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First time witnessing accident. A change in perspective.
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By TWK
Jan 3, 2013
Kilroywashere! wrote:
shit happens, its how we learn.


I'm selfish; I like the learning process a lot better when shit happens to other people. I see no need for it to happen to me.

FLAG
By TWK
Jan 3, 2013
Jake Jones wrote:
Late March of last year I saw a buddy of mine damn near break his entire foot off the end of his leg in a short, simple, low FF lead fall. There were several contributing factors. The angle of the fall because of the right to left traverse of the route, the belayer was anchored in statically, as the climber was 50+ lbs heavier, and how his foot struck the rock. The fall was about 8ft max, and all of his gear held- and the belayer caught the fall properly. The only thing that could have been done differently is anchoring the belayer with the end of the dynamic rope so that there would be some give to the belay, but still have the belayer tethered.


mission wrote:
Jake, this is not a good system being operated correctly! Soft catches are important; if the weight difference between climbing partners is great enough that they feel the need to anchor, the climbing partners should strongly consider not being climbing partners. Unless the climber was going to hit a ledge below him, it seems likely that a dynamic belay would have made this fall much less problematic.


Okay, I'm confused, help me out.

This guy busted his ankle by hitting a rock feature with his foot on a relatively short fall.

How could lengthening the fall with a more dynamic belay have prevented his foot from impacting with same force? Wouldn't his foot likely have struck the wall the same physics in play, regardless of whether the belay was static or somewhat dynamic? His foot must have hit the wall before he was caught by the belay!

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By Cultivating Mass
Jan 3, 2013
Leading on the only "fair means" rack.
Actually, Jaker, was wondering if the "static" nature of the system had anything to do with a Grigri getting used.

So many people get hurt in gyms compared to outdoors it's stupefying. I remember a local traddy who teased me for backing off a route I didn't have the wide gear for showing up at the crag with a cast on-bouldering at the gym. I've decked soloing and never been to the hospital, but the hair stands up on the back of my neck watching the inexperienced crashing and burning without a clue.

My feeling on it is that the seams between the pads not being sealed and gym staff not being attentive/informed have equal shares in preventable accidents. The dropping by unqualified belayers is really common in this neck of the woods, too. What a waste, so easy to learn how to do something simple correctly.

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By mission
Jan 3, 2013
TWK wrote:
Okay, I'm confused, help me out. This guy busted his ankle by hitting a rock feature with his foot on a relatively short fall. How could lengthening the fall with a more dynamic belay have prevented his foot from impacting with same force? Wouldn't his foot likely have struck the wall the same physics in play, regardless of whether the belay was static or somewhat dynamic? His foot must have hit the wall before he was caught by the belay!


If the feature wasn't a ledge, then he hit it so hard because the static belay slammed him into the wall, and may have even cleared the feature altogether with a softer catch. (The initial post did not even mention a feature and makes me think that the climber may have been swung sideways into something by falling on a traverse, which a softer catch also would have mitigated.)

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 3, 2013
At the BRC
Guy Keesee wrote:
Mr. Mark... Respectfully. I am not making jokes about these accidents. I have been climbing for many many years, going back to the beginning of time, climbers have always had a love-hate relationship with who/how/why somebody gets the chop. This is how WE have learned just works and what does not work. I mean do any of you guys in MP land remember Jim Madson? How he died and why? .... Stupid rap deal gone wrong. Now we are all much safer because of just what went down. Do you guys back up and tie in whilst Jumaring??? A nice fellow had to die for US to start doing that. I could go on for a few hours but that would be pointless. I hope the injured party heals up soon and I hope all of you....esp Mr. Mark thinks about just what can happen if you do something wrong.


I'm probably just over-reacting, but I could tell from your posts you were old school, and while black humor is one thing, jokes in public forums aboout identifiable accident victims didn't seem like the kind of thing you'd support.

I remember the J Madsen story, rapped off the end of his ropes on El Cap checking on some friends, I believe.
I also remember the guy who got his shirt stuck in his rappel device, also on El Cap, took out his knife, cleverly managed to cut through both strands of rope and was saved when a piece on his rack caught in a crack (at least that's how I remember it.)

