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jape


Jun 13, 2010, 8:14 AM
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Darkside accident
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RRG doesn't really go into what happened in terms of this accident. Previous thread locked. Tragic ending to all this. So what happened...? This has personal relevance as I frequently sport climb at the Red and most everyone considers clipping bolts "safe"...


majid_sabet


Jun 13, 2010, 9:06 AM
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Re: [jape] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jape wrote:
RRG doesn't really go into what happened in terms of this accident. Previous thread locked. Tragic ending to all this. So what happened...? This has personal relevance as I frequently sport climb at the Red and most everyone considers clipping bolts "safe"...

add link so we know what you are talking about


jjhellstrom


Jun 13, 2010, 9:25 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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If you 'consider' any type of climbing as "safe" you are making a very poor assumption.
Also, could be the thread is locked in RRC for a reason??


jape


Jun 13, 2010, 2:09 PM
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Darkside accident [In reply to]
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2321037;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;forum_view=forum_view_collapsed;page=unread#unread




Obviously, climbing is inherently dangerous. But come on, use some common sense. Dying on a 5.13 sport route is not "normal" in the parameters of climbing accidents....

Wutever, I'm just trying to get some information...blown clip, belay error, skipping bolt, who knows.


edge


Jun 13, 2010, 2:12 PM
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Re: [jape] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jape wrote:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...d;page=unread#unread




Obviously, climbing is inherently dangerous. But come on, use some common sense. Dying on a 5.13 sport route is not "normal" in the parameters of climbing accidents....

Wutever, I'm just trying to get some information...blown clip, belay error, skipping bolt, who knows.

Clicky


patto


Jun 13, 2010, 4:50 PM
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Re: [jape] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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This is the reason why I don't think accident threads should be locked simply because people are discussing the accident.

People withheld information at the time and post the event it doesn't even get discussed.

Ask user: lena_chita
She implied that she knew more information.

We have gotten to the stage where even Mike's grandfather is looking for more information online.
http://www.redriverclimbing.com/...ccident&start=90


(This post was edited by patto on Jun 13, 2010, 6:37 PM)


bigjonnyc


Jun 15, 2010, 8:12 AM
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Re: [patto] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?


sidepull


Jun 15, 2010, 8:35 AM
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Re: [bigjonnyc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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weird


blondgecko
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Jun 15, 2010, 5:15 PM
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Re: [bigjonnyc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

By "those witholding information" do you mean the badly traumatized partner, the one who will have the scene playing over and over in his head for the rest of his life? Or the family, grieving over a lost loved one?

They are under no obligation to share anything. If they choose to, then they will start a thread on the subject. If they choose not to, then tough.


majid_sabet


Jun 15, 2010, 6:02 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

By "those witholding information" do you mean the badly traumatized partner, the one who will have the scene playing over and over in his head for the rest of his life? Or the family, grieving over a lost loved one?

They are under no obligation to share anything. If they choose to, then they will start a thread on the subject. If they choose not to, then tough.

even when they do, you are ready to shut things down just because you do not like the harsh content.


patto


Jun 15, 2010, 6:38 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

By "those witholding information" do you mean the badly traumatized partner, the one who will have the scene playing over and over in his head for the rest of his life? Or the family, grieving over a lost loved one?

They are under no obligation to share anything. If they choose to, then they will start a thread on the subject. If they choose not to, then tough.

Hey. Smile

There was considerable debate in the last thread concerning this. You can see my posts and others regarding this matter.

EDIT: Oh you shut the last thread down. Then you should know and understand the issue.


To summerise. Of course there is no obligation for anybody to talk about the accident. However actively repressing infomation when it is fresh in peoples minds is counterproductive. Furthermore coming into threads to post that you know stuff but your not telling seems kinda petty.

Take the recent analysis of the Kaymoor incident. Details were discuss issue were learnt and reinforced and it may save a life in the future. Discussion certainly has a place beyond morbid curiousity.

We now have family members looking for an thorough explanation online but coming up short.


(This post was edited by patto on Jun 15, 2010, 6:54 PM)


blondgecko
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Jun 15, 2010, 8:41 PM
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Re: [patto] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

By "those witholding information" do you mean the badly traumatized partner, the one who will have the scene playing over and over in his head for the rest of his life? Or the family, grieving over a lost loved one?

They are under no obligation to share anything. If they choose to, then they will start a thread on the subject. If they choose not to, then tough.

Hey. Smile

There was considerable debate in the last thread concerning this. You can see my posts and others regarding this matter.

EDIT: Oh you shut the last thread down. Then you should know and understand the issue.


To summerise. Of course there is no obligation for anybody to talk about the accident. However actively repressing infomation when it is fresh in peoples minds is counterproductive. Furthermore coming into threads to post that you know stuff but your not telling seems kinda petty.

Take the recent analysis of the Kaymoor incident. Details were discuss issue were learnt and reinforced and it may save a life in the future. Discussion certainly has a place beyond morbid curiousity.

We now have family members looking for an thorough explanation online but coming up short.

What information was "actively repressed"? The only thing that was repressed in that thread was the same thing that led to it being locked - rampant speculation by people who weren't there.

The only people who know anything about the accident are the belayer and anyone who he confided in - and as far as I'm aware, that doesn't include anyone here.


marc801


Jun 15, 2010, 9:17 PM
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Re: [patto] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

By "those witholding information" do you mean the badly traumatized partner, the one who will have the scene playing over and over in his head for the rest of his life? Or the family, grieving over a lost loved one?

They are under no obligation to share anything. If they choose to, then they will start a thread on the subject. If they choose not to, then tough.

Hey. Smile

There was considerable debate in the last thread concerning this. You can see my posts and others regarding this matter.

EDIT: Oh you shut the last thread down. Then you should know and understand the issue.


To summerise. Of course there is no obligation for anybody to talk about the accident. However actively repressing infomation when it is fresh in peoples minds is counterproductive. Furthermore coming into threads to post that you know stuff but your not telling seems kinda petty.

Take the recent analysis of the Kaymoor incident. Details were discuss issue were learnt and reinforced and it may save a life in the future. Discussion certainly has a place beyond morbid curiousity.

We now have family members looking for an thorough explanation online but coming up short.
You have zero say in what does or does not get posted in a public forum by those involved. What you think does not matter.


majid_sabet


Jun 15, 2010, 10:04 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
patto wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

By "those witholding information" do you mean the badly traumatized partner, the one who will have the scene playing over and over in his head for the rest of his life? Or the family, grieving over a lost loved one?

They are under no obligation to share anything. If they choose to, then they will start a thread on the subject. If they choose not to, then tough.

Hey. Smile

There was considerable debate in the last thread concerning this. You can see my posts and others regarding this matter.

EDIT: Oh you shut the last thread down. Then you should know and understand the issue.


To summerise. Of course there is no obligation for anybody to talk about the accident. However actively repressing infomation when it is fresh in peoples minds is counterproductive. Furthermore coming into threads to post that you know stuff but your not telling seems kinda petty.

Take the recent analysis of the Kaymoor incident. Details were discuss issue were learnt and reinforced and it may save a life in the future. Discussion certainly has a place beyond morbid curiousity.

We now have family members looking for an thorough explanation online but coming up short.

What information was "actively repressed"? The only thing that was repressed in that thread was the same thing that led to it being locked - rampant speculation by people who weren't there.

The only people who know anything about the accident are the belayer and anyone who he confided in - and as far as I'm aware, that doesn't include anyone here.

this is true in every case however, there are others who have access and in some case by far more information that you could ever imagine. still, all information should be left alone in public forum.


patto


Jun 15, 2010, 10:11 PM
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Re: [marc801] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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marc801 wrote:
You have zero say in what does or does not get posted in a public forum by those involved. What you think does not matter.

Nobody is suggesting otherwise marc. What I think matters as much as what you think. It is a public forum with limitted censorship. I can choose only what I say not what others say. That is fairly obvious.

