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By John marrows
Jul 31, 2013
Boulder death muencher
I have seen two careless climbing mistakes in my Boulder climbing community in the past two weeks! First was the infamous video account of the climbers who video taped their "adventure" up the first flatiron in a storm on infinitely dangerous trad set up while they knew a storm was coming, just to call SAR to get them from the first pitch. (Face to palm).. If you haven't seen that then look up the forum "I hope they were charged for the rescue"--or something like that.. But more importantly and the reason I posted this thread is because my good friend and generous human, Scott Jones was dropped from the top of a climb in Boulder Canyon last week. I had been climbing earlier in the day with his girlfriend (my great friend) and he decided to give us our girl time and go climbing with someone who posted on a climbing community site and contacted him. It was after us ladies returned from the crags and were in my house that she received a call from Scott at the hospital. Scott was dropped from the top of a 60-70ft climb and fell all the way to the ground because of his naive and overconfident belayer. The belayer told Scott he was experienced and had belayed many times and knew how to use his gri gri device, when Scott asked about his experience before hand. The dude straight up lied to him and didn't know his shit and held his gri gri down after giving way too much slack at the top and also didn't know the difference between slack and take so when Scott said take, the guy just held the gri gri down completely so that Scott free fell 60 to 70 feet taking a ground fall!!! This was totally preventable and shouldn't have happened! Somehow Scott defied the laws of physics and lived, recieving only deep head gashes and really soar knees (yes he wore a helmet and probably saved him too). This incident really hit me deep as it was my friend and I, myself climb with new partners sometimes. Make sure you and your partner truly know each others experience and equipment and how to properly belay. Even better..be the safest and best belayer you possibly can be..the little details can mean the difference of life or death and no one deserves a bad belay!!!!

FLAG
By Gaylord.Primrose
From boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2013
This post violated Rule #1. It has been removed by Mountain Project.

By bearbreeder
Jul 31, 2013
Natalie P. wrote:
The belayer told Scott he was experienced and had belayed many times and knew how to use his gri gri device, when Scott asked about his experience before hand. The dude straight up lied to him and didn't know his shit and held his gri gri down after giving way too much slack at the top and also didn't know the difference between slack and take so when Scott said take, the guy just held the gri gri down completely so that Scott free fell 60 to 70 feet taking a ground fall!!! !


people who deliberately lie about such and get people hurt should be outed ...

its one thing to admit you dont know shiet or arent practiced .... its another to straight up lie

who was it and which site

;)

FLAG
By MojoMonkey
Jul 31, 2013
Sucks for the injury.

FWIW you may get more people to read the account if you split up that chunk of text into paragraphs.

FLAG
By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Jul 31, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH
Agreed with Mojo, breaking it up would make it a little easier to read.

Sorry for the injury, it's usually fairly easy to figure out if people know their basics, but some people are just shitty.

Perhaps we need an partner rating system on MP, a blacklist perhaps? I know, it's a sticky situation between honest criticism and belligerent defamation, but it could keep people safe.

I've only had one bad MP partner experience, and it was easy to see what the problems were right off the bat. Kept myself on easier ground and was extra vigilant for the day. It's a small price to pay for your life.

FLAG
By ze_dirtbag
From TBD
Jul 31, 2013
cottonmouth
out him. i know i def dont wanna climb with him

i'm down for the partner rating system......admins, can you whip something up for that?

FLAG
By nicelegs
From Denver
Jul 31, 2013
Between this site, rc.com when it still worked, and craigslist, I bet I've climbed with 100 strangers or more. Most were just looking for 1 day, as I was, and most I haven't climbed with again. This is mostly due to having a magical moment in the schedule that worked once, not because it was a bad time.

In fact, speaking of bad times. I have never had a bad time with my total stranger partners. Not a single bad day.

Some climbed 5.13 trad. Some were working on 5.9 sport on TR. Some I climbed big multipitch routes with, others I went to the gym with. The key for me is being honest with my partners about what I can do as well as being honest with myself about what I should do with this person.

