BIG fall and gear shower in Bell's Canyon


Original Post
Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 680

My buddy and I went out today to climb in Bell's Canyon. We jumped on "Once In a Blood Moon" on Middle Bell Tower. (It's in the new guide book; not on MP yet.) The rock quality was pretty atrocious the whole time. Lots of kitty litter slab climbing and grassy butt cracks.

We got to the end of the route after 4 pitches and decided to continue to the top of the tower because we only had one rope, and we wanted to top out the formation. I took off from the 4th belay, picking a route up unprotected slabs and more flaring cracks.

I got enough gear to give me confidence, and I kept expecting the climbing to get easier. To my chagrin, thin slab climbing persisted, the gear went away, and the rock went from bad to garbage. All my feet were crumbling, and I pitched off about 40 feet above a gray X4. Thankfully it held, and my buddy was able to reel in slack, but I still fell about 60+ feet.

Amazingly, I am okay. I lost a lot of skin and have pretty bad road rash, but I didn't break or sprain anything. We were able to rap to the ground and hike out. (I keep some painkillers in my chalk bag for this type of thing, and that made the hike out much less painful.)

I left a gray X4 and BD #2 up in chossy no-mans land where I fell. I wouldn't recommend that anyone go looking for them, but if you do, you earned them. I'm posting because as I was grinding down the slab, my right gear loop ripped off, spilling about half a dozen cams (TCUs and C4s) onto the slabs below. We couldn't see them, but if any once climbs the mega-classic "Once in a Blood Moon," finds my gear, and feels like returning it, that would be great.

Thanks,

Creed

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 12,639

Wow...glad you walked away!

JK- · · SLC · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 13

Your ringing endorsement of the route will probably keep me from hunting for your gear. Sorry.

But glad you're okay.

Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 680

Sleeping last night was pretty rough. I kept replaying the fall in my head again and again. Not to mention, every body part hurts, so it was hard to find a comfortable position. I hope this doesn't mess up my head too bad.

Tom Sherman · · Bristol, RI · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 81

and this folks is why you dont want full strength gear loops, better to lose a handful of gear than have your insides smashed when your caught. glad to hear you're ok!!

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,040
Tom Sherman wrote:and this folks is why you dont want full strength gear loops, better to lose a handful of gear than have your insides smashed when your caught. glad to hear you're ok!!
What an interesting thought....i climb on a safetec, full strength loops. Never thought of the catch potential. Anything other than anecdotal evidence to substantiate? You have me thinking a switch is in order.
Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 680

Since I have to replace my harness, I was thinking my next one would be full strength gear loops, but now I'm not so sure.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234

Seems like plenty of things could get caught during a fall.

Are you going to stop carrying full strength alpine draws, just so they won't catch on something mid flight?

Make sure your shoelaces are sufficiently weak? Clothing adequately "tear away"?

Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 680

^^^ That's a good point too.

My clothing was definitely "tear away." My wife threw my pants and shirt away because they were shredded beyond repair (and really bloody.)

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 85

Wow it is Great to hear that you're more or less ok.

A 50-60 foot grinding fall can turn into a nasty tumble.

This a learning curve moment .

New climbs. Mean fresh rock, scale and what you describe as

Kitty liter, grass & dirt in cracks, is what should be expected on 'new' climbs.

QUOTE(tsz)

. . . . .. (It's in the new guide book; not on MP yet.)
The rock quality was pretty atrocious the whole time.

Lots of kitty litter slab climbing and grassy butt cracks. . . .

We got to the end of the route after 4 pitches
decided to continue to the top of the tower because we only had one rope,
and we wanted to top out the formation.

I took off from the 4th belay, picking a route
up unprotected slabs and more flaring cracks.
I got enough gear to give me confidence,

I kept expecting the climbing to get easier.

To my chagrin, thin slab climbing persisted, the gear went away, and the rock went from bad to garbage.

All my feet were crumbling,

. . . I pitched off about 40 feet above a gray X4.

Thankfully it held,

and my buddy was able to reel in slack,

but I still fell about 60+ feet.

Amazingly, I am okay.

I lost a lot of skin and have pretty bad road rash, but I didn't break or sprain anything. We were able to rap to the ground and hike out. (I keep some painkillers in my chalk bag for this type of thing, and that made the hike out much less painful.) I left a gray X4 and BD #2 up

in chossy no-mans land

where I fell. I wouldn't recommend that anyone go looking for them, but if you do, you earned them. I'm posting because as I was grinding
down the slab, my right gear loop ripped off, . . . . .

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
C. Archibald wrote:Sleeping last night was pretty rough. I kept replaying the fall in my head again and again. Not to mention, every body part hurts, so it was hard to find a comfortable position. I hope this doesn't mess up my head too bad.
Hey, so glad you're still with us, and not any of the worse things that could have happened.

I didn't peek at your page, so I don't know how old you are, but if this is your first real encounter with mortality, then yes, it will stick with you. Don't try to stuff it down, it's actually a real gift. Really, really getting that being alive can't be taken for granted can make being alive a precious thing.

Try to focus on all the reasons to be grateful for being here. Don't try to stop that loop, it's part of how your brain processes it, and you have a colossal hit of unusual chemistry to get back to normal.

