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sezumpf


May 5, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Climbing accident in Spokane  (North_America: United_States: Washington)
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I saw this in the news yesterday. Any info on how he's doing? Hope he's recovering well. Anyone know what happened here? http://www.krem.com/topstories/stories/krem2-050309-shieldsparkrescue.1730182e.html


JeffZ


May 5, 2009, 6:06 PM
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Re: [sezumpf] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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The climber who fell is a friend of mine; in fact, I was belaying him when this unfortunate accident happened. Sunday morning we met up to practice setting trad gear. He was leading a route called z crack (I think) on the main face of the mini climbing area. The route is a super easy 5.8ish slab/crack climb perfect for practicing trad protection placement. He was about 15' from the top when he decided to "test" his pro by taking a lead fall on it. I reluctantly agreed to catch him. He let go and his cam popped. He fell about 25' and decked on a nasty rock horn ledge about 30' from the toe of the cliff. All I could see was his arm and leg hanging over the edge and he wasn't moving or responding. I anchored the belay, grabbed my extra rope and ran to the top of the cliff to rappel and assist him in any way I could. When I got down to him he was moving and somewhat coherent but had no idea what had just happened. He had a nasty gouge on the back of his head below his helmet that was pouring blood so I put a shirt over it and held pressure on it until it coagulated. I had called 911 and communicated to them that we would need high angle rescue to get him off the ledge safely. It took them about an hour from the time I dialed 911 for the FD special operations to show up and build a system to lower him off the rock. I was extremely impressed with how quickly they were able to evacuate him considering the circumstances. When all was said and done he sustained some skull fractures, a broken nose, a broken clavicle, ruptured spleen (forgot to mention he was vomiting blood), and a broken vertebrae. Fortunately none of his injuries will require surgery, just a few days in the neuro-trauma center and a few months to recover. Not bad considering the extent of his injuries. I am still perplexed as to how he could have possibly survived even with the helmet. Without it he would have died right there on the rock. I spoke with him today and he may be home as soon as tomorrow. He's expected to make a full recovery and be back climbing by the end of the summer. I learned a lot from the experience: 1-always wear a helmet when lead climbing trad or sport 2- anchor lead belays you may need to quickly anchor and escape them to help an injured climber 3- Not a bad idea to have an extra rope 4- Don't intentionally fall on your protection


majid_sabet


May 5, 2009, 6:35 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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JeffZ wrote:
The climber who fell is a friend of mine; in fact, I was belaying him when this unfortunate accident happened. Sunday morning we met up to practice setting trad gear. He was leading a route called z crack (I think) on the main face of the mini climbing area. The route is a super easy 5.8ish slab/crack climb perfect for practicing trad protection placement. He was about 15' from the top when he decided to "test" his pro by taking a lead fall on it. I reluctantly agreed to catch him. He let go and his cam popped. He fell about 25' and decked on a nasty rock horn ledge about 30' from the toe of the cliff. All I could see was his arm and leg hanging over the edge and he wasn't moving or responding. I anchored the belay, grabbed my extra rope and ran to the top of the cliff to rappel and assist him in any way I could. When I got down to him he was moving and somewhat coherent but had no idea what had just happened. He had a nasty gouge on the back of his head below his helmet that was pouring blood so I put a shirt over it and held pressure on it until it coagulated. I had called 911 and communicated to them that we would need high angle rescue to get him off the ledge safely. It took them about an hour from the time I dialed 911 for the FD special operations to show up and build a system to lower him off the rock. I was extremely impressed with how quickly they were able to evacuate him considering the circumstances. When all was said and done he sustained some skull fractures, a broken nose, a broken clavicle, ruptured spleen (forgot to mention he was vomiting blood), and a broken vertebrae. Fortunately none of his injuries will require surgery, just a few days in the neuro-trauma center and a few months to recover. Not bad considering the extent of his injuries. I am still perplexed as to how he could have possibly survived even with the helmet. Without it he would have died right there on the rock. I spoke with him today and he may be home as soon as tomorrow. He's expected to make a full recovery and be back climbing by the end of the summer. I learned a lot from the experience: 1-always wear a helmet when lead climbing trad or sport 2- anchor lead belays you may need to quickly anchor and escape them to help an injured climber 3- Not a bad idea to have an extra rope 4- Don't intentionally fall on your protection

Modz

please move to I&A


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on May 5, 2009, 6:36 PM)


moose_droppings


May 5, 2009, 6:54 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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Sorry to hear about your bud, but glad to hear he'll recover OK.

I've preached against 'taking intentional falls on gear' around here a few times. Usually get razzed over it too.


coolcat83


May 5, 2009, 8:20 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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i agree you don't want to intentionally fall on gear on lead, you never know. also, I'm not sure what level you climb at but imho 5.8 is not the level at which to learn to lead trad. I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.


mistajman


May 5, 2009, 10:45 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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JeffZ wrote:
Ok Roadhead

Climbing is about taking risks and some of us are willing to take greater risks than others. If it wasn't risky it would not be as rewarding. He was completely aware of the cost of failure and went for it anyway. Oh, and giveing is spelled giving.

This is a silly way to look at it. If climbing is just about taking risks to you, then I am sorry for you and you are going to get hurt. I'm glad your friend is alright. Please be careful when you are climbing for the sake of you, your friend, the access to the area, and other people climbing when the accident happens. If you want to learn more about placing gear properly and safe climbing let me know as I climb in Spokane almost every weekend.


