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Accident Eldorado Canyon 5/28/11


Original Post
Brett Brotherton · · Arvada, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 120

Was out hiking with the family today in Eldo and saw there was an accident on what appeared to be C'est la vie. Didn't see it happen but heard shouts for help and RMR and a whole bunch of other folks were on scene shortly after.

Best wishes to the fallen climber!

Mrk9182 Kerechek · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 0

Was out there climbing whales tail earlier in the day. We were done climbing but it looked like they were in the area of touch and go, on the red garden wall.

Hope everybody is ok

Jim Amidon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 880

Was there as well, heard the guy fell while top roping........

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_18162505

Bob Dobalina · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 140

Rope came untied from his harness?! Holy crap.

I hope that he makes a full recovery.

Phillip Morris · · Flavor Country · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 20

I was belaying Colin.

Accident was not caused by an anchor failure.

Denver Post got the story right.

Despite being an experienced and safe climber, Colin did not properly tie in to his harness, rope untied and he fell from roughly the first bolt on Cest la Vie.

He suffered a fractured vertebrae, but in the long run should make a full recovery. All in all a very fortunate outcome to the situation.

Big thanks to Rocky Mountain Rescue, Park Rangers, and everyone else that helped get Colin safely down and to the hospital.

Check you knots!!!

Evan1984 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 30

I hope for all the best and a speedy recovery. Thank you for posting details.

Guy H. · · Fort Collins CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 7,412

Colin is indeed very lucky man. There could have easily been a different ending to this story. I am very happy that he threaded the needle with the flake at the base.

I just wish my brain had an erase button. It is going to be a while before that image gets out of my head!

Please check your knots and climb safe!

Erik Werner · · Boulder, CO · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 305

Thanks for the first hand account, Phillip. Best wishes to Colin on his recovery.

Count Chockula · · Littleton, CO · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 5

I was also climbing with Colin today. It was a very scary situation to watch unfold. It still amazes me that he avoided much more serious injuries (or even worse).

Huge thanks to RMR and everyone else who helped stabilize him and get him down off the ledge.

Heal up quick, Colin!

David Hous · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 200

Damn that's scary; if it can happen to Lynn Hill it can happen to anyone. I have gotten out of the habit of checking my partners' knots and buckles, I should get back into that habit. Colin: If you read this I had three comnpression fractures in my spine a number of years ago from a bike crash. It was very painful but I did recover fully and have no pain now (maybe a little less flexibility.) Hang in there.

Eldorado Canyon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 0

Thank you to all of the individuals and agencies who assisted in the rescue, and for the cooperation from our visitors when we closed entry to the park during initial response, and when we restricted access during the scree evacuation and litter carry. Clearing traffic for emergency vehicles is extremely important in our canyon, particularly on busy weekends.

All of us are amazed that Colin was not more seriously injured, and we wish him a speedy, complete recovery.

Please, always take the few extra seconds to double-check that you and your partner's equipment is in order and that your knots are properly tied and dressed. Your lives depend on it!

- The Eldo Staff

Chris I · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 75

I learn a lot from these types of incidents and I am very happy to learn that Colin did not sustain more serious injuries. I am wondering though, what type of knot did he use? Was he climbing with a bowline or a figure 8?

Count Chockula · · Littleton, CO · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 5

Figure 8...either not properly dressed or incomplete. That's about all we could come up with.

Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 370

Hoping for a speedy and complete recovery, Colin. Good on 'ya for surviving that nasty fall.

I have never figured out why the climbing world has never developed a pre-climb acronym. The guides have develped the useless SERENE acronym that is so over-used yet popular. What can we climbers have one?

About 10 years ago I asked this question and this is the best I could come up with. Despite it's weirdness, I use it to this day EVERY time I start to belay, lower, climb or rappel.

CB BLAK
-Check
-Buckles
-Belay
-Landing
-Anchors
-Knots

Every time before I go on to the rope, for any reason, I look at my and my partner's buckles

Am I on Belay? Has my belayer got me on belay? Does my partner really have me before I start to lower?

Can I see BOTH ends of the rope on the ground before I rappel? If not, I tie knots. Ledges don't count as the ground. I don't care how big they are. If I'm starting to lead, what will I hit if I fall before there's any gear in? Do I need a spot instead of a belay? If I'm on a TR, where will I swing when I fall?

Are the anchors good? Does the belayer need to be anchored in? Are those rap/lowering anchors worn through? Are they solid?

I look at all the knots in the system including my partner's knot. Are they tied right? Are they snug?

I do all this in a couple of seconds and I do it silently. I NEVER ask my partner to check my knot but if I can't see my partner's knot I'll ask her if it's good.

