Bonnie & Clyde accident report


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 21 - 40 of total 40 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

May 20, 2013 - 07:32pm PT
No.... you didn't screw up Johnny. I was out with an old buddy. Last time we'd climbed, @10-15-20 years before, I'd been the experienced one. Now I was feeling old and infirm with some injury or another and not looking for anything too hard we went out to do a short(er) easy(er) multipitch. He led the crux 3rd 5.9 pitch so I wouldn't stress. Dude had been getting out. Anyway, he was climbing right above me on a semi hanging belay, @ 20' up, no pro between us. If he falls he'll hit me. Hard. I gently suggested that the sweet appearing stance he was on would be a good spot to drop in a hex or something.

Well, maybe he didn't hear me. I clear my throat and repeat a tad louder. All I said was: "Be a good spot for a piece".

Buddy keeps moving up. Not like Bachar in his prime either. Slow. Well, maybe he didn't hear me I think. I clear my throat UACCHHHH HUHHH!!! and repeat...much louder. "HEY MAN - YOU WON'T HURT MY FEELINGS IF YOU PUT IN 2 OR 3 PIECES!!!!!!" Buddy is looking at a direct fall onto me from 25'-30' up and then he'll go another 25'-40' with rope stretch and I've checked the 3 pieces I have in and am fully hanging on 4 or 5 times but I check them again to make sure that the belay will hold that kind of action. Now, he'd once climbed below me on a 1300' simusolo we'd done years before, so he had to have trusted me at some point. anyway.....

Pretty curious to me. Never encountered that kind of thing before. Finally he puts in a piece.

I get up to the belay, dude is giving a sitting hip belay, no pro tieing him to the wall. And he's burning up. I take a look at his pained face and say: "whats the problem?".. My friend, and we eventually became friends again 5 years after this climb, can't even talk he's so pissed off.

I don't even know what's up. Being older, I often am climbing with young folks and giving beta is always appreciated and normal. We finally get down, I repeat "what's wrong man"? I get lit up. " F*#K YOU ASSHOLE YOU MAY HAVE BEEN MORE EXPERIENCED 20 YEARS BACK BUT YOU'VE BEEN SITTING ON YER ASS RAISING A FAMILY AND IVE BEEN CRUISING WALLS AND DON'T TELL ME WHERE TO PUT IN THE F*#KI9NG PIECES. F*#K F*#K F*#K JESUS CHRIST JUST SHUT THE F*#K UP I'LL PUT IN A F*#KING PIECE IF I WANT TOO WHEN I WANT TOO IT'S MY DECISION WHEN OR IF I DO I'M LEADING YOU'RE BELAYING SO SHUT THE F*#K UP."

"HOOOO MAN", I say. "sorry." About all I had. Never had ever experienced something like that. We didn't talk for a couple of years, but it was on his end.

Anyway, she was on lead. Rgold spoke for me up thread. Learning to downclimb is a skill worth learning and also, once you rest on yer gear, since you screwed the onsight, why not add a piece while you are hanging if you at all think it's needed, not a bad idea. Especially if a person only has 2 years of experience.

We do what we do. Experience is gained. She'll be fine at some point and hopefully she'll learn from it. Best to you both.


Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
May 20, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
I like to wear a helmet while lurking on the taco...RJ

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
May 20, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
I think given what has happened in our extended climbing community recently, making positive, constructive comments (and not snide, sarcastic comments)would be appropriate. And let's all be thankful that this situation didn't turn out worse.

I've been involved in a serious accident where there was a concussion (and other injuries) and many of the symptoms that Nut points out for concussion were present, in addition to my friend vomiting (classic sign of concussion).

Again Reb, it's all about learning from mistakes, so don't be too hard on yourself.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 20, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
Couchmaster, your story reminds me that as a young climber, I used to pass up pro opportunities all the time. If I felt solid, then no need for pro, right? I got lots of warnings from older more experienced climbers, but hey, I knew what I was doing, and I was in control.

Well. On a climb in the Needles (SD, not CA), I had blasted through the 5.9 crux and was now cruisin' 5.7 to the top, basically in soloing mode. I got to a comfortable stance with the opportunity to place a bombproof 3/4 inch angle (this was before nuts and way before cams). I kept on going a move or two, and then something, maybe the echoes of the accumulated wiser voices who had been telling me to put in more gear, made me stop. I climbed back down a few moves, placed the piton, clipped it, and hadn't even returned to my high point when a crystal (previously used) broke and I fell maybe three feet total because of the pin.

Without the pin, it would have been a fatal ground fall. Instead, it was nothing. I didn't think about it much consciously until later, but even without thinking about it I changed my ways, I suppose because the fantasy of total control had been seriously dented.

I have to say, though, that my actions, although they certainly could have led to a lousy day out for my partner had he been forced to clean up the mess, did not put him in any kind of danger. But when you are up on a route and your partner fails to protect the belay when it is fully possible to do so, they are risking not only their lives, but yours too, and that is a totally different proposition. I might remain friends, but the climbing relationship would be over, because a person who is willing to risk my life unnecessarily in order to enjoy their own sense of mastery isn't someone I want to be above the deck with.

This might mean, conceivably, that I would have to stop climbing with my younger self, but as it turns out we manage to get out together with fairly little conflict. The lad is as boisterous as ever, but just doesn't get to have his way much any more.

