Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New
Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Smith Rock loose boulders
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
By DavidW
From Portland, OR
Jan 29, 2014
Atman, 5.10 crack.

Two large boulders came loose last weekend at Smith. One damaged a structure by Monkey Face and the other dislodged above Cinnamon Slab, sending my friend, April, to the hospital.

The Cinnamon Slab boulder was dislodged by a rappel group, hit the wall, shattered, and sent fragments into April's face and shoulder. Worst of all - it could have been completely avoided.

In the picture below you can see rappel lines crossing over climbers' ropes. It was an accident waiting to happen - either the climbers or the rappel group should have waited until everyone was out the way. A little communication here could have gone a long way.

As bad as it was, April could have been hurt a lot worse. The intent of this post is not to point blame, I'm hoping it can help prevent accidents like this from happening again. Lets all be aware of potential loose rocks and unnecessary dangers, and look out for each other this climbing season.


Thanks.

April
April


Rappel lines
Rappel lines


FLAG
By ScoRo
From Portland, OR
Jan 29, 2014
Ahhhh, remember the hair and pay tribute to it.

Glad your friend is alright. Lots of loose stuff lingering on and on top of many routes at Smith.

Pulling the ropes on the second pitch of VOTCD (might be safer for those below you, to just downclimb to the first pitch anchor clipping a bolt on the way and bring your second over) I watched in horror as a fishbowl sized rock went sailing off toward the bottom of Picnic Lunch wall, and I was trying to be careful.

Keep yer heads on a swivel.


FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Jan 29, 2014
Cleo's Needle

Traffic jam on Cinnamon Slab you say...


FLAG
By Paul Trendler
From Bend, Oregon
Jan 29, 2014
 VOTCD. Photo  by <a href='http://Tylerroemer.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >Tylerroemer.com</a>

Wow. I saw your friend April being led out of the park on Sunday, and I saw the large group on the karate wall, but I didn't put them together until now. Wishing April a quick recovery!

Doing big group rappels in that spot used to be much more common, and for this very reason it has become a less popular location. I've even seen people throw rappel lines down without looking while people below had been in full repoint mode on Crossfire or Karate Wall. In my experience with larger groups I have always tried to keep a lower profile when possible. The efforts to get off the beaten path guiding has several advantages beyond safety concerns like this one. With a little looking around you can find great group sites at Smith, without monopolizing a super popular area.

FWIW, it has even been mentioned in guide books, Thesenga's select I think, that big rappel groups should avoid that spot. But I also saw that huge group, at least three fixed lines, and chose to go climb somewhere else... so it certainly goes both ways.

Swift recovery, let's all learn from this, climb a bunch, and have fun!


FLAG
By kstrom
Jan 30, 2014
Leavenworth

I just wanted to add to this that we were climbing there first before the rappel ropes were dropped. I was actually on cinnamon slab when the first rope was lowered with NO communication from the team above that there would be over 20 people rappelling from above. We let the first couple come down before climbing again. Never did any of the rappeling team that had already dropped notify us that there was that many people up there. It wasn't until after the accident that we learned this and had to forcefully ask them to stop rappelling any additional people so that we could clean our routes and move. So I guess lesson learned to communicate more with fellow climbers and not trust that they are going to be as safe as we are. Be Safe and aware of your surrounding!


FLAG
By Jcweinsx
From Beaverton, Oregon
Feb 1, 2014

I think we should petition Oregon state parks to restrict large groups (5 or more) from certain walls at Smith. If you have 10+ people in the group go climb at the student wall. The Dihedrals are already a very busy location. Please don't bring your large group there. I hope your friend recovers quick and gets back on the rock soon. I climbed cinnamon last weekend. It was a zoo, but everyone communicate and cooperated.


FLAG
By frankstoneline
Feb 1, 2014

DavidW wrote:
...The intent of this post is not to point blame, I'm hoping it can help prevent accidents like this from happening again...



kstrom wrote:
I just wanted to add to this that we were climbing there first before the rappel ropes were dropped. I was actually on cinnamon slab when the first rope was lowered with NO communication from the team above that there would be over 20 people rappelling from above. We let the first couple come down before climbing again. Never did any of the rappeling team that had already dropped notify us that there was that many people up there. It wasn't until after the accident that we learned this and had to forcefully ask them to stop rappelling any additional people so that we could clean our routes and move. So I guess lesson learned to communicate more with fellow climbers and not trust that they are going to be as safe as we are. Be Safe and aware of your surrounding!


glad someone could provide the blame assist.


FLAG
By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Feb 1, 2014
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Jcweinsx wrote:
I climbed cinnamon last weekend. It was a zoo,


Despite being a zoo, you climbed anyway......

