Follower falling while simul-climbing / leader consequences

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Andy KP

climber
Jan 23, 2006 - 02:28am PT
I've been using the ropeman system for a long time now on terrain where I'd probably be happy to solo (if I didn't have two kids and a wife). It's far from perfect, but if done correctly I feel it can give you almost the same level of protection as belayed climbing (although you should consider it soloing).

The important things to remember are

#1 Know your partner, and both have the system dialed. Don't go off using the set up with someome new.

#2 Never allow the second to build up slack, as this could couse serouse damage to the rope in a fall. Ideally you should climb at a steady pace.

#3 Keep the rope short (45m) and thin so as to reduce the added drag.

#4 If you exstend the ropeman climb with a loop of rope in one hand so you can't be dragged off.

#5 Cut off the wire loop on the ropeman as this can hang up on the gate of the locker and stop it from working.

#If you need to ask why people simul climb then the answers irrelivant anyway.

#The technique dosn't always work, so prepared to pitch it or do a true simul climb.


And yes I've had a partner fall off and I didn't notice a thing.

here's that link as well:- http://www.psychovertical.com/?10speed


Cheers

Andy
Doug Hemken

climber
Madison, WI
Jan 23, 2006 - 10:24am PT
cadl -

Not many people seem to have experience with this system after both climbers come off (at least, not many who are around to talk about it?).

Unless the pull is vertical, the rock is perfectly smooth, and the fall really clean, once the second climber comes off this system quickly heads toward chaos and unpredictable results. If either of the falling climbers catches a foot or bounces, all bets are off for your "fairly realistic" model.

So all the advice you see here is geared toward keeping the system from reaching the inflexion point past which chaos ensues - the leader must not be pulled off by the second. Leave no slack, use a ropeman. Communicate like crazy.

If you are both aware of the risks, and communicating well, then I would guess the system only reaches the state you are trying to model after *both* climbers have been taken by surprise and gone airborne.

Then your anchors should be really, really bomber.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Jan 23, 2006 - 11:06am PT
You do not want to look at this with simplistic fall factor analysis. Too see this, consider the example where the leader is a defensive end for an NFL football team and the follower is a butterfly. Sure, they will both fall the same distance in almost the same time assuming that each is falling free and that the follower and leader fell at the same time. When the leader reaches the protection, he keeps on falling slowed by the weight of the rope (and butterfly), and friction until the butterfly's knot catches in the piece above him (the unfortunate butterly died at the end of his fall due to the huge acceleration - so much for the static FF analysis, which suggests that he gets a soft catch!). At that point...

Real world
 The followers fall is being slowed by all of the friction of each piece in the system, however little that might be.
 The fall of each may involve loss of kinetic energy with each collision with the terrain.
 The energy of each climber matters. Fall factor analysis involves an anchored rope tied off (i.e. not moving on impact, absorbing energy mechanically instead of in the form of heat.).
 The more energy the leader has the more rope will move through the top biner.
 Seems like a really dangerous thing to happen.
 Skip the theoretical stuff and figure out how to try it out, with weights and ropes. (Might save your life.)

Doug - You want the anchors to be bomber in the sense that they stretch a lot, otherwise the rope breaks.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Jan 23, 2006 - 11:18am PT
James

"Simul-climbing is dangerous. To try and rationlize ways to make it safe is foolish. Accept the seriousness of the situation and do it in the simplest fashion or don't do it at all."

Rock-climbing is dangerous. To try and rationlize ways to make it safe is foolish. Accept the seriousness of the situation and do it in the simplest fashion or don't do it at all.

Burns

"He essentially says you need to understand that it is essentially soloing. The rope is less of a safety net and more of an inattentive guardian angel, it might save you, but you'd better not be counting on it."

Perhaps it is soloing if the two climbers are equal in abilities. That is not situation in my case. If one is doing a long alpine climb, on some type of ground (whether it is the approach, the middle, or the exit) one is going to climb/scramble/hike unropped. And at some point one ropes up and climbs. The terrain that I want to rope up on is easier than what my partner feels he personally needs a rope for. And this isn't surprising since he is a stronger climber. When we scramble unropped or when we simul-climb, my chance of falling is [presumably] greater than his. If I fall scrambling, thats it. Simul-climbing we can climb almost as fast and I get a belay for free (well, almost for free, there is some chance my partner might fall). Not a very attentive belay, but a belay. And alpine falls tend to be bad anyway. In addition, being in the lead, I can always place a piece when the climbing gets a little harder.

For long climbs (especially in the mountains) there is a tradeoff between moving fast (beating darkness/storms etc) and belaying every pitch out. Since I have faith in my partner, I am more likely to choose simul-climbing on sections that with other partners I would just (in the interest of speed-is-safety) solo.

Another trick I have learned: if on terrain that is mostly easy but then has a short section (5'~10' say) of more difficult climbing, I'll put a piece in before I do the moves and yell down to my partner about the section. When my partner gets to that section, I'll place another piece and clip directly into it. My partner then does the "difficult" section while I'm clipped in direct and then once he is through it, we go back to simul-climbing. I don't waste time actually putting him on belay (he generates slack as he climbs), but I'm safe against a fall. In the unlikely event he falls on that section, it will be shorter than the normal simul-fall.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jan 23, 2006 - 12:01pm PT
What August said, though a lot of time, the climb time is faster, if the stronger climber drags a rope for the weaker climber, than if the both solo. Beats waiting.

