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40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday.
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USnavy


Sep 2, 2011, 10:30 PM
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40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday.
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To much dismay I report a mini epic that occurred between me and my partner yesterday. A few days back I was roaming around Camp IV looking for a big wall partner. I met this guy that was interested in doing the West Face of the Leaning Tower (V C2F). So the next day we did some single pitch training than packed the bags. He did good on our training day, he seemed solid which made sense as he said he had climbed El Cap a few times previously. So the following day we hit the route. We started by leading in blocks, I took the first three pitches, he was to take the next three, and I was going to take the last four.

Fast forward to pitch five, his lead. Pitch four ends on some slab and tops out on a ledge. Pitch five involves a couple of easy free moves to a bolt just out of the belay, than a tension traverse to the inside of a dihedral. Immediately you hit the crux, apparently thin C2 as he reported to me.

He started aiding up the inside of the dihedral. The first few moves he executed were oblivious to me as I could not see him very well. Eventually he started to exit the dihedral and I could see him a bit more. He seemed slightly frustrated, having trouble getting the placements to work. I could not see any of his placements but the path the rope tooks implied he was backcleaning the placements, which he was apparently doing to make it easier to follow. All of a sudden I hear a very particular and familiar noise. A noise every aid climber is familiar with. The sound a cam makes when it slips, expands, than catches again in the placement. Its a tall tail sign that your placement is complete shit and your about to get some air time.

He looked at me, seemingly for advice, I told him keep moving, place the next piece quick, be fragile. He reached for a black Alien, seemingly in desperation. I cautioned him that really small cams are often unreliable and can pull easily in anything but completely parallel rock. I was about to suggest to him he place a brass RP instead if it was possible. But then I thought of something more important and cut myself off. I noticed he did not really bounce test the previous or current placement. I was just about to warn him that he needs to aggressively bounce test the placements considering the fall consequences, but then it all happened...

Again, the infamous cam shift noise, but this time with no pause and suspense immediately after. The cam shifted and he was off. He was backcleaning pro so there was pretty much nothing to stop his fall. I think he placed a 0 Master Cam, which completely umbrellaed open and failed (cam stops ripped). After that there was nothing between him and the bolt right out of the belay. He fell down out of my sight within a second and all I could see is the rope come tight on the rock. Because it was a pendulum fall, the rope was aggressively being pulled over the rock as he swung over to the left of the route. I got ripped towards the bolt he clipped with a nice faceplant on the side of the rock. Thank god for my helmet (think 50 grit sandpaper). The 10.2mm rope slipped through my Cinch, despite a firm grip with both hands.

After what seemed like a very long three seconds, it was over. I yelled down to him and asked if he was okay, he replied "I hope so". Eventually he made it back up, and unfortunately he suffered some minor/ moderate injuries. He banged up his knee a bit, bruised his shoulder a bit and smashed his head on the rock (but had a helmet). It turned out to be close to a 40 foot fall with 20 25 feet of rope out.

In the end everything worked out, hes doing okay now, but it was a hell of an experience for both of us. I have always said that if ever there was an appropriate application for a very high elongation rope, aid was it. We are both happy we chose a Beal rope with an impact force of only 7.4 kN. But most importantly I am glad the fall was fairly clean and things did not turn out worse.

Here are some pics. The left most red dot is the point where I was pulled to when I caught the fall, the middle dot is the bolt that held and the right dot is where he was when he fell. The yellow dot is an approximation of where he stopped on the rope.







(This post was edited by USnavy on Sep 2, 2011, 10:35 PM)


uni_jim


Sep 2, 2011, 10:41 PM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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 "Way to hang it out there" -Sean Isaac


TarHeelEMT


Sep 2, 2011, 11:56 PM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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WFLT has been claiming some victims this summer. Glad ya'll are OK.


(This post was edited by TarHeelEMT on Sep 3, 2011, 8:06 AM)


sungam


Sep 3, 2011, 1:14 AM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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I hereby dub you SIR Epicsalot!

Sounds scary as hell, dude. Glad to hear he is okay. Why wasn't he testing the placements? Lack of experience or fear that it would set off a gear ripping fall?

And when you say "The 10.2mm rope slipped through my Cinch, despite a firm grip with both hands." did it slip just a little, or a lot? Was it sketchy?

And the cam stops on the MC blew? Yikes! Pics?


dagibbs


Sep 3, 2011, 7:52 AM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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Yow!

You've been having an exciting week.

Glad you both came out of it (mostly) ok.


maldaly


Sep 3, 2011, 7:58 AM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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Wow, glad you guy are relatively okay. Scary sh*t there.

