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Author Topic: Fall at Rumney  (Read 766 times)

mhmaine

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Fall at Rumney
« on: April 25, 2007, 08:37:11 PM »

I was climbing at Rumney Sunday and a lead climber took a hard fall from about 15-20 feet and landed on his back and head right next to me and my partner. He was able to walk out and basically refused medical help.  If he had fallen just a few inches up, or to the side, he would have cracked his head open or broken his neck.
So, three things:
1: wear a helmet
2: It appeared that the belay device failed - or there was a combination of poor belaying skills and equiptment malfunction. The belayer was using a Cinch. She had serious rope burn on her left hand but not on her right (the brake hand...)and it did not appear that the Cinch locked at all. It did appear to be loaded correctly and oriented the right way, etc. It didn't seem like it got caught up on clothing, although we can't be sure. There was some tension on the rope between them after he landed but not enough to even keep her in a standing postion- she sat suddenly on the ground after he fell.
Even if she had not locked off with her right hand, the self-locking feature of the Cinch should have kicked in and caught the rope and broken this climber's fall. ??
3: I am not going to use a Cinch after witnessing that incident.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 08:39:07 PM by mhmaine »
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DLottmann

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2007, 10:01:11 PM »

Rope burn on her left hand but not on her right?  Sounds like the right hand was holding the release lever/tab in the open position, possibly giving slack for a clip.  Alternatively if she sat suddenly without releasing the Cinch there must have been too much slack in the system to prevent ground fall.  Many of the routes at Rumney have ground fall potential at the 2nd, and sometimes 3rd clips.

The self-locking feature will not engage if you are manually holding the little metal tab while feeding slack, or holding the lever back.

If she was able to sit after he decked, it wouldn't have mattered what belay device she was using.

An important piece of info would be the diameter of the rope he was climbing on.  Sub 9.4 maybe?

Are you sure rope ran through the device and are you sure it wasn't loaded backwards?

The vast majority of accidents like this are pilot error, NOT equipment malfunction.

To relate my own close call, after a friend of mine led Junco a couple years ago I tied in for the pink-point while my then girlfriend put me on a Gri-Gri.  Neither myself (a climbing guide) or my friend (10 years experience) double checked that she loaded the Gri-Gri correctly.  After topping out and yelling "take" I leaned back, and as I went over the lip suddenly dropped 10-15 feet.  She was able to arrest the fall with both hands on the brake strand (very hard to do when the Gri-Gri is loaded backwards).  Very lucky I didn't fall unexpectedly when leading, since she would have only had one hand on the weak brake strand.

As for not using the Cinch that's your choice.  The Gri-Gri works better for belaying leaders and top-ropers.  The Cinch excels at belaying 2nds up multi-pitch trad.
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oldmansmith

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2007, 10:06:11 AM »

Which route was it?
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2007, 10:20:11 AM »

Another thought. Is it possible if you grip the rope above an auro locking belay device instead of below it in the approved brakeing hand possition do you prevent  the auto locking device from locking? I know that this is a common error with tube style belay device..
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AstroBoy

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2007, 09:30:01 PM »

I know of two cases (one at Red Rocks and one recently at the Metrorock gym) of leaders being dropped while being belayed on a properly configured gri-gri.  In both cases the belayer was somehow grabbing the lead end of the rope with her left hand such that it prevented the gri-gri from properly locking.  Serious rope burns on the left hand were a consequence.  Fortunately neither of the leaders were injured since the falls were more like very-rapid lowers, and at Red Rocks the belayer let go before the leader decked.
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mhmaine

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2007, 10:22:02 PM »

The route is "Lies and Propaganda."


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om

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2007, 01:25:13 PM »

third clip on that route has ground fall potential. In fact, if leader falls while clipping it's pretty much guaranteed.
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M_Sprague

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2007, 02:20:56 PM »

Pilot and copilot error judging by the rope burn and the fact that the leader didn't make sure the belayer knew what she was doing..

By the way, to those of you who are inexperienced, a lot of fall length potential can be eliminated by climbing up to the bolt and then hip clipping rather than sketchily pulling a bunch of rope out and stretching to your limit to make a clip. Use good judgment.

Between having a good belayer, knowing when to stick clip, not hanging out below other climbers, and not being a complete spaz, you really shouldn't be getting hurt at Rumney besides the occasional flapper, pulled finger or muscle strain. There are very few routes with bad fall potential IMO ( I'm thinking if you fell off the lip of Obiwan). Shit does happen, but it usually human error like when some idiot knocked my girlfriend almost off the New Wave ledge by penduluming off a route while down cleaning with their TR rope going through the wrong anchor. Both the climber and belayer swung about 30ft, knocked into her and sent her rolling towards the edge. They then stood there, slack jawed, no apology or anything. These were Dartmouth students and supposed to be bright???
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jimmy

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2007, 03:27:39 PM »

Quote
Between having a good belayer, knowing when to stick clip, not hanging out below other climbers, and not being a complete spaz,

Oops, that'll eliminate a lot of folks...  Too many folks go from the gym to Rumney without proper training.  Surprised more accidents don't happen.  Gotta take the bad with the good I suppose, as Rumney continues to gain in popularity.
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DLottmann

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2007, 05:34:16 PM »

By the way, to those of you who are inexperienced, a lot of fall length potential can be eliminated by climbing up to the bolt and then hip clipping rather than sketchily pulling a bunch of rope out and stretching to your limit to make a clip.

This is a technique you quickly learn ice climbing, which I wish was applied more often on sport routes.  It seems many are bolted to clip from a good stance while reaching as high as you can, so you can TR through the hard move.  Would be nice if new age bolting considered placing the bolts at waist level for atleast the clips near the deck.

"One ground fall can ruin your whole day" - seen on a bumber sticker in Joshua Tree last week.
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punxnotdead

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2007, 10:51:31 AM »

yup that climb def  has GF potential at third clip (i remember thinking about that while clipping).  there must have been too much rope out while the leader was clipping?  Hence the burn on the non brake hand.  As the rope just began to become taught the belay device did not have enough tension to engage.  Prob not belay device failure but failure of the belayer to either give a good belay and/or didnt yard any rope back in.  then again, shit happens.

Bill
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buckeeb

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2007, 01:39:21 AM »

There was no draw on the third bolt. So the idea of rope being pulled out is not likely. I also can verify that the Cinch was threaded properly. Just as a frame of reference the impact was audible while standing down by Flesh for Lulu! OUCH! 

In a trusted and experienced partner an autolocking device can be very reassuring. Otherwise it is very scary!

JH
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2007, 05:59:30 AM »

It really sounds like the belayer gripped the rope above the auto locking device burning their hand and preventing the device from locking?
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DLottmann

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2007, 07:04:08 AM »

The Cinch is different than the Gri-Gri in that it locks instantly, with virtually no slippage as soon as you put a light tug on the load line.  It is almost impossible to feed slack unless holding the lever or tap in the "open" position.  I would speculate you could not prevent this from camming simply by holding the load line, and that the belayer must have been holding the device in the feed slack orientation to suffer rope burn to her left hand.
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JakeDatc

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Re: Fall at Rumney
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2007, 04:24:02 AM »

Dman.. the Cinch is very easy to feed slack out (even with a gym 11mm i tried to see if thick rope effected it).  You just need to know how to hold it correctly.  You NEVER touch the silver tab or pull the handle while belaying.  The body of the Cinch just needs to be tilted towards the brake side.     

i will say the Cinch is not a beginner device and takes some practice to figure out the motions.  If he fell near the 3rd clip i could see her not being able to pull in extra slack and maybe getting lifted

hope they went to get checked out on their own
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