Falling when clipping


NegativeK · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 5
Erik Keever wrote:

The clip at the waist thing is interesting. Because that's what we're all reminded to do...

Yet virtually every video I see of hard sport climbs, most of the clips (close to 100% in comps) are not only not waist-to-chest height, but taken above the climber's head, often close to maximum extension. And in my local gym, and ones I visit, a substantial fraction of lead routes are clearly set with the assumption that you'll chicken clip every time.

Isn't a competitor's progress measured by the highest draw clipped?

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0
NegativeK wrote:

Isn't a competitor's progress measured by the highest draw clipped?

No.  Highest hold reached with fine adjustment made for whether competitor has control of the highest hold or not. 

If you were skip a clip, I think your highest progress will set the handhold touched before your lowest foot is above the draw just skipped.  You can find a video on You Tube or whatever of Sasha D desperately trying to clip a draw almost at the level of her foot in a comp.  In an outdoor setting she would have just gone straight to the anchors which was only one or two moves away.  

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
S. Neoh wrote:

No.  Highest hold reached with fine adjustment made for whether competitor has control of the highest hold or not. 

If you were skip a clip, I think your highest progress will set the handhold touched before your lowest foot is above the draw just skipped.  You can find a video on You Tube or whatever of Sasha D desperately trying to clip a draw almost at the level of her foot in a comp.  In an outdoor setting she would have just gone straight to the anchors which was only one or two moves away.  

Typically you get 0.1 for each clip made.  So making a clip can be a tie breaker.  Also, like Soon says, you are not credited with progress when you (your foot) goes above a bolt without clipping.

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 230
Peter Lewis wrote:

Ground-running is not a myth, at least not here on the friction slabs of the White Mountains! Sure, on steep routes, it doesn't really work. However, on steep slabs, where the whole 32ft/sec/sec thing doesn't hold true, a literal "running belay" absolutely shortens the length of a fall. Back in the day we used to use this technique when working on new (and often quite runnout) slab climbs. There is a marvelous description of exactly how we did it in Tom Callaghan's awesome vintage film about Benedictus, on Cannon Cliff in NH. ...it's a total hoot (with apologies to Jimmy Chin for the prehistoric video quality).

That is different though you are talking about rolling down runout slab... not the same as taking a fall from a vertical 60ft route which you would have like 2-3secs to react before they hit the ground. Except for a few special cases running after someone falls is completely pointless and will not stop them from ground falling.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,435
ViperScale wrote:

That is different though you are talking about rolling down runout slab... not the same as taking a fall from a vertical 60ft route which you would have like 2-3secs to react before they hit the ground. Except for a few special cases running after someone falls is completely pointless and will not stop them from ground falling.

Sorry man, you're wrong.  Saw someone do it on Sunday.

Peter Lewis · · Bridgton, Maine · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 150
ViperScale wrote:

That is different though you are talking about rolling down runout slab... not the same as taking a fall from a vertical 60ft route which you would have like 2-3secs to react before they hit the ground. Except for a few special cases running after someone falls is completely pointless and will not stop them from ground falling.

I completely agree. But on friction, locked and running down through the woods is the total bomb! 

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
Peter Lewis wrote:

Ground-running is not a myth, at least not here on the friction slabs of the White Mountains! Sure, on steep routes, it doesn't really work. However, on steep slabs, where the whole 32ft/sec/sec thing doesn't hold true, a literal "running belay" absolutely shortens the length of a fall. Back in the day we used to use this technique when working on new (and often quite runnout) slab climbs. There is a marvelous description of exactly how we did it in Tom Callaghan's awesome vintage film about Benedictus, on Cannon Cliff in NH. ...it's a total hoot (with apologies to Jimmy Chin for the prehistoric video quality).

Actually it's Jen Tennican's film featuring Tom.

