Fallen Haul Bag Hits Climber


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Trad climber
Mar 5, 2018 - 09:43am PT
Would this have been any different if the guy stepped on a loose rock and knocked it on to the guys arm? Either way it's an accident. When we start suing each other over accidents while participating in a obviously dangerous sport we are on a slippery slope to losing the freedoms of the sport we enjoy. Its one thing to throw a pig off the wall but quite another when it comes loose by accident.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2018 - 09:51am PT
dropping your haulbag is gross negligence, period.

Did you even read the account of what happened. I read it long ago and recall that it came unclipped through some sort of unfortunate squence of events that did not seem to rise to gross negligence. Gross negligence is pretty extreme behavior under the law.

Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both. It is conduct that is extreme when compared with ordinary Negligence, which is a mere failure to exercise reasonable care.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 5, 2018 - 09:53am PT
Batrock...I am as aware as anyone that their are objective hazards in a dangerous activity like climbing. We need to focus on “best practices,” especially on crowded climbs.

The haulbag that hit me on the stovelegs was out of my sight and had to have swung from around a corner at least fifty feet away.

The party above me certainly didn’t mean to hurt me and probably weren’t even aware that I was below them. However, on a crowded route like the nose, climbers allowing their haul bag to swing wildly in an area invisible to them clearly was not best practices.

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2018 - 09:55am PT
Seems this wouldn't even be considered normal negligence since he used a locking biner which is normal practice. The issue is how did it come unlocked? Did he forget to lock it which is unprovable or did it become unlocked due to vibration, webbing rubbing on the gate etc...? This is far from gross negligence.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Mar 5, 2018 - 09:58am PT
I completely agree about the rock climbing aspect of following and the the folks above should be carefull. I am still rather horrified about the thought of everyone sueing everyone. slippery slope. Certainly there are some climbs where it is entirely the fault of whomever gets on the climb below another party. Most climbs at Cannon would qualify but specificly INMOP it is almost impossible to get up the rubble chimney on SSS without sh#t coming down and there are dozens of other places on that climb where it is almost simply sheer luck that something big and bad does not happen.

Ice climbing. read what Will Gadd has to say. If you climb up under me on an ice climb I will drop ice on you and I will only yell ice if its something out of the ordinary. 50lbs or more warrents the extra breath. everything else is just normal. If I pass you soloing its a different ball game and it is now 100% my responsibility to not bomb you.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
Mar 5, 2018 - 10:01am PT
Upon reading the Accident Report (which I am assuming is the best information available as to the cause of the accident), this does not appear to be the case of the retreating climbers above tossing the haul bag to the ground. Instead, it appears that the haul bag became accidentally detached from a locking carabiner.

At best, it appears this involved ordinary negligence in not double checking the carabiner after it and the haul bag were unweighted after being caught up on a ledge.

As such, I wonder whether this is exactly the type of risk that a person climbing routes along the base of El Cap assumes - that something (carabiner, haul bag, piton, rock, etc.) might accidentally fall from above and hit you. I think we all have, at one point or another, accidentally dropped a piece of gear (or had the rope run over and knock a rock down).

As mentioned, if you choose to climb below other parties you do so with the understanding (whether acknowledged or not), that anything other than deliberate or "grossly negligent" acts, are the risks you are undertaking.


Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Mar 5, 2018 - 10:14am PT
Yo...it's Cali, if you want to get on a good multi pitch without anyone else you need to have the same patience required for waiting for a weather window in Pataginia.

Are you kidding? You just need to walk more than a quarter mile from the car.

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2018 - 10:16am PT
Jim, I "belayed" you once on Double Cross. You are a solid climber, much more so than I was at the time having not climbed for the 10 years previous due to injuries. Anyway you climbed DC and didn't place a single piece of gear which is fine, you were solid and those jams are bomber. But had you peeled and your skinny ass landed on my not so skinny ass resulting in an injury would I have a case to sue you? Did you use common best practices? I think even my fat ass could have jumped out of the way since your featherweight body fluttering through the air would have taken some time to reach me.
My point is that we can start picking apart our sport until we can't afford it, can't access it and plain old can't do it because we have litigated ourselves into non existence.

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Mar 5, 2018 - 10:20am PT
First, I'm sorry you were involved in an accident and have had such a difficult recovery.

Second, getting all lawyered up about it is about the lamest thing I've ever heard in climbing. You assumed the risk.

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2018 - 10:25am PT
Different topic but ice climbers have to consider this frequently.
You take your chances getting hit by ice from people above you, including your own leader if belaying.
It is getting more difficult to avoid ice climbers above you because this sport is becoming popular.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Mar 5, 2018 - 10:28am PT
what batrock says. we start suing each other and we are done.. Its hard enough keeping access as it is but when we fight amongst ourselfs it always makes it worse.

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2018 - 12:02pm PT
I was on the 3D when Lambone and partner cut bags loose above while on Sunkist on the traverse pitches, I saw bags flying through the air sure they were heading right toward me. They swung left as the rope caught them but still scared the crap out of me. I knew they were climbing above but didn't pay much attention, I did after that. My responsibility to be aware and not climb directly under others if possible.

Grey Matter
Mar 5, 2018 - 12:23pm PT
I misclipped my partner's #2 camalot on my harness,
and then it dropped a minute later.

I gave them a replacement cam.

Mar 5, 2018 - 01:42pm PT

Climbing = self reliance + assumption of risk.

really looks like you are intending to sue or at least milk some cash from the guy, which I think would be a poor choice for our beloved and sometime risky sport.

From your letter, you had $15,000 in medical bills. Plus an estimate of $12,00 in "lost wages." That's a lot, but that doesn't seem like it will ruin you. (I might be wrong but the that's not an extreme expense by most standards, especially in a place like the Boulder Area, especially for a young engineer, especially for a guy who is trying to take months off work for a bike trip)

How much money do you expect to get back? After attorney fees? Would an apology suffice?

Is you online shaming of Jonathon enough payback?

I think the precedent of suing (even this attempt to milk some cash out to the guy) could have an extremely negative effect on our sport, as others have written above me. It's a crappy accident, a really bad accident, but it really looks like it was just that--an accident. As climbers, we have all had them, and we pay for them in time and money whether it's our fault or not.

I encourage you to look long and hard at the culture of self-reliance and risk assumption in our sport before taking this further.

Nice post Nah000

p.s. looking at your web-site, I'm feeling even less sympathetic to your "cause"

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Mar 5, 2018 - 02:09pm PT
In my opinion, climbing below another party and being struck from above puts the responsibility fully on the lower party. I would take full responsibility of being there in the first place if I were injured by falling rock, gear, etc. Its a very real risk and one I avoid at nearly all costs. Even on trade routes.....especially on trade routes.

Really sorry about your injury and hope you recover fully but being on that route below those guys was a risk you fully accepted by being there at all. Stuff falls from above from climbers above all the time. Gumbies, mistakes, happenchance from even the best climbers above. The responsibility fully is yours to chose to be there or not.


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 5, 2018 - 02:34pm PT
Micronut, I must disagree with you. If no one climbed below another party on the Nose far few people would get to experience one of the world's great climbs. Does your reasoning also apply to the many people who crag at the base of El Cap daily?

Sure, climbing below someone means you are accepting an element of risk but that doesn't mean you are responsible if the party above you does something stupid like throwing off their haul bag.
steve s

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2018 - 02:51pm PT
Was the bag thrown off? I think when you climb below other people you are assuming the risks involved.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 5, 2018 - 02:59pm PT
^^^^^^ +1

If you sue I can tell you who will win,....

the lawyers.

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Mar 5, 2018 - 03:18pm PT
I am as aware as anyone that their are objective hazards in a dangerous activity like climbing. We need to focus on “best practices,” especially on crowded climbs.

Maybe best practices is a fluid concept.

a generation of climbers ( ain’t naming no names) thought best practices included throwing bags of sh#t off a wall.


Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Mar 5, 2018 - 03:30pm PT
I think when you climb below other people you are assuming the risks involved.

I know one party that got a settlement from having a rock knocked off on them while climbing a very popular route in Yosemite (way back in the mid 80’s).
The climber suffered a severe head injury and loss of some fingers (permanent damage). The party that knocked the rock off from above were simo-climbing which may have had something to do with the settlement legally, as they were not climbing in a,” standard fashion”, another factor was the climbers that knocked the rock off had some $$$.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 163 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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