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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 35
Author
Ground fall at St Peters monday night

sbm
20/08/2014
8:00:33 PM
Yep it was me. Here's the account I wrote.

"On monday night we were lead climbing in the new area of St Peters. The accident happened on probably my 4th or 5th climb for the night. I hadn't actually fallen off yet climbing at all that night and hadn't been at my limit. At the point I fell off I was insecure but trying hard, and it wasn't really expected - I hadn't yelled out "watch me" to the belayer.

I fell off about halfway up, a little above the last draw. I think they said 10-12m in the report but I think it was more like 8m. Basically my hands slipped off and I just kept going all the way. The route was overhanging so I landed about 2m away from the wall. I think there was a little friction in the system but it was pretty much a free fall.

I landed on my butt sitting down and rolled back flat on my back. I've been practising falling properly a lot, bouldering on the 45 degree wall at the Ledge (which has very stiff matting), and I actually think this helped heaps, I landed really well instinctively, and I didn't really hit my head.

Straight away I realised I could still feel everything and wiggle my toes etc, and I actually managed to get my shoes and harness off before curling up on the floor groaning at bit, before realising my neck and back hurt and I should probably lie down flat and wait.

They called the ambulance and I got the full ride to hospital with a neck brace and scoop stretcher. I had a little pain in my lower back and my neck but once I was immobilised I was fine. There was no real pain when they felt around my spine.

I got xrays at the hospital and basically it turns out I have whiplash in my neck and a bit of a sore back but that's it. They let me out at about 1am and honestly at that point the most painful thing by far was the needle hole where they'd taken a blood test.

I'm back at work today, I feel really sore, like after a huge day or mega workout, but I'm ok.

As for the belayer - well basically [name] lost control of the rope. They didn't have burns so I think the rope might have got ripped out of their hands, if it was held in a bad/lazy non-locked-off position. [more personal stuff]"

More info: Rope was a 10mm tendon master on the fuzzy side (my red rope). Belay device was ATC guide style copy from Mad Rock.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
20/08/2014
8:17:06 PM
Interesting report sbm, and I am glad that you survived it relatively intact.

>basically it turns out I have whiplash in my neck
... This is actually something to be a little concerned about.
On a random sample of one; my mother suffered a diagnosed 'minor whiplash' in a minor*car accident in her younger years.
(*I was in the car at the time, and by my reckoning it was a minor accident).
Anyway, the long and short of it is that it is paying her back big-time in her elderly years, read fused vertebrae / rods inserted etc.

For what it is worth, I'd be seeking opinions on best course of rehabilitation for that injury in early days, and not dismissing it.



PS; Are you and Def-of-Faith-co interested in attending the upcoming aid-north-wallathon? ... in November.

Rocker
20/08/2014
9:09:10 PM
Glad your ok!
Last newyears I fell about 3m in the same fashion- Belay failure, virtually no resistance from the rope, ATC guide type device, onto my bum and rolled back. No tingling/ funny feeling, full movement, just a super tense stomach. Checked out by Ambos and walked to the ambulance (~200m flat track)
X-rays later showed compression fractures to L1 and L2, 8 weeks in a brace and 3 months without physical work, 8 months to full recovery.

The stupid thing was my GriGri would have probibly saved me, and was on my rack at the belayers feet.

Consider yourself extremely lucky!
Hope you recover quickly.
+ you now have a much more aware, and safer, belayer! (I know I do!)

Edit: I was lead climbing in Tassie, no gyms were involved!

nmonteith
20/08/2014
10:03:07 PM
I presume ATCs will be banned now and the waist belay is the new standard.

tnd
21/08/2014
11:44:21 AM
One thing you need to do is never again climb with the person who was belaying you. They have proven that they can't be trusted. This has happened me and I never gave the belayer another chance. Thankfully, the arsehole gave up climbing so can't endanger anyone else.

2G
21/08/2014
11:50:17 AM
On 20/08/2014 nmonteith wrote:
>I presume ATCs will be banned now and the waist belay is the new standard.

Is it true Gri Gri's are still banned at St Peters?

How many ground falls/near misses is it going to take before they relent?
matthewp
21/08/2014
12:28:51 PM
Sometimes a person who has dropped someone makes the best belayers. Afterwards they fully understand the responsibility they have and focus a lot more.

