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guangzhou


Apr 7, 2012, 7:44 PM
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Gym Death- Knot Failure
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This was sent to me by a friend. He knows I climb on a bowline. Actually, I climb on a retrace bowline, but at our staff meeting on Monday, we will be discussing whether or not our gym should allow climbers to tie in with a bowline or not. (retraced bowline would be the knot, not a regular bowline.

http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/...38-detail/story.html


redonkulus


Apr 7, 2012, 7:57 PM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Sad to see such an old hand die by knot failure. I feel like the bowline should never be taught without including a stopper knot. It's such a little thing, why not just do it every single time you ever tie the knot?


Partner rgold


Apr 7, 2012, 10:31 PM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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The linked report says

The inquest heard that Mr Rothman had probably used a bowline rather than a figure of eight knot in his rope.

A guy with 50 years experience, probably all of that with a backed-up bowline, ties it without a backup? As someone with the same amount of experience who has always used bowlines, I find this exceptionally unlikely. Once you start a rehearsed sequence of motions (rehearsed for half a century), you finish the sequence automatically, you don't stop in the middle for anything.

But it is, unfortunately, possible to get distracted at the very start, before the sequence has been initiated. I think it is far more likely he didn't tie any knot---threaded the rope through his harness, got distracted, set off without tying any knot, and the rope stayed lodged in the harness until it was loaded.

A sad and terrible tragedy, but not one solved or even slightly ameliorated by banning the backed-up bowline.


crewdoglm


Apr 7, 2012, 11:30 PM
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Re: [rgold] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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I doubt that correct bowline would slip much less pull completely through under a load but it could come untied due to lack of tension. Those cable-stiff gym ropes would help this happen. Any more definitive info on this? Very sad.


(This post was edited by crewdoglm on Apr 7, 2012, 11:38 PM)


eric_k


Apr 8, 2012, 12:07 AM
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Re: [rgold] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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rgold wrote:
I think it is far more likely he didn't tie any knot---threaded the rope through his harness, got distracted, set off without tying any knot, and the rope stayed lodged in the harness until it was loaded.

These accidents are very misfortunite, especially when you consider the fact that most all gym accidents could be avoided with a well done parter near check.

Eric


guangzhou


Apr 8, 2012, 1:36 AM
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Re: Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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I don't have 50 years experience, just over the 25 year mark actually. For the last 20 plus, I've used a retraced bowline 80% of the time.

I would tend to agree with the no knot at all versus the forgot to tie aback-up knot verdict. Unfortunately, we'll never know for sure.

In the gym I run, we use the "2,2,2" check. It surprises me at how fast people stop checking knots. My staff, myself, and we sometime recruit our members to purposely tie-in wrong when we want to remind people to double check knots. We do the same on the belay end of the rope.

"Check or Deck."

Eman


rtwilli4


Apr 8, 2012, 4:53 AM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Moving to a new continent and climbing in the gym a lot has lead me to many new partners. Checking our harnesses and knots is something that I will not stop doing, but I've been surprised at how many people just set off (on the first route of the day) without even glancing at my harness or their knot.

Eman,

You already know this, but tt should be noted that disallowing a climber to tie in with his usual tie-in knot could be even more dangerous than just allowing bowlines. If you get someone in your gym who has been using a bowline for X amount of years and all of the sudden you are making them use a different knot - well, that is just asking for a mistake.

I also lead on a retraced bowline sometimes and always use a double bowline (two coils, not retraced) when lowering off of single pitch routes. Unless the guy was using a very stiff rope, my bet is that he either tied the knot incorrectly, didn't finish it or didn't even start it. None of those mistakes would be prevented by the use of a fix-8.

FWIW, most people I see use a double bowline, and don't even know how to tie a retraced bowline. From your first post, it seems that currently you ONLY allow people to use a retraced bowline and not a regular/double. Or is this one of the options you are going to move to? Do you find that people have a harder time learning the retrace Or that less people know it to begin with?

I personally don't think I'd like the double bowline to be my primary lead knot, but I can't see a retraced bowline coming untied, with or w/o a stopper knot.


guangzhou


Apr 8, 2012, 5:09 AM
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Re: [rtwilli4] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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rtwilli4 wrote:
Moving to a new continent and climbing in the gym a lot has lead me to many new partners. Checking our harnesses and knots is something that I will not stop doing, but I've been surprised at how many people just set off (on the first route of the day) without even glancing at my harness or their knot.

Hope you two are settling in well. Sucks you having to climb indoor so much.
In reply to:
Eman,

You already know this, but tt should be noted that disallowing a climber to tie in with his usual tie-in knot could be even more dangerous than just allowing bowlines. If you get someone in your gym who has been using a bowline for X amount of years and all of the sudden you are making them use a different knot - well, that is just asking for a mistake.

We bringing gyms to Indonesia and have not had anyone come here who asked to tie in with a bowline yet. The people we teach, we teach the retrace eight.

We're basically trying to decide how we'll handle the knot questions before they arise.

I have no issues with the bowline, some members of my staff do, so we figure out pros and cons at our staff meeting, then the manager and I will make a decision based on what the staff has to say.

In reply to:
I also lead on a retraced bowline sometimes and always use a double bowline (two coils, not retraced) when lowering off of single pitch routes. Unless the guy was using a very stiff rope, my bet is that he either tied the knot incorrectly, didn't finish it or didn't even start it. None of those mistakes would be prevented by the use of a fix-8.

Double bowline is nice too, but I am much more comfortable witht he retrace and have been tying it for years.

In reply to:
FWIW, most people I see use a double bowline, and don't even know how to tie a retraced bowline. From your first post, it seems that currently you ONLY allow people to use a retraced bowline and not a regular/double. Or is this one of the options you are going to move to? Do you find that people have a harder time learning the retrace Or that less people know it to begin with?

Right now, the only knot in the gym is the figure eight. We discussing allowing the retraced bowline. My manager and I talked about the double bowline, but we felt the retrace was easier for us deal with at a distance. It also allows for someone forgetting to tie a back-up knot without to much of a safety issue.

In reply to:
I personally don't think I'd like the double bowline to be my primary lead knot, but I can't see a retraced bowline coming untied, with or w/o a stopper knot.

I climbed on a double bowline for a couple of years, then switched to retrace because I can't see the knot coming undone with or without a back-up either.

Enjoy you new home,
Eman


rtwilli4


Apr 8, 2012, 6:33 AM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Thanks for the kind words Eman. It means a lot nowadays when someone actually remembers you and your situation! Moving to a big city has made me realize just how busy everyone in this world is, and how hard it is to meet someone that is genuinely interested in anything other than themselves!

We are doing well. London is weird for me but it's a welcome change. I have a descent job with a great company, and I am dealing with products every day that I would use myself (outdoor apparel company). I am getting some good experience with brand management and there is a lot of room fro growth here, so it's exciting.

Climbing in the gym has made me stronger, and I am getting outside enough for now. I think I did 10 days outdoors out of 38 over March/April - I can deal with that. And I get 7 weeks paid vacation this year so no complains really!

Sounds like you guys are moving along well over in Indo. It's great that you are sorting this kinds of issues out before they arise - that's the only way to run a business really.

Nice catching up, take care over there!

Ryan


majid_sabet


Apr 8, 2012, 9:54 AM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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I am pretty much in line with RGOLD said on this one and most likely, he may had constructed a semi looking knot like a bowline that can be untie under pressure.


Partner rgold


Apr 8, 2012, 10:23 AM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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My gym allows all tie-in knots. But if a gym wants to say only one type of knot is allowed, what's the big deal? Don't whine, tie the knot the gym wants, be glad there is a gym, and go climbing.

Whymper's remark on the Matterhorn tragedy, that "...a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime,'' is no less true today than it was when he wrote it in 1871. Gyms can make rules, and may have to make rules to protect themselves in our litigious society, and partners can try to check each other, but at the end of the day each individual is responsible for their actions, and the consequences of even a momentary negligence can be terrible indeed.


Marylandclimber


Apr 8, 2012, 6:18 PM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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It's sad but just tie a flippin' figure eight you cant go wrong with it.


shotwell


Apr 8, 2012, 7:50 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
It's sad but just tie a flippin' figure eight you cant go wrong with it.

A figure eight follow through can be messed up. I have personally stopped a climber who got distracted tying in and had simply pulled the tail through his tie in loops. He climbed a few feet before I noticed. It was easy to miss from a distance because the inline figure eight provided enough bulk to cause confusion. Fortunately I spotted the mistake out of the corner of my eye while resting after a clip. Obviously he and his partner skipped their check.


squierbypetzl
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Apr 8, 2012, 8:33 PM
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Re: [shotwell] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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shotwell wrote:
Marylandclimber wrote:
It's sad but just tie a flippin' figure eight you cant go wrong with it.

A figure eight follow through can be messed up. I have personally stopped a climber who got distracted tying in and had simply pulled the tail through his tie in loops.

To all the beginners reading, I've personally seen this happen more often than I'd like. Last time it was a girl at Potrero a year ago. She and her 3 male buddies were chit chatting about, and when she was some 8 feet up on a 20-odd meter high line (to the left of pink harmonica) we noticed she had only threaded the knotted rope through her harness but hadn't finished tying in.

Even seasoned pros like Lynn Hill have made this mistake. She broke both arms but made it out alive, others haven't been as lucky. The idea may seem tedious but there's few easier ways in all of climbing to avoid an accident than to take those extra 3 seconds to double-check your own or your partners knot/belay setup.


Marylandclimber


Apr 9, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Re: [shotwell] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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But, when the figure eight is tied correctly it's fail safe. The bowline in this case just failed completely.


shotwell


Apr 9, 2012, 10:39 AM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
But, when the figure eight is tied correctly it's fail safe. The bowline in this case just failed completely.

That is your interpretation. The article linked is largely based on supposition. I'm more inclined to believe that he simply threaded the rope end through his tie-in points before getting distracted, though the alternative is possible. Regardless, a properly tied bowline (for climbing) involves some sort of finish. It isn't tied correctly without one.


Gmburns2000


Apr 9, 2012, 11:53 AM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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guangzhou wrote:

My staff, myself, and we sometime recruit our members to purposely tie-in wrong when we want to remind people to double check knots. We do the same on the belay end of the rope.


Eman

I used to think this was a good idea, but now I don't. Tying in wrong just to prove a point could simply be missed or forgotten. Why mess with fate?

What I've done with beginners in the past is simply tie in (correctly) and keep talking until they notice I'm not climbing. When they notice, they usually have to think, "why is he not climbing? OH! I forgot."

I interned at a job a long time ago and was asked to proofread a document for publication. I read it and didn't find any errors. I gave it back to him and said I didn't find any errors but I was suspicious because I figured he'd throw in a few errors just to see if I was paying attention. His response: "Why? A complete waste of time. If I wanted to test you then I'd give you a test."


caughtinside


Apr 9, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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A similar event happened at a nearby gym here within the last two months.

Climber failed to finish tying the knot. Got to the top. Belayer took, and this pulled the rope right out of her harness. Climber panicked and let go, hitting the floor from 45 feet.


Partner j_ung


Apr 9, 2012, 1:07 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
But, when the figure eight is tied correctly it's fail safe. The bowline in this case just failed completely.

The bowline in this case wasn't tied correctly. Or at least, it wasn't finished correctly. Or rgold's theory is correct. Either way, the issue in this case won't be solved by requiring figure 8s.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Apr 9, 2012, 1:08 PM)


jolery


Apr 9, 2012, 1:12 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Marylandclimber wrote:
But, when the figure eight is tied correctly it's fail safe. The bowline in this case just failed completely.

This has always been my thinking - the figure eight follow through is pretty much failsafe, and a backup knot is just overkill.

A few weeks ago I had led a sport climb, then was working it on top rope to get the moves wired. I remember doing my triple check of the knot - through both tie in points, retraced, at least three or four inches of tail, little tension to hold the knot - after a couple of runs I was back on ground, and went to untie when I noticed the tail had worked its way out of the knot! The remaining figure 8 follow through was intact, and cinched down from hanging and lowering. It was pretty terrifying - I think it must have been a combination of using my 9.9 Maxim Glider, and too short of a tail. My twenty years of bad mouthing the 'back-up' knot may be at an end...


maldaly


Apr 9, 2012, 4:17 PM
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Re: [guangzhou] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Just a head's up kiddies. A properly tied bowline--single, double or retraced--will not slip regardless of whether or not it has a stopper knot. The know was either mis-tied or incompletely tied.

I was talking to Lynn Hill a few weeks ago about her "knot" incident. She had started to tie a bowline but was distracted and never finished. It was hidden by a light jacket and she didn't check. She thinks that, perhaps, if she had been tying in with a Fig-8, she might have seen the single knot out from under her jacket and been reminded to finish tying it.

BTW, I've been tying in with bowline and will always tie in with a bowline unless I'm at a gym where they require a Fig-8.

Say CBBLAK gang, every time you start a pitch, lower someone, get lowered or rappel. It WILL save your ASS.
Check Buckels, Belay, Landing, Anchor, Knot.

Every time.

Climb Safe,
Mal


johnwesely


Apr 9, 2012, 4:44 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:

Say CBBLAK gang, every time you start a pitch, lower someone, get lowered or rappel. It WILL save your ASS.
Check Buckels, Belay, Landing, Anchor, Knot.

That acronym is pretty insufficient in the memorability department.


jt512


Apr 9, 2012, 4:56 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
Just a head's up kiddies. A properly tied bowline--single, double or retraced--will not slip regardless of whether or not it has a stopper knot.

I think you're flat-out wrong about an unbacked-up single or double bowline. Without constant tension, those knots can work loose and become untied.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Apr 9, 2012, 4:57 PM)


Marylandclimber


Apr 9, 2012, 6:55 PM
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Not saying that can't happen but a double fisherman's knot takes care of that.


guangzhou


Apr 9, 2012, 7:08 PM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] Gym Death- Knot Failure [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
guangzhou wrote:

My staff, myself, and we sometime recruit our members to purposely tie-in wrong when we want to remind people to double check knots. We do the same on the belay end of the rope.


Eman

I used to think this was a good idea, but now I don't. Tying in wrong just to prove a point could simply be missed or forgotten. Why mess with fate?

To reenforce the idea that not double checking closely makes things easy to miss. The whole point of tying in wrong actually.

In reply to:
What I've done with beginners in the past is simply tie in (correctly) and keep talking until they notice I'm not climbing. When they notice, they usually have to think, "why is he not climbing? OH! I forgot."

Beginners are more likely to double check, the key is getting people to keep double checking after they gain experience.

In reply to:
I interned at a job a long time ago and was asked to proofread a document for publication. I read it and didn't find any errors. I gave it back to him and said I didn't find any errors but I was suspicious because I figured he'd throw in a few errors just to see if I was paying attention. His response: "Why? A complete waste of time. If I wanted to test you then I'd give you a test."

Anytime someone does something wrong on purpose, it is a test. They are being tested without being told. Nothing wrong with that. Just a friendly reminder to be vigilant.

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