The plunge...Deputy comes out alive but shaken

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elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 9, 2012 - 11:26am PT
http://www.elcapreport.com/content/elcap-report-100712
10b4me

Ice climber
dingy room at the Happy boulders hotel
Oct 9, 2012 - 11:42am PT
Good for Alice
Good for Scott
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
One of my favorite Reports in a while. Alice overcame some pretty harsh heat issues to finish her route, which I believe was her first solo. Hardcore.

The rest of the Report is just as good. Read it and comment here, and maybe we will start seeing the daily links again ;)
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:21pm PT
Hung out with deputy at the bridge for a bit during facelift. He spent a lot of time answering questions for tourists. Explained a few things I had wondered about regarding the full length El-Cap lowers and long hauls. Real solid guy.

Very glad his self belay finally caught before the end on that fall.. Nightmarish stuff.

Big grats to he and Alice

And thanks bigtime!! to you Tom for bringing us the action on the big stone like only you can
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev. and land o da SLEDS!
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:32pm PT
+1^^^ surprised to hear he wasnt even tied in to the END of the rope...
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:38pm PT
My buddy, Scott Deputy, did make a solo NIAD, topping out early this morning. Just as night fell a piece of gear pulled on him and he wheeled off for a 100 footer. He was almost to the ramp leading to Camp 5 and plunged past a team of two at the belay below, just missing them as he came by, inverted! His grigri was stuck open. He continued downward, lingering in the twilight between life and death.... the rope tangled in his legs and that flipped him upright... the grigri engaged and he was back in the world! His grigri seems to have been jammed by his fifi and kept the device from engaging properly. He was not tied into the end of the rope and had no back up!

Okay so I can't help but ask the question predicated on these notes: Scott "nearly hits" some climbers at a belay and wasn't tied into the end of his rope.

So what turned out to be "ten rounds with Mike Tyson" was a happy ending but could have been TOTALLY EPIC had the two climbers been hit and Scott gone all the way to the deck.

I'm REALLY glad things turned out for Scott as they did. But the pilot error on his part in this case was , IMHO, reckless.

Only my armchair quarterbackin' on this Tues a/m.
Googlymoogly

climber
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:46pm PT
Tom says he wasn't tied into the rope and had no backup...So if the rope hadn't tangled around his leg he probably would have decked from almost the top?
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
What's that story from '98 or so where "Bulos" was soloing the Zodiac - again no backup and not tied in, using a grigri - his lead line "self fed" right on through and fell away, leaving him all alone on some heads in the middle of the white circle.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
the secret topout on the Chockstone Chimney
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
Kinda hard to argue with that point, Tami. Backup knots don't cost much.

And I'd love to hear more about the Boulos situation....grim! Did he finish up Mitrovich-style?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:52pm PT
That right Googly. Very much a nightmare situation

One thing I'm sure about, nothing I can say would be something Deputy isn't very aware of regarding this incident. Plus I'll bet he can come up with even more personal critique. We have all blown it somewhere along the line. The human tendency for error and imperfect foresight is in my mind the greatest hazard in climbing. None are immune.

Solo NIAD .. very very tough .. hard to go that quick self belaying, cleaning and jugging. Perhaps he was able to solo some pitches or parts but basically he had to cover about 3 times the distance of an average NIAD ascent. Impressive and very glad it worked out.

nopantsben

climber
Oct 9, 2012 - 12:56pm PT
excellent stuff. scott is the man!
thanks for the reports tom...
Googlymoogly

climber
Oct 9, 2012 - 01:00pm PT
That right Googly. Very much a nightmare situation
In reality I knew this from the start but had a hard time believing it. You make a good point though about Scott understanding the chance he is taking. I wonder if he would do it the same way again

As others have said, Scott is an awesome guy!
ElCapPirate

Big Wall climber
Reno, Nevada
Oct 9, 2012 - 01:04pm PT
What's that story from '98 or so where "Bulos" was soloing the Zodiac

I'm pretty sure that was "Ben-Wa", but I could be wrong.

Did he finish up Mitrovich-style?

No, a team that he just passed climbed up and brought him the rope.

This is a very dangerous technique for obvious reasons.

Once you get past the half way point the weight of the rope that's anchored into the wall can easily feed through your device. While your focusing on the climb you're suddenly stranded with no lead rope... especially dangerous if you decide to leave the tag/haul/rap line, as well.

