Ground Fall @ Drive-By

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powen01
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Post by powen01 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:53 pm

clif wrote:i think lena chita makes some points worth noting. some spotty replies are cause for continuing concern for me.

i'd want to check, but the rocks ate the base of BB prolly don't extend out much past six feet, which is where the ground turns mostly smooth and flat.

and i think it's fine to make judgements about accidents and the thinking (or lack of) of the team. were they communicating about ground fall potential?

i'm particularly aggravated by the mention of the irrelevant fact that the climber had been on a harder route that day. so predictably simplistic to equate hard climbing with competence.

'gyms aren't responsible for ....' argument . pretty lame.
What is lame about it?

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Post by anticlmber » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:49 pm

suck it up. assume responsibility.

fact.
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Post by climb2core » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:50 pm

i'd want to check, but the rocks ate the base of BB prolly don't extend out much past six feet, which is where the ground turns mostly smooth and flat.

and i think it's fine to make judgements about accidents and the thinking (or lack of) of the team. were they communicating about ground fall potential?

i'm particularly aggravated by the mention of the irrelevant fact that the climber had been on a harder route that day. so predictably simplistic to equate hard climbing with competence.
1.) I was spent at least a couple of hours of the base of BB that day... you are correct it is that the rock extends about 6' out from the base of the route. CLee's head was literally at the very end of the rock... Not sure what your point is to be honest?

2.) Sound judgements should be based upon knowledge and fact... not upon assumption and guessing. Based upon your comments, I would tend to judge you as an arrogant jerk, but then again I really don't know you and I am pretty sure your personality is the greater than the sum of the few comments you made her. Same for CLee... But as the say, opinions are like a**holes... everyone has one.

3.) I stated a fact.... CLee was seen climbing a harder route. You made the assumption that it spoke to her competence. I carefully chose my words and did not speak to either her competence or lack thereof. I don't know her climbing ability well enough to judge. You are aggravated, really? Why? Instead of being aggravated why don't you intelligently express your arguments for the betterment of the climbing community?

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Post by clif » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:54 pm

at the least it (the not responsible argument) demonstrates a lack of concern. to dismiss the opportunity to elevate awareness, emphasize responsibility, contribute to a climbing culture of preventative measures...

2core..

my point in the 6 ft. note was an attempt to elicit clarity and get the facts so that sound judgements could be made. thanks for the encouragement...

so, it sounds like she landed closer to the base of the rock than six feet...

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Post by captain static » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:56 pm

I was introduced to climbing by Outward Bound. It was all top roping. I then got into leading on my own through reading Basic & Advanced Rockcraft. If early on I had gotten injured in an accident should I have blamed it on Outward Bound and Royal Robbins?
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Post by Clevis Hitch » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:26 pm

fuk yeah you should...Royal that goodfurnuthinbusturd......?

I was at the corner today and this beemer skipped the light and caught the corner of this old beater station wagon. The guy was furious when he got out of his bmw. Cussin and throwin his hands up. He ran up to the wagon like he was gonna kick somebodies ass. I woulda given money to have it on video...You shoulda seen his face when the nuns got out of the wagon. HE-LARIOUS!! People were standing on the corner shaking their heads at the guy who obviously f'd the pooch. He went and sat in his car until the cops got there. At the end of it all. He tried to shake the head nuns hand and she just crossed herself. Some sorta vow I was guessing. That guy couldn't do anything but put his foot in his own arse. Funny stuff...
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Post by clif » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:27 am

climb2core,

you seem like much less an arrogant jerk than i am. help me understand some of your thinking, please.
climb2core wrote:
2.) Was the fall preventable by belaying/spotting?
is this the important question? would you agree that what needs to be prevented is landing on the ground and/or injury?
climb2core wrote:... a.) Spotting would have been likely been ineffective in this instance as the logical place to spot seemed to be at the base of the climb.
so, spotting was done? 'logical' because once one chooses a spot one must not move to adjust for climber's stance and direction of force?
climb2core wrote: b.) The belayer was standing at the base of ther crag (base upon rope bag placement and first hand accounting of the fall) c.) Catching a blown second clip by the belayer became even m,ore challenging based upon the fact that CLee landed approx. 3 ft. higher than ground level where the belayer was standing at the base of the crag. Based upon the observations, I doubt that better belaying or spotting could have prevented the ground fall.
if these facts are accurate, which i can not infer from the placement of the rope bag, i think the belayer, IF aware of the fall potential, would want to stand up on top of the rock so as to minimize the length of rope out. also, in the event of a sudden fall, by moving off the rock one can quickly take the two or three feet out of the line. can someone smarter than me confirm this?

