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onrockandice


Jul 11, 2011, 2:36 PM
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Lowering Fall in Eldo today?
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Anyone have any "on the ground" information about this accident today? It was my climbing partners good friend and we are both concerned for him.

http://www.denverpost.com/...verpost.com#comments
[EDIT]The link says a 2nd accident of 75 feet. That's the one but it happened today. So that's an onerous report. Or the person who called us here at work has the date/time wrong for the lowering.

As we understand it, the climber never told the belayer he wanted to be taken off belay. He set the anchors up, communicated that he wanted to be lowered and then decked. The belayer was reaching for something heard the rope whiz off and that was it. We think anyway. We know for a fact the leader was dropped from the anchor after the belayer took him off. The details around it are sketchy at best. This is all coming in over the phone as I type this. This stuff sucks. Simple communication error and now a broken back.[/EDIT]


(This post was edited by onrockandice on Jul 11, 2011, 2:40 PM)


Gmburns2000


Jul 11, 2011, 2:56 PM
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Re: [onrockandice] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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onrockandice wrote:
Anyone have any "on the ground" information about this accident today? It was my climbing partners good friend and we are both concerned for him.

http://www.denverpost.com/...verpost.com#comments
[EDIT]The link says a 2nd accident of 75 feet. That's the one but it happened today. So that's an onerous report. Or the person who called us here at work has the date/time wrong for the lowering.

As we understand it, the climber never told the belayer he wanted to be taken off belay. He set the anchors up, communicated that he wanted to be lowered and then decked. The belayer was reaching for something heard the rope whiz off and that was it. We think anyway. We know for a fact the leader was dropped from the anchor after the belayer took him off. The details around it are sketchy at best. This is all coming in over the phone as I type this. This stuff sucks. Simple communication error and now a broken back.[/EDIT]

damn dude. best of luck to your friend. here's hoping the damage isn't too severe.


moose_droppings


Jul 11, 2011, 4:36 PM
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Re: [onrockandice] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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That really sucks. Hope that any further info you get on this will bring better news.

Wishing for the best outcome.


onrockandice


Jul 11, 2011, 6:16 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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Yeah, we are talking to people close to the scene. I'm going to ask if the belayer would be willing to write up the incident here. Even though we all know about this one and it's certainly not anything new under the sun.

In the latest PETZL catalog there's a diagram of a guy being lowered and having a prussik cord attached to the other side of the rope. If I understand the diagram correctly this thing by itself would have prevented a ground fall. In the diagram the guy being lowered slides the prussik down as he is being lowered. If the belayer is killed by rockfall and drops the guy he will still be okay because the prussik will bind.

Anybody see that and am I right? Is that an overkill solution or is it worthwhile when being lowered? I'm starting to think (with the prevalence of this type of accident) that I'm going to use that method when being lowered. It only takes 1 minute to rig and it could save your life...


Gmburns2000


Jul 11, 2011, 7:13 PM
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Re: [onrockandice] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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onrockandice wrote:
Yeah, we are talking to people close to the scene. I'm going to ask if the belayer would be willing to write up the incident here. Even though we all know about this one and it's certainly not anything new under the sun.

In the latest PETZL catalog there's a diagram of a guy being lowered and having a prussik cord attached to the other side of the rope. If I understand the diagram correctly this thing by itself would have prevented a ground fall. In the diagram the guy being lowered slides the prussik down as he is being lowered. If the belayer is killed by rockfall and drops the guy he will still be okay because the prussik will bind.

Anybody see that and am I right? Is that an overkill solution or is it worthwhile when being lowered? I'm starting to think (with the prevalence of this type of accident) that I'm going to use that method when being lowered. It only takes 1 minute to rig and it could save your life...

depends on realistically how easy it is to use when lowering. If I did it, which I don't think I will, I'd probably just wrap the cord around the other rope a few times, which is what I do when rapping. I think a prussik is overkill.


bearbreeder


Jul 11, 2011, 9:45 PM
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Re: [onrockandice] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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Best of luck to the person

The golden rule is to not take off yr safety until you feel yrself being pulled in ....

