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By coreylee
From Sacramento, CA
Oct 25, 2011
I was out climbing the other day. First route of the day felt great. Felt so great that I was ready to get on my project and try to send.

Just before I roped up I thought about all that darn money I have spent on law school and decided to protect my brain with my helmet. Ran back to the car, grabbed the helmet, and finally got on the horse. Moving up the route I placed a few bomber pieces then started through the crux. I placed a #1, climbed up about 6 feet and then placed a C3 red micro. I wasnt able to see just how good this piece was placed in the rock but I tugged on it and it felt strong. Feeling secure about that placement I continued up about 6 more feet where I decided to throw in a small nut, a BD #5, the blue guy, i think. I tugged on the nut and it felt solid so I continued up through the crux. 6 feet above the nut I got pumped and decided to take what i considered a controlled fall.

Next thing you know i am about 25-30 feet from where i fell. Initially i was just a little bummed that I fell but then i realized that i had blown that small nut. I reached to my mouth because it was throbbing. Removing my fingers i noticed blood dripping. I did a once over with my tongue across my front teeth and realized that I had busted out one of my front teeth. Shit. Ah man. Really?

So yeah, I fell, pulled a piece of gear, and then the gear catapulted towards my head being stopped by my helmet. Once the gear hit my helmet, the quickdraw it was attached to hit me in my mouth knocking about 3/4 of my tooth out.

My helmet is dented, lucky i put it on. Wear your helmet. Although this is really not that big of a deal it has really messed with my head. Trying to learn from this experience and find good where things have gone south.


Two cents are welcomed.

FLAG
By Benjamin F
From Arcata, CA
Oct 25, 2011
Topping out, first time doing Juicifer without any hangs, November 2011
no matter how good you get at placing gear there's just no accounting for the inevitable inherent uncertainty associated with trad climbing. every piece i've ever blown was on placements that i had felt great about, and i've also been caught on gear that i had clumsily placed in a panic...

whenever i crap out and need to fall i always ALWAYS down climb as much as i can before weighting the gear, if i have the option. thats the only thing that i think could've possily prevented this? but like i said, if you have the option... down climbing might not have been possible.

FLAG
By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Oct 25, 2011
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.
What kind of quickdraw was it? Is is possible that the rope's tugs dislodged the nut from its initial placement? Any sign of damage on the nut's faces in contact with the rock?

FLAG
By Joe Huggins
From Grand Junction
Oct 25, 2011
mmmm....tree
On the bright side; you had a valuable learning experience with minor damage. Pulling gear is real bad for your confidence. (Decking is worse-you can trust me on this.)If a climber lives long enough, and keeps climbing, they will have more than a few scary memories. Get out and climb,get comfortable on familiar routes and those below your limits.Try to figure out what caused the nut to pull, use what you have learned to cultivate wisdom. Remember-fear is our friend-up to a point; it can keep us from doing stupid shit, or it can stop us in our tracks.Relax, breath, climb as much as possible, and save the number chasing for when you feel the passion.

FLAG
By coreylee
From Sacramento, CA
Oct 25, 2011
JLP, read again. I thought that I had placed a bomber nut before i fell. Also, I have climbed both easier and harder routes that require you to make blind placements. When I make a blind placement i do inspect, but sometimes all you can do is tug on the gear. Have you climbed on a route where blind placements are necessary? If so, how do you assess your gear?

Brenta, there is a chance that the nut was nudged out of it's placement before I actually took the fall. However, I am pretty careful about this and remember negotiating my feet around the gear as I was falling. I did take a look at the nut and there are deeper then normal abrasions on the sides where contact was made. Thus, this makes me think that the nut simply pulled from it's original placement.

FLAG
By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Oct 25, 2011
I have made very few truly blind placements over the years. They tend to be the place where you put them in for a short toprope over an insecure move, where you can see the placement after the move. I'd say 4 out of 5 of the blind placements I've made were... suboptimal. But fixable after pulling the move.

