Ground Fall @ Drive-By

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the lurkist
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Post by the lurkist » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:29 am

I think the big issue facing not just climbing in the Red, everywhere, ( and frankly, what is happening in the Red is probably a pretty good measure of national and international trends), is how to deal with more and more people coming to climbing. There needs to be a method to level the playing field for all climbers so that a base skill set, understanding, and sensitivity to core issues to climb safely are taught consistently.
One of the main things I am concerned about not being in new climbers sensiblities is "belay grip". You should be half way gripped when you are belaying someone. When you clamp on a gri gri or an ATC to catch someone, you should be fully on your toes, ready to give or take in slack, especially when the person is close to the ground.
Trad climbing, for me, taught this. The leader's fear of gear pulling, being pumped, placing gear pumped, etc... got communicated to the belayer and the belayer gave 110% of attention to the climber. Maybe it is the climber's fear that dictates this to the belayer. Maybe the cultural shift needs to be that every climber should consider that they will be the next guy in the Neuro ICU at UK with the family ready to withdrawl care, and with this fear demand from their belayer , "STFU and keep your eyes on me."
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Post by Crankmas » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:51 am

I agree with caribe's point about belayer positioning, it becomes even more important if there is a weight differential, while obvious it can be downplayed and if the belayer is lifted and far enough from the wall a leader may impact from just the excess rope out caused by belayer positioning.It all goes back to the belayer being engaged with the situation.

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Post by krampus » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:59 pm

really, i believe rick webber's stewardship program is the way to go. While muir valley incentives are a great motivator to get someone to talk to gumbies, this practice need to become the norm at all locations. Maybe, instead of avoiding popular crags, occasionally, those with experience should go to them and help out if possible or necessary. I know I am about the worst as far as avoiding crowds, I will climb any pigchoss just to avoid a line, but a visit to roadside or left flank outside of the winter time might not kill me, and might not kill someone else.

Its like the guy who told me I should leave dangerous rat chewed tat up at the top of trad climbs. My arguments probably did not change his opinion, but maybe his less experienced friends heard me and understood.
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Post by Dhaulagiri » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:06 pm

That's not a bad idea krampus but the fact remains that most people don't like being told what to do at the crag even if it is safety related. In the case of this Drive By groundfall it doesn't seem like there's much anyone outside the parties directly involved could have done to prevent the accident from happening.

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Post by krampus » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:15 pm

I am one of those stubborn people too. Tell me what to do and I'll argue my point for days. but eventually when the moment is passed I can reason for myself and may change if I find out I am wrong. And the people not directly in the exchange may get something out of it too. No it won't stop every accident from happening, but we should be discussing how to maximize the minimization of stupidity.
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Post by Crankmas » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:23 pm

are gumbys' those who can maximize the minimization of realization of routes??

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Post by krampus » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:35 pm

no, anyone with a bad attitude does that. gumbies are people who don't realize that their minimization of maximum degradation of physical constitution has been effectively undertaken.
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Post by climb2core » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:53 pm

I was at Drive By when CLee's fall occurred and I was motivated to join this forum and reply after reading some of the comments posted.

First, I would like to say to CLee that I am glad you are ok... you gave us all quite a scare! I had talked to CLee and her belayer just before they got on the route. We were "next in line" for Breakfast Burrito. One of the climbers in my group stayed to watch CLee climb while I went back to watch another friend on Head and Shoulders. I also played a small role as one of the first responders as several other members of my climbing party did.

I would like to make the following comments/observations of CLee's fall:

1.) I cannot understand how people can make judgements about either CLee's climbing ability or her belayers ability. I was at the crag, had a friend that saw the fall, and had a chance to see CLee climb on another harder route and I still feel that I am in no position to judge. I cannot determine either CLee's mindset or climbing ability without knowing and climbing with her.

2.) Was the fall preventable by belaying/spotting? That is a difficult question to answer, however, I can offer the following observations: CLee fell approximately 6 ft. back from the base of the wall and landed on a large, flat boulder that was approximately 2 1/2 to 3 ft. high. This has several implications... 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. 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.

3.) Was the injury preventable by different bolting? Possibly a higher first bolt and closer second bolt could have prevented the injury. After looking at the bolt placements I don't think I would suggest that anything be changed.

4.) Was the injury preventable by CLee? Only CLee knows her physical and mental mindset before/during the climb and this something I believe she has already spoken too. Much of the potential severity of injury could have been mitigated with wearing a helmet. This event has reminded to always climb within my head and physical ability, to constantly evaluate worst case scenario's for myself and my climbing partners, and to error on the side of caution. Climbing is a recreational activity for most of us, and our paychecks are not dependent upon how many onsights, flashes, or hard redpoints we achieve.

