Surviving Sedona.....January 8th is my new second birthday


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Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 10, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
I have mucked my way through numerous epics in the mountains. Difficult retreats with multiple single anchor rappels placed in icy cracks. There have also been thousands of more routine rappels spread out over the last 47 years, and, thankfully, I'm still here to right this report.
Last Monday, January 8th, I had just finished a run of the mill 5.9 warmup climb ( Cul de sac Crack) with Phoenix climber Nestor Garcia. Nestor had done the climb a year ago. The rap station was a single 8 ft. section of old 1 inch tubular webbing wrapped around a block. I inspected the entire length of sling for any cuts and dings. Finding none I put on a leaver biner and prepared to rappel. I then noticed a single 6 ft. section of newer 9/16 th inch webbing hanging down to the right with a loop in the end. I saw that a knot had been tied in the end and jammed into a friable sandstone crack....not very confidence building. At the last minute I put a carabiner in the loop and the rope through it as a backup. I still had confidence in the old webbing, I had read a report that old 1 inch slings had been tested and still had 1,000 plus pounds tensile strength. Consequently I had the knotted sling as a loose backup.
I leaned back to rap and found myself flying through space for six or seven feet and hanging from the single strand of knotted webbing. The main sling offered no resistance, it parted like it was composed of warm butter. Hanging from the knotted sling, I got a hand jam, placed a red camalot and all was well.
Moral of the story NEVER assume that an older sling is good even after careful inspection.

Credit: donini

Nestor suggested that I celebrate Jan. 8th as my new birthday.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:08pm PT
Happy birthday!!

Jan 10, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
lucky... to my gumby eyes that piece of webbing looks very old/very UV-damaged...
Big Mike

Trad climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Wow Jim. Glad your still here! I hate trusting old tat.. This is where chains come in really handy...

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Whoah, glad your still alive and kickin Donini!

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:13pm PT





Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:17pm PT
Great news Jim, since I still haven't gotten my turn at the Donini trough.

Everyone is different.

I too have rapped off of single items too many times to count. But I have also left many many dollars of slings behind because I got a feeling about what was in front of me, in so many configurations.

As I have gotten older and more cautious, and a few bucks worth of gear is no longer worth my life, I have taken to leaving something extra if I got "the vibe".

Seems I've been making the right choice.

BTW, Jan 8th is my 21 yr old daughters birthday, as well as Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Stephen Hawking, Robbie Krieger, James Longstreet, Bill Graham, etc. so yeah, you can share it with a smile!

Trad climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:19pm PT

be brutal to get the chop on a roadside crag in sunny weather because the rap tat failed.

glad yr ok

Boulder, CO
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
knot a BLUE camalot? Curious.

Happy Birthday.

yikes... epic...

Trad climber
mt. hood /baja
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Jim ....if it can happen to you , it can happen to
anyone ..glad ya came out ok

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Glad you're still with us Jim! Happy Re-Birthday!

Sport climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
How does it feel to start living your second life? ... or maybe it's the third or forth, maybe even the ninth?

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Jim, we are very, very happy to see your report. Mostly because it means you are here, with us, to report.

There but for the grace of God (if there is one) go any of us.

Happy birthday.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:33pm PT
so good to hear this turned out OK!

when we go on our obscure romps through Yosemite we take and replace all slings, independent of the condition of the existing slings, and usually with dated slings...

now we'll have a new "verb" to add to "doing a John Long check" at the gym (to make sure everyone finishes their knot, and all that) to "doing a Jim Donini" for replacing existing webbing...

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:33pm PT
There's a statistical relationship between the number of close calls you have, and the number of real accidents. The close call should be a reminder of the danger of what you're doing.

A long way from where I started
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
Scary sh#t. Good thing you listened to that hunch about clipping the worthless-looking backup.

Trad climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:35pm PT

Glad you're still here.


Trad climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
I'm glad you are ok!

I've seen a lot of slings in AZ that look shiny white and good to go- until you look at the inside of the knot and realize that the webbing was not originally white.

I think the moral of this one is that if you are going to rap off a single piece of webbing use your own fresh strand.

Trad climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
Scary shit! Glad you didn't end up needing a fundraiser!

Trad climber
a semi lucid consciousness
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Hey Donini glad you're all right, that is SCARY! Happy Second Birthday!
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