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

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

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

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
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.

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

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.

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.

Social climber
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

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...

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.

Ice climber
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.

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.

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.

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?
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.

Trad climber
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?

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.


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.


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.

Trad climber
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.
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