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 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 54
Top Stupid Mistakes to Avoid

12:18:17 PM
Hi to Darren and Barry wherever you may be, hearing you climb makes my day. ;-)
12:24:12 PM
How about singing at the crag? I was in Summerday Valley and some (christian?) group was singing really loudly, and you know how sound echoes around in there - my belayer and I couldn't hear each other at all.

Methinks I ought to stop being lazy and start climbing in more isolated areas...

1:29:05 PM
Thought of a few more...

14. Trusting a cam placed in a glassy smooth parallel crack, only to have it tear free under less than body weight. Cams need a rough surface to initiate expansion. Treat greasy smooth parallel cracks with the same suspicion as flaring ones.

15. Watching the end of the rope disappear as your leader, out of ear shot above, quickly sets a belay and takes in rope. Why aren't you tied in to your end? On an overhung or traversing route this could be more than just an inconvenience. Excepting certain circumstances, climbers on a multi-pitch, should not need to untie if they have enough ropes.

16. Watching your falling second (or third) pendulum into an arÍte. Leave enough gear in traverses to protect followers. Don't let your second get so carried away with cleaning they forget about your third.

17. Finding sheath damage or worse, from a top rope over a sharp edge. Extend top rope anchors over the lip, and pad if necessary. Make people walk down or abseil rather than lowering. It also might be necessary to set gear, mid-route, to guide the rope past sharp blocks. Consider if the route lends its self to top roping, and perhaps move on.

18. Rapping off a single piece, only to have it pull. Never, never rap off a single piece, unless it's a huge tree or bollard, and even then think carefully. This practice of backing up the single "bomber" piece with other, unweighted, pieces, and then eyeing the loaded piece while the first descender heads off is total myth, and will not guarantee your safety - it's put people in hospital including a climber I know. Donít be cheap with bail gear.

20. Belaying the leader, unanchored, too far out from the cliff you are slammed into the wall during a fall, possibly releasing the belay, and, due to the angle created you may rip their first few pieces. Stand close to the rock. Put a helmet on if you're worried about rock fall. Tell your leader to get an omni-directional in first up if you must stand back.

21. Top roping off a sling. Are you crazy? The friction of your rope moving against the sling material will slice it like a knife though butter. But how about abseiling off a sling? A practice wildly used. However consider movement such as swinging into the overhung or traversing route to clean gear, kicking out to avoid an obstruction, or leveling the ropes during the decent. What is this movement doing to that sling? Is it worth the cost of a leaver crab?

22. Building a belay with trad placements all in the one crack, block or feature. Said feature fails, resulting in total belay failure. When faced with a "perfect" splitter it can be tempting to stuff it full of cams and shout "on belay". Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

23. Onsighting a route without enough draws or slings resulting in forced run outs, rope drag from hell, walking cams, wiggled out nuts, a scary solo or worse. Consider how much slings weigh. Take them all, even if it looks like a straight line.

2:16:41 PM
stupid slings..... :-)

2:33:18 PM
On 21/08/2003 nmonteith wrote:
>stupid slings..... :-)

Hehe. Something of an inside joke there. To explain: Mountaineer and bold trad leader though he is, Neil, sometimes takes "light and fast" too litterially. BYO slings when you borrow his rack. :-)

3:32:32 PM
Not as bad as my friend Dave and I getting to Ararat and me turning to him and saying 'eerrrr, Dave, did you bring a rope?'

Not a whole f---ing lot got climbed that weekend.

Maybe an extra bonehead tip would be to check your gear *before* you leave for the crag.


4:00:54 PM
>Maybe an extra bonehead tip would be to check your gear *before* you leave
>for the crag.

I'll second that idea - me and a friend brought the rack up to Araps, and were waiting patiently for another friend who was driving up the next day with two ropes. Unfortunately the ropes were the one thing he managed to leave behind. He was feeling sufficiently guilty (and rich) to go and buy another rope at Natimuk though, so the week wasn't a total write-off :)
9:49:21 PM
I hope he bought the drinks for the weekend
10:54:56 PM
On rapping off slings, friend of mine guiding a group in the US rapped off a sling on a double rope of different thicknesses, due to the difference in friction, the rope cut through the sling and he took a 40 metre fall. Many broken bones later he still isnt climbing again.

He said complacency(is that how you spell that?) was his problem.

2:47:47 PM
yeh i've done the forgotten rope thing at araps too.. fortunately a nice local was kind enough to lend one..
11:33:19 PM
Yeah, I had an article in Argus a while ago about the risks of abseiling off ropes of different friction coefficients. Got an underwhelming response

12:01:18 AM
Kieran - rest assured a lot of people read that and stored it away in the back of their minds. I'm sure many had no idea until it was pointed out to them.

10:55:09 AM
On 23/08/2003 Rupert wrote:
>Kieran - rest assured a lot of people read that and stored it away in the
>back of their minds. I'm sure many had no idea until it was pointed out
>to them.
Yeah, although I have not read the Argus article I am well aware of the issue and in my earlier days would have appreciated this potential being pointed out to me.
Its quite an eye opener to see just how much difference in stretch there is, particularly if abseiling on two ropes of different diameter (11+9); especially (more) so with a backpack or haulbag...

