Forums: Climbing Information: Accident and Incident Analysis:
Accident while lowering at City of Rocks
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Accident and Incident Analysis

Premier Sponsor:

 
First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 Next page Last page  View All


ensonik


Sep 2, 2010, 5:54 PM
Post #1 of 125 (12034 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 134

Accident while lowering at City of Rocks
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Gunks.com thread

In reply to:
Yesterday was going to be the last day of what was an amazing and fabulous vacation out west, but when doing the first climb of the morning, I lowered Rich and the rope slipped right past my belay (in order words, the rope was too short to lower him off) sending him head first on the rock where he broke his nose, then again 10 feet lower where he landed on his side and head, breaking some ribs, creating an immense laceration on his head (20 staples) and doing more stumbling down the rock. I thought he was dead.

I've never felt this awful. I ran to his help - blood everywhere, he was not responsive, and we were in the middle of nowhere at City of Rocks, practically. I waited a minute for him to somewhat regain consciousness, and then positionned him with his feet up with the hope that while I was getting help, he would not go into shock.

I then ran to the car like I've never ran before and drove to get help, and I luckily ran into a ranger who immediately set out a rescue team and called a helicopter for an evacuation. I then ran back up to Rich and thank god, he was still alive.

About an hour after the accident, he was in the hands of paramedics and was heli-flown to a trauma center in Ogden, Utah. I drove there a few hours later and he had the best team caring for him - truly amazing medical staff.

Anyways, it has been the worst day of my life, between the fear of losing him altogether, the guilt of not having noticed the rope issue, and the pain of seeing him in such distress... and the fact that it was a completely preventable accident. A COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE accident. Just awful.

(Two weeks earlier, another women dropped her husband the same way but 50' and he wasn't so lucky - I did not ask details.)

He was extubated last night and they will be doing more tests today to make sure his brain and spine are fine - thus far, all the tests came back great. No major injuries, just some things that will heal soon.

PLEASE always tie a knot at the end of your rope when top roping, identify CLEARLY the mid-way point of the rope. And wear a helmet.

I will put an update in a few days, but no news until then is good news.


Partner oldsalt


Sep 2, 2010, 6:41 PM
Post #2 of 125 (11989 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 19, 2004
Posts: 919

Re: [ensonik] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'm concerned about the description of events. Before going there, I see that he is doing well, thank God.

The description includes the phrase "top roping". Doesn't that imply that the climber returns to the point from which he started the climb? Shouldn't there have been enough rope to do the start, and thus enough rope to return to the same spot?

The only way I can visualize this is if the belayer moved further down slope during the climb. This would require more rope to lower than was needed to start.

Clarity, anyone?


socalclimber


Sep 2, 2010, 6:50 PM
Post #3 of 125 (11972 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 2436

Re: [ensonik] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I cannot stress enough how important it is to close the system when top roping. I don't care if there is 40 feet of excess rope laying on the ground. DO IT.

This is one of my (many) lessons I teach when guiding. Know where your ends are, and close the system. The reason I drill this into my clients, even when there is a an excess of rope on the ground is simple:

The more you practice good safety habits, the more ingrained they become and you will do them without thinking. Conversely, the more you practice bad safety habits (being lax, complacent etc), the more ingrained they become and you will do them without thinking.

Start thinking folks.


socalclimber


Sep 2, 2010, 6:53 PM
Post #4 of 125 (11968 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 2436

Re: [oldsalt] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

oldsalt wrote:
I'm concerned about the description of events. Before going there, I see that he is doing well, thank God.

The description includes the phrase "top roping". Doesn't that imply that the climber returns to the point from which he started the climb? Shouldn't there have been enough rope to do the start, and thus enough rope to return to the same spot?

The only way I can visualize this is if the belayer moved further down slope during the climb. This would require more rope to lower than was needed to start.

Clarity, anyone?

Well, I wasn't there. But, here is what generally tends to happen in these types of accidents. Leader does the route, it's steep, and sometimes the base is steep as you mentioned. Leader gets to the top, neither has bothered to judge the length of the route, or close the system. Leader sets up anchor, belayer starts to lower.

You can guess the rest.

Edited:

I will add this, there are sport routes that are at the bleeding edge of a 100 feet. Therefore, if you are not knowledgeable of the area, or are not capable of judging vertical distances, then this type of accident can occur very easily.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Sep 2, 2010, 7:58 PM)


rangerrob


Sep 2, 2010, 8:08 PM
Post #5 of 125 (11894 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 7, 2003
Posts: 641

Re: [socalclimber] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

I think one should not start rushing to judgement, or criticism and making sweeping generalizations about the experience or skill of the climbers in question. If you don't have the facts, then don't assume anything.