When we designed the Cinch we wanted it to slip a bit around the 7-8 kN so it would absorb a bit of the shock load from hard falls. Looks like it worked. Do you have any estimate of how much rope slipped through? Is the sheath of the rope glazed where it slipped through?

Again, wow.
Climb safe,
Mal


drivel


Sep 3, 2011, 11:35 AM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Here are some pics. The left most red dot is the point where I was pulled to when I caught the fall,

Wait, why did you get pulled up to the bolt?


TarHeelEMT


Sep 3, 2011, 1:53 PM
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Re: [drivel] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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It's a 3 bolt anchor - the gear in the picture is on the leftmost two bolts. That's a reasonable place to be pulled to in the fall described.


(This post was edited by TarHeelEMT on Sep 3, 2011, 1:54 PM)


TarHeelEMT


Sep 3, 2011, 2:07 PM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
He looked at me, seemingly for advice, I told him keep moving, place the next piece quick, be fragile. He reached for a black Alien, seemingly in desperation. I cautioned him that really small cams are often unreliable and can pull easily in anything but completely parallel rock. I was about to suggest to him he place a brass RP instead if it was possible. I noticed he did not really bounce test the previous or current placement. I was just about to warn him that he needs to aggressively bounce test the placements considering the fall consequences, but then it all happened...

The crack is actually pretty parallel. I got in a single RP on that traverse this summer, but cams were the way to go.

I will not pretend to be an aid guru, but runout and already standing on a piece that you don't trust isn't the best time to start bounce testing. Also, most of the more experienced aid climbers I've talked to generally don't bounce test cams


USnavy


Sep 3, 2011, 2:42 PM
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Re: [TarHeelEMT] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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TarHeelEMT wrote:
USnavy wrote:
He looked at me, seemingly for advice, I told him keep moving, place the next piece quick, be fragile. He reached for a black Alien, seemingly in desperation. I cautioned him that really small cams are often unreliable and can pull easily in anything but completely parallel rock. I was about to suggest to him he place a brass RP instead if it was possible. I noticed he did not really bounce test the previous or current placement. I was just about to warn him that he needs to aggressively bounce test the placements considering the fall consequences, but then it all happened...

I will not pretend to be an aid guru, but runout and already standing on a piece that you don't trust isn't the best time to start bounce testing. Also, most of the more experienced aid climbers I've talked to generally don't bounce test cams
Yes indeed do not bounce test the piece you are already standing on, that is pointless. I meant bounce test future pieces. As far as not bounce testing any cams, well if its easy C1 sure. But not bounce testing any cams, I dont see how that could be beneficial. I have avoided taking a number of whippers by bounce testing small cams that pulled on the test. If I would have just trusted them without testing, I would have likely taken a whipper. I bounce test everything that is suspect, I dont know why you would not want to. Could you shed a bit more light on why you believe not testing cams is the way to go?

As far as the RPs go, you may be completely right, I couldn't see the crack. I was speaking in general terms when I said that he should go for nut placements. I noticed he liked to place small cams in other sections on the route where he could have got a bomber offset RP placement instead, so I was just kindly suggesting to him to look for nut placements if they exist, some people like to climb with cams all the time and they miss solid nut placements.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Sep 3, 2011, 2:48 PM)


TarHeelEMT


Sep 3, 2011, 2:58 PM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
Yes indeed do not bounce test the piece you are already standing on, that is pointless. I meant bounce test future pieces.

So did I.

If the only piece you have between you and a 40 foot fall is an untested questionable piece that you're standing on, the next one failing a bounce test could rip the piece you're on.



In reply to:
As far as not bounce testing any cams, well if its easy C1 sure. But not bounce testing any cams, I dont see how that could be beneficial. I have avoided taking a number of whippers by bounce testing small cams that pulled on the test. If I would have just trusted it without testing, I would have likely taken a whipper. I bounce test everything that is suspect, I dont know why you would not want to. Could you shed a bit more light on why you believe not testing cams is the way to go?

I said it was advice given to me by more experienced aid climbers. I don't have strong beliefs with regard to the best way to aid climbing, since I'm relatively low mileage on walls. In their view, bounce testing is not advisable for cams because it can move them out of their desired position - especially in a tiny crack like the one in question. However, bounce testing cam placements that are suspect because of poor rock, etc. is clearly a good thing to do.


(This post was edited by TarHeelEMT on Sep 3, 2011, 3:01 PM)


drivel


Sep 3, 2011, 4:11 PM
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Re: [TarHeelEMT] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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TarHeelEMT wrote:
It's a 3 bolt anchor - the gear in the picture is on the leftmost two bolts. That's a reasonable place to be pulled to in the fall described.

Thanks, that was not clear to me the first time through the narrative.

In reply to:
After that there was nothing between him and the bolt right out of the belay. .... I got ripped towards the bolt he clipped with a nice faceplant on the side of the rock.

I didn't realize he was talking about a bolted belay so when he marked 'the bolt I got pulled to', I thought he meant he got pulled up past the belay to a bolt above it.


TarHeelEMT


Sep 3, 2011, 5:23 PM
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Re: [drivel] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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drivel wrote:
TarHeelEMT wrote:
It's a 3 bolt anchor - the gear in the picture is on the leftmost two bolts. That's a reasonable place to be pulled to in the fall described.

Thanks, that was not clear to me the first time through the narrative.

That's how I remember it, at least.


gblauer
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Sep 3, 2011, 7:00 PM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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YOu have had an interesting week. Perhaps a rest day or two is in order. Maybe the gods are trying to tell you something!

Very glad that you are ok. Please, we don't want to read about you in a different forum.


potreroed


Sep 5, 2011, 11:05 PM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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Sounds like that pitch could use another bolt!!


dan2see


Sep 6, 2011, 8:35 AM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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Thanks for the story, USN.


rock_fencer


Sep 6, 2011, 9:30 AM
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Re: [potreroed] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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potreroed wrote:
Sounds like that pitch could use another bolt!!


no it sounds like people need to get better at placing micro gear


USnavy


Sep 6, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Re: [maldaly] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
Wow, glad you guy are relatively okay. Scary sh*t there.

When we designed the Cinch we wanted it to slip a bit around the 7-8 kN so it would absorb a bit of the shock load from hard falls. Looks like it worked. Do you have any estimate of how much rope slipped through? Is the sheath of the rope glazed where it slipped through?

Again, wow.
Climb safe,
Mal
I am guessing maybe two or three feet. No the sheath was not glazed. But the rope was brand new and had a dry treatment applied to it, so it was already somewhat slippery. Also my Cinch is used. I have found that the braking strength of the Cinch greatly deteriorates with use. The last Cinch I retired would slip on 10.5mm ropes with less than 2 kN, it was slipping on everything. 9.8mm ropes would slip through while top roping, the Cinch preformed more like an ATC at that point. So I would say its safe to assume the Cinch slipped before 7 kN. Also the adjustable daisy chain I was tied in with was only rated for 6 kN (backed up with the rope of course) and it did not fail. The daisy did however sustain some damage so I am guessing it nearly reached its failure strength. Anyway the Cinch did a fine job of catching the fall though so I cant complain. :)


(This post was edited by USnavy on Sep 6, 2011, 12:32 PM)


areyoumydude


Sep 6, 2011, 3:14 PM
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Re: [USnavy] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
I could not see any of his placements but the path the rope tooks implied he was backcleaning the placements, which he was apparently doing to make it easier to follow.

Why would he think that is a good idea?

I've found that it is best to know who you are climbing with on big walls.


flamer


Sep 6, 2011, 4:20 PM
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Re: [areyoumydude] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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DUDE! Check out the pants that guy was wearing!!!

Is he a Euro or something??

If so you should learn something from this.....all Euros are to be considered sketchy until proven otherwise!

Cheers,

josh


bandycoot


Sep 6, 2011, 6:32 PM
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Re: [flamer] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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I can't believe no one has asked the most important question yet:

Did you finish the route?

Josh


USnavy


Sep 6, 2011, 10:57 PM
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Re: [flamer] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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flamer wrote:
DUDE! Check out the pants that guy was wearing!!!

Is he a Euro or something??

If so you should learn something from this.....all Euros are to be considered sketchy until proven otherwise!

Cheers,

josh
He was a Euro. Wink


dowww


Sep 7, 2011, 8:45 AM
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Re: [flamer] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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flamer wrote:
DUDE! Check out the pants that guy was wearing!!!

Is he a Euro or something??

If so you should learn something from this.....all Euros are to be considered sketchy until proven otherwise!

Cheers,

josh

One of the more relevant and honest posts I have seen in a long time....


potreroed


Sep 7, 2011, 7:41 PM
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Re: [rock_fencer] 40 foot factor 1.75 fall on WFLT yesterday. [In reply to]
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Yeah, I was just kidding, although it looks like the bolt in this scenario kept things from having a worse outcome.


USnavy


Oct 30, 2011, 2:01 AM
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