NEClimbs.com forum
General => Epics and Accidents => Topic started by: Admin Al on May 21, 2013, 04:18:08 PM

A horrible accident... Climber fell over 200' and apparently was only stopped from going to the ground by his static haul line!
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/ElCapitanclimberdiesinfreakfall4532604.php
Scroll down for a more complete report by the partner...
http://www.elcapreport.com/content/elcapreport52013

Horrible, horrible, horrible. I cannot even fathom the G forces on the body from a static line after one reaches terminal velocity (I am pretty sure one is close to terminal velocity after 200 feet of free fall). A 5 or 6foot fall on to a gym rope (semi dynamic) while setting was jarring enough for me.
I wonder what percentage of climbers use dynamic rope for hauling versus static, especially for big wall stuff.

I wonder what percentage of climbers use dynamic rope for hauling versus static, especially for big wall stuff.
Pretty close to zero. In hauling mode, you would have to reel in all the stretch before even moving the bags each time.
There are a million ways to do it but as a party of three, the leader fixes the lead rope and the haul line. The second cleans the pitch as the third jugs the static haul line quickly to begin leading the next pitch with a tag line to bring up the gear cleaned from the last . Bouncing around on a free hanging full length rope while spinning is enough to make you blow the little food you get on that adventure. Sawing over an edge bouncing up and down is a real threat on the non overhanging stuff.
Repeat 35 times and you top out on El Cap.

Through a dumb screwup I took a 40 foot fall on to a 13 Bluewater II once. I guess it isn't completely static, but only 'low elongation' because I was totally fine. Some energy could also have been absorbed by it whipping through shrubs. I probably had a little over 100 feet out total, running down from a tree at the top of the cliff with a big loose loop. I was clipped in with my GriGri and fell from a route anchor to just above the ground.
I wonder what ropes people are using for haul lines and what the actual elongation #s are. For the 13mm BWII it is 3.8% at 300 lbf and 8.4% at 1000 lbf. Are haul lines even more static?
Soon, wouldn't you be going around 80 mph after freefalling 230 feet? KE almost 43,000 foot pounds?

Bluewater Big Wall haul line 10mm is at 3.8% elongation as well.
It feels significantly stiffer than a dynamic rope. I use it for self belay top rope occasionally. A 200 foot fall is a different issue obviously.
Once, we used a 300' version of this thinking we could haul 2 pitches in one shot. Maybe on the overhanging stuff but the bag gets hung up on less than vertical sometimes.
Live and learn.

Mark, 230 feet is about 50 feet short of the 'height' of the Brooklyn Bridge.
So I did some Googling and came up with this paper  http://people.math.gatech.edu/~weiss/pub/v2II.pdf
One of its conclusion is "Consider a 54kilogram person who jumped feet first off the Brooklyn Bridge into the water, a fall of 84.4 m (280 feet). The jumper would hit the water moving about 28 m/s .... ". Or about 63 mph which is about one half of the terminal velocity of a human. So I way underestimated how far one has to fall to reach terminal velocity. I looked that up too and it seems like a 600 foot free fall will result in the human body reaching 90% terminal velocity. Grim.
Falling onto a stretched out gym rope while setting routes suck in general; 30~50 feet of rope out, self belaying with a GriGri. Much more jarring than a good catch from a belayer using a dynamic rope.

Here is a case of a climber surviving a 300 foot fall onto a rock surface:
http://www.sjtrem.com/content/19/1/63 (http://www.sjtrem.com/content/19/1/63)
It would need further analyses, but I suspect, assuming the Yosemite climber didn't hit anything on the way down, that he may have survived if the haul line was attached to his hip harness instead of the chest. I would guess that even a haul line like the one DGoguen mentioned would stretch at least 10 or 12 feet over 200 at high impact. I wonder what the max force would be decelerating over that distance. The hips can handle a lot more force than the chest. In my fall the fall factor was a lot less, but the impact wasn't bad at all.

Cripes, I should not have read that. I'm naturally squeamish anyway and the detailed, graphic, description of her injuries just freaked me the fuck out. I don't think I'll ever climb again.
Chris Chesnutt slipped on the talus scrambling along the top of a new cliff in TN and went 80'+ to the ground and survived, so it can be done. I think he did lose part of a leg.

i think the climber on the Muir a few days ago hit things on the way down.

