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Potential Scenario: Block Falls & Takes Climber With it...
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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Dec 16, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
Not sure if this is the correct forum,

but after watching this the other day:

rockandice.com/news/2406-video...

I got to thinkin'; Has this ever happened where the leader pulled a massive block off of a wall like this, and the last bolt was on said block...?

Has anybody heard of anything like this happening? I've always thought about this scenario and after seeing this video (how it vividly illustrates the massive potential forces at work in our sport), my curiosity has been rekindled.

Thanks!
-Jon

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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 16, 2012
The West Desert...it's not just for climbing, suckers! <br /> <br />Photo by Samantha
I think this happened to a climber on Mt Lemmon at the Reef of Rocks. A huge block came off and the leader went with it (he did not survive as I recall the story going).

Also, there is a story in the book Deep Survival about a married couple climbing in Europe. One of the fixed rappels was done for years and years off a massive, slung block. The couple got to the block at the same time as another party. They allowed the other party to rap down first, which they did successfully. Then the husband got on rappel, but just as he started to descend the rope, the block started moving. He reached out instinctively to his wife and their fingertips briefly touched before the block rolled off and took him with it. The story sounds made up but I know the author cited all his stories so it must have been true as far as I know.

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By Alex McIntyre
From Tucson, AZ
Dec 16, 2012
The Reef of Rocks accident is recounted here:
climbaz.com/service/richthomps...

He was the follower, cleaning some loose blocks, when he came off with some of the blocks. The weight of the blocks and Rich pulled out the belay, with Rich falling and being killed by the blocks and the leader being pulled 100 feet to the ground, but surviving.

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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 16, 2012
The West Desert...it's not just for climbing, suckers! <br /> <br />Photo by Samantha
Thanks, Alex! I didn't remember that happened on BBB, a route I've climbed. (and 5.6? I thought it was 5.8...with some committing sections, par for the course at RoR....anyway).

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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Dec 17, 2012
I seem to remember a story about a group of alpine climbers who were killed when they built a belay on a block that ended coming loose. Apparently there was a third guy but he made it because he was off to the side on an independent belay. Does anyone know this story?

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By Tom Mulholland
From #1 Cheese Producing State!
Dec 17, 2012
Whiskey-a-Go-Go
I've heard tales of a magical man unclipping himself from a block with a bolt as it fell. Perhaps he can grace us with the story?

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By MojoMonkey
Dec 17, 2012
Jon Zucco wrote:
Not sure if this is the correct forum, but after watching this the other day: rockandice.com/news/2406-video... I got to thinkin'; Has this ever happened where the leader pulled a massive block off of a wall like this, and the last bolt was on said block...? Has anybody heard of anything like this happening? I've always thought about this scenario and after seeing this video (how it vividly illustrates the massive potential forces at work in our sport), my curiosity has been rekindled. Thanks! -Jon


Here is a report from 2007 when a block Magic Ed was clipped to came off in El Potrero Chico.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Dec 17, 2012
20 kN wrote:
I seem to remember a story about a group of alpine climbers who were killed when they built a belay on a block that ended coming loose. Apparently there was a third guy but he made it because he was off to the side on an independent belay. Does anyone know this story?


I thought I heard or read a story of this happening to some climbers on Sharkfin Tower in the Cascades. A block they used to rappel off of came loose.

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By Forestvonsinkafinger
From Iowa
Dec 17, 2012
A client I had out on a kayak trip in Rez bay last year (who I recall was 75) told me he was aiding a pioneer route back in the 70's on copperheads when the bock he grabbed began to pull. Since he knew he and the block were now going, he told me he quickly got under it and pushed it out as hard as he could as he fell. All the heads pulled and the anchor finally stopped him, but he saved his belayer's life.

Any other advice on block pushing?

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Dec 17, 2012
Stabby
I had a microwave-sized block with a bolt on it fall into my lap while following/cleaning a route in Rifle once. I had to manage to hang on the holds, push it back with my thighs, unclip the draw and holler down for every one to move before letting drop. That was in the mid-90's, have not been back since.

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By Kirk Miller
From Golden, CO
Dec 17, 2012
Bugaboos, 1978 <br />Photo by Ken Trout
No disrespect, accidents happen... cleaning choss is one of the most dangerous things climbers do. It's always difficult if not impossible to predict which way a block will shift before it cuts loose when you're cleaning.
In the video, the bigger block could have rotated back onto the climber who was cleaning from the side.
Never clean loose rock from a position where it could conceivably shift and trap or injure. Work from above, use a crow bar if possible.
For sure, expect the unexpected.
Be careful!

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By ChillFancy
From Chattanooga, TN
Dec 28, 2012
Chilling on a hammock anchored with nuts made from tied rope.
Who are these people who are bolting loose blocks?

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By David Barbour
From Denver
Dec 28, 2012
I read one story where a guy was climbing a huge detached pillar and the whole thing fell over. Climber and belayer were both okay. It might have been on Cascade Climbers.

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