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Gear Retrieval on The Vampire - Tahquitz
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By frenwick
May 27, 2014

Hi all.

On Monday, May 19 I was forced to abandon gear on the Bat Crack pitch of The Vampire at Tahquitz due to a fall and subsequent broken leg attempting the mantle move.

I'm writing to inquire about perhaps retrieving my gear from the party who collected it on the next ascent of the route. In no way do I expect to get my gear back, but if you're willing to return it to me, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks.


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By Adam Burch
From San Dieger
May 27, 2014
Mexico, Mang

Yikes, that's rough - was staring up at the Vampire on Sunday. Hope you heal well and get that gear back.


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By Willie Wilson
From America
May 27, 2014

Hey how's the leg healing up? My buddy and I were climbing next to you on The Step when this happened. I believe Kyle Edmondson has your gear. He posted a comment on The Vampire comments about pulling it for you. He said he sent your partner an email as well.


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By rich magner
From cathedral city, ca
May 27, 2014

Ouch. Glad it was just a leg. Was your last piece below or above the mantle?


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By natebloser
May 27, 2014
The Vampire

I spoke to the party that retrieved the gear on Saturday. We were on Daves/Piton Pooper/Upper Royal Arches. They said that they intended to return the gear. Hopefully you'll hear from them soon.
Nate


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By frenwick
May 28, 2014

Willie, thanks so much for your help. If it had not been for you and your partner, I would have been sitting at the base at least another hour because my partner and I both left our mobile phones in the car. Thanks very much for calling 911 while we were descending.

As to the question about my last piece of gear, I placed a number 3 Camalot in the crack before I started traversing to the left toward the mantle. I simply don't understand how my fall resulted in a broken leg. I know the rope got wrapped around my leg and i ended up upside down (amazing rookie maneuver after 20 years of climbing), but I don't understand how I would have impacted with enough force to break my tibia.

I actually tried the sequence twice. I tried the mantle move but couldn't get my right foot quite high enough. I then down-climbed back to the crack and rested on a jug for a long time. When I tried again, I tried the "step across" method instead of the mantle. I was less than two feet from a black sling at the anchors, but I ran out of handholds, panicked, and went airborne.

The leg is healing. It's a compound fracture to the tibia and a simple fracture to the fibula. I now have a titanium rod in my tibia as a keepsake. Apparently a full recovery is possible (but not my ego) in about a 4-month timeframe.

I'm glad to hear I may get the gear back. However, I will understand completely if the party chooses to keep it.


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By rich magner
From cathedral city, ca
May 29, 2014

Gnarly. Again, glad that was all that happened. Best wishes on a speedy recovery.

It is possible to set a few pieces ( .3/.4 or so ) in the crack above the point where you traverse out. If you botch the mantle it's just a swing instead of a whip.


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By Phil Esra
May 29, 2014

Ouch. Heal fast.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
May 29, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

fenwick..... my biggest fear, is that mantle!!!! "oh fu%k"... I always think when its staring me in the face.

Good to know your going to be OK.

We do pay a price for FUN, no?

The slings hanging down...bother me.

Got there one time, long white sling hanging down, I pulled on it and almost went for the ride! Somebody thought it would be a good joke just to hang it down... trolling for weak climbers!!!! LOL LOL LOL


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By Willie Wilson
From America
May 29, 2014

Guy Keesee wrote:
Got there one time, long white sling hanging down, I pulled on it and almost went for the ride! Somebody thought it would be a good joke just to hang it down... trolling for weak climbers!!!! LOL LOL LOL


Do you mean it was just slipped through the bolt or something and it just pulled free when you grabbed it? If so that's incredibly messed up of someone to intentionally do to a fellow climber.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
May 29, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

Willie Wilson wrote:
Do you mean it was just slipped through the bolt or something and it just pulled free when you grabbed it? If so that's incredibly messed up of someone to intentionally do to a fellow climber.



Yes.. it was just looped through. No knots at all.

And yes, incredibly messed up.

IMHO, the Bat Crack pitch is the crux, at least for me.


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By x15x15
May 29, 2014

Its that dang mantle! I was talking to a partner the other day and said "I dont want to lead the Vampire ever again. Sharp end, four times, no falls. I know I'm gonna go for a ride next time on that mantle..."


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By frenwick
May 29, 2014

rich magner wrote:
Gnarly. Again, glad that was all that happened. Best wishes on a speedy recovery. It is possible to set a few pieces ( .3/.4 or so ) in the crack above the point where you traverse out. If you botch the mantle it's just a swing instead of a whip.


Great idea. As I've reflected on this over and over again, I was wondering if that was possible. I'm going to have to do this thing again if/when I heal, and I will definitely use this idea.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
May 30, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

frenwick wrote:
Great idea. As I've reflected on this over and over again, I was wondering if that was possible. I'm going to have to do this thing again if/when I heal, and I will definitely use this idea.



Great attitude... getting broken and healing, is part of the climbers game.

Your leg will be as good as new... don't worry, it just takes time.

What was the pro that stopped you?

When the Vamp was first freed, the belay was set on the top of the Bat crack, right where the pro goes, Mike cranked out that mantle, drilled and the boys climbed on using the bolt for pro, not as a belay point. That (belay at the bolts) was added later........ and is not, IMHO, the best way to do the climb.
But it is what it is.


15X15.... me too, getting old and soft...


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By frenwick
May 31, 2014

Guy Keesee.... the last piece I put in was a #3 camalot just before I started the traverse out to the left toward them mantle. In my mind, that piece was close enough to prevent a fall resulting in a broken leg, but apparently not. It will be really interesting getting up there again someday and trying to figure out what happened. I just may take your advice and setup an anchor in the crack before the mantle. There's plenty of room in the crack to setup a safe three-point anchor there.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jun 3, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

Yea, a #3 is what I recall..... You don't need to fall very far to break bones, just wrong.

How is your leg now?

Getting better?

Hope you get your gear back.

heal up.


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By Willie Wilson
From America
Jun 11, 2014

I saw you fall and if you had a number 3 where you say you did you should have just taken a little swinging fall but you whipped at least 20 feet and flipped upside down. There must have been a bunch of extra slack paid out or something for you to have fallen that far.


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By generationfourth
From Irvine, CA
Jun 11, 2014

I had a #3 probably around the same place as the OP. From what I recall you're pretty high above it and out to the left as well. The fall should be clean and big- but swinging in and getting your rope caught behind your leg could result in a freak accident. As far as extra slack goes you're at the end of a very long pitch so there is a lot of rope stretch.


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