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knieveltech


Jan 4, 2008, 11:08 AM
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Flipped by harness in fall
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I was leading in the gym last night and took a short fall (the first lead fall I've taken). When the rope caught I was flipped backwards. I ended up hanging sideways parallel to the floor. During the fall my tie-in had rotated around to my right hip. Clearly this was not the expected outcome of the fall and could have resulted in injury under different circumstances.

I spoke with my belayer and several eye witnesses and everyone agreed that the rope wasn't behind my leg and I didn't hook a heel on a hold on the way down. This lead me to believe that my harness fit may have been the primary cause. I've gotten a new harness and had a local SAR guy (who happens to work at REI) assist me with getting one that's correctly fitted.

When I got my original harness I wasn't aware that they needed to be tested for fit/hang so I just picked the cheapest thing that looked good and went with that. Based on my experience I wanted to post a reminder especially for the newer climbers out there to make sure to test your harness fit/hang. Climb safe.


troutboy


Jan 4, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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knieveltech wrote:
I was leading in the gym last night and took a short fall (the first lead fall I've taken). When the rope caught I was flipped backwards. I ended up hanging sideways parallel to the floor. During the fall my tie-in had rotated around to my right hip.

I'm trying to picture this. Are you saying your tie-in point rotated or the entire harness rotated. Or did you not tie into two points on the harness (usually leg loop+whatever keeper loop your harness design has) ?

Not criticizing, just trying to picture the scenario.

TS


drfelatio


Jan 4, 2008, 11:44 AM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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When you're just hanging in your harness, do you have to hold onto the rope to keep from rotating backwards? If so, tighten the elastic straps that go from your leg loops to your back. Still, that doesn't explain how you ended up all sideways.


diebetes


Jan 4, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Re: [drfelatio] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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drfelatio wrote:
When you're just hanging in your harness, do you have to hold onto the rope to keep from rotating backwards? If so, tighten the elastic straps that go from your leg loops to your back. Still, that doesn't explain how you ended up all sideways.

The risers? But those aren't structural, those are for convenience (keeping your leg loops oriented, making it easier to put the harness on). I can't imaging how they would be strong enough to keep the harness in place.

To the OP, the only way I can picture you turning the way you did was if you had the rope tied into the tie in points, but didn't do it correctly (did not thread the rope through the bottom hole on the piece that connects the legs, and maybe even just tied the rope around your waist belt and not through the correct top tie in point), or the harness was indeed, way way too big. How did you not know that? You didn't think to consider what would happen if you hung upside down? I.e., you would have fallen OUT of the harness.

I hope the REI guy told you about putting your harness on above you hips and everything. Why didn't anybody and the climbing wall pick up this sizing error?


drfelatio


Jan 4, 2008, 12:12 PM
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Re: [diebetes] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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Hmmm...maybe it's just me then. I could swear that when I adjusted that strap it had some effect on how upright I sat in the harness.

I know Metolius Safe-Tec harnesses now have adjustable risers that affect how upright you sit. I must have confused the two. My bad.

http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/howto-fitharness.htm


danep


Jan 4, 2008, 12:29 PM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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It definitely sounds to me like you were tied into the main loop / belay loop but not the leg loops, which would definitely make this possible. However if you were tied in correctly, the harness sat above your hips and was tight enough that it couldn't be pulled past them, and your leg loops were tight, I really don't see any way that this could have happened.


knieveltech


Jan 4, 2008, 1:57 PM
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Re: [troutboy] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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troutboy wrote:
knieveltech wrote:
I was leading in the gym last night and took a short fall (the first lead fall I've taken). When the rope caught I was flipped backwards. I ended up hanging sideways parallel to the floor. During the fall my tie-in had rotated around to my right hip.

I'm trying to picture this. Are you saying your tie-in point rotated or the entire harness rotated. Or did you not tie into two points on the harness (usually leg loop+whatever keeper loop your harness design has) ?

Not criticizing, just trying to picture the scenario.

TS

I can see how someone would have a hard time visualizing this. I was pretty damned baffled by it myself. The waist band rotated to the right taking the center point for my leg loops with it. I don't have any good explanation for how or why this happened. I was that I was tied into the waist and leg loops.


caughtinside


Jan 4, 2008, 2:05 PM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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huh? It really sounds to me like the harness was either too big or just not tightened down enough.


