UKBouldering.com

BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting (Read 7671 times)

danm

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 525
  • Karma: +70/-1
You’re not wrong. In my youth when I thought things like bridge swinging were cool I jumped off a bridge with my harness just secured by the velcro.

Glad the river was deep.
:o
That makes my own bridge swing experience pale into insignificance! My mates had rigged it and were about to jump off, I thought the rope looked too long, got called out as being nesh but eventually prevailed with the idea of doing a test with a rucksack with a few rocks in it. Rucksack duly slams into the riverbed at full velocity, re-emerging in tatters, sliced to bits on the rocky bottom. I've never had the balls to do one after seeing that!

Will Hunt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Superworm is super-long
  • Posts: 5314
  • Karma: +383/-83
    • Unknown Stones
Some absolute corkers here.

jwi

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 2448
  • Karma: +180/-0
  • uhm... huh?
    • On Steep Ground
Nothing compared to some of these but I've twice got to the lower offs and realised I was tied in to the leg loops only. Not sure what that'd be like if I'd fallen but it must at a minimum increase the chances of flipping over and smacking your head in a fall.

I have the pleasure to tell you that it is very uncomfortable to fall tied in to the leg loops only. I am not keen on trying it again.

andy popp

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 4118
  • Karma: +261/-4
Nothing compared to some of these but I've twice got to the lower offs and realised I was tied in to the leg loops only. Not sure what that'd be like if I'd fallen but it must at a minimum increase the chances of flipping over and smacking your head in a fall.

I have the pleasure to tell you that it is very uncomfortable to fall tied in to the leg loops only. I am not keen on trying it again.

I've had the pleasure of a long fall onto a rope tied round my waist with a bowline.

ashtond6

Offline
  • ***
  • obsessive maniac
  • Posts: 324
  • Karma: +9/-3
So far the bridge swing and verdon incidents are the winners for me.

In bits here  :bow:

mrjonathanr

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 3259
  • Karma: +131/-5
Nothing compared to some of these but I've twice got to the lower offs and realised I was tied in to the leg loops only. Not sure what that'd be like if I'd fallen but it must at a minimum increase the chances of flipping over and smacking your head in a fall.

I have the pleasure to tell you that it is very uncomfortable to fall tied in to the leg loops only. I am not keen on trying it again.

This can’t happen if you thread your harness from the top first.

Oldmanmatt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • At this rate, I probably won’t last the week.
  • Posts: 5182
  • Karma: +261/-9
  • 49 is coming! This can’t be happening!
    • The Boulder Bunker climbing centre
Nothing compared to some of these but I've twice got to the lower offs and realised I was tied in to the leg loops only. Not sure what that'd be like if I'd fallen but it must at a minimum increase the chances of flipping over and smacking your head in a fall.

I have the pleasure to tell you that it is very uncomfortable to fall tied in to the leg loops only. I am not keen on trying it again.

This can’t happen if you thread your harness from the top first.

After a few decades of climbing, it was pointed out to me by a mere sprog; that if you feed the rope up through, when leading, and then forget to tie the knot, when you begin to lead the weight/drag/shitty belaying of the rope (should) will pull it down and out of the harness, before you get very far. If you feed it down through, the friction will hold it until you try to weight it.
I like the thinking. Never thought about it before.

danm

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 525
  • Karma: +70/-1
Nothing compared to some of these but I've twice got to the lower offs and realised I was tied in to the leg loops only. Not sure what that'd be like if I'd fallen but it must at a minimum increase the chances of flipping over and smacking your head in a fall.

I have the pleasure to tell you that it is very uncomfortable to fall tied in to the leg loops only. I am not keen on trying it again.

This can’t happen if you thread your harness from the top first. always do a buddy check.

nai

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 3548
  • Karma: +168/-1
  • In my dreams

After a few decades of climbing, it was pointed out to me by a mere sprog; that if you feed the rope up through, when leading, and then forget to tie the knot, when you begin to lead the weight/drag/shitty belaying of the rope (should) will pull it down and out of the harness, before you get very far. If you feed it down through, the friction will hold it until you try to weight it.
I like the thinking. Never thought about it before.

Surely not if you're sport climbing with a bolt clipped above you?

petejh

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 3696
  • Karma: +401/-22
Harness threading.. this thread just triggered my UKC alert.

