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Accident on El Cap

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Admin Al:
A horrible accident... Climber fell over 200' and apparently was only stopped from going to the ground by his static haul line!

Scroll down for a more complete report by the partner...

Horrible, horrible, horrible.  I cannot even fathom the G forces on the body from a static line after one reaches terminal velocity (I am pretty sure one is close to terminal velocity after 200 feet of free fall).  A 5 or 6-foot fall on to a gym rope (semi dynamic) while setting was jarring enough for me.
I wonder what percentage of climbers use dynamic rope for hauling versus static, especially for big wall stuff.


--- Quote from: sneoh on May 21, 2013, 11:42:30 pm ---I wonder what percentage of climbers use dynamic rope for hauling versus static, especially for big wall stuff.

--- End quote ---

Pretty close to zero. In hauling mode, you would have to reel in all the stretch before even moving the bags each time.
There are a million ways to do it but as a party of three, the leader fixes the lead rope and the haul line. The second cleans the pitch as the third jugs the static haul line quickly to begin leading the next pitch with a tag line to bring up the gear cleaned from the last . Bouncing around on a free hanging full length rope while spinning is enough to make you blow the little food you get on that adventure. Sawing over an edge bouncing up and down is a real threat on the non overhanging stuff.
Repeat 35 times and you top out on El Cap.

Through a dumb screw-up I took a 40 foot fall on to a 13 Bluewater II once. I guess it isn't completely static, but only 'low elongation'  because I was totally fine. Some energy could also have been absorbed by it whipping through shrubs. I probably had a little over 100 feet out total, running  down from a tree at the top of the cliff with a big loose loop.  I was clipped in with my GriGri and fell from a route anchor to just above the ground.

I wonder what ropes people are using for haul lines and what the actual elongation #s are. For the 13mm BWII it is 3.8% at 300 lbf and 8.4% at 1000 lbf. Are haul lines even more static?

Soon, wouldn't you be going around 80 mph after freefalling 230 feet? KE almost 43,000 foot pounds?

Bluewater Big Wall haul line 10mm is at 3.8% elongation as well.
It feels significantly stiffer than a dynamic rope. I use it for self belay top rope occasionally. A 200 foot fall is a different issue obviously.
Once, we used a 300' version of this thinking we could haul 2 pitches in one shot. Maybe on the overhanging stuff but the bag gets hung up on less than vertical sometimes.
Live and learn.


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