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Poll

Have you taken a leader fall while ice climbing?

Yes, on Grade 3 or easier
- 2 (5%)
Yes, on Grade 4
- 6 (15%)
Yes, on Grade 5
- 3 (7.5%)
Yes, on steep/mixed (clean fall)
- 3 (7.5%)
No, Knock on Wood
- 26 (65%)

Total Members Voted: 38

Voting closed: April 13, 2014, 02:20:14 PM


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Author Topic: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?  (Read 1658 times)

DLottmann

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Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« on: February 12, 2014, 01:20:14 PM »

If you have provide details below. Either way how long have you been leading ice and what is your current comfort range?

I've been leading ice for 12 years, am comfortable leading 4's off the couch, and 5's when they are in good shape and I've been getting out a bit. Zero leader falls here (and maybe 2-3 hangs).
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ralbert20

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 01:26:26 PM »

My only fall on ice was at the top of the first pillar on Blue Room in Smuggs. I was trying to place a screw, and I pushed myself right off... I fell maybe 15', hit the deck, rolled over, and could not lead ice again for about 6 years. I was not physically hurt at all, but mentally I was completely destroyed. I am now back to leading 4+ with confidence.

Why do you ask?
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kenreville

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 01:41:01 PM »

Only one fall. On Dropline. Both tools blew out resulting in a 15-20 footer. Afterwhich I got pizzed off and fired up the thing.

My current comfort range while ice climbing is zero.
I don't ice climb anymore.
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pappy

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 04:33:57 PM »

umm, I need to check more than one of these boxes, like three of them...

First one was on Frankie Lee down at Rumney back in '85. It was late in the season and the ice sucked. I put in a screw about 15-20' up, a stubby Chouinard that I figured was mostly decorative in that ice. Climbed another 10-15' to (hopefully) better ice, went over backwards, and wound up hanging upside down with my head about 3' from the ground. My belayer was a little fried. We went home.

The worst was on a very thin and delammed P1 of Discord, when what ice there was sheared away and I took a swinging fall into the lower corner. Busted leg.

Funniest was on this:




This was a new line that had never formed before and as far as I know never since ('96) on the N. Face of Rabun Bald, GA(!!). We were just dumb backwater hicks and didn't know any of them fancy Figure 4 things, etc. at that time. The ice is not as good as it looks. I muscled up higher above that little hang inventing (for me) hooking one tool over the other and fell. Even though we had leashes (obviously), I somehow left both tools behind in the ice, slammed upside down into the slab below, snapping my head back against the slab, thanking God for helmets and feeling like a buffoon looking up at my poor tools sticking in the ice and wondering how do you fall out of your leashes?

Now it's Stegg's turn to try it (and retrieve my tools) and he muscles up and tries traversing essentially campusing footless right to  better ice before he falls and bounces on the slab, and now there are four damn tools sticking in the ice. But if Shannon did it too I feel a little less like a buffoon. We look at Greg, 'Your turn,' and he looks up at the tools, down at the slab, says, 'Fuck you,' goes into the woods, grabs a 20' branch, climbs up and knocks the tools out.

I guess since it's still unclimbed it's not actually a line, but it is pretty.

I haven't climbed jack this year because of work and I hate single digits anyway, but I usually get comfortable on 5 pretty fast. God only knows why.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 04:38:00 PM by pappy »
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DLottmann

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 06:07:11 PM »

Why do you ask?

Curiosity started in the thread about the Texaco grounder a couple weeks ago...
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kenreville

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 08:29:28 PM »

You're someone I'd like to meet Pappy. Great story.
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Admin Al

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 11:43:33 PM »

one leader fall on ice... fell on Way In The Wilderness when the pillar on P1 disintegrated on me, right before the pin on the right. my last screw was a bomber 22cm ~10' down, so I fell a little more than 20'. fortunately it was a clean fall and I had a screamer on the screw, tho it wrenched me up a bit. I was climbing leashless so I had to borrow my partner's tool to finish it. I immediately headed over to the chiropractor before even going home and she made everything all better!
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MJShove

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2014, 07:42:37 AM »

No falls. Been leading ice for 14 years.  Comfortable 4++/5 onsight. I've also backed off my fair share of routes in sketchy conditions.  I've had some pretty close calls, including getting smashed in the face by spotaneous ice fall on a 4+ pitch, but I managed to hang on and finish the pitch.  Got 2 black eyes out of that one. 

Funny how the leaderfall off of Dropline 2 weeks ago didn't garner much attention here considering a broken tib/fib and smashed talus. Sometimes descretion is the better part of valor.  A bunch of visiting guides carried out the rescue with the leaders partner.

What does it really matter, anyway?  Sometimes people get in over theirs heads, which is surely a learning experience.  Othertimes, shit happens, and there isn't much one can do about it.  I would also suspect that most of us lead at or close to our limit. 

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neiceclimber

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2014, 08:23:58 AM »

Just a couple of falls. One on easy mix, maybe 7 feet. I wasn't paying attention to my feet and just slipped, no injury. One 10 footer on a 4+, 5-. I was pretty gassed and when my foot blew I couldn't regain stability and my other blew. Both tools blew out of the ice in my hands. Clean fall. I hung for a bit, lowered tried again but just couldn't push past the last screw. Lastly, took and 80 foot fall when my rappel anchor failed. It was the second to last of 9 rappels. We were tired, it was, cold, and night was quickly approaching. Buddy rapped and everything was fine. I started down and within in 5 feet I was free falling. Luckily, I hit a a small body width ice runnel with my heal that spun me around and right to another small ledge that I hip checked. Eventually, I landed on a car size ledge about 10 feet up and right from my partner and the last free hanging 190 foot rap. Threw in two screws made the last rap, partner climbed up and v-threaded off. Mangled my knee and had a hematoma that ran from mid hip to knee. Crawled, rolled and hobbled two miles to the car. Didn't get off the couch for two days. Three weeks later I could barely make an alpine turn, I could struggle up easy climbs, but pulling bulges was excruciating. Walked with a limp for 9 months, and it still occasionally acts up. I keep meaning to get it checked out but I can't find the right season to be laid up from surgery.

Climbing 13 years, 4's off the couch, 5's when the heads right.
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JBrochu

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2014, 09:01:50 AM »

Which part of the rap system failed?
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old_school

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2014, 09:42:45 AM »

NEVER!!! knock knock knock  :-\
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neiceclimber

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2014, 10:01:12 AM »

JBrochu, the clump of alders pulled out of the ground. My partner and I are the same weight, I think I just took a different line stressing the alders in the sweet spot. We certainly rapped off smaller clumps earlier, but they were on mellower terrain. We could have v-threaded, but we knew the next rap was a thread so we were trying to save time.
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DGoguen

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2014, 11:36:52 AM »

Just a baby fall on Prestor Pillar, grade 4. 
At the top of the pillar there was a birch sapling protruding from the ice. I remember thinking why not girth hitch a sling on it on the way by, which I did.
Up and over, now relaxed, two tools completely shear out of the snow, back over the lip hanging from the sapling.
Maybe 15 footer, I said to my partner, that wasn't really a leader fall.
He laughed and said "you screamed bloody murder and ended upside down, I think that qualifies".
Comfortable on 4, occasional 5 when the ice is fat and I'm not. This is my 33rd season.
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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2014, 06:24:36 PM »

Funny how the leaderfall off of Dropline 2 weeks ago didn't garner much attention here considering a broken tib/fib and smashed talus. Sometimes descretion is the better part of valor.  A bunch of visiting guides carried out the rescue with the leaders partner.

I didn't get a report about it, tho I saw the tool they left right at the top.
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markvnh

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Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2014, 06:48:20 PM »

I've been ice climbing 33 years and only one fall due to gear failure (which I attribute it to). It was probably my second or third year and was on Willy's Slide! Was traversing off towards the top to get into the woods and my crampon popped off. I essentially slid / fell about 20' onto a screw.

I say gear failure but of course I may not have attached the crampon correctly though I had climbed the whole route. The crampons were Footfangs.

Have come close to falling due to being pumped however have always managed to get it together and pull through ok.

Other than top roping harder or mixed stuff - the only other unexpected fall was while seconding Big Science the first time I climbed it.

Off the couch I'm probably an easy 4 climber and if climbing harder routes continually might lead an "easy 5."  These days though it's more about the mileage then it is about pushing limits and climbing really hard stuff. Plus, my partners "have slowed down as have I" (and have George for continued inspiration!)
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