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gee


May 25, 2009, 4:21 AM
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I hurt my butt
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Some background: I'm a gumby, starting to lead trad.

My partner and I were out for a half day of climbing and we decided to start with a 2 pitch climb graded at approx. YDS 5.6, and then find something else to fill in the rest of the day with. The climb was still wet in patches from rain the night before, but we thought it was dry enough to climb safely at the time.

My partner led the first pitch. I followed easily and started to lead the second pitch.

The second pitch started with an easy 10m traverse right, which was more of a walk along a wide ledge - not even difficult enough to count as scrambling, so I didn't bother placing any protection. We should have moved the belay anchor to the end of the traverse; leaving it at the start put a lot of slack in the system, and contributed to horrible rope drag later on.

I placed my first two pieces of protection (a #3 Camalot and a #8 or #9 Rockcentric hex) before I started the actual climbing, and started up at the bottom of a crack. A few hand / fist jams at the bottom, and some bridging moved up into a widening chimney.

Up through the crack / chimney I placed lots of protection, since I'm bad at cracks, and it felt reassuring - but a lot of my pro wasn't very useful. Some of it was too low to stop me hitting the ledge if I fell from any reasonable distance, and if I'd saved some pieces down there I might have had a few more to place up higher. In hindsight I had enough gear to top out safely, but it still would have been smarter to save some.

From the top of the crack to the bottom, I had a yellow #4 Wallnut, a slung chockstone, maybe a hex and a few Camalots (probably a #2 and #1). Just below the base of the crack I had the #3 Camalot and the #8 or #9 Rockcentric (and then the belay anchor 10m to the left down the traverse ledge).

Now out of the crack and 7m above the ledge, I wasn't sure of the correct route. It was either slightly left, up slab to the belay anchor or traverse right. I couldn't see where the "traverse right" option went at the time, so I thought I would go left and up the slab, which looked easy enough. I thought that if I was on the wrong route, that I could downclimb and try the traverse.

Moving left and up the slab, I got about a metre above my last piece (the yellow #4). I fiddled around trying to place another nut in the small finger sized crack running to the right of the slab, but only got a fairly poor nut placement (I think around a #6 Wallnut) after 1 to 2 minutes of fiddling. The nut had minimal surface contact, and the rock didn't look solid either. I could see what looked like some good spots for pro about another metre up, and I thought that the climbing was easy and the yellow #4 close below me was fairly good, so I decided to move up, place a better piece, and then just back clean the mediocre nut when I had that better piece in.

I moved maybe a metre above that poor last nut, and as I was moving one of my feet up (can't remember which), my other foot came off. At the time I was pretty confident in my footing; the slab was pretty easy. In hindsight me and my partner were supposing that the rock (granite) might have been a bit wet and slippery, but I can't know for sure. Maybe I just slipped?

I can't remember too much of the fall itself because it happened so quickly, but I must have done a bit of sliding down the slab, because I have a small graze on my left arm, and a few more on my legs. I remember seeing the rope go tight for a tiny amount of time before the top nut blew, and then it must have gone tight on the yellow #4. About half a metre up from the ledge I originally traversed across, I hit a dead tree branch as thick as my arm, and broke through it butt first, stopping on the ledge. In total, I think the fall was around 7 metres, including a decent amount of rope stretch from the roughly 17m of rope I had out. I was maybe 2 and a bit metres above (and slightly to the left of) the nut that held, and the rope must have been decelerating me when I hit the branch / ledge combo.

I sat / stood there shaking for about 15 minutes. My partner asked me if I was OK a few times, and I told him I was fairly quickly. I knew that I was pretty sore, but was definite that I had no permanent injury / broken bones. The guys top-roping something 300m to the south yelled over to see if I was alright, and I gave them a thumbs up. I talked with my partner about what happened and made little jokes to calm myself down.

After the wait, I started (hesitatingly) climbing again from the start, checked all of my pro as I went up, and took the traverse to the right, which lead to an easy scramble up to a tree belay. I think that I must have been originally on route, because the traverse of the second route, coupled with my partner still being 10m to the left of the crack base gave fairly bad rope drag. I ended up having to build an anchor, fix the rope, prussik down, clean some pro and prussik back up before I could pull the rest of the rope up. I had to do all of this in a bit of a rush, since it was starting to drizzle.