ServiceAceStud


Jan 4, 2008, 2:32 PM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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I'm glad to hear that your ok. An old friend has a personal philosophy regarding climbing gear, "Buy nice, or buy twice". Basically stating that eventhough the harness did catch you, you ended up rebuying a harness that is probably much more comfortable and fit for you. If it's a case of your harness not being tight enough, then it's a combination of your belayer and your responsibility. You both need to make sure your gear including harness are safe and proper. I feel more comfortable belaying guys on the local gym harness' rather than one they borrowed from a friend that is too small or too large. You'd be amazed how long one cna hang in a properly fit harness versus a gym or outsized harness.


hiyapokey


Jan 4, 2008, 2:46 PM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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I remembered seeing this thread from Oct. last year that will answer your question.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...side%20down;#1705322


knieveltech


Jan 4, 2008, 3:28 PM
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Re: [hiyapokey] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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hiyapokey wrote:
I remembered seeing this thread from Oct. last year that will answer your question.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...side%20down;#1705322

Good thread, thanks for posting.


knieveltech


Jan 4, 2008, 3:45 PM
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Re: [caughtinside] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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caughtinside wrote:
huh? It really sounds to me like the harness was either too big or just not tightened down enough.

This is probably true as well. I freely admit the fall and the outcome where the result of a combination of errors on my part. I've rectified one of them (poor harness fit) and plan on doing a better job with the others (fall posture and cinching my harness down snug) in the future.


wiki


Jan 5, 2008, 9:58 PM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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I have found that if the rise in your harness is too short then you are more likely to flip upside down.

I am a girl and if I wear a guy harness (with a shorter rise) the natural hanging position is almost horizontal but with the girl harness (of the same size and model) I hang upright.


curt


Jan 5, 2008, 10:27 PM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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This is hardly unusual. If you truly want to avoid inverting when experiencing a leader fall then either:

1) Use a swami belt instead of a seat harness.

or

2) Wear a chest harness along with your seat harness.

Curt


dta95b7r


Jan 6, 2008, 6:20 AM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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I have seen this happen in gyms a few times. Harness a wee too loose and big causes it.


ja1484


Jan 6, 2008, 8:20 AM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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knieveltech wrote:
troutboy wrote:
knieveltech wrote:
I was leading in the gym last night and took a short fall (the first lead fall I've taken). When the rope caught I was flipped backwards. I ended up hanging sideways parallel to the floor. During the fall my tie-in had rotated around to my right hip.

I'm trying to picture this. Are you saying your tie-in point rotated or the entire harness rotated. Or did you not tie into two points on the harness (usually leg loop+whatever keeper loop your harness design has) ?

Not criticizing, just trying to picture the scenario.

TS

I can see how someone would have a hard time visualizing this. I was pretty damned baffled by it myself. The waist band rotated to the right taking the center point for my leg loops with it. I don't have any good explanation for how or why this happened. I was that I was tied into the waist and leg loops.


Sounds like it might be a bit loose, or a bit low, or both.

I commonly have to correct Joe Rental at the gym to get his harness ABOVE his hips to the waist and cinch it down snug.

As I tell people "this is life saving equipment, not low-rise jeans".

For most people, the waist is in line with or just slightly below the belly-button. The harness waist strap should pass above the Iliac crest on both sides of the body. For those of you who don't know what an Iliac crest, is, you can easily feel it and have done so before. Here's a helpful anatomical picture with a crudely drawn penis that may make some of the more insecure of you out there uncomfortable:



And here is an image of an actual human being with a line drawn at the level of the iliac crest, and showing a little man-ass that may make the more insecure of you out there uncomfortable:



The iliac crest is the top of the pelvis, so start with your hands on your hips, pushing inward. You'll feel firm bone. Continue up your torso until you no longer push into firm bone, but into the soft tissue of the abdominal wall and viscera. Congratulations. You're above the iliac crest. There's where your harness waistbelt should be.


(This post was edited by ja1484 on Jan 6, 2008, 8:25 AM)


jt512


Jan 6, 2008, 8:42 AM
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Re: [ja1484] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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ja1484 wrote:

For most people, the waist is in line with or just slightly below the belly-button. The harness waist strap should pass above the Iliac crest on both sides of the body. For those of you who don't know what an Iliac crest, is, you can easily feel it and have done so before. Here's a helpful anatomical picture with a crudely drawn penis that may make some of the more insecure of you out there uncomfortable:



And here is an image of an actual human being with a line drawn at the level of the iliac crest, and showing a little man-ass that may make the more insecure of you out there uncomfortable:



The iliac crest is the top of the pelvis, so start with your hands on your hips, pushing inward. You'll feel firm bone. Continue up your torso until you no longer push into firm bone, but into the soft tissue of the abdominal wall and viscera. Congratulations. You're above the iliac crest. There's where your harness waistbelt should be.

