NEClimbs.com forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Reading the forum on your cell phone? There's an easier way. We've enabled a Tapatalk app that makes browsing the forum a whole lot easier. Check it out in the iPhone or Android store if you don't own it already.

Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Down

Author Topic: Entire Route Collapses On Climber  (Read 4285 times)

Ibexdude

  • NEClimbs Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5
Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« on: February 12, 2012, 10:58:32 AM »

Yesterday (2/11/12), a friend and I headed to the Texaco Amphitheater where we witnessed a near fatal disaster.  The accident happened late afternoon when a climber was going back up a route (don't know the name) to remove a directional ice screw and clean his anchor.  I was on the far right side of the crag flaking my rope when I heard the thundering collapse of ice.  I quickly glanced around the corner when I heard the noise to see a blur of bodies and ice flying all over the place.  My partner who was down below from me had a clear view of the entire route coming down on the belayer and climber.  According to my partner when the route came down, the ice dragged the climber down maybe 10-15 feet before freeing him - which in turn shot the belayer up into the air momentarily.  We came to the conclusion that this probably saved the belayers life, since he would have been crushed by several hundred pounds of falling ice, instead the belayer was luckily suspended in the air while the route flew past his face.  When the dragged down climber was freed by the falling ice, the rope stretch shot him back up in the air where his thighs where met by more large blocks of falling ice.  The whole scene lasted less than 5 sec and the aftermath left the climber badly beat up and a belayer on an adjacent route also injured (from ice debris).  Somehow the belayer on the route that collapsed walked away unscathed.  The extent of the injuries between the belayer on the adjacent climb and the climber where miniscule to what they could have been.  I treated the belayer for miner cuts on her knee, a swollen ankle and a cut on her forehead.  The climber had a deep cut on his chin and his thighs were pretty sore from the ice.  We helped free their rope from the ice chunks and carried the injured climbers bags down to the parking lot.

As a veteran rock climber but a novice ice climber, I want to know if this is fairly common?  Should ice climbers be concerned with entire routes collapsing on them?  I climbed this route twice that day and it was thin in areas, but I never expected it to all come down.  Unfortunately, I didn't see how the climber was climbing, but when I climbed the route previously I expressed caution on the thin areas and slotted my tools instead of swinging - could the fail have been triggered by excessive banging?  I want to learn from this experience so that I don't put me or my partner in danger. Please chime in with your thoughts on how this could have been avoided. 

I've included some before and after photos for people to analyze of the route.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/62694254@N02/sets/72157629285680547/ 

The conditions were, Partly Sunny high of 34.

*This was my first time to Texaco, so I'm not sure of the route's name but would love to know what it is.
Logged

DWT

  • Guest
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 12:17:58 PM »

Evaluating ice is something every ice climber should learn sooner than later.  I am certainly no expert but, the first photo in your set shows a number red flags that may have added up to a "no go" for me.

1.  The ice looks sun baked.  Baked ice gets white, opaque, and if you look closely it will look a bit like broken(shattered) glass.  This ice is decomposing and weaker than clear or blueish ice. 

2.  The base of the line is not completely touched down.  This is the same principle as, a good house starts with a good foundation.

3.  The upper sections of both lines in the photo appear detached from the rock.   Detached ice will make a lower pitched hollow thumping noise while placing ice tools. 

4.  Aspect(N,S,E,W) is a consideration on days above freezing or late in the season.  This photo appears to show two climbs that are facing directly into the sun.  The solar energy will heat the rock and melt the ice.

5.  The rock in Texaco or anywhere will heat at a different rate than the ice.  This is something to be mindful of at all times.  If the rock is warm to the touch,  the bond between the rock and the ice IS melting. 

6.  This winter all ice is suspect.  With the exception of a few real cold days, it's been warm.

That's my two cents.  Hopefully some of the more experienced guys can fill in the holes in my breakdown.  I'm glad nobody was seriously hurt.  Stay safe.

Just curious, was the belayer standing in the fall line?
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 01:47:29 PM by DWT »
Logged

apbt1976

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 419
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 12:24:42 PM »

Wow...

This season sucks.

Glad i got ina bunch of good climbs while the getting was good and safe!!

Looks like it is time to head for higher ground or hang up the tools for another season. I noticed lots of ice looking like this all over this past Friday. This coming weeks temps do not look promising nor does the calender!!

Be safe everyone...
Logged

Ibexdude

  • NEClimbs Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 01:22:16 PM »

DWT & apbt1976 thanks for the replys.  Your comments are definitely helpful.  I believe the belayer was standing by the tree, which was in the fall line - about 15 feet straight back from the climb.  He was seriously lucky he didn't get squashed.  The day started off cold, but did warm up considerably by the afternoon.
Logged

DWT

  • Guest
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 01:53:40 PM »

Ibexdude,

If you read through some of the conditions posts, Dman(a mountain guide and AIARE instructor) makes note on 2/10/2012 that folks should be wary of anything in the sun right now.  I consider that good intel.

Cheers
Logged

Ibexdude

  • NEClimbs Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 02:03:14 PM »

Cool.  I'll check it out.  Any idea the name of the route that came down?
Logged

DGoguen

  • Guest
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 02:36:22 PM »

"Top Roper Sandwich" 3+
Couldn't resist. Actually it's "Ankles Away" 3+
Extra points for nice self rescue.
Logged

M_Sprague

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1557
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 05:43:08 PM »

Even as a non ice climber, I wouldn't have walked under that stuff. It looked very sketchy to me in the photos. I guess I have observed enough rotting out ice at Rumney. It is so lucky that you didn't have to deal with strewn body parts and were able to help them. Hopefully the belayer had nice knees  ;D
Logged
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is not a path and leave a trail."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

DLottmann

  • Guest
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2012, 06:16:18 PM »

DWTís numbered analysis is spot on. Plenty of red flags there. Bottom line, sunny + southern exposure + above freezing = LOOK OUT!

You can see on the rock where the ice was that it is wet, so melt-out behind the ice helped it lose itís bond. Doesnít help that the rock was dark colored (absorbs more heat).

Glad everyone was OK and thank you for sharing the experience!
Logged

punxnotdead

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 422
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2012, 07:30:13 PM »

WHOAH! Im glad everyone is well. I've never experienced anything like that! And I have climbed ice for quite a while. Even the sketchiest ice I've been on held. But, I guess we roll the dice whenever we get on bad ice.

BK
Logged
someone dropped a steamer in the gene pool

"climbing with a deep knowledge of what we are doing is what we all want to climb high and safe" Champoing

tradmanclimbz

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3836
  • Nick Goldsmith
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 09:23:37 PM »

How many of you have been on Chia when widows walk falls down. Chia actually shakes from the impact! makes an instant believer out of you :o
Logged

DLottmann

  • Guest
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2012, 09:36:32 PM »

How many of you have been on Chia when widows walk falls down. Chia actually shakes from the impact! makes an instant believer out of you :o

Iíve been on both Chia and Pegasus Rock Finish and it always makes me tense up when that thing crashes mid-climb!
Logged

MT

  • NEClimbs Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 177
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2012, 10:05:45 PM »

I was climbing around the corner a few years ago when Frankie Lee let loose. The ground shook. Pretty freaky!

Glad to hear that everyone made it out in one pice on this one...and with an important lesson. Learn to read the ice!!

Cheers,

Mike
Logged

strandman

  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4590
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 10:10:54 AM »

How many of you have been on Chia when widows walk falls down. Chia actually shakes from the impact! makes an instant believer out of you :o

BITD at Frank's with Jimmie Dunn- 'how was widow's walk ? "  CRASH...... He just gave one of THOSE looks   :-\
Logged

Admin Al

  • NEClimbs Administrator
  • NEClimbs God
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7066
  • Climb 'till your forearms turn to jelly!
    • NEClimbs
Re: Entire Route Collapses On Climber
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 10:40:05 AM »

I climbed that climb a week ago. it was baking then. from the picture taken before it came down I can see the right side delaminating from the rock. I know it's only mid-February, but you have to be aware no matter what time of the season it is.  it's been unseasonably warm and the sun is quite strong, this is really like mid-March conditions! the Texaco amphitheater is a very warm area, and the reason that area is so popular.

I am glad to hear that no one got seriously hurt. stay safe...
Logged
Al Hospers
____________________________________
my music
 https://www.facebook.com/BlackMountainRamblers

web hosting, design and software programming:
 http://www.cambersoft.com
Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Up
 

Page created in 0.165 seconds with 23 queries.