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grigri incident, would appreciate feedback
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climbingam


Feb 4, 2009, 11:26 AM
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grigri incident, would appreciate feedback
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I quit climbing 5 years ago because of an incident and now am getting back into climbing but need to get my head right about what happened. I apologize if this isn't the correct forum for this, please move/remove it if it is.

I was belaying my climbing partner of 1 year and they were about 40 ft. up when they slipped and fell (top roped). For whatever reason, I felt the rope going through the my hand and thought (in that split second sort of way) that the grigri was failing, at the moment of the fall my right (break) hand was at the bottom of the rope about to take up slack so it was only about 3 or 4 inches away from the grigri.

As my mind and adrenaline freaked out about the possible failure of the grigri I desperately squeezed the rope in my hand and basically, kept just enough tension on the rope so that the grigri would not lock, but since the hand was so close to the grigri I could not create enough angular force to make the rope lock in the traditional, non-grigri way.

The result was a traumatizing 20 second 40 ft. fall for my partner as I literally held the rope for dear life thinking that letting go would be worse (at this point I just couldn't let go for fear of the grigri not working at all). My partner was not hurt, maybe a small bruise but I don't think even that. My hand was pretty chewed up by the friction from holding on to the rope.

After the incident it became apparent that a) the grigri was fine, b) my holding on the rope like I did was the cause of the entire issue.

I took it hard and my partner was pretty pissed (and understandably untrusting) and I ended up losing all confidence and refused to do anything but boulder and within a year I took an extended break which turned into 5 years.

I'm bouldering again (one week so far) and I'm really worried about my head and want to know the feelings of you all on the incident, whether on preventing it from happening again or if maybe I shouldn't start climbing again at all.

thanks a lot.


(This post was edited by climbingam on Feb 4, 2009, 11:27 AM)


acorneau


Feb 4, 2009, 11:44 AM
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Re: [climbingam] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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climbingam wrote:
For whatever reason, I felt the rope going through the my hand and thought (in that split second sort of way) that the grigri was failing, at the moment of the fall my right (break) hand was at the bottom of the rope about to take up slack so it was only about 3 or 4 inches away from the grigri.

... I desperately squeezed the rope in my hand and basically, kept just enough tension on the rope so that the grigri would not lock, but since the hand was so close to the grigri I could not create enough angular force to make the rope lock in the traditional, non-grigri way.

...After the incident it became apparent that a) the grigri was fine, b) my holding on the rope like I did was the cause of the entire issue.

If what you describe is correct, then either:

A. The Grigri was not properly set up (backwards), thus you had a hard time holding his/her weight.

B. Your non-break hand somehow held the cam open.

C. You were using a skinny rope that is smaller than what the Grigri is designed for.

Either way, sounds like operator error to me, but that's just my off the cuff opinion.
Unimpressed

[Edit: when you say you "squeezed the rope in your hand", are you saying your non-break hand between the Grigri and the top anchors?]

[Edit #2: Point C had a double-negative. Fixed now.]


(This post was edited by acorneau on Feb 4, 2009, 12:00 PM)


GeneralZon


Feb 4, 2009, 11:46 AM
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Re: [climbingam] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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Damn man, sorry to hear about your incident.

Get back on the horse man. Don't let a mistake, mishap, chance, luck, coincidence, etc. (esp. one that was not fatal) deter you from pursuing what you want to do.

My climbing parter decked from 15-20ft a few months ago while climbing with another buddy of ours. Thankfully he only had minor injuries. Initially, he had the same thought as you, but he got back to climbing within 4 weeks!!

Take it as a learning experience (and water under the bridge) and start climbing again. If you previous climbing partner is still pissed at you, well that isn't your fault, they have issues to deal with that go beyond their near life experience with you.

Also, if you are going to grigri it up again, read the recent Petzl directions for proper use, things may have changed a bit in 5 years!

Good luck!!


d0nk3yk0n9


Feb 4, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Re: [climbingam] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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Where exactly were your hands on the grigri and rope? You said that your brake hand was on the rope, but too close to the grgri to do anything, but you never mentioned where your other hand was.


rockie


Feb 4, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Re: [climbingam] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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Go and do a learn to climb course (again) if you did one back then, and do one if you never did, that will help.
Edit to add: Do this course via a recognised climbing guide, not just anyone..

Practice in the gym ongoing for a year, then do an outdoor course, and learn to lead belay properly.

Don't use a gri gri, use a belay device. If you don't use a gri gri properly someone will die. Safer you stick with the basic belay device I would say.

The above may well increase your confidence again, then put this matter behind your rather than dwell on it, holding onto it is not healthy.

*And most importantly let's all ignore these stupid stars above the posts, most ridiculous idea I've seen on here yet.


(This post was edited by rockie on Feb 4, 2009, 11:52 AM)


shoo


Feb 4, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Re: [acorneau] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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acorneau wrote:
climbingam wrote:
For whatever reason, I felt the rope going through the my hand and thought (in that split second sort of way) that the grigri was failing, at the moment of the fall my right (break) hand was at the bottom of the rope about to take up slack so it was only about 3 or 4 inches away from the grigri.

... I desperately squeezed the rope in my hand and basically, kept just enough tension on the rope so that the grigri would not lock, but since the hand was so close to the grigri I could not create enough angular force to make the rope lock in the traditional, non-grigri way.

...After the incident it became apparent that a) the grigri was fine, b) my holding on the rope like I did was the cause of the entire issue.