Edit- Deputy is SOLID and I would rope up with him any day. I've seen lots of very experienced climbers use this technique. I'm glad he's ok and can remind us all why it's not a good idea. Cheers bro!
Spanky

Social climber
boulder co
Oct 9, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
I'm glad Scott is okay, backup knots or tieing in is a good idea. As for the story about Boulos I don't think that is accurate. He's a good friend of mine and we have climbed together quite a bit and he said he's done the zodiac twice but not solo. Maybe that story happened but it must have been to someone else. He is a badass though and and their are quite a few other stories about him that are super classic.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 9, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
Excalibur was the only time I used a grigri for a whole wall.

Never did like it. Guess I'll never get over that one.....
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev. and land o da SLEDS!
Oct 9, 2012 - 01:19pm PT
jmo,, but gir gris seem to lead to a lot of dysfunction from the ol salty dawgs to noobs.
Ian Jewell

climber
Oct 9, 2012 - 01:42pm PT
i sincerely hope that there was no damage to his facial hair , which is classified as a national historic landmark by the american civil war historic society.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Oct 9, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Pretty sure that was Boulos, ex-Neptune employee. I do also recall a possible similar story involving "Cave Ben" aka "Ben Wa", but I do not recall the details.
WBraun

climber
Oct 9, 2012 - 02:39pm PT
Like the Pirate says;

I've seen lots of very experienced climbers use this technique.

I too never tied into the end and just left it hanging when soloing.

We knew the risks and what can/could happen.

Once you get past the half way point the weight of the rope that's anchored into the wall can easily feed through your device.


You just have to consciously diligently multitask your awareness while you're doing it.

Still the unexpected can happen. (Sh!t Happens). and you just might end up in Bay number 2.

Do ya really think we're that stupid?

:-)
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 9, 2012 - 02:55pm PT
Stoopid Americans....
elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2012 - 11:27am PT
The point everyone seems to be missing.... that with a grigri come instructions that essentially say...
This device was NOT invented, manufactured, tested and approved as a soloing device and its use as such can kill you. Yet it seems to have been accepted as such by many soloists. Some of the best climbers I know use them as if they were safe. There is a reason for that disclaimer!
So take a lesson from Scott's experience and if you are going to rope solo something then get a device that was made for that purpose. And hopefully you soloists who are at the top of the sport, and are looked up to by many, will tell people when they ask you... "what do you use for soloing?" that you recommend only devices that are made for the purpose or a system of knots. That way we won't have to see an obituary about some climber who's grigri killed him. Take Scott's lesson to heart.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 10, 2012 - 12:09pm PT
Good post.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Wow! I'm glad Scott is alright. Cheers bro.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:15pm PT
I don't know, Tom. I think the takeaway is that you have to be 100% distrusting of any device you use on the solo, gri gri or not. Treat every single piece in your system like it will fail, hope that you're wrong about the rope + harness, always have a knot between you and the deck.

Side: I've used both the gri gri and the solo aid. The solo aid is, as you say, designed for the purpose. But if a fifi gets caught in the mix during a fall, pinched between the cam and the rope? All bets are off, I'm guessing.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:17pm PT
wow tom,
you in charge!
overseer of our ethical practices, our safety systems;
what next? spiritual destinations assigned by eye-on-the-ground?

i bow to thee with
my solo system, of infinite backup knots
(disclaimer: this system is NOT blessed by Dave T.)

cheers, or something like that,

Credit: Norwegian
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:52pm PT
Pretty sure that was not Boulos that lost his rope on the Zodiac.

In regards to the plunge, I can only imagine that speed soloing the NIAD would require some shortcuts that massively increase the risk of the climb. A climber with the experience and skill to pull off an impressive accomplishment like that must have known the risks. Critizing Scott seems pointless. I am glad it didn't turn out bad for him.

And Tom, a Soloist is specifically made for soloing, but it doesn't feed well enough (in my opinion) to realistically free climb very much (or very fast). Also, it doesn't lock up if you fall upside down. Just because it is made for soloing doesn't mean it is necessarily an effective and safe tool for soloing. The accomplished soloists that I know all seem to think the Grigri is good for soloing. Maybe the disclaimers made by Petzl are just the covering-their-@$$ statements that must be made in a litigious society such as ours.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:54pm PT
The Valley climbing scene has been better with a little adult supervision.

I think the lesson here is more about backup knots than whatever device you choose. They all can and do fail.

The Grigri has likely had more rope solo mileage than any other device out there. It's difficult to ignore the inherent safety in that fact.