I've been dropped before and I now trust the dropper far more then most.

rodw
21/08/2014
12:57:28 PM
I only allow a few people I know and trust to belay me...no matter what device they are using....a crap belayer is a crap belayer.
SunDog
22/08/2014
12:44:07 PM
The number of accidents says more about the skill level/attentiveness of the people who lead climb indoors, than the effectiveness of the various devices they employ. Having worked at the gym in question for many years, I experienced many "Don't backchat me, I know boats" moments where climbers simply refuse to acknowledge that what they are doing is incorrect or dangerous. There are also far more distractions for belayers in the gym.

SICG banned the Gri Gri after too many users dropped their climber by either backfeeding the rope into the device, or by assuming that it autolocks and neglecting to hold the tail end of the rope.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
22/08/2014
12:58:40 PM
On 22/08/2014 SunDog wrote:
>The number of accidents says more about the skill level/attentiveness of
>the people who lead climb belay indoors, than the effectiveness of the various
>devices they employ. Having worked at the gym in question for many years,
>I experienced many "Don't backchat me, I know boats" moments where climbers
>simply refuse to acknowledge that what they are doing is incorrect or dangerous.
>There are also far more distractions for belayers in the gym.
>
>SICG banned the Gri Gri after too many users dropped their climber by
>either backfeeding the rope into the device, or by assuming that it autolocks
>and neglecting to hold the tail end of the rope.

Fixedthatforya? Sundog.
~> as I have heard plenty of reports of top-roped gym climbers being dropped in gyms as well...
;-)

garbie
22/08/2014
3:20:14 PM
What Sundog said is correct - it's not really the device, but the way its used. That said, we did ban the Gri Gri because it was misused a lot more than most. Petzl has since recommended a new method for it, and so it is more likely to be used correctly these days. We are always reviewing our policies and there may be a change coming.

But at the end of the day, people need to take responsibility for learning how to climb, and belay, safely. We test people's belaying but can't stand beside them every time they belay. We offer lessons and coaching for those who need to learn.

Please learn the skills, and be attentive every time you belay!

Cheers
Mike/SICG

Miguel75
22/08/2014
5:12:59 PM
Glad to hear you're ok...
One Day Hero
22/08/2014
8:07:28 PM
On 22/08/2014 SunDog wrote:
>I experienced many "Don't backchat me, I know boats" moments where climbers
>simply refuse to acknowledge that what they are doing is incorrect or dangerous.

While I know a few old and shit climbers (who would have once been young shit climbers), you also should recognize the flip side of your little statement of superiority. It's a bit grating to be actually experienced, and have to listen to some pimply little chap who first put on a harness 12 months ago and has never touched anything other than plastic tell you that his particular belaying method is the one true safe way...........and then they bust out the "I'm a pro" attitude if you try to explain that your method is also fine. But I solved this problem by not going to gyms anymore, because they're just full of total clowns anyway.

>There are also far more distractions for belayers in the gym.

The "distractions" are about the only thing that made SICG worth visiting.
jrc
22/08/2014
11:33:39 PM
Wow some retort there ODH- especially as the pimply one would appear to be a year older than you (profile wise) . (tho younger than Mike G or even me - so what). Age aside and I agree it is no determinant of wisdom, does the SICG offer belaying training for leader belayers (just a question, innocuous like). Question 2; does the sicg provide belay anchors and insist on belayers of leaders being anchored (unlike the prevailing fashion amongst sports belayers outdoors) before being distracted ...

sbm
23/08/2014
12:28:08 AM
I can confirm the belayer was NOT bultitude. In his own words, he can't afford to climb at St Peters these days (he spends all his money on plane tickets to nz).

> my mother suffered a diagnosed 'minor whiplash' in a minor*car accident in her younger years...it is paying her back big-time in her elderly years, read fused vertebrae / rods inserted etc.
> I fell about 3m in the same fashion - X-rays later showed compression fractures to L1 and L2

Aw no. One thing that's become clearer in the last week is exactly how lucky I've been.

I did get a lumbar x-rays and they didn't see anything they were concerned about. I promise I'll continue to follow up, I had very minor pain at the physio today.

> I presume ATCs will be banned now and the waist belay is the new standard.
> Is it true Gri Gri's are still banned at St Peters? How many ground falls/near misses is it going to take before they relent?

I think if we make that joke too much, the next step would actually be to ban lead climbing...

