Staying alive: Part 1


Original Post
David Coley · · UK · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

Although there are other articles that cover much of the same stuff, I tried to write this with more examples, evidence and links to videos etc. than others had used. If you work in outdoor education, and you think it useful, feel free forward it to students and others.

http://www.coldmountainkit.com/knowledge/articles/419-65-things-to-do-to-stay-alive-and-remain-happy-on-the-rock-part-1

All the best.

Adam Fleming · · Moab, Utah · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 303

This is great stuff. Can't wait to see what else you got!

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

Well done.

Rich Murray · · Myrtle Beach, SC · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 0

Started reading while on my lunch break. Bookmarked to finish later. Very nicely done!

thebmags · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 105

Keep em coming

John McNamee · · Littleton, CO · Joined Jul 2002 · Points: 845

Good stuff. Well put together. Thanks.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,399

Agreed. Good stuff to read, think about, and form your own opinions and practices.

At the same time, I do not think it has the high moral ground that is sometimes implied in some cases. Many experienced climbers feel that when it comes to choosing between practices, it depends on the circumstances.

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 85
David Coley wrote:Although there are other articles that cover much of the same stuff, I tried to write this with more examples, evidence and links to videos etc. than others had used. If you work in outdoor education, and you think it useful, feel free forward it to students and others. coldmountainkit.com/knowled... All the best.
I'm always so inspired by your stuff or maybe intimidated, great treatment I really need to check the blogs I've book marked three of four times .....
Jeremy Bauman · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 650

This is a great resource and production quality is stellar. Thank you!

Dan Flynn · · MA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 4,589

All of these are worth repeating. Excellent job weaving in the anecdotes. Maybe consider cross-posting to the beginner forum as well.

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

Fantastic quality!

McHull · · Fairfield, PA · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 60

Nicely done!
Thx for sharing.

David Coley · · UK · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

Hi,
Thanks for the positive response everyone. As the article has a serious purpose if you do have any routes (FaceBook etc.) through which to share its existence I'd be very grateful. I did post a link to it on supertopo, but the response was a little less kind (which is normal for that forum I guess).

Thank you.

T Roper · · DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 730

Its pretty good and way better than constantly being bombarded with unsolicited advice by narcissistic know-it-alls on the forums.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

I said "well done" in meant it, but I do feel that certain procedures are "oversold," and doing so actually blunts the point rather than making it sharper.

The third hand material is a case in point. The assertion, "a common cause of climbing fatalities is the lack of a backup while abseiling." Common cause? This seems to me to be questionable. First of all, most climbing fatalities are caused by falls, not by rappelling (see the ANAM graphic posted by Ten Pinson at mountainproject.com/v/very-... .) Second of all---and perhaps we'll get chapter and verse from Bearbreeder's fantastic library of references---I don't know of any fatalities attributable to the lack of a rappel backup, although I do know of a fatality directly attributable to the presence of such a backup. Most of the rappel fatalities I've heard of involve going off the end of the rope while still under control, and it is well-understood that what is needed is a knot at the ends of the rap lines and that a third hand will not save you in this situation.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying the third hand material shouldn't be there, and I have no interest in restarting for the umpteenth time the debates on the value of such a backup, which David rightly points out isn't a backup at all unless it is properly executed and tested. I'm just saying that a write-up is less rather than more effective when it overstates the case.

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 25
rgold wrote:I said "well done" in meant it, but I do feel that certain procedures are "oversold," and doing so actually blunts the point rather than making it sharper. The third hand material is a case in point. The assertion, "a common cause of climbing fatalities is the lack of a backup while abseiling." Common cause? This seems to me to be questionable. First of all, most climbing fatalities are caused by falls, not by rappelling (see the ANAM graphic posted by Ten Pinson at mountainproject.com/v/very-... .) Second of all---and perhaps we'll get chapter and verse from Bearbreeder's fantastic library of references---I don't know of any fatalities attributable to the lack of a rappel backup, although I do know of a fatality directly attributable to the presence of such a backup. Most of the rappel fatalities I've heard of involve going off the end of the rope while still under control, and it is well-understood that what is needed is a knot at the ends of the rap lines and that a third hand will not save you in this situation. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying the third hand material shouldn't be there, and I have no interest in restarting for the umpteenth time the debates on the value of such a backup, which David rightly points out isn't a backup at all unless it is properly executed and tested. I'm just saying that a write-up is less rather than more effective when it overstates the case.
Despite an exausting but successfull summit of Sir Donald via the classic NW ridge this day would prove to be one of the most difficult and sad days of Paulo's and my life. We even talked about mabye not even doing a TR at all but if the lessons told save 1 life it is worth it. Paulo and I saw a woman rap down a rope which did not reach the ground. We pointed it out thinking all right she will stop and we will somehow get out there and pull her in. Well running a normal ATC on a twin rope gave little friction and it became apparent she could not hold on. I was roped up for a rap on a pair of bolted rings about 15 feet away and with Paulo's help pendulumed out to get her to tie a knot in the rope below here. By the time I leg wrapped the rope to give myself the friction I needed to free my hands and tie the knot she was gone. I won't talk about what we saw after but know it's a moment in our lives that will forever be etched into our memeories. I greive for her family and feel so much guilt that we could not reach her in time.