Very preventable


carpenter


Jul 12, 2011, 12:15 AM
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Re: [onrockandice] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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A similar thing happened a few weeks ago in Clear Creek Canyon. A friend was belaying a random drifter, who climbed to the anchors out of sight, out of hearing. Belayer thought he'd rap, climber thought he'd lower. Belayer unclipped, and so did the climber, and the climber started to fall.

On the next route over, a man was clipped in to the first anchor while belaying his partner on the 2nd pitch. As the falling climber passed him, he locked off his partner and quickly spun his free arm into the climber's slack rope, catching him with a single bare hand. Despite severe rope burns, he gently lowered the catch and finished climbing his route like nothing happened. I kid you not. bamf.


iknowfear


Jul 12, 2011, 1:23 AM
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Re: [onrockandice] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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onrockandice wrote:
Yeah, we are talking to people close to the scene. I'm going to ask if the belayer would be willing to write up the incident here. Even though we all know about this one and it's certainly not anything new under the sun.

In the latest PETZL catalog there's a diagram of a guy being lowered and having a prussik cord attached to the other side of the rope. If I understand the diagram correctly this thing by itself would have prevented a ground fall. In the diagram the guy being lowered slides the prussik down as he is being lowered. If the belayer is killed by rockfall and drops the guy he will still be okay because the prussik will bind.

Anybody see that and am I right? Is that an overkill solution or is it worthwhile when being lowered? I'm starting to think (with the prevalence of this type of accident) that I'm going to use that method when being lowered. It only takes 1 minute to rig and it could save your life...

The prussik thingy was recomended to me if you do not trust your top piece, but have decent pieces in between you and the ground.

A Prussik for beeing lowerd as standard is a PITA though -
Prevention is simple (as per JT512): You grab the other rope until it is fully weighted and you are certain that your belayer is doing his/her job.


onrockandice


Jul 13, 2011, 10:53 PM
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Re: [carpenter] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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If only climbing had a medal of honor.


iknowfear


Jul 14, 2011, 4:46 AM
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Re: [onrockandice] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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onrockandice wrote:
If only climbing had a medal of honor.

I'd call it the Schoening Award
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Schoening


Partner j_ung


Jul 14, 2011, 6:02 AM
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Re: [carpenter] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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carpenter wrote:
A similar thing happened a few weeks ago in Clear Creek Canyon. A friend was belaying a random drifter, who climbed to the anchors out of sight, out of hearing. Belayer thought he'd rap, climber thought he'd lower. Belayer unclipped, and so did the climber, and the climber started to fall.

On the next route over, a man was clipped in to the first anchor while belaying his partner on the 2nd pitch. As the falling climber passed him, he locked off his partner and quickly spun his free arm into the climber's slack rope, catching him with a single bare hand. Despite severe rope burns, he gently lowered the catch and finished climbing his route like nothing happened. I kid you not. bamf.

The Gold Glove. Hot damn.


Partner rgold


Jul 14, 2011, 7:51 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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It isn't hard to get totally paranoid about this type of accident. I don't do much climbing that involves lowering off, but when I do (e.g. Near Trapps Obscurities for those who know), I have a discussion with my belayer in which I say, "we're lowering---do not take me off belay, no matter what you might think I said, until I am back down on the ground." Then I stay attached to the anchor with a tether until fully supported by the belayer.

Putting a prussik or autoblock on the rope strikes me as a poor solution. Tests conducted with rappellers have shown that even when a person knows ahead of time that they will fall, they are unable to release their grip on the prussik and so it does not catch. Things might go a bit better, because at least the falling climber would have a hand on the rope, but surely this is not the best one could do.

Although no one seems to do this, it does seem to me that self-lowering is the best solution. With the rope threaded through the anchor and tied to the climber's harness as for ordinary lowering, the climber installs and ATC on the belay loop and uses it as for rappelling, thereby lowering themselves.

