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(new photos)'Oh noes!!!!' Chossy's account of mEATBOMBZing the talus.
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chossmonkey


Oct 26, 2007, 3:51 PM
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(new photos)'Oh noes!!!!' Chossy's account of mEATBOMBZing the talus.
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- "No matter who you know, how safe they may be, or what they are climbing - you could lose a friend at any time. Don't take your friendships for granted."- Darkside


Ordinarily I'm not that inclined to plug gear into the rock around here. In general Ontario slimestone is geologically unstable choss at best. But when Voytek (tradrenn) offered to head up north for the weekend and do some 'sportclimbing' and belay me on my summer's project, I had to bite. A weekend away sportclimbing with Voytek generally means climbing the gear lines at the sport crag, but that was fine. I like climbing on gear well enough, in fact my project was one of the few nice cracks at a sport crag. The cracks which we would be climbing had some of the best rock on the Escarpment.

Sunday morning went well. Since Saturday was devoted to my climbing we went to a different cliff to do some routes Voytek wanted to get on. We worked our way down the cliff, climbing the nicest looking lines. Near the end of the cliff we came to a route I had scoped out earlier in the year and was interested in doing, "Excalibur". The crack is unlike most on the Escarpment. While most are very irregular on vertical faces loaded with holds and ledges, this one split the overhanging face in a fairly clean line. Since it was his day and he was climbing strong I encouraged him to try something a bit harder and offered the lead to Voytek. In hindsight I am very thankful he declined.

I grabbed the rack and sorted out the gear I thought I'd need. The cracked looked to be mostly my nemesis...thin hands. Down low the crack was quite thin and as it gained height it opened up. The route was only around 40' or so feet long so I felt a little silly heading up with the pile of gear I was bringing, but in this kind of rock I tend to over protect.

The start wasn't to bad. I placed a couple of nuts in the thin section before the crack opened up and then committed to the steep crack above. I did a couple of moves and then placed my first cam, a .5 C4. A couple feet above that I fired in a second cam, a .75 C4. I thought to myself, "This is starting to look like an aid route!" but since I had the gear and the ground was so close it only made sense.

Near the halfway point there was a bit of a rail to the side of the crack where I could hang out for a minute and collect my thoughts before heading into the thin hands section. I grabbed a #1 off the rack and put it into the crack beside me. Voytek pointed out that I should move it up a little and give myself a mini toprope. So I took it out and moved it up a foot or so in the now nearly perfectly parallel sided crack. I looked down at the cams near my feet. I looked up at the cam right above me. They all looked great. They all looked bomber. The rock was nice and compact. There weren't any of the little bumps and crystals that are normally in Escarpment cracks that tend to break off compromising the placement.



I slid my left hand into the crack as deep as it would go below the #1 and committed to the climbing above. My right hand went in above the #1 and I torqued it in and pulled out my left hand to move up. While my left hand was moving up my right hand slipped out of the crack and I was falling. No big deal, I had been sewing the route up and had gear right in front of me.

As quickly as I had started to fall I saw the first cam pull right out. "SHIT!!" I thought to myself, "That's okay the next one will catch me." I thought as the next two ripped out a split second later while I was looking down at the jagged talus rapidly approaching.

"Fuck!!!!!, NO!!!!, I can't be laying here on the ground. This couldn't have just happened. Rebecca (granite_grrl) had come so far getting back her confidence since her accident and now I just fucked all that up." Ran though my head and possibly out my mouth as I lay on the ground.

Voytek in shock asks the question everyone does, "Are you okay?!?!?!?!!!!"

"FUCK!!!, I don't know!" I blurted back in pain. I started to move around and could see the gash on the back of my leg staring to bleed. My ankle felt like it was smashed and my right butt cheek and lower back felt like it had been ripped wide open.

"What the fuck happened?" We asked each other. I had never felt the rope start to catch and it hardly even pulled tight on Voytek's end. He later described it as the pull you would feel catching the softest TR fall. I had just fallen 25' or so straight down onto the talus and except for the sound of the cams ripping out you would have never known they were there. The rope drooped down from the top nut and all three cams hung from it in front of me.

As I shifted around the talus in pain we did a quick check. My ankle hurt like hell but didn't seem broken. My ass/pelvis hurt but I could at least still move my legs okay and my butt cheek wasn't ripped wide open. My head, neck, arms, torso, and the parts of my legs that weren't screaming in pain seemed okay. Thankfully I had a small first-aid kit in the bottom of my pack. After Rebecca's fall I really wondered what a few bandages would do if I or my partner got hurt but it was so small of a kit it didn't take much effort to have while cragging. Voytek dug it out and opened it up. Almost all of the antiseptic wipes were completely dried up, expired ten years ago. At the very bottom we found two alcohol swabs we could use to clean up the biggest cuts. The anti-bacterial cream was way past its prime as well, but still seemed okay. At that point Voytek decided that maybe one of those rubber gloves wouldn't be such a bad idea for smearing the cream onto my bloody wounds. The tape for bandaging was pretty dried up as well. Luckily we had a roll of athletic tape to attach the two big bandages I had put in the kit. After a bit of patching up and I was able to limp out. In the end I never went to the doctor. Thankfully my injuries were limited to a severely bruised heal, a very bruised ass, a couple of cuts and some big scrapes.