My point is that you can look at these rare events and come up with all kinds of ways to try to prevent them, or accept the fact that climbing isn't 100% safe and do the safety stuff that you think is worth doing.

FWIW, I think climbing is pretty safe, especially indoors. The number of system failures is surprisingly low. But unfortunately the consequences can be severe. Like in this case.

I don't know how much the good wishes of a stranger are worth, but this climber has mine.

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By TWK
Jan 3, 2013
mission wrote:
If the feature wasn't a ledge, then he hit it so hard because the static belay slammed him into the wall, and may have even cleared the feature altogether with a softer catch. (The initial post did not even mention a feature and makes me think that the climber may have been swung sideways into something by falling on a traverse, which a softer catch also would have mitigated.)


This makes sense--thanks for the reply.

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By TWK
Jan 3, 2013
JLP wrote:
Awesome. You SO missed the whole fucking thread.

Happy New Year to you, too, JLP.
Obviously, my post was not to be taken literally, you buffoon.
So you think it's necessary to get injured to avoid getting injured. Interesting logic.
But, I still hope I am able to sufficiently learn from others' mishaps, in order to avoid the same fate. That's why I'm reading the thread with interest.
You ought to read your contributions more carefully before clicking "submit", JLP--that way you won't have to edit them so much.

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By Buff Johnson
Jan 3, 2013
smiley face
Paul Wilhelmsen wrote:
... I write this on my second night losing a little sleep because I can't stop thinking about the poor dude that decked on a warm-up climb and how that could be anyone. ...


I've seen a few take a final ride. If there was anything I could have done to help, I did. I've learned to accept that it's just part of the deal and move on in life. Bad things are going to happen to good people. My only complaint is that I can't get out enough to climb more often.

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By Healyje
Jan 3, 2013
girl40
Doug Hemken wrote:
Healye, I think the perceived safety of gyms and sport climbing has caused their popularity, not vice versa.


I would disagree. Gyms have definitely driven the use of climbing in popular media and, if the data were otherwise available beyond that, you'd be able to plot changing societal perceptions of climbing risk against the growth of climbing gyms. The rise of the popular 'delusion' of climbing being 'safe' enough for birthday parties and school sports has been patently obvious if you've been involved with climbing since before gyms.

But a delusion it is and climbing is not and never will be 'safe'. Hell, if anything, it's a lot less 'safe' today on a statistical demographic basis than it was back in the day.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 3, 2013
At the BRC
Healyje wrote:
I would disagree. Gyms have definitely driven the use of climbing in popular media and, if the data were otherwise available beyond that, you'd be able to plot changing societal perceptions of climbing risk against the growth of climbing gyms. The rise of the popular 'delusion' of climbing being 'safe' enough for birthday parties and school sports has been patently obvious if you've been involved with climbing since before gyms. But a delusion it is and climbing is not and never will be 'safe'. Hell, if anything, it's a lot less 'safe' today on a statistical demographic basis than it was back in the day.


So is there some epidemic of climbing fatalities during birthday parties that I've missed? As far as I can tell they are pretty safe. At least as safe as high school football, gymnastics, skiing, etc.

Climbing was misperceived in the past and the dangers over-estimated. It isn't "safe" which is fine by me, but it isn't like defusing bombs either.

Do you think climbing gyms are responsible for the belief that base jumping is safe? That mogul freestyle is safe? I mean, if you don't like gyms, that's fine, but a whole subculture has embraced adventure sports and the riskiest ones aren't climbing.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jan 3, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
TWK wrote:
His foot must have hit the wall before he was caught by the belay!


Nope. The top part of the route is past vertical. Think of it this way. Drill a hole in the end of a sledgehammer handle. Insert a steel pin in it. Fix the pin to something, then let the gravity take the sledgehammer and see how much damage it does to whatever it hits. Now, try the same thing, but attach a bungee cord between the pin and the sledgehammer and see how much damage it does. I don't know how to make it any plainer.

mission wrote:
If the feature wasn't a ledge, then he hit it so hard because the static belay slammed him into the wall, and may have even cleared the feature altogether with a softer catch. (The initial post did not even mention a feature and makes me think that the climber may have been swung sideways into something by falling on a traverse, which a softer catch also would have mitigated.)


