Gear failure stories! so much more exciting...


Original Post
Brassmonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 115

So there is a thread on here about gear success stories where people take falls on their gear and it held, but that doesn't really do much for me since that's what I expect them to do anyway. I'm more interested in the complete opposite.

When have you taken a fall on a piece you trusted and it pulled? What was it? Why do you think it failed? What type of rock was it? etc.

Link cams don't count as they are always expected to spontaneously combust ;)

Aric Datesman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 145

Trolling or looking for serious answers? Because if you're looking for a list of recalls, IIRC Mountain Tools has a fairly decent one.

NC Rock Climber · · The Oven, AKA Phoenix · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 60

I think the op is talking about trad gear placements failing, not necessarily gear breaking due to a defect in design or manufacturing. This could lead to some interesting stories...

Brassmonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 115

Sorry definitely not trolling.

If you want some back story I was recently considering picking up some of the Totem basics when they become available to supplement my mastercams but I was thrown off by the camming angle being larger than most other cams. This got me to thinking about actual real world holding power in reference to camming angles. Long story short, I know it would in no way be anecdotal but I thought it would be interesting to hear about gear pulling (not necessarily breaking and failing) and what may have caused it.

Without going into too much detail Ive seen c4's pull in granite, a C3 pop on a fall with very little rope out, purple TCU rip out when the daisy chain was still attached during a fall, the usual nuts lifting up and sliding out (though not actual failure I realize).

I thought it could lead to some interesting stories and discussion.

Aric Datesman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 145

Gotcha. Sorry about that, Brassmonkey; I took "gear failure" to mean the piece, not the placement.

Glass Tupperware · · Freiburg im Breisgau · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 50

I took a ~50 footer at Seneca last April. I was climbing off-route near Orangeaid (closer to the last pitch of Castor) and fell on a runout after my fifth placement. From what I've pieced together, I pulled out the top placement (a .75 cam) and cross-loaded the biner on my second placement (an offset nut), resulting in at least a 50 ft whipper that put me 15 ft below the belay. I nocked my head on the catch and was unconscious for roughly a minute thanks to my plastic helmet. Once I came to, I climbed up to the belay only to realize that something in my wrist was broken (articular radial fracture). My belay (who had been crying, thinking that she had seen me fall to my death) was adamant about bailing the gear I'd left up, so we proceeded to rap down and hike out with my bleeding head, swollen wrist, and my limp (I also nocked my heel on a ledge).

I think it was a .5 C4 that finally caught me. My top placement was crap and I never should have placed it. The crossloaded biner was bad fortune, though I've heard of other people having issues with the same biner (Mammut Moses). I bailed two cams, an offset nut, and assorted biners/slings. I'm mostly recovered now, but I carry around the cross-loaded biner to remind me not to do stupid things.

Seneca Aftermath

Seneca Helmet Aftermath

And to elaborate a bit about the failed placements, the .75 cam was in a shallow quartzite crack that was flared outward and upward. A large brass offset may have worked, but the rock was smooth enough that I shouldn't have placed anything there and I should have turned around upon realizing how runout it was.

The crossloaded biner looks like it was loaded with the wire from my offset snagged on the gate. So, when I fell on it, the force of the fall bent the gate wires and pulled out of the carabiner. Maybe I wasn't careful enough placing my trad draw, or maybe I just got unlucky when I moved past this placement.

eliclimbs · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 35

I've had a few cases of gear/rock/placement failure. Nothing too unexpected or due to faulty gear, but just for grins...

I was climbing a really thin seam in Yosemite (I forget the name but it's right next to generator crack). I was about 10' up and had placed a couple really small pieces (a tcu and a micro stopper) anyways I fell and the rock broke. My belayer and another friend caught me with the help of some bushes, then we set up a top rope :)

Another time, also in Yosemite, a friend was leading on the Rostrum, about 10' above the belay. He had fallen a couple times on a small C3 as he worked out the sequence, when he weighted the rope again the piece popped (no rock failure, etc., just slipped out of the placement). He came blowing past the belay and slammed into the wall a few feet below. Pretty scary to see him flying by.