Oldmanmatt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • At this rate, I probably won’t last the week.
  • Posts: 5182
  • Karma: +261/-9
  • 49 is coming! This can’t be happening!
    • The Boulder Bunker climbing centre

After a few decades of climbing, it was pointed out to me by a mere sprog; that if you feed the rope up through, when leading, and then forget to tie the knot, when you begin to lead the weight/drag/shitty belaying of the rope (should) will pull it down and out of the harness, before you get very far. If you feed it down through, the friction will hold it until you try to weight it.
I like the thinking. Never thought about it before.

Surely not if you're sport climbing with a bolt clipped above you?

I can think of plenty of likely scenarios where it wouldn’t help at all,  I’d always done it that way out of sheer habit and for no reason that I can recall, but I reckon anything that “might” lessen the chances of finding out the hard way, is worth a shot...

Can we find some more things of this type?
Because I have to work this weekend and my only potential source of entertainment, would be Pete’s likely rant, if anyone posts any more trivia.

Actually, Pete, why the flying frangipani are you on UKB in glorious sunshine, with cool to cold air temps? If you’re tired of climbing, come and cover my shifts at the Bunker and I’ll be in Portland if you need me...

petejh

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 3696
  • Karma: +401/-22
Hehe I was at LPT yesterday, day before was sport climbing at Gogarth (;)), and for the 2 days before that was bolting a new route. I'm off bouldering in  couple of hours, and then out to hopefully send the new route tomorrow. All with my harness threaded the wrong way.  Sunday's a half day of rest.

I agree with Stu's rope jump as the best near miss so far!

tomtom

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 17359
  • Karma: +544/-8
This seems like the best place for this and it’s a copy paste from Jim Perrin from the Pex FB page - but thought it too good not to share - hope no one minds.

“I remember manteling over the top of Lady Jane Direct one February day years ago. The heel of my palm slipped off on the algal sloping top, down I went, and landed on my left heel among the ground you've just cleared. Ouch! I crawled back to the car, drove to Liverpool General, had my heel x-rayed and there was a clean crack right through the big bone. A red-haired Irish nurse wheeled me off to the plaster room, but I pleaded with her just to strap it up because Dave Cook was coming up on the train that night and we were heading down to trespass on Range West in Pembroke next day. Great plan! You should have witnessed the row with that nurse. I asked her for a date and she punched me in the chest and asked "What makes you think I'd go out wit' an eejit like you?' She laughed, though, before getting me to sign a form relieving the hospital of all responsibility. When Dave and I got to Pembroke - me on crutches, left foot too heavily bandaged and swollen to get a climbing boot on - there were no soldiers, no sentries. We just hobbled in unchallenged. The first Iraq war had just started and they were all away. Hey ho! We did a new route in The Wash, I think - first on quite an impressive crag, but not a very distinguished line. It was the last time I climbed with Dave, who'd been a dear friend for years, fellow grit-fanatic, my mentor in the YCL and CPGB. He was knocked off his bike in Turkey whilst cycling round the Med the following year, flown back to England in a coma, and died a fortnight later. I still miss his company - nights on Edithna Street in Brixton, stocking up on booze from Momma Redstripe's, hungover Sunday trips down to High Rocks or Harrison's. Happy Days! The crepe bandage was far too tight. When I took it off a couple of days later, there was a phone number tucked inside.”

cheque

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Hangdog millionaire
  • Posts: 2296
  • Karma: +309/-1
    • Cheque Pictures
#88 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 15, 2019, 03:45:04 pm
Just seen this one.  :o

Earlier in this thread I was sceptical as to the databases usefulness- I’ve come round to thinking it’s actually a good idea now. “Those who do not learn from the past...” etc.

Slightly off topic but I was reminded of the resource by coming across this gripping and tragic story last night. Quite a read.

Oldmanmatt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • At this rate, I probably won’t last the week.
  • Posts: 5182
  • Karma: +261/-9
  • 49 is coming! This can’t be happening!
    • The Boulder Bunker climbing centre
#89 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 15, 2019, 06:30:01 pm
Just seen this one.  :o

Earlier in this thread I was sceptical as to the databases usefulness- I’ve come round to thinking it’s actually a good idea now. “Those who do not learn from the past...” etc.