Ian, thanks for helping me understand. best wishes.

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Post by krampus » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:46 am

opinions are like assholes. Every ones got one, it doesn't mean you should share it with a gerbil.
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Post by climb2core » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:56 am

is this the important question? would you agree that what needs to be prevented is landing on the ground and/or injury?
That is what I meant... thought that would be obvious. Do you really think I was saying we should prevent falling in general, lol. That is part of sport climbing. But sure, you are correct... I meant ground fall to be specific.
so, spotting was done? 'logical' because once one chooses a spot one must not move to adjust for climber's stance and direction of force?

I do not believe there was a spotter. The climber and belayer were not climbing with others in the group. No one else made any other comments that they were spotting. Of course spotters/belayers need to be constantly moving to be in the optimal place. I have belayed on BB many times, and never moved back up onto to the boulder behind for the second clip. I think that is because I have chosen to stay close to the base and get closer to being under the first bolt. Also, I have never belayed anyone on BB that I felt would be in danger of blowing a second clip.
if these facts are accurate, which i can not infer from the placement of the rope bag, i think the belayer, IF aware of the fall potential, would want to stand up on top of the rock so as to minimize the length of rope out. also, in the event of a sudden fall, by moving off the rock one can quickly take the two or three feet out of the line. can someone smarter than me confirm this?
Clif, don't you tend to belay with the rope bag close to your feet? the rope bag was on the ground at the base of the cliff. Every belayer I have seen on BB has belayed from the dirt directly at the base. But you are correct, rope/bag placement does not in itself determine belayer position. I think your point is valid... in retrospect it would have been a better belayer stance to be up on the rock with the ability to jump down. The question is the belayers ability to predict their partners fall potential at the second bolt. That I can't answer... I do know that if you the belayer started at the base on the dirt and the climber got in trouble while making the second clip, it would be very difficult to have the time/presence of mind to be able to get up on the boulder behind you, watch your climber, and take up slack. That is assuming they had time for all that to occur.' But as smart as you are, I am sure you would always be in the optimal place to belay ;)

I think we need to look for what we can learn as a climbing community from this...

1.) Wear a helmet.
2.) Climb within your ability. Not passing judgement on CLee if she was/was not. Belayers also need to evaluate your climbing partners ability and be willing to error on the side of caution. ie. Tell your partner, "Lets stick clip the second bolt this time"
3.) Evaluate for worst case scenarios.
4.) New climbers need to seek out mentors (and need to be encouraged to do so). Experienced/educated climbers need to seek out new climbers. Maybe a mentorship program could be put in place at gyms to bring together the inexperienced/experienced
5.) Realistic scenarios need to be taught at the gym during leading lessons/education. ie. Ground fall opportunity during second bolt clipping.
6.) Use spotters. As I have said, I cannot say for certain if spotting could have prevented injury during the fall, but it is worth it based upon the chance that it could of.

Again, I don't know whether or not this specific ground fall was preventable. But I do know the lessons I have learned from it will make me and my climbing partners safer...

Thanks for asking questions Clif... I believe we are all looking for the same thing here.

Ian

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Post by TradMike » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:11 am


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Post by climb2core » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:37 am

One more comment...

There is no point in trying to make sure CLee learned from this event. If she and her belayer have not already taken this incident to heart to grow and learn from it, nothing anyone can say on this board will change that. The focus needs to be on what we can learn as community to make climbing safer for us all.

I have said enough. Hopefully people reading this thread will be safer for it.

Ian

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Post by powen01 » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:39 am

clif wrote:at the least it (the not responsible argument) demonstrates a lack of concern. to dismiss the opportunity to elevate awareness, emphasize responsibility, contribute to a climbing culture of preventative measures...

2core..

my point in the 6 ft. note was an attempt to elicit clarity and get the facts so that sound judgements could be made. thanks for the encouragement...

so, it sounds like she landed closer to the base of the rock than six feet...
I guess I took umbrage with the insinuation (not necessarily from you) that they should be responsible for the individuals that learn to climb in their gym becoming or not becoming competent and safe climbers in the outdoors.

I can totally agree with gym owners being responsible stewards and providing some very limited guidance to their patrons, but I would stop very short of saying that they have an outright responsibility or duty to ensure that these people are prepared... but to unduly expose their business, property and families to the liabilities of preparing climbers for the outdoors would be stupid on their part unless they also run a fully insured guiding service.

By the by, those posters we discussed are up in my local gym. Never noticed them before... Hopefully, at the next comp, whenever that is, a rep from the RRGCC can come by and do a quick slide show for first timers or newbs coming to the gorge. It's nice to put a name to a face, and I still think it's a good opportunity to hit the demographic and potential donor base. Just a thought.

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Post by DonnyP » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:52 pm

I have followed this topic for a few days now, and it seems appropriate that I post my account of this event, and a few comments directed toward some conversations that have come about here.

It seems that only a few people actually witnessed CLee's fall, and as her belayer, I am almost certainly the one who, unfortunately, had the best view. I and another member of our group took an early lap up Breakfast Burrito immediately upon arrival to Drive-By that morning. The route being every bit as enjoyable and exciting as I remembered from last year, I began talking it up to CLee, suggesting she do it, as it is well within her abilities, and a classic of its grade.

As is usually the case, Breakfast Burrito had a line of climbers waiting for it all day, and when she finally had a chance a few hours later CLee took her turn on Breakfast Burrito. She and another member of our group got set up, stick clipped the first bolt, and then I came over and put CLee on belay. I stood just to her right, at the base of the wall under the first bolt. She started up the route, hung the second draw, repositioned, and as she reached for slack to clip, her left hand slipped off of her hold and she came crashing to the ground. She landed flat on her back on a flat boulder, her head just at its edge. Her eyes rolled back in her head, she seized, and only moments after impact a stream of blood was flowing from the back of her head. I offer this image only to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation, as some people participating in this conversation seem to believe that the attention she received was excessive.

With a nurse on hand (something for which I am infinitely grateful), CLee was stabilized until the ambulance arrived. Most improbably, she sustained only a minor laceration and sizable bump to the back of her head, a serious rope burn on the back of her thigh, bruising to her back, and some lingering head and body aches.

There are several precautions that could have been taken to prevent such an accident: stick-clipping the second bolt, spotting the climber, belayer being prepared to take in a lot of slack in a hurry by jumping off of something, first and second bolt being located nearer to each other. In retrospect I wish CLee had a helmet on her head, that I had been spotting her, that the second bolt had been stick clipped. Any of these things could have made a serious difference, but the procedure we followed is typical, and the one I most often see being followed by others at The Red. Almost everyone knows the dangers of clipping the second bolt, including CLee, and her hand slipping was unexpected. As she said, she was not excessively nervous or pumped. This has been a lesson to me to never climb something, or allow someone else to climb something, if there is a potential for a ground fall, because there are always factors for which one cannot account.

It is very easy to perceive the impetus that drives those of you who seek to place blame on either the climber or the belayer in this situation, particularly given that you were not on site when this accident took place. It is difficult to accept that these things happen to the smartest, most cautious, strongest, and most experienced of us. It is frightening to acknowledge the inherent risks of an activity we all love and with which we have become a little too comfortable. Climbing will always be dangerous, no matter how well prepared those involved become. The human role is the least predictable in these situations; all other precautions should be in place to compensate for this, so that when a human error occurs (such as an unexpected hand slip), there are back-up systems in place to compensate.

I strongly advocate the education and preparation of all climbers in safer techniques. At this time, there are probably more rock climbers in the US than ever before, and a lot of them are inexperienced. As I understand it, the bolts that are placed on sport routes are there to make climbing them as safe as possible. I see no reason not to have second bolts closer to first bolts, so that even with the ever-present human error factors, decking will be unlikely. I think higher first bolts are potentially dangerous, because those without stickclips handy will likely still attempt to climb and will not have protection until 15 or 20 feet.

Finally, I thank everyone who was at Drive-By Crag that day. It seemed that everyone played a role in assisting CLee in a time when she needed attention most, and given the seriousness of her immediate condition in contrast to her current condition, I have little doubt that those efforts had a positive impact on her health. In particular, I thank the nurse from KU Hospital (whose name I could not spell even if I wanted to name her here) who was at the crag that day. She was a true professional, and I hate to imagine how things might be different were she not present.

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Post by pkananen » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:31 pm

Thanks for the account.

Who spots after the first bolt? I've never seen anyone do that. At that point you're on belay. Belay negates the need for a spot, in 99% of cases.

We all know how complacent we become while belaying. It's really just the fact that unexpected falls are rare between the first and third bolts that keeps us from having more of these situations. Almost every seasoned climber just've easily could've been in either the climber's or belayer's shoes in this instance.

Belay for the 1% freak accident.

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Post by the lurkist » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:31 pm

Go Big Blue!
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