E

verticon · · Europe · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 25

Glass Tupperware -> The crossloaded biner was bad fortune, though I've heard of other people having issues with the same biner (Mammut Moses).
-------
The crossloaded biner looks like it was loaded with the wire from my offset snagged on the gate. So, when I fell on it, the force of the fall bent the gate wires and pulled out of the carabiner. Maybe I wasn't careful enough placing my trad draw, or maybe I just got unlucky when I moved past this placement.
================

The Mammut Moses biners have a predisposition for nose hooking. Bad design...

Moses

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065

A nosed hooked carabiner can fail at less than 2 KN

http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/qc-lab-weakness-of-nosehooked-carabiners.html

As to gear failure ... Ive had micro/small cams pull from what looked like good placements ... I dont trust anything up to and including a purple camalot by itself

Fortunately im paranoid about gear where im likely to fall and back it all up

Ive never had a well placed nut pull

;)

Aric Datesman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 145

How about accidentally pulling a decent looking pin out of a rap station by hand while cutting tat off it?

Eric Chabot · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 35

My buddy was linking p2 and 3 of Vertigo on Cannon. After the pendulum, he fell in the crux moves right before the end of the pitch. A medium nut pulled, and he fell onto a green c3...total fall distance was probably 25 ft with rope stretch.

He scratched up his chin as he cheesegrated, and also one of the link-cams on his gear sling exploded/was torn apart as it was rubbed between his chest and the rock. They sent him a new cam.

Another time, in LCC, another friend was leading plumb line and fell out of the low crux about 15 ft off the deck. He had placed 2 shitty nuts and clipped em w/quickdraws. I had learned from other mentors to do this only in the most bomber of nut placements but this guy was way stronger/more experienced than I so I said nothing. We ended up in a pile at the base of the crag...he wasn't hurt.

Clayton Knudson · · Moab, UT · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 35

Eric Chabot- I'm confused about the quickdraw on a nut thing, is this not common practice?

SinRopa · · parts unknown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 50

I believe he was talking about making the first piece of pro a nut.

See this thread for some more info: rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/fo...

Jonathan Dull · · Boone, NC · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 405

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/gear-failure-on-west-face-leaning-tower-results-in-whipper/108127111

I remember reading this in the forums a while back. A very interesting scenario and lucky everyone was okay. I also believe that this was featured in Rock & Ice's accident report; however R&I was pretty vague and left out some critical elements of the story. Go figures...

Aturboford · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 40

This one is more of a close call than a a big whip but it potentially could have been a fun time for my partner. He was leading the nipple pitch on Zodiac and popped a nut placement about halfway through, taking a nice little 15ft whip onto a #2 BD nut that held just fine.

He jugged back up and finished the pitch. When I re-aided through the pitch I popped a Metolius blue/yellow offset tcu while cleaning the piece behind it and fell about 15 feet onto the same tiny nut that caught him.

It made me realize that if that tiny ass nut had blown he would have ripped the tcu that I popped, as well along with a string of other small body weight gear before it that he left solely to make cleaning easier for me, or possibly everything back to the bolt ladder above the belay since it was all such small gear. He would have been fine but damn that would have been a long ride.

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 565
I dont trust anything up to and including a purple camalot by itself

That's silly.

Agree with you that Link Cam failures are common enough to not be surprised by anymore. One broke on me in a short fall - one of the cams itself cracked in two just above the axel, causing the placement to fail and a fall that scared me off of pushing my limits for about a year. Those pieces are garbage imo. I've posted about this many times before but it always feels worth it to me.

If I can convince even one of you Link Cam using bastards to table 'em, I'll be glad.

This is the piece that failed, green Link Cam.

Trouble

This is the piece that saved my life after the Link Cam failed, yellow C3. And it's smaller than a .5 BD. Had this not caught me, I would have decked head first from 40 ft up. BD for life.