Here is a case of a climber surviving a 300 foot fall onto a rock surface:
http://www.sjtrem.com/content/19/1/63 (http://www.sjtrem.com/content/19/1/63)
...
:o :o :o
Check your tiein, and have your belayer check it twice...

Mark, 230 feet is about 50 feet short of the 'height' of the Brooklyn Bridge.
So I did some Googling and came up with this paper  http://people.math.gatech.edu/~weiss/pub/v2II.pdf
One of its conclusion is "Consider a 54kilogram person who jumped feet first off the Brooklyn Bridge into the water, a fall of 84.4 m (280 feet). The jumper would hit the water moving about 28 m/s .... ". about 63 mph which is about one half of the terminal velocity of a human. So I way underestimated how far one has to fall to reach terminal velocity. I looked that up too and it seems like a 600 foot free fall will result in the human body reaching 90% terminal velocity. Grim.
Falling onto a stretched out gym rope while setting routes suck in general; 30~50 feet of rope out, self belaying with a GriGri. Much more jarring than a good catch from a belayer using a dynamic rope.
It's kinematics. Fundamental equation is: Velocity final (squared) = Velocity initial (squared) + 2 (acceleration)(distance). In this tragedy, his initial velocity was 0. Acceleration due to gravity is either 32ft/secsec or 9.8m/secsec take your pick. If he fell 230 ft, he was therefore going, about 86ft/sec or 58.6 mph.

Mark, 230 feet is about 50 feet short of the 'height' of the Brooklyn Bridge.
So I did some Googling and came up with this paper  http://people.math.gatech.edu/~weiss/pub/v2II.pdf
One of its conclusion is "Consider a 54kilogram person who jumped feet first off the Brooklyn Bridge into the water, a fall of 84.4 m (280 feet). The jumper would hit the water moving about 28 m/s .... ". about 63 mph which is about one half of the terminal velocity of a human. So I way underestimated how far one has to fall to reach terminal velocity. I looked that up too and it seems like a 600 foot free fall will result in the human body reaching 90% terminal velocity. Grim.
Falling onto a stretched out gym rope while setting routes suck in general; 30~50 feet of rope out, self belaying with a GriGri. Much more jarring than a good catch from a belayer using a dynamic rope.
It's kinematics. Fundamental equation is: Velocity final (squared) = Velocity initial (squared) + 2 (acceleration)(distance). In this tragedy, his initial velocity was 0. Acceleration due to gravity is either 32ft/secsec or 9.8m/secsec take your pick. If he fell 230 ft, he was therefore going, about 86ft/sec or 58.6 mph.
Overly simplistic although typical Physics 101 answer. Ignores (air) resistence which is related to surface area and weight. At 230 feet this will be a significant factor  remember the feather, the cannonball and the vaccum. Thus the whole concept of TERMINAL velocity. Which varies with elevation (atmospheric density).

I am with you on this Pappy,the report was scary. I quit climbing at least until the rain stops :)

I am with you on this Pappy,the report was scary. I quit climbing at least until the rain stops :)
yeah, the reality is I could probably no more quit climbing than I could quit breathing.

yeah, the reality is I could probably no more quit climbing than I could quit breathing.
Careful what you wish for. You could get a twofer on that one.

terminal velocity or no, that's a helluva long fall onto a static line and not something I EVER want to experience.

BITD Charles Cole, founder of 5.10 was trying the second ascent of Space, then the hardest El Cap nail up,, solo... i was there, this happened.
He reachedto clip the anchors on an "A5" pitch and missed he ripped the ptich ! everything , about 135" TIMES TWO.. all air so he lived THEN all the gear came sliding down the rope and knocked him out I am not shitting you
Wake up, solo, 40' from the wall, bleeding and you gotta jug back up Two days to down aid/escape