RR


billcoe_


Sep 2, 2010, 8:21 PM
Post #6 of 125 (11885 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 30, 2002
Posts: 4668

Re: [rangerrob] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

rangerrob wrote:
I think one should not start rushing to judgement, or criticism and making sweeping generalizations about the experience or skill of the climbers in question. If you don't have the facts, then don't assume anything. RR

Hey, what the #$X##! this is the internet, so it's in the process of going viral right now with massive amounts of sweeping generalizations, rush to judgment with inadequate facts, judgmental bickering, false information, lies and stupidity set to follow. There's not a damn thing any of us can do about it, so I'm sorry to have to point out you need to get the hell out of the way or get trampled in the stampede. LOL! Sorry! Laugh

BTW, here's a point I need to add to Socals good advice, ropes shrink. So even the rope that reaches the ground this year may be 10 feet short the next. I had that happen to me. No one dropped of course, just shocked how much (shrinkage) there was. EXACT SAME ROPE.


(This post was edited by billcoe_ on Sep 7, 2010, 6:02 PM)


socalclimber


Sep 2, 2010, 8:25 PM
Post #7 of 125 (11878 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 2436

Re: [rangerrob] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

rangerrob wrote:
I think one should not start rushing to judgement, or criticism and making sweeping generalizations about the experience or skill of the climbers in question. If you don't have the facts, then don't assume anything.

RR

This is not a physics equation. There are only a limited number of possibilities that cause these type of accidents.

Also, billcoe_ is spot on, rope shrinkage does happen.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Sep 2, 2010, 8:26 PM)


Partner rgold


Sep 2, 2010, 8:35 PM
Post #8 of 125 (11861 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 3, 2002
Posts: 1801

Re: [oldsalt] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (10 ratings)  
Can't Post

Socal described it; the leader was being lowered, it wasn't a top-roping situation as usually understood, the OP's language was meant to describe how the second was to be belayed up.

City of Rocks is becoming notorious for having anchors that are more than thirty meters from the ground. Bridwell rapped off the end of his ropes there a few years ago, and there have been other accidents of this type that ended up having more serious consequences.

The whole point of the OP's post was to emphasize the need for preventive measures, and this was done at the expense of an excruciating confession of personal responsibility. That being the case, there really is no subsequent need to burst through doors already open.

We can, of course, take pride in doing things that other people do not when it is the other people who pay a steep price. But anyone who thinks they are immune from a momentary lapse that has tragic results is living in a fantasy which I sincerely hope is never intruded on by reality.

From the appropriately humble position conditioned by this realization, I would suggest wishing the injured climber a full recovery and sending our heartfelt sympathies to the belayer, who learned a horribly painful lesson and whose immediate instinct and generous response was to share a warning with her fellow climbers.

The stampede billcoe describes is only inevitable if we all agree it should be inevitable.


(This post was edited by rgold on Sep 2, 2010, 8:51 PM)


socalclimber


Sep 2, 2010, 8:38 PM
Post #9 of 125 (11853 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 2436

Re: [rgold] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

Thank you rgold, well put as always, regardless of whether you agree with me or not.


curt


Sep 3, 2010, 5:12 PM
Post #10 of 125 (11622 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 26, 2002
Posts: 18234

Re: [rgold] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

rgold wrote:
Socal described it; the leader was being lowered, it wasn't a top-roping situation as usually understood, the OP's language was meant to describe how the second was to be belayed up.

City of Rocks is becoming notorious for having anchors that are more than thirty meters from the ground. Bridwell rapped off the end of his ropes there a few years ago, and there have been other accidents of this type that ended up having more serious consequences.

The whole point of the OP's post was to emphasize the need for preventive measures, and this was done at the expense of an excruciating confession of personal responsibility. That being the case, there really is no subsequent need to burst through doors already open.

We can, of course, take pride in doing things that other people do not when it is the other people who pay a steep price. But anyone who thinks they are immune from a momentary lapse that has tragic results is living in a fantasy which I sincerely hope is never intruded on by reality.

From the appropriately humble position conditioned by this realization, I would suggest wishing the injured climber a full recovery and sending our heartfelt sympathies to the belayer, who learned a horribly painful lesson and whose immediate instinct and generous response was to share a warning with her fellow climbers.

The stampede billcoe describes is only inevitable if we all agree it should be inevitable.

Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.

Curt


dugl33


Sep 3, 2010, 8:45 PM
Post #12 of 125 (11518 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 6, 2009
Posts: 740

Re: [curt] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

curt wrote:
rgold wrote:
Socal described it; the leader was being lowered, it wasn't a top-roping situation as usually understood, the OP's language was meant to describe how the second was to be belayed up.

City of Rocks is becoming notorious for having anchors that are more than thirty meters from the ground. Bridwell rapped off the end of his ropes there a few years ago, and there have been other accidents of this type that ended up having more serious consequences.

The whole point of the OP's post was to emphasize the need for preventive measures, and this was done at the expense of an excruciating confession of personal responsibility. That being the case, there really is no subsequent need to burst through doors already open.

We can, of course, take pride in doing things that other people do not when it is the other people who pay a steep price. But anyone who thinks they are immune from a momentary lapse that has tragic results is living in a fantasy which I sincerely hope is never intruded on by reality.

From the appropriately humble position conditioned by this realization, I would suggest wishing the injured climber a full recovery and sending our heartfelt sympathies to the belayer, who learned a horribly painful lesson and whose immediate instinct and generous response was to share a warning with her fellow climbers.

The stampede billcoe describes is only inevitable if we all agree it should be inevitable.

Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.

Curt

Ending a route at the top... the nerve.


marc801


Sep 3, 2010, 9:49 PM
Post #13 of 125 (11493 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 1, 2005
Posts: 2770

Re: [curt] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

curt wrote:
Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.
Or <gasp!>, a second rope, like we've done for decades. There are routes at the City that are bolted, feel, and climb like a sport route, but are decidedly longer than half a rope - even longer than half a 70m. There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m.


ClimbClimb


Sep 4, 2010, 5:31 PM
Post #14 of 125 (11403 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 5, 2009
Posts: 389

Re: [rgold] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

+1 Best wishes for recovery for both.

In the closing chapter of "Into Thin Air", Krakauer writes:

"Analyzing what went wrong on Everest is a useful enough enterprise; it might conceivably prevent soem deaths down the road. But to believe that dissecting the tragic events of 1996 in minute detail will actually reduce the future death rate in any meaningful way is wishful thinking. The urge to catalog the myriad blunders in order to "learn from the mistakes" is for the most part an exercise in denial and self-deception. If you can convince yourself that Rob Hall died because he made a string of stupid errors and that you are too clever to repeat those same errors, it makes it easier for you to attempt Everest in the face of some rather compelling evidence that doing so is injudicious."

Yes, of course, this is single-pitch climbing, not Himalayan mountaineering, and lowering your partner off the end of the rope is clearly preventable, etc. But the psychology of some of the replies here is the same -- being the first to jump up and throw rocks at the poor belayer (who is probably suffering *more* than the injured climber) may be more a matter of making yourself feel invulnerable, the accident "not applicable".


cruxstacean


Sep 4, 2010, 6:40 PM
Post #16 of 125 (11373 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 5, 2010
Posts: 174

Re: [marc801] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

marc801 wrote:
curt wrote:
Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.
Or <gasp!>, a second rope, like we've done for decades. There are routes at the City that are bolted, feel, and climb like a sport route, but are decidedly longer than half a rope - even longer than half a 70m. There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m.

Thats because they are sport routes. There's no rule that sport routes can't have anchors at 55m


curt


Sep 4, 2010, 8:52 PM
Post #17 of 125 (11298 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 26, 2002
Posts: 18234

Re: [cruxstacean] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

cruxstacean wrote:
marc801 wrote:
curt wrote:
Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.
Or <gasp!>, a second rope, like we've done for decades. There are routes at the City that are bolted, feel, and climb like a sport route, but are decidedly longer than half a rope - even longer than half a 70m. There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m.

Thats because they are sport routes. There's no rule that sport routes can't have anchors at 55m

I think there's a presumption here that we are, however, talking about routes that can be done with a single rope. I doubt anyone has ever climbed 55m up to a set of anchors (with only one rope) and then asked their belayer to lower them.

Curt


cruxstacean


Sep 4, 2010, 10:06 PM
Post #18 of 125 (11265 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 5, 2010
Posts: 174

Re: [curt] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

curt wrote:
cruxstacean wrote:
marc801 wrote:
curt wrote:
Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.
Or <gasp!>, a second rope, like we've done for decades. There are routes at the City that are bolted, feel, and climb like a sport route, but are decidedly longer than half a rope - even longer than half a 70m. There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m.

Thats because they are sport routes. There's no rule that sport routes can't have anchors at 55m

I think there's a presumption here that we are, however, talking about routes that can be done with a single rope. I doubt anyone has ever climbed 55m up to a set of anchors (with only one rope) and then asked their belayer to lower them.

Curt

Stupidity can lead to amazing things though... Unimpressed


marc801


Sep 5, 2010, 8:51 AM
Post #19 of 125 (11158 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 1, 2005
Posts: 2770

Re: [curt] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

curt wrote:
cruxstacean wrote:
marc801 wrote:
curt wrote:
Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.
Or <gasp!>, a second rope, like we've done for decades. There are routes at the City that are bolted, feel, and climb like a sport route, but are decidedly longer than half a rope - even longer than half a 70m. There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m.

Thats because they are sport routes. There's no rule that sport routes can't have anchors at 55m

I think there's a presumption here that we are, however, talking about routes that can be done with a single rope. I doubt anyone has ever climbed 55m up to a set of anchors (with only one rope) and then asked their belayer to lower them.
Oh for the love of....
Editing my last sentence to: There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m, and several notorious ones, where the anchors are at 35m and 40m, where many have been dropped in the same manner.


redlude97


Sep 6, 2010, 1:00 AM
Post #20 of 125 (11029 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 27, 2008
Posts: 990

Re: [marc801] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

marc801 wrote:
curt wrote:
cruxstacean wrote:
marc801 wrote:
curt wrote:
Knowing that, it also sounds like a good idea to always have a 70m rope if climbing there--just in case.
Or <gasp!>, a second rope, like we've done for decades. There are routes at the City that are bolted, feel, and climb like a sport route, but are decidedly longer than half a rope - even longer than half a 70m. There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m.

Thats because they are sport routes. There's no rule that sport routes can't have anchors at 55m

I think there's a presumption here that we are, however, talking about routes that can be done with a single rope. I doubt anyone has ever climbed 55m up to a set of anchors (with only one rope) and then asked their belayer to lower them.
Oh for the love of....
Editing my last sentence to: There are quite a few routes where the anchors are at 55m, and several notorious ones, where the anchors are at 35m and 40m, where many have been dropped in the same manner.
uh does no one mark and notice the center of their ropes nowadays?


bill413


Sep 6, 2010, 7:58 AM
Post #21 of 125 (10978 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 5674

Re: [redlude97] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

redlude97 wrote:
uh does no one mark and notice the center of their ropes nowadays?

Many ropes are not marked.
Some ropes are faintly marked.
Some ropes are mis-marked.
It is not difficult to miss the center mark, especially if you are watching the climber.


redlude97


Sep 6, 2010, 8:29 AM
Post #22 of 125 (10956 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 27, 2008
Posts: 990

Re: [bill413] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

bill413 wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
uh does no one mark and notice the center of their ropes nowadays?

Many ropes are not marked.
Some ropes are faintly marked.
Some ropes are mis-marked.
It is not difficult to miss the center mark, especially if you are watching the climber.
Doesn't seem like a good reason to not mark your rope or not pay attention to it any more does it?


bill413


Sep 6, 2010, 9:05 AM
Post #23 of 125 (10944 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 5674

Re: [redlude97] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

redlude97 wrote:
bill413 wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
uh does no one mark and notice the center of their ropes nowadays?

Many ropes are not marked.
Some ropes are faintly marked.
Some ropes are mis-marked.
It is not difficult to miss the center mark, especially if you are watching the climber.
Doesn't seem like a good reason to not mark your rope or not pay attention to it any more does it?

Seems like a good reason to not rely on it, but regard it as a (sometimes) guide.


viciado


Sep 6, 2010, 9:37 AM
Post #24 of 125 (10930 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 9, 2003
Posts: 414

Re: [bill413] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

And it seems like an excellent reason to agree with the OP's (on the Gunks site) original point... tie a knot in the end. Can't miss it even when you aren't looking.


tradmanclimbs


Sep 6, 2010, 10:33 AM
Post #25 of 125 (10911 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2003
Posts: 2599

Re: [viciado] Accident while lowering at City of Rocks [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

No one EVER noticices a middle or end mark when loweing a climber off the end of a rope. the focus is always on the climber untill the rope slips through the device. Knowing these facts from the many accidents that we get to analize it is a no brainer that the way to avoid this typ of accident is to tie into the other end of the rope.

First page Previous page 1 2 3 4 5 Next page Last page  View All

Forums : Climbing Information : Accident and Incident Analysis

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook