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First Sport Leader Fall
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NoMoCouch


Mar 22, 2010, 8:36 AM
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First Sport Leader Fall
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Had my first leader fall. Here are a few of the facts.

1. 25 foot fall 5 feet above last clip
2. Less than vertical, have scrapes and bruises
3. became inverted in the fall, think it was because of arm impacting an edge of the corner, I was on the face.
4. Large weight difference, smaller belayer, larger climber (80 pound difference).
5. Belay device was ATC Guide.
6. Rope was 9.6 Edelweiss
7. Belayer sustained rope burns on both hands, mostly on belay hand pinky and ring finger tips.
8. No helmet on either climber or belayer.
9. The next bolt was within reach of a better stance than where I fell.

In my estimate I would not have fallen had I recognized that I was a bit less focused that morning than usual. That caused me to climb above the correct stance for the next bolt, I was not above it but was well within reach before I pushed on to where I fell.


Lessons learned.

1. Helmets a must
2. Gri Gri might have prevented rope burns and shortened the fall probably preventing the inversion.
3. Slow down and stretch, will help me to recognize focus issues.
4. Although there were no possible locations for anchor points, there was a tree nearby that a belay anchor might have been built on. Not sure how this would help unless a Gri Gri is also involved.

All injuries were minor and we both were able to continue climbing. I took some tome to refocus and lead the route successfully.

Thanks


caughtinside


Mar 22, 2010, 8:43 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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Rope burns on the belayer are a major concern.


clews


Mar 22, 2010, 8:43 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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The rope burn had nothing to do with he belay device and was 100% due to bad belaying


jt512


Mar 22, 2010, 8:49 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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NoMoCouch wrote:
2. Gri Gri might have prevented rope burns and shortened the fall probably preventing the inversion.

So might have competent belaying.

Jay


iknowfear


Mar 22, 2010, 9:18 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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In reply to:
25 foot fall 5 feet above last clip

dude, if you fall 5 times the distance from your last bolt, something has gone very wrong in belaying. Especially on a slab. no "soft catch" there...
I'd look into that as first lesson...


acorneau


Mar 22, 2010, 9:20 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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NoMo,

Glad you're OK.

A few thoughts/questions...

How far away from the wall was your belayer?
I often see lead belayers standing far back from the wall while belaying, a habit from top-rope belaying. When their climber falls they get dragged forward, dropping their climber much more than if they had been in closer to the wall. Belaying under the first bolt will give your belayer the most "weight" because the only direction for them to go is up.

Why do you think your arm hitting the rock flipped you over?
I would assume that a foot/leg/knee hitting a ledge would invert a person much more easily. Probably won't figure this one out after the fact, but it's something to consider when climbing less than vertical faces.

If your belayer is having a hard time holding the rope with the standard-friction side of the ATC-Guide then perhaps using the high-friction side might be better. Also, a thicker rope is easier to hang on to; try a 10mm or 10.2mm.

Again, glad you're OK and I hope you can take away some good lessons from your experience.

[edit for spelling and clarity.]


(This post was edited by acorneau on Mar 22, 2010, 9:25 AM)


jt512


Mar 22, 2010, 9:25 AM
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Re: [acorneau] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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acorneau wrote:
If your belayer is having a hard time holding the rope with the standard-friction side of the ATC-Guide then perhaps using the high-friction side would be better.

That is distracting from the real issue, which is that the belayer didn't lock off the rope properly.

Jay


NoMoCouch


Mar 22, 2010, 10:02 AM
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Re: [acorneau] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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Good catch acorneau. I do recall two distinct decreases in speed in the decent which could be the two actions of being pulled into then up the wall. I'll discuss this with the belayer and see how he responds.

As far as the arm causing the inversion, I suppose that makes more sense. It's kind of a blurr :)


NoMoCouch


Mar 22, 2010, 10:04 AM
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Re: [jt512] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
acorneau wrote:
If your belayer is having a hard time holding the rope with the standard-friction side of the ATC-Guide then perhaps using the high-friction side would be better.

That is distracting from the real issue, which is that the belayer didn't lock off the rope properly.

