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Close call at Rumbling Bald
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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Nov 19, 2011
One of my first trad leads, on Ooga Chocka at Crowder's Mountain.

During a trip to Rumbling Bald in NC two weeks ago, I had a close call that I thought I should share. The incident took place on a route called Southern Boys Don't Wear Plaid, a 5.11 roof crack that protects well and is a classic in the area.

Will got the lead and I followed. I cleaned the gear under the roof and fell while pulling the crux. I was hanging in space, couldn't touch anything, and faced a choice: Lower and start over, or boink. I decided to boink.

The route traverses left over an easier section to finish at a tree. I couldn't tell at the time, but the rope was running over some pretty toothy rock. I boinked three times, got back on, and pulled the crux. About 15 feet further, Will said "I have to show you something when you get up here."

On the tree ledge, Will showed me a massive core shot in my relatively new Mammut Infinity 9.5. The rope was twisted and thin at the core shot - I estimate close to half of the fibers broke. We lowered without incident from the short climb and, upon arrival on solid ground, pondered what could be learned from this incident.

One lesson is obvious: Never boink unless you can see exactly where your rope is going and are positive that it is not running over anything sharp. Not a fun way to learn this lesson but it could have been a lot worse. I would have decked from about 35 feet onto rock if the rope had cut.

What else can we learn? Could the same thing have happened if I took a relatively short fall with a bit of slack out? Should Will have immediately lowered me when he saw the core shot? There was some dissent in our party as to whether Will made the right choice by allowing me to finish the climb. Any other comments?

Be safe out there. Climb on!

-Sanz in NC

Core shot in a Mammut Infinity 9.5 after boinking on sharp rock.
Core shot in a Mammut Infinity 9.5 after boinking on sharp rock.


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Nov 19, 2011
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

Wow, thanks for sharing. Are you saying half of the kern fibers were cut? I would probably have lowered you. I believe roughly 80% of the strength of the rope is in the kern, if the mantle was gone and half of the kern was gone you're looking at a reduction in strength of probably more than 60%. At the very least I would ask him to keep me very tight to avoid any shock on the rope and hope the damaged part is closer to your belayer than you. For me though, following a single pitch climb on that rope wouldn't be worth it.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Nov 19, 2011
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Old guys like me carry a couple prussik loops so to climb the rope via aid movements to get past the roof problem after a free fall like that. Old gear does come in handy, even for sport routes.


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By Pepe
From Raleigh, North Carolina
Nov 19, 2011

Woodchuck ATC wrote:
Old guys like me carry a couple prussik loops so to climb the rope via aid movements to get past the roof problem after a free fall like that.

+1 on this. Prussiking a dynamic line takes a bit longer but, in this instance, might have spared your rope.

Glad you guys are alright.


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By Dave Wise
From Pinehurst, NC
Nov 19, 2011

I had a similar experience falling on lost in space at hawksbill. The core shot was just from the fall--no bouncing involved. I lowered to where I could get back on the rock, retied in past the core shot, then prussiked past the lip of the roof.


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Nov 20, 2011

What is boinking?


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By Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Nov 20, 2011
Rewritten

sanz wrote:
Should Will have immediately lowered me when he saw the core shot? There was some dissent in our party as to whether Will made the right choice by allowing me to finish the climb.


By the time your partner saw the core shot, it would have been on his side of the belay device (or close). So, once it is past the belay device, it seems finishing the climb would be safer than lowering (assuming only one core shot).


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By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Nov 22, 2011
Thumbtastic

Smart money says 9.5 softy got waaay more fucked up from that edge than a crunchy 10.5 would've. Climb sharp rock? Buy fatties, they last longer, are always on sale, and cragging at the Bald, while rad, is not exactly a weight-saving scenario equal to redpointing Freerider. That said, cut the living shit out of a dirty cheap 10.5 (hundo even on sale for a 60m) on the lip of a Red Rock roof while replacing bolts. Bummer, good learning opportunity though.


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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Nov 22, 2011
One of my first trad leads, on Ooga Chocka at Crowder's Mountain.

Thanks for the interesting input folks. I usually carry a prussik for rappels but good point about using it for aid. Also it just occurred to me that it is possible that the core shot happened on the fall itself too. Who knows...

Will saw the core shot when it was maybe 5 feet from his ATC. Since I had already passed the crux, I guess it probably wasn't too sketch to just let me finish. Bad things could have happened either way.

Much as I loved that rope, I think my next one will be a lil bit fatter.


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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Nov 22, 2011
Crux roof on Freeway...

A good trick for following traversing or overhanging routes is to leave your grigri or cinch attached to the rope at your tie in point. If you fall and can't get back on, just batman the rope and use the locking device to take in rope. This process can be assisted with a single prussik. This is also handy when your rope gets stuck in a roof crack and you have to self belay. Once you reach a good stance, clip into some fixed gear and have your belayer take the slack out of the system.


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By s f
From GA/CO
Nov 22, 2011

Dave Wise wrote:
I had a similar experience falling on lost in space at hawksbill. The core shot was just from the fall--no bouncing involved. I lowered to where I could get back on the rock, retied in past the core shot, then prussiked past the lip of the roof.


+1 The belay is well left of the roof move, and the lip is sharp. I should have anticipated this and found a way to protect against a swing. My buddy fell on that move, and I watched in horror as the sheath and a third of the core fibers frayed (worse than above) as he pendulumed beneath me. Unsure whether he could get back on the rock or reach the ground, I immediately lowered him a bite of rope and set up a secondary munter belay while he ascended to the belay on prussics.


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