I have chosen to express my view on this matter.


jomagam


Jun 15, 2010, 10:43 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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In reply to:
They are under no obligation to share anything.

I actually feel there is a moral obligation to do so after a period of grieving. I hope everyone is coping as well as possible.


bigjonnyc


Jun 16, 2010, 7:08 AM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
The only people who know anything about the accident are the belayer and anyone who he confided in - and as far as I'm aware, that doesn't include anyone here.

This incident involved a death, from which I surmise that a police report was taken from those involved, and that an investigation, albeit likely short, was carried out. All I was wondering was if the findings of this investigation had been made public. I was not, in any way, demanding information from anyone directly related to the accident, as I had assumed any pertinent information had already been passed on to someone less emotionally involved.

Your responses, blondgecko, are unneeded and entirely counterproductive. Those involved do not need to you to play the part of their protector. Likewise, you easily could have made the point you were trying to without taking such a defensive and incendiary tone.


billl7


Jun 16, 2010, 7:41 AM
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bigjonnyc wrote:
Your responses, blondgecko, are unneeded and entirely counterproductive. Those involved do not need to you to play the part of their protector. Likewise, you easily could have made the point you were trying to without taking such a defensive and incendiary tone.

That's not my take on the above exchange. The response was in equal measure to the innuendo. In a couple words: even handed.

Obviously, I do think this site needs to sometimes stand between subjects of threads who are suffering and us onlookers. It may not be perfect but it needs to be looked after in the name of decentness.

Bill L


bigjonnyc


Jun 16, 2010, 7:49 AM
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billl7 wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Your responses, blondgecko, are unneeded and entirely counterproductive. Those involved do not need to you to play the part of their protector. Likewise, you easily could have made the point you were trying to without taking such a defensive and incendiary tone.

That's not my take on the above exchange. The response was in equal measure to the innuendo. In a couple words: even handed.

Obviously, I do think this site needs to sometimes stand between subjects of threads who are suffering and us onlookers. It may not be perfect but it needs to be looked after in the name of decentness.

Bill L

My apologies then, if my original tone had seemed accusatory in any way. I meant in no way to sound negative or condescending. Information was withheld, not necessarily contemptuously so, but I guess some find the term "withhold" to carry a negative connotation. For that, again I apologize.


billl7


Jun 16, 2010, 7:56 AM
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Re: [bigjonnyc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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bigjonnyc wrote:
My apologies then, if my original tone had seemed accusatory in any way. I meant in no way to sound negative or condescending. Information was withheld, not necessarily contemptuously so, but I guess some find the term "withhold" to carry a negative connotation. For that, again I apologize.
Well said. I am probably misinterpretting your intent. This is one of the challenges of a text-based public forum.


patto


Jun 16, 2010, 8:30 AM
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Re: [billl7] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
Obviously, I do think this site needs to sometimes stand between subjects of threads who are suffering and us onlookers. It may not be perfect but it needs to be looked after in the name of decentness.

I'm confused why. The thread was started requesting information and containing discussion about the accident.

If those involved for whatever reasons don't want to discuss or read such thread then they don't have to. However I don't see why that needs to be a reason why such threads are closed.


billl7


Jun 16, 2010, 8:42 AM
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patto wrote:
billl7 wrote:
Obviously, I do think this site needs to sometimes stand between subjects of threads who are suffering and us onlookers. It may not be perfect but it needs to be looked after in the name of decentness.

I'm confused why. The thread was started requesting information and containing discussion about the accident.

If those involved for whatever reasons don't want to discuss or read such thread then they don't have to. However I don't see why that needs to be a reason why such threads are closed.
I think "don't look if you don't want to see" can work in cases like X-rated movies, sex shops, a gruesome road accident, etc.. But not when it involves someone seeking to understand the death of a loved one.

Don't get me wrong - I'd like the details as well for use in my own self evaluation.


jape


Jun 16, 2010, 8:55 AM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
patto wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

By "those witholding information" do you mean the badly traumatized partner, the one who will have the scene playing over and over in his head for the rest of his life? Or the family, grieving over a lost loved one?

They are under no obligation to share anything. If they choose to, then they will start a thread on the subject. If they choose not to, then tough.

Hey. Smile

There was considerable debate in the last thread concerning this. You can see my posts and others regarding this matter.

EDIT: Oh you shut the last thread down. Then you should know and understand the issue.


To summerise. Of course there is no obligation for anybody to talk about the accident. However actively repressing infomation when it is fresh in peoples minds is counterproductive. Furthermore coming into threads to post that you know stuff but your not telling seems kinda petty.

Take the recent analysis of the Kaymoor incident. Details were discuss issue were learnt and reinforced and it may save a life in the future. Discussion certainly has a place beyond morbid curiousity.

We now have family members looking for an thorough explanation online but coming up short.

What information was "actively repressed"? The only thing that was repressed in that thread was the same thing that led to it being locked - rampant speculation by people who weren't there.

The only people who know anything about the accident are the belayer and anyone who he confided in - and as far as I'm aware, that doesn't include anyone here.

Jmo but you are a not a very good moderator for locking up a discussion, claiming "rampant speculation"

This forum is reserved for polite discussion of specific accidents. Please keep posts on subject and respectful of both the people involved and other users.

I think this qualifies and my condolences go out to everyone involved. There seem to be a lot of accidents recently but perhaps this is just the age of digital media.

... your post insinuates more than you'd think. You seem to insinuate that maybe there was too much slack out, sport loop style, something I am acutely aware of when belaying.

Once a partner belayed me off his gear loop and actually caught a short fall before noticing. Thank goodness it didn't rip. Lesson learned, and I passed that on to many people without mentioning the name. It's something that 18 years later, I still 3x check.

What of Lauren Lee, who dropped that French girl and iirc broke her back. I was reminded once again of how even a pro can totally mess someone up. Or someone like myself, a former guide with 20 years in the game, dozens of big walls and thousands of routes under my belt. There is a local climber who has twice lowered someone off the end of the rope. I make sure I tie knots in the end...but I digress.

I climb at the Darkside when I'm in top shape. I've not tried that route but if it has a dangerous eg deadly clip, it's best to know about it and even have community change it so it shouldn't prove the scene of another tragic accident. JMO...


ltz


Jun 16, 2010, 10:29 AM
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Re: [jape] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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This is definitively NOT an official accident report and, to my knowledge, none of the parties involved has been contacted by any institution for an authoritative report. That said, no information is being actively repressed. There are no people to my knowledge withholding information. So, know in advance that what I post here is a third- and fourth-hand summary of what I have been able to piece together from various sources, including the belayer, who is continuing to work through his own recollection of this horrific accident. I know that the people involved in the fall and rescue intend to contact the organizations that report annually on Climbing and Alpine injuries and fatalities. For those of you seeking non-conjecture, authoritative finality, keep an eye out there.

The bottom line is that with any ground fall, if the rope or harness didn't break and bolts didn't fail - and in this case they didn't - the error is a human one. The failures that led to Mike's fall began long before his group hiked into the Darkside and they revolve around a set of beliefs and poor safety habits that are, unfortunately, all too pervasive in the climbing community. This includes “quickie” peer instruction for lead climbing/lead belaying; an over-reliance in the effectiveness of lock-assist devices; a willingness on the part of more experienced climbers to put less experienced belayers in situations requiring difficult catches (I've been told, and those of you who have belayed on Elephant man know, that it is a tough catch); and a general ambivalence toward the use of helmets - and I'm guilty of this too.

The belay device used at the time of Mike's fall was a Cinch, and the belayer inexperienced at using it. Clearly, it did not engage. Reports from the site indicate that the device was correctly loaded. Reports from the site also indicate that the belayer did not have a fixed hand on the brake. So, what this means is that the device did not engage and that the belayer was not using one of the fundamental actions required of a belayer: braking.

