Check Your Knot ... More Accidents


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Mick Ryan

Trad climber
The Peaks
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 28, 2010 - 08:02am PT

'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.'

Edward Whymper

There are no statistics on how many climbers set off up a climb, either indoors or out, and forget to tie their knot properly in to their harness.

Lynn Hill is perhaps the most famous climber to do this when climbing at the Styx Wall at Buoux, France in 1989. On clipping her rope in to the anchors at the end of a route, she lent back to lower, the rope pulled out of her harness and she fell 70ft. She crashed through a tree and landed between two boulders. She was lucky, she suffered only a broken ankle, dislocated arm and a host of bumps, cuts, and bruises.

Other climbers have not been so lucky. Several climbers have died when they have forgotten to tie their knot properly, many others have sustained serious injuries.

Personally I can remember a climber at Malham Cove (35ft fall, two broken ankles), one at the Owens River Gorge (65ft fall, multiple breaks) - one fell off then hit the ground, the other clipped the anchors sat back and then hit the ground. This year I saw a memorial to a climber who died at a crag in France, after they forgot to tie in properly and fell off.

In the last few months we have heard of five climbers in the UK who have forgotten to tie their knot properly in to their harness.


Buzzard Point, TN
Dec 28, 2010 - 08:11am PT
yes! "CYK..."

---from Nathaniel Walker:

On May 27, 1998 I found myself sitting under the Anti-Phil wall in Rifle. I had been climbing for about 14 months and was trying to get through my first road trip (Schooling Session) to this canyon. First time up Easy Skankin' (12b) took me probably 1.5 hrs on lead. Rough. My second run was on TR. At the bolt before the knee bar pod (about 60 ft off the deck), MY ROPE CAME OFF MY HARNESS AND SWUNG OUT OF REACH. I had to clip a draw from my harness to the draw above me, and then dyno my left hand to the upper one before clipping in. Sick. I was then able to reach over, grab the rope, and tie in for real. It took a while to figure out, but in the process of rope management before the climb, I tied an overhand knot to my belay loop for access ease and never looked to change it. HAD I FALLEN OR TAKEN AT ANY POINT ON THE ROUTE, I WOULD HAVE DECKED. LESSON LEARNED: ALWAYS DO A SYSTEMS CHECK BEFORE CLIMBING! PLEASE, do not forget this experience and (CYK) Check Your Knot

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