Also, I kinda presupposed that anyone taking it as far as simulclimbing had already abosrbed the knowledge from AW's post, below;


"Another trick I have learned: if on terrain that is mostly easy but then has a short section (5'~10' say) of more difficult climbing, I'll put a piece in before I do the moves and yell down to my partner about the section. When my partner gets to that section, I'll place another piece and clip directly into it. My partner then does the "difficult" section while I'm clipped in direct and then once he is through it, we go back to simul-climbing. I don't waste time actually putting him on belay (he generates slack as he climbs), but I'm safe against a fall. In the unlikely event he falls on that section, it will be shorter than the normal simul-fall."

Lots of long climbs go faster (no bivy!) as cluster-solos punctuated with belays.
cadl

Trad climber
Long Beach, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 24, 2006 - 01:38am PT
Thanks everyone for the valuable feedback. I had forgotten about the ropeman trick.

We’ve utilized the majority of the “good protocols” mentioned in many of the replies above, namely:

> Only simul’g on easier ground where both of us would consider solo’g
> Have the stronger climber follow
> Minimize slack in the system
> Fixed belay either climber thru short sections of more difficult climbing (AW’s earlier suggestion)
> And last, but probably most importantly, understanding the implications that simul’g is a high stakes DFU activity

The main impetus for my posting was the proverbial “what if” game we all play. I have had one friend break an ankle and hand (leading) from a foot hold breaking loose, and I have personally had two alpine rock fall experiences over a 15 year period (struck on Mendel, luckily no damage, and one near miss on Temple Crag). I’ve always treated the simul’g experience as soloing, but it’s those objective or semi-objective hazards (e.g. we could probably spawn a whole thread on the merits of whether broken holds and rockfall are subjective or objective hazards) that you can’t always control.

A few additional thanks:
> Karl, Werner – thanks for helping to moderate this crazy forum (whether intentional or not)
> Hobo – I like your idea for clove hitching in a screamer. May not be appropriate for all occasions, but another “tool for the toolbox”
> A. KP – great website. Your words definitely contribute to the furthering of mankind.
I hope good karma comes your way in the form of advertising links, book deals, or some other monetary form. Barring that, trust that your words of experience are helping keep us mortals out of trouble. Keep up the great work.
> Everyone else – thanks for contributing!

Climb safe!
jpdreamer

Trad climber
St. Louis
Sep 16, 2008 - 01:40pm PT
I had my follower slip off while simulclimbing Matthes Crest this weekend. (He made a poor decision to downclimb 15' to a ledge about halfway along the climb and slipped off when the rock hwedged in a crack he was standing on popped out.) Pro in the system was pretty much running the rope back and forth between flakes along the ridge. The fall wan't pleasant, but I wasn't pulled that hard, no more than trying to climb with the rope stuck. I had all the slack out of the system because what he was doing looked a bit sketchy as it was not the way I climbed it. He ended up falling through a tree and was a bit scraped but no real damage. He was a bit mentally beat though.
Nickawb

Sport climber
St. John's
Jan 29, 2017 - 12:23pm PT
Hi all, very much reviving a dead thread here, but nevertheless...

My partners and I just finished a comprehensive article on simul-climbing that integrates all of the information presented here, as well as other information we've learned from further research, into a cohesive picture of a good simul-climbing system.

Make no mistake, I am happy to post here at the end of this thread because of the many appropriate cautions that have already been expressed. Although the system we present in our article minimizes the risks associated with simul-climbing, it is a serious departure from the safety margin achieved when using a pitched climbing system.

We apologize if the language used in the introduction makes the practice seem too inviting. Please approach simul-climbing with all due caution.

http://chossboys.weebly.com/theory/theory-of-simul-climbing
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Jan 29, 2017 - 12:41pm PT
If you are worried about fall factors you probably shouldn't be simulclimbing.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 29, 2017 - 01:15pm PT
Seems to me that between the time this was last resurrected that Bill Wright and a partner had an accident in Eldo while simul-ing.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jan 29, 2017 - 01:22pm PT
+1 for Batrock. If you are simulclimbing you are comfortable on the ground you are climbing. The rope is to hopefully keep you from dying due to some unexpected mishap.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 29, 2017 - 01:59pm PT
The Tom Karpeichik - Bill Wright accident was on June 26, 2010.
In this accident, the leader fell (140'), and the follower was pulled up 25' to the nearest protection, so it is a different situation than a fall by the follower.
It was a very serious accident, as the leader was knocked unconscious, and the follower did not have any remaining slack rope to lower him or escape the belay. Fortunately they were in Eldorado Canyon, and other people called in a rescue and assisted.
Tom and Bill were trying to simulclimb 100 pitches in a day (they were on pitch 34).
Bill is the coauthor of a book on speed climbing with Hans Florine.
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201104602/Fall-on-Rock-Simul-Climbing-Colorado-Eldorado-Canyon-State-Park
https://www.mountainproject.com/v/another-eldo-accident-6-26-2010/106809275
clockclimb

Trad climber
Orem, Utah
Jan 29, 2017 - 02:46pm PT
Great write-up Nickawb! A wealth of information in your link for the experienced climber.
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Jan 29, 2017 - 03:20pm PT
Very interesting write-up. Thanks.
Technogeekery

Trad climber
Sydney, Australia
Jan 29, 2017 - 08:31pm PT
Nickawb - what a fantastic article, thank you.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Jan 29, 2017 - 08:41pm PT
Try this while ice climbing just to add that extra fun factor
Messages 21 - 36 of total 36 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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