Climbing Death in Yosemite above the Awahanee

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GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
May 10, 2010 - 12:23am PT
Came up on friday with my sister and mom for the weekend, saw the choppers go past us. Got a sinking feeling in my gut. no one should die climbing, please be safe everyone, even if it is kind of a hassle.

Yosemite is such a beautiful place, we should all climb there as often as we can, with our good friends, until we are so old we can't remember to tie in anymore, and spend the rest of our days hiking past its soaring falls and proud faces. A lifetime is so short, lets not make it any shorter than it is.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 10, 2010 - 01:02am PT
Hours of choppers on Friday, we had our own problems, but knew something was up.
altieboo

Boulder climber
Livermore, Ca
May 10, 2010 - 03:37am PT
My thought and prayers go out to the friends and family.

Very saddened to hear about this.
Anastasia

Mountain climber
hanging from a crimp and crying for my mama.
May 10, 2010 - 04:09am PT
My deepest condolences.

It is never easy to lose a loved, and it shouldn't be easy. It is part of how a person's existence "matters." Please take care of yourselves. Especially those of you who are deeply effected by this loss. Just work through one step at time and "don't ever forget how much others need you too."

AFS
Fishy

climber
Zurich, Switzerland
May 10, 2010 - 04:46am PT
A long-held question of mine has been raised - what testing has been done to compare knots for rapping on ropes of different diameters?

I once found something by Tom Moyer, but if I remember correctly, the testing wasn't really designed to completely address this question. I have alway been suspicious of an EDK with a big difference in rope dia.

Thanks,

Fishy.
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
May 10, 2010 - 08:04am PT
^^^
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1165306/Rapping-rappelling-not-the-music-dufus

Double overhand...?
mpandy

Trad climber
May 10, 2010 - 11:01am PT
Rappel knots from BD's gear buster:

http://web3.bdel.com/scene/beta/qc_kp_archive.php#123008
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 10, 2010 - 11:12am PT
Chief, Overhand Fig 8 is super weak and rolls super easy.. In fact I am quite certain that one of the few accidents with this style knott was actually a fig 8 and not an overhand .. The overhand (EDK) got is bad rep in part from that accident with an overhand fig 8.
GOclimb

Trad climber
Boston, MA
May 10, 2010 - 12:42pm PT
My sincerest condolences for all involved, and to family and friends.

Personally, I still cannot fathom how a knot could have pulled through even the one inch aluminum rap rings. Not unless the knot was on the wrong side of the ring to start with (in which case it didn't pull through).

I also don't understand how the anchor could have been "shock loaded" as the rescuers state. If the knot pulled through (or was just on the wrong side in the first place) the rappeller would have just free-fallen and the pull line would simply pass freely through the rings. I cannot think of anything that would have "shock loaded" the anchor.

Lastly, if anyone feels that this is an inappropriate time/place to ask these question, I'd be happy to delete my post or move it to another thread.

Again, my deepest sympathy to all.

GO
Gary

climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 10, 2010 - 12:50pm PT
Oh, no! I know and have climbed with a Brian Ellis from UCLA. Brian is just a terrific kid, smart and very personable. He started climbing a few years ago and really took to it. He climbed well and safe.

This is just terrible news.
j-tree

Trad climber
bay area, ca
May 10, 2010 - 01:06pm PT
I would assume that "shock loading" would be the reason for the knot pulling through the anchor as opposed the pulling through being the cause of the shock loading. That "shock" could come from a overzealous bounce while rapping or slipping and catching one's self on the rope. No user error is required to place stress on the anchor point.

Not sure how the physics works, but would a single rope on one side increase or decrease the force on that anchor ring?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 10, 2010 - 01:12pm PT
Gary, It doesn't come out right for me to say I'm sorry you knew Brian, but you know what I mean. This is just such a sad situation. I've spent quite a bit of time yesterday and today pondering this one even though I don't know those involved. Again, my sympathies to Brian's family, friends, his partner on the climb and those at the scene.

A couple observations. The Trango cinch, like a GriGri, forces you into rapelling the single line and using the stop knot type of rig. Also, like the GriGri, you can descend very rapidly and stop instantly.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
May 10, 2010 - 01:18pm PT
ksolem:
The Trango cinch, like a GriGri, forces you into rapelling the single line and using the stop knot type of rig. Also, like the GriGri, you can descend very rapidly and stop instantly.

Whether they are germaine to this particular accident I don't know, but ksolem makes two important general points.
nita

Social climber
chica from chico, I don't claim to be a daisy
May 10, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
"My sympathies to Brian's family, friends, his partner on the climb and those at the scene. "

My heart is saddened thinking about his Moms.. Mother's day... I am so sorry for your loss..

nita
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
May 10, 2010 - 01:34pm PT
From day zero I have hated rappelling.

100% reliance on equipment.

I could be having my best day on the cracks and climbing stuff like a hardboy but then I have to rap and all my "skills" go out the window and I need to trust my gear and anchor 100%.

Nope, never liked that.

you can descend very rapidly and stop instantly.

Now, I don't feel old, but I know many will mock me here... the carabiner brake rappel rig uses gear you already have on your rack* and does not shock load the system since even the quickest stop is not "instant" like the Cinch, etc. In our rush to go light and get down quick we seem to be increasing the odds against us.



*Well, I guess many of us no longer have krabs on our rack suitable for this.

BBWolf

climber
May 10, 2010 - 02:10pm PT
http://www.30bananasaday.com/profiles/blogs/rip-brian-ellis-05072010

An entry into the blog of a first responder. Repectful. Honest. I will delete if anyone considers it otherwise.
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
May 10, 2010 - 02:31pm PT
my condolences go out to brian's friends and family. what we climbers do is dangerous and we have got to be careful. i have made a pledge to myself and have been encouraging my friends to

NEVER DIE RAPPELING

this, after losing several friends rappelling, and having others get hurt real bad.

personally, i changed the way i rappel a few years ago after taking AMGA courses. now, i use the single overhand knot without a backup, but i use a sling or metolius PAS to extend the device upward, and then use an autoblock and test the system before i unclip and rappel. my point being is that i am rappelling both ropes, and that the extra autoblock system keeps the ropes from slipping thru the anchor while rappeling. the autoblock has a huge safety margin, but of course, must be used corectly. before i would just rap two lines on atc, brd, reverso, etc with no backup, and if i needed a hands free option, to clean gear or something, i'd wrap the rope around my legs a few times.


whatever system you are using, i encourage a ritualistic approach to setting up rappels, where one is in the zone, not talking to anybody, and making the system from start to finish without interuption.

again, i am so sorry this happened, brian sounded like a great guy.
steve schneider
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
May 10, 2010 - 02:32pm PT
My deepest condolences to family and friends. I heard choppers both Friday and Saturday over the weekend - I hate that sound.

kev
David Wilson

climber
CA
May 10, 2010 - 02:36pm PT
I'm really sorry to hear about this accident. All my condolences to Brian's friends and family through this difficult time.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 10, 2010 - 02:57pm PT
GO,

> Personally, I still cannot fathom how a knot could have pulled through even the one inch aluminum rap rings. Not unless the knot was on the wrong side of the ring to start with (in which case it didn't pull through).

Jesse posted above that it was oversize rings there, apparently not the standard 1.5 inch (inside diameter):
"The rap rings were the larger-opening-diameter aluminum ones, this explains how the knot was able to pull through the rings. It is now a solid welded steel ring with an extra biner as a backup."

> I also don't understand how the anchor could have been "shock loaded" as the rescuers state. If the knot pulled through (or was just on the wrong side in the first place) the rappeller would have just free-fallen and the pull line would simply pass freely through the rings. I cannot think of anything that would have "shock loaded" the anchor.

It could happen if there was a tangle/clump in the pull line. If the clump was, say, 60' down below the rings, then once the main knot went through the rings, he would go 60' until the clump shock loaded the rings/slings, and either pulls through or the pull cord breaks at that time.

Zeth,

Thanks for your blog post. Very traumatic to be there when somebody is dying and there is not much you can do to save them.
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