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Climber injured in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado, 3/17/09
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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
Half Dome

Best luck in the recovery. Glad to hear it wasn't worse, though sounds like the climber might have some recovery time.

I disagree that it is up to the route installer to set 30m anchors everywhere. Some climbs have a logical "finish" that doesn't take rope length into account. Tons of different rope lengths out there, many places higher/lower spots to belay from...so many factors that you can't just say the anchor locations on any given climb are the issue. Sure I would assume that you would equip a route with anchors designed for most users and that this info gets into guidebooks, listed on MP, etc...However, what if someone made a typo? or thought they read 60m rope and not 70? or are on the wrong route? or belayed down the hill a bit to catch some sun...etc...

Both climbers should tie into each end of the rope at all times...period. Regardless of height of route, how many times you have done it, or how uncool you might look at Rifle tied into a rope in the Ruckman cave. If you do it every time lowering off the rope is not an issue. That should be taught as standard practice with "Am I on belay" IMHO.

I don't even do it myself everytime, but hope to remember to now.


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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.

Ron Olsen wrote:
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. Totally agree, Tony. Bi-color is the only way to go.

Easy- I just don't sport climb (often). At least not in this country!
I don't like to climb on anything shorter than a 70M. WHen using double ropes, I use 2X 70M.
As well, I've been doing it since the first 70M ropes came out- and I still end up Simul-climbing.

The beauties (on which we agree) of the bicolor are many. Even on long routes, trad pitches run toghter, etc. you get a 1/2 rope call to let you know where you are for distance nad length to go and can reset the "waypoint" for total length accurately, etc. You know where the center is on raps, it's easy to find at any time, and you can always see what end is "on top" of a coil or flake, etc...

When the world starts seeing bicolor as a saftey feature and in fact more than just a convenience, I thonk we'll see the market go inthat direction. Meanwhile, there are some minor drawbacks, specifically for sheath wear over the change in weave area... which is only an issue if you are routinely hard on a rope bit by bit, like overall wear) and rather NOT killing it in single events like edges, falls above roofs, etc... where other specific areas get hit all at once.


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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

to answer your earlier question ron, while i can respect your consideration for making <30m pitches, i would not hold myself responsible if someone lowered off the end of their rope on one of my routes.

much like if someone borrowed my car and chose not to wear their seatbelt, and went through a red light and got into an accident.

EDIT: i guess another way one could look at it, is that i dont claim 'ownership' of the route once i am done with it... it then belongs to the community.


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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:
to answer your earlier question ron, while i can respect your consideration for making <30m pitches, i would not hold myself responsible if someone lowered off the end of their rope on one of my routes.

I wouldn't hold myself responsible either, but I sure would feel bad about it, especially if I could have made a different choice about anchor position to mitigate this risk.

WiledHorse wrote:
EDIT: i guess another way one could look at it, is that i dont claim 'ownership' of the route once i am done with it... it then belongs to the community.

I don't claim ownership either, but I do go back to remove rocks that have loosened up on my routes if I am aware of the problem, rather than leaving it up to the community to handle it.


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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:
but I do go back to remove rocks that have loosened up on my routes if I am aware of the problem, rather than leaving it up to the community to handle it.


well, yes, i do that. i agree. more like a "steward" of the routes.

btw, i certainly do appreciate the work, thought, and care you have put into your routes, Ron.


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By Stu Ritchie
From Denver
Mar 18, 2009
Desert Tortoise

I too am sad to hear of this accident. However, I know the first ascentionist of Left Over Stuff very well. He has also put up a number of 60 meter-plus route on the Little Eiger. As a method of warning, he has gone to the trouble and expense of installing engraved dog tags on the first bolts of those routes. The situation at the Wall of the 90's is different. Hot Stuff was already there and well known to be longer than 60 meters. Thus, it was not deamed necessary to install a tag on Left Over Stuff.

We all need to be responsible for our own safety, specially when lowering!

Stu


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By Patrick Pharo
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
pretty hate machine

First off, I hope the guy heals quick.
And second, I've had several good friends lowered off the end of their ropes, and in doing so have sustained serious injuries.

That said, I don't think it's appropriate to take an incident of lowering off the rope to begin a discussion of moving routes' anchors to an exact 30 meter height. It's the climber's responsibility to know if he or she can lower from which ever anchors they are using. This is NOT an excuse for anyone with a drill to begin slamming 2 bolt anchors into the rock at the arbitrary height of 100 feet. If this guy would have lowered off the end of a 50 meter rope, would we say all routes need to end at 25 meters? Of course not. I have a 70 meter rope, should all routes end at 35 meters? Of course not. The anchors are where they are.


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By percious
From Bear Creek, CO
Mar 18, 2009
Hanging out with some scooter trash.

This accident was completely preventable and has obviously nothing to do with the equipment being put away for the winter. I personally feel that lowering is the most dangerous activity we engage in in climbing. When being lowered, I run my hand along the down-side of the rope, especially if I am not familiar with my belayer. If the rope moves too fast, I grab the downside. I believe an accident like this occurred in Boulder last spring where the belayer dropped his climber on the lower. Heads up folks!

The problem with a long lower is you are going to be looking up at your climber and not down at the amount of rope you have left. If you are ever uncertain of the length of the rope tie a knot in the rope!

Seriously, I hope the climber recovers completely from his belayers stupid mistake that could have easily cost him his life.


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By Brian Simonds
From Golden, CO
Mar 18, 2009

I was next to the injured climber when he fell just starting the lead on climbers right of LOS. His rope ran out just as he passed me. I'm relieved to hear the injuries are not life threatening especially after watching the fall and then getting to him first on the ground. It was a sobering reminder of the consequences of complacency and that one has to take personal responsibility for making smart decisions.

After the rescue, I cleaned our gear and as much of theirs I could reach. I went back today and got the rest. If any in that party reads this, please let me know how to get it back to you.

Brian


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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

Brian Simonds wrote:
I was next to the injured climber when he fell just starting the lead on climbers right of LOS. His rope ran out just as he passed me.

so am i correct in saying that he fell off of Leftover stuff? or were you on that route and he was to your right?

i am assuming you meant that you were starting the climb to his right (Hotstuff), when he fell off of LOS.


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By Adam Robison
From Westminster
Mar 18, 2009
Getting ready to climb this crazy pillar.

I hope the injured climber has a fast and painless recovery. It rings close to home whenever one of our brothers or sisters suffer a climbing accident.

The moral of the story:

(1) Wear a helmet. I may look silly, but I wear it EVERY single time I climb.

(2) Study the climb and if your unsure of the length tie a knot at the end. There is plenty of beta out there; use it.

Climb safely friends!


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By Brian Simonds
From Golden, CO
Mar 18, 2009

WiledHorse wrote:
so am i correct in saying that he fell off of Leftover stuff? or were you on that route and he was to your right? i am assuming you meant that you were starting the climb to his right (Hotstuff), when he fell off of LOS.



The injured party was on Hotstuff and I was on Pretty Woman. Sorry for the confusion.


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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.

Brian Simonds wrote:
After the rescue, I cleaned our gear and as much of theirs I could reach. I went back today and got the rest. If any in that party reads this, please let me know how to get it back to you. Brian


Eric Rak wrote:
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.


Brian Meet Eric, Eric Meet Brian...


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By AOSR
From Wherever we park!
Mar 18, 2009

i don't think there is any such 60m standard in CCC. in fact, i'd say there is a standard in CCC and it's 70, two ropes, or don't climb everything there.

and there certainly isn't anything wrong with being informed about what your climbing or taking the necessary precautions when climbing something uncertain.

i hope if i decide to put up a route of that length that no one gets hurt on it, but i would not feel guilty in the slightest if an incident similar to this one were to occur on it.

as for the news/reporting... as disgusting and pointless for intelligent persons to partake in as usual. they can't get what goes on in their back yard correct, and people make decisions about the world based on their stories. sad.


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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

Brian Simonds wrote:
The injured party was on Hotstuff and I was on Pretty Woman. Sorry for the confusion.

no worries, thats what i thought...(given the time of day the accident happened, the bits of footage from the news, the experience levels of the climbers, thats what i speculated this morning)

FWIW to anyone that really wants to know, escaping from hotstuff onto LOS anchors you definately need a 70m to lower safely. with out that directional, it is possible to barely make the ledge with a 60m as for LOS, with a down climb, but that requires both climbers paying close attention and preferably a knot in the end of the rope.

my highly judgemental stereotypical and subjective speculation:
i would bet if this happened at 530p (they work 'real' jobs ha ha) they first climbed LOS as a warm up, got down 'safely' with their trusty "winterized"(?) 60m rope. went to do Hotstuff next to it, and did not take into account the extra rope eaten up in the directional. the fact that you cleaned their gear off, means that possibly the injured climber was the one to "test the waters" by being the first lead on it hanging the draws. then upon lowering, rope popped through, and dude fell past the rock belay ledge. is that about right?


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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

hell if there was a 80mx9.2mm at reasonable price and readily available, thats what i would get.


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By John Maguire
From Boulder, CO
Mar 18, 2009
Bastille Crack Final Pitch

Why not just have both climbers tie into the rope always? Regardless of who I'm climbing with, we do not start until we are both secured. Is there any reason to not do this? Also, its just stupid not to wear helmets. Regardless of your skill level and the route you choose, wearing a helmet adds a huge factor of safety for BOTH climbers.

Theres really no need to try to make yourself look cool. You're 'frickin rock climbing. You are already a badass!


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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

John Maguire wrote:
Is there any reason to not do this?

rope gets kinked and twisted sometimes.


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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:
hell if there was a 80mx9.2mm at reasonable price and readily available, thats what i would get.

45m (150 ft) ropes were common when I started climbing in 1980. How times change...


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By Chad M
From Castle Rock, CO
Mar 18, 2009

I'm out of the hospital and considering the fall, I'm doing very well. I suffered a lacerated ear and several abrasions. Fortunately nothing is broken and I feel very blessed to be able to have walked out of the hospital today.

It's unfortunate how incorrect information is so quickly disseminated and I find it a bit harsh to be nagging on Gabe's comments after what he just witnessed and helped me through. I trust my partners implicitly and look forward to getting back on the rock with both of them without any hesitancy in thier or my abilities.

Yes, we were climbing Hot Stuff and yes, we DID have a 70m rope. (I'm aware in the interview on 9News Gabe said it was a 60m, but I personally checked it when I returned from the hospital today). Normally if there is any question as to whether the rope is long enough or not, we always err on the side of caution and knot the rope - that's just standard procedure. However, with the beta from this site stating that a 70m was sufficient, I didn't question it. In addition, a party had just come off of the route prior to us and we saw no issues with thier decent.

Here's what happened: while being lowered, my belayer ran out of rope and I was dropped approx 15 feet to the belay ledge. At that point I bounced off the ledge, dropping another 20+ feet and consequently tumbled down the scree.

Sure the argument could be made for always knotting a rope regardless of the beta you have acquired and honestly, it will now become my standard procedure.

The question I'm now wrestling with is: if I was using a 70m, why did my rope come up short? I'm actually going to measure my rope and confirm that it is indeed 70m, but I'd appreciate any help you could provide me in "working through" this one and providing potential scenarios so that I can continue to learn from this.

I've been climbing 15 years and this is the first time anything like this has happened to me or any of my partners. I pride myself on being very safe and doing research on all areas/routes before I begin climbing. That's why I'm so puzzled with this.

I'm very thankful for my two partners and the various other climbers who were there to go for help, stabilize and comfort me and offer up prayers and support.

Thank you all for your continued support and I look forward to getting back on the rock soon.


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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

wow. man glad to hear that you are ok!!! thanks for the explanation!


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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

Chad A Maurer wrote:
why did my rope come up short? I'm actually going to measure my rope and confirm that it is indeed 70m, but I'd appreciate any help you could provide me in "working through" this one and providing potential scenarios so that I can continue to learn from this.

which anchor did you go to?

and btw, we are all learning from this. and its great that you took the time to post. especially how battered up you probably are!


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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>

Chad A Maurer wrote:
The question I'm now wrestling with is: if I was using a 70m, why did my rope come up short? I'm actually going to measure my rope and confirm that it is indeed 70m, but I'd appreciate any help you could provide me in "working through" this one and providing potential scenarios so that I can continue to learn from this.

Glad you're out of the hospital and getting better, Chad! Hope you are back on the rocks soon.

The new Clear Creek guide says Hot Stuff is 130' long. A 70m rope is about 230' long. Thus a lower of more than 115' is problematic even with a 70m rope. With rope stretch, and ropes sometimes being slightly longer than advertised, I could see how some 70m ropes could make it down safely from a 130' route, but some could come up a bit short.

Check the comments on Made In The Shade in the Canal Zone at Clear Creek. The route is listed as being 125' long -- some people can make it down with their 70m rope; others cannot. My 70m rope came up short when lowering off this route.


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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:
Glad you're out of the hospital and getting better, Chad! Hope you are back on the rocks soon. The new Clear Creek guide says Hot Stuff is 130' long. A 70m rope is about 230' long. Thus a lower of more than 115' is problematic even with a 70m rope. With rope stretch, and ropes sometimes being slightly longer than advertised, I could see how some 70m ropes could make it down safely from a 130' route, but some could come up a bit short. Check the comments on Made In The Shade in the Canal Zone at Clear Creek. The route is listed as being 125' long -- some people can make it down with their 70m rope; others cannot. My 70m rope came up short when lowering off this route.

my thoughts exactly Ron. good input.


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By coop
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Mar 18, 2009
Indian Creek Climbing

glad you are ok

after reading too many issues of Accidents in North America I have made it a habit over the years to always keep a knot in the end of the rope or keep it tied into the rope bag.


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