(This post was edited by mistajman on May 5, 2009, 10:48 PM)


curt


May 5, 2009, 11:10 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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JeffZ wrote:
Ok Roadhead

Climbing is about taking risks and some of us are willing to take greater risks than others. If it wasn't risky it would not be as rewarding. He was completely aware of the cost of failure and went for it anyway. Oh, and giveing is spelled giving.

Yeah, "watch this" frequently accompanies an intelligent assumption of risk.

Curt


shockabuku


May 6, 2009, 7:00 AM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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I would analyze the situation for some more lessons learned than that. None of the lessons you learned would have prevented this accident.


reg


May 6, 2009, 7:28 AM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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"Sunday morning we met up to practice setting trad gear."

when you are leading a route on a lead rope - you are not practicing placing gear. you practice on TR then commit to a trad lead and all it's ramifications!

edit: i feel a need to add that i feel bad he is going through this and hope for speedy and complete recovery. he or you could have easily died. practice on top rope or standing on the ground.


(This post was edited by reg on May 6, 2009, 8:01 AM)


markc


May 6, 2009, 8:00 AM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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Your friend is very lucky that his learning experience didn't do him in. Unless he and you take home the right lessons, you both may be doomed to repetition.

If you're just learning traditional climbing, you're not in a good position to be taking falls (intentional or otherwise) without the proper precautions. If you want to take practice falls on gear, you need to make sure that it's backed up by a solid anchor. You also have to select the right type of route, which is free from any potential obstacles. In my experience, traditional routes that are easy enough to learn on and steep enough to take clean falls on aren't very common.

It sounds like the route in question was an extremely poor choice to intentionally fall on. You said your friend was roughly 15 feet from the top of the route, and hit a ledge roughly 30 feet from the top? That's only a space of 15 feet between the climber and a major feature. Pro should be spaced very close in that situation (if possible), and I'd still consider it a spot where I really wouldn't want to fall.

Where was your friend relative to his last piece of protection? How far down was the next piece? Depending upon where the rest of his pro was and how well it was placed, that ledge might have saved your friend's life. I hope he mends well.


Partner angry


May 6, 2009, 12:11 PM
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Re: [sezumpf] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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I'm not going to call you a moron but you should not be falling on your gear when you're still in the practice phase.

I suppose if you must practice fall on a piece to see if it holds, put in several solid pieces very close underneath. That way, stuff like this doesn't happen.

It also sounds like the route wasn't safe to fall on, even if the gear holds.


scrapedape


May 6, 2009, 12:14 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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JeffZ wrote:
1-always wear a helmet when lead climbing trad or sport 2- anchor lead belays you may need to quickly anchor and escape them to help an injured climber 3- Not a bad idea to have an extra rope 4- Don't intentionally fall on your protection

Your first 3 "lessons" are all about mitigation. You allude to prevention in your final point, but your conclusion is more or less unreasonable.

How about "Don't ever fall on gear that you cannot judge to be adequate?"


JeffZ


May 6, 2009, 1:08 PM
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Re: [markc] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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The original plan was to top rope a few classic routes and mess with his trad rack on the ground. He has experience trad climbing so it's not as if he was doing it for the first time. How much experience is required to intentionally fall on your gear? Who knows it depends on your learning curve. I sure as shit would not have attempted it even if I had 20 years of experience. Reviewing my explanation I forgot to mention that his last piece of protection (just below the cam that failed) was a draw on a bolt. Obviously the distance between the draw and where he let go was greater than the draw and the ledge. Terrible miss-calculation on both our parts. If the ledge had not been there, or he placed the cam a bit lower he would have taken a good whip but missed the ledge. It's tormenting knowing that it was completely avoidable. He's lucky he doesn’t remember it because I do and it's been playing over and over in my head. I responded to the original post because I thought I sensed genuine concern for the wellbeing of a fellow climber. If I knew it would cause a shit storm I probably would not have answered.


Johnny_Fang


May 6, 2009, 1:22 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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it sounds like a scary experience and a stupid accident, but it also sounds like you responded quickly and competently and may have saved your friend's life after his gross miscalculation. many people would panic in a situation like that and not respond at all.

learn from your mistake but don't forget to also learn from your successes. you did a good job handling the mess you guys got yourselves in.


mojomonkey


May 6, 2009, 1:48 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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JeffZ wrote:
I forgot to mention that his last piece of protection (just below the cam that failed) was a draw on a bolt. Obviously the distance between the draw and where he let go was greater than the draw and the ledge.

The second sentence is not obvious. Were you pulled up a significant amount? Did you give too soft a catch? Have lots of slack out? If none of those was an issue the leader would had to have been pretty far above a piece for "testing." He fell 25 feet onto a ledge - who knows how much longer his fall would have been if he didn't stop on the ledge.

Regarding the backup, how far is "just below"? A few inches? A few feet?

It seems the leader really poorly judged how far he would fall even if the piece held, and that the situation was possibly made worse by the belay.


Partner xtrmecat


May 6, 2009, 1:52 PM
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Re: [JeffZ] Climbing accident in Spokane [In reply to]
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  Jeff, good education, lessons that will haunt you for a few I suppose. Someone else beat me to it, learn all you can from this, it will prove useful someday, I'm sure.
Above, mistajman offered to help learn gear placements. What a golden opportunity that is. Mentors willing to just give it up freely, on almost every weekend just do not happen around my neck of the woods, ever, if not rarely.
As far as the shit storm. So what! Glean all useful information you can, ignore the dipshits, and move on. Many post their most learned opinions thinking they are the only wise ones on the planet, ignore the junk , as it comes from a bravado that is spawned from anonymity and the inturdnet.
That said, there were some good things said above also.
I hope your friend and partner heals up well, and wises up as well.
Bob

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