I belayed my partner up (he found the climbing pretty easy), and then we scrambled out to a walk off and finished off the day.

So, it was a fairly small fall compared to what I'm sure a lot of other people have taken, but there's my story about the first lead fall I ever took. I'm sort of glad that I took it, because it was a lot less serious than I was fearing a lead fall was going to be, even with a slab to slide down and a ledge to smack into, and finishing the pitch after a fall felt really good. I'm not particularly keen to fall on lead again though.

Other than climbing still wet rock, not being entirely sure on which way the route went, not moving the anchor, wasting too much gear down low and not paying attention to the rope drag I was building up, is there anything else that I obviously did wrong? Please don't say "falling on 5.6", because that's embarrassing enough already. I guess I wasn't thinking straight enough at a few points, since I'd like to think that I wouldn't have made these mistakes if I was thinking clearly at the time.

Also, my butt hurts after breaking that tree with it. The first day it felt like I had big throbbing bone deep inside my butt, then it felt like a bruise, and now it feels like a sore muscle - it's fine if I'm sitting on it or lying down, but bending my leg at the hip and/or pushing down with it (especially walking up or down stairs) hurts a bit, and it's gone a bit stiff. It's been hurting less every day, which I assume means it isn't serious. Does this sound like just a bruise or what?

Executive summary: gumby does stupid stuff, falls on 5.6, hurts himself.
Attachments: bottom.jpg (13.8 KB)


bill413


May 25, 2009, 7:34 AM
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First, congrats on leading. Gratz on surviving your lead fall in what sounds like a relatively unhurt fashion. And, sticking with it afterwards.

From your description, I think you would have been better to get some pro in during the initial traverse, but then not protect the very base of the crack. Instead, wait until you were up where you wanted your "second" piece of pro. That way, instead of the rope making a right angle at that point, it would have made a more gentle angle, resulting in less rope drag. Oh, and a long sling on that first piece.

Route finding is a skill that takes time to develop. No loss of honor in exploring alternatives.

I very seldom waste the energy to go down & reclean pieces. If I put it in, it stays in until I've finished. Let my partner take it out.

It was very good you inspected your pro after falling on it - sometimes it gets shifted by the force of a fall and can pop out on the next loading (experience talking here).

7m is a pretty good fall - yeah, you can take far longer whippers, but that's frequently a sign of lack of pro.

Overall, sounds like you did pretty good. And a good story.


dingus


May 25, 2009, 7:46 AM
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gee wrote:
The first day it felt like I had big throbbing bone deep inside my butt,

Sounds like a real pain in the ass?

In reply to:
then it felt like a bruise, and now it feels like a sore muscle

Funny how you can get used to anything, even a throbbing bone deep inside your butt!

That last bit is ass umption on my part of course.

DMT


altelis


May 25, 2009, 8:00 AM
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dingus wrote:
gee wrote:
The first day it felt like I had big throbbing bone deep inside my butt,

Sounds like a real pain in the ass?

In reply to:
then it felt like a bruise, and now it feels like a sore muscle

Funny how you can get used to anything, even a throbbing bone deep inside your butt!

That last bit is ass umption on my part of course.

DMT

GROAN!!!!!!!!!!!





and hilarious at the same timeWink


sungam


May 25, 2009, 9:37 AM
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gee wrote:
I talked with my partner about what happened and made little jokes to calm myself down.

After the wait, I started (hesitatingly) climbing again from the start, checked all of my pro as I went up, and took the traverse to the right, which lead to an easy scramble up to a tree belay.
Strong and courageous course of action, and i believe the right one.
When you fall off the route, get back on the route, right?


onceahardman


May 25, 2009, 9:51 AM
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Even though you made several mistakes, keep in mind...The System Worked!

I suspect nearly everyone around here with any experience has placed gear in the wrong places (minimal contact in questionable rock), immediately after a long traverse, maximizing rope drag, not using trad runners (over the shoulder length), instead of little sportie draws. and getting off route.

You got it together, and finished the bugger. Well done. Now, learn from it, and go on.


sungam


May 25, 2009, 10:01 AM
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BTW - best trip report title evar!!!


rockandlice


May 25, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Funny, I smacked a ledge during a fall a couple months back at the New and had a huge bruise on my ass cheek. For some reason, I had the pain in the same area, well, *ahem*, not in my ass, but close stretching down my inner thigh. Hurt like hell anytime I high stepped for several weeks.