Mark, 230 feet is about 50 feet short of the 'height' of the Brooklyn Bridge.
So I did some Googling and came up with this paper  http://people.math.gatech.edu/~weiss/pub/v2II.pdf
One of its conclusion is "Consider a 54kilogram person who jumped feet first off the Brooklyn Bridge into the water, a fall of 84.4 m (280 feet). The jumper would hit the water moving about 28 m/s .... ". about 63 mph which is about one half of the terminal velocity of a human. So I way underestimated how far one has to fall to reach terminal velocity. I looked that up too and it seems like a 600 foot free fall will result in the human body reaching 90% terminal velocity. Grim.
Falling onto a stretched out gym rope while setting routes suck in general; 30~50 feet of rope out, self belaying with a GriGri. Much more jarring than a good catch from a belayer using a dynamic rope.
It's kinematics. Fundamental equation is: Velocity final (squared) = Velocity initial (squared) + 2 (acceleration)(distance). In this tragedy, his initial velocity was 0. Acceleration due to gravity is either 32ft/secsec or 9.8m/secsec take your pick. If he fell 230 ft, he was therefore going, about 86ft/sec or 58.6 mph.
Overly simplistic although typical Physics 101 answer. Ignores (air) resistence which is related to surface area and weight. At 230 feet this will be a significant factor  remember the feather, the cannonball and the vaccum. Thus the whole concept of TERMINAL velocity. Which varies with elevation (atmospheric density).
Sorry Eric, but you'd be wrong. First off, air resistance has NOTHING to do with weight. Surface area does have some effect, but is negligible. Take two dissimilar shaped objects of different weight, drop them off a bridge, they'll hit the ground at the same time. I have know idea what the mean by the feather etc. You are correct that terminal velocity varies greatly with atmospheric pressure (hence density). The difference between the atmospheric pressure in Yosemite Valley and sea level would effect the kinematic equation very little. Jump out of a plane in the earth's upper reaches of the atmosphere, and you've got a point.

BITD Charles Cole, founder of 5.10 was trying the second ascent of Space, then the hardest El Cap nail up,, solo... i was there, this happened.
He reachedto clip the anchors on an "A5" pitch and missed he ripped the ptich ! everything , about 135" TIMES TWO.. all air so he lived THEN all the gear came sliding down the rope and knocked him out I am not shitting you
Wake up, solo, 40' from the wall, bleeding and you gotta jug back up Two days to down aid/escape
He should have been wearing a rastahat. I always put on my thick wool hat if I am doing something sketchy.

Charles was " fully equipped"

Sorry Eric, but you'd be wrong. First off, air resistance has NOTHING to do with weight. Surface area does have some effect, but is negligible. Take two dissimilar shaped objects of different weight, drop them off a bridge, they'll hit the ground at the same time. I have know idea what the mean by the feather etc. You are correct that terminal velocity varies greatly with atmospheric pressure (hence density). The difference between the atmospheric pressure in Yosemite Valley and sea level would effect the kinematic equation very little. Jump out of a plane in the earth's upper reaches of the atmosphere, and you've got a point.
It's clear that you have "know" idea. "No" idea either :). Classic example in Newtonian physics is dropping an equal weigh of feathers vs. lead in a vacuum or in the atmosphere. Goggle can help you know things. Surface area is far from negligible in the real world.

Sorry Eric, but you'd be wrong. First off, air resistance has NOTHING to do with weight. Surface area does have some effect, but is negligible. Take two dissimilar shaped objects of different weight, drop them off a bridge, they'll hit the ground at the same time. I have know idea what the mean by the feather etc. You are correct that terminal velocity varies greatly with atmospheric pressure (hence density). The difference between the atmospheric pressure in Yosemite Valley and sea level would effect the kinematic equation very little. Jump out of a plane in the earth's upper reaches of the atmosphere, and you've got a point.
It's clear that you have "know" idea. "No" idea either :). Classic example in Newtonian physics is dropping an equal weigh of feathers vs. lead in a vacuum or in the atmosphere. Goggle can help you know things. Surface area is far from negligible in the real world.
From Wikepedia: "A biography by Galileo's pupil Vincenzo Viviani stated that Galileo had dropped balls of the same material, but different masses, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass.[118] This was contrary to what Aristotle had taught: that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones, in direct proportion to weight."
If a person is wearing a wingsuit, and presents a foil profile they will obviously go faster. What I stated is that two random dissimilar shaped objects of different mass will fall at exactly the same speed. The difference in air density between Yosemite and sea level is insignificant. Hence,the laws of kinematics provide an accurate description of terminal velocity. Certainly, a man's body is a random shaped object. When he fell, if you released a lead BB at the same spot/time, they would both hit the ground at exactly the same time.
Once again Eric, sorry bud but you're WRONG. Ya just can't beat science.
BTW I have a degree in engineering so I do know a little bit about the subject.
So Eric, what's your background/ reference to what you claim?

So Eric, what's your background/ reference to what you claim?
Old codger, but he has a couple smartypants kids who can check his math for him. ;)

Dude yer full a shit. You are telling us that a 70kg basejumper with a chute will fall off of El cap at the same speed as a 70kg pig w/ no chute. You seem to be trying to tell us that areo dynamics do not mean anything.....

As long as the basejumper hasn't deployed the chute, then yes, I believe that is what he is saying, at least for the short fall (230') that's being discussed. The rate of acceleration is the same regardless of mass. A feather won't fall nearly as fast as a ball of the identical mass, simply because the surface area of the feather is exponentially greater, thus a lower terminal velocity.
Ken, correct me if I'm wrong, but for short falls like you are talking about, surface area won't play a major factor unless the surface area to mass ratio is huge (i.e.feather). For longer falls like skydiving, then yes, surface area will play a small part, thus the reason tandem jumpers need a small braking chute.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle into the wind knows how much wind resistance has to do with any kind of forward movement. even slight changes in your posture make a huge difference.

As someone with a pretty extensive surface area (and mass).... ;) just saying

BTW I have no idea what you guys are babbleing about. i simply jumped in swinging when I saw someone saying words to the affect that areodynamics had nothing to do with falling speed.... rainy day :[

Dude yer full a shit. You are telling us that a 70kg basejumper with a chute will fall off of El cap at the same speed as a 70kg pig w/ no chute. You seem to be trying to tell us that areo dynamics do not mean anything.....
No "dude" the issue is your comprehension. My initial response was with respect to the velocity at which this man hit mother earth. My response:
"It's kinematics. Fundamental equation is: Velocity final (squared) = Velocity initial (squared) + 2 (acceleration)(distance). In this tragedy, his initial velocity was 0. Acceleration due to gravity is either 32ft/secsec or 9.8m/secsec take your pick. If he fell 230 ft, he was therefore going, about 86ft/sec or 58.6 mph."
The assinine nonscientific incorrect response:
"Overly simplistic although typical Physics 101 answer. Ignores (air) resistence which is related to surface area and weight. At 230 feet this will be a significant factor  remember the feather, the cannonball and the vaccum. Thus the whole concept of TERMINAL velocity. Which varies with elevation (atmospheric density)."
My response to the assinine response:
"Sorry Eric, but you'd be wrong. First off, air resistance has NOTHING to do with weight. Surface area does have some effect, but is negligible. Take two dissimilar shaped objects of different weight, drop them off a bridge, they'll hit the ground at the same time. I have know idea what the mean by the feather etc. You are correct that terminal velocity varies greatly with atmospheric pressure (hence density). The difference between the atmospheric pressure in Yosemite Valley and sea level would effect the kinematic equation very little. Jump out of a plane in the earth's upper reaches of the atmosphere, and you've got a point."
The next ill informed response:
"It's clear that you have "know" idea. "No" idea either :). Classic example in Newtonian physics is dropping an equal weigh of feathers vs. lead in a vacuum or in the atmosphere. Goggle can help you know things. Surface area is far from negligible in the real world."
Let me get out the crayons and make this as simple as possible. If there was no atmosphere, a free falling body of any shape/any mass in outer space traveling at velocity V, enters the gravitational field of the earth and accelerates at a constant rate. It will hit the earth at: (time for the crayons) Velocity final (squared) = Velocity initial (squared) + 2 (acceleration)(distance). The only thing "air resistance" does is provide a limit. Closer to earth, the air is more dense so an object reaches it's terminal velocity at a slower speed than if the air is less dense. FACT IS a man that falls 240 ft off a cliff in Yosemite Valley is still accelerating due to gravity and HAS NOT reached the limit that the air resistance provides.
Classic Galileo kinematics describes what physically happens in this case quite accurately.
If you don't know what the hell you're talking about, usually better to keep the trap shut. Just sayin'.

damn. It took a hell of a lot of words to say that wind resistance will keep someone from hitting terminal velocity in 240ft. you are dealing mostly with simpletons here. keeping it down to the crayon level helps get the point accross :*

That is right, if there were no atmosphere, there would be no terminal velocity and everything would fall at the same rate.
But on this planet, a feather would reach a lower terminal velocity in a shorter distance than say a bowling ball.