If what you describe is correct, then either:

A. The Grigri was not properly set up (backwards), thus you had a hard time holding his/her weight.

B. Your non-break hand somehow held the cam open.

C. You were using a skinny rope that is smaller than what the Grigri is not designed for.

Either way, sounds like operator error to me, but that's just my off the cuff opinion.
Unimpressed

[Edit: when you say you "squeezed the rope in your hand", are you saying your non-break hand between the Grigri and the top anchors?]

I'd have to agree with this opinion. I find it pretty hard to believe that unless A, B, or C happened, the slowing down due to your hand could possibly cause the gri-gri to not lock up. Any additional friction caused by your hand would only INCREASE the likelihood of the grigri locking up.

That being said, this is another classic tale of why noobs shouldn't touch a grigri. Let me say it again. Grigris are not substitutes for competent belayers.


climbingam


Feb 4, 2009, 11:55 AM
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Re: [d0nk3yk0n9] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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It was on the rope on the 'to climber' side then I used it to squeeze on top of my right hand.


climbingam


Feb 4, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Re: [GeneralZon] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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thanks man appreciate that.


climbingam


Feb 4, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Re: [acorneau] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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yeah, definitely it was me, for sure. I wish someone had a video of it so I could see exactly what happened. unfortunately all I remember are the images of my hand frying and my partner slowly descending(while cussing at me). I think you might be on to something with the rope size. I'm going to go grab it out of the attic and check. (and yes, either way I'll be getting a new rope before going out again) thanks for the response.


Valarc


Feb 4, 2009, 12:08 PM
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Re: [climbingam] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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Without knowing the details, I will say I agree that the two most likely causes are either a too-thin rope or a grigri loaded backwards. My gut leans way towards the loaded backwards option, as I've seen a number of beginners do this. It's not a bad idea to give your grigri the ole' tug test before every single climb, to make sure it will lock properly.


Edit: you dropped your partner. That was your fault, and he's right to be pissed at you and to not trust you. Whether he can get over that loss of trust is completely up to him. HOWEVER, if the grigri was indeed loaded backwards or used with a too-thin rope, some of the blame lies with him. If he had been checking you out before he got off the ground, to make sure the grigri would lock, ya'll might have discovered the problem. Safety is the responsibility of both climbers, not just the belayer.


(This post was edited by Valarc on Feb 4, 2009, 12:10 PM)


climbingam


Feb 4, 2009, 12:15 PM
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Re: [Valarc] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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Valarc wrote:
Without knowing the details, I will say I agree that the two most likely causes are either a too-thin rope or a grigri loaded backwards. My gut leans way towards the loaded backwards option, as I've seen a number of beginners do this. It's not a bad idea to give your grigri the ole' tug test before every single climb, to make sure it will lock properly.

never posed on forum so didn't know how to do the etiquette of quoting, hope this is right-

anyway, this and the suggestions of retaking training course are really good. I never took formal course but was with people who all had lots of experiance and respect. This time around I will start over and more formally. The good thing about the time off is that I do have the feeling of starting over for real and with the motivation for wanting to be extremely safe maybe it'll work out. I will definitely take it easy and do the triple check before belaying.

I think all of you have great points, and look, I am definitely not saying that my version of what happened is correct because in the heat of the moment it's hard to remember.


durangoclimber


Feb 4, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Re: [climbingam] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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Get back on the horse. That which does not kill you..... We all make mistakes. Those that say they haven't are either too arrogant to admit it, or just haven't climbed long enough. Like anything else in life - learn from the mistake and move on.


Valarc


Feb 4, 2009, 12:25 PM
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Re: [durangoclimber] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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durangoclimber wrote:
Get back on the horse. That which does not kill you..... We all make mistakes. Those that say they haven't are either too arrogant to admit it, or just haven't climbed long enough. Like anything else in life - learn from the mistake and move on.

Reminds me of a line from an old motorcycle safety course I took (15% discount on insurance! woo!). The instructor was really fond of saying, it's not a question of IF you'll lay your bike over, it's a question of WHEN. His point was, put in enough hours and eventually probability will catch up with you. Now, I know plenty of people who've been riding for decades and never crashed a bike, but I still like the line.


durangoclimber


Feb 4, 2009, 12:30 PM
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Re: [Valarc] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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That's funny - I crashed my ninja 600 years ago. The one time that I was actually doing the speed limit. Guy pulled out in front of me...that was all she wrote. good point. It is bound to happen sometime, the levels of "incidents" vary but we have all had them. Climb long enough and you too shall have "something" go wrong. Learn to handle it as best you can I guess.


acorneau


Feb 4, 2009, 12:39 PM
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Re: [durangoclimber] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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durangoclimber wrote:
That's funny - I crashed my ninja 600 years ago.

Wow, you must be, like, a thousand years old!?!
Tongue


durangoclimber


Feb 4, 2009, 12:57 PM
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Re: [acorneau] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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I sure as hell feel like it.


GeneralZon


Feb 4, 2009, 1:17 PM
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Re: [Valarc] grigri incident, would appreciate feedback [In reply to]
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Valarc wrote:
rockie wrote:
If he is so opinionated about how bad it is to use a guide I suggest he go and spray that one to them, as I suggested, like to see the response to that one. Ensure it is as stated though, that teaching yourself is better than e.g. using them or any recognized guide, and I say still say to that one.. bollox.

All of that said, here's my real opinion on guides: being certified as a guide is about as difficult as being certified as a sandwich artisan at Subway. Trusting someone just because they have a fancy piece of paper is outright retarded. Given the choice to climb with, say Jake, versus a guide from the local gym, who has a nice piece of paper from the AMA, I would climb with Jake. I've seen enough of Jake's writings to know he's a damn knowledgeable dude, and all I've seen from the guide is a slip of paper.

You put far too much trust in worthless certifications, and far too little in being a good judge of people.

^^^
This is very much correct.

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