Jay

He was using the high friction side. Also, I think you may be correct in the lock off correctly comment. I'm going to pay attention and offer some advice next time he belayse our other partner, who was not present at this climb.


marc801


Mar 22, 2010, 10:11 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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NoMoCouch wrote:
He was using the high friction side. Also, I think you may be correct in the lock off correctly comment. I'm going to pay attention and offer some advice next time he belays our other partner,...
Good that you have a crash test dummy to take your place. I would not climb with your "belayer" again until he learns how to properly belay a leader.


jt512


Mar 22, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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NoMoCouch wrote:
jt512 wrote:
acorneau wrote:
If your belayer is having a hard time holding the rope with the standard-friction side of the ATC-Guide then perhaps using the high-friction side would be better.

That is distracting from the real issue, which is that the belayer didn't lock off the rope properly.

Jay

He was using the high friction side. Also, I think you may be correct in the lock off correctly comment. I'm going to pay attention and offer some advice next time he belayse our other partner, who was not present at this climb.

The fact that he burned his hands implies that rope ran through the belay device. No modern belay device will allow more than negligible rope slippage in a low-impact fall, such as you described. Therefore, the belayer did not lock off the device properly.

The belayer should not belay again until he learns how to properly lock off a belay device. You are very fortunate that he had the tenacity to not let go after he burned his hands. You could have been killed from an error like this.

Jay


NoMoCouch


Mar 22, 2010, 10:28 AM
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Re: [jt512] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
NoMoCouch wrote:
jt512 wrote:
acorneau wrote:
If your belayer is having a hard time holding the rope with the standard-friction side of the ATC-Guide then perhaps using the high-friction side would be better.

That is distracting from the real issue, which is that the belayer didn't lock off the rope properly.

Jay

He was using the high friction side. Also, I think you may be correct in the lock off correctly comment. I'm going to pay attention and offer some advice next time he belayse our other partner, who was not present at this climb.

The fact that he burned his hands implies that rope ran through the belay device. No modern belay device will allow more than negligible rope slippage in a low-impact fall, such as you described. Therefore, the belayer did not lock off the device properly.

The belayer should not belay again until he learns how to properly lock off a belay device. You are very fortunate that he had the tenacity to not let go after he burned his hands. You could have been killed from an error like this.

Jay

Thanks for elaborating on your previous response regarding the rope burns. I am grateful for his tenacity, gives me confidence he'll improve after given tips and practice opportunities.

Thanks


redlude97


Mar 22, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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You are a braver man than me. I would not let someone "practice" belaying me after that


NoMoCouch


Mar 22, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Re: [redlude97] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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redlude97 wrote:
You are a braver man than me. I would not let someone "practice" belaying me after that
Practice = gym + overhanging routes :)


edge


Mar 22, 2010, 10:43 AM
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Re: [redlude97] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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redlude97 wrote:
You are a braver man than me. I would not let someone "practice" belaying me after that

Agreed.

Given the situation of the fall, it would be kinda like practicing catching a bullet in your teeth.


silascl


Mar 22, 2010, 4:06 PM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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NoMoCouch wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
You are a braver man than me. I would not let someone "practice" belaying me after that
Practice = gym + overhanging routes :)

Add in an extra person to hold the brake end of the rope as a back up belayer and I think you have a good way to practice. That third person can also monitor the belayer and see why they are failing to lock off if it happens again.


bandycoot


Mar 22, 2010, 4:36 PM
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Re: [silascl] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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To all of those who say they wouldn't climb with a belayer who made such a mistake, I find it quite likely that depending on the individual they will never make that mistake again...

I took a 70' fall once due to belayer error. I went back up and finished the route with the same belayer because I knew he wouldn't make the same mistake. He was somewhat inexperienced with the rope climbing at the time, but one hell of an intelligent individual.

There are other people where if they made a mistake I wouldn't let them belay me again. But I wouldn't necessarily write anyone off immediately.


Gmburns2000


Mar 22, 2010, 4:52 PM
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Re: [bandycoot] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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bandycoot wrote:
To all of those who say they wouldn't climb with a belayer who made such a mistake, I find it quite likely that depending on the individual they will never make that mistake again...

I took a 70' fall once due to belayer error. I went back up and finished the route with the same belayer because I knew he wouldn't make the same mistake. He was somewhat inexperienced with the rope climbing at the time, but one hell of an intelligent individual.

There are other people where if they made a mistake I wouldn't let them belay me again. But I wouldn't necessarily write anyone off immediately.

+1

People, old and young, experienced and inexperienced, make mistakes. Those who can fix them should be given another chance, regardless of experience.


johnwesely


Mar 22, 2010, 5:57 PM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
bandycoot wrote:
To all of those who say they wouldn't climb with a belayer who made such a mistake, I find it quite likely that depending on the individual they will never make that mistake again...

I took a 70' fall once due to belayer error. I went back up and finished the route with the same belayer because I knew he wouldn't make the same mistake. He was somewhat inexperienced with the rope climbing at the time, but one hell of an intelligent individual.

There are other people where if they made a mistake I wouldn't let them belay me again. But I wouldn't necessarily write anyone off immediately.

+1

People, old and young, experienced and inexperienced, make mistakes. Those who can fix them should be given another chance, regardless of experience.

There are really only two possibilities for this scenario. Either, the belayer was not competently instructed on how to belay, or the belayer was and he just didn't pay attention.

I might give the first person a second chance if they were re educated and showed competency. The second person does not have respect for the danger involved in climbing.

A personal aside. A few years ago I was belaying my partner, on top rope with the climber side rope clipped through all of draws, on a tallish (80 feet) sport climb. I had belayed countless leaders without incident but had never belayed a single top roper outdoors. I prefer to not yank the top roping climber up the wall, so I did not yard on the rope. My only top rope experience was indoors where there is zero rope drag. I was used to feeling slack in the system. As my climber ascended, I took in the rope the way I normally would, yet little did I know, that rope drag was completely obscuring the amount of slack that was present in the rope system. My climber fell about fifteen feet off the deck. Although, due to my limited experience, it felt like my climber would only fall a foot or two, my climber actually fell ten feet before the rope caught him. With rope stretch, he hit the ground fairly hard. He was rather upset, and so was I. I learned a valuable lesson that day, which allowed me to look at the rope system in a much more clear fashion. It is possible that the OP's belayer learned a similar lesson, and it is just as likely that he did not.


livinonasandbar


Mar 22, 2010, 7:28 PM
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Re: [NoMoCouch] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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I'm calling TROLL on this one. At least, I sure as hell hope it is...


jt512


Mar 22, 2010, 7:44 PM
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Re: [livinonasandbar] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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livinonasandbar wrote:
I'm calling TROLL on this one.

I have no idea why. This is a totally routine n00b accident. The only thing unusual about it is that it didn't start, "My girlfriend was belaying me, and...."

Jay


phillygoat


Mar 22, 2010, 9:59 PM
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Re: [jt512] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
livinonasandbar wrote:
I'm calling TROLL on this one.

I have no idea why. This is a totally routine n00b accident. The only thing unusual about it is that it didn't start, "My girlfriend was belaying me, and...."

Jay

I thought the same thing. Does that make us bad people?


marc801


Mar 22, 2010, 10:10 PM
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Re: [johnwesely] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
...yet little did I know, that rope drag was completely obscuring the amount of slack that was present in the rope system. My climber fell about fifteen feet off the deck. Although, due to my limited experience, it felt like my climber would only fall a foot or two, my climber actually fell ten feet before the rope caught him. With rope stretch, he hit the ground fairly hard.
And somehow as he was climbing, he didn't notice the growing loop of slack in front of him and didn't stop moving upwards. So in other words, you were both incompetent.


johnwesely


Mar 23, 2010, 4:58 AM
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Re: [marc801] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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marc801 wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
...yet little did I know, that rope drag was completely obscuring the amount of slack that was present in the rope system. My climber fell about fifteen feet off the deck. Although, due to my limited experience, it felt like my climber would only fall a foot or two, my climber actually fell ten feet before the rope caught him. With rope stretch, he hit the ground fairly hard.
And somehow as he was climbing, he didn't notice the growing loop of slack in front of him and didn't stop moving upwards. So in other words, you were both incompetent.

That is true. It is not something I am denying.


i_h8_choss


Mar 23, 2010, 5:27 AM
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Re: [bandycoot] First Sport Leader Fall [In reply to]
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bandycoot wrote:
To all of those who say they wouldn't climb with a belayer who made such a mistake, I find it quite likely that depending on the individual they will never make that mistake again...

I took a 70' fall once due to belayer error. I went back up and finished the route with the same belayer because I knew he wouldn't make the same mistake. He was somewhat inexperienced with the rope climbing at the time, but one hell of an intelligent individual.

There are other people where if they made a mistake I wouldn't let them belay me again. But I wouldn't necessarily write anyone off immediately.


Good post, except for the part about the "intelligent individual that made the 70' fall belay mistake"Tongue

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