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gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower
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sjkier


May 5, 2013, 11:39 PM
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gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower
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Hey all--

My climbing partner and I had a pretty interesting experience on the West Face of the Leaning Tower last week. My partner was leading the 7th pitch when a nut placement popped after he weighted it. The crazy part is that the three placements below him all failed--resulting in a 55-60 foot whipper (factor 2?) arrested by my grigri. He fell from ~30 feet above the anchor and ended up ~30 feet below me hanging from my harness. Here's a short video right after his fall once I fixed the haul line and he was jugging back to the anchor:Hey all--

My climbing partner and I had a pretty interesting experience on the West Face of the Leaning Tower last week. My partner was leading the 7th pitch when a nut placement popped after he weighted it. The crazy part is that the three placements below him all failed--resulting in a 55-60 foot whipper (factor 2?) arrested by my grigri. He fell from ~30 feet above the anchor and ended up ~30 feet below me hanging from my harness. Here's a short video right after his fall once I fixed the haul line and he was jugging back to the anchor:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A76ouns8mMA

From the anchor to his fall, he clipped a bolt with a trad draw, placed a nut with trad draw, and a .5 c4 with a trad draw. As he fell, the rope side biner on the c4 back clipped off the draw, and as far as we can figure, the rope side biners on the nut and bolt must have both crossloaded and broke. We decided to bail mostly because of time constraints, but admittedly we were both pretty shaken by the failure of three pretty solid pieces of gear. Once we rapped back to the ledge at the bottom of the first pitch, we met a party humping water up for a climb the next day. They actually found one of the broken biners on their approach! Pretty nuts. [image]
What do y'all think? These were all my trad draws--mammut wire gates with mammut dynemma slings and mammut bent gates for the rope side. All three biners that backclipped/broke were the bent gates. They're about 7 years old and have been taken pretty good care of. Are these biners garbage? Should I send one somewhere? Just a crazy string of bad luck? Thanks for the input.


sjkier


May 5, 2013, 11:55 PM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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pic of the failed biner and intact mammut bent gate for comparison.
Attachments: DSC02530.JPG (101 KB)


viciado


May 6, 2013, 2:26 AM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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Wow. Glad to be reading a first hand account rather than an obit. Good thing your anchor held. I am reading correctly... You are saying that two biners broke? I read that the top pro unclipped (meaning that you found the draw still attached and intact on the rope?) and then two rope side biners blew (and the pro held?)

Aside from speculating on the placements, the only thing that immediately comes to mind is weakened springs and gate flutter. More details could help.

PS - You might get more helpful responses if this were posted in Accidents and Injuries.


lena_chita
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May 6, 2013, 3:54 AM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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Glad to hear that you guys are O.K.

The details are a bit hazy from your description, but that is pretty crazy. Was it the rope-end biner(s) that broke, or gear-end?


csproul


May 6, 2013, 5:14 AM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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You need to provide a better description of the gear that was clipped and where and when it broke. It is difficult to tell what happened from you description. Your description makes it sound like the 1st biner (c4) unclipped itself, and then the next two pieces (bolt and nut) both had the rope end biners break?

Sounds pretty hard to believe; a back clipped biner unclipping AND TWO biners breaking (rope end even more unbelievable)? Very unlikely. How does a rope end biner cross-load, much less two? What are the rating of the biners (long axis, cross load, and open gate)? I'm sure someone can calculate estimate the force of such a fall and see if it is possible that you just exceeded the rating of the biner, but it would still have to happen TWICE. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, but this just sounds made up to me.


Gmburns2000


May 6, 2013, 5:18 AM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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sjkier wrote:
Hey all--

My climbing partner and I had a pretty interesting experience on the West Face of the Leaning Tower last week. My partner was leading the 7th pitch when a nut placement popped after he weighted it. The crazy part is that the three placements below him all failed--resulting in a 55-60 foot whipper (factor 2?) arrested by my grigri. He fell from ~30 feet above the anchor and ended up ~30 feet below me hanging from my harness. Here's a short video right after his fall once I fixed the haul line and he was jugging back to the anchor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A76ouns8mMA

From the anchor to his fall, he clipped a bolt with a trad draw, placed a nut with trad draw, and a .5 c4 with a trad draw. As he fell, the rope side biner on the c4 back clipped off the draw, and as far as we can figure, the rope side biners on the nut and bolt must have both crossloaded and broke. We decided to bail mostly because of time constraints, but admittedly we were both pretty shaken by the failure of three pretty solid pieces of gear. Once we rapped back to the ledge at the bottom of the first pitch, we met a party humping water up for a climb the next day. They actually found one of the broken biners on their approach! Pretty nuts. [image]
What do y'all think? These were all my trad draws--mammut wire gates with mammut dynemma slings and mammut bent gates for the rope side. All three biners that backclipped/broke were the bent gates. They're about 7 years old and have been taken pretty good care of. Are these biners garbage? Should I send one somewhere? Just a crazy string of bad luck? Thanks for the input.

vid link clicky ^^

And wow! That's pretty damn serious. Glad you guys are OK. Hope your wrist heals soon, too.


billl7


May 6, 2013, 6:52 AM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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No offense intended but was he by chance leading on a static rope? Or perhaps the haul line (static?) was being trailed in a way that allowed it to take the load first?

Really super cool the consequences were not grave! Thanks for posting.
Bill L


viciado


May 6, 2013, 7:28 AM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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I just took another look at your photo of the biners. I cut and pasted the broken one over the complete biner (see attached). It shows some significant deformation which leads me to suggest open gate failure.

There were probably other contributing factors, but your remaining biners warrant examination each one for the strength of the gate spring. How "soft" is the action of he spring? Gate flutter due to a weak spring could have been the mechanism of failure.

Having said the above, it is certainly unusual for that mechanism to happen in series and this is a great opportunity to make a critical examination of your overall system.
Attachments: cutoverlay.jpg (22.9 KB)


Syd


May 6, 2013, 4:48 PM
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Re: [csproul] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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csproul wrote:
. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, but this just sounds made up to me.

It does, except for the photos and video ;-)
http://mountainproject.com/v/gear-failure-on-west-face-leaning-tower-results-in-whipper/108127111


billl7


May 6, 2013, 4:51 PM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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In addition to the upstream static / dynamic rope question and the question about open gate failure ...

~30 feet of rope between belayer and climber. Looks like the bolt was only a handful of feet from the belay. How much further up was the 0.5 cam? Brand / Make of rope?

In other words, wondering what the fall factor was for the cam.

You'll probably catch some grief from some about using a gri-gri on a gear lead. Some tests show the gri-gri can result in higher forces than a tube-style device ... notion being that the tube-style device has more 'give' in catching a fall. But, my gosh, it was the biners that failed.

Bill L


billl7


May 6, 2013, 5:58 PM
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Re: [billl7] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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Mammut Element 30 Bent Gate Carabiner (not certain that this is the exact biner but looks similar):

Major Axis Strength: 23 kN
Minor Axis Strength: 8 kN
Open Gate Strength: 8 kN

Harsh fall factors far less than 1.0 can exceed the open gate strength (JT512'S force calculator).


sjkier


May 6, 2013, 6:45 PM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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Hey all--I posted this over at Mountain Project as well and responded to a bunch of the questions and points for clarification that have come up.

http://www.mountainproject.com/...in-whipper/108127111

thanks for all the responses and feedback.
shern.


(This post was edited by sjkier on May 6, 2013, 6:48 PM)


sjkier


May 6, 2013, 6:47 PM
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Re: [billl7] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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the cam was maybe 5' below the climber. not sure of anthony's rope brand, but can find out. 10.5 diameter.


billl7


May 6, 2013, 7:06 PM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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Thanks. A 10 foot fall with 30 feet of rope out is still very close to open-gate strength. Moving over to MP.com page. (or maybe greater than 10 feet since rope runs at least from feet to the waist tie-in.)


(This post was edited by billl7 on May 6, 2013, 7:07 PM)


majid_sabet


May 6, 2013, 11:06 PM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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were you guys taking any drug? I know sounds funny but seen a lot of climbers under stuff falling down writing bad reports


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on May 6, 2013, 11:14 PM)


hugepedro


May 7, 2013, 11:18 AM
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Re: [sjkier] gear failure results in whipper on the west face, leaning tower [In reply to]
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This is why I carry a couple trad draws and QDs rigged with lockers on both ends, and use them on my first couple placements and other place I cannot risk biner failure or unclipping.


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