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Author Topic: Cathedral accident yesterday?  (Read 1335 times)

DLottmann

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Cathedral accident yesterday?
« on: July 23, 2013, 05:29:36 PM »

WMWV 93.5 Just talked about a rock climbing accident where someone fell 30 feet to the ground yesterday and required a rescue. Anybody have any details or at least what route this was on?
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perry

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 07:46:46 PM »

Hi DMan, I wrote an email to my friends last night on the incident:


Hi friends,

I wrote a little accident report partly to record what happened, but also to help collect my thoughts. some of you may find it helpful. Stay safe.
---
Spang and I were involved in a rescue today when a climber in his early 20s decked off of Child's Play (5.5) at Cathedral Ledge.  We had just come down off of Recluse at the North End and were packing up around 2:30pm. A party had finished Child's Play, the line directly to the right of Recluse and were descending via rappel from a tree on the North End belay ledge. The first climber down had improperly thrown the ropes such that one side of the rappel was about 25 ft off the ground. He rappelled just past the bulgy ledge about midway up Child's Play when the short end of the rope ran through his device and he fell to the ground, landing on his back. I inspected the rappel device; he had extended his rappel device and backed it up with a prussick, but both of these failed when one end, unknotted, slipped through.

My guess is that he fell about ~25-30ft,  landing on the ground and a large downed tree trunk. He suffered serious lower back injuries, along with leg, arm, neck, and other injuries. He remained conscious the entire time, though in a lot of pain. We along with all of the other climbers around North End were able to respond immediately, including an Eastern Mountain Sports guide, an EMT, WFR, and any number of other qualifications I was glad relieved to have on hand. Within 15-20 minutes of the fall, emergency services arrived, followed by SAR. He was stabilized, placed on a backboard, and littered out by everyone by hand via the trail. He was in the ambulance by 3:30ish. All of the surrounding climbers and hikers were extremely helpful and the rescue was incredibly efficient and well done.

I've never been that close to a climbing accident before. It sucks that it takes an accident to reinforce shit you already know you should do, but always tie knots in the rope. There are very few reasons not to. I had rappelled to the ground just minutes before the accident, I did not tie knots in the rope, for the same reasons that these climbers cited: "its a short route, i've done the rap before, i know the rope is long enough..."  Fortunately, I checked that I had my middle mark at the rings. These guys, for whatever reason, today, did not. One of the climbers friend's had mentioned that they had had a recent conversation about tying knots, and that he was normally a very safe climber. It's easy to miss these simple checks, especially when it's late in the day, getting dark, you're tired, and you want to go to Flatbread and get a beer. This has got to be one of the most common climbing accidents and its so easily preventable.

I don't know the status of the climber who fell. Best wishes to him.

Stay safe,
-perry
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DLottmann

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 08:43:11 PM »

Thanks for sharing. While I have knotted ends more often this season I still think lack of using an accurate middle mark is more of a contributing factor in similar accidents.

Did you happen to notice if the rope they were using had a middle mark?

Regardless of middle marks and end knots, I feel I am always constantly looking for my ends while rappelling... Itís hard for me to imagine an end sneaking up on me like it did to this victim.

It is tragic this easily preventable type of mistake keeps happening, but I am also not too surprised as I notice lots of folks who donít set up rappels smoothly or take shortcuts.

Iíve always encouraged threading the rope to the middle mark, then, if on a ledge like this one, back stack the entire rope to the ends in a neat pile, then toss. You can hear the ends hit the ground if itís quiet. Even then I stop at that bulge and get a visual on the ends before continuing... hope he fully recovers quickly.
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 08:50:18 PM »

Sending light to the injured for a hopefully full recovery. Unfourtunatly is its not as simple as tying knots in the rope every time. that can also get you killed......
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lucky luke

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 10:08:24 PM »

I've never been that close to a climbing accident before. It sucks that it takes an accident to reinforce shit you already know you should do, but always tie knots in the rope. There are very few reasons not to. I had rappelled to the ground just minutes before the accident, I did not tie knots in the rope, for the same reasons that these climbers cited: "its a short route, i've done the rap before, i know the rope is long enough..."  Fortunately, I checked that I had my middle mark at the rings.

Perry, the question that nobody can answer is: "why the guy didn't look at the end of both ropes?" For me, it is more important to see both end of the rope than to tie a knot and rap without care to the bottom.

I think that it is an other good example of learning in situation without real danger. They follow a procedure that they learn and was winning. But, developing our instinct to see the danger is so important in climbing. I remember one of my friend, guide, running after a couple and saying: "it is important you will see later". The couple don't lesson and, I am sure, are candidate to accident.   
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sneoh

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 11:38:18 PM »

Wishing the injured a speedy and full recovery.
To perry, thanks for your report.  I know how much it sucks to assist after an accident, especially one which is preventable.  For me, the first rescue was the worst but it never got any easier with later ones.

Tradman, in what scenarios will knotting the ends get a climber killed?  This is an honest question. 
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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 12:14:57 AM »

I was coming home from town yesterday and saw 2 ambulances coming from the Cliff and said to myself; "there must have been an accident!" what a bummer, especially a rapelling accident on Child's play! I hope he recovers OK...
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lucky luke

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 06:31:57 AM »

Tradman, in what scenarios will knotting the ends get a climber killed?  This is an honest question.

2 ways

first: you always do a knot, do it as a procedure, be overconfident and, in an easy route like child play, decide that you are o.k. and don't do it for a first time, rap down without care... A similar accident happen to a very good climber at poko three or four days ago.

second: you do a knot, forget to remove it, pull the rope and get stop in the cliff without the possibility to go up and down. Happen to two guy and report in accident in north American mountaineering.

Description of an accident, as Perry did, is very valuable as we can avoid accident without insulting the injure climber/family. It is because I know that a stupid mistake happen regularly that I talk about safety.

The climbing gear is very simple to use because it is made to be use under stress. Under stress, we loose all our capacity to think and accident always look like a stupidity that nobody will do. The reality is that we are human and I do regularly three or five mistake per day. Some do that in tha walk in to the cliff. I bail when I did five mistake in a day
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 06:51:31 AM »

#1. real climbs with knotts in end of rope + wind= rope stuck out of reach = epic trying to retrieve rope=exposed to more danger than if no knotts.
#2. A blind routine of ALWAYS doing something regardless of the real situation just makes you dumb not safe and eventually leads to complacency and a mistake.   I almost never use knotts. Only use knotts for rapps where I either know or suspect that the anchors are close to the ends of the ropes.
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sneoh

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 07:06:47 AM »

OK, thanks, Tradman.  Both are debatable but I/we see your point of view.

For what it is worth, I do not normally knot the ends either.  Then again, even after all these years, my senses are on high alert whenever I have to rap, just too many rappelling accidents rattling around in my brain not to.
"rap down without care" - not good, knot or not. 
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steve weitzler

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 10:11:50 AM »

I always knot the ends of the rope!!!! Simple question; if the ends of the rope were knotted would this accident have occurred?
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Admin Al

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2013, 10:28:18 AM »

Simple question; if the ends of the rope were knotted would this accident have occurred?

I think that the answer to that is a Simple, no!
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DaveR

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2013, 10:43:54 AM »

I always knot the ends of the rope!!!! Simple question; if the ends of the rope were knotted would this accident have occurred?

Same here unless I am positive both ends are sitting on the ground!
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frik

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2013, 01:21:13 PM »

Good question Steve.... you could ask the same about; checking for the middle mark, looking down while rapping, flaking out the rope on the ledge before dropping it, pulling your head out of your ass.

Sorry if this offends anyone, but this type of accident should piss everyone off.
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ELM

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Re: Cathedral accident yesterday?
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2013, 03:10:07 PM »

I am very sorry to hear someone was hurt. That is really sad; I wish him a speedy recovery.

 I think knotting a rope is generally a good idea. However even when the ends are knotted I am super aware of how much rope I have left. Rapping is super dangerous and I do everything I can to make it as safe as I can....maybe I'm paranoid.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 03:12:27 PM by ELM »
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