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Climber injured in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado, 3/17/09
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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 17, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

Just saw this in the Denver Post: www.denverpost.com/news/ci_11936151

Anyone have more info?


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By pfwein
Mar 18, 2009

I just saw a report on the local 10 o'clock news (Channel 9 I think). Apparently the injured climber worked at the channel. The report said something like (paraphrasing) the equipment failed because it had been sitting around all winter and had gotten stiff?! It didn't sound like the climber was mortally wounded: of course I hope that's the case and don't mean any disrespect to him, just that the blurb on the news was the typical type of report that if you're climber either pisses you off or amuses you, or both.


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By Eric Rak
From Seattle, WA
Mar 18, 2009

The climber is a friend of mine, a regular partner and a very good friend. I just spoke with his mother in law on the phone and it sounds like he is going to be okay. He sustained head and spinal injuries but nothing life threatening and he should be released from the hospital soon.


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By Dr. Ellis D. Funnythoughts
From Evergreen, Co
Mar 18, 2009
You can tell Lenny any of your sport climbing problems. He's a great listener.

hey eric, know anything on how and where it happened?


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By jbsmith
From Portland, OR
Mar 18, 2009

from the images i saw on the news coverage im fairly certain that it was the Wall of the 90's


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By Byron Murray
Mar 18, 2009
Byron on top of Castleton

I was driving home from skiing and was stopped just before tunnel #2. From the road it looked like he was on Wall of the Nineties. They had 4 fire trucks and every search and rescue in a 30 mile radius. He should have been in good hands....


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By Tim Kline
From Littleton, co
Mar 18, 2009
Classic climb called Gossamer in the monster area of Rushmore

I sure hope he's ok. I would be very interested to find out details on how he was injured, just to know what went wrong, I climb at the wall frequently, so any info would be helpful.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 18, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

another link:
www.9news.com/seenon9news/article.aspx?storyid=112084&catid=>>>

he got lowered off the end of his rope. 110' route, 60m rope.....
gabriel explained the whole thing on the video.

i would bet it was either Hot Stuff or Leftover Stuff based on the footage.


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Mar 18, 2009
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

i hope the 9 news reporter incorrectly paraphrased the guy's partner. i hope no one who thinks climbing equipment stiffens over the winter actually climbs.


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By Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Mar 18, 2009
Function over fashion.  My newest pair of climbing shoes.

I thought that since the injured climber worked for the news that maybe the news would report a climbing accident correctly for a change. Lowered off the end of the rope does not equal equipment failure (as they reported it). Oh well. We all know this at least. I hope the guy recovers from his injuries and is able to get back on the rock this season.


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By slim
Administrator
Mar 18, 2009
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i got injured once because i laid around all winter and got stiff. kind of different though. hope the guy is alright.


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By Buff Johnson
Mar 18, 2009
smiley face

One thing you guys need to realize is that the info from an incident like this usually comes from the responder information officer so the news is using a source, as it should.

Now whether that source actually knows jack, well that's another set of items. Though, you're not going to get much of an argument about wearing a helmet; it would have helped to report on the importance of safety with using a technical system for anyone that does want to enjoy climbing in this canyon.


Anyone know how much the rescue bill is gonna be?


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By Mark Cushman
From Cumming, GA
Mar 18, 2009
Profiley Styley

Pretty harsh reminder to always "close the system" by either having the belayer tie in or stopper knot in the end. The interviewed climber (was he the belayer?) even stated this in the video. Being rusty after a winter may apply to climbing ability or technique, but having a system down cold that you use every time you climb could have saved his partner some pain.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

WiledHorse wrote:
another link: www.9news.com/seenon9news/article.aspx?storyid=112084&catid=>>> he got lowered off the end of his rope. 110' route, 60m rope..... gabriel explained the whole thing on the video. i would bet it was either Hot Stuff or Leftover Stuff based on the footage.