Slightly off topic but I was reminded of the resource by coming across this gripping and tragic story last night. Quite a read.

Jeezus but did I do some backseat driving while reading that, to the point of blurting “Fucksssaaake!” out loud at one point (the not having prusik loops revelation/lack of plan and ability to ascend a rope. (Quite embarrassing, I’m sat at work, behind the reception desk of the wall and had to explain the whole thing to one of the climbers; who thought I was swearing at him)).

I started climbing when I was 8, in 1978, and had a Whillans harness from the get go. By 1984, I’d upgraded to the Joe Brown, my first proper sit harness. I never had anything like a Swami belt. I followed my father up a couple of pitches on El Cap, in ‘81 and we did a fair amount of single pitch stuff in the valley. I don’t recall the kit being particularly primitive around me. I feel I would have noticed, having grown up listen to my elders tales of “when men were men”.

Ironically, my first lead was on Idwal (either Faith, Hope or Charity, time dims the specifics), when I was 12, and the Falklands conflict was dominating everyday life, too.

1984, was the year I moved to San Jose, I was 14 and the family I lived with spent most of their free time (and nearly all the long summer break) in a cabin just outside the valley (Al, my temporary father, heading back to do 4/5 days straight of shifts as a Deputy Sheriff, then the same at the cabin). Again, I’m sure the kit we used and the stuff I saw around me was just a heavier version of what we use now.

I know I shouldn’t judge these guys, I’ve made some fucking stupid decisions in my time and had some appalling epics. But, ffs, to me at least, the difference between being raised into the climbing world from a young age, with baby steps all the way, under the guidance of those of so many years experience  (I thought old and stale, then) and trying to break into it in your 30s is striking.

I’m not trying to be patronising, I know it probably seems extremely so, but I’m just questioning the whole concept, because I’d never thought about it before. The things I take for granted (I work in a Bouldering wall. My bag (that I carry everywhere) has a stitch plate, prusik loops and 20mtr of para cord in it.

Yeah, yeah, I know. A bit weird. ( I also carry a first aid kit, a couple of torches, a sewing kit, a leatherman and have 10 mtrs of para cord around my right ankle and 6 on my key ring...
I’ve used all of it over the years).

Those of you you who came to climbing in adulthood, how did you learn your craft? If you climb Trad, how long/many routes did you second on before your first lead?



cheque

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Hangdog millionaire
  • Posts: 2296
  • Karma: +309/-1
    • Cheque Pictures
#90 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 08:00:47 am
Those of you you who came to climbing in adulthood, how did you learn your craft? If you climb Trad, how long/many routes did you second on before your first lead?

I first climbed (ie top-ropes in trainers and hiking boots) when I was a kid in the Scouts but got into it again independently when I was 28. After 2 months of indoor bouldering I persuaded my (then) wife to drive me to a crag where I soloed. Nearly falling off twice didn’t stop me loving it but she didn’t take me again.

My mate who I went to the wall with (same age, same experience, same ability) had wheels and we’d go out bouldering but I really wanted to do trad so I’d solo whenever we were at crags with routes. I soon got some trad gear and just started leading routes with him seconding- my first lead was Leeds Crack, an HD at Ramshaw which was way easier than I’d solo so I just placed one wire which fell out. I was proud of my belay at the top but my mate pointed out that I’d tested it by just leaning out over the edge to see if it held me. :oops: He (rightly) thought I was fucking dangerous and he was far more into bouldering anyway so he palmed me off on an old schoolfriend of his who needed a partner.

This guy proved to be an excellent “mentor” for me as he was experienced and safety-conscious but had never pushed himself to try and climb hard so was happy to bumble about- kind of a yin to my yang. We had years of adventures until our objectives in climbing diverged but have started climbing together again more recently. God knows how long I’d have survived if we hadn’t met!

