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Belay accident with Trango Cinch
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By Red
From Arizona
Feb 5, 2014
Cobra Kai
pfwein wrote:
Perhaps I'm just misunderstanding you, but when a user is making a "correct" use of the Cinch (as defined by Trango's instructional video, see link below), his brake hand is always touching the belay device and his other hand is generally on the rope from the device to the climber (it's on that part of the rope whenever feeding rope)

Thanks for asking pfwein,
I misspoke, the brake hand can have the thumb and index finger on the "pivot point" and nowhere else on the devise. The other three fingers and palm should be on the brake strand of the rope. I have seen more Cinch users than not with their thumbs resting on the base of the release handle holding the Cinch open to pay out slack, even when none is needed.

As others have pointed out, we can determine the belay device was not used properly by the rope-burn marks on the belayers left hand. The left hand pays out slack and maybe gets a coil out of the rope, it does not grip the rope even the slightest amount between the belay device and the climber when catching falls.

On a side note, I've only ever seen one or two people actually load the Cinch with the break side up.

Another side note, I personally stopped using the Cinch once the Gri2 came out.

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By Russ Keane
Feb 5, 2014
Where's Waldo?
Gym accidents are just sooooo unfortunate. What a bad place to screw up.

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By redlude97
Feb 5, 2014
Red wrote:
Thanks for asking pfwein, I misspoke, the brake hand can have the thumb and index finger on the "pivot point" and nowhere else on the devise. The other three fingers and palm should be on the brake strand of the rope. I have seen more Cinch users than not with their thumbs resting on the base of the release handle holding the Cinch open to pay out slack, even when none is needed. As others have pointed out, we can determine the belay device was not used properly by the rope-burn marks on the belayers left hand. The left hand pays out slack and maybe gets a coil out of the rope, it does not grip the rope even the slightest amount between the belay device and the climber when catching falls. On a side note, I've only ever seen one or two people actually load the Cinch with the break side up.

I guess thats the point I'm trying to get at. Most people use the old loading method because it was what was standard for a long time when the device first came out. The fact they changed it would imply that it wasn't adequate for reliably locking up when using correct technique. They didn't publicize the change in recommended technique very well so the majority of cinch users I've seen still use the old method. I'm one of those people who swore by the cinch, until it failed to lock. I fed out slack using only my thumb and 2 fingers since it was so easy and smooth. I ended up with only burns on my brake hand so it wasn't from gripping the climber side. Thousands of catches and it only takes 1 to lose complete confidence. I use a GriGri2 now also.

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By Old Sag
Feb 5, 2014
Red wrote:
Another side note, I personally stopped using the Cinch once the Gri2 came out.


Wow. Until now I thought you have stock in Trango or something. I had some time to think and revisit this when this thread got dug up again. Anyway, the error was mine in belaying, but not from grabbing the rope with my left hand - it was from me not clamping down on the brake hand.

See because I was aware of the fall and of the accident a week prior to my own, I actually changed the way I handled the device as the climber started falling. Instead of keeping my hand on the device and then shifting to the brake rope, I took my entire hand off and put it around the rope, but for some reason did not clamp down before the fall. I think I was depending on the Cinch to catch on its own and afraid of rope burns to my right hand. After a second or two and realizing what happened, I clamped down on my right which had a glove on (I know, illogical) and the fall was arrested.

I say that my left hand cannot have caused the accident because during a fall the left hand travels with the rope until the belay device does its thing, which means the left hand moves up only a bit. And there shouldn't be any ill-effects of that if the elbow is bent and the entire arm is allowed to move up a bit with the rope. I can see that it could be dangerous if someone tried to pull down very hard on the lead rope, but that's not what I did. Like you said, burn on the left hand is evidence of a failed belay, but it is not the cause (at least in my case).

The other thing is I was standing pretty much right below the rope without much slack and the Cinch was in a vertical orientation. Trango wants the Cinch to be horizonal so that it can rotate during a fall and maybe that helps to engage the device. They changed the instructions so the lead rope comes out from the bottom to emphasize this. I have read of at least one accident that said the fall happened right after a take, which means the Cinch was orientated vertically.

Since the Grigri catches so reliably, it can be easy to think of the Cinch as the same thing. But they are really not and I can see why now. The Cinch is not as forgiving and the brake hand has to be a part of the braking mechanism for it to function reliably. The brake hand is really not optional, and not a backup. Treat it more like an ATC and you should be fine. With that said, I'm not going back to it, but I hope that this information is useful in preventing accidents.

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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Feb 5, 2014
tanuki
At the risk of being redundant, I'll chime in with my $.02 on the Cinch. It works great… until it doesn't. To a much greater degree than the GriGri2, it is prone to user error and incredibly unforgiving. The perceived advantages (ease of feeding out rope and size) that the Cinch had over the original GriGri were negated when the GriGri2 was introduced. IMHO, the GriGri2 is superior in every way AND more forgiving of user error than the Cinch.

To put it another way, I don't use a Cinch any more and don't want to be belayed by anyone that uses one. More importantly, I am VERY careful about who I let belay me and don't let random people or casual acquaintances hold the other end of my rope.

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By Old Sag
Feb 6, 2014
NC Rock Climber wrote:
At the risk of being redundant, I'll chime in with my $.02 on the Cinch. It works great… until it doesn't. To a much greater degree than the GriGri2, it is prone to user error and incredibly unforgiving. The perceived advantages (ease of feeding out rope and size) that the Cinch had over the original GriGri were negated when the GriGri2 was introduced. IMHO, the GriGri2 is superior in every way AND more forgiving of user error than the Cinch. To put it another way, I don't use a Cinch any more and don't want to be belayed by anyone that uses one. More importantly, I am VERY careful about who I let belay me and don't let random people or casual acquaintances hold the other end of my rope.


Well said. These are my thoughts too.

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By don'tchuffonme
Feb 6, 2014
urrr
This post violated Rule #1. It has been removed by Mountain Project.

By Jixuan Cheng
From Ann Arbor, Michigan
Jul 22, 2014
Accident report:7/18/2014:

Rope:Petzl 9.4 dry 70 meters
Belay: Jixuan, half of year operate Cinch. Usually use it in the gym and this is the second time use it outdoor climbing.

Climber yelled “Take!”, I took the rope(slack?), during this time, Climber fell, I lost balance and fell to the ground and because of the fell, I hold the rope with my Left hand on the left side of Cinch, keeping the cinch in the horizontal position. So Cinch lost the locking function.

Lucky(Luckily) for both of us, It’s a long route, and Climber was almost at the top. He stopped before hitting the ground. Fell almost 50 feet.

My error is:
1)Kinda tired, and too relaxed and rely on device
2)fell when belay, should find a good spot to stand and ready for anything happen
3)lack of comprehensive understanding on Cinch, think that all autolock belay devices are the same! Not seriously study!!!

Hope everyone see this could take seriously about belay while climbing....

I've learned my lesson.

FLAG


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