The photo above was taken when I got home before all the blood started really coming to the surface the next day.







As the mood shifted from an emergency to just us needing to get out. We took some time to look at what may have happened but any conclusion at this point is all just speculation. Looking at the cams they still appeared fine. Looking closer, on the lobes we could see where the cams had slid across the rock. There were some scratches but the thing we noticed that looked odd was some green residue, perhaps algae on the lobes where the cams had slid on the rock.




The crack felt dry as I climbed it. But there was a cool draft coming out and it had also rained the day before, perhaps sliming things up enough to effect the friction of the cams against the otherwise reasonably frictioned rock. We debated whether or not teeth on the cams would have made any difference, making a place for the grit to go to rather than helping the cams slide along.

The reflection of the flash really washed out a bunch of the pictures. Since they are Voytek's cams I won't be able to get new pictures until this weekend or next. We didn't get a chance to look inside the crack to see if they had gouged the rock at all or just slid right out. I'm seriously doubting if they would have even held body weight.

While I walked away with minimal injury, I also walked away with a serious reminder of how dangerous climbing really is. Even on a seemingly 'safe' route there are still going to be things that can go wrong.

What I learned from this:

Two seemingly bomber pieces between me and the deck are not always going to keep me off of it.

Cams in seemingly perfect cracks can still be trash, especially when the rock doesn't have excellent friction.

Experienced climbers do rip gear and hit the ground on routes that aren't 'R' or 'X' rated. Not that they are careless or not paying attention, but nobody can know everything and foresee every scenario. Had Voytek tried he would have likely faced the same thing and not expected it.

While perhaps breaking gear or the rock around a placement might slow you down some, poor gear ripping out of the rock does nothing to slow you down.

Have a first-aid kit with bandages for major cuts or scrapes and make sure the supplies in it are still good.


(This post was edited by chossmonkey on Nov 2, 2007, 7:04 AM)


onceahardman


Oct 26, 2007, 4:02 PM
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Re: [chossmonkey] Oh noes!!!! Chossy's account of mEATBOMBZing the talus. [In reply to]
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chossy...holy cow....i'm glad you're OK.

where is "excalibur"???

sounds familiar, and i've climbed quite a bit of ontario limestone.

cams in limestone...i've always hated them. i ALWAYS set them hard, but it doesn't really guarantee anything.

like i said, i'm glad you are OK. back on the horse soon, i hope.


zeke_sf


Oct 26, 2007, 4:24 PM
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Good to hear you are alright, given how bad things could have gone. Thanks for sharing your experience. Wherever this thread ends up going, it is wise advice to watch your ass no matter how experienced you are! No more mEATBOMZING the Talus, kay?


caughtinside


Oct 26, 2007, 4:27 PM
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That is super crazy dude, really glad you are ok.

I can't see the photos, so sorry if they explain my questions:

It sounds like the #1 was close to your waist when you fell? And all three cams were within say 8 feet of each other or so?

wild.


granite_grrl


Oct 26, 2007, 4:37 PM
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Re: [caughtinside] Oh noes!!!! Chossy's account of mEATBOMBZing the talus. [In reply to]
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You can right click and go to show photos. They are loaded onto my pbase account, which doesn't always show photos in RC.com very well.


Partner artm


Oct 26, 2007, 4:39 PM
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Re: [chossmonkey] Oh noes!!!! Chossy's account of mEATBOMBZing the talus. [In reply to]
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You and becs are two of the luckiest people around.
Both in having each other and surviving decking out.

Glad you only suffered such minor injuries.
Thanks for posting this report with such honesty and cool self/gear analysis. Food for thought Kids....


chossmonkey


Oct 26, 2007, 5:49 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] Oh noes!!!! Chossy's account of mEATBOMBZing the talus. [In reply to]
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onceahardman wrote:
chossy...holy cow....i'm glad you're OK.

where is "excalibur"???

sounds familiar, and i've climbed quite a bit of ontario limestone.

cams in limestone...i've always hated them. i ALWAYS set them hard, but it doesn't really guarantee anything.

like i said, i'm glad you are OK. back on the horse soon, i hope.
Its at TV Tower. Way past all the sport routes. Most people hike the top and rap in. Lucky for us the poison ivy was all pretty dead so we didn't have to climb out.


gothcopter


Oct 26, 2007, 5:51 PM
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When you placed the cams, did you tug on them at all, or just clip and go? I'm not pointing any fingers here, just genuinely curious. Don't freak out on me, people.


chossmonkey


Oct 26, 2007, 5:58 PM
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caughtinside wrote:
It sounds like the #1 was close to your waist when you fell? And all three cams were within say 8 feet of each other or so?

wild.
The #1 (top cam) was pretty much in front of my face. At the lowest chest level as I was just starting to climb past it when I fell.

Yeah, all the cams were within around 8' feet. It is possible if I wouldn't have had the top cam as high and the extra rope out the top nut might have started to catch before I hit, but as it was the rope did nothing for me.