I don't have a problem with this, but you sort of contradict yourself.


FLAG
By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Feb 1, 2014
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

frankstoneline wrote:
glad someone could provide the blame assist.


If people above are dropping shit on climbers below (20 people rappelling?? WTF), it's absolutely valid to "blame" them for it. The OP didn't, but there's nothing wrong with pointing out what the problem was... and it sounds like a group of 20 rappellers (if that's accurate information) coming down on top of climbers was the problem.


FLAG
By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Feb 1, 2014
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

There's about 10 different ways to get down within a 100' radius of the top of Cinnamon Slab, including at least two that aren't above routes and one that's a walkoff, albeit off the wrong side (15 minute walk/scrable gets you back). No excuse for coming down on climbers. Nor knocking shit off the edge, for that matter.


FLAG
By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Feb 1, 2014
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Jcweinsx wrote:
I think we should petition Oregon state parks to restrict large groups (5 or more) from certain walls at Smith.


Yes! More regulation!


FLAG
By April Grisetti
Feb 2, 2014
Santa Fe, NM 2013

Great discussion thus far, I hope more chime in. I'm the one who was hit by the falling rock last Sunday. From my perspective, I've been reminded to listen to my instincts and speak up. I saw 2 rappellers come down those lines just prior to rigging up to belay my partner, and I made the assumption (bad idea) that they were done. It didn't occur to me at all that there might be more rappellers above. But something didn't feel right about the whole scene and I will be a better communicator in the future to ensure I understand the situation. I'm confused as to why the rappelling group did not have a leader below, directing the class once they got down or advising us climbers as to what they were doing. I think that was a major problem on their part. Additionally, the rock was exceptionally fragile last weekend, I imagine due to winter freeze/thaw, so it was even more reason to be very very alert and communicative. Really great & important learning experience. That said, I admit I'm not thrilled to be the one recovering from getting my ass kicked by rocks and dealing with a hospital bill! Be safe ;-)

Where I was standing :-/
Where I was standing :-/


FLAG
By Ryan Palo
From Bend, oregon
Feb 4, 2014
Me

Hey April, sorry this happened to you. You may have not see them, but on the right you can see the person who actually dislodged the rock that hit you. I was standing at the base of Latest Rage and saw that happen. Several things wrong here: Sport repelling. Unnecessary bag hanging from belay loop. Rapping from the wrong spot + traversing. Not to mention all that was going on during a normal busy weekend.

Sport Repellers
Sport Repellers


There's a growing consensus that no one besides people actually climbing these routes should be rapping off. There's a set rap anchors at the top of the 2nd pitch of CS. I for one think the upper Karate Wall anchor (not the set lower down on the face) should be removed and the anchors for Cry Baby be lowered to the face or left as a single bolt to discourage sport repelling.

The CS area will always be a crowded beginner's area, so we do our best to encourage good practices for those operating above the cliff line. If you want to do a repel where there's good exposure or free from wall contact, look towards the monkey or brogan's spire.


FLAG
By Toby Butterfield
From Portland, OR
Feb 4, 2014
Fear and Loathing.

Jesus, what a shitshow. Sorry to hear about this April, and hoping for a quick recovery for you.

I generally agree with Palo, and although his suggestions would make it harder for Rhoderick to hang his draws and get his ropes stuck on rappel, that's a hit I'm willing to take.


FLAG
By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Feb 4, 2014
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

April Grisetti wrote:
Great discussion thus far, I hope more chime in. I'm the one who was hit by the falling rock last Sunday. From my perspective, I've been reminded to listen to my instincts and speak up. I saw 2 rappellers come down those lines just prior to rigging up to belay my partner, and I made the assumption (bad idea) that they were done. It didn't occur to me at all that there might be more rappellers above. But something didn't feel right about the whole scene and I will be a better communicator in the future to ensure I understand the situation. I'm confused as to why the rappelling group did not have a leader below, directing the class once they got down or advising us climbers as to what they were doing. I think that was a major problem on their part. Additionally, the rock was exceptionally fragile last weekend, I imagine due to winter freeze/thaw, so it was even more reason to be very very alert and communicative. Really great & important learning experience. That said, I admit I'm not thrilled to be the one recovering from getting my ass kicked by rocks and dealing with a hospital bill! Be safe ;-)


Not at all making the suggestion that you should- merely curious, as someone with a sort of semi legal background.... have you considered seeking damages?


FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Feb 4, 2014
Cleo's Needle

I'd love to know who organized the group.


