Author Topic: Accident at Humphrey's  (Read 1605 times)

Offline Admin Al

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Accident at Humphrey's
« on: September 16, 2013, 10:38:29 PM »
According to two reports, someone fell after the second bolt on Tree Keys at the Geriatric Walls over the weekend. One report stated that they fell down to the start of the slab, another is that they hit the ground. They may have grabbed a loose block on the top of the first corner/block system and pitched backwards. One report indicated that the belayer may have let go of the rope while dodging a falling rock and that caused the long fall! Apparently the injured climber was carried out complaining of back pain.

Does anyone have any more information? Apparently it was very busy there over the weekend.
Al Hospers
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Offline Admin Al

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 08:23:30 AM »
The following was posted on the NEClimbs F/B page:

"The climber fell when he grabbed a loose block, sending it down at his belayer. The belayer tripped when dodging the block, which caused her to lose control of the rope, lengthening the fall. I don't know if he hit the ground or not. Climber and belayer were back home as of yesterday AM, with the climber only suffering soft-tissue injuries. Kudos to Mt. Rescue (Bayard and Doug in particular for taking charge) and to the rest of the climbing community for stepping up and helping out in a big way."

Glad to hear that the climber will be OK.
Al Hospers
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Offline sneoh

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 08:36:34 AM »
Good news. Glad the party made it out w/o serious injuries.

I had a similar but much less dramatic/serious experience last Sat too.  The piece was about the size of a mid-size water bottle.  I am very glad I was belaying with a Gri-Gri and not tied into any anchor.  If anything, my partner's fall was a bit shorter than otherwise as I jumped back to avoid the rock from 30+ feet up.

Ward's argument for belaying with a Gri Gri is making more sense than ever after this.

"You have to decide to do a flag, where you can broke your vertebrae or a barn door depending of your pro" - the poster formerly known as Champ

Offline David_G48

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 10:45:40 AM »
First and most importantly it is good that the injuries were not serious. I usually find that I check the rock both visually and by tapping if needed to try to ensure that it is solid.  I feel that there is a tendency to not check the rock on sport climbs as much from my personal observations. There is a lesson to be learned here to keep constant vigilance.
Lastly say it isn't so...... loose rock and danger at the Geriatric Wall......where will us old, senile, incompetent climbers go?????

Offline sneoh

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 12:16:33 PM »
There is always a case to be made for constant vigilance.  No doubt at all.

"You have to decide to do a flag, where you can broke your vertebrae or a barn door depending of your pro" - the poster formerly known as Champ

Offline OldEric

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 02:12:42 PM »
First and most importantly it is good that the injuries were not serious. I usually find that I check the rock both visually and by tapping if needed to try to ensure that it is solid.  I feel that there is a tendency to not check the rock on sport climbs as much from my personal observations. There is a lesson to be learned here to keep constant vigilance.
Lastly say it isn't so...... loose rock and danger at the Geriatric Wall......where will us old, senile, incompetent climbers go?????

Not a lot of opportunity to "check the rock on sport climbs" on an all points off full body dyno = not that that will be an issue for most geriatic climbers.

Offline old_school

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 02:41:47 PM »
Not a lot of opportunity to "check the rock on sport climbs" on an all points off full body dyno = not that that will be an issue for most geriatic climbers.
[/quote]

I just tap every hold with my walker...that way I know they are safe   ;D
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Offline Admin Al

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 08:29:46 PM »
George and I climbed Tree Keys today. We could see exactly where the block came off, about 4' below the first bolt on the upper buttress. Then we found the block on the ground. It was about half the size of a basketball! I'm sure it was quite a fall from there. The leader was lucky. Had to be 30'.
Al Hospers
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Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 09:04:58 PM »
George and I climbed Tree Keys today. We could see exactly where the block came off, about 4' below the first bolt on the upper buttress.

That part of Tree Keys is sketchy, no matter how easy or hard you find the climbing to be!
We came to climb, not to whine.

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 09:06:23 PM »
George and I climbed Tree Keys today. We could see exactly where the block came off, about 4' below the first bolt on the upper buttress.

That part of Tree Keys is sketchy, no matter how easy or hard you find the climbing to be!

yes, it's the least positive of a generally good route. I find it easy going, but you have to be quite careful.
Al Hospers
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Offline NEReSoul

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 02:29:06 PM »
Close friends of mine were the first responders for this accident (they were up manning my booth at the AAC Craggin Classic over the weekend while I was unfortunately called out of town) so I received a first hand report. While I normally keep quite on the boards I figured that since they don't check the forums I would add a couple of things based on their report of the accident to me.

1. Mike (who was first on the scene) has his Wilderness First Responder and not for the first time am I reminded of the importance of this sort of training. Just like helmets by the time that you realize you actually need it, it's probably too late. His training allowed him to assess the situation and take the proper steps. While the WFR training is expensive it makes so much sense to familiarize yourself with the basics of wilderness first aid.

2. Despite it being well within his abilities Mike and his partner had just backed off of this route (or maybe one right next to it) because of concern about rock quality. They then went around the corner to find something else to climb before hearing the sounds of rockfall and the yells from the belayer. The lesson here isn't that the climbers who had the accident should not have been on the route, but instead to trust your own judgement. Better safe than sorry.

3.Just to flush out the report: The belayed received significant rope burn on her hands. As was reported she lost control of the rope when she tripped dogging rock fall but then grabbed the rope above the belay device in order to slow the fall of the leader. She then did her best to try and get back under the falling leader to cushion his blow and keep him off of the ground with her body. The leader did ground fall but was probably saved significant injury due to her efforts. Not only will I will definitely be doing more belaying with my grigri after this, but it goes to show that having a competent belayer goes beyond whether or not they know how to hold the rope.   

4. And finally while Sarah and Mike were spooked by the accident and reminded that accidents can occur at anytime, the thing that was really impressed upon them was the efforts and teamwork of their fellow climbers. While the Craggin' Classic weekend was all about the climbing community it paled in comparison to what was shown at Humpherys. They described the actions of their fellow climbers and the efforts, especially during the litter carry, as nothing short of phenomenal. While reminded of the dangers of climbing, the lesson they took home was that should an accident occur they can count on the compassion and strength of other climbers to help them out of it.

Be safe out there!

-Ri

Offline strandman

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 05:28:32 PM »
I'll agree except point #3

Using a gri gri or not didn't matter if the belayer grabbed above the device.

Offline NEReSoul

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 07:50:00 PM »
Strandman-   The idea is that the belayer wouldn't have had to grab the rope above the belay device if a gri gri was used and operating correctly.

I suppose the argument could be made that the belayer could have grabbed below the device even after accidentally losing control of the belay, but this the type of thing easily said on the couch but harder to keep in mind in the heat of the moment. (not that you said anything of the sort)

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 08:53:23 PM »
Doesn't grabbing above the device,in the case of the gri gri, make it less likely the device will function properly?  Just asking... I've never tested it.

Offline strandman

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2013, 09:25:42 PM »

Doesn't  matter the device, grabbing above it makes it pretty ineffectual