At first I was all "Grrr if we'd been using my grigri this wouldn't have happened" but now I'm not so sure. You can screw up any belay device. Grigris are great if you read the instruction manual but maybe more dangerous if you don't (and nobody does, this is a problem with western civilization)

> One thing you need to do is never again climb with the person who was belaying you. They have proven that they can't be trusted...Thankfully, the arsehole gave up climbing so can't endanger anyone else.

I knew I'd see this attitude...obviously the trust has been broken and it will take a lot to rebuild. But I sympathize a lot with the belayer, they reminded me a lot of myself in my first year of climbing (that's why I climbed with them). I don't have it in me to cast the first stone.

> I only allow a few people I know and trust to belay me

I've been a complete belay whore at St Peters, and also had a rule that I'd never say "take" and would climb until I pumped out fell unexpectedly. In hindsight, that was a bad combination and an accident was probably coming to me.

> various comments about calling peoples technique out

It's easy to call people idiots, but also in my experience belaying instruction for beginners is complete sh!t, and their mistakes are forgiven by high friction indoor TR setups and become bad habits.

I've got to rethink the way I teach it for sure.

JMK
23/08/2014
11:08:13 AM
I have been dropped in the gym as well - belayer was doing her usual 2 finger hold of the rope. She was much better after that. This was some 20 years ago now.

Having just returned from Europe I have to say I have never seen so many accidents waiting to happen. 2 finger belaying, dropping the belay side, holding the 2 ropes lightly together above the belay device etc etc. the problem was these looked like "experienced" climbers. This bad technique was interspersed with generally good form. I guess if you have been doing the wrong thing for years and never had an "accident " you think your technique is good. However, the thing about belaying is that it is the safety net for the leader's mistakes (assuming gear holds).

I reckon the reason more accidents don't happen is because you need the bad technique to coincide with an unexpected fall by the leader and they are on the deck. So most people get away with bad technique as most people don't fall unexpectedly as there is usually a "watch me" said. But that is not the point- belayers should not need to be warned, even if they are looking down or around , solid technique will hold the rope. Luck should not be a part of belaying.

My point then is check your partners technique and don't assume that because they never dropped you their form is good.


sbm
23/08/2014
11:19:55 AM
On 23/08/2014 JMK wrote:
>I reckon the reason more accidents don't happen is because you need the
>bad technique to coincide with an unexpected fall by the leader and they
>are on the deck. So most people get away with bad technique as most people
>don't fall unexpectedly as there is usually a "watch me" said. But that
>is not the point- belayers should not need to be warned, even if they are
>looking down or around , solid technique will hold the rope. Luck should
>not be a part of belaying.

Completely agree.
martym
23/08/2014
12:35:40 PM
On 23/08/2014 sbm wrote:
>At first I was all "Grrr if we'd been using my grigri this wouldn't have happened" but now I'm not so sure. You can screw up any belay device. Grigris are great if you read the instruction manual but maybe more dangerous if you don't (and nobody does, this is a problem with western civilization)

I do, and I fuching hope my belayer has, as well as watched videos on manifacturer's website, practiced using it in a controlled environment and discussed all their gear with more experienced climbers. Usually gear comes with a single A4 info sheet in multiple
Languages - it's not much - and we're not talking about a DVD player here. Climbing gear is designed to keep you alive!

Imagine takin the same attitude with scuba diving or hanggliding

pedro.c
23/08/2014
5:54:14 PM
I'm glad you're OK Sam

My usual climbing partner and I have been ignoring the advice that you should warm up with some practice falling until recently. Along with improvements in our climbing through over coming some fear issues we have both improved in belaying.

I reckon if you want to train up a belayer you need to get them catching you. Initially with plenty of warning, gradually taking bigger falls and giving them less warning until you're giving them no heads up at all. My partner has grown more confident and I've become more attentive with this process.

gnaguts
23/08/2014
7:48:35 PM
On 23/08/2014 martym wrote:
>I do, and I fuching hope my belayer has, as well as watched videos on
>manifacturer's website, practiced using it in a controlled environment
>and discussed all their gear with more experienced climbers.

How much more controlled environment, compared to outdoors, can indoors be?

The belayer stuffed up.
Accepting that as normal belaying is stuffed.
If leader continues to accept that, then they will be stuffed.

This thread was a waste of reading, unless you are stuffed at belaying and need an example of why.

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 35
There are 35 messages in this topic.

 

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