Author Topic: Accident at Humphrey's  (Read 1651 times)

Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2013, 07:05:47 AM »
One of the things that needs to be drillid into any climber is that you never ever let go of the belay end of the rope no mater what. you take that end of the rope to your death.   You need to be the same with that rope as a confirmed alchoholic is with their drink. ever seen a drunk pass out and hit the deck but somehow hold that cocktail up in the air and not spill a drop? BTDT on both accounts. Maybe it is time for some good old fassioned belay practice? something that has fallen out of favor as we all assume that the modern device will do the job. It has been my experience that any critical task that has not been drilled repetedly stands a good chance of getting messed up in an emergency.

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2013, 08:19:13 AM »
It has been my experience that any critical task that has not been drilled repetedly stands a good chance of getting messed up in an emergency.

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Offline sneoh

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2013, 08:19:31 AM »
Agreed with Trad about never letting go and practice, praactice, practice.

As for grabbing the rope above the device when the device is a Gri-Gri,  I suppose it is possible to assert enough force to slow the rope whipping thru the device to prevent the Gri Gri from camming and clamping down on the rope.  But that would also likely result in nasty rope burn (as in this case) and slowing the speed of the falling climber down significantly.

With enough rope drag, a falling skinny/light leader might not be able to cause the Gri Gri to lock right away, until he or she has gained enough momentum to "automatically cam" the Gri-Gri's lobe.  Without the belayer's intervention, this would mean a longer fall or possibly hitting a ledge/protrusion.  Ironically, in this situation, it might be easier to make a good catch using an ATC device (with the rope drag helping the belayer rather than working against the Gri-Gri).  And yes, I have seen this actually happen at a crag.  No harm done but a wake-up call for all who witnessed/experienced it.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 08:21:49 AM by sneoh »

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Offline strandman

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2013, 09:40:51 AM »
Trad, you are right of course.

Just as the leader must be responsible, the belayer must as well. I'm not trying to judge this event because I wasn't there.

You never take your hand off the rope ..never..,, period.  i have taken hits belaying from rockfall, gear, etc   it's part of the deal.

Offline ELM

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2013, 10:05:54 AM »
Totally agree with Strands comment. No question the brake hand never comes off the rope.

In this case I have a feeling that when she tripped she put her hands out to break her fall and did let go of the rope. In that second or two a gri-gri would have been helpful BUT only becuase she did take her hand off the rope!! She should have just tucked and rolled and held on to the brake.

Lastly: planning to use a gri-gri because you "can" leave your break hand off the rope is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard. That is an accident waiting to happen...and then what do you blame?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 10:07:25 AM by ELM »
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Offline DGoguen

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2013, 11:18:18 AM »
I've been belaying from the ground with "incoming" objects, and been able to run away while maintaining the correct tension on the brake hand using an ATC.
Not so sure I could I that with a GriGri. Not saying someone else couldn't.
I usually don't tie in to something on the ground, being the Corn fed type, unless the leader in significantly more nourished.
Being tethered on the ground with a GriGri makes me uncomfortable. That's just me.
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Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2013, 11:31:27 AM »
One of the things that needs to be drillid into any climber is that you never ever let go of the belay end of the rope no mater what. you take that end of the rope to your death.

Amen. And judging from how many times I walk along the base of the crag and see the "hand-over-hand" technique for taking up slack, the "hands-off to feed slack" though a gri-gri trick, and the "oh he's on a gri-gri, so I don't need to hold the brake strand while I tie my shoe or look in my pack" attitude, it's not taught nearly well enough. I've corrected it so many times that I've almost lost the energy to do it.

Having said all that, I can recall a case (but can't find the link, sorry) where an experienced belayer was lowering their climber, and got poked in the hand by a cactus needle on the brake hand. That caused an "involuntary" reaction where the belayer dropped their climber, but the gri-gri stopped them from decking. I've trained myself to take the rope to my death, but I'm not sure I'd trust myself were I to be stabbed with a cactus in the brake hand. For that reason, I started wearing belay gloves. (Also: another good reason to put both hands on the brake strand when lowering).



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Offline NEReSoul

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2013, 06:34:47 PM »
Probably taking the bait here but....... I never meant to imply or said that:

"you "can" leave your break hand off the rope is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard."

I also completely agree with the creed that one should never take the belay hand off of the rope, however.....

I really find it hard to believe that people are claiming that in this sort of situation the ATC would be safer than the Gri Gri.

There are all sorts of reasons that could cause even the most experienced climber to take their hand off of the brake. It easy to say that it would never happen to you but as is proven daily accidents happen to every type of people. It's my opinion that this sense of infallibility is the exact wrong attitude have.

Imagine if the belayer had been hit by the rock and had become unconscious......

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2013, 07:25:07 PM »
Imagine if the belayer had been hit by the rock and had become unconscious......

I saw the size of the rock that fell, and if it had been coming at anyone it would have been terrifying!
Al Hospers
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Offline Admin Al

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2013, 07:27:07 PM »
I will also say that every time I climb Tree Keys I clean off that broken chimney. however, that was NOT the place where the rock fell off. it was at least 6' higher and I would not have thought that area had any bad rock at all.
Al Hospers
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Offline sneoh

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2013, 11:14:45 PM »
Imagine if the belayer had been hit by the rock and had become unconscious......
This has happened before; a friend suffered severe head trauma when a piece of rock her partner pulled off hit her squarely on the head (she was not wearing a helmet and her partner was on TR).   She passed out but luckily she was belaying with a Gri Gri.  This is the scenario Ward alludes to.
She has recovered from the accident (but still bears the scars) but it was touch and go for a time while she fought for her life in the ICU.


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Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2013, 11:30:02 PM »
This is the scenario Ward alludes to.

Could you point me to the thread? I'll probably take a bath for this, but I agree that when properly used, a gri-gri's extra margin of safety is worth the weight (though I still won't haul it up multipitch trad).

My only problem with the gri-gri is how easy it is to misuse, and how it encourages unsafe behavior in inexperienced climbers.

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Offline sneoh

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2013, 11:55:32 PM »
Pete - here's a recent one - http://www.neclimbs.com/SMF_2/index.php/topic,7898.60.html

But Ward has mentioned it several times over the past 2 years.

The most important and valid knock against the Gri Gri and GG2 is how prone it is to misuse and the misunderstanding of what it is, its limitations, etc.  Even the best gear when placed in the hands of people who do not know better can fail or perform poorly.

"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 lucky luke

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Re: Accident at Humphrey's
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2013, 11:59:39 PM »
  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.

I agree. the only thing dangerous in a cliff is the climber. mountain never ask any thing.