Mikes idea of collating these things is a good thing, although there is no end to 'potential' stupid mistakes, any individual one of which can be alarming unto the point of tragedy.
As Mikl says "Its a privilege to participate in a sport where you can die"

11:15:47 AM
On 21/08/2003 Mike wrote:
>18. This practice of backing up the single "bomber" piece with other,
>unweighted, pieces, and then eyeing the loaded piece while the first descender
>heads off is total myth, and will not guarantee your safety - it's put
>people in hospital including a climber I know.

I would be interested in learning more of the circumstances involved here, as this is is a practice I have used from time to time.
Was the last abseiler heavier than the earlier one/s ?
Was the anchor that marginal that the backups should not have been removed?
Was the initial anchor an untested ancient piton, carrot bolt or similar?
Was the initial loading of that anchor awkward (more outward than downward)?

12:06:40 PM
Here is a couple more for the list of mistakes to avoid;

* Avoid climbing beyond what you consider your acceptable limit due to peer pressure or ego reasons. If you do so, then do it knowingly and accepting of the consequences involved if it goes pear shaped. (Climb for your own reasons not for others).

* Have self check systems and use them. Avoid being sidetracked while conducting them. (Harness buckle doubled back, helmet on, belay device properly rigged etc). Visually check your partners safety and belay setups also.

* Don't drop gear! Don't 'clean' climbs with others or gear below which can potentially be injured/damaged. Don't climb behind other parties on loose routes.

* Don't commit to adventurous undertakings underprepared. Do your homework 1st, and at least consider the 'what ifs'. Don't expect that others will help or provide timely help. Be prepared to self rescue, or at least endure the ensuing epic! Practice new techniques in controlled environments 1st.

* Suss out your instructor / climbing partner. Don't accept what you are told as necessarily being gospel. Critically evaluate your circumstances and apply your own common sense if needs be. Be aware of your climbing partners limitations and climb accordingly.

* Don't use gear inappropriately. Double up on critical safety pieces, anchors etc, eg use screwgate krabs or doubled reversed krabs in toprope anchors.

* Don't go near a clifftop edge to set up a climb / abseil without being tied in to a reliable anchor or belayed. When dealing with newbies don't assume they will do the right thing! Explain 1st and get them to demonstrate technique back as confirmation of effective communication, prior to the system being relied upon.
8:07:11 PM
I have the odd stupid mistake such as trying to do an assisted hoist while belaying with a munter hitch very ugly (the girl I was climbing with wouldn't let go of the rock) and so had to be talked back to the ground. This happened climbing dreadnaught descent gully, with her sreams being heard all through central gully, not the best fisrt guiding experience. The other one was forgeting the harness. But hey you learn from your mistakes (as long as the aren't fatal).

9:20:05 AM
On 23/08/2003 A5iswhereitsat wrote:
>I would be interested in learning more of the circumstances involved here

The anchor was stripped back to a single "bomber" nut (size 6 or 8 or something), which, from what I recall, pulled as soon as the last descender leaned back to weight it. Net result included broken vertebra in back, and metal implants required for a leg, etc. Last I saw him he was climbing again, albeit less smoothly. The reason for bailing was that his seconds couldn't complete the climb and wanted off.

>as this is is a practice I have used from time to time.

I personally would not trust it, unless my single piece happened to be a new solid looking ring bolt, or a healthy big tree or massive bollard or something, and even then I'd be worried, because you can never tell the real state of the rock.

>Was the last abseiler heavier than the earlier one/s ?

I doubt it. I'd best not speculate further it's been a few years since I've seen him, and my memory is pretty ordinary at best.
9:46:51 PM
One thing I saw a few years ago was a tertiary group practising rescuing their second. They spent some time setting up brilliant anchors and started to bring up their seconds who then hung on the ropes so their belayers had to rescue them.
Each belayer used their prussick-loops and escaped from the belay and set about arranging the Z-pully system. Unfortunately, a couple of them left their partners suspended off their perfect three-point, equalised belays by a single 7mm prussick knot. They had failed to clip a back-up knot from the main rope into the anchors.
What was more shocking is that they didn't really appreciate what they had done. They had a real person hanging on the rope with nothing between them and serious injury or death except a single prussick knot. I carried on about but no-one seemed particularly fussed.
Another thing to watch out for. Hopefully it won't happen these days.

8:11:04 AM
One mistake ive made in the past was to not be careful about making sure I was on the right climb! It was on holiday in Hobart at the Organ Pipes. We decided to do a grade 14 route (this grade seemed about right given the inexperience of my second and the very light "travel rack" that we had on the trip). We didnt consult the guide carefully enough, and spent the first two pitches wondering why the descriptions int he guide didnt seem to quiet match what was happening (it was all similar enough to make me think we were still on-route though).

The last couple of pitches were progessively harder, and being long pitches required creative use of everything on the dwindling rack (including placing of cams as high as possible before hard moves, doing the move, then reaching down and retreiving the cam for reuse.

It all ended well though, a successful lead that was all the more memorable because I was basically on-sighting a "new route" (new to me!), and did it in good style, and as safely as I could have.

Consultation of the guide from the bottom of the route showed the route was a 17. I shudder to think what might have happened if the route had ended up being a poorly protected 22 though.

1:41:01 PM
Don't rely on your mates to teach you how to climb. Ignorance is bliss. Do a course. Learn from everyone you can. Read lots of books/mags.

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 54
There are 54 messages in this topic.


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