If I want to work some route that I'm likely to fall all over and this dude doesn't look like he's ever caught a fall, I can put up some TR's on easier routes to still have a good day. Or boulder. Or god forbid, teach.

I'm not blaming the injured dude, not at all. I'm just saying that so often what "I want to climb" isn't consistent with what my partner for the day is up for. You have to be able to let that go and have a plan B.

Another hint when posting for partners (near 100% success rate). Say what you're planning to do and what you're willing to do. Don't post up saying "Looking for 5.6 to 5.14, psyched people". Say wtf you mean "Looking to share burns on Ultrasaurus, Tuesday after work" You're going to find someone with similar goals and if he's got similar goals, likely he has similar experience.

The only time this hasn't worked for me is when I asked for a partner for Shock Treatment on weekdays. The crickets were deafening.

And FFS, bring your own rope, cause mine is looking sketchy.

FLAG
By Ty Morrison-Heath
From Bozeman, MT
Jul 31, 2013
Profile Photo <br />
TLDR

FLAG
By Red
From Arizona
Jul 31, 2013
Cobra Kai
Stranger danger! I don't ask people to belay me until I've seen how they belay others.

Natalie P. wrote:
Make sure you and your partner truly know each others experience and equipment and how to properly belay.


To me this is a "no duh". Too many climbers assume that all other "climbers" know what they're doing. Each of us are responsible for your own safety. It is our own responsibility to select a safe belayer.

Edit: I agree with Jake Jones comment below. I think he conveyed how I felt better than I was able to.



MojoMonkey wrote:
FWIW you may get more people to read the account if you split up that chunk of text into paragraphs.

agreed



ze_dirtbag wrote: "out him. i know i def dont wanna climb with him

i'm down for the partner rating system......admins, can you whip something up for that?"


Interesting idea. I kind of like it except for just one jackass could sabotage your rating. They would have to be verified partners somehow.

FLAG
By Gaylord.Primrose
From boulder, CO
Jul 31, 2013
This post violated Rule #1. It has been removed by Mountain Project.

By Tom-onator
From This Galaxy
Jul 31, 2013
Tom-onator
Red wrote:
Too many climbers assume that all other "climbers" know what they're doing. Each of us are responsible for your own safety. It is our own responsibility to select a safe belayer.


I agree Red, but..
To tie into a rope's end is an unwritten contract to share a LIFE LINE with a partner.
Your life is in my hands equally as my life is in yours.
Too many people seem to take this lightly.
Do we no longer stress this importance when teaching newcomers our passion?
Hubris? Naivety?

Wishing Scott a speedy recovery

FLAG
By ze_dirtbag
From TBD
Jul 31, 2013
cottonmouth
Red wrote:
Interesting idea. I kind of like it except for just one jackass could sabotage your rating. They would have to be verified partners somehow.


i feel you

i would say it's as easy as don't climb with douches.....but sometimes you can't avoid that.

i've been pretty lucky, i'm travelling around climbing as much as i can and have picked up quite a few partners along the way from mp. all of them have been straight up about what they feel comfortable with and how hard they wanna climb. even if it's not a rating system, a feedback section on partner finder could be nice. if someone blasts your feedback, pm them....they might tell you why or change it. or you might have chosen a douche

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By susan peplow
From Joshua Tree
Jul 31, 2013
Beer Anyone?
Hey Gaylord, glad whatever you said got the ax. Clearly Natalie is upset and rightfully so. She didn't call anybody out by name just stated the situation and her disgust and aggravation that such a thing could happen. Thankfully her friend somehow avoided what could have been a super grim experience of broken bones, bashed in head, crushed vertebrae, death.......

So all things considered, she was exceedingly nice and less of a jerk than I would be. I don't know her, the victim, the gym or even the idiot who grounded the climber. So all things considered the inexperienced, overly self-inflated idiot who did the deed remains anonymous to the readers of this post.

Thanks Natalie, it's a good reminder as with new partners or people you've just met how easy it is to assume they're experienced or take their word for said experience. Good wishes to Scott with hopefully an easy recovery with no long-term damage to the knees.