Presuming the write-up of that utterly gripping epic is true then that Don fella is a perfect example of the kind of guy that beginners should avoid like the plague but are ill-equipped to sniff out: wedded to romantic but impractical ideals and willing to escort beginners into situations that they aren’t prepared for themselves. Sadly I don’t think that kind of character is that rare in the world of trad climbing.

sdm

Offline
  • **
  • menacing presence
  • Posts: 195
  • Karma: +13/-0
#91 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 08:35:41 am
Those of you you who came to climbing in adulthood, how did you learn your craft? If you climb Trad, how long/many routes did you second on before your first lead?
I got in to climbing in my mid twenties. My first ever trad route was on lead (Topsail) and I think my second ever sport pitch was too (some polished choss at horseshoe). Not coming from an area with any rock, we didn't know anyone experienced to show us the ropes, we just read a few pages from a rope work book, headed out to the grit and made it up as we went along.

We made loads of mistakes along the way but we always had plenty of grades in hand so we got away with it (we had started off bouldering). Our rubbish headgame usually stopped us from getting in to real trouble, it took us a while before we would commit to any moves on gear that we couldn't reverse.

Some of the errors we made:
- Not being able to do the crux of a route, deciding to set up a belay just below and hand over to your partner to face a factor 2 if they fell
- Not learning how to prussic or jumar for a year and a half. Finally deciding to learn the day before heading out for our first mountain routes
- Not finding the belay on a 2 pitch route in the Pass, deciding to run 2 pitches together, running out of gear two thirds of the way up, and also having to untie the second rope because it was 5m short of reaching the top. All done with a storm lashing down on us.
- Getting off route on a 9 pitch sport route which was supposed to be a 5b and being confronted by an unavoidable 10m roof.

Had we got more in to trad rather than focusing on bouldering, we probably would have ended up the subject of one of these reports.

Oldmanmatt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • At this rate, I probably won’t last the week.
  • Posts: 5182
  • Karma: +261/-9
  • 49 is coming! This can’t be happening!
    • The Boulder Bunker climbing centre
#92 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 09:39:50 am
Yeah, I once broke through a cornice, on a ridge high above Saas Fee, during a tea break, on a day of Off piste, simply because I had my “ski” head on, instead of my “Mountaineer” head. I’d gone to snap a quick photo. I don’t remember much about the ~400’ fall, except my own voice calling me a total C&£t! over and over.

Did I ever mention, how much I appreciate the perfectly placed, deep, soft, snow drift?

Anyway, even a lifetime of experience, cannot prevent humans being human.

But, I guess the above stories confirm what I kinda feared...

Is there a good “paid for” alternative? A quick google seems to suggest it’s not so easy to find instruction beyond “School group top roping” type stuff.
I’ve not been a club member, since I left the RNRMMC in the mid ‘90s and that wasn’t a “meet in the pub, every Wednesday” type club, in fact I think we viewed it as a “source of expedition funding and necessary evil, for which we must prepare a presentation for the AGM and I’m not doing this year, one of you sods can put down the port for twenty minutes and blather about how many pounds of rations we consumed”...
Do clubs organise themselves as “teaching” hubs?

As a diver, club diving is heavily regulated/organised and very much geared to teaching. And I’ve always been a dive club member, where ever I’ve managed to find one. But diving requires that in a way climbing doesn’t (it’s probably much more dangerous, for a start).   

SA Chris

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 23907
  • Karma: +500/-10
    • http://groups.msn.com/ChrisClix
#93 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 10:07:54 am
There are good guides/ instructors everywhere (and I expect some not so good), who can do everything from taking novices out to coaching on harder trad and sport. No idea about clubs these days..

Will Hunt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Superworm is super-long
  • Posts: 5314
  • Karma: +383/-83
    • Unknown Stones
#94 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 10:22:17 am
The Yosemite story is an absolute horror. So many little mistakes made, each adding up to disaster. It's a wonder that they weren't both killed. It highlights to me how inexperienced I am. Sure, I've had to abseil off routes when it started to rain or we decided to bail or whatever, but generally we were descending the route we'd just climbed or we were within a rope's length of the floor on a relatively uncomplicated crag. I know how to prussik in theory, and I think I even practiced it once in my youth on the swing frame at my parent's house - but I've never had to properly prussik more than a couple of meters anywhere. I think the idea of prussiking out of a sea cliff (a friend once hand-over-handed up the rope to get out of the bottom of Wen Zawn  :o) with the rope possibly rubbing on an edge at the top would terrify me! I've never done any winter climbing or any alpine climbing or big walling. Proper punter, really.

I'll write something about clubs later.

SA Chris

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 23907
  • Karma: +500/-10
    • http://groups.msn.com/ChrisClix
#95 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 10:28:36 am
I've only had to prussik once when we ignored an intermediate abseil point getting off Cat in the Hat at Red Rocks (the ab doesn't go down the route). Luckily the ropes refused to budge before one had gone out of reach. One rope had gone under the other on a slab and any pulling on the retrieval rope just jammed the other one down hard. Had a few worrying episodes abbing in the Alps and Verdon, but nothing I would call an actual incident.

Yossarian

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1872
  • Karma: +213/-5
#96 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 11:01:07 am
The person who originally got me into climbing was an inspiring to a young boy / totally reckless and irresponsible (in retrospect) uncle. He taught me the principles of prusiking. I then returned home, where a tree surgeon had left a rope tied off near the top of a huge cedar tree. My dad wasn’t particularly bothered about me hanging on the bottom as he doubted I would get very far. Some minutes later I was at the top. I was 8.

Most of the early climbing we did was sandstone top roping, but at school we did have access to an early DR wall - one of the concrete ones with bits of rock sticking out. We had acquired a small about of gear (some nuts and one rigid Friend 2 which I still have) - the “supervisors” had no idea what this stuff was for, so they just let us get on with it. We proceeded to spend the next couple of years taking progressively longer lead falls, usually onto one piece. There was a bit of woodchip at the bottom, which we tried to fall closer to without actually twatting ourselves.

That was why, when I joined the university climbing club, I led everything from the start. I don’t think I took anyone’s else’s gear out for a good couple of years.

andy popp

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 4118
  • Karma: +261/-4
#97 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 12:49:22 pm
Re: the Yosemite story. From my perspective, the team's failings/weaknesses were far more psychological than they were technical - they lacked the psychological and emotional composure to maintain good judgement and decision-making in a situation that had no need to become life threatening. Even if they'd had more technical skills in their bag I'm not sure they could have executed them. From this telling at least (and of course, we only have one witness' account), Don, despite being significantly more experienced, became irritable and rushed. Unspoken blame seemed to be floating around. They ceased functioning effectively as a team. It was the responsibility of the more experienced climber to maintain composure. Technical skills are one thing but in any trad climbing you have to be able to operate under a degree of duress; that ability can only developed through building experience and, critically, you can only begin to know where your own limits (the degree to which you can tolerate stress and maintain composure) might lie by gently, repeatedly pushing them forward.

Edit: I'm not saying technical skills are unimportant, just that they are not everything. Given my woeful lack of technical skills I'm probably extremely lucky never to have had anything approaching an epic.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 12:56:58 pm by andy popp »

spidermonkey09

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 586
  • Karma: +60/-0
#98 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 01:31:49 pm
I remember abbing in to do Rock Idol in massive seas in completely the wrong place and having to prussik back up the rope, having only ever done it for a few metres before. I was properly terrified for about 30 seconds before the more logical side of my brain kicked in and i started to think clearly. Maybe this is one of the reasons I'm a pansy sport climber now.

danm

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 525
  • Karma: +70/-1
#99 Re: BMC Near-Miss and Incident Reporting
August 16, 2019, 02:11:40 pm
I think you're absolutely bang on with your comments there Andy. Skills and knowledge are important, but judgement and composure far more so. When I really got into winter climbing and alpinism, I did many things in relative safety that I'd never have considered attempting previously, and the factor making it possible was a partner who I trusted implicitly. Over around a decade of climbing at our limits on adventurous trad, winter and alpine routes, and at times under great emotional and physical strain, we never once disagreed about a mountaineering decision.

It's hard to describe that feeling of complete and utter confidence in your partners decision making, and ability to sort things out if something goes wrong and you need them to rescue you. On numerous occasions one of us would turn to the other and say "I think we should back off, or I reckon the route goes that way, or I think the weathers crapping out" and the other would puff out their cheeks in relief and say they'd just had exactly the same thought.

We never had a real accident in that time, just a couple near misses with rockfall, and I ended up leading pitches in the mountains as hard as anything I've ever done on an outcrop. All down to synchronicity with a partner who could charge hard when needed but was also never afraid to back down. Mind you I've loads of unclimbed routes left on my list as a result!