CB BLAK
Malcolm

Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485

Glad he's going to be okay. Good reinforcement to keep checking knots every time you tie in.

tangen-foster · · Hudson WI · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 85

A pneumonic for tying a good knot: a knot tied to a Tee...
a) is True (correctly tied)...e.g. a True double figure 8 is symmetrical--recognizing the series of twos of the parallel strands is one identifier.
b) is Tight--I like to tug on all four "corners" of the knot so there are no holes--this is not the same as a dressed or neat knot, which, to my understanding, does not affect the figure 8's strength or durability (although it may make it easier to untie after it has been loaded)
c) has a Tail--the double figure 8 should have at least a two inch tail--the function of the "back-up" knot is really just a check to ensure that there is a long enough tail on the figure 8.

AJS · · Boulder, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 25

Best to Colin for a speedy and full recovery.

Phillip Morris wrote: Check your knots!!!
I 'test' my partners regularly - I'll tie an incomplete figure-8 or some other weirdo knot, cover it with my shirt or something, and say "Okay, I'm ready" and start to climb a move or two before scolding them :) I hope they do it back to me too.

(I do this with the beginners I climb with...haven't tried it on more experienced folks yet)
George Bell · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 5,030
AJS wrote:I 'test' my partners regularly - I'll tie an incomplete figure-8 or some other weirdo knot, cover it with my shirt or something, and say "Okay, I'm ready" and start to climb a move or two before scolding them :) I hope they do it back to me too. (I do this with the beginners I climb with...haven't tried it on more experienced folks yet)
I would advise against such trickery. IMHO, you are more likely to forget that you are tricking your partner and die! You can confirm that you are your partner have checked without tricking them.

One thing I try to do is when you tie in, never stop tieing the knot until it is finished. It is easy to get distracted, and I think that often this is where incorrect knots get made.
James Arnold · · Chattanooga · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 55
Malcolm Daly wrote: About 10 years ago I asked this question and this is the best I could come up with. Despite it's weirdness, I use it to this day EVERY time I start to belay, lower, climb or rappel. CB BLAK -Check -Buckles -Belay -Landing -Anchors -Knots Every time before I go on to the rope, for any reason, I look at my and my partner's buckles Am I on Belay? Has my belayer got me on belay? Does my partner really have me before I start to lower? Can I see BOTH ends of the rope on the ground before I rappel? If not, I tie knots. Ledges don't count as the ground. I don't care how big they are. If I'm starting to lead, what will I hit if I fall before there's any gear in? Do I need a spot instead of a belay? If I'm on a TR, where will I swing when I fall? Are the anchors good? Does the belayer need to be anchored in? Are those rap/lowering anchors worn through? Are they solid? I look at all the knots in the system including my partner's knot. Are they tied right? Are they snug? I do all this in a couple of seconds and I do it silently. I NEVER ask my partner to check my knot but if I can't see my partner's knot I'll ask her if it's good. CB BLAK Malcolm
That is an interesting mnemonic Malcolm. I use a shorter one, pronounced "psych" as in siked up but it is CYK (Check Yer Knot). It comes from this story from another climber...

On May 27, 1998 I found myself sitting under the Anti-Phil wall in Rifle. I had been climbing for about 14 months and was trying to get through my first road trip (Schooling Session) to this canyon. First time up Easy Skankin' (12b) took me probably 1.5 hrs on lead. Rough. My second run was on TR. At the bolt before the knee bar pod (about 60 ft off the deck), MY ROPE CAME OFF MY HARNESS AND SWUNG OUT OF REACH. I had to clip a draw from my harness to the draw above me, and then dyno my left hand to the upper one before clipping in. Sick. I was then able to reach over, grab the rope, and tie in for real. It took a while to figure out, but in the process of rope management before the climb, I tied an overhand knot to my belay loop for access ease and never looked to change it. HAD I FALLEN OR TAKEN AT ANY POINT ON THE ROUTE, I WOULD HAVE DECKED. LESSON LEARNED: ALWAYS DO A SYSTEMS CHECK BEFORE CLIMBING! PLEASE, do not forget this experience and (CYK) Check Your Knot


I am glad the accident wasn't worse and wish the best for full recovery. I still marvel at Lynn Hill's non-fatal fall from the top of a route into a tree, coming back to win the WC and free the Nose etc, etc.
AJS · · Boulder, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 25

I would advise against such trickery...
It is easy to get distracted, and I think that often this is where incorrect knots get made.

Hmmm, never thought of it that way...again, I usually do it to newer climbers to get them to check themselves/others. I think the reward outweighs the risk. I'd rather have a partner who checks their partner (even if they have years more/less experience).

As an aside, it works for pretending to only tie in through the belay loop or only one point on your harness, etc too. Sometimes those are hard to see when they're done wrong unless your partner double checks from their point of view...

Good point about the distracted bit too. Always good to face your partner when you're tying so that he/she can watch you.

Cheers,
Adam

Rob Gordon · · Hollywood, CA · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 105
George Bell wrote: I would advise against such trickery. IMHO, you are more likely to forget that you are tricking your partner and die! You can confirm that you are your partner have checked without tricking them. One thing I try to do is when you tie in, never stop tieing the knot until it is finished. It is easy to get distracted, and I think that often this is where incorrect knots get made.
+10
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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