EDIT: I thought I had a solid memory of Boulos - but I could have things mixed up - 14 years ago now...
WBraun

climber
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:00pm PT
tell people when they ask you... "what do you use for soloing?"

It's actually simple.

Just tell whomever asks "I use this system and it's totally bunk and unsafe and I could die, but this what I use because it works for me."

"Don't blindly copy the "Pros" and if ya don't know what system to use, use the system made for the sheep"

Both the Pros and the sheep will definitely fuk it up too.

Murphy's law and "Your numbers up law" .......
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:03pm PT
In regards to the plunge, I can only imagine that speed soloing the NIAD would require some shortcuts that massively increase the risk of the climb.

That's why I prefer other devices, and back-ups. It's much more important to keep living than to solo fast.

***The exception is when soloing fast is the best option to continue living...heh heh...


I've done a moderate share of speed climbing, but for me, it diminishes my experience of endless sky and having time to reflect on the beauty of the world.
Prod

Trad climber
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:21pm PT
WoW. That man ought to buy a lottery ticket!!!

Prod.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
just the other day
i was strollin through pasture
and a sheep tried to f*#k me.

i was like,

'gross."

and then i bucked it with my hoof.
WBraun

climber
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:37pm PT
“Every day is a new box, boys…You decide if it’s a gift or a coffin.”
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:41pm PT
Thanks Captain Conundrum.

I know it's all about freedom of choice and reincarnation and what not, but for the n00bs out there, don't solo with a grigri and no tie-in.

Just my 2.
elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2012 - 11:28pm PT
I'll tell you what Norwegian... I am not in charge of anything... I have never rope soloed anything... I am no longer a climber... I have nothing to gain from anything I post... but I am here every day and see and hear things that go on. I have posted things that any moron, and I have been called one, would post about if they were standing here every day, like I do. So I post what is going on, and like you guys, have an opinion, which like anyone's, is just that, an opinion.

It is you guys who take the information and work through it. All I seek is for people to work the problem and not the personalities involved. Scott is one of my very best friends and an extremely competent climber and this post is not about him at all. It could have happened to any number of climbers. It is about something that happened that was not good. When bad news comes our way, here on the Taco, we always want to know all the details... why? So we can understand what happened so that perhaps in the future it can be prevented. So I post things that I feel are important to all climbers. This is one such case.

Some of the top speed solo climbers will tell you that having loops of rope hanging down will often get caught on obstructions along the way, fixed gear, bolt hangers, flakes, and in converging cracks etc. What happens then... you have to go down and deal with the mess. A free hanging rope can slither along pretty well and you can make good time. So... so what? You can work out the problem for yourself, but please give it some serious thought.

Grigri's are not meant to rap on either. They have a very small surface area and thus don't radiate heat away very efficiently. I had a new rope when Dave and I rapped off Lurking Fear a few years back. He rapped on his grigri with the haul bag. By the end of the raps the rope was glazed for most of its length. Why? The grigri heats up and doesn't get rid of the heat, so the rope gets it instead. It was not designed to have rope sliding through it for long distances. Ever notice the fixed lines on EC? Almost all of them eventually become glazed. What are most climbers using to rap single lines these days? You tell me.

People are not using devices that were made for rapping but for belaying where the sliding is short and soon over. The grigri is so convenient that is used for things for which it was not designed and thus we have problems.

Totally my opinion of course. Use things at your own risk and like the post somewhere above said... don't trust anything... good advice. So don't come back on me saying I am making some kind of a power grab here.. What a joke and an insult because I am not. I merely point out things that any climber would notice if here in my place.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Oct 10, 2012 - 11:38pm PT
Relax Tom. We all appreciate the heads up. Glad dude is OK. The reality is that speed soloing is a rarefied work of art that is by it's nature somewhat unsafe. Errors will be compounded. That's why everyone was aghast and amazed at Honolds link up of the big 3 not long back.

The BD boyz just tested how hot they could get it on a rap to see if that's something that might be fatal. Unfortunately, they didn't use a grigri. But they did use a pickup truck:-) Short answer: No. Longer answer, heavy and fast will heat it more and glaze yer ropes, so slow down - especially with weight. https://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb/all/qc-lab-can-a-hot-belay-device-melt-my-rappel-slings

Nobody is going to stop using a Grigri to rap a single line, they work too good and have multiple uses. They just need to slow a bit apparently.

Thanks again for the heads up!

I stuff the rope in a pack when soloing. (which I dislike to do). Don't have many photos of it, but you can see the rope draped over the shoulder in the photo below. I own several solo devices but prefer an Edelrid Eddy. I'm curious how the wonder boys get that kid of speed?



