Rappelling El Capitan

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Roger Brown

climber
Oceano, California
Aug 21, 2012 - 02:01pm PT
Chris,
Glad you guys are still with us. Re-reading your first post, you came off as having your act pretty much together. I tended to agree with Werner, ("any competent well rounded climber can do it"). I thought you should go for it. Reading your trip report, I see that maybe that was not the case. A lot of issues right from the start. Maybe it was a good thing you guys got stopped when you did, it could have been a lot worse you know.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Aug 21, 2012 - 02:34pm PT
Thanks for the post Chris. As has already been stated, that took some balls.

A note to Reilly about his comment - you may want to re read the thread. His partner did have prussiks and was basically refusing to use them or even listen to Chris or respond on the radio. That dude was in full shutdown mode, and I can see where hanging over the lip of the Roof could be pretty damned scary for someone that's had very little or no exposure.

I have to agree with the statement that you probably shouldn't have gone up there without the proper gear and more experience. Most accidents are the end result of a series of incidents, and you're lucky this didn't get worse then it did.

Chopping the rope, not having dual ascenders, and not being 100% sure of the route and most importantly, your partner's abilities - all contributed to this.

From reading your report, I get the impression that you learned a lot from this, realized your mistakes, and will work hard to insure that you are never in that situation again. Too many people don't have the ability to take an honest look at themselves and admit that they are wrong.

I look forward to seeing a future report from you about climbing the Cap - from what I have heard it seems to be within your abilities with the right partner. And if you do decide to rap the route again to get over this incident, do yourself a favor and go with the Mad Bolter.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Aug 21, 2012 - 02:43pm PT
There is nothing on all 700+ channels on my TV that could have provided as much entertainment value as this thread.

And Chris' misadventure is only the smallest part of the drama/comedy.
As Mr. Spock was wont to say, "Fascinating".
:0 Phyl
WBraun

climber
Aug 21, 2012 - 02:49pm PT
There is no place in this whole thread I ever said "Go for it".

This was projected originally by the stupid troll Farouk along with cragman also trying to project that idea somehow in an indirect way.

Nor did I ever imply for them to outright do it.

All I ever implied was don't blow the op off with all your doom and gloom responses without even knowing the original poster at all.

These guys have to take full responsibility for their own actions.

Various individuals encouraged them instead to climb the route instead of rappelling.

If these individuals had no faith in them rappelling due to speculations on their so called "inexperience" then how the hell would these individuals encourage them to climb the route is beyond me.




le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Aug 21, 2012 - 02:57pm PT
My 2 cents for ya' Chris: I'm with Big Mike, Baba, and Yo.

Here comes the crotchety and lame part of my opinion, feel free to skip it:

I disagree about your brass balls though - your writeup kind of pins everything on your partner while glazing over your own mistakes. That's a big fat red line that you don't cross in my book: In climbing, you're a partnership, not two individuals. You don't hang your partner out to dry - if you trust him enough to put your life on the line with him, you two are in it together, and you have to own the outcomes together.

Edited to shorten and rethink.
Farouk

Boulder climber
Sylvan Grove
Aug 21, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
There is no place in this whole thread I ever said "Go for it".

This was projected originally by the stupid troll Farouk along with cragman also trying to project that idea somehow in an indirect way.

Go for it dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Go for it dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Credit: Farouk

Not me Werner Dude, but this guy started it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Aug 21, 2012 - 04:00pm PT
Just got back from work and had a bit more time to think about what I would have done in this situation. Bear in mind I have a lot of experience in rescues and have had to deal with a few "frozen partners"

Buddy hung out free hanging on both strands at great roof.

I would not have called for a rescue period. The guy aint gonna die of dehydration anytime soon.. yep he's gonna suffer and I have water. Plus if he was gonna die soon I can get to him and help way before SAR can.

First I would have tied off the rappel with two french prussics. one on each side. (both are releasable under pressure if needed.)

Then I would have told him to put a kleimheist around both strands on his end and get it synched tight and load bearing.

Then I would have hauled one end of the line up with a makeshift haul. Can be done with just biners and slings.

After just enough slack was produced to rapel on other strand i would have switched the french prusik on my side to a kleimheist and hooked in below it and rapped down to my buddy. Taken his backpack and tied it into the bottom of my rap line. I then would have laughed and chilled and eaten and drank water and talked about the view and whatever till I could get him escaped from rap system and set up to ascend with the ascenders and I would have use kleimheists to go up staying next to him .

Keys here is to make it real clear no rescue till he puts that kleimheist tight around both strands. 3 reasons.

1. It's easy to do and hard to screw up. Switching from Rapell to ascend while free-hanging isn't that tough but it IS harder and easier to screw up

( he should have already had it on anyway going into unknown territory... double actually he should have been rapping single stranded merely tending the other line while on a gri-gri and none of this would be necessary at all) Remember this technique next time you rap into ANY UNKNOWN territory! or for that matter known but complicated territory.

2. It ensures he ain't going off the ends no matter what.

3. it allows me to haull his ass the couple feet or so I need for slack to descend the other side.

I woulda been an ass if necessary and left him hangin for an hour or two till he did it.

No freaking rescue unless your dying man and you ain't dying! You are hanging off the end of a rope perfectly safe.

From there I would have led every rappel single stranded on one side (alowing me to re ascend easily if I make an error) with buddy set up for repel double stranded (in the system) before I left. I would have fireman belayed him to every anchor and not let him do anything for himself.

Full on guide mode.

I had to do something similar but way more complicated when bailing from the triple cracks on the Sheild once.
BurntToast

climber
CA
Aug 21, 2012 - 04:23pm PT
Shame on you for pinning the blame on your partner.

You were the "experienced" member of the party. The "adult" so to speak.

You allowed your less "experienced" partner to rappel without a helmet, pull the rope with a knot still tied, rappel first, take a "50/50 chance" with the correct route and rappel into the void without ascenders, all apparently with a thunderstorm approaching.

YOU risked the safety of your "friend" and the SARS members, not to mention anyone below you on the CLIMBING (not rappel) route.

Your "walk of shame" was well deserved and still continues.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Aug 21, 2012 - 04:28pm PT
The second time I climbed Royal Arches BITD was with a partner with little experience. The climb went fine, but it took longer and was hotter than we expected. So he ran out of water, but I didn't know until the climb was done and we had to get down the north dome gully.

Dehydration definitely changes a person. About halfway thru the descent he started to give up, he wanted to just bivy there. We had a conversation with me saying we weren't prepared to bivy (no water, no warm clothes or space blanket, etc.) we'd be miserable for 8 hours instead of 1 but he started kind of babbling, just saying the same thing over and over with a glazed look in his eyes. I lost it and slapped him across the face like you'd see in a movie. And it WORKED! He came to and agreed with me and THANKED ME for slapping him LOL.

To bad you couldn't slap your partner!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 21, 2012 - 04:44pm PT
The second time I climbed Royal Arches BITD was with a partner with little experience. The climb went fine, but it took longer and was hotter than we expected. So he ran out of water, but I didn't know until the climb was done and we had to get down the north dome gully.

Dehydration definitely changes a person.

Ironic cause the spring at the top on the climb is safe to drink and year round, that's the way it goes i guess, what you don't know can't help you

Peace

Karl
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Aug 21, 2012 - 05:09pm PT
Actually we both drank from the spring. I was wondering why he was gulping it down like a man possessed. I still had water at the top so I just drank and left my existing water for the hike down, which I eventually gave to him. He didn't tell me until later he had run out of water on the route. If I had known I would have stayed at the spring for 15 minutes or so getting him hydrated and making sure he filled his water bottle. I think he was embarrassed that he didn't ration his water.
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Aug 21, 2012 - 05:12pm PT
CUT THE ROPE!!!
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Aug 21, 2012 - 05:17pm PT
^^^^^

Pcutler

climber
Iowa
Aug 21, 2012 - 05:45pm PT
i once lowered myself down a weighted haul line by reverse leap frogging my ascenders. Not very sexy but it got me down - doing something like that could have allowed you to get to your partner and calm him down, take his pack and give him ascenders.

obviously its easy for everyone to come up with 'you should have done this' scenarios when sitting behind a desk. Being up a wall 2500 feet and hanging out in free space is enough to freak out almost anybody. When picking a partner for a wall I always figure that I won't climb with anybody who doesn't have the skills to haul my ass off if I were, for example,to break my leg in a lead fall or something. The other side of that coin is that you should probably have the skills to haul your partner off if he were, for example, to loose his marbles hanging out in open space under the great roof.

Sh#t happens, in hind-sight it was probably a dumb move, but when you're dumb you gotta be tough!
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Aug 21, 2012 - 05:46pm PT
Holy shit! What a big day out for the lads!

Really? Hauling the guy up to get slack in the cord? Hmmmmm.....

Here is my quick take on it in the new NSFW audio rant format instead of doing all that damn typing:

Think the method will work?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 21, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
Well there was a solution in this instructional video but might be a little too much like leaving your dog on the peak

then you just chongo hitchhike to the top

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxtg7raPDYo

peace

Karl
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Aug 21, 2012 - 05:54pm PT
LOLOL, Russ!
It works.
tornado

climber
lawrence kansas
Aug 21, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
more audio rants!!!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 21, 2012 - 06:09pm PT
Just hearing Russ's voice makes me smile and laugh

Not that his solution would have worked because there wasn't good communication with mr panic below the roof

Possible to down jumar btw on a tight rope but we already know they didn't have advanced skills

peace

Karl
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Aug 21, 2012 - 06:09pm PT
"Audio Rant Format"...

BLA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ! ! !
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