Mark Verosky · · Columbus, Ohio · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 10

Over labor day weekend had someone whip pretty hard on a sport route at NRG. Belayer was about 100 lbs while the climber was 165. The guy ended up taking in a ton of slack to do a high clip and then fell immediately after. Due to the giant weight difference he ended up hitting the ground while the belayer was dragged all the way up to the first bolt about 15 to 20 feet up. The guy ended up being okay and going back up and finishing the route. Pretty terrifying watching it all happen but a great reminder to always know the weight difference between you and your partner. Also someone ended up getting the fall on video, I included the link. Thought this would be a great place to post this at.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Mark Verosky wrote:

Over labor day weekend had someone whip pretty hard on a sport route at NRG. Belayer was about 100 lbs while the climber was 165. The guy ended up taking in a ton of slack to do a high clip and then fell immediately after. Due to the giant weight difference he ended up hitting the ground while the belayer was dragged all the way up to the first bolt about 15 to 20 feet up. The guy ended up being okay and going back up and finishing the route. Pretty terrifying watching it all happen but a great reminder to always know the weight difference between you and your partner. Also someone ended up getting the fall on video, I included the link. Thought this would be a great place to post this at.

There's more than weight to consider. The climber isn't all that far up, third clip maybe (?) which means less rope, less friction, a long list. People really need to be thinking ground fall surprisingly far up the cliff.

I'm the light belayer, and honestly, if I saw my guy pulling that much slack at that distance up, I'd be ready to drop and sweating it until they were clipped. They wouldn't be getting an inch more than they take, either.

Best, OLH

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

Maybe I missed it but it looked like he pulled a draw and clipped it and then fell as he went to pull out slack. I don't see him pulling any slack for the clip.  He quickly tries to grab the draw to stay on but misses. Unless he pulled out all the slack before putting the draw on? Maybe the belayer put a bunch of slack into the system in anticipation? Maybe just a ways between clips as well? 

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0
Parker Wrozek wrote:

Maybe I missed it but it looked like he pulled a draw and clipped it and then fell as he went to pull out slack. I don't see him pulling any slack for the clip.  He quickly tries to grab the draw to stay on but misses. 

I made the same observation.  All things considered, the belayer did not get shot up that high, esp since there was not much rope out.  My first thought is that second bolt (the climb has only four) is really high compared to the first.  Or, did the climber skip a clip?

Is this a textbook case for an Elderid Ohm?

At about thirty pounds weight differential is when I get extra mindful of the consequences of a fall with less than 50 feet of rope out, both as a climber and belayer.

Jef Anstey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 152

I'm surprised nobody has really mentioned how big of a consideration of the belayer being pulled up off the ground makes. Not only will pulling slack make you land closer to the ground, the belayer then also gets lifted... And if they go up 5 feet... That puts you probably 3 feet closer to a injurious fall. (The belayer will have slowed you somewhat)

I've been on routes feeling sketched, wanting to clip low, but the holds available are tough for the grade. But subconsciously there's a huge urge to clip anyway unless you know there will be a better stance. (Not a good mindset/happy)

Mark Verosky · · Columbus, Ohio · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 10

It was on the third bolt. The route has an especially high first bolt since the hill side goes down pretty far to the belay area. Draws were pre-placed by another climber. 

I personally did not see how much slack was given in this situation, I was giving a fireman's to a friend on the route right next to it. It is possible more slack than necessary was put into the system but I feel like everyone does this because short roping is the last thing a belayer wants to do. Also possible that the belayer was not directly under the first bolt and resting on the tree that the climber fell in. Personally, I feel like we all could be more attentive belayers.

In the end, I feel like if the weight difference was not as big, it would have been a big fall but not a ground fall. To me this appears to be a case for an Elderid Ohm or anchoring your belayer if a substantial weight difference is present.

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0
Mark Verosky wrote:

It was on the third bolt. The route has an especially high first bolt since the hill side goes down pretty far to the belay area. Draws were pre-placed by another climber. 

I personally did not see how much slack was given in this situation, I was giving a fireman's to a friend on the route right next to it. It is possible more slack than necessary was put into the system but I feel like everyone does this because short roping is the last thing a belayer wants to do. Also possible that the belayer was not directly under the first bolt and resting on the tree that the climber fell in. Personally, I feel like we all could be more attentive belayers.