The convenience of being lowered by the belayer is proving mighty costly in so many instances. We're not talking about some alpine situation where speed trumps slower and safer procedures. The idea that installing a prussik or indulging in some other back-up activity is somehow too much trouble suggests that the mounting evidence and the pile of injured and dead bodies isn't having any effect on climbers, whose need to save---what?---a few minutes at most over the course of an entire day of cragging leads them to do things with a proven high risk value. Miscommunication kills!


healyje


Jul 14, 2011, 9:08 AM
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Re: [rgold] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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Yep, at this rate uneven rappel and lowering miscommunication accidents are going to start catching up with the relentless pace of STFUAB drops...


bearbreeder


Jul 14, 2011, 11:23 AM
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ive self lowered before ... i dont think its any safer than rappelling

others may think different, but i think the reason lowering is "safer" is that you should NOT be taken off belay when setting up for it, and if you set it up properly you are never off belay ... also you can go hands free, get hit by a rock, swing like tarzan .... and if your belayer still has you, you should be "fine"

self lowering has a lot of the same risks IMO as rappelling ...

the problem isnt lowering IMO ... the problem is people effing up and not following basic rules ... communication or not, you dont take off yr safety until you feel yrseld being pulled into the rock ...


billcoe_


Jul 14, 2011, 11:48 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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As the belayer I strive to have clear communications. This starts on the ground as you go through the pre-flight check off discussing what is going to occur when climber gets to the top.

On these kinds of things, WHEN WE HAVE CLEARLY AGREED IN ADVANCE THAT THE CLIMBER WILL RAP, Once I hear the "Off belay", I yell back "Belay off (persons name here)" and do not actually take them off but have merely transitioned from a mechanical belay to a hip belay. With that rope around my fat ass it's easy to focus on the climber and what the rope is really doing. The climber up there never learns that he was still on belay as I can pay out rope fast or just drop it immediately once I'm sure things are as they need to be but in parties of 3 I get some interesting feedback from the person next to me at times.

Have not rope burned my ass yet from someone changing their mind and our agreed upon methodology, but wh can say when it might come in handy some day.


JimTitt


Jul 14, 2011, 12:22 PM
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Re: [rgold] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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Self-lowering has all the drawbacks of abseiling when you have to strip the route. In other words unworkable most of the time.

Just always lower, every time, all over the country, for everybody.

Your kind of accidents just don´t occur in Europe (we screw-up tying knots instead!)

Jim


Partner cracklover


Jul 14, 2011, 1:08 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
carpenter wrote:
A similar thing happened a few weeks ago in Clear Creek Canyon. A friend was belaying a random drifter, who climbed to the anchors out of sight, out of hearing. Belayer thought he'd rap, climber thought he'd lower. Belayer unclipped, and so did the climber, and the climber started to fall.

On the next route over, a man was clipped in to the first anchor while belaying his partner on the 2nd pitch. As the falling climber passed him, he locked off his partner and quickly spun his free arm into the climber's slack rope, catching him with a single bare hand. Despite severe rope burns, he gently lowered the catch and finished climbing his route like nothing happened. I kid you not. bamf.

The Gold Glove. Hot damn.

Was talking to him at a party the other day (his name's Mark). He finished telling the story and I said "Wow! Good for you!"

Mark points out his scars (still healing, now two months later), laughs, and said "No, not really."

GO


Partner j_ung


Jul 15, 2011, 5:49 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
Self-lowering has all the drawbacks of abseiling when you have to strip the route. In other words unworkable most of the time.

Just always lower, every time, all over the country, for everybody.

Your kind of accidents just don´t occur in Europe (we screw-up tying knots instead!)

Jim

We need signs at the crag that say, "Fuck the anchors. Save your life." Laugh

All joking aside though, not all of the anchors here can withstand the rigors of repeated lowering, and some of those are in very sandy areas. Despite ever-increasing conscientious route development and the remarkable success of local and regional anchor-replacement programs in America, they still aren't the norm. The conclusion then is that if everybody always lowered (including self-lowering)—in numerous places—the anchors themselves would soon become the widespread cause of such accidents.

However, in cases where conscientious and responsible route developers and maintainers have installed anchors that are designed to withstand the rigors of lowering—steel rings for instance—I absolutely agree and I preach as much at the crag.

Likewise, when I install an anchor, I prefer SS rings. I want and expect people to lower, not rappel.


Partner cracklover


Jul 15, 2011, 9:57 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
JimTitt wrote:
Self-lowering has all the drawbacks of abseiling when you have to strip the route. In other words unworkable most of the time.