Some of you may need more practice locating the iliac crest, so here ere are some additional exercises. Try and find the iliac crest in each of the following pictures.









Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Jan 6, 2008, 8:48 AM)


fulton


Jan 6, 2008, 9:56 AM
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Re: [knieveltech] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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Dude,
Your harness has nothing to do with falling over backwards.

You fell over backwards because you haven't learned how to take a fall and your partner hasn't learned to control a falling climber. Like everything else in climbing, falling is a skill.

Anecdotally, just as there is an art to the leader placing protection, there is a corresponding art to the follower removing protection.

Similarly, there is an art to the leader falling, moreover; there is a corresponding art to the belayer's cognitive and pragmatic response to that fall--a point evidenced by the fact that that thing BD sells is called the "Air Traffic Controller" and not the "Air Traffic Dead-weight."

When climbing 5.4 trad, you should avoid falling at all costs because you will inevitably hit a ledge and break your ankle. However, gym lead-climbing and sport climbing require that you be prepared for falls.

In short, next time in the gym, practice falling. Think about controlling yourself in flight and think, as the belayer, how to guide the falling climber to safety.


curt


Jan 6, 2008, 10:55 AM
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Re: [fulton] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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fulton wrote:
Dude,
Your harness has nothing to do with falling over backwards.

You fell over backwards because you haven't learned how to take a fall and your partner hasn't learned to control a falling climber. Like everything else in climbing, falling is a skill.

Hahahahahahahahaha...

Curt


yokese


Jan 6, 2008, 11:31 AM
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Re: [curt] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
This is hardly unusual. If you truly want to avoid inverting when experiencing a leader fall then either:
1) Use a swami belt instead of a seat harness.

How painful is to fall with a swami belt?, doesn't it tend to rise towards the rib cage?... no criticism here, just honest ignorance. I've never used a swami (nor I intend to).


curt


Jan 6, 2008, 5:29 PM
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yokese wrote:
curt wrote:
This is hardly unusual. If you truly want to avoid inverting when experiencing a leader fall then either:
1) Use a swami belt instead of a seat harness.

How painful is to fall with a swami belt?, doesn't it tend to rise towards the rib cage?... no criticism here, just honest ignorance. I've never used a swami (nor I intend to).

Yes, falling in a swami can be painful--and you certainly don't want to hang in a swami for too long. However, the issue was inverting in a fall and the chances of that happening are reduced somewhat without the leg-loops that are integral to seat harnesses.

Curt


csproul


Jan 7, 2008, 4:53 AM
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Re: [fulton] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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fulton wrote:
Dude,
Your harness has nothing to do with falling over backwards.

You fell over backwards because you haven't learned how to take a fall and your partner hasn't learned to control a falling climber. Like everything else in climbing, falling is a skill.....
Falling is a skill, but I think this a misleadingly strong statement. The person falling and the belayer do control much of the flight path, but the harness can have a contribution. I have a harness that I cannot get to fit correctly and my weight is held much more by the leg loop tie-in than by the waist belt tie-in. This makes it much harder to even sit upright while hanging in a harness and does make it easier to flip upside down. Needless to say, I don't use this harness and the ones I do use do not have this problem. That said, I think practicing falls is not a bad idea.


sknowlton


Jan 7, 2008, 7:23 AM
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Re: [fulton] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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fulton wrote:
Dude,
Your harness has nothing to do with falling over backwards.

You fell over backwards because you haven't learned how to take a fall and your partner hasn't learned to control a falling climber. Like everything else in climbing, falling is a skill.

Anecdotally, just as there is an art to the leader placing protection, there is a corresponding art to the follower removing protection.

.

Damn. I'm moving to Montana to climb in your gym so I can place protection INDOORS. That must be awesome.

Just think...no bugs, no cold belays.....


cameltoe


Jan 9, 2008, 10:46 AM
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Re: [curt] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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Try falling with the rope tied round your waist.... now that makes a swami feel comfortable...


machino


Jan 17, 2008, 2:55 PM
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Re: [sknowlton] Flipped by harness in fall [In reply to]
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Don't come to Montana. We have lots of bugs and cold belays. You would'nt want to climb here.
I hear there are plenty of nice gyms in California you might be intersted in.

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