In the end, I feel like if the weight difference was not as big, it would have been a big fall but not a ground fall. To me this appears to be a case for an Elderid Ohm or anchoring your belayer if a substantial weight difference is present.

Thanks for sharing 1st hand observations.  I feel like "extra" slack and weight difference played equal parts in this case.  Belaying far back from the wall and not anchored implicitly puts more slack into the system.  Not to say I get things right but recently when my climber had a tenuous clip 70 feet up a vertical climb with ledge fall potential, I put myself directly below the 1st piece and was ready to run downhill from that spot if he were to blow the clip.  He outweighed me by 20#.  I was belaying with a Gri Gri.  Hyper vigilant (aka almost shitting bricks) comes to mind. Sometimes that is what it takes to send everyone home after a long day of climbing, happy and uninjured.  

Helen L · · Toronto, Canada · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 206

Don't know if anyone has said this yet, but be conscious of the weight of your belayer and be smart about who you pick if this makes you nervous. At 105lb, I am very light compared to most, so as a belayer, I am always very conscious of the fact that I might go shooting up into the air (I almost always lift up if there is a fall of any sort, much less a huge whipper) and I definitely don't want to hit the first bolt and risk dropping the rope or anything like that. I always stand close to the wall when I can, and I minimize the amount of rope out when a heavier climber (which is pretty much everyone, haha) or even someone the same weight as me (I almost never get anyone lighter than me) is climbing the first 3 or so bolts in the gym, and maybe 2 or 3 outside. This means there might be some risk of shortroping but that is better than the climber decking. After I feel they are safely high enough, I will then allow more slack in the system as normal. I notice that heavier climbers who don't always constantly have this on their mind don't belay differently when the climber is low than when a climber is high - maybe they don't need to if the climber is much lighter than them, but I notice some people do this with everyone. Why so much slack out when the person has only clipped one or two bolts?

Edit: just watched the video. I would NOT belay someone at 165lb myself unless I was anchored. My max is 150-155lb. They might be fine falling from high up and perhaps with the first bolt unclipped but it's dangerous lower down. However, I didn't see anyone fly up though? With that big of a whipper, the belayer should have shot up (or did I miss that?). I wonder if they had too much slack out (the issue I mentioned above - I notice this at the crag and gym A LOT).

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0
HelenL wrote:

With that big of a whipper, the belayer should have shot up (or did I miss that?). 

Note the flying body in the last 1 or 2 seconds of the video.  That is the belayer being yanked up. 

Brandon.Phillips · · Alabama · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

If I'm trying a hard route and think I could hit the ground, sometimes i'll carry out the crash pad.

Peter Lewis · · Bridgton, Maine · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 150
Eric Engberg wrote:

Actually it's Jen Tennican's film featuring Tom.

You are absolutely right!

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83
Mark Verosky wrote:

It was on the third bolt. The route has an especially high first bolt since the hill side goes down pretty far to the belay area. Draws were pre-placed by another climber. 

What are you talking about? you can see the climber pick the draw off the harness and clip it to the bolt at 3 and 4 seconds of the clip. then reach down to grab the rope. There is no extra rope pulled out that you can see in the video. I know you say you saw differently but the video is pretty clear. 

It looks like a big fall with an unprepared belayer. 

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 240
Parker Wrozek wrote:

What are you talking about? you can see the climber pick the draw off the harness and clip it to the bolt at 3 and 4 seconds of the clip. then reach down to grab the rope. There is no extra rope pulled out that you can see in the video. I know you say you saw differently but the video is pretty clear. 

It looks like a big fall with an unprepared belayer. 

Yeah, he is definitely hanging that draw... I don't see that he actually pulled up the rope though, for clipping... Looks like he is reaching down to pull the rope, then doesn't pull the rope, because he is feeling unstable, so he abandons the plan to pull the rope, reaches up, hoping to steady himself, or maybe grab the draw...  and then peels off.

I'm guessing the belayer started feeding the rope to him for the clipping, and never took it back in, when the guy fell... 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply