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lelek


Oct 27, 2003, 12:37 AM
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Fallen on trad gear and held?
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Hi everyone...

Ok, so I've read a lot about people falling and getting hurt and dying when falling.

Fact is, every one of those accidents that I have read about were all falls taken on trad gear, with the exception of that young lady that fell off the climbing wall with a defective cable.

So, can anyone tell me
1) Any falls you've heard about/experienced on SPORT climbs that caused equipment failure resulting in injury/death
and
2) Any significant falls you've heard about/experienced on TRAD gear that held.

Thanks for your time...

Derek.


adamzappal


Oct 27, 2003, 1:34 AM
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Hi Derek, take a look at this post about this subject in addition to this thread
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...iewtopic.php?t=42814


afiveonbelay


Oct 27, 2003, 6:32 AM
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A woman leader was killed at Foster Falls (sport), TN this summer. Apparently she missed the second clip, fell inverted and struck the ground with her head. This is truly a sad event for such a beautiful area. Anybody who has better information is welcome to contribute.

Those of us who climb FF regular often find that missing the second clip could result in a ground fall, so it's like a double dose of espresso. And unlike so many photos and posing involved with climbing, I always lead with my helmet, even if it makes me look like dorkus majorus.

Back to trad falls.

Placed a #9 metolius hex endwise in a large corner crack. Overstretched the layback and before I blew off, I down-climbed 5-8 feet before I spit. Took a 18 footer and ended up 4 feet off the deck. Climbed back up and finished. My lesson: place many pieces early on. (and downclimb when in trouble)

Skipped an old ugly fixed pin and while exiting the crux, took a 40 footer on a # 6 green metolus cam. Climbed back up and finished the climb though I did strike my ankle on a bulge and ended up 3 weeks downtime with a sprain. My lesson: "never overlook an obvious place to put protection" (J. Bridwell)
PS the cam cleaned easy as snot.

Numerous body length falls when it got sketchy, followed by frantic downclimbing, flailing, crying and whimpering. My lesson: DOWNCLIMB before the whipper.

Having fallen on bomber gear it's not the placements that worry me but the adjacent dangers, (ledges, bulges,...) And it's not the height you are above your last piece but how high you are above the height of the placement befoe that one.


brianthew


Oct 27, 2003, 6:38 AM
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Hmm, I've can't think of a single name when thinking of sport climbing fatalities. I'm sure they exist, but I don't know of any.

My first, and thus far only, notable trad fall: I was climbing a crack that went at about a 50 degree angle to the left. The rock was very hard and solid quartzite. I placed a 0.5 clog cam in a little pod in the crack, then continued upwards. The crack became hideously flared, with the only pro being micronuts set way back. Since they're better than nothing, I put in three of these, spaced about 5 feet apart (probably wasted too much time/energy with this, in retrospect). Just above the third nut I came off, ripped all three micronuts out (since the crack was diagonal, my fall was a bit of a pendulum; the micronuts probably could have taken a vertical fall). The cam held just fine, arresting my fall after a bit of a a ride. Longer than any ride I care to take, that's for sure. But it was over in about a second, and I came to a nice gentle stop. Learning experience, to be sure.


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Oct 27, 2003, 7:15 AM
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as far as the various flavors of climbing -- whether it be alpine, ice, trad, aid sport, gym or bouldering -- if you fall you risk the possibility of injury, however slight.

now, here i go again harping on the young guard, but it is my considered opinion that many new climbers (especially those having gotten their start in gyms and at sport areas) hold trad climbing as some kind of dark, death-wish permutation of the sport. the truth is, yes, people fall on trad gear and *shazzam!* the gear holds. that's what it's [i:aeff7a4576]designed[/i:aeff7a4576] to do. but it [i:aeff7a4576]does[/i:aeff7a4576] take [i:aeff7a4576]experience[/i:aeff7a4576] to know that a particular piece -- say a #8 stopper -- will hold in a bomber constriction in solid rock; is less trustworthy wedged between crystals above a flare; and purely decorative in a parallel crack filled with exfoliated sheets.

i place a much higher degree of trust in trad gear i've placed than some bolt at a sport crag. who placed the bolt? how long ago? did the guy overtorque the bolt, causing serious damage? what's going on inside where i cannot see? have chemicals from runoff been leaching in there and causing havoc? what about corrosion? is the bolt protecting a crux where multiple climbers fall imparting stress upon it? it is very difficult, if not impossible to gain useful data by simply [i:aeff7a4576]looking[/i:aeff7a4576] at the thing. historically, bolts (even relatively new ones) have broken under very little pressure. this is why -- pay attention here, this is the important part -- [b:aeff7a4576]you should never trust your life to a single bolt ... to a single [i:aeff7a4576]anything[/i:aeff7a4576][/b:aeff7a4576].

yes, people fall on gear and sometimes it fails and they get hurt.

yes, people fall on bolts and sometimes they fail and they get hurt.

[b:aeff7a4576]climbing is an inherently dangerous sport.[/b:aeff7a4576] climb safely, know what you're doing, and inspect every point of protection as if your life depended on it. it [i:aeff7a4576]does[/i:aeff7a4576].


Partner climboard


Oct 27, 2003, 8:53 AM
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I know a guy who fell on a bolt with a loose hanger which popped off, causing him to fall and injure his back. The lesson is don't always trust a bolt to stop your fall.

I've been placing gear for over 10 years and have had several significant falls without injury. The key is to learn how to place gear properly and know what is or isn't a trustworthy placement.

The most important gear placements are the first few off the ground or belay station. A fall with little rope out will generate higher forces and you don't have several pieces backing up the top placement. If you can't find decent placements and you don't feel comfortable on the beginning of a trad pitch then you may want to consider backing off and saving it for another day.

I guess my point is that Sport climbing can be just as dangerous as trad climbing. Take your time learning and be safe out there!


Partner rrrADAM


Oct 27, 2003, 9:34 AM
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I have personally fallen twice over 40 feet on small Trad gear (1 on a yellow Alien and 1 on a #9 BD Stopper), both held. I have taken numerous smaller falls, and all have held. I have zippereed a few of the lower stoppers, but this is due to direction of pull, and I now place cams, as they are multidirectional for my first piece to prevent this.

I have read about bolts, even both rap anchor bolts failing, and death as a result. The anchor failure was out at Pinnacle National Monument in California, and is notorious for bad rock quality... Two climbers fell when they were simal rapping a route, and both anchors failed. One died.

Info most do not know about bolts, but should:
http://rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3153


robmcc


Oct 27, 2003, 10:35 AM
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5 short (~10') falls on small camalots (.5 or .75)
1 long fall (25'-40'), pulling a small TCU, held on a crappy #9 stopper placement.

No injuries.

I guess you'll figure out that I didn't die, either. :P


potreroed


Oct 27, 2003, 11:08 AM
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The only sport climbing injuries I've heard about were caused by belayer mistakes and not by gear failure.

The longest leader fall I ever took was a 20 footer onto a #2 RP. I believe it held for 3 reasons: RPs are well-made and strong, the rock was solid quartzite and the tiny crack it was in was perfect, and I had placed a good directional low on the route. If the RP hadn't held I would have decked from 50 feet up.


rockprodigy


Oct 27, 2003, 11:43 AM
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I've probably fallen on trad gear around 500 times...give or take. Of those falls, I have had 3 pieces pull, two of those cases were finger sized cams in polished rock (limestone and granite). The other was a stopper in sandstone in Zion where I free-climbed above an aid placement and fell. I have also had two pieces blow while I was resting on them. Both cases were a #0 tcu in sandstone (Indian Creek and Garden of the Gods). In all of these cases I was caught by backup gear before I hit the deck.

The 495-odd other times, the gear always held. I have managed to blow a handful of pieces while bounce-testing during aid climbing, but that doesn't really count.

The wise leader will never leave only one piece between himself and total disaster...that means, if the piece immediately below you fails will you hit the ground? If so, place another piece.

If you die due to gear failure while trad climbing, I would suggest the following errors:
-trusting your life to one piece only
-placing multiple suspect pieces in a row
-not identifying bad rock
-failing to account for direction of pull (take note all passive pro lovers)
-not teaching your belayer how to give a dynamic belay while climbing on an 11mm rope
-really bad luck

In reply to:
Fact is, every one of those accidents that I have read about were all falls taken on trad gear

This statement suggests that you need to do more research. In my experience, most accidents are due to rappelling.


ricardol


Oct 27, 2003, 12:11 PM
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what are you trying to discern with this sort of question? -- wether trad gear works ? (it does..) .. or what kind of falls people have survived? -- (probably every kind of fall --) ..

.. as far as my $0.02 .. i've taken medium falls on very small gear .. my favorite one was an aid fall, where a cam hook blew out and i was stopped by a bomber black alien .. (about 8-10 foot fall)

-- ricardo


passthepitonspete


Oct 27, 2003, 12:15 PM
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DUDE!

Do not for a minute consider the trolls above to be legit! You should never believe the advice you read in an internet forum!

Trad climbing is dangerous and all that fancy-shmancy gear they sell in climbing shops does NOT hold falls!

If you fall on trad gear it will not hold. Please - stay in the gym, or at the very least, only clip bolts. Climb safely. Sheesh.


Partner climboard


Oct 27, 2003, 12:30 PM
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Shouldn't you have ended that last post with "So Please send me all of your worthless gear immediately!"? :roll:


lelek


Oct 27, 2003, 5:00 PM
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Thanks to everyone who responded. Yes its true, I'm a typical "started out in the gym and working my way outdoors on sport routes" kind of climber. I'm just trying to get a feel of what its like out there in the rest of the world cos in this country (malaysia) most of the climbing here is sport climbing. Very rare to see a trad climber in action here.


thehardnailer


Oct 27, 2003, 5:49 PM
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In reply to:
DUDE!

Do not for a minute consider the trolls above to be legit! You should never believe the advice you read in an internet forum!

Trad climbing is dangerous and all that fancy-shmancy gear they sell in climbing shops does NOT hold falls!

If you fall on trad gear it will not hold. Please - stay in the gym, or at the very least, only clip bolts. Climb safely. Sheesh.
pete it sounds like you need to take some trad lessons from someone who knows how to place gear! As for the guy who posted the original question, trad gear will hold as long as it was placed correctly, the only way to learn is to second someone who knows the gig. Pete wouldnt be a good choice. I have fallen on alot of gear, some short, some whippers, and iv'e never had a peice rip (knock wood) I also had a partner forget to "lower out" on a pendulum and swing like tarzan on a yellow metolious and it actualy walked itself deeper(uphill!) into the crack, go figure. :lol:


climb_plastic


Oct 27, 2003, 6:03 PM
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In reply to:
DUDE!

Do not for a minute consider the trolls above to be legit! You should never believe the advice you read in an internet forum!

If you fall on trad gear it will not hold. Please - stay in the gym, or at the very least, only clip bolts.
I've climbed with some guys from England that loved all types of climbing, trad, big wall, ice, crack, and sport.. When we went climbing, they admitted that using trad gear can be pretty scary...it'll hold most of the time but they say there are a lot of things that can make them not stay and actually experienced some of them. I was a little worried but then they said, "Oh but you don't have to worry about that because we're going to a sport area and the bolts won't break there." I think that's the perception people have and they actually knew details of the safety records of the bolts in the area that gave them the confidence to make that statement.


keinangst


Oct 27, 2003, 6:05 PM
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I just started trad climbing this past week (officially), after only starting climbing TR about 8 months ago. To me, trad IS climbing, everything else is just practicing :wink:

And from the handful of 5.7-5.8 leads I've done, I would feel much safer falling on that gear vs. the sport routes I've tried in the past. There is just something satisfying about placing a bomber stopper into an inward-flaring crack and knowing it will hold...unlike some manky bolt that's probably seen way too much use. Plus, you can sew up a trad route to your heart's content, provided you feel like lugging the rack.


climb_plastic


Oct 27, 2003, 6:06 PM
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In reply to:
pete it sounds like you need to take some trad lessons from someone who knows how to place gear! As for the guy who posted the original question, trad gear will hold as long as it was placed correctly, the only way to learn is to second someone who knows the gig. Pete wouldnt be a good choice. I have fallen on alot of gear, some short, some whippers, and iv'e never had a peice rip (knock wood) I also had a partner forget to "lower out" on a pendulum and swing like tarzan on a yellow metolious and it actualy walked itself deeper(uphill!) into the crack, go figure. :lol:

I think Pete was being sarcastic. He is in agreement with you.


k9rocko


Oct 27, 2003, 6:09 PM
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My partner was shock-loading a piece while standing on a ledge. I watched him, wondering if I was going to catch a darwin-induced whipper. The piece pulled, so he grabbed another piece and began shock-loading it. Sure enough, he lost his balance....... and came sreaming off the ledge.

He was caught by a .4 micro-camalot (baby gray)...... I was pelted with granite dust as he came down inches above my head. I would say he came down about 30 feet. All things considered, he was lucky that piece held.

He could have kicked me in the head. I am sure he wanted to..... the way I was laughing. I said :what the heck were you doing shock-loading that piece on a dicey edge:

Best part was, he didn't drop any of my gear..... and he cowboy-ed up to finish the climb.

Myself.... I have only taken little falls on bomber placements. I have pulled small gear and landed softly on the deck.... but never really whippered trad gear.


okcdirtbag


Oct 27, 2003, 6:17 PM
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my first lead climb i feel from probably 30-40 ft off the deck zipperd about 3 pieces out and my last piece that I placed kinda high and due to my belayer takin a running start backwards i didn't deck... so yea i've seen trad gear hold.. was a nut that held still have the lil sob!


climb_plastic


Oct 27, 2003, 6:25 PM
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In reply to:
my first lead climb i feel from probably 30-40 ft off the deck zipperd about 3 pieces out and my last piece that I placed kinda high and due to my belayer takin a running start backwards i didn't deck... so yea i've seen trad gear hold.. was a nut that held still have the lil sob!

That doesn't sound like it held to me. Sounds more like it didn't hold. See that kind of thing where the gear popped out is non existent in sport climbing.


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Oct 27, 2003, 6:43 PM
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[quote:d8a4e5aef2="climb_plastic"]that kind of thing where the gear popped out is non existent in sport climbing.[/quote:d8a4e5aef2]

this statement is patently incorrect. bolts break, bolts pull. to think otherwise is to worship a false god.


climb_plastic


Oct 27, 2003, 7:10 PM
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In reply to:
this statement is patently incorrect. bolts break, bolts pull. to think otherwise is to worship a false god.

Yeah I can see bolts failing but I personally never heard of stories of multiple bolts failing the way I've heard of multiple placements failing. And people don't talk about the possibility of that happening with sport climbing the way they say it can happen in trad.


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Oct 27, 2003, 7:32 PM
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plastic --

i agree with your statement [i:56cf24a182]to a point[/i:56cf24a182].

it is the nature of trad climbing that in the case of a fall, all kinds of forces are going to be acting on all or most of your gear. this is why a good trad climber is evaluating and re-evaluating his protection system as s/he progresses up the route; it is an ongoing process.

perhaps it would help to better understand sport climbing.

what sport climbing does is remove as much of the [i:56cf24a182]danger[/i:56cf24a182] from the act of climbing (route finding, engineering a protection system, etc.), and distills it to its very [i:56cf24a182]essence[/i:56cf24a182] -- the physical and the gymnastic skills necessary to progress over stone. that's not to say that all sport routes are no-brainer clip & cruise affairs, because certainly there are many hugely ballsy sport routes out there in terms of protection -- or the lack thereof -- so let's just take a risk and generalize.

but to say sport routes are safer than their trad counterparts is way off. not only do bolts fail for a variety of reasons -- including jt512's anecdote about [i:56cf24a182]both[/i:56cf24a182] bolts failing in a two-bolt anchor -- but sport climbing is widely regarded as the logical [i:56cf24a182]next step [/i:56cf24a182]following a gym apprenticeship. and all too often a gym rat turned sport climber is woefully unprepared to climb safely in the outdoors; especially with regard to evaluating good -vs- manky pro.


climb_plastic


Oct 27, 2003, 7:53 PM
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mtngeo,

Your explanation makes sense to me. From you previous posts I get the sense you got a lot of experience so I'd have to give you the benefit of the doubt here based on your personal experiences.

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