Fatality Clear Creek Canyon 4/6/13

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jghedge

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 6, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22970315/rock-climber-falls-60-feet-from-cliff-near

Victim was 62 and climbing w/2 adult children


Anybody know who it was?

kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:10pm PT
That sucks.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:44pm PT
Clear Creek is almost entirely a sport climbing venue. Sounds like a lowering mishap.
WBraun

climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:50pm PT
"They reached the climber and got him off the mountain within an hour,"


Mountain ..... ?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
Yeah Werner, everything in Clear Creek is minutes from the road.
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
I'll be curious to hear what the cause was. Lowering accidents seem to have become common place these days.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
A woman i knew was killed in a lowering accident in Clear Creek and Phil Powers, a very experienced climber and ED of the AAC, was badly injured in Clear Creek, again, from a lowering mishap.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:57pm PT
My condolences to family and friends. His kids were with him. How tragic!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
KennyT....the two accidents i reported were from miscommunication; they thought they were going to be lowered and leaned back with no one on the other end of the rope. If he fell 60 feet it is unlikely that the rope was not long enough.
Most of the routes there are less than half a rope length.
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Apr 6, 2013 - 09:12pm PT


From Mt Project:

"The accident happened at canal zone, it was a miss communication between climber and belayer. Belayer thought climber was going to rappel climber leaned into rope after cleaning gear expecting to be lowered and fell."...



Avoidable and shouldn't have happened...

Tragic!!!...




Sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the fallen climber...

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 09:18pm PT
That's what i thought....so sad and so avoidable.
WBraun

climber
Apr 6, 2013 - 09:21pm PT
The same accident happened here in Yosemite 2 different times that I know of.

It happened to Chappy on this forum years ago.

I happened to some euro guy on Lazy Bum a few years ago.

Both survived, although the euro was pretty fuked up because he hit the ground.

Chappy was super lucky because his beleyer Bruce Hawkins (RIP) miraculously was able to stop Chappy with his bare hands after falling the full pitch .....
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 6, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
So horrible. I never ever say safe or secure unless i'm going to rap. I allways make my belayer keep me on belay unless i say those things. This is exactly what happened to wendy too!! So sad. Be vigilant friends!
jghedge

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 6, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
"Chappy was super lucky because his beleyer Bruce Hawkins (RIP) miraculously was able to stop Chappy with his bare hands after falling the full pitch ....."

That was a miracle, I really did think I'd just watched him crater

Chiliwhip's good karma prevailed though
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
Nobody wants to lose Chappy, one of the best dudes out there.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Apr 6, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
Was sport climbing in Owens on friday, whenever I am in a controlled comfortable environment with friendly bolts I try to keep in mind what can happen to even very skilled/safe climbers. Condolences to friends and family, risk is ever-present so give it as much respect as possible.
moosedrool

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Apr 6, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
His children watched him die. The belayer will probably blame himself for the rest of his life. Tragic.

My condolences.
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:16pm PT
Very sad to hear.
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
My practice is to keep a hand, or both, on the brake side of the rope until I can see the belayer's hands and see that I am on belay. There have been too many accidents like this over the years, including two personal friends. Both survived although with grave injuries.

Condolences to the family.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:34pm PT
In sailing, the end of the anchor line is called, "The Bitter End."

That is where the phrase came from.

You always tie off the bitter end or you will lose your anchor sooner or later. Why don't people tie a figure eight on the end of the rope every single time?

That is another sailing rule. Tie a figure eight in the end of every line. As far as I can tell, it is the only common use for a figure eight in sailing..to keep a line from sneaking through a cleat and going flying in the wind out of reach.
harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
I know of two top level super safe climbers with 20 years experience at the time. Climber gets to top of one pitch sport route and says "OK" expecting to be lowered. Belayer takes him off thinking he meant off belay because he's not a sport climber.. Climber weights the rope and starts the free fall. Belayer quickly grabs the rope before climber picks up speed.Got to HAND it to the belayer,he made a mistake but was on the ball,watching and pulled off a miraculous save.

