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T-Wall Accident- 10Feb2012
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By Swamp Cookie
From da Bayou
Feb 10, 2012
Big Alligator.
Anybody have any additional info on this?

wrcbtv.com/story/16910193/resc...

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Feb 11, 2012
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumbling Bald.
Word from locals is that the two were on Prerequisite for Excellence. The leader took a fall on a piece of pro that was placed behind a block, dislodging the block which fell and hit the belayer. Amazingly, he still managed to lower the leader (he was apparently using a grigri). I couldn't get a good look at the injured belayer in the news video; he didn't look familiar.

Horrendous mishap, but it sounds like it could have been a lot worse. Crossing my fingers for the victim.

JL

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By TKHouse
Feb 11, 2012
Dang, scary stuff.

There is definitely some loose rock at the lower part of the crack on PfE. There's loose stuff all over T-Wall if you're not vigilant, particularly of the smaller variety and at the top of many climbs. Plenty of solid rock as well though.

EDIT: Just wanted to be clear, my post was not a comment about this particular climber's actions regarding how this accident happened. Accidents like this are no one's "fault". I wasn't there the day of the accident and certainly don't claim to know how / why this particular accident happened. As with all accidents in climbing, it is beneficial to the community to learn from them and take those reminders and knowledge to heart.

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By Peter Audano
From Atlanta, GA
Feb 13, 2012
Leda 2011
I was there on on Feb 12, two days after. According to a sign posted on the billboard (asking for their gear to be returned), they did in fact fall on Prerequisite for Excellence. There were obvious signs on the ground that an accident had occured there.

The stone that had apparently struck the belayer was still on the ground, and one side of it was covered in chalk. It looked like one of the chockstones in the crack, but nobody could tell where on the route this stone came from. It had probably been a trusted part of Prerequisite for Excellence since it was established the 80's.

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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Feb 13, 2012
Gunking
The person who retrieved the gear gave a detailed post on rockclimbing.com here: RC.com Thread

The belayer really is a hero. Here is hoping to to full and speedy recovery.

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By Swamp Cookie
From da Bayou
Feb 13, 2012
Big Alligator.
Posted by neekwan:
rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum... :

I did not witness the accident and cannot give a complete account of the accident or rescue.

I was climbing at Suck Creek (just down the road) on Friday - the day of the accident. I came to T-Wall on Saturday. I heard Saturday morning of the accident the day before. There was a note on the trail sign explaining that there had been an accident and requesting someone to collect the gear left behind on Prerequisite to Excellence.

We hiked up and saw blood on several of the rocks at the base of the route. The block which had been dislodged was lying on the trail. I knew it was a "new" block because it had fresh "scars" on it and plenty of chalk. I wouldn't estimate it's weight to be as much as 200 lbs, but sizable nonetheless - certainly capable of generating much more than 200 lbs of force. It was about the size of a 35 liter backpack.

Looking at Prerequisite to Excellence from the ground, we couldn't tell where the block had come from. There was gear about halfway up the route. I led up to the first small roof and did see the scars on the rock where the block had been. I also saw what appeared to be cam scars on the wall under the roof. I presumed that a cam had been placed here, loaded, and had dislodged the block. (Note: The remaining rock directly above the fresh scar shows a thin seam about twelve inches up. It's still subject in my opinion. I believe it may be fully attached on only its smallest side. I question its quality and would recommend against placing a cam behind it.)

Later in the day we eventually met a lady who had been active in the rescue the day before. She was a physician. She confirmed that the cam had in fact dislodged the block and that it was not the climber who was injured, but the belayer. She said that the belayer was wearing a helmet. She explained that when he caught the fall on the GriGri, he was actually pulled up and into the plummeting boulder. She said the belayer suffered a broken arm, ruptured spleen, and a "destroyed" knee. In spite of these injuries, he still managed to safely lower his climber after the fall. She said the climber and belayer were both in their 40s and both experienced. The lady indicated that she may go back into town that evening to check in on the victim. So we gave her the gear we collected from P to E.

It was only a matter of time before that block came down. Few would have guessed it was even subject. It had been climbed thousands of times - a classic route. The block had much chalk on it. This is an accident that could have happened to anyone and would have been very hard to avoid - beyond just not putting a cam there or not falling.

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Feb 19, 2012
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumbling Bald.
Got some good news from my buddy in Chattanooga who's been keeping up with developments on this accident. The injured belayer has pulled through and is headed back to his home state for further treatment. Can't go into specifics on his injuries, but suffice it to say that he's lucky to be alive.

It's always nice when a story like this has a happy ending.

JL

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Feb 19, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
Very glad to hear the belayer is heading home.

FLAG


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