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How dangerous is backclipping...really?
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By pete cutler
From Des Moines, IA
Oct 14, 2012
I've never heard of an accident due to a rope unclipping from a draw because to a backclip. Have any of you?

Seems to me that there's way more dangerous mistakes made that nobody focuses on, such as foot placement around the rope and pulling out stupid amounts of slack to clip way over your head...

What's the deal with the fear of backclipping?

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By NickinCO
From colorado
Oct 14, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.
yes, it happens. Doing a search here will probably show a few of them.

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Oct 14, 2012
my foot
I backclipped an entire route once on my first day of leading and I'm still alive.

I also drove drunk once and didnt kill anyone.

I texted once while driving and nobody got killed so its all good bro, backclip away!

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By GMBurns
Oct 14, 2012
Climbing at Morro Anhangava in Southern Brasil.  (...
pete cutler wrote:
I've never heard of an accident due to a rope unclipping from a draw because to a backclip. Have any of you? Seems to me that there's way more dangerous mistakes made that nobody focuses on, such as foot placement around the rope and pulling out stupid amounts of slack to clip way over your head... What's the deal with the fear of backclipping?


I've seen it happen. The climber wasn't hurt, but the extra fall was a bit unexpected. Sure, you can make other, more serious mistakes, but this often simple to not make, so why avoid it?

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By Josh Olson
From madison, wisconsin
Oct 14, 2012
Looking at a 5.7 crack with Nick
How hard is it to not backclip...really?

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By richie
From englewood, tn
Oct 14, 2012
rock climbing is full of things that can be dangerous in theory but is unlikely to happen in practice. coming unclipped from backclipping is unlikely but in the right circumstances it could definitely happen and has happened. if it werent for things like backclipping we couldnt have long boring drawn out discussions on internet forums about how to die rock climbing. of course we could still argue about what a redpoint is or isn't.

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By frankstoneline
Oct 14, 2012
If no one else is around, feel free to backclip all you want. However, if other climbers are present please don't as they will be obligated to assist if you wreck yourself. This rule of courtesy applies to all unnecessary risky climbing behavior.

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Oct 14, 2012
Colonel Mustard
pete cutler wrote:
I've never heard of an accident due to a rope unclipping from a draw because to a backclip. Have any of you? Seems to me that there's way more dangerous mistakes made that nobody focuses on, such as foot placement around the rope and pulling out stupid amounts of slack to clip way over your head... What's the deal with the fear of backclipping?


If you consistently backclip you look like somebody who doesn't have much experience. Like others have said, it's an easy practice to avoid. In fact, it's so easy, people don't generally do it (probably why you don't hear about accidents).

So, did you get busted at your gym or something?

Also, avoiding the rope behind the leg, etc.. seem like commonly enough emphasized themes, but you can re-prioritize your list of dangers on a personal basis too.

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By Abel Jones
From Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 14, 2012
Nice Crisp day for an FA
I watched a friend of mine hit the ground when a backclip made good on its threat. Luckily he was a few pieces up and the next one down caught him in time to softly land him on the one flat spot in the talus on his feet. This was ironic because we were teaching a beginner class and he had just explained how not to backclip. Let us know if you find some actual injuries due to backclipping, im sure they're out there.

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By pete cutler
From Des Moines, IA
Oct 14, 2012
Obviously clipping right is easy- I'm not advocating backclipping or anything as there is no reason to not do it right.

I was out climbing this weekend and saw a climber who backclipped and was corrected by their belayer - rightfully so. It just got me thinking about how I have never heard of a backclip causing an accident. Just curious if it happens. Question answered. Thanks

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By Muff
Oct 14, 2012
.
While, I've never heard specifically of an incident where someone was injured from a backclip, it doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't happened a lot. People don't always divulge the specifics of why or how they were injured but merely say, "something weird" happened.

Although, when placing runners on gear, I always do my best to straighten out all the twists in my sling as to not backclip. That stuff scares me a little.

If you pull directly from your knot and pull slack, then you really shouldn't back clip...ever. Unless you somehow decide to pull from your knot and then roll your wrist and hand as to reverse the rope. It's just as complicated to describe what I just said as to actually do it in real life.

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By Jtorres
Oct 15, 2012
Start of Liposuction
back clip and you may not find yourself in the shit but combine that with a fall on the wrong side of a draw facing the wrong way and you might see how a loaded gate will unclip itself...nice trick

Don't back clip or don't fall-ever

Also, climbing is complicated. There are things you can do and things you don't do..do the things you should do and survive..or the mountain gods will do you

Climb on

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By bearbreeder
Oct 15, 2012
if you find yourself backclipped ... fixing it can be dangerous especially if yr at yr limit and decently above it ...

you have to make a judgement call at that point ... and not backclip the next one ...

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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Oct 15, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
Pete has a good point that there are often higher-priority errors in leading. Rope-behind-leg is a great example.

I once watched a group of relatively inexperienced sport climbers leading up a steep route - the leader was clearly pumped, and struggling to clip the second bolt. A blown clip would have resulted in a ground-fall from ~20 feet. He backclipped the draw, then wanted to take, but his belayer made him unclip it (clearly pumped and shaking at this point) and re-clip it properly.

I didn't say anything during this for fear of confusing the leader even more, but after commented that if that happens again, it's better to just take on the backclipped draw and fix it later.

More generally, it's important to develop an intuitive and accurate sense of risk priorities...even on relatively safe sport climbs.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 15, 2012
...
Personally seen two people fall much further than they would have, had they not, "Backclipped".

It happens!

Neither were seriously injured, physically.