When not tied in I always put a knot at the end of my rope and other peoples also. I personally know of countless mishaps regarding rope going through belayers device on one pitch routes that were longer than expected when lowering. Hopfully the 70m rope will help on that one.

Totally attentive mono-focused belaying seems to have gone the way of the Dodo bird especially at sport crags. When was the last time you saw belayer checking knots and harness of climber and climber checking belay device and harness of belayer? I'm already teaching this and all the proper commands and responses to my 4 and 6 year old so it is ingrained.

Don't pretend to yourself it can't happen to you or for that matter you have never made a serious stupid error. Perhaps you were lucky and it didn't bite you that time.

Despite trying to play it safe all the time I fall into this catagory.

I feel so sorry for him and his kids to have this terrible accident. Must be very hard for the son.
jghedge

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 6, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
"You always tie off the bitter end or you will lose your anchor sooner or later. Why don't people tie a figure eight on the end of the rope every single time?"


Probably wouldn't have mattered in this case, the reports have him falling 60'.

Also if he was taken off belay, a knot in the end wouldn't have mattered either.

kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
from 60' you can see what each other is doing. without saying a word if need be
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:52pm PT
Sport climbing becomes too casual. Ordinarily there is little danger, hence the guard goes down.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:55pm PT
FK!

Why do people have these communication errors? Shouldn't it be discussed before the leader leaves the ground / belay?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 6, 2013 - 10:58pm PT
Accidents like this should never happen but they always will and with unvarying frequency.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Apr 6, 2013 - 11:04pm PT
Because the most dangerous thing in climbing is the human ability to err.

Don't pretend to yourself it can't happen to you or for that matter you have never made a serious stupid error. Perhaps you were lucky and it didn't bite you that time. I have been lucky and I hate that fact.

Work deliberately and seriously every belay every pitch every rappel to ingrain proper habits and communication.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 6, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
Why do people have these communication errors? Shouldn't it be discussed before the leader leaves the ground / belay?

Maybe they changed the plan? I've seen many sketchy situations occur when the plan is changed mid climb.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Apr 6, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
Poor family, to have to experience that. So sad.
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Apr 7, 2013 - 12:04am PT
First off, I agree with you.

This does not appear to be a lowering off the end of the rope accident. This was pure lack of communication between partners.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:03am PT
"The accident happened at canal zone, it was a miss communication between climber and belayer. Belayer thought climber was going to rappel climber leaned into rope after cleaning gear expecting to be lowered and fell."...

Eyewitness accounts are starting to trickle in and this does not look like a lowering accident. As reported on Mountain Project by climbers who were at the scene the climber who fell was not attached to anything. Also on the ground was a doubled rope with a figure-eight rappel device attached to it.

It sounds like we need some reliable information before speculating on what actually happened.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Apr 7, 2013 - 06:19am PT
hey there say, all...

oh my, :( always worse when the children are there, but worse, is
always worse, that it happened... :(

my condolences and prayers to the family... :(


also, werner, and all--as to this quote:

The same accident happened here in Yosemite 2 different times that I know of.

It happened to Chappy on this forum years ago.

I happened to some euro guy on Lazy Bum a few years ago.

Both survived, although the euro was pretty fuked up because he hit the ground.

Chappy was super lucky because his beleyer Bruce Hawkins (RIP) miraculously was able to stop Chappy with his bare hands after falling the full pitch .....


that is why i stopped by here one day, when thinking on my family that i missed... and my brothers, and parent-folks...

and that is why i stayed... god's years of watching over chappy, and me,
not having a clue at some of these 'near go wrongs', i am just most
grateful...

if i can pray and be of good here, as to giving good back, for our good years, it is small thankyou, at the that, but the best thank you, that i can give...


thank you the young man that saved my brother (i did notice the RIP for that climber, so i will not know him, here)...

whewwww, what a rescue :O
one never to be forgotten, for sure... :O

may many rescues always be there for climber folks, and may just as many more, never be needed, as:
may all be well in each decision and moment,
as we hope and pray for SUCH...