FLAG
By Khoi
From Vancouver, BC
Feb 5, 2014

Ben Beckerich wrote:
Not at all making the suggestion that you should- merely curious, as someone with a sort of semi legal background.... have you considered seeking damages?


I think the party at fault should at least cover her hospital bill.


FLAG
By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Feb 5, 2014
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Khoi wrote:
I think the party at fault should at least cover her hospital bill.


If I dropped a fucking rock on someone's face, you wouldn't even need to ask me. But I am not everyone else.


FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Feb 5, 2014
Cleo's Needle

Ben Beckerich wrote:
If I dropped a fucking rock on someone's face, you wouldn't even need to ask me. But I am not everyone else.


Sport Rappelling...


FLAG
By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Feb 5, 2014
Bocan

Holy sh*t I did not expect to see that picture. Glad she is alright.


FLAG
By Joel Thiessen
Feb 5, 2014
Quick repel in CA.

Ben Beckerich wrote:
If people above are dropping shit on climbers below (20 people rappelling?? WTF), it's absolutely valid to "blame" them for it. The OP didn't, but there's nothing wrong with pointing out what the problem was... and it sounds like a group of 20 rappellers (if that's accurate information) coming down on top of climbers was the problem.


So, I'm the guy that April was getting ready to belay, and was just a foot or two away from her upon impact. I can confirm that 20 repellers is accurate. That was what we were told by the woman down below that was helping April. I believe she was a student in the class (some assumed a leader but I don't believe that's the case). I'd say we personally witnessed more than 10 come down over the next hour or so.

So, I don't believe the purpose of this thread should be to take up arms, or even name names, but I'm not going to tiptoe around what I recognize as the unsafe element in the incident. We're aware of who the group was and we'll at least be inquiring as to how they are addressing the incident, and what they'll do differently in the future. To my knowledge noone that was actually in charge of the group ever approached any of us, possibly worried about liability? Not sure, but that definitely rubbed me the wrong way.

I'm not very familiar with Smith (yet!) but by the sounds of it bringing that many repellers down at that place/time was bad practice and unnecessary. Like April, I'll certainly be more aware and responsive to these types of scenarios in the future, and I'm SO glad noone was more seriously injured for me to learn that lesson! Thanks to everyone for chiming in and contributing their knowledge and insight.


FLAG
By Toby Butterfield
From Portland, OR
Feb 5, 2014
Fear and Loathing.

They kept coming down after this?


FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Feb 5, 2014
Cleo's Needle

Joel Thiessen wrote:
So, I don't believe the purpose of this thread should be to take up arms, or even name names, but I'm not going to tiptoe around what I recognize as the unsafe element in the incident.


Maybe that wasn't the intent but unsafe groups should not be kept from public scrutiny.


FLAG
By Joel Thiessen
Feb 5, 2014
Quick repel in CA.

Toby B wrote:
They kept coming down after this?


They did, although we asked them to stop shortly there after while we took down our routes and they complied.

I wouldn't say that I'm protecting them from scrutiny, but I just think it would be best to at least try and talk to them directly first.


FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Feb 5, 2014
Cleo's Needle

I respectfully disagree. Any group that uses the busiest area in Smithrock to teach sport rappelling without any safety measures and injures a bystander should be publicly outed. They pose a risk to the public.


FLAG
By Jon Rhoderick
Feb 5, 2014

Damn I'm the first one to get outed?? That burns Butterfield, it burns.

I have a few brief thoughts on the accident having seen while climbing on the Fourth Horseman.
First, I'm super sorry that April got injured, I hope that this incident doesn't decrease the enthusiasm for climbing that April or any beginner climbers that were right next to her.


Second: Immediately after the accident, people instantly criticized and accused the rappeller of who knows what, to which their response was "fuck you, I'm a beginner". At first I thought that was a horrible defense, but in the end, the person who is responsible for the accident was the trip leader that put this beginner in a position to harm an innocent bystander. From my selfish viewpoint, having a bunch of people cursing at each other when someone was clearly hurt was just as depressing as the accident itself.

Third: I believe April's injuries are a result of the shrapnel from the rockfall, had that rock hit anyone directly it would probably have been fatal. Practically everyone underneath was wearing a helmet which was great to see. As Toby gleefully mentioned I rapped Karate Wall a few days later. The rock that came down was considerably larger than anything that remained at the station, someone should have removed it before having a beginner knock it off.

There's no reason that the people involved should have there names revealed on MP but I really hope that leader never leads a rappelling course again, it was clearly rigged in a hazardous manner.
If anyone wants advice they should definitely PM me. I can assure that, when rigged correctly, nothing, including your ropes, will ever fall from above.


FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>