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By coldatom
From Cambridge, MA
Oct 15, 2012
Jurassic Park
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
He backclipped the draw, then wanted to take, but his belayer made him unclip it


Why would someone ever unclip the draw and risk a long fall? Just add one in the correct orientation. Then remove the backclipped draw, if you must.

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 15, 2012
Bocan
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
Pete has a good point that there are often higher-priority errors in leading. Rope-behind-leg is a great example. I once watched a group of relatively inexperienced sport climbers leading up a steep route - the leader was clearly pumped, and struggling to clip the second bolt. A blown clip would have resulted in a ground-fall from ~20 feet. He backclipped the draw, then wanted to take, but his belayer made him unclip it (clearly pumped and shaking at this point) and re-clip it properly. I didn't say anything during this for fear of confusing the leader even more, but after commented that if that happens again, it's better to just take on the backclipped draw and fix it later. More generally, it's important to develop an intuitive and accurate sense of risk priorities...even on relatively safe sport climbs.


Most hangers I'm able to get a second draw in to correct those occasional backclips that happen, rather then unclipping entirely.

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By Dom
Administrator
From New Brunswick Canada
Oct 15, 2012
Moby dick 5.11-
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
I once watched a group of relatively inexperienced sport climbers leading up a steep route - the leader was clearly pumped, and struggling to clip the second bolt. A blown clip would have resulted in a ground-fall from ~20 feet. He backclipped the draw, then wanted to take, but his belayer made him unclip it (clearly pumped and shaking at this point) and re-clip it properly. I didn't say anything during this for fear of confusing the leader even more, but after commented that if that happens again, it's better to just take on the backclipped draw and fix it later. More generally, it's important to develop an intuitive and accurate sense of risk priorities...even on relatively safe sport climbs.


Man some people can be dumb!!

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By Puzman
Oct 15, 2012
Little finger
I was at the scene of an accident in the Gunks a few years back. A climber decked from about 30-40' up. His last placement failed when he fell from above while trying to get in his next piece. His last piece was still in a crack, with an empty draw hanging from it. While I can't say for sure, I think that back-clipping is the likely reason that the placement failed. He is now a quadraplegic. Note that a locking biner while lower on the route (i.e. in ground-fall zone) would have likely led to a much happier outcome.

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By GMBurns
Oct 15, 2012
Climbing at Morro Anhangava in Southern Brasil.  (...
Puzman wrote:
I was at the scene of an accident in the Gunks a few years back. A climber decked from about 30-40' up. His last placement failed when he fell from above while trying to get in his next piece. His last piece was still in a crack, with an empty draw hanging from it. While I can't say for sure, I think that back-clipping is the likely reason that the placement failed. He is now a quadraplegic. Note that a locking biner while lower on the route (i.e. in ground-fall zone) would have likely led to a much happier outcome.


note that not back-clipping would have likely led to a much happier outcome. Note that he decked, and a locker (which, if a non-locker had not been backclipped down low also would have likely had the same result as a locker) lower wouldn't have made a difference?

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Oct 15, 2012
Colonel Mustard
Also, the irony quotient is satisfyingly high in this thread. A thread all about the subject it asks us to ignore. Superb!

Or maybe it isn't really irony [irony experts, I'm looking in your direction... for nothing! Just mustache advice, really]? Is this a self-denying thread? And what, exactly, is a meme anyway?

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By Princess Mia
From Vail
Oct 15, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks
Josh Olson wrote:
How hard is it to not backclip...really?



+++++1

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By Josh.Wood
From New York City
Oct 15, 2012
Josh Olson wrote:
How hard is it to not backclip...really?

Actually, when learning to lead, you often don't notice a backclip. My belayer had to point it out to me a few times. If I was unsure if it was a backclip or not, I would get paranoid thinking that if I fall, the rope would come unclipped.

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By John Husky
Oct 15, 2012
If you must, you can rotate the back clipped biner so the gate is up and the spine facing the rope. It beats unclipping.

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By Ian Stewart
Oct 15, 2012
John Husky wrote:
If you must, you can rotate the back clipped biner so the gate is up and the spine facing the rope. It beats unclipping.


Most sport draws are designed so that the biners don't easily rotate inside the dogbone, and for good reason. I think that in most cases flipping the biner like that would actually be more difficult.

If you DO happen to backclip, and are in a good enough position to fix it, it's usually easiest to unclip the entire draw from the wall, twist it, then clip it back in so you're no longer backclipped. This is almost always easier than trying to unclip the rope from the draw. If you're NOT in a good position to fix it, just leave it. It's not ideal, but I think a backclipped draw is much safer than trying to fix one while on a shitty stance. (For now I'm ignoring the whole "spine of the biner should face the direction of the climbing thing, since obviously twisting the draw will change that...)

But really, it's so easy NOT to backclip that if you find yourself doing it at all you should probably pay more attention and practice some more.

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By MaraC
Oct 15, 2012
taking a break from climbing shoes before rapping ...
John Husky wrote:
If you must, you can rotate the back clipped biner so the gate is up and the spine facing the rope. It beats unclipping.


Isn't backclipping where the rope runs from the belayer, up through the carabiner, toward the rock, then back to the climber? (As opposed to correctly clipping, where the rope runs from the belayer, out through the biner, from the rock to the climber.) Spinning the biner will not fix this.

I've seen the term "backclipping" used to refer to both situations - with the rope running the wrong way through the biner, and with the rope loading the gate side as opposed to the spine. As I understand it, the danger of unclipping comes from the first definition (rope running the wrong way through the biner), not the second, although neither is ideal. Is there a better way to differentiate between these two mistakes?

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