YET OF COURSE, precarious is part of the rocks:
so of course as to backup, keep those miracle rescues, for sure...
along with honing human-check and recheck-skills...
jopay

climber
so.il
Apr 7, 2013 - 06:50am PT
Sort climbing becomes too casual. Ordinarily there is little danger, hence the guard goes down.

I think Jim nailed it, this whole "got me" business came with the advent of sport climbing, in the trad days someone almost always followed and cleaned. I can't recall any times of being lowered as that would mean gear had been left at the top. I also agree that danger sits on your shoulder when doing trad and your safety senses are heightened, not so much climbing sport at the rock or gym.
ncskains

Ice climber
Alaska
Apr 7, 2013 - 10:48am PT
Check then Double Check your systems, Make sure you got both strands on that ATC, and always a rule of thumb... Never go off static till you are 110% sure your safe. One complacent error and your demise is waiting.

Sad to see someone else perishes due to an avoidable mistake. My regards to the family.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 7, 2013 - 11:34am PT
Distractions: I was dropped nearly to the ground TWICE with different partners,, both extremely experienced.. Both on shorter spurt routes much like the OP. .


In these cases it was people who provided the distraction for the belayer.. Both of these cases the distractions were females. The lesson here: When the cute chicks show up,, pay EXTRA attention to ones belay! And stop tryin to schmooze so hard ya forget about belaying !;-)

In both cases i was caught a few feet before landing rather hard..
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
Apr 7, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
This stuff happens to the most competent climbers. I was at Livzey Rock in Philly when I went to lower and a semi-famous climber who was belaying me was talking to a pretty girl and I almost pasted that manhole that sticks out of the ground at the base. Caught me just in time. That was my early and only foray into rope jumping, aside from lead falls.
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Apr 7, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
before you lean back you wait till you feel your belayer take you up? no. I could see how someone may get lowered off the end of the rope but letting yer partner drop from the anchors, that's a horrible lack of communication.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 7, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
its clear,, PRETTY GIRLS ARE DANGEROUS!;-)
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
The few times I've 'sport' climbed it seems I could always see my belayer and,
hopefully, he could and was seeing me. Is it too hard to look down and
see if you are still belayed and the belayer has not yet started rolling one?
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:21pm PT
Baahaa..

I used to see all manner of poor style belays at the Cave! Short falls- smacking into the wall were kinda common.. When belaying Dano, at the anchors hed just start yarding rope through for about fifty feet Then JUMP.

Belayer had to do a simul leap to further the dynamics of the catch..Many minds were blown when first witnessing that. ALways good entertainment for the back o the cave breaks..And we didnt use no stinkin gri gris..
coz

Gym climber
Belmont
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:27pm PT
This has kept me alive all these years, something I always teach my students.

1. Close the system, tie a knot in the end of the rope.

2. When lowering grab the other side of the rope, belay yourself until you make direct eye contact with your belayer. NEVER ASSUME U R ON BELAY... NEVER

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
There are people that kinda blow me off a little when I go thru the check me, I'll check you. I still do it, but it would be nice if we could check together. lynne
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:34pm PT
before you lean back you wait till you feel your belayer take you up? no.

In the gyms, you see neglect of this good habit all the time. Why would it - neglect of this good habit - not carry over for a few in every thousand to the outdoors. It's a shame.

To get to the anchors and just let go when you don't have to is akin to walking the right side of the road (with your back to traffic) when you don't have to. I see it all the time, it's a shame.

.....

When belaying Dano, at the anchors hed just start yarding rope through for about fifty feet Then JUMP... .Belayer had to do a simul leap to further the dynamics of the catch..

The more rope out, the less dynamic belay (e.g., jump) would be needed. Eh? ;)

.....

Even on this thread, look how little mention there's been of KennyT's life-saving principle.

When lowering grab the other side of the rope, belay yourself until you make direct eye contact with your belayer

Exactly. Yet look how little it's done - as a standard. Should be an inviolable standard. Always.
Ben909

Trad climber
toronto
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:38pm PT
Condolences to the family and friends.