Hopefully Ladies day out was fun at least! :)

~Susan

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Jul 31, 2013
Colonel Mustard
There must have been some friction in the system or I doubt he would have been that lucky. Regardless, best of healing to him. Too bad the belayer screwed up, fortunately, it is a lesson learned over something far worse.

FLAG
By Scott Jones
From boulder, co
Jul 31, 2013
-
Though i don't care to be the main subject of a thread, I should probably clear up a few things just in case this thread snowballs. Forgive me in advance if there's a few grammar errors since i'm still on a healthy amount of opiates.

first off, thanks everyone for the good wishes. I am doing much better. I had the stitches throughout my face removed earlier today and it looks like the plastic surgery has payed off quite well.

i should establish that this was not a typical rapping/lowering miscommunication. I was the first to lead the route and we established that he was going to lead it after i hung the draws. When i reached the chains i yelled down "take". I didn't feel any pressure from the rope so took both hands and grasped the line and began lowering myself. As i neared a bulge 10 feet below the chains i felt (possibly mistakenly) the rope come tight.

Unfortunately i can remember the entire fall.

Luckily the initial bleeding wasn't too bad and i was able to self rescue from avalon across the creek to the highway. A generous climber replaced my blood drenched shirt with his own and offered to drive me to the hospital. Unfortunately the traffic was bumper to bumper, but luck would have it that man on a harley was passing by, so i hopped on. I quickly made my way through traffic until i reached the cause of the backup which was swarmed

the next day i spoke to the belayer (if you can call him that) From what i ascertain, he panned out slack at the top of the route by pulling on the grigri's lever while letting go with his brake hand.

I'm guessing the only thing that kept me from the morgue was the fact that the rope was hopelessly kinky and caused a good deal of friction. It may have also tangled itself below the grigri just before i slammed into the ground.

at the end of our conversation i gave the belayer an ultimatum; either give up climbing or spend a month getting guided lessons. After careful consideration, i realize that i won't know for certain if he has kept his promise so i do feel the need to out him.

I cannot recommend that anyone looking for a partner on this site climb with Michael Yount from Boulder, Co

FLAG
By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jul 31, 2013
tanuki
Best wishes, Scott. I hope that you have a quick recovery and wish you all the best!

FLAG
By ze_dirtbag
From TBD
Jul 31, 2013
cottonmouth
best wishes dude....sorry for your experience

and thanks for the heads up on this cat. i'm sure a witch hunt will follow, but maybe thats a lesson he needs to learn.

theres nothing wrong with being a noob....just f***ing own it and get someone to teach you, whether it's on a guided trip or someone willing to mentor

FLAG
By Buff Johnson
Jul 31, 2013
smiley face
Totally sucks. Hope things improve in your healing process.

A good friend of mine also did that self-belay trick, and he lowered out over a bulge only to see that the belayer wasn't. A few choice words remedied the problem before he went free-hanging, or rather, free-falling. He taught me that little grab trick; wouldn't have even thought about it otherwise.

So as my example, I had an anchor snafu one time and had to climb to another anchor, up and kinda traversy. My awesome (ex)girlfriend and I lost comms & sight (also, over a bulge), but to her credit always kept me on. I usually go for an off-belay and rap, except in the overhanging/traversy stuff. So, if in doubt, belay it out, and she did. She's still awesome. So, I used it just as a precaution because things just didn't go as planned.

I guess my point is that the soft grab is kinda cool, but it'll probably only work for me up to a point. Once I come off an overhang and go free-hanging, it'll be like a batman routine -- you know, the one where he keeps trying to climb out of that prison and takes 80 foot whippers on a static line. Yeah, just like that. I probably wouldn't make it for a long lowering. I'm just not ninja warrior status right now; fucking next level neuro/bio-chem and qm shit takes all my time.

Just trying to be wordy to throw some humor your way.

Anyway, maybe a prussik safety on the back-side of a lowering to your harness, but the guy said he was solid. I've been in the same position many times and never once had someone totally screw up a straight forward belay.

