately I have had the terrible and much worse experience of knowing what it is like to have the rescue efforts focused on your partner, friend, and someone that has put their life in your hands.


patto


Mar 25, 2010, 6:20 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
If you were to practice on the ground, it would take you all of five seconds to figure that out. I know it is not a replacement for common sense, but it probably would have prevented this accident.

It seems that Black Diamond didn't figure it out in their how to video:

Shocked

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/...lay-rappel/atc-guide

Direct link:
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/...TO_ATC_Guide_Use.flv


benmoreite


Mar 25, 2010, 6:34 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
patto wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
That is why it is crucial to practice releasing an auto block belay device on the ground when nothing is at stake.

Or just use common sense.

It sounds like this guy was locking off with brake rope BELOW the device. This is absurd as the device gives no friction like this. Lock off above the device this should be obvious. (If you are going to be lowering for any distance then redirecting the brake rope through a bomber higher piece can be effective and allow you to brake in a more comfortable way.)

EDIT

After reading the gunks page it seems many people do not understand how the belay device opperates in friction guide mode. It is scary.

JUST BECAUSE IT IS A BRAKE ROPE AND YOU ARE HOLDING IT IN YOUR BRAKE HAND DOESN'T MEAN IT WILL BRAKE!!!

You need to hold it at the correct angle. This is fundamental to the functioning of a belay device, think about it.

If you were to practice on the ground, it would take you all of five seconds to figure that out. I know it is not a replacement for common sense, but it probably would have prevented this accident.

My initial reaction was similar to the above, but then I went and took a look at the BD instructions and their instructional video. I found the video, the written instructions on lowering, and the pictograms that accompany the written instructions to all be lacking.

I would also add that practicing on the ground does not provide the kinds of load on the climbers end to teach a new Guide user the importance of the angle on the break side. Until you are trying to release that sucker with a full hanging load on it, there is just no way to appreciate how hard it is to release and control.

When lowering with the guide, especially on vertical to overhanging terrain, I like to either redirect the break-strand through a high carabiner, or run the break-strand from the ATC to a carabiner on my harness with a munter hitch. Both of these options provide a simple way to add a lot of friction while lowering in guide mode.

My best wishes to all involved for a speedy recovery.


johnwesely


Mar 25, 2010, 6:38 AM
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Re: [benmoreite] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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When I practiced, I used about twenty five pounds of stuff to act as my climber. I actually had to lower my climber on a auto blocking device (Trango B-52) last weekend. I was surprised by how difficult it was to release but was prepared for the system going from being completely blocked off to no friction at all in an instant.


brianri


Mar 25, 2010, 6:40 AM
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Re: [shockabuku] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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This always occurs after an accident. The "Pointless Hypothesis based on Hearsay" of people who weren't there come out of the woodwork and second guess what happened. They are the real fucking morons.

I had a similar problem when lowering using the Black Diamond ATC Guide. I was able to recover quickly so it didn't result in an accident but the person I was lowering got a sudden quick ride that I'm sure she didn't appreciate.

I was lowering exactly how BD shows in their video. So if you use one of these be careful. It is very easy to get the lower out of control with a slight tug.
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/belay-rappel/atc-guide


(This post was edited by brianri on Mar 25, 2010, 6:55 AM)


Partner j_ung


Mar 25, 2010, 6:53 AM
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Re: [brianri] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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brianri wrote:
This always occurs after an accident. The "Pointless Hypothesis based on Hearsay" of people who weren't there come out of the woodwork and second guess what happened. They are the real fucking morans.

I had a similar problem when lowering using the Black Diamond ATC Guide. I was able to recover quickly so it didn't result in an accident but the person I was lowering got a sudden quick ride that I'm sure she didn't appreciate.

I was lowering exactly how BD shows in their video. So if you use one of these be careful. It is very easy to get the lower out of control with a slight tug.
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/belay-rappel/atc-guide

The correct spelling is morOn. Tongue


kaizen


Mar 25, 2010, 7:04 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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Honest question here. If you knew ahead of time you were going to lower someone once they reached the top of the pitch, why would you even set the device up in autoblock mode? Is it just so the belayer can have that extra back-up/less focused belay?

Or is there another reason I am just not getting here...


brianri


Mar 25, 2010, 7:13 AM
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In reply to:
The correct spelling is morOn. Tongue

Thanks. I fixed it. What an inopportune word not to run the spell check on. Blush


Partner cracklover


Mar 25, 2010, 7:49 AM
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Re: [brianri] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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brianri wrote:
This always occurs after an accident. The "Pointless Hypothesis based on Hearsay" of people who weren't there come out of the woodwork and second guess what happened. They are the real fucking morons.

I had a similar problem when lowering using the Black Diamond ATC Guide. I was able to recover quickly so it didn't result in an accident but the person I was lowering got a sudden quick ride that I'm sure she didn't appreciate.

I was lowering exactly how BD shows in their video. So if you use one of these be careful. It is very easy to get the lower out of control with a slight tug.
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/climb/belay-rappel/atc-guide

I just tried to replicate this yesterday. I found that when you pull on the brake strand of the rope in addition to pulling on the pull cord, with a full (115 lbs) of force on the rope, the device will invert completely. At that point you must either completely brake with the brake strand, or *release* the brake strand and release the pull cord, otherwise the climber will fall out of control.