It is tragic, and incredibly f*#king lame, that this continues to kill people. Why would anyone take the climber off belay without communication and consent? And why is it beyond people to test their systems or assumptions before betting the farm?
Fletcher

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
That's a simple system Coz. Thank you. I was cragging with a new pal this weekend and we were lowering a lot after I rigged top anchors. I would clearly communicate when I was tied in that I was off belay while I transitioned. Each time he'd say, "I'm going to keep you on anyway." I really appreciated that.

Being able to see the belayer belaying before fully committing to a rap is a superb practice.

> KennyT....the two accidents i reported were from miscommunication; they thought they were
> going to be lowered and leaned back with no one on the other end of the rope. If he fell 60
> feet it is unlikely that the rope was not long enough.
> Most of the routes there are less than half a rope length.

I think this is the exact same circumstances of Craig DeMartino's accident (of Gimp Monkey's and other fame). Except I think he fell 100 feet or more.

My condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of the Clear Creek accident.

Eric
Fletcher

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:45pm PT
Lynnie... one of the kindness things anyone can do it check his/her partners know every time. I'd be extra wary of folks who blow that off.

Eric
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 7, 2013 - 03:52pm PT
Condolences to the family and friends of the perished.

But really, in these times of a bazillion people climbing, i dont think the accident rate is really above the norm in a per capita schmapita sort of way..Its the same ol since the mid seventies. Distracted. I once dropped a buddy of mine about fifteen feet on a boulder problem i was belaying him on. Again due to distraction. He was topping on the boulder and i needed to move out of his way. As i was backing up and had let the belay loose(hip belay), he slipped . Cratered he did, and i felt horrible. He was ok, other than a bruise or two,, but, that one moment of ill attention is RIGHT when the slip occurred. Perfect lil storm.
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:15pm PT


Miscommunication (Or lack of it) = the loss of Woody also...




It's been written here at least a few times already...

Fuked up ACCIDENTS like this can happen to ANY of us...

I think of Jim Donini's posts a couple to a few months back about him almost getting spit when rapping...

Scary sh!t!!!...




EDITED:

"Always check your partners gear, because it's yours as well."...

Fuking A right on the money!!!...

coz

Gym climber
Belmont
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
I could go on,

But I tell people your partner system is your system, their harness is stopping your fall etc.

Always check your partners gear, because it's yours as well.

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
I too did the lean back and hear the velcro parting on me harness trick. I grabbed the anchors though and all was well.. ON another stinkin spurt route.. Im starting to think its spurt climbing thats the base of all disease.;-)
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:27pm PT

I think MANY of us have had that fuking VELCRO scare happen...

Never failed to get me...

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:28pm PT
Yup,, fergot to actually Lace the thing. EASY to do with that handy VELCRO.. We need to ban velcro..;-)
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
2. When lowering grab the other side of the rope, belay yourself until you make direct eye contact with your belayer. NEVER ASSUME U R ON BELAY... NEVER

Learned that from you Coz way back when. Thanks.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:33pm PT
so we ban spurt routes and velco. We will cut the fatalities by 66% minimum.
Ben909

Trad climber
toronto
Apr 7, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
Locker, this wasn't an accident. It is a tragedy caused by complacency and negligence. An accident implies something unforeseen; this and Donini almost taking the big ride are situations with very obvious hazards easily mitigated by principles that most of us learn when we start climbing.
skywalker

climber
Apr 7, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
Tragic...

I have to admit, it happened to me 15 yrs ago. I was fortunately at the top of the second pitch of Country Club Crack. I landed just above the mantle for Athletes Feat. ~ 110 ft fall all air. Partner was tied directly to the belay anchor so he was also unhurt. Miscommunication

We went home. Don't think we ever tied in together but joked as friends at the boulders for years later.

Bummer...

S...
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
Apr 7, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
My heart goes out to this guy's family. Whether it was an accident due to miscommunication, user error, or whatever, the fact is this guy is dead, and the world of his family will be rocked in a way that they cannot yet comprehend, nor can anyone else unless they have been personally affected by something like this...not a friend, but a family member/spouse. I get that it is important as hell to try to figure out what happened so the rest of us can take note and avoid the same fate. Nevertheless, be cognizant of the fact that his family may well be reading this thread, or will be soon. Does anyone know yet who it was? I can't seem to find out. It's a shitty deal....sending lots of love and positive vibes their way!
Pam
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Apr 7, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
2. When lowering grab the other side of the rope, belay yourself until you make direct eye contact with your belayer. NEVER ASSUME U R ON BELAY... NEVER
Been my practice for years and its worked well for me.