WBraun

climber
Oct 10, 2012 - 11:44pm PT
I never rappelled with a grigri.

Piece of sh!t for rappelling.

I used the Petzl Stop for that. That's where the grigri originally came from.

Using the Petzl Stop rappelling from station to sation down fixed lines from above Camp 4 on the Nose in 10 minutes to the ground.

The Petzl Stop was smoking though when I touched the base .....
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Oct 10, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
I have a Stop too Werner, but to carry it for climbing is just like carrying a door stop. It raps very nice but climbs like shit:-) It's a one trick pony.
Googlymoogly

climber
Oct 11, 2012 - 12:12am PT
Using the Petzl Stop rappelling from station to sation down fixed lines from above Camp 4 on the Nose in 10 minutes to the ground.
Now that would be the way to rap The Nose! When were there fixed lines at each station all the way down from camp 4?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Oct 11, 2012 - 12:20am PT
I agrigri with Werner, you have to multitask your concentration on one thing...

Sometimes it's good to get tangled up in knots though.
Captain...or Skully

climber
Oct 11, 2012 - 01:11am PT
I always figured that rule 1 states that anyone can f*#k up anything at any time.
If you're watching what you're doing, then a gri-gri is no more hazardous than any other self belay rig. Mine works fine.
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
Oct 11, 2012 - 01:46am PT
Good stuff Tom......Checking in from the Bow Valley and yes it is snowing here in the Great White North...I see that the women are still kicking arse big time.........Thanx for the great report........

Stevo
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Oct 11, 2012 - 07:31am PT
hey there say, tom, scott, and all...

whewwwwwww... :O

sure am glad he lived through this...
:O

lots of reading and lots to learn, too, for us other folks...
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Oct 11, 2012 - 07:37am PT
im sorry tom,
for the tersh words i uttered upthread.

mostly just yanking your chain!

your services and your demeanor in
the valley is much appreciated by many.

im just a dumb f*#k with a lotta loose thoughts;
dangerous on the rope too, i guess.

it's funny though.
i spend some time at the heights of dead and living trees,
wielding a power saw and manky belay system.
the tree is swaying all about,
im falling it over my head,
and all sorts of shitty antics attack.

after a day of tree work
i feel very safe and simple on
my rock climb.

ive earned a qualified misunderstanding about
this topic and some others.


once again i was a douche earlier
and i appoligize for my immature show.

i'll bring you a peace-beer sometime this fall.

Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Oct 11, 2012 - 11:32am PT
I get how loops can get caught and such. Still I just cant fathom not being tied in, or at least with a back up knot to a biner. That's too much faith in a gri-gri. Just so you can make a time? Is it worth it?

I solo with a gri-gri. It's caught me safely many times. I have also had it get clusterf*#ked with daisies and fifi hooks that might have prevented it from catching. Bottom line is you need to keep a close eye on it.

I just met Scott for the first time last week. He was really nice, got a humble friendly vibe from him even though I'm just an average gomer. Glad he came through ok.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Oct 11, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
couchmaster: re soloing with rope stuffed in pack. I've heard of the technique before. Supposed to feed fine. But I don't know, do you guys tie into the end or what? I guess you could put a big bomber monkeys fist knot on the end so it couldn't go thru device. But anyway, what do you do for backup?
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Oct 11, 2012 - 02:14pm PT
Depends if I'm short fixing (yes), or wall soloing (no, continuous loop).
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Oct 11, 2012 - 03:09pm PT
I'm tied in to the end Mike. Then the rope is stuffed into the back. You can also clip off knots at intervals like Weege up there except the loops are stacked in the back, or a simple knot in the line that needs to be untied as you get to it, or just pull out some slack and tie a single backup knot (far enough out so that it doesn't jam when you are mid crux.)

I borrowed that system from J Healy, who utilities it a lot and has a good description of it on RC.com as an article. http://www.rockclimbing.com/Articles/Training_and_Technique/Roped_Solo_Free_Climbing_-_The_essence_of_self-reliance_one_path_among_many_675.html


Worth a peruse. Rope diameter is critical.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 11, 2012 - 03:33pm PT
I prefer a partner.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Oct 11, 2012 - 03:38pm PT
my partner has dropped
me more times
than my self belay has failed.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 11, 2012 - 03:57pm PT
You get dropped?

I'm not sure if that sez more about your partner selection or your climbing....


