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Falling 150 feet from a rock ledge
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majid_sabet


Sep 24, 2006, 12:45 AM
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Falling 150 feet from a rock ledge
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SENECA ROCKS, W.Va. A Winchester woman was killed on Thursday in a climbing accident near Seneca Rocks.

24, fell to her death at 4:45 p.m. while climbing at the Nelson Rocks Preserve in an area known as the Via Veretta, according to investigating officer, State Trooper J. M. Ware.

She was attached to a guide wire by a safety harness and two safety carabineers, where at least one carabineer was to be attached to the guide wire at all times, Ware reported.

"She was at a point in the climb where she had to go around a tree by unhooking the safeties from the guide wire on one side of the tree and reattach them to the guide wire on the opposite side," Ware said. "She had unhooked both safeties from the guide wire and was attempting to proceed around the tree when she misstepped and without the safeties attached to prevent it, fell from a rock ledge approximately 150 feet to the ground below...................

http://www.rocktownweekly.com/news_details.php?AID=6453&CHID=1

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ninja_climber


Sep 24, 2006, 5:41 AM
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Where do you find all this depressing news...


overlord


Sep 24, 2006, 6:48 AM
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Where do you find all this depressing news...

if you search for them, youll find them.


jcrew


Sep 24, 2006, 8:30 AM
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sad. :(

i don't know about these via feretta things.

does anyone remember the climbing company ad where they explain the forces involved falling on a static "saftey" ? maybe they have a dynamic tie-in @ Nelson, i wouldn't know.


notapplicable


Sep 24, 2006, 9:49 AM
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I have climbed at nelson many times and done the via-feretta. There set up is new, well constructed and completely bomber if used properly. I hate to hear about climbers getting hurt or killed ( especially beginners) but nelson is a privately owned are and I hope this doesn't cause them any problems with continuing to offer public access to there land.


cintune


Sep 24, 2006, 11:03 AM
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sad. :(

i don't know about these via feretta things.

does anyone remember the climbing company ad where they explain the forces involved falling on a static "saftey" ? maybe they have a dynamic tie-in @ Nelson, i wouldn't know.

http://www.jackson-sports.com/...Models/Full/2486.jpg
http://www.needlesports.com/acatalog/petzyper_y.jpg

They're very safe as long as at least one arm is connected to the cable. Sad news, but wholly operator error if the report is accurate.

The Nelson Rocks disclaimer:
http://www.nelsonrocks.org/disclaimer.html


wvsupernoob


Sep 24, 2006, 11:26 AM
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That sucks bad. She's local to my area, though I didn't know her.

I think the via-feretta was the only thing left open there. The site claims the area is 'closed to rock climbing.'

They closed the place down, because people climbed there, and they didn't want the accidents on their land. But they left open the pay-to-climb via feretta, and this horrible thing happens on it. Might have been wiser to do the reverse.


shockabuku


Sep 24, 2006, 11:31 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Where do you find all this depressing news...

if you search for them, youll find them.

Why would you spend your time searching for them?


majid_sabet


Sep 24, 2006, 12:08 PM
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cintune
I never used these before so may be you could educate me a little. When I was climbing in Europe ( Chamonix) They had cables all over and I notice that similar looking device was on display for sale all over mountaineering stores, I guess its a common over there for cable climbing or such.

Back to this incident, I guess you attach the device to your harness, as you climb and by pass each anchor, you keep one biner to the lower part of the attachment (Cable/ joint) and you move the second one above the anchor point. Once you are connected to upper attachment, then disconnect the lower part and continue and move on to the next point. Here, I think she disconnected both and had no point of attachment while climbing.

Let me know if what I described is correct.

Majid


wvsupernoob


Sep 24, 2006, 12:29 PM
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I think so...

http://www.nelsonrocks.org/viafaq.html

I guess it also would be a worthy mention to only use steel 'biners on the steel cables, unless you wanted to have your aluminum ones sawed in half.


cintune


Sep 24, 2006, 1:16 PM
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Yep, that's the ticket. When guiding inexperienced participants it's common to use call-and-response commands; "Permission to unclip first tether," "Unclip first tether," "Uncliping first tether," etc. Some people find this annoying, but adrenaline can easily disrupt the simplest systematic procedure.


notch


Sep 24, 2006, 1:35 PM
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Why would you spend your time searching for them?
Why indeed?


dookie


Sep 25, 2006, 10:50 AM
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I have climbed at nelson many times and done the via-feretta. There set up is new, well constructed and completely bomber if used properly. I hate to hear about climbers getting hurt or killed ( especially beginners) but nelson is a privately owned are and I hope this doesn't cause them any problems with continuing to offer public access to there land.

ditto, when I lived in DC we went out to Nelson frequently, one of the reasons being the owner used to be a member here (oozingpustule) and we got along great with him. The legendary Oozefest climbing gatherings took place there for a few years, with tons of rc.commers gathering together. We did the via many times, and it is super duper safe if used correctly. Indeed if the report is correct, this was completely operator error. I remember a part of the route that went around a tree, and if you kept one biner clipped behind you while bringing the other around the tree and clipping it in, then following with the biner behind, it's not an issue at all. Unclipping both means you're not attached to anything at all, and of course something you're not supposed to do on the via ferrata at any time.
It is closed to climbing now, for a number of issues, mainly due to too many accidents happening there, when it is a privately owned area. Folks can contact NRP's management and request to climb there, or request a guide to take them there, and then it is possible to climb those fins.
It's too bad, but unfortunately understandable when this is a privately owned area. A lot different than getting hurt/injured on public lands. With the increase of climber traffic, they saw a huge increase in the number of accidents (and unsafe climbers) that caused this to happen. Sad but a telling sign.
My thoughts are with the family of the woman that passed, it looks like she was a friend of one of the NRP staff. It's never good to hear of these things, no matter what the factors were at play. :(


irish_ice


Sep 25, 2006, 11:43 AM
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In defense of climbing and the fallen....I knew Amanda and she was a great person. This was her first time climbing with any kind of gear. Before that she'd only messed around on low, safe rocks. I still can't possibly imagine why she would have thought it was ok to unclip both beaners, but the results cost her her life. I don't know the guy she was climbing with personally, but I do know that he did everything he could to try and save her. It's sad and it was avoidable and her family and friends appreciate the condolences.


doubledare


Sep 25, 2006, 12:27 PM
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I did the via Ferrata this past august with my wife and three kids. I thought it was ultrasafe...even to the point of boredom at times. The clipping and unclipping was very tedious (although the bridge was pretty cool).
Anyway, I don't remember a spot with a tree like that but it is required to unclip/reclip at least 200 times through the course, tree or no tree. The tree is kind of a red herring. You have like 10-20 feet of cable. When it ends, you have to clip/unclip both carabiners--one at a time. It was very tempting to unclip both tethers and reclip both tethers at the same time to save time, and much of the time you are not on class V terrain. One section is just a huge long ledge--5-10 feet across, not unlike the Broadway ledge at Seneca, and at least 100 yards long.
I was very tempted to just unclip and walk that ledge, and would have done so comfortably if my kids hadn't been there.
I don't want to speculate about what happened to her, but if both tethers were unclipped at the same time, I find it both understandable and tragic that she happened to fall at that moment.


charley


Sep 25, 2006, 1:20 PM
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My condolences to family and friends. How tragic and sad. Sorry to hear you knew her Irish.


Partner robdotcalm


Sep 25, 2006, 1:30 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Where do you find all this depressing news...

if you search for them, youll find them.

Why would you spend your time searching for them?

Why shouldn't he? Majid performs a public service for rc.com

Sadly,
Rob.calm


omegaprime


Sep 25, 2006, 7:15 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Where do you find all this depressing news...

if you search for them, youll find them.

Why would you spend your time searching for them?

Why shouldn't he? Majid performs a public service for rc.com

Sadly,
Rob.calm

Agreed. Ever so often you'll need to be reminded that climbing is dangerous, as people tend to forget and get sloppy.

Sad to hear of such things happening.


dakranii


Sep 25, 2006, 8:02 PM
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I have climbed the Via there three times. There are two particular times I can think of when you encounter trees. One is at the beginning on the outside of the first fin. Everyone I have climbed it with goes between the tree and the rock. The other, and the one I'm guessing is where the accident happened, is outside of the second fin just before the long ledge mentioned above, and right after coming down from the optional climb to the top. That tree is too close to the rock to go between and a stretch to get the lanyards around, but it's doable. I do agree that it feels like a safe ledge and it's easy to take that part for granted, but there is a lot of loose rock to stumble on, plus it's about 2 hours into the climb, so fatigue could have been an issue.

I'm sorry to hear the news, it is tragic. I think the Via Ferrata is a very worthwhile thing and very safe when the system is used properly and I hope that this doesn't hurt Nelson. My condolences to the her family and friends.


deadhorse


Sep 25, 2006, 8:12 PM
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I guess also if she thought her tethers were too short for her to do one at a time and still pass the tree (b/c she hadn't done it before?) really a shame.
I used that technique (the double tether dealy) when catwalking out for my bridge rappel- it does get very tedious. Really a shame.


majid_sabet


Sep 25, 2006, 10:17 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
Where do you find all this depressing news...

if you search for them, youll find them.

Why would you spend your time searching for them?

Why shouldn't he? Majid performs a public service for rc.com

Sadly,
Rob.calm

I receive an average of 1000 climbing and mountaineering related reports per month from several search engines. 99 % of these so called reports do not contain nor inform the reader about the accidents, however, few reports are worth posting and unfortunately not all have happy endings.

The whole point of posting reports is not about informing climbers that this particular sport is dangerous .We all do enjoy climbing and we all take risks and this is a price we pay. The most important part about posting accident reports is about understanding, analyzing and preventing future similar accidents. Many climbers here have been around and done their homework however not every one has good mileage and even those with high mileage in the vertical world do fall from the end of rope for forgetting to tie the stopper knot.

Should we stop posting accident report cause they are just heart broken? I am not sure if that would stop accidents ,but I can guarantee you that climbers will read these reports and I hope those who lack experience may learn some thing , that is all I can hope.
.
Regards

Majid


climbinganne


Sep 26, 2006, 4:59 AM
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i really didnt want to post to this...but i feel a responsibility cause nelson has always been home to me. this was really a very horrible, unfortunate, FREAK accident.

it occurred on the east side of the east fin at IMOL wall just beyond two scoops and two poops, a tree i know all too well (first placement on annie's enema).

most of us, for years have removed our lanyards after the head wall to finish the walk off on the huge ledge or climb in that area.

she too like many of the people here on the site that feel nelson is their home, unclipped...it was wet from the rains that went through WV and she slipped there, at the tree, and the ledge below kinda ends there (lower IMOL) not enough to catch her from continuing the 100+ ft fall to the corridor trail below.

she was climbing with a dear friend...my heart goes out to him and the pain and guilt he must be suffering now, i wish i was there to hold my friend.

i guess this is a wake up call for many of us not to take things for granted...why do we have to learn from such devastating mistakes??

my thoughts also go to amanda's family and friends. May they find peace and may they find it in their hearts to understand this was an accident, one, i hope will never happen again.


notapplicable


Sep 26, 2006, 6:34 AM
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Thank you ( climbinganne ) for sharing what you know about your friends accident with the community, I'm sorry that it happened regardless of the cause. The new information you shared is valuable and worth sharing in that it shows, once again that this sport is at its most dangerous when we are at our most comfortable. The simple fact is that you can get seriously hurt or in rare cases killed while employing all of the proper safety equipment and techniques. As soon as you remove those highly specialized systems that have been adapted to the vertical world for the last hundred years you are taking a serious risk, and it is not just the uninitiated that forget this fact.
Believe me I'm not preaching, I go rope less fairly regularly and have no problem what so ever with other people doing the same. Unfortunately it often takes accidents like these to keep or focus on the reality of the risks we are taking crisp and clear. So thank you (majid_sabet) for bringing news like this to everyones attention, everyones vertical focus needs fine tuning every now and then.


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