My whole life I've watched people "miscommunicate".
Rapping/lowering seems like an area of more risk in our sport.

Condolences to the family of the deceased.
jghedge

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 7, 2013 - 06:01pm PT
" Does anyone know yet who it was? I can't seem to find out."

Also curious, usually 60 year old climbers are pretty well known...
kennyt

climber
Woodfords,California
Apr 7, 2013 - 07:07pm PT
And turn yer effin cell phone of at the crag too. please
harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
Apr 7, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
My two avoidable mistakes where I could of died happened while I was still relatively new to climbing. I had climbed an easy route and decided to put up a top rope on a harder climb adjacent to the first climb. The ledge for this harder climb was 20' lower on the cliff so I did not lower both sides of the rope to the ground, I left one strand short as I only needed 20' to get to the ledge.

Well I was talking to someone on the ground as i rapped and got distracted. I forgot for a second that I was stopping at the ledge and proceeded rap down the whole cliff. Luckily my friend saw what was going on and stopped me 10 ' from the end of the shorter strand with no knot! 50' directly below me was a sharp pointy boulder that I would of hit with my back. It surely would of finished me off. Thanks to my friend who was actually new to climbing I lived to tell about it. Nobody had told him about looking out for each other, he was just one of those people who seem to be on the ball naturally. I've never made that same mistake since.

Second mishap involved a overhanging 11a and my first Arcteryx harness with velcro. Got to the anchors and then noticed the buckle was not even once through. Removed the velcro immediately with my swiss army knife as soon as I got down.

I feel very lucky that it wasn't my time during these two incidents but others have not been so lucky.

Stay safe my friends and look out for your partners as a back-up so that ultimately old age will be
the author of our demise.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 7, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
coz's advice is right on. (and he's a good roll model)


But I don't think that this kind of screw up was as common place before gyms and sport climbs.

Common sense seems to have been a casualty of making protecting yer ass too user friendly.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 7, 2013 - 11:50pm PT
I'll wager that many of the climbers who think nothing of carrying on a meaningless conversation with someone on the ground are very happy that when they get on a commercial airliner they are legally protected from the pilots engaging in the same sort of banter while in the TO or landing phases of the flight. Jess sayin'...
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 8, 2013 - 04:34am PT
2. When lowering grab the other side of the rope, belay yourself until you make direct eye contact with your belayer. NEVER ASSUME U R ON BELAY... NEVER

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
THIS

Saved my ass once. Big time. I had been teaching a girlfriend how to climb for awhile and it was the end of a weekend where we had been climbing lots (with friends watching my back while she was on belay) and she had practiced lowering with other people.

She seemed to have it down pat, so when everyone took off the next day, i was comfortable enough to put up an easier route that she could top rope. I sent the route and when i put together the anchor i got her to take which she did and told her ready to lower.

She said she had me and it felt like it too with the brake side of the rope in my hand. Turns out she didn't have the brake down and when i loaded the belay and my 220 pound frame starts going really fast! I clutched at the brake side with my other hand and managed to lower myself without burning my hands even.

I was choked tho. "You almost killed me!!!" She told me the rope was burning her hands so she let go of it, and that she was physically unable to hold my weight (she was anchored) .

The next day i bought a gri gri and made her belay me with it until i was absolutely confident she had her atc figured out.

My other policy for this is working out a plan on the ground beforehand, and when i am setting up an anchor i don't say anything until "ready to lower".
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 8, 2013 - 05:55am PT
Many are here by luck.

The Rev and I never had formal instruction.

We blindly bumbled and blundered and got it right.

But it took some doing, even after we'd been in the Valley as regulars.

All it took for me to be distracted one morning on Rixon's center was a damned cigarette. I had belayed Jeff off the ground, he was on aid.