5.) Was the emergent response excessive? I heard CLee deck from at least 50 yds away. It took me a minute to summon all my courage to even go look and see if I could help. Based upon how loud it was, I thought the fall was from much higher. My friend, who saw the fall, said she bounced approximately 2 ft. back up into the air, after that her eyes rolled back and she seized. Next blood began to spill over the rock and drip onto the ground. Upon regaining conciousness she was only orientated to person and repeatedly asked what happened and her leg burned (rope burn). Not trying to be graphic for sensationalism. Just want people to realize how serious a fall from 15 ft. can be. EMS response with a back board and heli transport was the only appropriate response.

6.) CLee, find the ER trauma nurse from UK Hospital and buy her dinner. (If you don't, I will... but for slightly more selfish reasons ;) Joking aside, you have an angel looking after you to have someone like that climbing at the crag the day of your fall. She was a true professional and was able to compently assess, manage, and direct your emergent care by the first responders that came to your aid.

7.) What can be done to prevent future falls? I believe it comes to actively seeking those in need of mentorship and providing your time and knowledge to foster the development of a safe climbing community. I had an experienced mentor that taught me. Now climbing for over a decade, I try to do the same. Many times I have been climbing at the gym and heard the new climbers planning there first outdoor excursion. I will often invite myself along or invite them to join my group.

Well, that is enough for now. Again CLee, I am glad you are ok. Hopefully the climbing community to can look at the accident for all of us to learn and grow from. I know I have.

Ian

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Post by Crankmas » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:29 pm

nice summation, lets remember the message and apply the lessons learned as well as thank the folks who assisted

wheelis
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Post by wheelis » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:51 pm

After reading this thread, I bought a helmet. (Meteor III.)

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kato
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Post by kato » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:56 pm

maine wrote:The problem with the gym is it creates a larger number of people introduced to the sport who are NOT prepared for the challenges and differences in climbing outside.
90% of the people who come into a gym have no desire to climb outside. These people come to the gym once a year at most and even when they have paid their money, they spend most of their time in the gym watching other people climb.

I think the real problem here is that the margin of error is very slim even for beginners. Compare skateboarding for example- you have to be a really good skateboarder before you can do a trick that has any real fatal risk. With climbing, you can kill yourself on your first day.

Our nanny-culture teaches people that if something is available, then there must be a safety net somehow. Otherwise it would not be available. And those that advocate "dumbing-down" the climbs are really just asking for via-ferrata style climbing.
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Post by Josephine » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:12 pm

wheelis wrote:After reading this thread, I bought a helmet. (Meteor III.)
:D

you made a GREAT choice! fits great and is nice and cool.

PS. Miguel's has been having sales on all helmets for 15% off! buy local and get a discount*

*i'm not sure if this special is still going on, PM Local for information
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Post by trog » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:45 pm

Couple of thoughts:

Most head injuries from impact force are classed "closed head injuries" and do not involve immediate bleeding requiring surgical decompression; rather are coup-contracoup tissue damage of the brain leading to delayed neuron death, edema, and disability or death from secondary ischemia of the brain. This evolves over days and is, I believe, the probable mechanism of death in the last terrible accident here. (don't know the medical particulars of that situation) Rapid (1st hour) treatment can ameliorate some of the damage.

Potential multiple trauma is notoriously difficult to evaluate in the field, partly as visible or painful wounds may overshadow less obvious but life-threatening injuries - example of C-spine injury previously noted. That is why mechanism of injury is the criteria used to determine necessity of EMS transport. Generally, a 15' fall is considered criteria for potential serious injury. I have seen a death from a 12' (non-climbing) fall.

If any doubt, take the ride! Arriving alive on a backboard will also markedly reduce your ER waiting time, right Bob? :wink: And just for cost comparison, a below knee prosthetic leg costs about $25,000. half of which will be paid by most insurers; by the time you are ready for it you will probably have reached your lifetime max on your policy anyway...

I'm gonna start wearing my helmet too, carried it all last weekend on my pack like an idiot.
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Post by vertical1 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:09 pm

climb2core wrote:

2.) Was the fall preventable by belaying/spotting? That is a difficult question to answer, however, I can offer the following observations: CLee fell approximately 6 ft. back from the base of the wall and landed on a large, flat boulder that was approximately 2 1/2 to 3 ft. high. This has several implications... 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. 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.

Ian
The above statement confuses me given the start of Breakfast Burrito is not 6 ft overhung. How could she have landed 6 ft from the wall unless there was a bad belay/spot, and/or she jumped away from the wall. Given the location of a rock at that distance(Its been a year since I have been at drive-by) the proper place to belay should be between climber and obstacles. Correct me if I am wrong.

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Post by toad857 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:14 pm

$25,000! Yar, I got ripped off I did. Yar.

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