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DemolitionRed


Aug 31, 2012, 5:12 AM
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This could only happen to me!
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Yeah, I broke my leg 8 weeks ago on a rock climb and I've talked to a lot of people and given it a lot of thought as to why it happened.
I was belaying my partner on a first pitch when he came off the rock and took quite a long fall. It was a sports route and the bolts were a good 3 meters apart. He was about to put a quick draw in from above when he slipped, so my guess is, including the stretch of the rope, he fell around 15ft.
Because I'm lighter than him I always move close into the rock for the decent (unless theres an overhang) but during the ascent I stand well enough away from the rock so I can see what he's doing. I anchor myself if possible and when I feel its appropriate. I was not anchored on this particular occasion.
As I saw him fall my instinct was to break and get in close to the rock but I knew I was going to get sprung upwards, so I jumped towards the wall. This is something I have done many, many times, usually landing feet first on the rock. I have always felt, as a light person this is the safest route to take (providing its flat faced).
I didn't think I had hit the rock that hard but apparently my bones thought otherwise. My kneecap shifted 2 inches to the right and that in turn snapped off the top of my fibula.
Most of the people who I know and those who were with me that day say that it was just bad luck.
What say you?


granite_grrl


Aug 31, 2012, 6:08 AM
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Could have been partially bad luck, could have been patially bad reaction time. Frankly, there's no way to know from your story if you should have done anything differently.

Either way, it's a sucky thing to happen. Hope you're healing well.


jeepnphreak


Aug 31, 2012, 8:46 AM
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How far from the wall where you standing? Maybe you need to have a bone density check,
next ifyou are that small than DONT JUMP you will fly anyway, no need to make the fall longer or put you in to danger.
Next stay close to the wall, there is no need to stand back and watch your belayer. its like fishing just feel what the rope is doing and keep the rope at the proper amount of slack. If you find that your leader is fighting you for slack than you need to have more slack out. Keep an nice "J: shape in the rope when belaying a lead.


majid_sabet


Aug 31, 2012, 9:25 AM
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Re: [DemolitionRed] This could only happen to me! [In reply to]
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top biner below leader in fall generally reduces 30% of the initial friction so you were only dealing with 70% of the weight of the leader on your belay and for you to take off toward the wall, i guess there was huge weight difference between two of you however I seen worse.

Two years ago similar thing happened but on the first pitch as leader fell and belayer hit the wall and became unconscious allowing end of rope to pass the belay device causing leader to take a full 60m fall. when belayer became conscious 15 min later, leader was on the ground bleeding for sever head injury but alive while she had 2ed degree rope burn and 60 m up with no second rope to escape.

Anyways, to prevent such injuries, anchor yourself and keep yourself closer to wall and don't lower yourself or the leader right away. lower yourself or leader like you are rappelling the fix line.


DemolitionRed


Aug 31, 2012, 9:33 AM
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Thanks both of you for replying.
I get what you are saying about not standing far from the rock Jeepnphreak. I had probably wandered out a good few meters (sorry I'm metric!)
This is where it gets confusing. Some climbers tell you 'never' take your eyes off the climber, especially if its a windy day or the pitch is too high to hear them vocally. Others, like you, say, don't get a crick in your neck and feel them with the rope. In fact I used to get really told off for not watching my climber and concentrating on the feel going on in my hands. A lot of climbers get very nervous if you are not watching them because 'not watching to them means not paying due attention'.
I only jump in certain conditions and obviously only if he is high enough but I have to admit that I enjoy the adrenalin rush of the jump....
I had a bone density check and that was fine. I think it was more to do with hitting the rock unevenly with too much acceleration.
I won't be jumping towards the rock anymore unless I felt my climber was in immanent danger of hitting something.


majid_sabet


Aug 31, 2012, 9:39 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
Thanks both of you for replying.
I get what you are saying about not standing far from the rock Jeepnphreak. I had probably wandered out a good few meters (sorry I'm metric!)
This is where it gets confusing. Some climbers tell you 'never' take your eyes off the climber, especially if its a windy day or the pitch is too high to hear them vocally. Others, like you, say, don't get a crick in your neck and feel them with the rope. In fact I used to get really told off for not watching my climber and concentrating on the feel going on in my hands. A lot of climbers get very nervous if you are not watching them because 'not watching to them means not paying due attention'.
I only jump in certain conditions and obviously only if he is high enough but I have to admit that I enjoy the adrenalin rush of the jump....
I had a bone density check and that was fine. I think it was more to do with hitting the rock unevenly with too much acceleration.
I won't be jumping towards the rock anymore unless I felt my climber was in immanent danger of hitting something.

watching leader may not be the best habit cause there will be time where leader may climb out of sight and you need to read and feel rope.


DemolitionRed


Aug 31, 2012, 9:46 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] This could only happen to me! [In reply to]
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Hi Majid, Yeah I'm skinny!
Much as I like tubular belay devices, I use a petzi grigri and I always use a helmet when someone is above me (as unfashionable as that may seem).
I absolutely see your point though.


lena_chita
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Aug 31, 2012, 9:51 AM
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Re: [DemolitionRed] This could only happen to me! [In reply to]
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Sorry about your leg, that must have really hurt! i hope it heals well.

DemolitionRed wrote:
Thanks both of you for replying.
I get what you are saying about not standing far from the rock Jeepnphreak. I had probably wandered out a good few meters (sorry I'm metric!)

A "few meters" (3? 4?) Is way too far to be from the base of the climb, if your climber is leading. You can easily break your leg jumping DOWN from 1-2 meters, so even without the gravity force assisting you, the sideways "jump" onto the rock that is 3-4 meters long could be bad, which you discovered this time.


DemolitionRed wrote:
This is where it gets confusing. Some climbers tell you 'never' take your eyes off the climber, especially if its a windy day or the pitch is too high to hear them vocally. Others, like you, say, don't get a crick in your neck and feel them with the rope. In fact I used to get really told off for not watching my climber and concentrating on the feel going on in my hands. A lot of climbers get very nervous if you are not watching them because 'not watching to them means not paying due attention'.

There is always "depends" in a reasonable answer. Yes, it is usually better to watch your climber, but... One solution for being able to watch your climber without having to move several meters out, and without getting a painful neck, is to get a pair of belay glasses.


DemolitionRed wrote:
I only jump in certain conditions and obviously only if he is high enough but I have to admit that I enjoy the adrenalin rush of the jump....


Hmmm... never thought of a giving a catch that way.


(This post was edited by lena_chita on Aug 31, 2012, 9:53 AM)


DemolitionRed


Aug 31, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Thanks Lina, All good advice which I appreciate.
I'm going to be totally frank here and say, the jump always makes the catch look and feel more spectacular. Does that make me an exhibitionist?!?! bows my head in shame Blush.


healyje


Aug 31, 2012, 10:53 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
Most of the people who I know and those who were with me that day say that it was just bad luck.
What say you?

Sorry you got hurt and I do hope you heal up quick.

But I have to say it's incredibly important for everyone to know that 'luck' never has a role in the outcome when belaying - ever.

And as in this case, any time you are significantly out of direct alignment with the leader when belaying you need to be anchored regardless of the weight difference or you're going to go for a ride.



And sometimes even anchoring isn't going to solve your problem.


olderic


Aug 31, 2012, 10:54 AM
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The only thing I fear worse then having a sport climber belay me on a trad climb is having a trad climber belay me on a sport climb. Context is everything.


majid_sabet


Aug 31, 2012, 1:11 PM
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healyje wrote:
DemolitionRed wrote:
Most of the people who I know and those who were with me that day say that it was just bad luck.
What say you?

Sorry you got hurt and I do hope you heal up quick.

But I have to say it's incredibly important for everyone to know that 'luck' never has a role in the outcome when belaying - ever.

And as in this case, any time you are significantly out of direct alignment with the leader when belaying you need to be anchored regardless of the weight difference or you're going to go for a ride.

[image]http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~yoav/aidexperts/aidsuperstars.jpg[/image]

And sometimes even anchoring isn't going to solve your problem.


I posted this image once here and the original owner of the image got so cocky that this is a copyright blah blah bah and take it off......

its great and one of the best


jakedatc


Aug 31, 2012, 3:30 PM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
Thanks Lina, All good advice which I appreciate.
I'm going to be totally frank here and say, the jump always makes the catch look and feel more spectacular. Does that make me an exhibitionist?!?! bows my head in shame Blush.

Which is fine if they are on a big overhang with a ton of air to fall into. if you jump when you should have tried to keep them off the deck/ledge... well they will be the next to break their leg. belaying isn't about looking cool, it is to keep your leader from getting hurt.


DemolitionRed


Sep 1, 2012, 2:53 AM
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My appologies but I don't yet know how to do replies without it looking like I am answering a particular poster.
As a lighter climber I have learnt to leave as little extra rope out as possible (I don't loop) so I can start slowing my climber down as soon as possible in a fall. I always insist he clips into his first bolt but I am not going to stand directly underneath him until he has reached and fixed on to his second bolt because if my climber falls early in the route, especially with only one point of protection between me, I am not only going to have to try and catch him but also deal with the two of us passing each other somewhere along the line and the likelihood of getting hit and injured is extremely high.

I know the closer into the rock I am, the safer I am (obviously there are exceptions). I will be extremely conscious of this in the future.

I do believe we can just have bad luck. A climber I know was killed by a rock fall whilst belaying his friend and I consider that very bad luck.
I have seen a belayer fallen on when the climber didn't manage to hook his first bolt. That was bad luck and I have seen someone twist and snap their ankle from stumbling on uneven ground.
We never stop learning and every time something happens or someone gets hurt we re-assess what we are doing. I have put myself though every possible scenario that could of happened on that day as a result of me being injured.


jakedatc


Sep 1, 2012, 4:33 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
My appologies but I don't yet know how to do replies without it looking like I am answering a particular poster.
As a lighter climber I have learnt to leave as little extra rope out as possible (I don't loop) so I can start slowing my climber down as soon as possible in a fall. I always insist he clips into his first bolt but I am not going to stand directly underneath him until he has reached and fixed on to his second bolt because if my climber falls early in the route, especially with only one point of protection between me, I am not only going to have to try and catch him but also deal with the two of us passing each other somewhere along the line and the likelihood of getting hit and injured is extremely high.

I know the closer into the rock I am, the safer I am (obviously there are exceptions). I will be extremely conscious of this in the future.

I do believe we can just have bad luck. A climber I know was killed by a rock fall whilst belaying his friend and I consider that very bad luck.
I have seen a belayer fallen on when the climber didn't manage to hook his first bolt. That was bad luck and I have seen someone twist and snap their ankle from stumbling on uneven ground.
We never stop learning and every time something happens or someone gets hurt we re-assess what we are doing. I have put myself though every possible scenario that could of happened on that day as a result of me being injured.

that is exactly when you should be close to the wall.. off to the side a bit so they don't fall straight onto you but if they fall before the 2nd clip it is sometimes the most likely time someone will deck.
yes you may pendulum into each other.. hold on and accept that. it is a lot less painful than your climber hitting the ground. it also gives you the option to "sit" and try to keep yourself from being lifted up.

you can't blame everything on bad luck. you put yourself in bad situations and sometimes you can get away with it. you put yourself too far from the wall and you swung into the wall. x out of 10 times you could have been fine but this time you weren't. but if you had been right underneath you would have had little chance of being hurt.

You may want to seek some instruction from someone more experienced because you have a lot of ideas that are incorrect that are not safe.


ObviousTroll


Sep 2, 2012, 7:53 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
My appologies but I don't yet know how to do replies without it looking like I am answering a particular poster.
As a lighter climber I have learnt to leave as little extra rope out as possible (I don't loop) so I can start slowing my climber down as soon as possible in a fall. I always insist he clips into his first bolt but I am not going to stand directly underneath him until he has reached and fixed on to his second bolt because if my climber falls early in the route, especially with only one point of protection between me, I am not only going to have to try and catch him but also deal with the two of us passing each other somewhere along the line and the likelihood of getting hit and injured is extremely high.

I know the closer into the rock I am, the safer I am (obviously there are exceptions). I will be extremely conscious of this in the future.

I do believe we can just have bad luck. A climber I know was killed by a rock fall whilst belaying his friend and I consider that very bad luck.
I have seen a belayer fallen on when the climber didn't manage to hook his first bolt. That was bad luck and I have seen someone twist and snap their ankle from stumbling on uneven ground.
We never stop learning and every time something happens or someone gets hurt we re-assess what we are doing. I have put myself though every possible scenario that could of happened on that day as a result of me being injured.

I think you may have been taught to belay a bit out of the norm. I could be wrong, but generally I believe while the climber is going for the first bolt you should definitely in almost all scenarios be below them in order to catch their head should they fall. And my personal take on this is; if you don't feel that you can muscle up and protect the leader in this aspect of belaying, then take off your belay device and wait your turn to top rope after the leader gets a proper spot and belay.

As mentioned above, when the leader clips the first bolt, just stand to the side so a "tragic" near FF1 doesn't turn into a colliding elevator scene.


patto


Sep 2, 2012, 12:49 PM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
As I saw him fall my instinct was to break and get in close to the rock

Well there is your problem. You need to fix that instinct. Your need to BRAKE not BREAK.


DemolitionRed


Sep 4, 2012, 3:40 AM
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patto wrote:
DemolitionRed wrote:
As I saw him fall my instinct was to break and get in close to the rock

Well there is your problem. You need to fix that instinct. Your need to BRAKE not BREAK.

Yeah its a bummer when one is dyslexic and English isn't ones first language. Its what stops me writing to forums because there is always some spelling pedant waiting to pounce!!

The thing is, did you understand what I was saying or are you just being pedantic ? Oh and by the way, how good is your French spelling?


(This post was edited by DemolitionRed on Sep 4, 2012, 4:07 AM)


DemolitionRed


Sep 4, 2012, 4:04 AM
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I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to respond.
I have picked up some good advice here and some not so good.

I wanted to point out this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6EzpBaKYTs
I think a few of you who have replied to me will not agree with this video and the techniques being used. This is the device I use and what is shown on the video is the way I belay.
Its on the second part of the video with Steve McClure
Notice the distance from the rock for some of the belaying,
7.34 and 7.39 in particular is about being lifted and jumping.


(This post was edited by DemolitionRed on Sep 4, 2012, 4:09 AM)


jakedatc


Sep 4, 2012, 4:52 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to respond.
I have picked up some good advice here and some not so good.

I wanted to point out this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6EzpBaKYTs
I think a few of you who have replied to me will not agree with this video and the techniques being used. This is the device I use and what is shown on the video is the way I belay.
Its on the second part of the video with Steve McClure
Notice the distance from the rock for some of the belaying,
7.34 and 7.39 in particular is about being lifted and jumping.

Notice that Dailia is right under the first bolt and the route is super overhanging. both fine. they are also far above the first bolt.

i don't see anyone that far from the rock lead belaying.. the one shot of steve belaying doesnt show the rock face but the action looks like someone is top roping. in the beginning Sharma gets pulled into the rock because he is too far away and he is fairly big guy.

you did it wrong, you got hurt. adjust or repeat.


jeepnphreak


Sep 4, 2012, 8:51 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to respond.
I have picked up some good advice here and some not so good.

I wanted to point out this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6EzpBaKYTs
I think a few of you who have replied to me will not agree with this video and the techniques being used. This is the device I use and what is shown on the video is the way I belay.
Its on the second part of the video with Steve McClure
Notice the distance from the rock for some of the belaying,
7.34 and 7.39 in particular is about being lifted and jumping.

BUT, they are climbing very over hung routes and the first bolt is quite high, AND Chris Sharma has enough experience to judge how far from the wall he can stand. I would bet that you are not even close to climbing that hard, and your route you are on are more vertical than that. SO. . . you need to adjust your technique so you dont break your leg again.
GO to minute 1:05 on your video where is shows Daila Ojeda belaying. She is much smaller than her leader so she is close to the wall but yet turned so she can watch the climber. If she has to catch a fall she is in a position where she can do so with out smashing into the wall.


climbingaggie03


Sep 4, 2012, 3:50 PM
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Just so you know, it happens to other people too. I once walked up to the base of toe jam, a very popular 5.7 in J-tree, only to find a girl sitting at the base whimpering. Her bf had been leading and had taken a hard fall lower on the route and pulled her in hurting her ankle/lower leg. Her bf had gone to get the car so we helped her out to the road and into the car. I also remember several of my friends getting scratched and hurting ankles when we were just learning to lead and belay. While I wouldn't say that my experience is normal, it has been my experience that the belayer gets hurt more often than the climber, so I'd listen to alot of the good advice that's been given so far.


mheyman


Sep 4, 2012, 6:29 PM
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Re: [DemolitionRed] This could only happen to me! [In reply to]
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DemolitionRed wrote:
including the stretch of the rope, he fell around 15ft.

Thats not a long fall...

DemolitionRed wrote:
Because I'm lighter than him I always move close into the rock for the decent (unless theres an overhang) but during the ascent I stand well enough away from the rock so I can see what he's doing. I anchor myself if possible and when I feel its appropriate. I was not anchored on this particular occasion.

If you must be located away from the rock it appropriate to be anchored - almost always.

DemolitionRed wrote:
As I saw him fall my instinct was to break and get in close to the rock but I knew I was going to get sprung upwards, so I jumped towards the wall. This is something I have done many, many times, usually landing feet first on the rock. I have always felt, as a light person this is the safest route to take (providing its flat faced).
Safer for who? If you are very light in comparison to your partner then It will should only be beneficial to jump under certain circumstances for your partner to be safer, and even then that is due to your choice of belay device. The only normal time it is essential to provide a soft catch is when a leader is falling on a mildly overhanging wall. There are many times when it essential to give provide not tha soft catch but the minimum fall distance.

DemolitionRed wrote:
Most of the people who I know and those who were with me that day say that it was just bad luck.
From your description it does not sound like bad luck. You did things that allowed the accident to occur. In fact it sounds as if all you really had to prevent it was be in line with the bolt/rope.

DemolitionRed wrote:
I know the closer into the rock I am, the safer I am (obviously there are exceptions). I will be extremely conscious of this in the future.
Perhaps its just the language, but to be clear after the first couple of clips you generally want to be under the bolt. On an overhang start this will not be closer to the wall.

DemolitionRed wrote:
I do believe we can just have bad luck. A climber I know was killed by a rock fall whilst belaying his friend and I consider that very bad luck.

This seems to be a case where bad luck clearly a was not a factor! The person knowingly walked under a climber, or wasnít paying attention to the climbers in their area. This could have and should have been prevented!

The Petzl video is an advertisement, not a instructional video. They were as concerned about the aesthetics as the safety. It is informative about the device, but not about everything shown. Donít use it as a perfect example!

I think the only reason I am writing is that you seem so resistant to understanding why you had an accident.


(This post was edited by mheyman on Sep 4, 2012, 6:56 PM)


billcoe_


Sep 7, 2012, 7:59 AM
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Re: [healyje] This could only happen to me! [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
it's incredibly important for everyone to know that 'luck' never has a role in the outcome.

BINGO...although anchoring without enough rope/slack to maneuver your body and then getting cold-cocked by a rock from above might be an instance of actual bad luck? Otherwise, spot on. Belays should be 100 percent perfect. When they are not, it can almost always be traced to climber error. Often several smaller errors which add up to a big one.

Consider (I don't know with certainty, just pitching this probability to you, broken leg belayer) that this instance might also involve a leader willing to go for the huck and the chuck. Whereas an experienced leader may evaluated the issue being discussed, recognized that you were not in a good position, and may have approached it differently. It's always easier to see these things after the fact, but it's part of the learning process to see this kind of stuff coming, instead of going as we are here.

Good luck on the healing up part!


DemolitionRed


Sep 22, 2012, 1:24 PM
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Registered: Aug 30, 2012
Posts: 77

Re: [billcoe_] This could only happen to me! [In reply to]
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Once again, thanks for your response. I was kind of avoiding this thread because, well I suppose I didn't want to face up to doing anything wrongBlush
Of the two of us, I am the more confident lead climber and although I have been belaying for a lot of years and caught many, many falls, I think my broken leg has taught me that I was perhaps too complacent.
I believe that I was standing too far from the rock. (not like that in that picture!) I was standing too far to be able to keep stability when my leader took a fall.

Someone I greatly admire allowed me to belay them the other day and her response was very positive. Big smiles because I have my confidence back and this experience has just made me a better belayer.

Thanks again everyone.


Forums : Climbing Information : Injury Treatment and Prevention

 


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