http://forums.clubtread.com/27-british-columbia/17244-sir-donald-our-worse-nightmare-aug-20th.html

theres plenty of others where a backup would have helped, even if it wasnt the sole factor in the accident

im just too lazy to dig up the reports right now
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

That's a really sad tragedy and a traumatic experience for her would-be rescuers. The poor woman had gotten so many things wrong, and there were so many ways she could have saved herself, that you can't really point to any one aspect as a cause of the accident. The accident fits in with episodes you suggest in which the backup might have helped but whose absence isn't exactly the cause of the fatality either.

Once again, I am not arguing against backups, just the idea that their absence is a common cause of climbing fatalities, or even of rappelling fatalities.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

Here's one of those accidents in which a backup would have saved a life, although various other appropriate strategies would also have worked.

J.O. joined him. J.O. started her rappel but, due to a rock flake above her, had difficulty in penduluming over to N.W. at the last anchor.

As she tried to swing over, she gradually slipped lower than the station and became tired and frustrated. She saw a ledge just above her, and released the control rope with her braking hand to pull herself up the main rope to the ledge. As she did so, her weight was transferred from her rappel device to her arms, and then she was hanging on the rope with her hands. J.O. panicked and froze on the rope. N.W. called to her to move her braking hand back to the control rope, but she did not respond. Finally, as she tired, she attempted to grab the control rope but missed, lost her grip, and slid off the end of the rappel rope, falling about ten vertical meters to a steep scree and boulder slope, where she tumbled another 50 to 100 meters.


From publications.americanalpine...

Here's another accident to a rank beginner. Unlike most of the other accidents I've heard about, something actually caused her to let go.

A West Jordan woman died after falling 120 feet while rappelling near Zion National Park.

Shelby Collette Christensen, 19, was hiking and rappelling with a group of five about 9:30 a.m. in Birch Hollow. Three others in the group had finished the rappel and were waiting at the bottom as Christensen began her descent over the ledge.

She apparently got her hand trapped between the rope and the rock ledge and let go, Kane County sheriff's deputies wrote in a news statement.

She fell 120 feet to the canyon floor, deputies wrote.


From archive.sltrib.com/story.ph... .

David Coley · · UK · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0

All good points rgold; I might have oversold that one, but there have been some accidents and near misses. In my defence I would say that the third hand is a backup, therefore the lack of it is not likely to be the cause of the accident, but rather if it had been there it might have made a difference.

Examples:

climbers loosing control and going off the end; rather than just rapping slowly off the end; or losing control and hitting the deck - youtube.com/watch?v=_RncnnV...

and vimeo.com/126870857

and caves.org/section/vertical/...

Me stepping off having forgotten to clip the rap device to my belay loop - my third hand saved my life

The one I pointed to of the death on El Cap when the climber also possibly "forgot" the rap device.

The series of accidents reported here: theuiaa.org/upload_area/fil...
would not have happen if third hands had been used.

This accident where the rope came off the rap locker: outdoorjournal.in/news-2/cl...

This might have been solved if a third hand had been in place at the start rather than trying to tie one once near the end of the rope: friendsofyosar.org/rescues/...

A third hand would have stopped this: bogley.com/forum/showthread...

The first of the two accidents reported here: theconspiracytimes.blogspot...

Todd Skinner's death I assume would not have occurred if a leg loop third hand had been in place.

I'm sure there are others. By the way, I just created this list from google by searching for "rapping accident" - i.e. not mentioning third hand. I think that although not tying knots in the end is a more common problem, as is anchor failure, the failure to use a third hand is a reasonably common contributory issue.

All the best.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
Old lady H wrote:My thinking has been that the backup is also my very last chance at not dying if I've loaded the ATC incorrectly (not clipped both ropes, or something) and somehow also fooled myself into thinking I was good to go. Yes? No?
Yes.
bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 25

no ...

the best way to guard against misthreading the device or rope is to aggressively test the setup BEFORE taking off he safety

theres absolutely no guarantee you tied the backup correctly as one of the vids on mistah cooleys page shows

thats really all here is to it

;)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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