Goto Chockstone Home

  Guide
  Gallery
  Tech Tips
  Articles
  Reviews
  Dictionary
  Links
  Forum
  Search
  About

      Sponsored By
      ROCK
   HARDWARE

  Shop

Scarpa: Scarpa "Mystic GTX" Approach Shoe. Premium model. Gortex lined. Vibram Sole. Climbing toe... Size 43 Eur. (10 USm)  $149.00
50% Off

Chockstone Photography Australian Landscape Photography by Michael Boniwell
Australian Landscape Prints





Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

 Page 1 of 4. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 64
Author
Factor 2
PATW
19/04/2010
9:48:27 PM
Thought I'd share a recent experience of a "Factor 2" fall with the hope that anyone interested may learn from it:

My gf and I were on "Lamplighter" at araps. It was her lead on the second pitch – her first on a multi pitch route, having not led much on trad before. As she left the belay I encouraged her to put in a piece early, or clip the top piece of the anchor on the way past. I was a bit surprised when she charged up a couple of metres without slotting anything but wasn’t concerned because she had been completely solid on lead for the whole trip and it looked like there were good slots for gear just above. It was a bit of an awkward stance – slabby, but without a customary grade 14 bucket to hang off – and after trying to place a nut or two, it was clear that those slots weren’t so good after all. She had skipped the fixed pin with my encouragement (“not really trustworthy”).

At this point she started getting a little flustered and poked in a small cam (a yellow WC Zero). It wasn’t aligned with the direction of the fall so I got her to move it, but apparently that made the cam lobes go crooked and offset and it looked dodgey so she moved it back. After all this frigging around she was getting pumped and stressed and suddenly the delicate moves in an increasingly airy position got a bit hard. She tried the next move but half fell, half retreated to rest on the cam. The cam ripped out and she went for the big plummet. Thankfully she sailed right out over the belay ledge, over the slab below and the ropes pulled her up on the steeper section below that.

She came up pretty much without a scratch, very fortunate given that she’d just taken a factor two fall which probably ended up being greater than six metres from top to bottom. It was by far the nastiest fall I’ve seen. She heroically got back up, and after a brief pause to check all limbs were intact, she charged on and led the pitch (one of the best pitches ever, though some of the gloss was probably taken off for both of us). This time she headed off with a bomber nut placed just above the anchors and also clipping the fixed pin above that.

Unfortunately I didn’t come off quite so well. I was sitting on the edge of the big comfy belay ledge, and as she sailed past the ropes ran over my leg. As the ropes came up tight, my leg got squished between the ropes and lip of the ledge. At first I thought my leg just had a deep, juicy bruise but it turns out that I had torn my hamstring as well. My guide hand (on the climber’s side of the belay device) got smashed into the rock. Just as predicted in the manuals, some rope slipped through the device and gave me some minor rope burn. I may also have damaged my sciatic nerve, possibly from the impact being transferred through my harness and into my lower back. My physio and I are still working out the exact nature of the damage to my leg and back, but whatever, it’s bloody painful and I may be out of action for a while.

Interestingly, it seemed that the anchor had taken very little of the impact. All the pieces popped out easily (two nuts and a hex) when I cleaned the anchor. The knot in my cordelette may have tightened up, but only a fraction. I was clove hitched into the ‘power point’ of the anchor with both strands of our double ropes and there wasn’t any slack. It appeared that most of the energy from the fall was transferred elsewhere in the system, a lot of it into my body – possibly an example of just how effective the old-school method of hip belaying from a good stance could be?

Anyway, the message is: Don’t be a muppet! Learn from our mistakes and remember...

- Factor two falls are bad for your health and bad for your belayer too.

- On multi pitch, place that gear as soon as possible off the belay, even if it is while you are standing right there next to your belayer on that cosy ledge. If the anchor is bomber (we could have towed away the Pharos with ours), consider clipping one of the pieces.

- Small cams need to be placed with care and with and good understanding of their limitations if you are to trust them. They may not be the best tool for beginner trad leaders.

- If climbing with an inexperienced partner make sure they understand the concept of fall factors before setting off on that multi pitch classic, even if you expect it to be a cruise.

- Learn all you can about building good anchors, and make sure they are up to taking a factor 2. You never know when you might need it so save the bacon of you and your climbing buddy.

bw
19/04/2010
10:23:16 PM
On 19/04/2010 PATW wrote:

>
>Interestingly, it seemed that the anchor had taken very little of the
>impact. All the pieces popped out easily (two nuts and a hex) when I cleaned
>the anchor. The knot in my cordelette may have tightened up, but only
>a fraction. I was clove hitched into the ‘power point’ of the anchor with
>both strands of our double ropes and there wasn’t any slack. It appeared
>that most of the energy from the fall was transferred elsewhere in the
>system, a lot of it into my body – possibly an example of just how effective
>the old-school method of hip belaying from a good stance could be?
>


much weight diff between the two of you?

lucky :) thanks for sharing.
patto
19/04/2010
11:02:09 PM
Thanks for your informative post.

It is quite amazing how rarely you here of proper factor 2 falls. In fact this is the only one I've ever heard. Quite interesting really.

Lamplighter isn't the best choice for a first multipitch lead! So very exposed! Though in many ways it makes it an idea choice because there aren't too many 14s at araps that a climber can get away with 6+ metre factor 2 fall without injury. Either way, well done on successfully catching a difficult fall. Hope you recover without too much difficulty.
Mike Bee
19/04/2010
11:25:10 PM
Best of luck with the recovery, PATW.

Good to hear the story and the reasons for it. You don't hear many stories of factor 2's, so hearing of one and recognising the errors as you read it is good for checking your own techniques and knowledge.

For mine, always put in a jesus nut (preferably a cam actually, as they're generally more multidirectional) as soon as you can, and clip, but don't entirely trust any fixed gear. Even if it slows you down, it's better than nothing.


nmonteith
19/04/2010
11:25:57 PM
Epic. Glad you guys are ok. I've also never seen a first hand example of a factor 2 fall. Sounds worse for the belayer than the leader!
martym
20/04/2010
12:16:39 AM
>there aren't too many 14s at araps that a climber can get away with 6+ metre factor 2 fall without injury

I'll second that! Aside from being a bit of a sandbagged 14; I remember thinking the whole time through that second pitch "At least if I drop, it's into the open air" - glad to see that it works.
When climbing multipitch we always put a piece between the climber and the belay devcie, even if it's off the anchor - the pull just sounds so dangerous, as you've pointed out...

gm84
20/04/2010
12:34:06 AM
Sounds scary but good on the gf for getting back on the horse. Hope your recovery is speedy.

As a side note I think lamplighter was one of my favourite of my last (and only) trip to Araps and the last pitch with the wierd horizontal chimney thing is awesome.

bagotup
20/04/2010
1:02:47 AM

Put that Jesus nut in, then another, and then another.

Somehow my buddy & I survived one of these a few weekends ago. If he hadn't volunteered the back of his neck as a temporary runner for our single 10.5 mm rope this story may not have been written. AJ (the belayer) took a pounding and absorbed a fair deal of the potential shock loading which we imagine contributed to us staying intact with the rock.

We we're on a familiar two pitch local climb, I seconded the 1st pitch. I reached the belay point, all was well, I continued past on very easy terrain. Just over two metres later and directly above the belay, the ledge I pulled down on disintegrated in my hand.

What the ..... was going through our minds at the belay and beyond?
I’ll never live it down.
Put that nut in. If you’re on belay duty, make it your duty to make sure a nut/ pro goes in also. However I would avoid clipping in through a piece of the anchor system for reasons you can read up on.

Makes for a good yarn if you survive, but we’re not doing it again for anybody’s camera.

http://www.chockstone.org/Upload/UserFiles/bagotup/neckburn_20.jpg

AJ’s rope burn (with some antiseptic cream applied, in our attempt to get it to heal before wifey saw it)


egosan
20/04/2010
4:51:00 AM


Thanks for sharing guys. Thinking about all the times I have neglected the jesus piece. Gonna have to change that.

Here is another big factor fall:
http://cjclimbs.blogspot.com/2010/02/american-tourist-bunjee-jumps-remote.html

evanbb
20/04/2010
7:22:51 AM
I echo the comments above. Good on both of you getting back on the horse.

But, some pedantry to illustrate a point.

You said your leader slumped onto a cam, which popped, before she fell. For a Textbook Factor 2 the rope above the belay should essentially be dead vertical with nothing in between, even if it is a terrible cam. This, however hopeless, will diminish the fall factor. What you probably experienced was more like a factor 1.9. Imagine if it was worse!

That's why putting pieces in is a good idea. Even if they zipper each one winds off a little bit of energy. At least now you've got personal experience to hassle your leaders about not placing enough gear. And you can be selfish while doing it.

Were you using doubles? I think this might have helped your experience a bit as well. Inevitably the ropes will come tight at differrent rates, which slows the catch a touch. Also, it means twice as much rope for your belay device and hands to hold, meaning much higher friction.

pmonks
20/04/2010
7:48:58 AM
On 20/04/2010 evanbb wrote:
>Were you using doubles? I think this might have helped your experience
>a bit as well. Inevitably the ropes will come tight at differrent rates,
>which slows the catch a touch.

Typically in a double rope fall only one of the ropes will come tight and absorb any of the energy generated in the fall. Plus they're often less stretchy than singles, so I think the fall factors are usually higher with doubles.

Still, for flexibility (particularly flexibility of retreat!) they can't be beat!

ajfclark
20/04/2010
8:12:51 AM
On 20/04/2010 bagotup wrote:
>
>
>AJ’s rope burn (with some antiseptic cream applied, in our attempt to get it to heal before wifey saw it)

evanbb
20/04/2010
8:14:23 AM
On 20/04/2010 pmonks wrote:

>Typically in a double rope fall only one of the ropes will come tight
>and absorb any of the energy generated in the fall. Plus they're often
>less stretchy than singles, so I think the fall factors are usually higher
>with doubles.

Less stretchy? I guess if both go tight at once, but after watching guys fall on a single half rope there's no doubt in my mind the skinny ropes are stretchier.

pmonks
20/04/2010
8:51:28 AM
On 20/04/2010 evanbb wrote:
>Less stretchy? I guess if both go tight at once, but after watching guys
>fall on a single half rope there's no doubt in my mind the skinny ropes
>are stretchier.

Errrr yes you're right - just looked at Mammut Phoenix (8.0mm doubles) vs Mammut Superflash (10.5mm single) and they have impact forces of 6.0kN and 9.2kN respectively. Not sure what I was thinking of there...

pmonks
20/04/2010
8:53:13 AM
On 20/04/2010 bagotup wrote:


> AJ’s rope burn (with some antiseptic cream applied, in our attempt to get
> it to heal before wifey saw it).

I take it the big bump on the back of his head is from the wife, after she saw it?
ZERO
20/04/2010
9:16:04 AM
The belayer should be in full control here.
If the leader won't put in that piece of "JESUS" gear just pull on the reins and stop them climbing.
If climbing with a newbie, set that 1st piece while building the anchor.
I try to build a multi-point anchor above the belay and use it as a pulley point. This way the 2nd already has the critical 1st piece in when swinging leads.

Eduardo Slabofvic
20/04/2010
9:19:47 AM
Try clipping part of the belay as the first runner. If you have multiple pieces in the belay (which you should) you could put a draw on a high piece (above the belay device), which may be only a foot or so, but every little bit helps in reducing the fall factor.

Once established on the route with a few pieces in, the belayer can unclip this one if it's problematic.

Hopefully the belay won't rip, and if it does it's RIP for both of you.
citationx
20/04/2010
9:22:05 AM
On 20/04/2010 egosan wrote:
>
>
>Thanks for sharing guys. Thinking about all the times I have neglected
>the jesus piece. Gonna have to change that.
>
>Here is another big factor fall:
>http://cjclimbs.blogspot.com/2010/02/american-tourist-bunjee-jumps-remote.html

It's terrivle, but i'm crying from laughter... " As luck would have it when I dropped the rope, it bullwhipped poor nelise in the balls. One more scream of pain! :)"
Stingray4100
20/04/2010
10:40:56 AM
The last time I went up lamplighter, pretty much exactly the same thing happened to my leader. While moving past the slabby just of the belay bit on the second pitch, his foot slipped and he fell past the belay, basically tumbling backwards a couple of meters down the first pitch. He didn't have any gear in, but the fall was broken by the belay ledge, so I assume this would be much less than a factor 2 fall. There was no indication that he was having problems, so the fall was completely unexpected. Amazingly he just got up and started the pitch again, I'm not sure I would have done the same....
PATW
20/04/2010
7:00:35 PM
Probably about 20kg weight difference. Yep, that would be significant if relying on just a hip belay.

And yes, we were very lucky. It makes my minor injuries much easier to accept - coulda been much worse for both of us.

We were using a pair of brand spankin new Mammut Genesis doubles (8.5mm).

 Page 1 of 4. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 64
There are 64 messages in this topic.

 

Home | Guide | Gallery | Tech Tips | Articles | Reviews | Dictionary | Forum | Links | About | Search
Chockstone Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography

Please read the full disclaimer before using any information contained on these pages.



Australian Panoramic | Australian Coast | Australian Mountains | Australian Countryside | Australian Waterfalls | Australian Lakes | Australian Cities | Australian Macro | Australian Wildlife
Landscape Photo | Landscape Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Fine Art Photography | Wilderness Photography | Nature Photo | Australian Landscape Photo | Stock Photography Australia | Landscape Photos | Panoramic Photos | Panoramic Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | Mothers Day Gifts | Gifts for Mothers Day | Mothers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Mothers Day | Wedding Gift Ideas | Christmas Gift Ideas | Fathers Day Gifts | Gifts for Fathers Day | Fathers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Fathers Day | Landscape Prints | Landscape Poster | Limited Edition Prints | Panoramic Photo | Buy Posters | Poster Prints