Yep. It was traversing right to left.

Smarty Ports/Shants wrote:
Actually, Jaker, was wondering if the "static" nature of the system had anything to do with a Grigri getting used.


That was part of it. The other part was being anchored to a tree with slings. I mentioned something about it later (much later), and my comments were not met with prudence and understanding, but we agreed. You can't argue with physics.

I digress though. I don't want to turn this into a debate over the same old shit that has been hashed out a bazillion times. The OP is about psychological effects of witnessing an accident. All I was trying to say is that I've seen both, one that was clearly a fuckup caused from inexperience and complacency and one that was, well, debatable. I still say it's easier to "readjust" after seeing an injury that was absolutely preventable, chalking it up to a mistake, than seeing one that is just dumb or bad luck. For me, the former has much more impact on my psyche than does the latter. YMMV. Stay safe, and thanks for your input.

FLAG
By Healyje
Jan 3, 2013
girl40
Mark E Dixon wrote:
So is there some epidemic of climbing fatalities during birthday parties that I've missed?

There are about 50,000 climbing-related ER visits since 1990 in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of which you can bet a high percentage are from gyms in the past decade so, yeah, I'd say, yeah, you've missed quite a bit.

Mark E Dixon wrote:
Climbing was misperceived in the past and the dangers over-estimated.

Climbing wasn't in any way "misperceived" in pre-gym days and the dangers certainly were not "over-estimated". On the other hand, climbing is grossly mispercieved today and the dangers wildly under-estimated.

Mark E Dixon wrote:
It isn't "safe" which is fine by me, but it isn't like defusing bombs either.

You at least get that part right, but climbing actually is a lot like defusing bombs - everything is hunky-dory until it isn't, and then it's over in the blink of an eye with results which are seldom pretty and often fatal despite the protective gear.

FLAG
By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 3, 2013
At the BRC
Healyje wrote:
There are about 50,000 climbing-related ER visits since 1990 in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of which you can bet a high percentage are from gyms in the past decade so, yeah, I'd say, yeah, you've missed quite a bit.


2,500 injuries a year in a sport with what 2 million participants? Doesn't seem that outrageous- unless we're talking spoiled birthday parties! I wonder how it compares with other sports.

Healyje wrote:
Climbing wasn't in any way "misperceived" in pre-gym days and the dangers certainly were not "over-estimated". On the other hand, climbing is grossly mispercieved today and the dangers wildly under-estimated. You at least get that part right, but climbing actually is a lot like defusing bombs - everything is hunky-dory until it isn't, and then it's over in the blink of an eye with results which are seldom pretty and often fatal despite the protective gear.


I think your imagination is running away with itself.
Beacon Rock isn't the Eiger.

FLAG
By bearbreeder
Jan 3, 2013
Jake Jones wrote:
Late March of last year I saw a buddy of mine damn near break his entire foot off the end of his leg in a short, simple, low FF lead fall. There were several contributing factors. The angle of the fall because of the right to left traverse of the route, the belayer was anchored in statically, as the climber was 50+ lbs heavier, and how his foot struck the rock. The fall was about 8ft max, and all of his gear held- and the belayer caught the fall properly. The only thing that could have been done differently is anchoring the belayer with the end of the dynamic rope so that there would be some give to the belay, but still have the belayer tethered. This was all single pitch from the ground. Witnessing someone screw something up (like tying in, or not being attentive and/or properly belaying) and get injured is bad enough. When you get injured or watch someone get injured pretty severely knowing that there is little that could have been done to prevent it, that can throw you for a loop. It really wakes you up to the inherent dangers of what we love to do and that no scenario is completely void of potential for injury. But it's not necessarily a bad thing. Awareness will keep you diligent and vigilant. You can't let it own your head though. It took me a couple weeks after seeing that injury to be comfortable above gear or a bolt again- even on routes I knew to be well within my ability.


