Incapacitated Seconds


Original Post
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

What's up with all these incapacitated seconds lately? Are things getting more dangerous?

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,067

Seriously, I can see plenty of reasons why the lead would be injured and incapacitated, but the probability of having an incapacitated second seems low enough that I wouldn't even worry about it.

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 297
Ken Noyce wrote:

Seriously, I can see plenty of reasons why the lead would be injured and incapacitated, but the probability of having an incapacitated second seems low enough that I wouldn't even worry about it.

I think that the leader knocking a block down on the belayer is really not that exotic. I believe there was a fatality on the East Buttress of El Cap 2 or 3 years ago, and a serious leg injury in the Owens River Gorge last year.

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 95
Ken Noyce wrote:

Seriously, I can see plenty of reasons why the lead would be injured and incapacitated, but the probability of having an incapacitated second seems low enough that I wouldn't even worry about it.

Yeah, except for pendulum falls on traverses where the leader ran it out, knocked off loose blocks, lead falls pulling a second up into a roof and knocking them out...  Not to mention it can be more difficult logistically and technically for a leader to rescue an injured follower than vice versa.

Nathan Flaim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 0

Mechanical injuries aside, there are a whole slew of incapacitating medical emergencies.  Seizures, myocardial infarction, heat stroke, acute hypoglycemia, and stroke to name a few.  You can never know too much about self rescue.  

Craig Childre · · Lubbock, Texas · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 4,950

Excellent points.  Self rescue is like a motorcycle helmet, something I hope I'll never need, but it's there just in case.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Nathan Flaim wrote:

Mechanical injuries aside, there are a whole slew of incapacitating medical emergencies.  Seizures, myocardial infarction, heat stroke, acute hypoglycemia, and stroke to name a few.  You can never know too much about self rescue.  

I've got my trusty belay knife. What more do I need.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
Nathan Flaim wrote:

Mechanical injuries aside, there are a whole slew of incapacitating medical emergencies.  Seizures, myocardial infarction, heat stroke, acute hypoglycemia, and stroke to name a few.  You can never know too much about self rescue.  

Agreed, but the chances are extremely small.  I've never had an incapacitated second in 60 years of climbing, and no one I know (and that's a lot of climbers) have ever had an incapacitated second either.  I have read about one or two cases.  Not arguing against self-rescue practice, just sayin' you're practicing for something that probably won't ever happen to you.

Which is good in many ways, not the least of which is no matter how much practice you do, a real self-rescue scenario is likely to call for considerable ingenuity and creativity to pull it off.

I think the real reason people focus on rescuing the second is that it is easier than rescuing an incapacitated leader.  Like the joke about the guy who loses his ring in a dark part of the street but goes searching for it under a streetlamp "because that's where the light is."  Another reason is the self-rescue industry is to a large extent run by guides, and from their perspective it is only the second who will need to be rescued.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

Rich. You should take up ice climbing. I get to deal with an incapacitated 2nd at least once a winter. Often its repete customers... ;)  My hands are too cold!, its too windy,, Im so pumped that I can't feel my hands..... etc. heck one time my partner became incapacitated before we even got out of the van. The wind gusts were almost blowing the van over and aparently I forgot to cover the digital thermometer on the dash with tape and write in a reasonable temperature... One time at Poco in low single digit temps the rope suddenly came tight, I look down and see a pair of ice tools all by themselfs ,gloves are stuck in the leashes and the climber is dangleing below them, just out of reach with frozen bare hands asking to be lowered....  this one was pretty good. Early season this year. hands were cold and his boots broke in half ;)

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

I blew my knee out doing a big hi-step and it was locked back with my heal up in my ass, and it was stuck in that position... for real. I was following a pitch, we were two pitches up on a FA in the deepest back country of California.  With all the overhangs Kris couldn't see me and because of the wind he couldn't hear me screaming at all. 

So what did good old Kris do about it?

Nothing. And that was the right thing to do.

If he had done some sort of "Escape the Belay" he would have messed up my own rescue efforts. 

After what seems like an eternity, I got myself together, tied my leg up to my harness, and that really helped with the pain, so then I started climbing up the pitch again.

Kris did the right thing as soon as he felt some slack in the ropes he went "up rope" and then he kept me tight- really tight. I could then re-position myself and do some more moves.

I stayed at it and got up and past the 11d section, by hook or crook, and came out from under the overhang and started up the 5.8 face section, and that is when he could see me doing the one legged hop up the face holds and everything worked out OK.

Well the next 36 hours was no picnic as I worked my leg out to a 90 degrees bend in the knee using a pulley system I rigged up, then I could sort of stand up, the copious amount of pain killers, and Ice Kris went and got me did the job.....

12 miles of hiking was my own personnel struggle and all I could think about was a photo of Doug Scott "standing" with two broken legs while he was getting himself off of the ORGE in Pakistan.

Stick around long enuf in this sport and you will collect your own set of stories. 



EDIT TO ADD.... Nick.... to funney but you at least get paid . 

Edit to add more

http://www.dougscottmountaineering.co.uk/lecture-info/lectures/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/11/doug-scott-climbing-bravery-award-1978


 



Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

Guy. no paycheck or tip. those are just my friends. then there are all the poor folks who get suckered into the real buisness :) So there is the thing I have been looking at. seems pretty cool, I think you would like it;) it's only a 45min approach and  there are no bugs,snakes or poision ivy (cough,snicker, cough, try to keep a straight face)  I got the rack and a rope, you don't mind sneaking this tag line,the bosch and an extra battery in your pack do you? ;) Oh, you might want to tell the wife don't worry if we get back after dark;)   2 hrs into the approach. It just up arroud the next corner, honest :)

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497

The frequency of a particular scenario does not matter. Just pick one / any and exercise your mind a little. Then set it down and go climb until next year. :-)

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310
Nick Goldsmith wrote:

Guy. no paycheck or tip. those are just my friends. then there are all the poor folks who get suckered into the real buisness :) So there is the thing I have been looking at. seems pretty cool, I think you would like it;) it's only a 45min approach and  there are no bugs,snakes or poision ivy (cough,snicker, cough, try to keep a straight face)  I got the rack and a rope, you don't mind sneaking this tag line,the bosch and an extra battery in your pack do you? ;) Oh, you might want to tell the wife don't worry if we get back after dark;)   2 hrs into the approach. It just up arroud the next corner, honest :)

I am down....   sorry for thinking you were a guide, knot a knock on guides mind you. My wife knows not to get to worked up till a day or two late.... good wife, she knows I got the big life insurance, her LOTTO    

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497
Guy Keesee wrote:

That's totally my wife and my MO.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

A friend of mine who has a guide service has me listed on his roster but so far I have been able to avoid actualy working ;) I hear Kurt Winkler was known for doing first ascents with gulliable clients ;)

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053
Marc801 C wrote:

I've got my trusty belay knife. What more do I need.

Parachute, and some solo skills ;)

JB

Craig Childre · · Lubbock, Texas · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 4,950

Incapacitated before they left the van... LMAO!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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