According to his original formula:
It's kinematics. Fundamental equation is: Velocity final (squared) = Velocity initial (squared) + 2 (acceleration)(distance).
There isn't even such a concept as terminal velocity. Plugging numbers in you see that as distance approaches vicinity so does velocity. And that was the just the beginning...

damn. It took a hell of a lot of words to say that wind resistance will keep someone from hitting terminal velocity in 240ft. you are dealing mostly with simpletons here. keeping it down to the crayon level helps get the point accross :*
That's NOT what I said at all. Wind resistance HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!!!
The point at which a free falling body REACHES terminal velocity is when the mass x the acceleration due to gravity EQUALS the opposite force that wind resistance applies. At that point, acceleration stops and the object has reached terminal velocity. Terminal velocity for an object at 1 atmosphere of pressure (sea level) is approximately 120mph. The man we are talking about did not fall far enough to reach that speed, HENCE HE WAS STILL ACCELERATING.
Please stop with the "wind resistance" schtick. You're embarrassing yourself.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle into the wind knows how much wind resistance has to do with any kind of forward movement. even slight changes in your posture make a huge difference.
Anyone who payed attention during high school physics knows that you're "analogy" is missing one HUGE component.
The constant acceleration of an object due to gravity.
You boys should give it up.
Really.

As long as the basejumper hasn't deployed the chute, then yes, I believe that is what he is saying, at least for the short fall (230') that's being discussed. The rate of acceleration is the same regardless of mass. A feather won't fall nearly as fast as a ball of the identical mass, simply because the surface area of the feather is exponentially greater, thus a lower terminal velocity.
Ken, correct me if I'm wrong, but for short falls like you are talking about, surface area won't play a major factor unless the surface area to mass ratio is huge (i.e.feather). For longer falls like skydiving, then yes, surface area will play a small part, thus the reason tandem jumpers need a small braking chute.
Now here's a guy who gets it. You are 100% correct.
Kinda a shame that there's climbers that don't understand forces and gravity.
Hope they don't get hurt.

Just rechecked my math. Looks like I made an algebra error.
Vf^2=Vi^2+(2)(a)(d) where Vf=velocity final, Vi=0=velocity initial, a=acceleration due to gravity, d=distance.
Vf^2=0+(2)(32ft/s^2)(230ft)
Vf^2=14720 ft^2/s^2
Vf=121 ft/sec=83 miles/hour
Regardless, everything else I stated is true. Since approx 120mph is terminal velocity for a free falling human at sea level not trying to alter his wind resistance (like a guy that just had his rope chopped), this man had not yet reached that point where his mass x gravitational acceleration equalled the opposing wind resistance vector. Hence this statement is absolutely incorrect:
"Overly simplistic although typical Physics 101 answer. Ignores (air) resistence which is related to surface area and weight."

all we really need to know is that gravity always wins. Be methodical, check everything twice and pray the mountain does not fall down on you...
Am i the only one who says a few prayers every time I slither behind and on top of the Fickle Finger of Fate?
And then there is ice climbing.... :\

The Beast Flake as well.

I have often felt that there was a risk of a cut rope on the beast flake. that thing is razor sharp down low and if for some reason your rope worked it's way into the crack i can see a scenario where it could cut in a fall by leader or 2nd. I try to sling accordingly but murphy has his ways... I have had a cam wire get sliced through in that crack simply by rotating against the edge with rope drag.

I have often felt that there was a risk of a cut rope on the beast flake. that thing is razor sharp down low and if for some reason your rope worked it's way into the crack i can see a scenario where it could cut in a fall by leader or 2nd. I try to sling accordingly but murphy has his ways... I have had a cam wire get sliced through in that crack simply by rotating against the edge with rope drag.
I agree with you on the beast flake. There are numerous other "slice fests" that I can think of here in the White Mtns.
Solution?
Double ropes.

Even if you peel the entire Beast Flake, it's comforting to know that there would be guys around that could calculate your speed as you surfed it through the development below. I give you all permission to disregard wind resistance if I'm the one. Ha

I'll be there with my calculator. ;D

I'll be there with my calculator. ;D
Do you and old Eric have pocket protectors too. Reality is that gravity wins every time.

Pocket protector? Nah.
Hell, I'm 54 and sometimes get up to go to work and CHOOSE to freeball the day.
Just cause it feels good and makes scratchin easier.