GO


benmoreite


Mar 25, 2010, 8:09 AM
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cracklover wrote:
I just tried to replicate this yesterday. I found that when you pull on the brake strand of the rope in addition to pulling on the pull cord, with a full (115 lbs) of force on the rope, the device will invert completely. At that point you must either completely brake with the brake strand, or *release* the brake strand and release the pull cord, otherwise the climber will fall out of control.

GO

Indeed, when fully weighted, releasing the autoblock turns the whole setup into little more than a redirect, and you must break by pulling the rope in the opposite direction (i.e. up when setup in guide mode), which is incredibly difficult if you have set your anchor high (as is preferable for actually belaying) and you are using your body weight to unlock the device in the first place.

Using some kind of assist makes this whole process much easier and far safer imho. The attached document shows some ways to lower effectively with a plaquette, the directions from BD (which I find misleading and ineffective), and lowering with a GriGri, which has similar issues to the plaquettes.
Attachments: AutoBlock Belay Device Tricks.pdf (138 KB)


jt512


Mar 25, 2010, 8:32 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
That is why it is crucial to practice releasing an auto block belay device on the ground when nothing is at stake.

Or not use it in "guide mode" in the first place without a really good reason, especially when you might have to lower the climber. Since there is almost always the possibility that you'll have to lower the climber, it stands to reason that you should almost never use the device in this configuration.

Jay


iron106


Mar 25, 2010, 8:37 AM
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Re: [benmoreite] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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Maybe these instructions should show that you have to redirect, none really appear to. The ATC guide instructions only say to have a firm grip on the brake side of the rope.

People will disagree with me and bash me about this also but....I am impressed with this belayers ability to stop the climber in this situation. That is the important thing. I can only imagine how hard he had to squeeze that rope to stop the climber. Good job. holding the brake side or the rope. No matter what don't let go of the brake!


IsayAutumn


Mar 25, 2010, 8:43 AM
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Re: [jt512] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
That is why it is crucial to practice releasing an auto block belay device on the ground when nothing is at stake.

Or not use it in "guide mode" in the first place without a really good reason, especially when you might have to lower the climber. Since there is almost always the possibility that you'll have to lower the climber, it stands to reason that you should almost never use the device in this configuration.

Jay

Or you could learn how to do it correctly and safely. Guide mode offers a lot of advantages. Just because something requires effort to learn does not mean it "stands to reason" that it should never be done.


Partner cracklover


Mar 25, 2010, 8:49 AM
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Re: [benmoreite] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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benmoreite wrote:
cracklover wrote:
I just tried to replicate this yesterday. I found that when you pull on the brake strand of the rope in addition to pulling on the pull cord, with a full (115 lbs) of force on the rope, the device will invert completely. At that point you must either completely brake with the brake strand, or *release* the brake strand and release the pull cord, otherwise the climber will fall out of control.

GO

Indeed, when fully weighted, releasing the autoblock turns the whole setup into little more than a redirect, and you must break by pulling the rope in the opposite direction (i.e. up when setup in guide mode), which is incredibly difficult if you have set your anchor high (as is preferable for actually belaying) and you are using your body weight to unlock the device in the first place.

Actually, the interesting thing was that it didn't require me "fully weighting" the release to get this to happen. Basically, once the device started to partially release, a slight tug sideways or upwards on the brake strand caused it to open/release completely. In other words, I initiated the release with the cord, but then pulling on the brake strand of the rope released the block completely. At which point the only way to get the climber back in control was to either pull *harder* on the brake strand (counter-intuitive, as this is what opened the device so much in the first place), or simultaneously fully release both the brake strand of the rope and the pull cord.

GO

(edited to add a word for clarity)


(This post was edited by cracklover on Mar 25, 2010, 8:50 AM)


benmoreite


Mar 25, 2010, 8:57 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Interesting accident at the gunks on Saturday [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
benmoreite wrote:
cracklover wrote:
I just tried to replicate this yesterday. I found that when you pull on the brake strand of the rope in addition to pulling on the pull cord, with a full (115 lbs) of force on the rope, the device will invert completely. At that point you must either completely brake with the brake strand, or *release* the brake strand and release the pull cord, otherwise the climber will fall out of control.

GO

Indeed, when fully weighted, releasing the autoblock turns the whole setup into little more than a redirect, and you must break by pulling the rope in the opposite direction (i.e. up when setup in guide mode), which is incredibly difficult if you have set your anchor high (as is preferable for actually belaying) and you are using your body weight to unlock the device in the first place.

Actually, the interesting thing was that it didn't require me "fully weighting" the release to get this to happen. Basically, once the device started to partially release, a slight tug sideways or upwards on the brake strand caused it to open/release completely. In other words, I initiated the release with the cord, but then pulling on the brake strand of the rope released the block completely. At which point the only way to get the climber back in control was to either pull *harder* on the brake strand (counter-intuitive, as this is what opened the device so much in the first place), or simultaneously fully release both the brake strand of the rope and the pull cord.

GO

(edited to add a word for clarity)

Sorry, I didn't mean when the belayer fully weights the release, I meant when the climber is fully weighting their end of the rope. I find the experience of releasing the guide to "feel" very different when a climber is able to take some of their weight off, versus when they cannot. As you described, there is a very sudden and complete release that occurs when the climber is fully weighting the rope. This is, I think, why practicing loweing with a plaquette on the ground is inadequate practice for the real thing. The device responds very differently when fully weighted (by the climber).

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Forums : Climbing Information : Accident and Incident Analysis

 


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