Trad climber
heart of Texas
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
Totally agree that down climbing and backing off is necessary in trad climbing. just don't know how my friend gets associated as being a sport / gym climber. when i look back at my history and how i didn't know dick the first 8 years of climbing. During those first 8 years i climbed traditional only and lots of wide crack was my favorite.
thank you neebee and everyone

i think it all goes back to what pud said. i should have been setting a better example.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 20, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
Glad everybody's OK

I think El Cap in da booty said what I planned to say

"Problem with falling on 5.7/5.8 isn't gear, modern or otherwise, it's the typical angle of that terrain. Less than vertical, ledgy, broken, rambling, etc.

You can usually count on 5.hard being steep enough not to matter, or if not steep, very clean faces with minimal features to hit. On 5.8, not so much.

I don't hector my partners or try to micromanage from the dull end, but I don't hesitate to give them the "dude, put in some gear, you'd deck/hit that ledge/take a nasty penji into the corner from there", no matter how good, experienced, or surly they are."


PSP also PP

Trad climber
May 20, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
Sounds like your friend learned the lesson the hard way and consequently will probably not make the same mistake next time and probably/hopefully will always wear a helmet.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 20, 2013 - 09:35pm PT
I am with RG on this one. Three things can happen when you fall and two of them are bad.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 20, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
...just don't know how my friend gets associated as being a sport / gym climber...

You have a point; I don't know anything about her---perhaps she's never been near a gym or a sport climb. But understand that I didn't refer to her as any type of climber. I referred to the climbing culture that envelopes all of us, a culture that I feel places too much faith in technology, focuses in a one-sided way on "sending" with little regard for coping that does not "reach the chains," and fails to distinguish between behaviors that may be appropriate for one genre but not for another.

It is a challenging environment to learn trad in. Whether your partner was, to some extent, a victim of that environment or whether her mistakes were hers alone, as were mine years ago, I have absolutely no way of knowing. In any case, I'm glad she is ok.

Trad climber
heart of Texas
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2013 - 10:11pm PT
Thank you RG I'm glad she is ok also.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 20, 2013 - 10:29pm PT
There is a boulder problem that I used to do quite a bit BINTD. We Always treated it as a solo. bad landing and tricky highball top out but heck we treated all of our boulder problems as solos. I remember climbing out to the crux and then reversing the moves to rest and gather my witts at least a dozen times before finally sending. No pad, no spotter just your sense of self preservation and NOT FALLING. I pointed the problem out to a super strong youngster and he quickly cruised up to the crux, figured out that it got hard so he jumped cause that is what kids do these days. totally trashed his ankle.

Trad climber
heart of Texas
Topic Author's Reply - May 21, 2013 - 08:37am PT
Just an update my friend Bonnie had a good day yesterday and even had a beer!

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
May 21, 2013 - 11:18am PT
climbing right above me on a semi hanging belay, @ 20' up, no pro between us.

Couchmaster, your partner was being an idiot. It's not about what he feels solid on or not, it's the forces on the belay if the "what if" happens. As the events of this week have shown, in climbing we always have to be aware of the "what if". As a matter of ROUTINE, I put in two pieces soon after leaving the belay. After that, you can run it out more.


Trad climber
heart of Texas
Topic Author's Reply - May 21, 2013 - 11:30am PT
either do I. I just wasn't thinking.

Trad climber
May 21, 2013 - 11:34am PT
geezus, not to mention that falling 50-60 feet onto a hanging belay -- the definition of a Factor 2 fall -- could easily rip the anchor, no matter how solid you think it is. Bad form on your partner's part.

An old denizen of ST, now gone, rest his soul, said here one time something that I've always remembered:

Watch the weather
Don't drive exhausted
Protect the belay

That last one has always seemed particularly important to me. And, if my fading memory serves me correctly, RGold himself once said something to the effect of "always have at least 3 pieces between you and disaster." Finally, it was related to me by a friend that John Bragg once told him, "Any as#@&%e can climb, but it takes a special as#@&%e to protect a climb."

Anyway, glad to hear the OP's friend is okay.

Social climber
May 21, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
Close encounter. Had a couple close encounters like that myself, over the years. While leading, dislodged a loose rock that hit my partner's head, nearly killed him (thought I had, at first). Lots of blood. Terrible.

Sometimes things just happen. After, you can analyse and second guess what things you'd have done different, but this climbing game is inherently risky and sometimes the odds kinda catch up. Hard to judge how much to trust a new partner, ya don't want to be a bully but also don't want to end up with someone hurt.

You likely feel awful right now, knowing that you could have done different things and altered the outcome.

But, maybe had you, say, yelled at her to put more gear in, and she heard you, that would have set in motion some other scenario that would also have ended in an accident. Perhaps even a worse one. Impossible to know. Don't beat yourself up too much.

Over a few weeks, the vivid horror of what happened will fade. You won't ever forget, but you will emerge from the shadow and start enjoying getting out climbing again. Processing takes time.

All the best!

PSP also PP

Trad climber
May 21, 2013 - 08:33pm PT
Werner's right. If you can't work out the sequence and feel totally secure on 5.8 then you should back off and come back when you get better.

Trad climber
heart of Texas
Topic Author's Reply - May 21, 2013 - 09:55pm PT
Easy Mr. Braun i know you had a bad weekend. I pointed out the climb. she fell on the 1st crux then went up and the bad fall happened on the 2nd crux. I didn't speak up I KNOW Better! so are you saying when someone falls on the phoenix twice that they don't belong on it or is just a elite grade thing

thanks crunch

May 21, 2013 - 10:11pm PT
Please re-read:

If you start falling all the time on 5.8 you don't belong there..
Off White

Tenino, WA
May 21, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
I went to Werner's alma mater, and rgold & Elcapinyouazz are batting 1000 in the advice pool. Mr Rebel, you should have your partner read this thread.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 40 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews