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General => Ice & Winter Climbing => Topic started by: DLottmann on February 12, 2014, 01:20:14 PM

Title: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: DLottmann 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).
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: ralbert20 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?
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: kenreville 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.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: pappy 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:

(http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s203/jcclimbs/Rabun.jpg)


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.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: DLottmann 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...
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: kenreville on February 12, 2014, 08:29:28 PM
You're someone I'd like to meet Pappy. Great story.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Admin Al 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!
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: MJShove 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. 

Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: neiceclimber 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.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: JBro on February 13, 2014, 09:01:50 AM
Which part of the rap system failed?
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: old_school on February 13, 2014, 09:42:45 AM
NEVER!!! knock knock knock  :-\
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: neiceclimber 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.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: DGoguen 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.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Admin Al 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.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: markvnh 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!)
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: lucky luke on February 13, 2014, 07:18:00 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.

The accident is not really interesting...

what we are looking is how to avoid that kind of mistake?

Knowing that falling happened to most climber and how they manage to go over to climb better after...

Maybe it is the reason why the question of dman and accident in north america is so important...
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: SidleK on February 13, 2014, 07:50:57 PM
Fackin' punting off routes left and right myself....If you're not falling, you're not trying hard enough right???
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: DLottmann on February 13, 2014, 09:15:16 PM
Fackin' punting off routes left and right myself....If you're not falling, you're not trying hard enough right???

Where’s the “like” button round’ here?
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Smear on February 14, 2014, 05:52:44 AM
16 years climbing ice and no leader falls here.
I have however backed off my fair share of routes and saved them for another day.
It seems to happen a couple of times each year.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Admin Al on February 14, 2014, 01:28:46 PM
16 years climbing ice and no leader falls here.
I have however backed off my fair share of routes and saved them for another day.
It seems to happen a couple of times each year.

+
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: tradmanclimbz on February 15, 2014, 07:40:35 AM
30+something years of ice.  4 off the couch, 4+ 2nd day out sometimes 4+ on the 1st day.  Work up to the occasional 5 when its in super fat.
1 ice leaderfall. cragging on a 4+ that was in 5+ condition I had soloed the climb the previous march comfortably when it was in 4- condition.  Totally underestimated it and when I got up on the crux pillar the following january it was candled and overhanging. 5+ moves but not long enough to be rated harder than 4+  My screws kept hitting air so i kept fireing them in trying to get one I actually liked. Hung out in the steepest part for too long. Put a screw in , hit air, take it out try again, hit air again.  had that thing sewed up tighter than a nuns corset! Totally gassed out wanking arround with the gear on the steep and when i finally did swing over the top of the pillar it sheared off.  I had enough gas left to push the  huge plate out of the way and get one last ok stick but not enough gas to pull the move. Steep clean fall, kept my feet moveing , no injury. Big embaresment.

I have taken a bunch of hangs. ice is aid anyways and falling on ice is stupid  so if I am getting unreasonably  gassed rather than climb blindly into a pump ( see dracula video) I fire in a screw and take a hang. Gives you a chance to make a rational decision. thread off or rest up and finish.


1 fall on steep mixed.  caught in the dark without the headlamp turned on. couldn't see my feet and popped off on to a cam and stopper. hung and turned on the headlamp. fired the last 3 moves to the trees.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Homeless Junkie on February 16, 2014, 09:07:18 PM
 I've only leading ice for three years. I've never fallen but I also don't have much time under my belt either.

 I'm not sure where my limit is.  I've led some 4s and 4+s I've mock led WI5 to the right of Waterfall at Poko. I didn't fall but really doubt I would feel comfortable without the TR. I do mostly 3+ or 4- because I would like to lead 100 pitches before I regularly lead 4+ or 5... I lost count in January though! Haha.

 I also been dialing it back lately as conditions have hard lately. Between the brittle ice and snow. I've been enjoying stuff like Waterfall and Walk in the Forest at Frankenstein  I don't wanna push it! I can't wait until warm weather brings soft ice!
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: darwined on February 17, 2014, 06:40:33 PM
What percentage of of leader falls, on ice, result in injury?
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Admin Al on February 18, 2014, 09:25:28 AM
good question... I started to say 90%, but obviously that's not even close. has to be a lot less, but it seems as if it should be high.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Jeff on February 19, 2014, 04:34:31 PM
For me personally, it was 200 % (one ice leader fall, two injuries). Back in March of 1981, dinner plating at the top of the top pillar on Pegasus caused me to try to reach higher with my Terrordactyl; of course my front points sheared out and I was off, landing about 15 feet down with both crampons on the small ledge I'd placed my last screw from; crampons bit, I went over backwards and the rope caught me before I was fully upside down, but the damage was done--left ankle badly broken, right one badly sprained. Lowered, my friends cleaned the gear while I returned to the tracks on my butt dragging myself downhill backwards. They went to the car and brought out 2 pair of XC skis (multi-sport weekend) and an ensolite pad and sitting on the makeshift sled I was towed to the car. Surgery 3 days later to install a fixation screw, six weeks teaching French from a wheelchair ( right ankle injury made it impossible to use crutches), climbing again by early May at the Gunks. Broke the same ankle again that August landing on the ledge below the crux of Werk Sup in Eldorado, but that's another story 8). In nearly 5 decades of leading climbs, I can count my leader falls as fewer than my digits-- others have also resulted in injury to ankles, and to one concussion-- This leader has given up landing!! ;D
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: DLottmann on February 19, 2014, 04:55:46 PM
I’m finding the stories and stats pretty interesting... if you haven’t chimed in please do so!
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Joe_Re on February 20, 2014, 08:52:09 AM
I've led ice a few times a year for 4 or 5 years and fallen once.  I was climbing Standard in three pitches and made an anchor above the cave to the climbers right on a nice flat spot.  About another ten feet to the right there was about a ten or so foot wall and I went for it.  I was screwing around taking too long moving my feet around when all four points went.  I fell straight down about three or so feet onto my feet/side of my ass.  I was climbing with a newer partner and co-worker.  He's a strong climber and has a very 'safe' head (but didn't lead ice at the time) so I felt good about having him holding the rope.  I felt dumb as shit for falling and really embarrassed, but picked myself up finished the climb, (taking the easier way to the left), went and led Walk in the Forest to shake it out of my head.

We didn't climb Dracula that day...   ...I didn't even want to top-rope it.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: tmbirdsall on April 02, 2014, 05:30:47 PM
Why do you ask?

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

That was me.  I just read the thread and once again say that I am more than comfortable climbing and leading the grade of ice I was on.  It was my first lead for this year and felt good about it until I couldn't get the screw in.  The ice was super hard and brittle and I couldn't get it started.  I got pumped out and fell.  That's it in a nutshell.
I do have to say reading the thread about my fall that I'm offended that some of the people responding to the thread seem to see my gender as an issue to leading.  It wasn't my first lead or my first season leading.  I am a confidant climber and fully plan on doing it (not falling) again next season after my injury heals. 
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: ELM on April 02, 2014, 06:52:41 PM

   I am sorry you felt people were having an issue with you leading as a woman climber. No real excuse for that. Lynn Hill could kick everyone here's asses on the cliff any day.
   I would say most woman climbers, leading or not, can teach us guys much. Guys often muscle through stuff that we don't need to. Women tend to move way more efficently and have better control. I have had the chance to watch Judy Perez on occasion and she just gradually tip-toe's up stuff I am hanging on for dear life grunting and sweating over.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: JBro on April 02, 2014, 06:55:20 PM
I just read through that thread and can't say I could find any suggestion of gender having anything to do with the accident.
Title: Re: Have you ever taken a leader fall while ice climbing?
Post by: Admin Al on April 03, 2014, 06:55:44 AM
I have had the chance to watch Judy Perez on occasion and she just gradually tip-toe's up stuff I am hanging on for dear life grunting and sweating over.

++++