Curious... what route were you on? And your account of the fall is different from my experiences: When the top piece blows the leader inverts about half the time. Also, it has never been a surprise when the top piece blows. You're not sitting on the end of the rope going 'look at that!' Gear popping feels and sounds rather violent in my experience... and this one hit you in the mouth.

FLAG
By Jeremy Kasmann
From Denver, CO
Oct 25, 2011
coreylee wrote:
JLP, read again. I thought that I had placed a bomber nut before i fell. Also, I have climbed both easier and harder routes that require you to make blind placements. When I make a blind placement i do inspect, but sometimes all you can do is tug on the gear. Have you climbed on a route where blind placements are necessary? If so, how do you assess your gear?


Seems the real issue is the nut was not as bomber as you thought, so try to understand why not. What made you think it was bomber? Maybe practice falls on backed up small nuts and see how they hold?

Personally, I wouldn't consider a blind placement bomber, even after a tug (especially a micro cam). I have found it is pretty easy to place pieces that hold a hard tug, but pull on a fall.

FLAG
By Nelson Day
From Joshua Tree, CA
Nov 4, 2011
me (about to sneeze)
I have climbed past a placed nut only to see it pop out of the placement and slide down the rope (yes it was slinged). This happened due to the rope flopping the nut around as I climbed past and above it. Could be what happened to you? I always tug/set my placed nuts now, which may make your cleaning partner not very happy, but it keeps them in place.

Another thing that might have happened: if you are using quick draws to clip your nuts, make sure you aren't back clipped through the quick draw. If you were back clipped, the draw will twist the nut hard when you weight it, which could also cause it to pull. I have seen BD C4 pieces pull because someone back clipped the biner on the sling attached to the cam.

FLAG
By Derek W
Nov 4, 2011
First summit of First Flatiron
JLP wrote:
Trolling

Yep, again...

FLAG
By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nov 4, 2011
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
But dude, if you aren't flyin' you aren't tryin'! That lost tooth was totally worth it. Ask anyone here who subscribes to the Leader Does Not Not Fall credo.

FLAG
By Marty Combs
From Boulder, CO
Nov 4, 2011
Bouldering
My two cents:

1. I save nuts for anchors (unless it's the most obvious nut placement ever).
2. I'm turning my head and wincing when I fall from now on.

FLAG
By Eric Fjellanger
Nov 4, 2011
Me on top of Chianti Spire
coreylee wrote:
I got pumped and decided to fall.


Well, there's yer problem.

What do you think would have happened if you had kept climbing? I've been CONVINCED I was going to fall many times, and have usually managed to keep my shit together long enough to place some more gear or pull through the difficulties.

Choosing to fall onto trad gear generally strikes me as a bad idea. Also, it sounds like you clipped a quickdraw to the nut, which might have been a bad idea. I feel a lot better about putting an extended floppy sling on a nut, to keep it from shifting around and messing up its placement.

FLAG
By spn
From Sioux Falls,SD
Nov 4, 2011
+1 for trad draws but I have had pieces pull when I watched myself place them too, they weren't very good. Blind nut placements...WHAT!?! oh and lay backing isn't even fun!

FLAG
By Rob Fielding
From Las Vegas, NV
Nov 4, 2011
Third pillar of dana descent.
When pushing your grade pick well protected climbs. sounds like you were placing a lot of thin gear. with thin gear you need to place very efficiently since there is less surface area. before crux sections dont be afraid to place a few pieces. leave the anorexic rack at home and bring some more gear so you can place where ya please. what type of rock were you climbing on?

FLAG
By coreylee
From Sacramento, CA
Nov 4, 2011
It was granite. If you read above at no time do I say that I made a blind nut placement.

Finally, I'm in the library (on a Friday night) studying for the MPRE, let me live vicariously through you, go out and have a good friday night!

FLAG


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