BWA HA HA hahahaaaaaa!!!!
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Oct 11, 2012 - 04:43pm PT
Buy a silent partner and stuff the rope in a small pack with back up knots tied every so often. It's dead simple to use, no rope drag and no one tells you to hurry up.

Is a couple hundred bucks too much to spend on a system that is designed for rope soloing that works every time?

rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Oct 11, 2012 - 04:51pm PT
I still don't get the "back up knots" thing in the backpack. So the rope goes from you silent partner, up over your shoulder, into the back pack for a ways, then back out of the back pack and to your harness for a clip, then into the backpack again etc. ??? sounds like a clusterf*#k to me. Or only clip the backup one time at the end of the rope (then just onetime the rope has to leave the backpack to clip to your harness???), OR you just put what are essentially jam knots in the rope which is in your backpack, but don't ever actually clip it to your harness. Then if your silent partner (or whatever) fails the knots will jam into the system preventing a free-fall to your death. I know, I need to see it in use, but if someone can spell it out more I'd appreciate it.

tia

personally, I use a silent partner, with one fairly long loop hanging to my backup, then the rest stacked in a rope bucket back at the belay. it works more or less, but the loop does get hung up on sh#t more then one would want. and often enough at just the wrong time. Backpacking the rope sounds like a great idea if I could just figure out how to do it safely.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Oct 11, 2012 - 07:03pm PT
Well I was looking at another photo of that days lap and it's not clear to me that I was tied in at all that day. I had 2 bros tag along this day so we could do a FA of another route afterwards, I figured they'd just go off and leave me be but they wanted to watch and so they took pictures.
Think I was tied in but the photo suggests otherwise. I was very concerned as there was no cracks or obvious pro and I was planning on slinging knobs with these great slings Fish tied and a few over the shoulder 1/2" tubular webbing. I thought I'd be on these loose knobs, it's @300' to the deck in that picture there, but did find some hidden gear placements... .



I'd tried to pushed that pinnacle my foot is on off. It would have been a world class trundle, as it didn't go, I tossed a runner over it for pro.

I know I've tied backups when it gets strange and dicy. But like you say, it's more of a cluster to do so.


Most of the time it's just me in the middle of nof*#king place and they look like this:


I backed off that route in the lower photo and came back with my buddy who claimed I was trying to kill him via killer flake left in place (I didn't see it at all the first time I was there solo but glad it didn't kill me) and we never did the route:-)
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
Oct 11, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
I rope solo all the time and lets face it.....soloing is dangerous back up knots or what ever, mother nature also has it's own set of rules. All you can do is just be super aware of your surroundings and situation...........

Stevo
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Oct 11, 2012 - 11:13pm PT
Rockermike,

The knots I'm referring too are just overhands that I tie and stuff in the pack. When the rope comes out of the pack, over your shoulder you feel the knot. You stop, untie it and carry on. If you do them roughly in the same place every time, (I mark the rope) then you get a feeling when they are coming up. I"m also tied into the end of the tope.

The backup knots aren't tied to you. If the SP failed the knot jams. If everything failed you are still tied in. Hope this helps.

rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Oct 12, 2012 - 04:53pm PT
thanks John, that makes sense to me. I think I'll give it a try. can't imagine a knot working its way through the SP device. As long as the whole device doesn't blow apart for some reason.
klaus

Big Wall climber
Pacif*#ka
Oct 12, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
I first started soloing aid using a clove hitch on two biners as the belay. I actually works quite well and doesn't cost extra for a special "device". I've taken more falls onto this system than any other and it works well. I took a 60 footer on the fa of Pressure Cooker, it locked up perfectly. Back it up with knots, I do 30 feet slack and that's it, not tied to the end.

Then I got the Silent Partner mostly because everyone said it was awesome. It sucked dog balls. Maybe it's ok for free climbing but if you're mostly aiding tenuous terrain it's a scary device. It's heavy, big, clumsy, hooks to everything on your rack, still needs to be backed up, and worst of all, it extends up so far it will smack you in the chest or even jaw when it locks up on a fall. The thing almost killed me so I sold it on Ebay.

Now I use a Grigri and it seems to work well. I tested a retired one doing some tree work using it to catch big limbs a little heavier than a climber and I have never had it fail, and thats a worn out grigri that I retired because it was getting grooves in it from too much sport climbing. I will still use one in the future. I do have to say that I never fell on one while climbing, yet.

I would never use a fifi hook next to it that could possibly jam the device, that seems obvious.
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