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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

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Topic Date User
Rockfall resulting in chopped anchor report 26-Feb-2015 At 10:10:34 AM stuart h
On 25/02/2015 ajfclark wrote:
"Yes, rockfall is bad. That's a pretty easy and obvious lesson to learn. Protecting the anchor from rockfall is good. What different anchors would do in the same situation isn't as obvious and hence gets for more discussion. "

I agree that this anchor is an interesting example but regarding what is obvious and what would make the most valuable subject for discussion, I see things quite differently.

What different anchors would do in the same situation is entirely obvious. It is easy to visualise (or sketch or model). It is a static question that essentially asks which approaches to 2 point anchor construction have more redundancy and do they have points without any redundancy?

That is just a question of technique and arguably technique - or at least the selection of one over another - is very rarely the key factor in accidents. (This is a curiosity b/c it is a key factor in outcome here, although perhaps not in the accident itself.)

Much more interesting and uncertain are the subjective questions, which you dismiss as easy or obvious but which are actually the central factor in this incident. There are indications a stance is not a good spot - what do you do?

What indications might suggest that a stance is subject to rockfall? In this instance, for example, why not use the anchor as a (directional) runner (on both pitches if necessary) and belay on the stance out to the side? (perhaps even if you can't place an anchor out there?) Long tie-ins help to give you more room to move and dodge - was this a deliberate choice in this case? How much exposure does it take to make a less convenient anchor a worthwhile choice? Here it seems like there was another good anchor accessible, but how could the exposure be mitigated if there weren't an alternate anchor in place? Without knowing the route, would it be better to simul-climb to link pitches rather than belaying in the corner/gully? How much other risk and of what kind might be worth accepting to reduce an unknown level of potential rockfall hazard?

(this "invalid or suspicious input" thing is pretty annoying - trying to post more to this but not getting through)

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