Partner angry


Oct 26, 2007, 6:03 PM
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That's why I only carry stovelegs on cracks like this.

Good job not dying. I've never been a fan of bolts, but I've never been a fan of limestone either. I'll file that away for future reference.

Don't let this wreck you for good rock though.


chossmonkey


Oct 26, 2007, 6:06 PM
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gothcopter wrote:
When you placed the cams, did you tug on them at all, or just clip and go? I'm not pointing any fingers here, just genuinely curious. Don't freak out on me, people.
Placing the first two cams was a bit tenuous so pulling on the cams was pretty much right out. The third I could have but I don't think I did. Normally I only give them a tug when they look bad. I've made hundreds of placements in similar looking cracks and at the time it just seemed like another normal placement. In hind site I wish I would have. Its anyones guess if it would have done any good, but it wouldn't have hurt.


chossmonkey


Oct 26, 2007, 6:11 PM
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angry wrote:
That's why I only carry stovelegs on cracks like this.

Good job not dying. I've never been a fan of bolts, but I've never been a fan of limestone either. I'll file that away for future reference.

Don't let this wreck you for good rock though.
Are you saying I should take a rack of pins when I go back to redpoint the motherfucker? Devil

Normally I'm not to psyched on limestone, but this stuff looked really good. I guess it goes to show looks are deceiving.


knieveltech


Oct 26, 2007, 6:14 PM
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That fucking blows, man. Glad you're more or less in one piece. Thanks for posting up what happened, this is definitely food for thought.


bent_gate


Oct 26, 2007, 8:39 PM
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Wow. I'm glad your still walking, that is scary stuff.

And thanks for the warning for others. It may save a life. Limestone has a pretty checkered history for gear. I hope you fully heal fast!


snoopy138


Oct 26, 2007, 10:56 PM
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Good to hear you're generally alright after the mEATDECKing. I assume you'll be back climbing soon enough.

I agree with you about thin hands, too.

The photo of your ass could really use a NSFW tag.


climbs4fun
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Oct 26, 2007, 11:18 PM
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Glad you are ok. I can't see the pics either. I tried right clicking Beck, but it gave me an error of no permission.


jt512


Oct 27, 2007, 1:09 AM
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angry wrote:
That's why I only carry stovelegs on cracks like this.

Good job not dying. I've never been a fan of bolts, but I've never been a fan of limestone either.

Yeah, who'd ever want to climb on limestone :roll:

Jay


microbarn


Oct 27, 2007, 5:12 AM
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Glad to hear that nothing is broken. Hopefully you heal quickly.

gothcopter wrote:
When you placed the cams, did you tug on them at all, or just clip and go? I'm not pointing any fingers here, just genuinely curious. Don't freak out on me, people.

I am curious about why people think tugging on the pieces is bad. So, I created this thread to discuss it:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...post=1708956#1708956


chossmonkey


Oct 27, 2007, 5:48 AM
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snoopy138 wrote:
Good to hear you're generally alright after the mEATDECKing. I assume you'll be back climbing soon enough.

I agree with you about thin hands, too.

The photo of your ass could really use a NSFW tag.
Its a photo of a scrape on my ass. More technically my extreme lower back.

Yeah I'll be back climbing. I'm not sure about on gear in this rock though.


chossmonkey


Oct 27, 2007, 5:49 AM
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climbs4fun wrote:
Glad you are ok. I can't see the pics either. I tried right clicking Beck, but it gave me an error of no permission.


I rehosted the photos so hopefully they will work now.


wanderlustmd


Oct 27, 2007, 7:24 AM
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Wow.

I've never climbed on limestone, so I'll definately remember this when faced with the using gear on it.

Thanks for the report Choss, glad to hear you walked away mostly unscathed. Good food for though as well.


gunkiemike


Oct 27, 2007, 7:37 AM
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I can't see the photos. I get an error that says This geoCities site in unavailable - exceeding its data transfer limit.

Glad to hear you walked away from this accident. Cams in limestone..shiver.


notapplicable


Oct 27, 2007, 8:03 AM
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Thanks for the report Choss. Based on those photos, it looks like your going to be walking funny for a few days but atleast your walking. Your a luck bastard, glad your OK.


bmelanson


Oct 27, 2007, 8:30 AM
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glad your ok choss, I hope ya get a quick recovery


tradrenn


Oct 27, 2007, 12:06 PM
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chossmonkey wrote:
Voytek in shock asks the question everyone does, "Are you okay?!?!?!?!!!!"

Now I remember why I asked you that.

Back in 96 I took CPR and one of the things I learn was to ask that question.

If you can speak than that tells me that you can breath which is the most important thing in accident scene.

I still have those 3 cams separated and I didn't clean them so you will have a second chance to take pics and post them if you would like. (BTW: I will be at your place Thursday evening, NOT FRIDAY)

If you wanna go back up to Excalibur and do some investigation tomorrow (Sunday) just show up at my place around 8am, we take my car from my place.

I think we should go and set a top rope on it and try to aid it on top rope using your and my cams and see if they rip on a bounce test.

Holy fuck am I ever glad I turn the lead down, that would probably ruin my RT.

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