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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

 Page 2 of 4. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 74
Author
Climbers rescued Margarine Ridge Mt Hay 6.11.11
Sturge
9/11/2011
11:28:11 PM
On 9/11/2011 One Day Hero wrote:

>The cause of this 'incident', as far as I can tell, was a couple of woefully
>underprepared and undercomitted bumblies trying to do a route which was
>too big and hard for them, on a day where a sensible person would not go
>anywhere near a north-west facing wall!! This thing is not a summer route!
>What the hell is with all the clowns discussing whether 5 or 10L of water
>is needed? If you need 5L of water, then its too fuching hot to climb the
>thing! Come back in April and it'll actually be fun.

Couldn't agree more.
I think it was late March/early April when we did it and 2-3L of water was plenty. I'd hate to lug any more weight than that for the day.

Slightly off topic, the ACA guide says about the pitch 8/9 variant, "Apparently some people head straight up the chimney, but it looks bloody desperate!" Has anyone got any thoughts on grades for this? It felt at least a couple harder than the rest of the climb, but allows you to skip the really shitty belay.
patto
9/11/2011
11:47:03 PM
On 9/11/2011 HumphreyG wrote:
>Rant over, guys who got stuck, I'm on your side if that wasn't obvious

Its not about taking sides and its not about old grumpy climbers trying to put noobs in their place.

Rock climbing, like most outdoor activities, can vary greatly in difficulty, challenge and danger. This cannot simply be captured in a single number grade. A long remote canyon grade 3 rapid present a much greater difficulties and dangers than the Mitchell River Amphitheatre also grade 3. Easy grade 12s on Tuolumne meadows have been known to kill when storms come through.

Know your climb and know what you are getting yourself in for. Longer and more remote climbs can make retreat difficult and what is a minor problem on a single pitch can quickly become an emergency on bigger climbs.

Macciza
10/11/2011
1:00:22 AM
As the Phantom Agents would say - "Remember, 000 is your last resort" . .
Phone a friend , enemy, whatever - Sort it out yourself.
000 is for Real Emergencies - ie Dehydration to the point of collapse ( Been there but that was from falling asleep at the beach in full-sun- burnt to a crisp, collapsed at pub, Hospitalised where they could hardly get a drip into me) It does not sound like you were anywhere near that stage.

Getting benighted used to be a welcome 'right of passage' to Big climbs - I know I am a better climber all-round for my many epics . . .

Cheers
MM
One Day Hero
10/11/2011
1:11:51 AM
On 9/11/2011 patto wrote:
>Its not about taking sides and its not about old grumpy climbers trying
>to put noobs in their place.
>
I'm a grumpy old climber, and for me its about putting noobs in their place.

wallwombat
10/11/2011
2:27:23 AM
Unless someone or something is seriously broken, I will never call 000.

Being prepared and being willing to tough it out a bit, go a long way and will invariably make you a better climber.

Head torches are good too.


Zarb
10/11/2011
6:26:42 AM
Next stop: Pierces Pass

pmonks
Online Now
10/11/2011
6:27:04 AM
On 9/11/2011 Sturge wrote:
>Slightly off topic, the ACA guide says about the pitch 8/9 variant, "Apparently
>some people head straight up the chimney, but it looks bloody desperate!"
>Has anyone got any thoughts on grades for this? It felt at least a couple
>harder than the rest of the climb, but allows you to skip the really shitty
>belay.

The ACA description was copied from an early description I wrote the 1st time I climbed the route (where I avoided the chimney because I was intimidated by it). Since then I've done the route 3 or 4 times and always gone direct up the chimney - although it looks intimidating, it isn't really any harder than anything else on the climb and (imvho) is definitely safer than that crappy intermediate belay in the cave. That said you do end up a little runout by the top of the wide bit, and if you miss the crucial pocket that takes the last good gear before that section, it'd be very runout & dangerous indeed.

I reckon the hardest pitch on the route is pitch 7 (as described on ACA) - the climbing up the arete after the rising leftward traverse is pretty delicate and has given me pause every time I've done it. I still think a grade of 13 is fair though - it's more that the route overall is sustained and long, even by international standards (it's 9 pitches plus several "pitches" of scree bashing - in the US they'd include those in the pitch descriptions & overall length, even if the grade is "only" 2nd & 3rd class).

aarond
10/11/2011
8:28:16 AM
About the bad belay at the top of pitch 8,
(i posted about this 12 months ago or so when i did the route) i don't know if we were off route but there was a bomber hidden thread inside that cave which was out of site but i managed to find it.
on pitch 8 we went up the chimney for about maybe 20m until you could traverse off to the right on a chossy ledge, basically from there i headed about another 10m to the right and up about 2m into a little cave that only really fits one person in it for the belay. when my second came up he didnt think it was the right cave but it seemed to follow the weakest line to get there.
Then pitch 9, we couldn't find any no 5 cam placement, but we traversed left and slightly up for 10m or so around and up a slabby desperate bulgy thing, it was alot shorter that then 30m in the description, we also didnt find the carrot, only the rings for the final belay.