I didn't want to post about being all butt hurt on here though. That took some balls (not ones attached to a deeply throbbing bone in your butt).


(This post was edited by rockandlice on May 25, 2009, 11:48 AM)


rock_ranger


May 25, 2009, 12:22 PM
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dingus wrote:
gee wrote:
The first day it felt like I had big throbbing bone deep inside my butt,

Sounds like a real pain in the ass?

In reply to:
then it felt like a bruise, and now it feels like a sore muscle

Funny how you can get used to anything, even a throbbing bone deep inside your butt!

That last bit is ass umption on my part of course.

DMT

5 stars!


justroberto


Jul 31, 2009, 1:19 PM
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Bump.


IsayAutumn


Jul 31, 2009, 1:43 PM
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8======D (_|_)


Partner angry


Jul 31, 2009, 3:00 PM
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I've hurt my butt on falls a few times myself.


dr_feelgood


Jul 31, 2009, 3:57 PM
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angry wrote:
I've hurt my butt on falls a few times myself.

Have the doctors been able to remove the shampoo bottle yet?
Those unexpected falls are the worst.


Partner angry


Jul 31, 2009, 4:12 PM
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dr_feelgood wrote:
angry wrote:
I've hurt my butt on falls a few times myself.

Have the doctors been able to remove the shampoo bottle yet?
Those unexpected falls are the worst.

The one I took with the n1c3 christina a month ago couldn't have been worse had there been a shampoo bottle at the bottom with a lightbulb being held up by a gerbil.


bill413


Jul 31, 2009, 4:36 PM
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angry wrote:
dr_feelgood wrote:
angry wrote:
I've hurt my butt on falls a few times myself.

Have the doctors been able to remove the shampoo bottle yet?
Those unexpected falls are the worst.

The one I took with the n1c3 christina a month ago couldn't have been worse had there been a shampoo bottle at the bottom with a lightbulb being held up by a gerbil.

I want to thank you for that image. Very much. Mad I must go drink to wipe it from my mind.


billcoe_


Sep 14, 2009, 5:13 PM
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gee wrote:
So, it was a fairly small fall compared to what I'm sure a lot of other people have taken.

I hate it when the pro rips and people die. Not kidding. Hate it. The loved ones are wailing, the CPR useless, the day and the memory's you carry are f*ed up in a large way. The sounds of the pro jangling and the unmistakable "WHOMP" like a sack of watermellons smacking the dirt.

So I'm saying congrats on living for another day. Live a full life.

Regards:
Bill


milesenoell


Sep 14, 2009, 5:59 PM
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Great trip report! I probably know less than you, so I'm not about to give any technical advice, but from the sound of it you're on your way to being a good climber. You weren't deterred by wetness, lack of clarity about the route, or the fall, and took the time to really analyze what happened and why. Too much bravado or not enough analysis can be dangerous, while too little bravado or too much analysis will keep you from your potential, but it sounds like you are finding a balance. Best of all what you wrote is very readable and funny. Well done!


jorgegonzalez


Sep 14, 2009, 9:58 PM
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In the end (oops, sorry), which hurt worse, your butt or your dignity? That is the question we all must face at some point in our climbing/leading career. Hopefully, it was the latter, and it will be a lesson well learned. We learn from our mistakes if we are able to avoid repeating them.


(This post was edited by jorgegonzalez on Sep 14, 2009, 10:02 PM)


blueeyedclimber


Sep 15, 2009, 7:51 AM
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First, you sound humble and willing to analyze what you did wrong. This is VERY important.

Second, I am going to tell you what you don't want to hear. Don't Fall! Not just on 5.6, but until you can recognize, when it's ok to fall and when it isn't. It is possible to NOT fall. I went through the same thing. I got on a climb early in my leading career before I had enough mileage to assess the situation. A ground fall and a badly spraigned ankle taught me a lot that day.

Here's my advice.

1. Get a lot of mileage on terrain where you are almost comfortable soloing. Place a lot of gear, work on rope management, communication with your belayer, route finding, etc.

2. Don't be afraid to back off. If you know you are in terrain where a fall is not desirable, but you think there is a good possibility where you might...Then save it for another day.

3. Mistakes are ok, as long as you learn from them...and you survive them.

Josh


Partner j_ung


Sep 17, 2009, 8:10 AM
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LaughLaugh Good stuff.


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