We know that a belayer should always have a fixed hand on the brake. But this accident presents a more complex situation that requires a look at what went wrong. On a Cinch, the device will not engage if 1) the device is manually held down, per Petzl's instructional videos on feeding rope to a lead climber; 2) the device is tipped on its side, which prevents rotation of the Cinch plates; or 3) if you belay from a position in which the pull force on the device is perpendicular to the belayer. This last scenario is particularly prevalent in a lead situation where the rope runs out (rather than up) from a belayer to the first bolt. Because of the steepness of Elephant man and the talus at the bottom, the latter situation seems to be the most likely.

Just because you know how to do something doesn't mean you know how to effectively teach it to someone else. What’s more, the people you choose to instruct become your responsibility. If you aren't qualified to teach someone don't pretend you are. Send them to someone who is qualified. And, if you're on the receiving end of instruction from your "buddy who's been doing it, like, forever and is really good" - use caution. Your instruction may well be inadequate.


bigjonnyc


Jun 16, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Re: [ltz] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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ltz, thank you for these details. This is all I was looking for. I appreciate it.


ncrockclimber


Jun 16, 2010, 11:15 AM
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ltz wrote:
This is definitively NOT an official accident report and, to my knowledge, none of the parties involved has been contacted by any institution for an authoritative report. That said, no information is being actively repressed. There are no people to my knowledge withholding information. So, know in advance that what I post here is a third- and fourth-hand summary of what I have been able to piece together from various sources, including the belayer, who is continuing to work through his own recollection of this horrific accident. I know that the people involved in the fall and rescue intend to contact the organizations that report annually on Climbing and Alpine injuries and fatalities. For those of you seeking non-conjecture, authoritative finality, keep an eye out there.

The bottom line is that with any ground fall, if the rope or harness didn't break and bolts didn't fail - and in this case they didn't - the error is a human one. The failures that led to Mike's fall began long before his group hiked into the Darkside and they revolve around a set of beliefs and poor safety habits that are, unfortunately, all too pervasive in the climbing community. This includes “quickie” peer instruction for lead climbing/lead belaying; an over-reliance in the effectiveness of lock-assist devices; a willingness on the part of more experienced climbers to put less experienced belayers in situations requiring difficult catches (I've been told, and those of you who have belayed on Elephant man know, that it is a tough catch); and a general ambivalence toward the use of helmets - and I'm guilty of this too.

The belay device used at the time of Mike's fall was a Cinch, and the belayer inexperienced at using it. Clearly, it did not engage. Reports from the site indicate that the device was correctly loaded. Reports from the site also indicate that the belayer did not have a fixed hand on the brake. So, what this means is that the device did not engage and that the belayer was not using one of the fundamental actions required of a belayer: braking.

We know that a belayer should always have a fixed hand on the brake. But this accident presents a more complex situation that requires a look at what went wrong. On a Cinch, the device will not engage if 1) the device is manually held down, per Petzl's instructional videos on feeding rope to a lead climber; 2) the device is tipped on its side, which prevents rotation of the Cinch plates; or 3) if you belay from a position in which the pull force on the device is perpendicular to the belayer. This last scenario is particularly prevalent in a lead situation where the rope runs out (rather than up) from a belayer to the first bolt. Because of the steepness of Elephant man and the talus at the bottom, the latter situation seems to be the most likely.

Just because you know how to do something doesn't mean you know how to effectively teach it to someone else. What’s more, the people you choose to instruct become your responsibility. If you aren't qualified to teach someone don't pretend you are. Send them to someone who is qualified. And, if you're on the receiving end of instruction from your "buddy who's been doing it, like, forever and is really good" - use caution. Your instruction may well be inadequate.

Thank you for the report. My condolences to all involved.


psprings


Jun 16, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Re: [ltz] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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or, 4) an incorrect rope diameter was used.


Partner j_ung


Jun 16, 2010, 11:47 AM
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Re: [billl7] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Your responses, blondgecko, are unneeded and entirely counterproductive. Those involved do not need to you to play the part of their protector. Likewise, you easily could have made the point you were trying to without taking such a defensive and incendiary tone.

That's not my take on the above exchange. The response was in equal measure to the innuendo. In a couple words: even handed.

Obviously, I do think this site needs to sometimes stand between subjects of threads who are suffering and us onlookers. It may not be perfect but it needs to be looked after in the name of decentness.

Bill L

I couldn't agree more. I can think of at least two situations in which RC.com volunteers purposefully removed entire A&I threads from the public eye at the request of friends and/or family members of people involved in the accident. In one of those cases, I did it myself. While I fully understand the advantages to the community as a whole that can come from analyzing accidents, I believe common decency far outweighs any "need" we may have to climb.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Jun 16, 2010, 11:48 AM)


warrenw


Jun 16, 2010, 2:28 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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j_ung wrote:
While I fully understand the advantages to the community as a whole that can come from analyzing accidents, I believe common decency far outweighs any "need" we may have to climb.

Hmmm. I’m sorry j_ung, but I think I would respectfully disagree. Though, I’m not sure I actually disagree, because I’m not sure exactly what your argument is. The sentence is somewhat ambiguous.

If you mean that common decency outweighs any thing (concrete or abstract) that we “need” to climb, then I presume you mean the chance of psychological harm to family and friends multiplied by that harm outweighs the chance of information about an accident has of saving life multiplied by the good of saving that life.

If instead you mean that common decency outweighs any “need” to engage in the activity of climbing, then you seem to suggest that everybody should just stop climbing until family and friends have had sufficient time to mourn or an official accident report comes out.

Both of these seem false.

Perhaps you mean that common decency outweighs any “need” to satisfy various persons’ morbid curiosity. I’d agree with that. But no one had said anything to the contrary.

Could you clarify? I don’t intend this to be confrontational. It seems to me that most information about accidents should come out as soon as possible, save perhaps names, etcetera. I think this would include speculation based on scant details. As, even if incorrect, speculation can be informative. But I could be convinced otherwise.

w


Partner camhead


Jun 16, 2010, 2:41 PM
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Re: [jape] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jape wrote:
I climb at the Darkside when I'm in top shape. I've not tried that route but if it has a dangerous eg deadly clip, it's best to know about it and even have community change it so it shouldn't prove the scene of another tragic accident. JMO...

Well, it will please you to know that the clip on the route was not the issue, according to eyewitnesses. If you want more information on that, you can find the thread discussing the accident on the regional red river climbing website.


majid_sabet


Jun 16, 2010, 3:47 PM
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Re: [ltz] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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ltz wrote:
This is definitively NOT an official accident report and, to my knowledge, none of the parties involved has been contacted by any institution for an authoritative report. That said, no information is being actively repressed. There are no people to my knowledge withholding information. So, know in advance that what I post here is a third- and fourth-hand summary of what I have been able to piece together from various sources, including the belayer, who is continuing to work through his own recollection of this horrific accident. I know that the people involved in the fall and rescue intend to contact the organizations that report annually on Climbing and Alpine injuries and fatalities. For those of you seeking non-conjecture, authoritative finality, keep an eye out there.

The bottom line is that with any ground fall, if the rope or harness didn't break and bolts didn't fail - and in this case they didn't - the error is a human one. The failures that led to Mike's fall began long before his group hiked into the Darkside and they revolve around a set of beliefs and poor safety habits that are, unfortunately, all too pervasive in the climbing community. This includes “quickie” peer instruction for lead climbing/lead belaying; an over-reliance in the effectiveness of lock-assist devices; a willingness on the part of more experienced climbers to put less experienced belayers in situations requiring difficult catches (I've been told, and those of you who have belayed on Elephant man know, that it is a tough catch); and a general ambivalence toward the use of helmets - and I'm guilty of this too.

The belay device used at the time of Mike's fall was a Cinch, and the belayer inexperienced at using it. Clearly, it did not engage. Reports from the site indicate that the device was correctly loaded. Reports from the site also indicate that the belayer did not have a fixed hand on the brake. So, what this means is that the device did not engage and that the belayer was not using one of the fundamental actions required of a belayer: braking.