If the loop seems to stay stuck, or you feel headed for depression, more than expected, or anyone really close says they're worried, get to a counselor. No shrink, any of that, just a regular old counselor who can help you learn techniques to keep your brain on track.

Let your friends and family, and people like us, remind you loads of folks care about you. It's easy to shut people out, but that's really bad in the longer run.

Last, aspirin, not wannabes. This is what it is really good for. Long, hot bath before bed, too.

I have to say, if I was equipped for it, I would personally be inclined to go back to that route, give it a piece of my mind, and piss on it. Literally. Exceptions to every rule, ya know? :-)

Best, Helen
Scott O · · California · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 50
Mark E Dixon wrote:Seems like plenty of things could get caught during a fall. Are you going to stop carrying full strength alpine draws, just so they won't catch on something mid flight? Make sure your shoelaces are sufficiently weak? Clothing adequately "tear away"?
Presumably your alpine draws are attached to something that isn't full strength.
Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 680
Old lady H wrote: Hey, so glad you're still with us, and not any of the worse things that could have happened. I didn't peek at your page, so I don't know how old you are, but if this is your first real encounter with mortality, then yes, it will stick with you. Don't try to stuff it down, it's actually a real gift. Really, really getting that being alive can't be taken for granted can make being alive a precious thing. Try to focus on all the reasons to be grateful for being here. Don't try to stop that loop, it's part of how your brain processes it, and you have a colossal hit of unusual chemistry to get back to normal. If the loop seems to stay stuck, or you feel headed for depression, more than expected, or anyone really close says they're worried, get to a counselor. No shrink, any of that, just a regular old counselor who can help you learn techniques to keep your brain on track. Let your friends and family, and people like us, remind you loads of folks care about you. It's easy to shut people out, but that's really bad in the longer run. Last, aspirin, not wannabes. This is what it is really good for. Long, hot bath before bed, too. I have to say, if I was equipped for it, I would personally be inclined to go back to that route, give it a piece of my mind, and piss on it. Literally. Exceptions to every rule, ya know? :-) Best, Helen
Thanks H! Through all your posts you've always seemed really kind.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
C. Archibald wrote: Thanks H! Through all your posts you've always seemed really kind.
One of the gifts of having mortality shoved in your face, is realizing what truly matters. Allowing the "other" to be human is what let's you cut yourself some slack for the great many times you will be the idiot.
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
Scott O wrote: Presumably your alpine draws are attached to something that isn't full strength.
Good point, but in fact, they are typically clipped onto a full strength sling draped over my shoulder.

Probably should weigh the cost benefit analysis of this set-up.
I don't usually worry too much about getting caught mid-flight.
Sort of a moot point for me unless I segue back into more trad climbing.

Creed, hope you heal up quickly!
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
Mark E Dixon wrote: Good point, but in fact, they are typically clipped onto a full strength sling draped over my shoulder. Probably should weigh the cost benefit analysis of this set-up. I don't usually worry too much about getting caught mid-flight. Sort of a moot point for me unless I segue back into more trad climbing. Creed, hope you heal up quickly!
On the stuff getting hung up, staying cognizant of the rope still seems the most important to me, and not just behind a leg. As a belayer, I've yelled up "watch that rope and..." shoulder, arm, neck, whatever, when it would be ugly in a fall.

Gear loops, slings, hoodies, hair, rings, necklaces, there's a really long list of stuff that could get jammed or hung up. Something to consider, change as needed, but I wouldn't actually worry after that. For myself, no jewelry anywhere, nothing that could end up around my neck, and an extended rappel. A harness that fits matters more than gear loops, but if that was one of my concerns, I would want non load bearing. I have a big gun, and really like two belay loops.

And, OP, hot bath with all that bare skin is a bad suggestion, obviously! Sorry! Great for feeling pummeled, though. Hope you heal up fast, and can find a side to sleep on. Might try a recliner, to partially sit up.

Helen
Xam · · Boulder, Co · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 8

I imagine this is too late for the OP but from my bike racing days, I found that the best thing for road rash was an hour of free time, a fifth of whisky, a luffa, a shower and the willingness to cry. Get it clean, no matter the pain.

Then use 3M Tegaderm film on anything serious with non-stick gauze pads taped over top of the film for seepage. Don't remove the tegaderm until it is basically healed but you can change out the gauze when it gets rank.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 12,639

Concur with the above.

I have a pile of tegaderm that you're welcome to have.

Look up the BU literature and their wound care protocols.

Heal well!

Nicholas King 1 · · Grand Junction, Colorado · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 15

Just curious, what harness were you wearing during this incident?

Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 680

I was wearing a misty mountain turbo.

I need to try this tegaderm. Many of the cuts are really big and wet, so I haven't known what to do with them.

Xam · · Boulder, Co · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 8

Tegaderm is pricy but fantastic for road rash...the wounds tend to heal quicker and don't open back up when you remove it. Everything else I tried drys out the wound or sticks and rips open or both. You can sometimes find the 4 in squares at the drug store but you usually have to order the bigger panels online.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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