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General => Epics and Accidents => Topic started by: sangione on August 03, 2016, 11:38:54 AM

Title: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: sangione 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.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: NEAlpineStart 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!

Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: perswig 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
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: sangione 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
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: strandman 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
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: JoeC 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.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: sangione 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.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: NEAlpineStart 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!
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: DaveR 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.

Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: strandman 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
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: Admin Al 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.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: JoeC 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.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: strandman 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
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: NEAlpineStart 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!


Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: strandman 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
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: NEAlpineStart on August 06, 2016, 06:32:13 PM
Definitely not saying they didn't happen, just that it seemed like they have stopped happening, and wondered where/how people could deck on a G rated route.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: lucky luke on August 28, 2016, 10:11:27 PM
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.

i did the last ascent of the climber who did tbe first ascent.

he talked about the competition between ttad and sport and saigon is clearly a sport route in a trad cliff.

i onsighted the second pitch. but it was not an rasy one. 25 feet look or an overestimation or a bad cam placement. with trad technique...it is hard to fall there. but it is akward.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: Jeff on August 29, 2016, 07:45:06 PM
Re: Black Lung-- I was involved with two rescue lowers in the late 1980s-- in each case the leader fell from bottom of the crack, pulled gear and landed on the big tree ledge-- both hurt quite badly with fractures of ankle, elbow and head laceration for one, humerus, kneecap, ankle and multiple lacerations for the other-- looking back, cams were fairly new then and people may have had them undercammed-- too long ago to analyze here but since I wasn't a full time local then and I was involved in 2 rescues involving Black Lung ( In each case I was about to start leading, once on Retaliation, the other time on The Book when we heard the "jangle, thud"), I'd agree with Strand that ground falls were common on the climb.  In addition, years ago, the route was NOWHERE near as clean as it is now-- the black lichen from which it got its name ( early ascents resulted in inhaling a lot of it) still obscured footholds and made stemming friction less secure.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: NEAlpineStart on August 29, 2016, 08:38:11 PM
That makes sense. Thanks for the historic perspective Jeff!
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: lucky luke on August 31, 2016, 11:50:22 PM
), I'd agree with Strand that ground falls were common on the climb.  In addition, years ago, the route was NOWHERE near as clean as it is now-- the black lichen from which it got its name ( early ascents resulted in inhaling a lot of it) still obscured footholds and made stemming friction less secure.

black lung have three start. some are a lot easier than yhe other. in trad...they tried to just use the crack and avoid the easy syart on the right. in sport. the people follow some one else and red point the route after. so the chance to deck today is lower because it is donein top rope before leading it...with beta more often.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: tradmanclimbz on September 01, 2016, 10:10:08 PM
actually luke. in trad one follows the natural features of the climb finding the path of least restiance that the cliff offers.  In sport one cleans and bolts the hardest way up the cliff finding the most difficult path that the cliff offers..
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: lucky luke on September 02, 2016, 07:49:19 AM
actually luke. in trad one follows the natural features of the climb finding the path of least restiance that the cliff offers.  In sport one cleans and bolts the hardest way up the cliff finding the most difficult path that the cliff offers..
for a sport climber, it is a general way of thinking. you are better than trad because you climb harder. finding the most difficult path means that no 5.7 route could be open because there always a way to make the route harder than 5.7 by avoiding some hold. in other way...it is false

trad climber think that a cliff most be develop by the line of least resistance first and after with harder route. in the sixties...climbing 5.8 was amasingly difficult and the nature of the equipment, pitons, make the climb more tiring because you have to drive ot into the rock. neverthless. good trad climber onsight very hard climb.

i dont think that you can compare sport and trad by the way the route is open. many people will like to have bolt in black lung to be able to climb it. the difference is that some people dont like the challenge of placing pro. it took time and they are not concentrate in the climb. futher more people dont like the stress that the pro can pop out and the idea of injury in a fall is very nerve braking. it is a question of ethic
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: tradmanclimbz on September 02, 2016, 02:44:25 PM
No one I know wants a bolt on black lung.  Plenty of 5.7 sport climbs.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: Admin Al on September 02, 2016, 03:51:08 PM
many people will like to have bolt in black lung to be able to climb it.

this I would not advise!
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: tsherman on November 07, 2016, 03:09:43 PM
A buddy of mine decked on BL mid September this year (fractured leg and heel). It was odd reading this in retrospect as I did not know of any reputation. Also does black lung really feel a full grade easier than Pine Tree???
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: Nemesis on November 08, 2016, 05:27:46 AM
Yes
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: frik on November 08, 2016, 08:45:02 AM
Maybe 1.5 grades easier. And easy to protect
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: DaveR on November 08, 2016, 02:21:08 PM
Maybe 1.5 grades easier. And easy to protect

I agree Pine Tree feels way way harder but, IMO the protection is hard to beat on either climb.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: frik on November 08, 2016, 04:45:25 PM
Ya i only added the comment about how easy it was to protect because it's pretty shocking someone decked on it.
Title: Re: Accident on Saigons Cathedral Ledge 7/31/16
Post by: NEAlpineStart on November 08, 2016, 09:15:45 PM
These two climbs (BL and PineTree) are a solid grade apart IMO. PT is definitely more sustained and strenuous. BL has solid stances for placing pro right up to the crux. I think Jeff Lea's explanation of the bad rap coming from the early condition of the route (so much lichen you would be coughing) explains the early reputation.