He was figuring out the next placement. I went for a short stroll to get my pack of smokes. As I turned back to the anchor my ears got blistered!

It was worse than when I stepped on the fn rope or tried to seduce his sister! I felt like sh#t, lower than a gym climber.

And I have some to tell on him, too.

It's no wonder he keeps telling me it's a wonder we ever made twenty-five.

Always be faithful to the belay, never let communications be a problem, and always check each other's outfit. And any other safety you can incorporate into routine, GOOD, DO IT!

Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Apr 8, 2013 - 06:33am PT
I never had any problems except once, and I let a certain Claude talk me into not having an anchor. "I have done Stone Groove several times," he said.

About 60 feet up or so, with his last pro well below him, he peeled. He decked but just barely, as I was yanked into the wall. I caught his fall, just barely. He wasn't hurt. But if I had an anchor, he wouldn't have decked. I never ever let anybody talk me into not having an anchor after that.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Apr 8, 2013 - 08:37am PT
After reading and rereading both threads going about this accident, I still don't have a clear picture of the accident.


Did the guy expect to be lowered or did he simply mess up his rappel? I get the impression it was the latter case.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 8, 2013 - 10:30am PT
Meh. I hate these stories about preventable accidents. Stay sharp everyone. Condolences to any friends or family members.

Coz
2. When lowering grab the other side of the rope, belay yourself until you make direct eye contact with your belayer. NEVER ASSUME U R ON BELAY... NEVER

That probably the best piece of advice I've never heard before. I'll start using it. I take it paranoia from years of clients trying to kill you has instilled some survival habits?

Thing a knot in the very end of the rope (generally a good habit), won't keep you from hitting the ground on a single pitch climb if your partner drops you. Seems like you'd have to tie an overhand-bight once someone gets a few feet off the ground if you really want to prevent ground-fall.


Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 8, 2013 - 10:56am PT
Did the guy expect to be lowered or did he simply mess up his rappel? I get the impression it was the latter case.

Stich- i think you are right. From mp:


By jpike
1 day ago
I was climbing the route next to this guy at the time of the accident. It was at least a 60 ft fall. I was setting up to rap, heard a scream above, looked up and saw a body whiz by. When I got down he was unconscious and a few others were attending to him. The rope was on the ground with a figure 8 set to rap but it was not connected to him. His kids and grand kids were within 20 feet of where he hit. I'm so glad he didn't land on one of them. Also, I don't think it was communication error.


By jpike
1 day ago
The climber was not on belay. The figure 8 was not clipped to him. I'm pretty sure proper commands were exchanged. I'm baffled as to how he messed up. The figure 8 looked set up properly, other than not being clipped to him. He was not tied in at all.



By jpike
1 day ago
Just to make it crystal clear...he was not clipped to the rope in any fashion. The belay device and biner were attached to the rope but not him. Everything was on the ground.


By jpike
After reflecting on it and reading all your posts I have thought of a scenario that fits best with what I witnessed. I think he probably did not clip to the anchor at the top. It was a reasonably comfortable stance. They had their own gear attached to the fixed anchor for top roping. It is possible that he set the rappel up properly with their anchor, not the fixed cold shuts. He is still unattached to anything. He realizes that he must run the rope through the fixed cold shuts to clean his parties anchor. He unclips the rope from his gear planning to quickly attach it to the fixed shuts. He accidentally drops the rope with the f8 and biner which is now attached to nothing and slips trying to catch it. This is my best guess.

Thank you all for helping me process this tragedy. I know I will respect the seriousness of this incredible and fulfilling sport in a new and profound way after witnessing this. Climb smart and safe out there guys.
jghedge

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2013 - 11:11am PT
"He unclips the rope from his gear planning to quickly attach it to the fixed shuts."


Maybe somebody yanked on the rope right then and pulled him off.

It is hard to figure why he'd be completely detached from the rope, and not clipped into the anchor, but apparently he was.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Apr 8, 2013 - 12:46pm PT
I think it is important to mention that the "fixed cold shuts" mentioned by jpike in his first person account of the accident are actually Mussy Hooks. There was no reason to untie to thread the anchors.

