had close call recently

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caribe
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had close call recently

Post by caribe » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:12 pm

I was out with a Newbie on Saturday. XXXX YYYY is not in the best of shape--about my height 5,10+ with an extra 25-35 lbs of not-muscle. We got on a 5.7 trad route. The plan was for me to put up the gear and for him to TR to get the moves dialed, then to have him place and weight gear to get the hang of it. XXXX has some sport climbing experience on TR and he is an engineer so structural issues with gear would come easy for him, and they did, smart fellow.

He had trouble with the very top of the route but he floated the bottom bit. I put in a piece and a back-up on the bottom, both of which would catch a truck in free fall. I figured since he floated through the bottom that he could just climb and put gear as he pleased. He had a helmet on.

XXXX's head popped off when he was on lead. Nothing seemed to be working right. He climbed a bit too high and fell with the rope behind his heel. His body ended up hitting my body on the way down because I threw a body block intentionally to keep him off the rock. I came out of it with a badly bruised knee. Walking today and certain positions are painful. He hit me and then the knee hit rock. I am convinced that nothing is broken and I doubt that ligament injury deep in the knee has occurred. I guess I will let it heal and if it doesn't quit bugging me I will need to go to the doctor. I can't run and walking long distance is out. XXXX came out of it with just a few minor scrapes. I was off the ground when the action stopped; he was upside down with his head literally 3 ft off the deck!

I was shaking and nearly in shock to think that I could have had a part in a man's death. He and his wife just had a child. I have been replaying the incident in my head. I think I learned a lesson or two. However, I thought I learned a lesson before.

XXXX is English. You would never believe what he said to me after I got him turned around correctly and his butt on the ground. He said, "THAT was a proper fall!" "I see what you mean by the gear being good if it's good!" "Let me catch my breath, I'll give'r another go." I was getting ready to back up and go home.

I put in good gear higher up. He got back on the horse and placed a few pieces even higher and then I lowered him off the gear he placed after he decided quit climbing. CRAZY!! and insane if those two adjectives are indeed different.

Be careful out there people. This is a dangerous game. I hope this message gets someone thinking about risk assessment. I thought we were ok, when I set it up. However, as far as I am concerned I pushed the parameters too close to the un-safe zone!! If the rope had not been behind the heal all would have been well.

If you have an opinion that I can learn from please post it. I am still a bit freaked out. Let's talk. :?

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Re: had close call recently

Post by toad857 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:46 pm

caribe wrote:He and his wife just had a child.
Poor time to try to learn trad--especially if you're one to freak out on the rock!

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caribe
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Re: had close call recently

Post by caribe » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:57 pm

toad857 wrote:
caribe wrote:He and his wife just had a child.
Poor time to try to learn trad--especially if you're one to freak out on the rock!
This really is not a trad story. It could have happened just as easily leading sport. When he fell he had not even placed a piece.

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Re: had close call recently

Post by sendit » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:02 pm

So he floated the route on TR, felt confident for the lead and then freaked out and fell prior to placing a single piece? Sounds like you did everything you could . . . glad you weren't seriously hurt and the dude is ok.
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Re: had close call recently

Post by climb2core » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:09 pm

Hey Caribe,
Hope you knee is ok and glad the "bloke" is all right as well :) I think the problem is knowing where (as the mentor) your partner is at in terms of their ability. How often had you climbed with him? How many times had he lead? How close was this lead to his ceiling on sport?

I had a similar experience with my newbie gf leading Oompa. I did the route first, decided that it was with in her ability and encouraged her to lead it. She got pumped out at the fourth bolt and it should have been a clean fall, except that she got her heel behind the rope by making a last second move with her foot before she fell. She hit hard with her back flat against the wall and was not wearing a helmet. Had it been head first it could have been very bad.

So things I learned from this... She needs to lead a lot more a routes several grades below her ceiling to gain more rope management experience. She needs to do more controlled falls to practice so she is not sketched out when she is pumped out. I need to UNDERESTIMATE her ability to error on the side of caution.

But despite how many times they TR it first, dial in the moves, climb below their ability, etc. There is still always a risk. People are... human and fallible Glad things turned out ok.

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Re: had close call recently

Post by caribe » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:37 pm

climb2core wrote: I think the problem is knowing where (as the mentor) your partner is at in terms of their ability.
Yeah . . . I think you are right.
climb2core wrote: How often had you climbed with him? How many times had he lead? How close was this lead to his ceiling on sport?
Never, never, and probably 5.9+
climb2core wrote: I had a similar experience with my newbie gf leading Oompa..... So things I learned from this... She needs to lead a lot more a routes several grades below her ceiling to gain more rope management
Rope management is VERY underrated. It only matters in that one fraction of a second . . . but it should be in place all the time.
climb2core wrote: She needs to do more controlled falls to practice so she is not sketched out when she is pumped out. I need to UNDERESTIMATE her ability to error on the side of caution.
Going for it on clean-fall routes is good. The rope behind the leg thing seems to be something everyone has to experience for some reason. Everyone has a story. It just does not seem vivid enough until it happens to YOU.
climb2core wrote: But despite how many times they TR it first, dial in the moves, climb below their ability, etc. There is still always a risk. People are... human and fallible Glad things turned out ok.
This statement goes for all of us. All Sunday I felt like I had been given a gift, a pass, a reprieve that I did not deserve. I approach this situation with humility and gratitude. It is a good thing one of the many gods was not F-ing watching. We would have both been dead. :?

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Re: had close call recently

Post by pigsteak » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:47 pm

glad no one was hurt...unless I missed it in the original post, you said he fell before placing any piece...so this was a deck, and your body block saved his cranium? if so, quick thinking sir.

the good Lord was looking out for you.....
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Re: had close call recently

Post by caribe » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:05 pm

pigsteak wrote:glad no one was hurt...unless I missed it in the original post, you said he fell before placing any piece...so this was a deck, and your body block saved his cranium? if so, quick thinking sir.
No, I placed two pieces before he started climbing.

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Re: had close call recently

Post by climb2core » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:08 pm

He had never lead trad? Or he had never lead period? If so, I would think a sport climb would be a better place to learn...

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Re: had close call recently

Post by caribe » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:26 pm

climb2core wrote:He had never lead trad? Or he had never lead period?
Never led as far as I know, but we were on something that was apparently easy for him; I mean it looked really easy when he was TRing. Was not easy on lead. It is all a head game. I overestimated him, and I thought I ran the trial on the same route. My lesson from this is: BABY STEPS ALWAYS.

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Re: had close call recently

Post by climb2core » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:03 pm

caribe wrote:
climb2core wrote:He had never lead trad? Or he had never lead period?
I overestimated him... My lesson from this is: BABY STEPS ALWAYS.
Yep, had the exact same take away message after my newbie hit the wall. She was afraid to practice falling despite my many requests to start trying. I let her skip a step. No skipping steps... or what you said.

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Re: had close call recently

Post by pigsteak » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:50 pm

arthur..you are just shell shocked.....this and the Phil incident have scarred you....perhaps Yahweh is telling you to give up trad....when we are resistant, the "hints" must be stronger.
Positive vibes brah...positive vibes.

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Re: had close call recently

Post by Shamis » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:07 pm

Art, as the experienced member of the group you really need to be vocal about getting more gear in early, particularly if he's wavering a bit. I'll be very blunt with people and tell them straight out that if they go any higher they risk a groundfall. And don't forget the rope stretch...especially for the fatties like me ;)

Glad to hear you both are relatively unscathed.

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Re: had close call recently

Post by clif » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:15 pm

i know i've wondered at how any of us can still be alive. information via mentoring is great but so many people seem to need to make the mistakes themselves...

anyway, one aspect- i know when i was trying to learn it helped to bump up against limitations is [sic/edit-'in'] money/gear, experience, knowledge about crags/location, and my own physical weaknesses. because i didn't have gear i could only solo stuff that i felt ok about, it was on me and i got to know my fears and comfort levels. or, when i found a partner with gear, they were WAY reluctant to let me touch it (unless i was cleaning) and then, finally, on embarrassingly easy stuff. but it was always up to me ...

i'm saying maybe climbing has gotten to [sic/edit-too] easy for the inherent risk involved. it is fantastic to mentor someone; but i think it is easy to blur the line and the apprentice can rely too completely on the judgement of experience while ignoring/downplaying one's own instincts. likewise, it is easy for a mentor to be supportive/encouraging and glance over details.

Caribe, from what you've said, it sounds like you did about as good as can be done. i just wonder, in trying to be helpful, your partner was lured into a sense of security that he had not fully developed for himself?
Last edited by clif on Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: had close call recently

Post by dustonian » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:25 pm

Always better to do a mock lead so you can assess your mentee's gear placements before he gets in over his head. You would also have been able to monitor his rope management from the ground. This is standard operating procedure when guiding someone who wants to learn traditional leading. Just glad to hear you guys didn't add to the already ridiculous injury/rescue tally in that particular region.

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