The life-saver yellow C3, a little worse for the wear but still kicking.
Clayton Knudson · · Moab, UT · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 35
I believe he was talking about making the first piece of pro a nut.

See this thread for some more info: rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/fo...


got it, i thought he was insinuating there is something wrong with clipping a quickdraw onto a stopper.
Sir Camsalot · · thankgodchickenhead, Ut · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 150

Clipping a shitty nut with a quick draw sets you up for having a bit of a down and out pull instead of straight down, possibly causing the nut to pop out. Always runner a shitty nut with a long sling so, when weighted, its a strait downward pull. I usually always runner long on the smaller nuts, unless they're completely bomber with no chance of popping. This also prevents them from popping out from the rope drag as you climb above them.

Dow Williams · · St. George, Utah; Canmore, AB · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 240

One of the main items I teach regarding crack climbing is extension. Way too many sport climbers transition into trad climbing and want to directly clip their passive and active pro to the rope. When I trad climb, I carry 6-8 shoulder length runners along with a few draws. Some kids now days just rack a ton of alpine draws which is great too, just make sure to extend them more often than not. Pro cannot be allowed to start slippage=failure. Instant downward force is what is desired.

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065
Sirius wrote:I dont trust anything up to and including a purple camalot by itself That's silly.
heres a purple camalot pulling ...

ive indicated that i dont trust up to and including the purple as a sole piece a while ago ... people said i was crazy then

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwZQZSwgOj8

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/falling-on-gear-success-stories-where-the-rock-didnt-completely-blow-out/107110886__7#a_108402749

just because a yellow C3 held you in a particular placement, doesnt mean a small cam should be trusted as the sole piece

Sirius wrote: Agree with you that Link Cam failures are common enough to not be surprised by anymore. One broke on me in a short fall - one of the cams itself cracked in two just above the axel, causing the placement to fail and a fall that scared me off of pushing my limits for about a year. Those pieces are garbage imo. I've posted about this many times before but it always feels worth it to me. If I can convince even one of you Link Cam using bastards to table 'em, I'll be glad. This is the piece that failed, green Link Cam. This is the piece that saved my life after the Link Cam failed, yellow C3. And it's smaller than a .5 BD. Had this not caught me, I would have decked head first from 40 ft up. BD for life.
ive whipped on all my links several times ...none of them have broken

the small purple link cam has seen 10+ whippers to the point the plastic handle is wearing through

link cams are fine if used and slung properly ... mine have seem 20+ whippers in all 4 sizes total

purple link cam

any gear can "break" ,,, heres a nut from the most "reputable" nut company around ... its seen many whippers ... it held one final fall, but as you can see the thing is toast

the DMM brass offsets if cleaned improperly will result in kinked wires which will reduce the strength ... with enough poor cleaning and kinking, the wire can break even on a fairly moderate fall ...

like having to place the link cams properly, cleaning brass offsets have to be done with those design limitations in mind

dmm brass offset

as to extending ... i extend almost every piece unless theres a good reason not to ..

failing to extend the pieces enough and having them pull or walk is one of the more common beginner errors i see

remember that the more drag and zags you have, the less the rope can work for you ... the more the impact force on the gear ...

beal real world fall factor with bends and friction

;)
Patrick Mulligan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 1,105
Dow Williams wrote:Pro cannot be allowed to start slippage=failure. Instant downward force is what is desired.
18 years ago I decked from 30 or 35 feet off of Rain in Eldorado Canyon. I had slipped and believing I was falling on a bomber larger (#10+) stopper I didn't fight the fall at all. I believe that because I had a short draw on the nut and had climbed to the side of it that what was a bomber placement failed because of the indirect sideways pull on it at the start of the fall. With the lack of good gear on the route I thought it was better to use the shorter draw. The strangest thing is how relaxed the experience was. I thought the piece would hold so I didn't tense up at all and stuck the landing like a gymnast. Bruised heels were and a sore lower back for a week or two were my only ailments.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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