Does that sound anything like pitch 8 and 9 to people?
HumphreyG
10/11/2011
1:17:58 PM
On 9/11/2011 One Day Hero wrote:

>What brand of crack are you smoking?
- Not as strong as yours clearly, "I'm a grumpy old climber" - ha ha - no you're a 'wanna be'!!

The sole cause of this stuff-up was
>a number in a guidebook????? The Blueys don't have stiff grades, on the
>whole they're pretty soft up there. Which squishy crag are you comparing
>to if you think Blueys grades are stiff? Try climbing long trad routes
>at the 'Bungles, Booroomba, or Moonarie, you'll realise that Margarine
>Ridge is correct at 13.

And you don't think that people read the grade and make an assessment which includes that, if he grades are meaningless why bother including them at all - clearly they've read that its a long multi pitch and if they have done the bare minimum of research on this that its not an easy climb. I'm not going to jump to conclusions about what they have or haven't done to prepare themselves for this, its pretty obvious that it was a step to far for them. At the end of the day the emergency services have been called and trying to prevent this situation arising again should be the aim. What happens when two people get out of their depth really start to freak out and one of them does end up having a serious accident.

If the Bungles etc have grade 13 climbs which are even stiffer at the grade then it supports the argument that the variability of grading can be very wide which can lead to problems. I really couldn't give a **** if the Blueies is soft/hard whatever, my issue is that there are a few climbs which are mis-graded. and don't take into consideration all the relevant points....

>"Grading takes the following into consideration. Technical difficulty, exposure, length, quality of rock, protection and other smaller factors." I thought MR was graded 16.

>Also, on a more constructive note, when the guidebook says "take a #5
>camalot for the top pitch".............it means "take a #5 cam or solo
>the top pitch"
- You really think that's constructive?

I do however agree that the point on 5L or 10L's, which has been somewhat missed in this thread, is valid point - at least something useful was raised - so I stand corrected on that one.

I also agree that this shouldn't be about taking sides, forums like this are useful to discuss these issues and hopefully prevent it happening again. The next rope that gets hauled out on MR or some other similar route, probably won't have read all the points raised here but it pretty safe to assume they will have read the guidebook. Given that authors are on these forums at least raising it as a point gets it out there rather than ranting at some dumb arse (who we're never going to meet) does actually jump on a route woefully underprepared in 5, or 6 months time or whenever it happens and then really is the cause of a serious accident.
widewetandslippery
10/11/2011
1:29:03 PM
I think under appreciation of the situation is the greatest problem here, like the blokes rescued from under Mirror Ball after bailing on Hotel California.

The Blueys can put you in a remote place very quickly.

No attempt to retreat was made? why? If you go a rope, rack shirt on your back you should be tough enough to live with that decision. Even if it means turning yopur rack and ropes into booty.Retreat to Butterbox creek would of solved dehydration problems.

Long routes with no one around (a) the grade is only one factor (b) you should be able to climb without relying wholly on a guide book.

kuu
10/11/2011
2:14:33 PM
On 10/11/2011 widewetandslippery wrote:
>I think under appreciation of the situation is the greatest problem here,
>like the blokes rescued from under Mirror Ball after bailing on Hotel California.
>
Indeed!

Is "popularisation" of the climbing experience at least partly to blame then?

Increasingly people are carrying a smartphone with them on climbs and so it's easy to dial 000 when things become awkward.

And sure, if there's an injury needing hospitalisation or some other real emergency then by all means call in the cavalry.

But the more cases there are of people successfully calling for assistance (read 'rescue') in non-life threatening situations then the likelihood is that it will happen more often! Am I wrong?

My understanding is that the rescue services do not charge for this 'assistance' and I have no argument with that. But if someone invokes these services a second (or even third time) should they perhaps be counselled to think twice about pursuing the activity?

patto
10/11/2011
2:22:40 PM
On 10/11/2011 HumphreyG wrote:
>If the Bungles etc have grade 13 climbs which are even stiffer at the
>grade then it supports the argument that the variability of grading can
>be very wide which can lead to problems. I really couldn't give a ****
>if the Blueies is soft/hard whatever, my issue is that there are a few
>climbs which are mis-graded. and don't take into consideration all the
>relevant points....