Would it be practical to install lower anchors (at 30m) on these routes to minimize the chances for future accidents like this?

As a route setter, this is something I always try to do. Sometimes it means skipping some good climbing at the top, but pitches longer than 30m are something I try to avoid.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

Mark Nelson wrote:
Anyone know how much the rescue bill is gonna be?

Zero?


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By Mark Cushman
From Cumming, GA
Mar 18, 2009
Profiley Styley

Ron Olsen wrote:
Zero?

On the video it looked like Golden FD personnel to me...


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 18, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Ron Olsen wrote:
Would it be practical to install lower anchors (at 30m) on these routes to minimize the chances for future accidents like this? As a route setter, this is something I always try to do. Sometimes it means skipping some good climbing at the top, but pitches longer than 30m are something I try to avoid.


if i am correct with my assumption of these routes as the accident scene in the first place...

the anchors of Leftover stuff are at 110'. the anchors of Hotstuff are higher than that, but you can end at LOS anchors. So if you lowered the anchors to 30m, you would be lowering them 10 feet.

i think that lack of attention causes mistakes. They tried to do a 110' route with a 60m rope. they chose not to tie an knot in the end of the rope.they accepted the risks and now unfortunately they are suffering the consequences.

i dont see what the problem is. it is up to the climbers responsibility to use the right equipment for the route at hand. you dont have to change a route because of someones complacency, lack of attention, or inexperience.

EDIT: but i do understand your reasoning, Ron. but if you lowered those anchors, someone will eventually try to climb it with a 50m rope or a 60m rope with its ends nipped off, and the same thing will happen. some people have to learn lessons the hard way. and fortunately they lived through it to learn it.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

WiledHorse wrote:
if i am correct with my assumption of these routes as the accident scene in the first place... the anchors of Leftover stuff are at 110'. the anchors of Hotstuff are higher than that, but you can end at LOS anchors. So if you lowered the anchors to 30m, you would be lowering them 10 feet. i think that lack of attention causes mistakes. They tried to do a 110' route with a 60m rope. they chose not to tie an knot in the end of the rope.they accepted the risks and now unfortunately they are suffering the consequences. i dont see what the problem is. it is up to the climbers responsibility to use the right equipment for the route at hand. you dont have to change a route because of someones complacency, lack of attention, or inexperience. EDIT: but i do understand your reasoning, Ron. but if you lowered those anchors, someone will eventually try to climb it with a 50m rope or a 60m rope with its ends nipped off, and the same thing will happen. some people have to learn lessons the hard way. and fortunately they lived through it to learn it.

I hope you can still sleep at night if someone gets injured on one of your routes because of an accident like this, with anchors above the 30m mark.

60m ropes are the norm; we haven't all shifted to 70m ropes yet. The 50m rope argument is a straw man; it's hard to buy one of those these days.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 18, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

Ron Olsen wrote:
I hope you can still sleep at night if someone gets injured on one of your routes because of an accident like this. EDIT: 60m ropes are the norm; we haven't all shifted to 70m ropes yet. The 50m argument is a straw man; it's hard to buy one of those these days.


youre right. my 50m argument was weak.

60m ropes are not the norm anymore...

i dont know how i would feel if someone lowers off the end of their rope on one of my routes. I do know, that i would feel pretty bad if one of the bolts i placed failed.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

I agree that 60M is a standard, but 60M with a few meters chopped off is a secondary standard. Most people with 50's are using doubles or twins and moreso than that they have 2 ropes, they are more advanced climbers.
Regardless, plenty of my friends have ropes shorter than 60M by some amount, and I don't thing < 60M is a strawman arguement. Maybe not reallyu stong, but a valid question. I happened to believe the poster that he meant what he said and genuinely expected a real address of the question.
Anyway, this is a lesson to learn for the climbers and the setters.
Nobody can make anything idiot proof, and nobody can expect to make silly mistakes too often and get away with it. This is a game of Roulette, but you get to influence your odds with caution.

Bi-color ropes are awesome- no need to wonder if you have hit the middle yet, no worrying about uneven ends on raps, etc... I only buy bicolor. And only buy 70M, even my twin ropes are 70M.


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By pfwein
Mar 18, 2009

These routes will presumably be climbed for longer than we can predict what rope lengths will be standard. In a place (CCC) where most routes aren't very long anyway, I would say route setters should set them for as long as the good climbing allows. They can put in intermediate anchors, or expect climbers to use 2 ropes. As someone noted, trying to dumb things down just creates more problems, as there is no lower boundary to the dumb things that climbers can do. (Don't meant to say the injured climber here is dumb, although he obviously made a potentially lethal mistake. Avoiding "dumb" mistakes is a huge part of being safe, and all anyone can say is that they've succeeded SO FAR.)


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

Tony Bubb wrote:
plenty of my friends have ropes shorter than 60M by some amount, and I don't thing < 60M is a strawman arguement. Maybe not really strong, but a valid question.

I hope you don't go sport climbing using one of these short ropes, Tony, unless it's at a cliff where you know you can get away with it.

Tony Bubb wrote:
Bi-color ropes are awesome- no need to wonder if you have hit the middle yet, no worrying about uneven ends on raps, etc... I only buy bicolor.

Totally agree, Tony. Bi-color is the only way to go.


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By Buff Johnson
Mar 18, 2009
smiley face

Ron, a small item in that there are several Eldo routes that exceed that 30M anchor guideline. As well, I think Darren has done a great job of getting out info about what to expect with routes in CCC.

It can be a fun place to climb, it sucks when anyone gets hurt, the education about climbing safety is readily available all over the front range, as well as beta for most any route. There really isn't much else Darren or other FAs can do. The crags dictate the manner of climb.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

Mark Nelson wrote:
Ron, a small item in that there are several Eldo routes that exceed that 30M anchor guideline.

Darkness Til Dawn is one example -- and there have been lowering accidents there too.

Mark Nelson wrote:
As well, I think Darren has done a great job of getting out info about what to expect with routes in CCC.

Agree; the new guidebook is great.

Mark Nelson wrote:
There really isn't much else Darren or other FAs can do. The crags dictate the manner of climb.

Every route setter makes choices about where to put the anchors, where to put lead protection bolts, how much to clean, and how much loose rock to remove. I put anchors at no more than 30m, put in lead protection for leaders climbing at the level of the climb, remove as much loose rock as I can, and thoroughly clean the rock. I can live with a clear conscience with these choices -- I hope other route setters can feel the same about the choices they make.


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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Mar 18, 2009
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!

Mark Cushman wrote:
Pretty harsh reminder to always "close the system" by either having the belayer tie in or stopper knot in the end. The interviewed climber (was he the belayer?) even stated this in the video. Being rusty after a winter may apply to climbing ability or technique, but having a system down cold that you use every time you climb could have saved his partner some pain.


I totally agree with this, best to use one system consistently in case you are rusty or tired after a long day, not feeling well etc.. Unless you have climbed a route a lot in the past why not tie in the belayer on say a 60ft pitch?


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

johnL wrote:
I strongly disagree with the term "route setter". As a first ascenscionist you are not making a route, you aren't setting it, you're only climbing it. The route was already there. I believe lots of folks forget this. An FAist is an enabler, not a creator.

In Boulder Canyon, at least, there sometimes is a choice as to where the climbing line goes. I toprope the variations, then bolt the line with the most interesting climbing that stays at a consistent level. I'm talking about routes with bolt anchors and at least some lead-protection bolts, that are established top down, where lowering is the typical mode of descent.

Ground-up trad first ascents are a different story; these usually follow natural rock features (cracks, corners) and finish on natural ledges.

So the term "route setter" is not a misnomer -- at least in my experience.


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