Just always lower, every time, all over the country, for everybody.

Your kind of accidents just don´t occur in Europe (we screw-up tying knots instead!)

Jim

We need signs at the crag that say, "Fuck the anchors. Save your life." Laugh

All joking aside though, not all of the anchors here can withstand the rigors of repeated lowering, and some of those are in very sandy areas. Despite ever-increasing conscientious route development and the remarkable success of local and regional anchor-replacement programs in America, they still aren't the norm. The conclusion then is that if everybody always lowered (including self-lowering)—in numerous places—the anchors themselves would soon become the widespread cause of such accidents.

However, in cases where conscientious and responsible route developers and maintainers have installed anchors that are designed to withstand the rigors of lowering—steel rings for instance—I absolutely agree and I preach as much at the crag.

Likewise, when I install an anchor, I prefer SS rings. I want and expect people to lower, not rappel.

You mean these?

If I see them, I assume the guy who puts them up wants me to rap. I may lower anyway, but I'm just sayin'.

However I will always lower from chains*. They are designed to be replaced when they wear out, and typically you just need to unscrew the link and replace that.

GO

*When I say "always", I mean I leave my own hardware on the anchors, but the last person down lowers off the chains.


Partner j_ung


Jul 15, 2011, 12:12 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
You mean these?

Those exact rings, but not necessarily in a hanger-ring configuration. I prefer hanger-quicklink-ring, for example.


Partner cracklover


Jul 15, 2011, 12:21 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
cracklover wrote:
You mean these?

Those exact rings, but not necessarily in a hanger-ring configuration. I prefer hanger-quicklink-ring, for example.

Okay, cool, so long as there's a quicklink somewhere in the setup.

GO


Partner j_ung


Jul 15, 2011, 12:25 PM
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cracklover wrote:

Just to clarify, if I see this exact set up, I lower 100% of the time.


bearbreeder


Jul 15, 2011, 12:28 PM
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quicklinks are cheap .. i carry one or two anyways cragging ... i just leave one on if i feel like a rap ring or chain is wearing out


onrockandice


Jul 15, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Re: [billcoe_] Lowering Fall in Eldo today? [In reply to]
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billcoe_ wrote:
As the belayer ... handy some day.

I was dragging the page down and accidentally voted your post a 1, with no way to undo I threw it to a 5. Sorry for any confusion. I think I'm a tool for even posting this but oh well...


jt512


Jul 15, 2011, 4:43 PM
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cracklover wrote:
j_ung wrote:
JimTitt wrote:
Self-lowering has all the drawbacks of abseiling when you have to strip the route. In other words unworkable most of the time.

Just always lower, every time, all over the country, for everybody.

Your kind of accidents just don´t occur in Europe (we screw-up tying knots instead!)

Jim

We need signs at the crag that say, "Fuck the anchors. Save your life." Laugh

All joking aside though, not all of the anchors here can withstand the rigors of repeated lowering, and some of those are in very sandy areas. Despite ever-increasing conscientious route development and the remarkable success of local and regional anchor-replacement programs in America, they still aren't the norm. The conclusion then is that if everybody always lowered (including self-lowering)—in numerous places—the anchors themselves would soon become the widespread cause of such accidents.

However, in cases where conscientious and responsible route developers and maintainers have installed anchors that are designed to withstand the rigors of lowering—steel rings for instance—I absolutely agree and I preach as much at the crag.

Likewise, when I install an anchor, I prefer SS rings. I want and expect people to lower, not rappel.

You mean these? [image]http://www.aspiring.co.nz/images/fixering.jpg[/image]

If I see them, I assume the guy who puts them up wants me to rap. I may lower anyway, but I'm just sayin'.

However I will always lower from chains*. They are designed to be replaced when they wear out, and typically you just need to unscrew the link and replace that.

GO

*When I say "always", I mean I leave my own hardware on the anchors, but the last person down lowers off the chains.

To a very good approximation, I would lower every time, regardless of hardware, at a sport crag, and would rap every time, regardless of hardware, at a trad area. Eldo is in the latter category. I suspect that it is unusual to lower there, and that the expectation would be for the climber to rap. Perhaps this was an element in the accident.

Jay

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