Author Topic: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16  (Read 3881 times)

sangione

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Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« on: August 03, 2016, 11:38:54 AM »
The consequences of a fall on the second pitch before the bolt are substantial. On Sunday, I took a big lead fall (25-30 ft) at the crux before the bolt and hit the slab below, breaking my foot. I protected with gear in the horizontal before the steep section, but unless I missed a gear placement, there was nothing else until the bolt above. As a new 5.8 leader I found the first pitch very enjoyable and well protected, so the fact that the crux of P2 is a no-fall zone was surprising. I found myself in cruxy terrain, far above my last piece of gear, not able to downclimb with the bolt still out of reach above. Perhaps this is a bit height dependent, as I am 5'3", but this doesn't seem to be a very well protected crux, which is surprising for a retro-bolted route. It's possible that I was just very unlucky with the way I fell, but my last gear was well below my feet. I also heard from one of the very generous folks who helped in my rescue, that there used to be a second bolt at the crux that has since been chopped. I'm curious if there is any truth to this, or if anyone has information about it.

And thank you to everyone who helped out in getting me off the climb and down to the car. You are all fantastic.

Offline NEAlpineStart

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2016, 05:19:55 PM »
First off... here's to a speedy recovery, and thanks for posting. Now get ready for all kinds of assumptions and arm-chair quarterbacking since you stepped forward.

I watched someone whip off that move while trying to clip the bolt a few years ago. He was pulling slack to try to get the clip with serious sewing machine leg so when he fell he went about 25-30 feet. Belayer also got a rope burn on that one and we assisted their shaken retreat.

No question it's a heady clip for a "new 5.8 leader". You're right the last bomber gear is the #1 or #2 you most likely placed in the obvious horizontal before committing up to the bolt (definitely not "far above your last piece of gear").

There is a micro placement out right that is questionable and to be honest you really don't need it. Assuming that you had the bomber #1/#2 that gear is at your feet, or less than a foot below them, while you clip that bolt, even at 5'3". If you fell 25+ feet there are only a couple reasons;

1) Your belayer was anticipating the clip and had to much slack out

2) Your belayer had to much slack out

There was never "another bolt" on that pitch.

It's a sequential couple of moves there on less than obvious holds, the key for me is not getting sucked to far right and keeping that left foot steady while I make the clip. Assuming this was an on-sight don't beat yourself up about it (and even if it wasn't). Once you figure out the key holds you'll be back on that route clipping that bolt without a second thought.

Again, hope the foot heals quick and thanks for sharing!


Offline perswig

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2016, 06:10:30 PM »
^^
Agree with Dave, key is that left foot placement, little slopey? but oh, so nice.  And yes, it's a bit of a reach out for the bolt, and yes, the gear is at your feet but feels further since the face pushes out a bit after the horizontal.

Heal up, go back, and do it.  P1 is very nice, P2 is outstanding. 
Dale
If it's overhanging, I'm probably off-route.

sangione

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2016, 04:00:48 PM »
Thanks for the well wishes and comments. Based on your account of a fall while clipping, perhaps I've over-estimated the distance I fell, apologies for that. It was however far enough for me to fall to the slab, flip over and slide further down before being stopped by the rope. I fell on the gear I had put in the horizontal. I sort of just popped off and didn't warn my belayer so he couldn't really do anything but catch me. This was my first time on the route, so I'll have to get up the nerve to go back and try it again once the foot heals. Looks like it will be 3-6 months.

Stephanie

strandman

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2016, 04:55:15 PM »
IMO......people tend to have too much slack out 90% of the time.it's the soft catch thing...there is no place for this in gear/trad climbing.

Theold "place less stress" on the gear thing is bull..pure and simple

JoeC

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2016, 06:44:34 PM »
I dont hold as much weight around here as others here but heres my 1.5 centavos.  I led that a little while ago and had the worst sewing machine leg ever.  I still find that cruxy bit hard.  And ive climbed it 3 times now.  Once you find the foot its not too bad.  While its a great route i dont think id recommend it as a first 5.8 just for the ledgefall potantial anywglhete on the route.  Im not bashing on the OP and this may not even be relevant but theres my 1.5 cents on the route.  Get better and fire it next time.

sangione

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2016, 08:57:25 AM »
Thanks for the input Joe! It actually makes me feel a bit better that others find that bit hard too. I think you might be right about it not being a good early 5.8 lead. The first pitch felt a bit easier than the crux of the second, but it's still a delicate, thoughtful route. The bolts seem well placed, but some of the falls could be bad like mine.