Nobody is arguing that grades can vary significantly between climbs at the same crag, between crags and between regions. But this is due to the innate subjectivity of climbing. This is no different overseas. Whether this climb should be graded harder or not is subjective. Some people in this thread seem to think it is graded appropriately.

But what does the grade have to do with this incident? These climbers were under prepared and probably under experienced to be attempting this route. Its not about the grade it is about the type of climb that it is and the conditions. This ALWAYS needs to be considered irrespective of the grade of the climb.

EDIT:
Considering that you are new to Australia shouldn't it be wise to learn from this rather than to blame the grade of the climb? Do you intend to take the same attitude when you go do Alpine in NZ?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
Online Now
10/11/2011
2:31:19 PM
... however that party undertook the task because they believed they were equal to it.

The failing to meet the full challenge does not concern me, as I am adept at that myself! What concerns me is the mindset with 'modern' climbing and technology, that if things become inconvenient, that people can bail (of sorts), by relying on others to get them out of those circumstances 'prematurely', by comparison to the long established yardsticks within the game we love to play.

On 10/11/2011 kuu wrote:
>On 10/11/2011 widewetandslippery wrote:
>>I think under appreciation of the situation is the greatest problem here,
>>like the blokes rescued from under Mirror Ball after bailing on Hotel
>California.
>>
>Indeed!
>
+1 more.

>Is "popularisation" of the climbing experience at least partly to blame
>then?
>
>Increasingly people are carrying a smartphone with them on climbs and
>so it's easy to dial 000 when things become awkward.
>
Changing times eh kuu?
~> Aye, wen we were climbing lads, dey didn't have mobile phones in dem days, so we had to-
;-)

>And sure, if there's an injury needing hospitalisation or some other real
>emergency then by all means call in the cavalry.
>
>But the more cases there are of people successfully calling for assistance
>(read 'rescue') in non-life threatening situations then the likelihood
>is that it will happen more often! Am I wrong?
>
Probably not, as it seems the yardstick has changed / is changing, with the latter generations.

>My understanding is that the rescue services do not charge for this 'assistance'
>and I have no argument with that. But if someone evokes these services
>a second (or even third time) should they perhaps be counselled to think
>twice about pursuing the activity?
>
Hmm. Is getting (sometimes harsh), feedback on internet forums part of the counselling process?

I recently read Jon Muir's book, Alone Across Australia. He did not take a phone with him. It was inspirational.
Post edit: (I must get around to doing a book review in Chocky Reviews for it...) Done!

pmonks
Online Now
10/11/2011
6:17:19 PM
On 10/11/2011 aarond wrote:
>About the bad belay at the top of pitch 8,
>(i posted about this 12 months ago or so when i did the route) i don't
>know if we were off route but there was a bomber hidden thread inside that
>cave which was out of site but i managed to find it.
>on pitch 8 we went up the chimney for about maybe 20m until you could
>traverse off to the right on a chossy ledge, basically from there i headed
>about another 10m to the right and up about 2m into a little cave that
>only really fits one person in it for the belay.

After moving up, did you traverse back left and belay in a cave above the chimney? You basically end up doing two right angle turns - one when you escape the chimney to the right, then after moving up there's another where you head hard left to rejoin it. Or at least that's how I did it the first time (and wouldn't do it again - the rope drag was redonculous, in addition to the sh1tehouse belay).
One Day Hero
10/11/2011
6:18:44 PM
On 10/11/2011 HumphreyG wrote:
>
>And you don't think that people read the grade and make an assessment
>which includes that, if he grades are meaningless why bother including
>them at all

A short lesson on grades, fruit, and inflation:

You can't compare oranges with apples, but climbing is a giant fruit salad. Some people get really good at apples, without ever having tried anything else. Some people sample all sorts of fruit and don't ever get too attached to one in particular. If you let the banana specialists hand out grades, bananas will be stiff and all other fruits soft. If you try to increase objective accuracy by upgrading a stiff but popular rockmelon, that will become the new standard at the grade, thereby converting a bunch of tricky stonefuit into new 'relative sandbags'.........it goes on like this, fruit inflation goes wild, confusion increases rather than decreases.

The moral? Learn to eat all different sorts of fruit (and the occasional shit sandwich), don't expect the grading system to be perfect, don't assume that your particular strengths and weaknesses (and impressions of grades) are universal.

>I'm not going to jump to conclusions about what they have or haven't done
>to prepare themselves for this, its pretty obvious that it was a step to
>far for them.

Probably the main step too far was trying this route on a 30 degree day. It took me a few years to work out the fairly simple concept that climbing in the sun sucks balls.

ecowain
10/11/2011
6:54:46 PM
On 10/11/2011 aarond wrote:
>About the bad belay at the top of pitch 8,
>(i posted about this 12 months ago or so when i did the route) i don't
>know if we were off route but there was a bomber hidden thread inside that
>cave which was out of site but i managed to find it.
>on pitch 8 we went up the chimney for about maybe 20m until you could
>traverse off to the right on a chossy ledge, basically from there i headed
>about another 10m to the right and up about 2m into a little cave that
>only really fits one person in it for the belay.

I think this is the route that we've used in the past to avoid the sandy cave mentioned in the route description. If the little cave that you mention is the one I'm thinking of, then you climb a short off-width at about grade 12 above and end up on a big bushy ledge, and walk up and right to the last pitch. The rightwards traverse after part 1 of the chimney has some small cams from memory. This avoided doing the right angle turn back to the left (although it was possible to crawl around a little ledge to the sandy cave).

aarond
14/11/2011
11:22:10 AM
PMonks and ecowain, sounds right.
so we did the belay in the wrong spot (by the guide) but seems like a decent spot regardless.

On climbs like that, it is more about getting to the top, and not about is that hold in or not..
PThomson
14/11/2011
12:09:23 PM
I created the ACA entry for Margarine Ridge (in the original entry pmonks created) using the source pmonks listed, as well as some of my own comments from the experience aarond and I had in the middle of summer last year. (I see that some of what I wrote has been changed since then, however).

I think that there are a few considerations with this route which make it a potentially problematic climbing:

1. Finding the start is difficult, and a bit of a hike.
2. 2 pitches with unprotectable, lethal fall potential (pitch 1, and pitch 8 -the chimney-).
3. A lot of bad rock. Yes, it's probably only a 13 IF you forget the bad rock and use every single hold at your disposal... But if you're being smart and picking the bomber rock from the choss, it's probably closer to a 16 (I often use "Man Overboard" at Point Perp as the epitome of a grade 16 trad climb).
4. A lot of long pitches, lots of rope drag, creative gear placements (what's wrong with slinging that shrub? It'll totally hold if I fall!), and ROUTE FINDING difficulties.
5. The bushwalking/scrambling/gardening in-between pitches! - Personally, I think that this is a huge factor. The amount of time lost during some of these hikes is actually quite astonishing.
6. Grade 9 for the last pitch, seriously?

I'm not saying that it's a "bad" or "dangerous" day out, but I WILL say -in defense of individuals who have epics on this route- that it IS understandable. And that's a part of "adventurous trad climbing".

Having said that, I don't condone calling 000 for anything less than a broken leg or being struck by lightning.

Personally, you couldn't pay me to go do MR again (unless it was in Alien cams... I'd do just about anything for more Aliens), BUT I don't regret the day out. Because it was a bloody awesome adventure, and interesting doing the last 2 pitches in the dark.

Sonic
14/11/2011
12:46:29 PM
This whole thing smacks of 'I climb 18 in the gym, a good long 13 should be great fun with my less experienced friend'.

Guess what? Adventure routes have that long word at the start for a reason! If you're in over your head its because you didn't do your homework. And reading a guidebook is NOT doing your homework. A guidebook is like study notes - it doesn't give you all the info, just the bare bones to build on. Don't blame the grades, the guidebook, etc - blame your unpreparedness. 000 is not the cure-all for unpreparednitis or a bail out option. Cry wolf enough and we all suffer........

At least they were ok in the end I guess

IdratherbeclimbingM9
Online Now
14/11/2011
1:36:14 PM
On 14/11/2011 Sonic wrote:
>000 is not the cure-all for unpreparednitis or a bail out option. Cry wolf
>enough and we all suffer........
>
I tend to agree with that, however also recognise that there may be grey-area/middle ground, and as such I think this sort of thing might diminish somewhat if authorities charged for what they consider to be unwarranted 'rescue services'; as people might then prepare better (including consideration of the weakest link in their team / equipment), and also carefully consider the emergency triple 000 bailing option, before hastening to it?

>At least they were ok in the end I guess

+1.

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There are 74 messages in this topic.

 

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