Also, the stance at the anchor is OK, but I would not stand there without being clipped in.
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Apr 8, 2013 - 12:51pm PT



As with all the other situations like this, the tons of speculation is interesting, but otherwise sort of senseless...

Until actual FACTS crop up, it's only GUESSING...

Like everyone else, I am super curious as to how it really did happen...

dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
Apr 8, 2013 - 01:27pm PT
I always clip in with my safety when I get to the top of a sport or trad pitch with anchor bolts, no matter what. Would rather take the time to clip and unclip even if belayer is "supposed" to have me on, than risk a mis-communication.

Condolences to friends and family, sorry for your loss.
Outdoorvangelist

Trad climber
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Apr 13, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
Trying to glean some wisdom from this. Could it be that his Figure Eight levered and unclipped from an unlocked biner at his clip in point? That would explain the detached but fully rigged eight.
As a parent, this is terrifying... always has been my personal 'worst case scenario'. Condolences to the family.
bjj

climber
beyond the sun
Apr 13, 2013 - 01:46pm PT
Don't pretend to yourself it can't happen to you or for that matter you have never made a serious stupid error. Perhaps you were lucky and it didn't bite you that time. I have been lucky and I hate that fact.

You can project and pontificate all you want if it makes you feel better, but I am here to tell you that not once in 20 years have I ever, even once had anything even remotely like that happen / almost happen.

The person on the sharp end of my rope is not coming off belay until I am 100% sure, double checked by visual or extra inquiry that is what they intend. When it's me on the end, same drill. You STAY on belay until you have proof positive something else is requested. You don't leave the anchors under someone else's control until you have proof positive said control is ready.

You sound like someone who got caught drinking and driving trying to claim "everyone does it". No, they don't.
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Apr 13, 2013 - 01:53pm PT


Unless you're done climbing for good...

don't count your chickens just yet...

paganmonkeyboy

climber
mars...it's near nevada...
Apr 13, 2013 - 02:14pm PT
My sincere condolences to the family and friends.

Tragic...

-Tom
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
May 15, 2013 - 03:31am PT
Scary. Especially if one of the children WAS the belayer. Both mine (12 and 14) belay me but they know that 'off belay' is the only time to take me off belay. That only happens when I'm clipped to the bolts/chains, etc. and they respond with 'belay off'.
Maybe my newness to the sport is showing, but how do you clean gear and expect to be lowered? If you're being lowered that happens right when you top out ('Got me?', 'Yup'). Was he getting lowered using the bolts/chains? If someone was cleaning gear I would also assume they were going to rappel, since you're not supposed to lower from the bolts/chains. But I would still wait for the cue to take them off belay. Seems like following standard protocol would have prevented this. I guess if there are walk off options that could happen, but even then the 'belay off' still applies.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
May 15, 2013 - 04:01am PT
If you're being lowered that happens right when you top out ('Got me?', 'Yup').

Incorrect.

It's entirely possible to be lowered after cleaning an anchor.

If someone was cleaning gear I would also assume they were going to rappel, since you're not supposed to lower from the bolts/chains. But I would still wait for the cue to take them off belay.

The above statement is inconsistent. Don't assume they're going to rappel. Assume that they require your belay until they tell you otherwise.

This is where your reasoning is flawed: you're not supposed to lower from chains [therefore, the climber is going to rappel].

Don't assume that the climber:

 agrees with you that they're "not supposed to lower from bolts/chains".
 is willing & able to follow that protocol.

IOW, don't assume you can stop doing your job when it comes to other people's safety: use explicit and complete communication.

However, you can assume whatever you want when it only affects your safety. Your family might be upset with your choice, but in the end it's your life to end.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
May 15, 2013 - 04:12am PT
I always do the coz grab, every time, even in the gym. I just can't bring myself to weight a rope without still being anchored or at least having a hand on the other side. When belaying, when the leader wants to clean the anchor and rap I leave the rope in the device with some slack until I absolutely know he / she is rapping instead of lowering.
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