Offline NEAlpineStart

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2016, 09:15:44 AM »
I agree the first pitch is easier. I've watched a few strong climbers link the two. Gotta be really solid at the grade for that IMO!

Offline DaveR

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2016, 09:54:38 AM »
I agree the first pitch is easier. I've watched a few strong climbers link the two. Gotta be really solid at the grade for that IMO!

Clipping that bolt could get to your nerves if you are not very solid at the grade even though it is not very hard climbing IMO. Heal up fast and go get it!

I have linked the 2 and you better be paying attention.


strandman

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2016, 02:49:50 PM »
Does this happen often on the Saigon's ??? I mean it's a prettty popular climb and....

I'm thinking of a situation like Black Lung,,,the accident king of Cathedral

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2016, 08:32:37 PM »
So sorry to hear that you had an accident on that climb and I hope you heal fully and quickly. The Saigons is certainly is a classic of the area, 3 stars in my opinion. Yes, the 2nd pitch is the crux. I've never fallen on it, but I know it's heady and I've seen folks get wigged at that move. There is a side pull out right that is critical IMO, and of course you want to work your feet up as far as you can. That said, I am somewhat surprised that you fell that far. I can only imagine it was a combination of falling just as you were pulling the rope up and slack in the system. It's not that long a pitch so I think that stretch shouldn't be that much of an issue. Your previous piece of protection is at your feet, so that's about 5.5' from where I stand to clip. I don't extend the draw on my Camelot that's placed in the horizontal, because there is no need to add another extra 18'' into the system at that point.

FWIW I climbed it about a month ago with my friend and often partner Brad White. Just gotta say that that man is a MASTER-belayer. He only gives me slack at the very instant that I pull up the rope to make the clip, which means that his attention is TOTALLY focused on me - the leader. Climbing with him makes me feel very confident. There is an art to belaying that is unfortunately very often overlooked. the right belayer makes a leader feel like that can climb over their normal level. at least I know that's the way it is for me.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 08:41:38 PM by Admin Al »
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JoeC

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2016, 06:39:17 AM »
Does this happen often on the Saigon's ??? I mean it's a prettty popular climb and....

I'm thinking of a situation like Black Lung,,,the accident king of Cathedral
I climbed black lung and didnt really find it that difficult.  Its like 2 moves.  I also dont see how peopl deck on that.

strandman

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2016, 10:19:17 AM »
AL-  i gotta agree 100%.....You MUST be a great belayer in my book,that's just the way it is..Guys like TC are champs..always paying attention..always.

Joe C---more deck outs than any other Cathedral climb on BL  ..literally dozens i bet

Offline NEAlpineStart

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2016, 02:11:03 PM »
Joe C---more deck outs than any other Cathedral climb on BL  ..literally dozens i bet

Strand, you brought this up a few years ago and I questioned it then. Something must have changed because in the 14 years I've climbed here I think I've only heard of 1 accident on Black Lung.

It's probably the easiest to protect route of that grade in NH. Seriously, bomber nuts & cams all the way up it. The crux is funky with a somewhat pumpy/committing move but the fall there is super clean... I can't picture how anyone could deck on BL.

As for "most deck outs on Cathedral" I'd say I've seen plenty of grounders and bad falls on these routes:

Nutcracker (multiple rescues in last 10 years), surprising to me as the gear is solid on that route
Turner's Flake (Watched the biggest fall I've seen from base of Thin Air, from upper crux corner all the way to the Pin on the Standard P1 traverse)  :o Resulted in broken wrist and head laceration (no helmet, flipped upside down)
Kiddy Crack (watched two people hit the midway ledge by blowing the move and placing so-so nuts clipped right to draws)
Retaliation has a history from being mistaken as Upper Refuse but I think modern guidebooks & Mountain Project have greatly reduced that confusion (though I saw a couple starting it last summer thinking it was UR)

All in all Black Lung is steep enough, and has great gear, so should be a pretty manageable route. It also feels a full grade easier than Pine Tree IMO!



strandman

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Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2016, 05:58:32 PM »
So, what's your point?  That these incidents didn't  happen because you didn't witness them ?

You know what i like about guides ?  not a god damn, fucking thing. 

"I have done upper Refuse 9000 fucking times"..great,,good for you