Boy Injured In Flagstaff - was using non-climbing biners


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Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Sep 11, 2018 - 09:04pm PT
I taught my son how to light the propane grill when he was 12. First time I sent him outside to the light it on his own I hear the woosh of gas flashing off. I knew what happened, I forgot to stress that you do not keep the gas on too long without lighting it. When he came in the house I could smell the singed hair. He is 15 and refuses to light a gas grill.

Jon, if your kid had a uni-brow, this episode may have been liberating.


Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Sep 11, 2018 - 09:32pm PT

Trademarks serve to protect consumers from inferior goods.

A trademark ensures that a particular product has been produced by a particular, specific, and non-confusable source of production.

If a product from Producer-A is acceptable, valid, and trustworthy, a trademark ensures that consumers will not be confused, as by an inferior product by Producer-B.

This is not rocket science.

The trademark system is a wonderful system to ensure that consumers are presented with additional information to ensure that they make informed decisions when making their purchasing decisions.

An unmarked carabiner, by definition, is outside the realm of name-brand climbing gear.

I, but for the grace of Royal Robbins' two Rockcraft books, may not have known how to survive as a rockclimber. Robbins discussed inferior carabiners, those that were only suitable for hauling dunnage.

Royal Robbins was not just the best at what he did.

Royal Robbins informed others, so that they could be the best at what they were doing.

If Royal Robbins' books, Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft, had been available to the persons involved in this accident, I think that the accident might not have occurred.


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 11, 2018 - 10:49pm PT
Are we really this callous a crowd? As a climber from back in the dark ages, we had a lot of self-taught technique. The sink-or-swim learning was great training, provided you survived. I'm glad our fledgling leader was merely injured, but I don't know the extent of those injuries. As Bob Harrington reminds us (indirectly), he hit his head. That could result in permanent brain injury.

I would like to know how this kid was equipped with not-for-climbing 'biners (and, maybe, other unsuitable gear). The snap-links* I see at Home Despot and sLowe's clearly state they are not for climbing.

As for gear I take on my own climbs, I'm like tradmanclimbs. I try to have everything usable for climbing or, rather often, retreating.


*I use the term "snap link" intentionally, keeping in mind Tom Patey's definition, viz. "a link that snaps."

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Sep 11, 2018 - 10:50pm PT
The Pit is a steep crag. Awesome, juggy limestone, some of it wildly overhanging. I used to love climbing there when I lived in AZ. Hopefully the kid heals up and can get back on the horse. It is a great place to climb.

Thats fvcked up, those pictures ksolem posted with the fake biners.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
Sep 11, 2018 - 11:06pm PT
I would like to know how this kid was equipped with not-for-climbing 'biners (and, maybe, other unsuitable gear). The snap-links* I see at Home Despot and sLowe's clearly state they are not for climbing.
right. and i still don't understand how the non rated 'biners ended up on the end of multiple dog bones. Or was he clipping the rope to just a 'biner attached to the bolt rather than a draw?
Also, 12 years old, leading 11c doesn't sound like the type to be using gear not rated (or to be using biners without dogbones)

here's another article which seems to suggest that they were simply using the non rated carabiners rather than quickdraws, although that could easily be attributed to the journalists lack of knowledge. However, it also gets right that microwave is the route he was on rather than the area.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 11, 2018 - 11:24pm PT
It's possible we'll never get the facts on this one unless a local to the area is able to sleuth out the facts.

My point by showing the two different but similar looking 'biners is that there's a lot of distance between being stupid enough to climb using Home Depot key ring clips versus using substandard 'biners that look real.

I hope we can find out specifically what happened. I think it matters. Right now, from what we know, this could be anything from a case of utter idiocy to the unintended use of a weak carabiner designed to look like a real one.

Social climber
Sep 12, 2018 - 03:06am PT
hey there say, k solem...

oh my... as to this quote:

Anyway, the set came with four carabiners which I mistook for BD ovals until I looked more closely. They are unmarked, have no weight spec, and the metal doesn't look quite right. But at first glance they look exactly like the real thing.

yeah, sadly, they are ALL OVER the place, in so many stores...
as, it is 'cool' i think, they think, to have these...

i had to buy some, as, they were cheaper than the key loop brass clip, that
really wanted for my keys (broke after about 30 years) ... well,
the 'biner face thing' broke, after a week or so...

the other one, i am just very careful with it...

going to look for a big brass hook, soon as i can afford it...

but--yeah... very sad... kids do NOT know about this... :(

prayers for him to get well, and not have permanent damage...
and best wishes to him...

Social climber
Sep 12, 2018 - 03:12am PT
hey there say, tom...

as to this quote...

very nicely said...

Everyone, here, has a duty and obligation to share knowledge about climbing safety, whenever possible. Subtle differences can mean the difference between life and death.

still hoping he gets well...


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 12, 2018 - 04:44am PT
Kris, isn’t a failure to exercise due diligence when buying climbing gear for yer 12 year old synonymous with ‘utter idiocy’?

“The prosecution rests its case, yer honour.”

Social climber
The internet
Sep 12, 2018 - 05:42am PT
isn’t a failure to exercise due diligence when buying climbing gear for yer 12 year old synonymous with ‘utter idiocy’?
I don’t understand comments putting any if this on the kid, 12 is way too young, this is 100% parental failure.

Jim Henson's Basement
Sep 12, 2018 - 06:56am PT
He's 12 years old. Mistakes happen with the inexperienced .we all did dumb sh#t at that age. Glad he's OK. He sounds pretty bold- hope the accident doesn't deter him if climbing is something he is interested in.

It would be interesting to know more details about how the biners were acquired. If the parents aren't climbers it's not inconceivable they purchased non- rated biners out of ignorance.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Sep 12, 2018 - 07:09am PT

I wonder if the rope was purchased at the same place as biners?
If the biners had been rated, the rope instead may have snapped.
A Essex

Sep 12, 2018 - 08:12am PT
I'm curious if these fake biners were on a quickdraw.

Ice climber
Sep 12, 2018 - 10:51am PT

Boy survives falling from tree house, being impaled in face by metal meat skewer

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Sep 12, 2018 - 04:20pm PT

A few friends and I showed up at a small but still kind of popular top rope crag in the late 90s. When we arrived we found television journalist David Hartman belaying his teenage son who had just returned from a week of summer camp that included some climbing. Hartman's teenage daughter was waiting to climb next.

I walked up and around to the top to build an anchor only to find his son's anchor had their rope threaded THROUGH a single nylon sling. I walked back down and suggested they stop climbing for a few minutes and then grabbed some of their nice shiny biners and very new webbing/slings and walked back up to build them a proper anchor.

I brought down the somewhat frayed and fried sling and provided a brief explanation. Hartman was effusively appreciative. Seemed like a really nice guy.


Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 12, 2018 - 04:43pm PT
Really hope the kid is going to recover fully and have another try at climbing with some experienced guidance. when I was about 11 or 12? I had an old weather beaten book of how to be and outdoorsman. It showed pencil sketch of rapelling with what I assume must have been a dulfersitz?? I promptly went out to the hay barn and stole one of the very old hemp ropes that we used to tie hay on the old farm truck. I say stole because Pa was pretty strict about goofin off with farm equiptment when there was work to be done. I got ahold of that old hemp rope and scrambled up the scraggly cliffs above the horse pasture. Could not quite figure out the whole wrap the rope around the tree thing so that you could pull it and retrieve the rope. I simply tied the rope to a tree and wrapped it over my shoulder and under my leg like in the picture. Seemed to work so I backed over the edge of that 20ft shist slab. the old rotten rope promptly broke and I went flying pretty darn good off the cliff and down the hill. just missed getting tangled up in the electric fence. Really lucky to land in soft leaves on a steep slope that I bounced and rolled down without hitting anything hard.

The Good Places
Sep 12, 2018 - 09:43pm PT
what did your Pa say, tradman?

Social climber
Sep 12, 2018 - 11:24pm PT
hey there say, tradmanclimbs... :O

man oh man... :O

good you made it through childhood... :)

Trad climber
Sep 13, 2018 - 12:00am PT
^^^^^ Exactly (to tradman and nee bee). Thankfully he didn't totally crater and hopefully everything is recovery from simple injuries He will improve on his techniques and be more attentive to the gear he truly needs.

Eventually we learn the proper techniques. Give the lad a little slack, perhaps a bit of a loop.


Edit: It doesn't mean there isn't a lesson to learn here just sayin...

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 13, 2018 - 03:34am PT
I am certain that I hid the broken rope and never mentioned it.
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