the belayer needs to give a dynamic belay if there is no ledge to hit on the way down ... otherwise the swing will be tighter and the climber risks either slamming into something or clipping their foot on the rope ...

however chances are that unless you are consistently taking falls or your belayer is consistently catching you wont know this until you see or read about it happening ...

shiet happens, but the possibility of a "swing" related injury can be reduced if you and your belayer know what you are doing

rarely do climbers think of things they will clip sideways ... and on trad especially, many belayers catch falls fairly rarely, especially moderate trad climbers who tend not to get the concept of dynamic belays where appropriate IME

a good experienced belayer needs to be catching falls consistently over and over again, not just feeding the rope ...

FLAG
By TWK
Jan 3, 2013
Healyje wrote:
There are about 50,000 climbing-related ER visits since 1990 in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS)


This is the same system that has resulted in the pediatric society to recommend the removal of all playground equipment over 6' high and the banning of trampolines.

I'm glad I was a kid in the 70s. Things weren't so safe then. Nor did we have any desire to make them so.

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By TWK
Jan 3, 2013
Jake Jones wrote:
Nope. The top part of the route is past vertical. Think of it this way. Drill a hole in the end of a sledgehammer handle. Insert a steel pin in it. Fix the pin to something, then let the gravity take the sledgehammer and see how much damage it does to whatever it hits. Now, try the same thing, but attach a bungee cord between the pin and the sledgehammer and see how much damage it does. I don't know how to make it any plainer.


Plain enough. So like Bearbreeder posted while I was entering this, another part of the lesson should be that in some cases a static belay may be needed to prevent a groundfall, while in other scenarios a dynamic belay might better be employed to soften the blow. This requires every belayer, at every moment, to analyze where his leader is, and what might be required in the event of a fall--and it could change with each and every move.

Chess, with real-world consequences.

FLAG
 
By Healyje
Jan 4, 2013
girl40
Mark E Dixon wrote:
I think your imagination is running away with itself.


I think not, from the comments in this thread and threads like it on all the climbing forums. Belay, rappel, and tie-in failures are all happen at a ridiculous frequency these days - particularly belay failures with folks being dropped. For that matter I would bet someone somewhere is getting dropped every hour on the hour 24x7x365 around the planet these days.

Mark E Dixon wrote:
Beacon Rock isn't the Eiger.


Not that it has anything to do with it, but it's very comparable to Eldo standards with no shortage of people getting hurt and dying in either. But the point is there is nothing safe about climbing and a momentary lapse is all that is necessary to maim or kill you and that's ably demonstrated by the fact the mindbogglingly simple failure to STFUAB constitutes the greatest risk in the sport today.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Jan 4, 2013
...
"I got dropped about 25 feet at a gym and landed on my friends head"

I also got DROPPED approx 25 feet (Many years back) in a gym...

Only it was done INTENTIONALLY, by my third wife...

I didn't land on anyones head...

I fuking flat out decked...

Thank goodness for the type floor padding that gym used because other than being super fuking SHOCKED that she did that to me, I was uninjured (I did have one bad fuking bruise the next day and walked odd for about a week)...

I not only blew up on her, the Manager chewed her out and then banned her permanantly from the gym...

The marriage was over only a few months after...

But it actually ended, way before she dropped me...


LESSON LEARNED:

Never climb with a pissed off Woman!!!...

LOL!!!...

FLAG
By worth russell
From Brooklyn, NY
Jan 4, 2013
Holy madness. I would have given her one of these

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Jan 4, 2013
my foot
Mark E Dixon wrote:
2,500 injuries a year in a sport with what 2 million participants? Doesn't seem that outrageous- unless we're talking spoiled birthday parties! I wonder how it compares with other sports. I think your imagination is running away with itself. Beacon Rock isn't the Eiger.


I think Healyje just wants to blame everything on gyms, magazines and sport climbing if I was to summarize his replies.

I'd like to add that people that think this usually forget that when we look back on history of climbing we tend to(always) think of the guys out there doing crazy dangerous FAs with hiking boots and hemp ropes. What I'm saying is for every old school dude like this "back in the day" there was someone right next to them playing it safe while top roping off a giant tree or 2 giant pitons.You dont hear about these people. I dont think accidents per capita has risen with the explosion of gyms and silly rags.

Of course with more people trying to do what the Honnolds,Potters etc etc are doing you could start blaming magazines/videos but I have not seen this yet.

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Jan 4, 2013
my foot
Locker wrote:
I also got DROPPED approx 25 feet (Many years back) in a gym... Only it was done INTENTIONALLY, by my third wife...


damn dude, did she at least give you a dirty look or the finger first? Were you working your "proj" for too long and constantly yelling at her to TAKE IT TIGHTER?

FLAG
By Buff Johnson
Jan 4, 2013
smiley face
Locker wrote:
... LESSON LEARNED: Never climb with a pissed off Woman!!!... LOL!!!...


that's good advice

FLAG
By 20 kN
Administrator
From Hawaii
Jan 5, 2013
Doug Hemken wrote:
Setting aside the "it could never happen to me" attitude is the first step on the road to real knowledge, and even a little wisdom.

You can say that again. Unfortunately the majority of top-level climbers feel otherwise. I see hardcore guys climb like they are too smart to fuck up all the time. It is either that or often they are too lazy or uncaring to do things the right way.

SMR wrote:
Momentum doesn't allow bowlines, so most climbers abide by the Momentum rule.

That does not mean much. I always use the bowline, regardless of the gym's rules. I used the bowline at Momentum when I climbed there. I dont like being told what to do by a kid who barely even knows how to tie a figure eight. The last time I was in Momentum they almost told me I couldent climb in my harness because my harness was a Yates big wall harness and therefore was unsafe for gym climbing because it was not "designed" for gym climbing. I sprayed the kid down with a bit of my climbing resume and then followed up with a statement about how the harness is CE and UIAA certified and how I know three employees that work at the gym. Then he let me be. Gym employees are something else...

Locker wrote:
"I got dropped about 25 feet at a gym and landed on my friends head" I also got DROPPED approx 25 feet (Many years back) in a gym... Only it was done INTENTIONALLY, by my third wife... I didn't land on anyones head... I fuking flat out decked... Thank goodness for the type floor padding that gym used because other than being super fuking SHOCKED that she did that to me, I was uninjured (I did have one bad fuking bruise the next day and walked odd for about a week)... I not only blew up on her, the Manager chewed her out and then banned her permanantly from the gym... The marriage was over only a few months after... But it actually ended, way before she dropped me... LESSON LEARNED: Never climb with a pissed off Woman!!!... LOL!!!...

Interesting. That could be seen as attempted murder in the eyes of the law. It is best not to fuck around with safety. One moment you could be laughing and the next, in prison doing 25 to life. The law does not mess around with that type of stuff. I saw a girl go to prison for "usage of a firearm in the commission of a felony" for shooting a guy that was trying to rape her. It is interesting how things can play out sometimes.

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By JaredG
From Tucson, AZ
Jan 5, 2013
Healyje wrote:
Both speed and gravity kill and maim and do so at the first hint of opportunity - the idea that driving or climbing are 'safe' is a convenient social delusion and one which comes at a collective annual price and toll.


If you drive 15 miles from central Tucson to La Milagrosa Canyon this weekend, put in 10 laps of sport climbing, and drive back home, your risk of dying is about:

From climbing: 0.003%
From driving: 0.030%

This is based on disparate sources and crude data, but you get the idea. Buckle your safety belts and check your knots! Of course, an active lifestyle probably reduces the risk of things like heart disease and depression.

driving fatality risk
climbing fatality risk

---------

Where I live now I don't drive, but I was in San Diego for Christmas and zipping around the freeways in my mom's car. It was terrifying, at least somewhere deep down in my gut. Not totally unlike the feeling of lead climbing after a long hiatus. But we're generally good at compartmentalizing those feelings and getting on with it.

FLAG
 
By Healyje
Jan 5, 2013
girl40
Those are great odds unless you're the one dying.

FLAG


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