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By chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
Aug 1, 2013
First climb after knee surgery <br />
sorry to hear that Scott,

did I hear that correctly. Your so called belayer dropped you and you self-evac'ed and got yourself tyo the hospital. What was the so called belayer doing. He should have been busting ass to get you out of there

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By rob.calm
From Loveland, Colorado
Aug 1, 2013
Mother #1 on the Nautilus at Vedauwoo. Rob is calm on this happy offwidth
Natalie P. wrote:
The belayer told Scott he was experienced and had belayed many times and knew how to use his gri gri device


Just to clarify, whose belay device was it, Scott's or the belayer's?

Best wishes Scott for a solid recovery.

Rob. Calm

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By teece303
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Aug 1, 2013
Aiding. Photo by Locker.
So you fell 60 feet, evacuated yourself, and the rode to the hospital on the back of a stranger's Harley? That's pretty bad ass. Hope you recover fully.

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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Aug 1, 2013
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.
Man, Scott, that's insane. Really happy you'll be able to recover from this. As JLP posed above, what would you do different going forward?... in terms of confirming a new internet-matchup's belay skills, verbal communication, processes when not feeling tension on a rope, etc. Any insights would definitely help the community as a whole. Thx, and speedy recovery.

Erik

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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Aug 1, 2013
I had something very similar happen to me. Went climbing with a guy from the gym who said he knew what he was doing. Got to the top and called take. He took this to mean I was "taking" the rope up with me, and fed out a few armloads of slack just as I was leaning back, and he lost control of the rope. To his credit he burned his hands pretty badly and caught the brake strand shortly before I decked, but it was disconcerting to say the least.

Now I always grab the rope when I lean back.

FLAG
By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Aug 1, 2013
modern man
nicelegs wrote:
Between this site, rc.com when it still worked, and craigslist, I bet I've climbed with 100 strangers or more. Most were just looking for 1 day, as I was, and most I haven't climbed with again. This is mostly due to having a magical moment in the schedule that worked once, not because it was a bad time. In fact, speaking of bad times. I have never had a bad time with my total stranger partners. Not a single bad day. Some climbed 5.13 trad. Some were working on 5.9 sport on TR. Some I climbed big multipitch routes with, others I went to the gym with. The key for me is being honest with my partners about what I can do as well as being honest with myself about what I should do with this person. If I want to work some route that I'm likely to fall all over and this dude doesn't look like he's ever caught a fall, I can put up some TR's on easier routes to still have a good day. Or boulder. Or god forbid, teach. I'm not blaming the injured dude, not at all. I'm just saying that so often what "I want to climb" isn't consistent with what my partner for the day is up for. You have to be able to let that go and have a plan B. Another hint when posting for partners (near 100% success rate). Say what you're planning to do and what you're willing to do. Don't post up saying "Looking for 5.6 to 5.14, psyched people". Say wtf you mean "Looking to share burns on Ultrasaurus, Tuesday after work" You're going to find someone with similar goals and if he's got similar goals, likely he has similar experience. The only time this hasn't worked for me is when I asked for a partner for Shock Treatment on weekdays. The crickets were deafening. And FFS, bring your own rope, cause mine is looking sketchy.


odds baby, odds, I hope your "luck" continues. I personally have climbed with some unknown people from the internet and have not been dropped but I certainly watch the shit out of their belay technique and never do anything hard on the first pitch.

you will die someday for sure so maybe it doesnt matter that much.

5.13

FLAG
By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Aug 1, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
Jesus. It's stories like this one that make me glad I'm extremely particular about who belays me. I will "go climbing" with people I don't know, but I have never and will never let someone whom I don't know belay me. Sometimes I feel like an overly cautious ninnie until I read a heinous account like this one that could have ended much, much worse.

My favorite part was Scott flagging down the Harley to get through traffic to the hospital. I wish you a full and speedy recovery. And the belayer, if you're reading this, and if this story is credible, I hope your sack gets chewed off by marmots, tardo.

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By CJC
Aug 1, 2013
I'll rap and clean if we're doing single pitches

FLAG


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