We know that a belayer should always have a fixed hand on the brake. But this accident presents a more complex situation that requires a look at what went wrong. On a Cinch, the device will not engage if 1) the device is manually held down, per Petzl's instructional videos on feeding rope to a lead climber; 2) the device is tipped on its side, which prevents rotation of the Cinch plates; or 3) if you belay from a position in which the pull force on the device is perpendicular to the belayer. This last scenario is particularly prevalent in a lead situation where the rope runs out (rather than up) from a belayer to the first bolt. Because of the steepness of Elephant man and the talus at the bottom, the latter situation seems to be the most likely.

Just because you know how to do something doesn't mean you know how to effectively teach it to someone else. What’s more, the people you choose to instruct become your responsibility. If you aren't qualified to teach someone don't pretend you are. Send them to someone who is qualified. And, if you're on the receiving end of instruction from your "buddy who's been doing it, like, forever and is really good" - use caution. Your instruction may well be inadequate.

Thanks for your report

it took another posting and dozens of replies and suddenly, it took some one like you to came forward with this report to enlighten us on what really happened that day. , we were lucky to know the truth now however, there has been time where we were that close to end a case where the post got either locked, thrown away or evaporated in to digital world by some mod cause his views was not the same as 100s of others.


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Jun 16, 2010, 3:48 PM)


patto


Jun 16, 2010, 4:51 PM
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Re: [ltz] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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ltz wrote:
This is definitively NOT an official accident report and, to my knowledge, none of the parties involved has been contacted by any institution for an authoritative report. That said, no information is being actively repressed. There are no people to my knowledge withholding information......

Thank you very much for providing the community with this report. There was no obligation on you but you have helped the community. Thanks.

I apologise if you took any offense. Comments of 'withholding information' referred to people who too the time to post in the previous forum indicating they knew exactly what happened yet refusing to tell the community.


It would be good for the original thread to be UNLOCKED and updated with this information. This will assist people who seek information about this accident in the future. Furthermore somebody should make a post on redriverclimbing if they have access.


blondgecko
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Jun 16, 2010, 5:22 PM
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Re: [bigjonnyc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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bigjonnyc wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
The only people who know anything about the accident are the belayer and anyone who he confided in - and as far as I'm aware, that doesn't include anyone here.

This incident involved a death, from which I surmise that a police report was taken from those involved, and that an investigation, albeit likely short, was carried out. All I was wondering was if the findings of this investigation had been made public. I was not, in any way, demanding information from anyone directly related to the accident, as I had assumed any pertinent information had already been passed on to someone less emotionally involved.

Your responses, blondgecko, are unneeded and entirely counterproductive. Those involved do not need to you to play the part of their protector. Likewise, you easily could have made the point you were trying to without taking such a defensive and incendiary tone.

That and $7.50 will get you a half-caf vanilla soy frappuchino at Starbucks.

No, those involved do not need my "protection". I don't know any of them, and will probably never meet any of them. But that's completely beside the point. The point is respect. As long as I am a mod of this forum, I will be doing my best to make sure that discussions (a) remain accurate and fact-based, and (b) are held at the discretion of those close to the accident.

If those who know what happened do not want to share, that is their perogative. Coming in with an entitlement complex, making accusations of cover-ups and/or demanding information from those for whom the shock and grief is still fresh, is the surest way to get a thread shut down, and to get yourself banned from the A&IA forum.

Ask, politely, for information. If none is forthcoming, move along. Do not complain, do not demand, do not make shit up. It's that simple.


ncrockclimber


Jun 16, 2010, 6:40 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
The only people who know anything about the accident are the belayer and anyone who he confided in - and as far as I'm aware, that doesn't include anyone here.

This incident involved a death, from which I surmise that a police report was taken from those involved, and that an investigation, albeit likely short, was carried out. All I was wondering was if the findings of this investigation had been made public. I was not, in any way, demanding information from anyone directly related to the accident, as I had assumed any pertinent information had already been passed on to someone less emotionally involved.

Your responses, blondgecko, are unneeded and entirely counterproductive. Those involved do not need to you to play the part of their protector. Likewise, you easily could have made the point you were trying to without taking such a defensive and incendiary tone.

That and $7.50 will get you a half-caf vanilla soy frappuchino at Starbucks.

No, those involved do not need my "protection". I don't know any of them, and will probably never meet any of them. But that's completely beside the point. The point is respect. As long as I am a mod of this forum, I will be doing my best to make sure that discussions (a) remain accurate and fact-based, and (b) are held at the discretion of those close to the accident.

If those who know what happened do not want to share, that is their perogative. Coming in with an entitlement complex, making accusations of cover-ups and/or demanding information from those for whom the shock and grief is still fresh, is the surest way to get a thread shut down, and to get yourself banned from the A&IA forum.

Ask, politely, for information. If none is forthcoming, move along. Do not complain, do not demand, do not make shit up. It's that simple.

Wow... What a classy response.


(This post was edited by ncrockclimber on Jun 16, 2010, 6:41 PM)


jt512


Jun 16, 2010, 6:53 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blondgecko wrote:
As long as I am a mod of this forum, I will be doing my best to make sure that discussions ... are held at the discretion of those close to the accident.

I'm not sure that that is the best policy. I can think of no other risky activity where those close to the accident have veto power over public analysis of the accident. The benefit of the information to the safety of other participants in the activity is considered paramount. In both skydiving and flying, accident reports and analysis are major features of publications that cater to skydivers and pilots. When I was flying, the accident reports were the main reason I subscribed. Reports on accidents investigated by the US's NTSB are available on line, in searchable database form. Coal mine and oil well accidents are analyzed in all the media. I don't see why discussion of climbing accidents should be treated differently.

Jay


patto


Jun 16, 2010, 7:09 PM
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Re: [blondgecko] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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I agree with Jay. Shocked

It is absolutely incredible that you, blondgecko, would suggest that discussion should be at the discretion of those close to the accident.

Discusssion should be free and open. If those close to the accident believe that there is slander or false information being taken as fact then that could be a concern that would need to be made clear.

blondgecko wrote:
If those who know what happened do not want to share, that is their perogative.
You keep insisting this, yet nobody is suggesting otherwise.

blondgecko wrote:
Coming in with an entitlement complex, making accusations of cover-ups and/or demanding information from those for whom the shock and grief is still fresh, is the surest way to get a thread shut down, and to get yourself banned from the A&IA forum..
Users have been requesting information. Nobody is demanding information.


psprings


Jun 16, 2010, 7:13 PM
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Re: [jt512] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
Reports on accidents investigated by the US's NTSB are available on line, in searchable database form. Coal mine and oil well accidents are analyzed in all the

Could rockclimbing.com have such a feature added to it? The ability to input accident, injury, cause, other factors? That would be really, really cool.

There is a mountaineering journal that reports accidents (I think it's quarterly?), but an online database by type would be a pretty useful tool.


jt512


Jun 16, 2010, 7:40 PM
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psprings wrote:
jt512 wrote:
Reports on accidents investigated by the US's NTSB are available on line, in searchable database form. Coal mine and oil well accidents are analyzed in all the

Could rockclimbing.com have such a feature added to it?

Interestingly, rc.com's sister site, dopzone.com, has one here. If you click on an item under "Cause of Death" there is a link for discussion of the accident.

Jay


currupt4130


Jun 16, 2010, 8:11 PM
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jt512 wrote:
blondgecko wrote:
As long as I am a mod of this forum, I will be doing my best to make sure that discussions ... are held at the discretion of those close to the accident.

I'm not sure that that is the best policy. I can think of no other risky activity where those close to the accident have veto power over public analysis of the accident. The benefit of the information to the safety of other participants in the activity is considered paramount. In both skydiving and flying, accident reports and analysis are major features of publications that cater to skydivers and pilots. When I was flying, the accident reports were the main reason I subscribed. Reports on accidents investigated by the US's NTSB are available on line, in searchable database form. Coal mine and oil well accidents are analyzed in all the media. I don't see why discussion of climbing accidents should be treated differently.

Jay

Agreed.


kostik


Jun 16, 2010, 9:07 PM
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Re: [ltz] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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I was not present when the accident occurred, but I was the 'buddy' who had given the belayer a 'quickie' instruction in the fall of 2009. Therefore I feel responsible for what happened.

I was the one who recommended the Cinch over grigri and ATC to the belayer involved for the lead belay, because I have witnessed an accident involving an ATC used by inexperienced belayer, who panicked and let go of the breaking end of the rope, and because I did not like the idea of manually blocking the grigri when feeding out the rope. Cinch, when used properly, allows easy rope release without need for blocking the cam. At the same time, when you hold it with your index finger and a thumb, the breaking end of the rope is always in your hand. You never need to let it go.

It was his first, I believe, instruction in lead belaying. We went to a gym and I explained how to hold the cinch properly with a finger and a thumb in the pivot hole and holding the breaking end of the rope in the hand. Unlike Grigri, the Cinch during the lead belay has to be tilted horizontally with its colored side up. When the leader falls, the cinch turns up and blocks the rope, providing the rope is held with the hand. When held properly, the rope is always in your hand and you never need to let go of it. See the demo video, around 2:10:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9TO5ikqXwo

Unfortunately, due to schedule conflict, I never had a chance to continue instructions and watch the belayer to practice more with the device. I was planning to go with him to the Red, but our weekend schedules never matched.

After the accident, my other friend experimented with the cinch and found that when it was held like grigri, i.e. vertically and not tilted, the device did not lock the rope. I did not know about this when I was giving my instructions, but I remember that I specifically told the belayer involved in the accident to hold the cinch horizontally, green side up, with index finger and the thumb in the pivot hole and the breaking hand always on the rope.

I don't know how the cinch was actually held during the accident.

I still think that when used correctly Cinch is a very safe device. However, the rules for using grigri are not applied to the cinch. These are two different devices and are supposed to be held differently. Perhaps, Trango needs to explore potentially dangerous positions of cinch and make the results of this study public.

Lee is correct by saying that when force is applied perpendicular to the belayer the cinch may not lock, especially since it is normally held horizontally. Like with all other devices, it is advisable that the belayer stays under the first draw.

I feel that my instructions were adequate and correct, but insufficient in terms of practicing time with the device. I don't know whether in 6 or so months between my lesson and the accident the belayer used the cinch correctly and did not confuse the grigri and cinch belay methods. I simply never had a chance to lead climb with him after that.

I also know that Mike was not very familiar with the Cinch. He asked me about the device a few months before the accident being curious about it. Therefore, he could not provide the belayer with proper instructions and he might suggest the incorrect grigri technique when using cinch.


majid_sabet


Jun 16, 2010, 9:17 PM
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Re: [kostik] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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kostik wrote:
I was not present when the accident occurred, but I was the 'buddy' who had given the belayer a 'quickie' instruction in the fall of 2009. Therefore I feel responsible for what happened.

I was the one who recommended the Cinch over grigri and ATC to the belayer involved for the lead belay, because I have witnessed an accident involving an ATC used by inexperienced belayer, who panicked and let go of the breaking end of the rope, and because I did not like the idea of manually blocking the grigri when feeding out the rope. Cinch, when used properly, allows easy rope release without need for blocking the cam. At the same time, when you hold it with your index finger and a thumb, the breaking end of the rope is always in your hand. You never need to let it go.

It was his first, I believe, instruction in lead belaying. We went to a gym and I explained how to hold the cinch properly with a finger and a thumb in the pivot hole and holding the breaking end of the rope in the hand. Unlike Grigri, the Cinch during the lead belay has to be tilted horizontally with its colored side up. When the leader falls, the cinch turns up and blocks the rope, providing the rope is held with the hand. When held properly, the rope is always in your hand and you never need to let go of it. See the demo video, around 2:10:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9TO5ikqXwo

Unfortunately, due to schedule conflict, I never had a chance to continue instructions and watch the belayer to practice more with the device. I was planning to go with him to the Red, but our weekend schedules never matched.

After the accident, my other friend experimented with the cinch and found that when it was held like grigri, i.e. vertically and not tilted, the device did not lock the rope. I did not know about this when I was giving my instructions, but I remember that I specifically told the belayer involved in the accident to hold the cinch horizontally, green side up, with index finger and the thumb in the pivot hole and the breaking hand always on the rope.

I don't know how the cinch was actually held during the accident.

I still think that when used correctly Cinch is a very safe device. However, the rules for using grigri are not applied to the cinch. These are two different devices and are supposed to be held differently. Perhaps, Trango needs to explore potentially dangerous positions of cinch and make the results of this study public.

Lee is correct by saying that when force is applied perpendicular to the belayer the cinch may not lock, especially since it is normally held horizontally. Like with all other devices, it is advisable that the belayer stays under the first draw.

I feel that my instructions were adequate and correct, but insufficient in terms of practicing time with the device. I don't know whether in 6 or so months between my lesson and the accident the belayer used the cinch correctly and did not confuse the grigri and cinch belay methods. I simply never had a chance to lead climb with him after that.

I also know that Mike was not very familiar with the Cinch. He asked me about the device a few months before the accident being curious about it. Therefore, he could not provide the belayer with proper instructions and he might suggest the incorrect grigri technique when using cinch.

do you mind tell us what is climbing experience? years leading or top roping etc

most experienced climbers do know that none of the auto-belay devices lock by themselves and you as the belayer have to manually engage the locking cam to arrest the fall.


jt512


Jun 16, 2010, 9:19 PM
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kostik wrote:
[T]he Cinch during the lead belay has to be tilted horizontally with its colored side up. ... See the demo video, around 2:10:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9TO5ikqXwo

I've never used a Cinch, so I can't speak from experience, but looking at the video and the design of the device, it does not appear to me that the Cinch has to be held horizontally to feed rope.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Jun 16, 2010, 9:50 PM)


kostik


Jun 16, 2010, 9:23 PM
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majid_sabet wrote:
do you mind tell us what is climbing experience? years leading or top roping etc

I started lead belaying in 2005 using ATC, then switched to grigri, practiced with super-8 and then switched again to Cinch.

majid_sabet wrote:
most experienced climbers do know that none of the auto-belay devices lock by themselves and you as the belayer have to manually engage the locking cam to arrest the fall.

This is incorrect. I hope you were testing me with this statement. Just holding the breaking end is sufficient to lock the rope. Grigri will lock most of the time even without holding the end, but it is not recommended.


kostik


Jun 16, 2010, 9:28 PM
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jt512 wrote:

I've never used a Cinch, so I can't speak from experience, but looking at the video and the design of the devise, it does not appear to me that the Cinch has to be held horizontally to feed rope.

It's in the manual that comes with the device. I don't have it handy to show here. If you hold it vertically, like grigri, it locks when you try to feed the rope and if you try to block the cam in this position, you'll deck your partner.


patto


Jun 16, 2010, 9:41 PM
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The problem isn't the orientation of the device. The problem is blocking the cam with you hand. This should never be done when a climber is falling. Crazy


kostik


Jun 16, 2010, 9:42 PM
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jt512 wrote:
I've never used a Cinch, so I can't speak from experience, but looking at the video and the design of the devise, it does not appear to me that the Cinch has to be held horizontally to feed rope.

In this video at 0:30 and 2:30. And at 2:36 he shows incorrect way of holding:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUM0d-wByCY


kostik


Jun 16, 2010, 9:46 PM
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patto wrote:
The problem isn't the orientation of the device. The problem is blocking the cam with you hand. This should never be done when a climber is falling. Crazy

Orientation matters. If you hold it in your palm vertically, like Grigri, instead of with a finger and a thumb horizontally, the cinch may not lock. I played a lot with it after the accident and there are positions in which the cam does not engage.


majid_sabet


Jun 16, 2010, 9:46 PM
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kostik wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
do you mind tell us what is climbing experience? years leading or top roping etc

I started lead belaying in 2005 using ATC, then switched to grigri, practiced with super-8 and then switched again to Cinch.

majid_sabet wrote:
most experienced climbers do know that none of the auto-belay devices lock by themselves and you as the belayer have to manually engage the locking cam to arrest the fall.

This is incorrect. I hope you were testing me with this statement. Just holding the breaking end is sufficient to lock the rope. Grigri will lock most of the time even without holding the end, but it is not recommended.


the rope size, the position of the hand has to be in the right angle to engage the caming device in the gri gri . just holding the end of the rope does not grantee full arrest of a falling lead climber.

the accident forum of this site is full of accident cases where people got dropped by auto-belay devices where they thought their device automatically stop a falling leader but it did not.


patto


Jun 16, 2010, 9:53 PM
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kostik wrote:
I was not present when the accident occurred, but I was the 'buddy' who had given the belayer a 'quickie' instruction in the fall of 2009. Therefore I feel responsible for what happened..

Kostik. You shouldn't feel responsible for what happened. Every climber needs to be responsible for themselves. Nobody should be using a belay device they don't understand.

Thank you very much for providing your input into the matter. This discussion is just warming up. And knowning this site debate will rage. If you find the discussion uncomfortable then don't feel obliged to participate.

kostik wrote:
Orientation matters. If you hold it in your palm vertically, like Grigri, instead of with a finger and a thumb horizontally, the cinch may not lock. I played a lot with it after the accident and there are positions in which the cam does not engage.

Ideally you shouldn't BE holding the device at all if you are catching a fall!

majid_sabet wrote:
the rope size, the position of the hand has to be in the right angle to engage the caming device in the gri gri . just holding the end of the rope does not grantee full arrest of a falling lead climber.

I disagree. Tension on the brake rope will activate the cam if there is nothing blocking the cam.

I am not aware of any incident where the gri-gri has failed to lock when the brake rope has been held and there has been no interference with the climber's rope or the cam.


If you operate a self locking device the same way as a ATC you can't go wrong. Hands off the device and only on the rope. Of course the drawback of this is difficulty giving rope quickly. But if a beginner is belaying me rope quickly is the least of my concerns.

The ORIGINAL and classic method of standard feeding as recommended by Petzl does not involve touch the device. This is much more 'fool' proof. Methods that involve holding the cam are prone to accidents, this isn't the first.


(This post was edited by patto on Jun 16, 2010, 10:11 PM)


jt512


Jun 16, 2010, 9:54 PM
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kostik wrote:
jt512 wrote:

I've never used a Cinch, so I can't speak from experience, but looking at the video and the design of the devise, it does not appear to me that the Cinch has to be held horizontally to feed rope.

It's in the manual that comes with the device.

I tried to download the manual from Trango's site earlier today, but their link to the manual is wrong; it goes to a blog entry. Maybe if Mal reads this he can get the link fixed.

Jay


jt512


Jun 16, 2010, 11:32 PM
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patto wrote:

The ORIGINAL and classic method of standard feeding as recommended by Petzl does not involve touch the device. This is much more 'fool' proof. Methods that involve holding the cam are prone to accidents, this isn't the first.

That is completely false, but it has nothing to do with the present accident, which involved a Cinch; so, if you want to discuss grigri belaying further, please start a new thread.

Jay (who's not a moderator, but who actually knows how to be one)


patto


Jun 17, 2010, 12:11 AM
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jt512 wrote:
patto wrote:

The ORIGINAL and classic method of standard feeding as recommended by Petzl does not involve touch the device. This is much more 'fool' proof. Methods that involve holding the cam are prone to accidents, this isn't the first.

That is completely false, but it has nothing to do with the present accident, which involved a Cinch; so, if you want to discuss grigri belaying further, please start a new thread.

Jay (who's not a moderator, but who actually knows how to be one)

How is it false?

Petzl instructions clearly show this both in the video and in the downloadable instructions. The only time in the instructions does the hand touch the device is for feeding out slack quickly or when lowering.


redlude97


Jun 17, 2010, 1:01 AM
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I'm sure malcom will come into this thread soon enough and confirm the proper usage of the cinch, but based on my experience and the instructions, you do NOT have to use it in a horizontal orientation, I use my cinch strictly in a vertical configuration(actually slightly tilted to the left) and have caught plenty of falls. The key is the properly pinch the device only with your thumb and pointer, with the rest of the fingers wrapped around the rope. You can easily feed out slack while keeping the device vertical by pivoting it so that the rope runs towards the first bolt, then you just pull out yards of slack, if you get the direction perfect, you can even allow the leader to pull up their desired amount of slack without a noticeable drag on the leader's end. The cinch catches a fall by changing its vertical orientation when the rope runs through the device too quickly, and it does this by overcoming the belayer's ability to hold the cinch in a particular direction with only the 2 fingers pinching the pivot point. Most commonly the cinch will fail to activate because a belayer is holding it incorrectly, usually by cupping the device with their palm, and in the event of a fall their natural tendency is to squeeze which overcomes the camming action, much like a grigri when it is used improperly.
Here is a good thread that discusses some of the wrong and right way to use the device and how it can lead to drops http://mountainproject.com/...20_feet/106658764__1


redlude97


Jun 17, 2010, 1:18 AM
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kostik wrote:
jt512 wrote:

I've never used a Cinch, so I can't speak from experience, but looking at the video and the design of the devise, it does not appear to me that the Cinch has to be held horizontally to feed rope.

It's in the manual that comes with the device. I don't have it handy to show here. If you hold it vertically, like grigri, it locks when you try to feed the rope and if you try to block the cam in this position, you'll deck your partner.
This is incorrect. In the video Malcom feeds rope in the vertical position many times.


yokese


Jun 17, 2010, 5:54 AM
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redlude97 wrote:
kostik wrote:
jt512 wrote:

I've never used a Cinch, so I can't speak from experience, but looking at the video and the design of the devise, it does not appear to me that the Cinch has to be held horizontally to feed rope.

It's in the manual that comes with the device. I don't have it handy to show here. If you hold it vertically, like grigri, it locks when you try to feed the rope and if you try to block the cam in this position, you'll deck your partner.
This is incorrect. In the video Malcom feeds rope in the vertical position many times.

+1

The Cinch has to be oriented vertically, not horizontally, to feed and to lock the rope. Clearly explained by Mal in his instructional video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9TO5ikqXwo

1:55 to 2:00


kostik


Jun 17, 2010, 8:09 AM
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yokese wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
This is incorrect. In the video Malcom feeds rope in the vertical position many times.
The Cinch has to be oriented vertically, not horizontally, to feed and to lock the rope. Clearly explained by Mal in his instructional video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9TO5ikqXwo

1:55 to 2:00

He is holding it vertically only when belaying a climber on toprope. We are talking about lead belay here.

If you look carefully, at 2:27 when he is actually demonstrating feeding out the rope as you do when belaying a leader. He is tilting it to the left, like redlude97 mentioned. This is what I call holding the cinch horizontally. I hold it almost flat with the colored side up.

When the climber falls, the cinch turns vertically and locks the rope. If you hold it vertically from the start, like grigri, the cam may remain open during the fall.

I've read some posts on forums when people claim that they let the climber pull the rope out of the cinch. I am assuming that they are holding the device in vertical position for that and have their hand cupped around it. This is very dangerous. I always pull out the rope with my left hand, keeping my right on the cinch and the breaking end.

Unfortunately, I threw away my cinch manual. The one that came with the green cinch had the lead belay technique.


bigjonnyc


Jun 17, 2010, 8:21 AM
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blondgecko wrote:
No, those involved do not need my "protection". I don't know any of them, and will probably never meet any of them. But that's completely beside the point. The point is respect. As long as I am a mod of this forum, I will be doing my best to make sure that discussions (a) remain accurate and fact-based, and (b) are held at the discretion of those close to the accident.

If those who know what happened do not want to share, that is their perogative. Coming in with an entitlement complex, making accusations of cover-ups and/or demanding information from those for whom the shock and grief is still fresh, is the surest way to get a thread shut down, and to get yourself banned from the A&IA forum.

Ask, politely, for information. If none is forthcoming, move along. Do not complain, do not demand, do not make shit up. It's that simple.


As I tried to relate in this exchange:


billl7 wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
billl7 wrote:
bigjonnyc wrote:
Your responses, blondgecko, are unneeded and entirely counterproductive. Those involved do not need to you to play the part of their protector. Likewise, you easily could have made the point you were trying to without taking such a defensive and incendiary tone.

That's not my take on the above exchange. The response was in equal measure to the innuendo. In a couple words: even handed.

Obviously, I do think this site needs to sometimes stand between subjects of threads who are suffering and us onlookers. It may not be perfect but it needs to be looked after in the name of decentness.

Bill L

My apologies then, if my original tone had seemed accusatory in any way. I meant in no way to sound negative or condescending. Information was withheld, not necessarily contemptuously so, but I guess some find the term "withhold" to carry a negative connotation. For that, again I apologize.
Well said. I am probably misinterpretting your intent. This is one of the challenges of a text-based public forum.

I meant no disrespect to anyone involved in the accident, and wasn't demanding anything from anyone. I don't know why you read so far into my original comment as to assume I felt some sort of entitlement, was accusing anyone of anything, or demanding anything from anyone. I try to type just what I mean, as it can be very difficult in an online forum to convey sarcasm, innuendos or the like. As stated in the original thread:

adatesman wrote:
...it's already been made clear by people close to the accident that the people directly involved will not be releasing details yet...

information was withheld. That's a simple fact.

This was my original post in this thread:

bigjonnyc wrote:
Bump...

I was just looking to see if anything new was reported in the original thread and found it locked. I too have been wondering about the particulars of this incident, and hoping that those withholding information shortly after the accident had ever come out with a statement. Does anyone know of an official report or something?

I asked politely, of the community in general, if anyone knew of an official report made about this accident. Any impoliteness you noted was a result of you looking beyond the words that I wrote for hidden meanings. I made no complaints, I made no demands, and certainly didn't make shit up, as I made no general claim to begin with.


redlude97


Jun 17, 2010, 8:23 AM
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kostik wrote:
yokese wrote:
redlude97 wrote:
This is incorrect. In the video Malcom feeds rope in the vertical position many times.
The Cinch has to be oriented vertically, not horizontally, to feed and to lock the rope. Clearly explained by Mal in his instructional video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9TO5ikqXwo

1:55 to 2:00

He is holding it vertically only when belaying a climber on toprope. We are talking about lead belay here.

If you look carefully, at 2:27 when he is actually demonstrating feeding out the rope as you do when belaying a leader. He is tilting it to the left, like redlude97 mentioned. This is what I call holding the cinch horizontally. I hold it almost flat with the colored side up.

When the climber falls, the cinch turns vertically and locks the rope. If you hold it vertically from the start, like grigri, the cam may remain open during the fall.

I've read some posts on forums when people claim that they let the climber pull the rope out of the cinch. I am assuming that they are holding the device in vertical position for that and have their hand cupped around it. This is very dangerous. I always pull out the rope with my left hand, keeping my right on the cinch and the breaking end.

Unfortunately, I threw away my cinch manual. The one that came with the green cinch had the lead belay technique.
How much do you actually hold the cinch? The cinch can feed in any spot between horizontal and vertical. Like I said, I hold it almost perfectly vertical all the time(>80 degrees). The only reason I don't hold it perfectly vertical is because it is hard to pull out slack without hitting yourself in the face. You also do not need to cup the cinch to allow the leader to pull out slack themselves, you can use the same pinch method. You use the friction between your fingers to rotate the orientation so that the rope runs as straight as possible towards the first bolt, and the leader pulls out his own slack at a reasonable rate. If the leader pulls slack too fast the cinch rotates because you cannot hold the device in that orientation by just pinching and it locks. This is something to discuss with your partner beforehand if you are going to utilize this technique, otherwise you can just pull the slack for them. The cinch works by rotating about its pivot point, not by the rotation in the plane of the cinch plates.


jt512


Jun 17, 2010, 8:39 AM
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patto wrote:
jt512 wrote:
patto wrote:

The ORIGINAL and classic method of standard feeding as recommended by Petzl does not involve touch the device. This is much more 'fool' proof. Methods that involve holding the cam are prone to accidents, this isn't the first.

That is completely false, but it has nothing to do with the present accident, which involved a Cinch; so, if you want to discuss grigri belaying further, please start a new thread.

Jay (who's not a moderator, but who actually knows how to be one)

How is it false?

Petzl instructions clearly show this both in the video and in the downloadable instructions. The only time in the instructions does the hand touch the device is for feeding out slack quickly or when lowering.

You just answered your own question.

Jay


jt512


Jun 17, 2010, 9:04 AM
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redlude97 wrote:
Here is a good thread that discusses some of the wrong and right way to use the device and how it can lead to drops http://mountainproject.com/...20_feet/106658764__1

Great link. I'm starting to become really scared about being belayed by any device that I do not thoroughly understand myself.

Jay


kostik


Jun 17, 2010, 9:17 AM
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redlude97 wrote:
How much do you actually hold the cinch? The cinch can feed in any spot between horizontal and vertical. Like I said, I hold it almost perfectly vertical all the time(>80 degrees). The only reason I don't hold it perfectly vertical is because it is hard to pull out slack without hitting yourself in the face. You also do not need to cup the cinch to allow the leader to pull out slack themselves, you can use the same pinch method. You use the friction between your fingers to rotate the orientation so that the rope runs as straight as possible towards the first bolt, and the leader pulls out his own slack at a reasonable rate. If the leader pulls slack too fast the cinch rotates because you cannot hold the device in that orientation by just pinching and it locks. This is something to discuss with your partner beforehand if you are going to utilize this technique, otherwise you can just pull the slack for them. The cinch works by rotating about its pivot point, not by the rotation in the plane of the cinch plates.

I pinch the cinch lightly with my thumb and index finger. When the leader falls, I let the cinch go, while holding the breaking end of the rope. The cinch turns vertically and at the same time its plates rotate and lock the rope. When I was experimenting with it, I found that when it is vertical to begin with, you need to keep the plates open to feed the rope and when the rope jerks suddenly, the cinch may not lock. Therefore, tilting it gives the plates enough time to engage during the sudden pull of the rope.

Also, I always wear gloves when belaying with the cinch. They help when lowering the climber.

I never let the leader pull the slack out directly of the device. I want to control how much rope is out.


(This post was edited by kostik on Jun 17, 2010, 9:21 AM)


maldaly


Jun 17, 2010, 9:25 AM
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This is the stuff my nightmares are made of. I don't know Mike but from what I have read and heard about him, we are cut from the same cloth. My deepest and saddest condolences go out to his family, friends, his belayer and all of the people who were around when it happened. This is an accident that will stay with me the rest of my life and is just the kind of event that makes me want to quit designing climbing gear. I'll ask myself every day, "Is there anything else I could have done to instruct or warn Mike and his belayer?" I don't know the answer to that but you can bet that I'll be spending a good bit of my time trying to figure that out.

I engage with the rc.com community (much to the astonishment of my competitors) because, #1, you're my peeps and, #2, to listen to the conversations that are going on and to step in when it feels right. I suppose that I started lurking 5 years ago in self defense. I figured that I would hang out to see what people were saying about my stuff and then jump in to defend my gear when it became necessary. Very quickly the lurking became a dialog and I realized that I had something to offer and the community had something to offer me. I can't imagine not doing it.

So here I am, shattered by the loss of a great climber who I never got to meet, burdened by the knowledge that he is no longer with us and that, maybe, I am somehow complicit. I usually don't like to play the "would of, should of, could of" game but I can't help but fall in to it now. What would I do differently to instruct and warn climbers of the need to learn from the instructions and practice using the gear before they trust a life to it. Should I increase the size of the warning on the Cinch body? (EXPERT USE ONLY!) Should I add more warning language to the instructions? Could I re-design it so that it is fool-proof? I don't know the answers to any of those questions, so the nightmares continue.

I go back and think about the promise I make to the climbing community -- "I promise to honor the integrity and intelligence of climbers through innovative and smart design" -- and I wonder how it applies to this tragic situation. Do I honor the intelligence of the community by adding more and larger warnings to everything? Or do I honor you by stripping off the extraneous junk and delivering a clean and simple product? "Innovative and smart design" assumes that you want new cool stuff and are willing to take the time to explore, learn and practice its use. Is it my bad to assume that? Was my commitment to my promise a factor in Mike's death?

And so, the nightmares continue.

Climb safe, please.
Mal

PS: The lawyers will undoubtedly flip out when they read this. They want me to design products and write warnings that will keep me out of court. I want to design products and write warnings that will keep you off the ground. - MD


yokese


Jun 17, 2010, 9:35 AM
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kostik wrote:
He is tilting it to the left, like redlude97 mentioned. This is what I call holding the cinch horizontally.

If you call that to be horizontal, fair enough, I also tilt it to the left ~30º, basically because it is hard to keep it completely vertical without twisting the wrist in an strenuous position.
I think that the the problem is not whether it is vertically oriented or tilted, but if one blocks the mechanism by cupping the hand around the cinch, as you mentioned, instead of keeping it pinched between the index and the thumb. That would be akin to keep the Grigri lever pressed down.


kostik


Jun 17, 2010, 9:43 AM
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yokese wrote:
If you call that to be horizontal, fair enough, I also tilt it to the left ~30º,

Right, 20-30 deg. I call it horizontal for all practical purposes.


yokese


Jun 17, 2010, 9:48 AM
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kostik wrote:
yokese wrote:
If you call that to be horizontal, fair enough, I also tilt it to the left ~30º,

Right, 20-30 deg. I call it horizontal for all practical purposes.

You misunderstood me, I tilt it to the left ~30º. That will leave the device at 60º over the horizontal plane. I hope I made myself more clear.


kostik


Jun 17, 2010, 9:48 AM
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Mal, could you please fix this link?:

http://www.trango.com/CinchInstrBookletCE.pdf

thanks


jt512


Jun 17, 2010, 9:50 AM
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kostik wrote:
Mal, could you please fix this link?:

http://www.trango.com/CinchInstrBookletCE.pdf

thanks

+1


maldaly


Jun 17, 2010, 9:55 AM
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kostik and jt512
Sorry for the broken link. It's fixed now. BTW, Thanks for all your input above.
Mal


RyanJames1984


Jun 17, 2010, 10:22 AM
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Caution with the belayer and his device [In reply to]
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A very good friend of mine decked because his belayer was using a cinch and was not paying attention. My friend fell and the belayer was holding the cinch open. He fell 25 feet and decked hard. Thankfully this was at a gym and not outside. If it would have been outside, he probably would have died from trauma to the head (his head smacked the mats HARD).

With this said, I think extreme caution needs to be taken when allowing someone to use the cinch who is not as experienced in belaying or is not use to ALWAYS paying attention. The gri gri locks much, much easier than the cinch and people need to know this.

Has anyone else had or heard of close calls or bad experiences with the cinch?


(This post was edited by RyanJames1984 on Jun 17, 2010, 12:17 PM)


csproul


Jun 17, 2010, 10:47 AM
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Re: [RyanJames1984] Darkside Accident [In reply to]
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I have been using a Cinch for years, and I can't imagine how you could hold the device open. If you are holding it as taught in the video, it would be very difficult to hold this device open, even if you tried to. This is one of the advantages of the Cinch over the Grigri; generally people hold the Grigri open to quickly feed rope, while there is no need to do this with the Cinch.


(This post was edited by csproul on Jun 17, 2010, 11:10 AM)


maldaly


Jun 17, 2010, 11:03 AM
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Re: [RyanJames1984] Cinch is dangerous! [In reply to]
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I'm sorry I don't usually do this but here goes:

First, How the hell did the thread title get hijacked from Darkside Accident to Cinch is Dangerous? I would love to be able to hijack a few thread titles myself.

Second, RyanJames, the body of your thread says it all. You do a dis-service to everyone who has so eloquently contributed to this thread by titling it "Cinch is Dangerous" when, in fact, it should be titled "Belayer is Dangerous", or "Don't climb with a dangerous belayer".

Please change it.

Mal


bigjonnyc


Jun 17, 2010, 11:22 AM
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Re: [maldaly] Cinch is dangerous! [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
I'm sorry I don't usually do this but here goes:

First, How the hell did the thread title get hijacked from Darkside Accident to Cinch is Dangerous? I would love to be able to hijack a few thread titles myself.

Second, RyanJames, the body of your thread says it all. You do a dis-service to everyone who has so eloquently contributed to this thread by titling it "Cinch is Dangerous" when, in fact, it should be titled "Belayer is Dangerous", or "Don't climb with a dangerous belayer".

Please change it.

Mal

+1

Extreme caution should be taken with a belayer with little experience regardless of the device. Devices aren't dangerous, people are.

edit: sp.


(This post was edited by bigjonnyc on Jun 17, 2010, 11:23 AM)


sampleinajar


Jun 17, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Re: [RyanJames1984] Cinch is dangerous! [In reply to]
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RyanJames1984 wrote:
A very good friend of mine decked because his belayer was using a cinch and was not paying attention. My friend fell and the belayer was holding the cinch open. He fell 25 feet and decked hard. Thankfully this was at a gym and not outside. If it would have been outside, he probably would have died from trauma to the head (his head smacked the mats HARD).

With this said, I think extreme caution needs to be taken when allowing someone to use the cinch who is not as experienced in belaying or is not use to ALWAYS paying attention. The gri gri locks much, much easier than the cinch and people need to know this.

Has anyone else had or heard of close calls or bad experiences with the cinch?

Your right it was without a doubt caused by the “dangerous” cinch. It’s hard to blame the cinch in that example, the same thing could happen with a gri gri or ATC. However, if the belayer was using an ATC would he have been paying attention and avoided dropping the leader? I think that is part problem. Rarely do I see someone with an ATC not paying attention while belaying, but I see it all the time with belayers using an “auto-locking” device. What is it about these devices that foster an attitude of such complacency? Would you give a brand new belayer an ATC and start taking huge falls? I have seen people give a 10 min lesson to a brand new belayer on how to use a gri gri then hop on a climb clearly at or beyond their limit and take some big falls. I use both the cinch and gri gri and tend to favor the cinch over the gri gri. But I treat it like what it is, a locking assisted device not an auto-locking device.


(This post was edited by sampleinajar on Jun 17, 2010, 11:57 AM)


rocclimber30


Jun 17, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Re: [bigjonnyc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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My account of the events leading up to the accident involving Mike Tucker:

I was belaying a friend on Darth Mall, which is about 15 feet to the left of Elephant Man. At the time of the accident my climber was in direct to the 3rd or 4th bolt. My eyes were on Mike as he smoothly climbed past the 4th bolt and entered the crux of the climb. He took what should of been a normal lead fall a couple of feet above the 4th bolt. He did NOT skip any bolt nor was he pulling rope at the time of the fall. While falling mike got into a textbook position. He was in a cat like position with his feet extended in front of him ready to impact the wall. He free fell for about 10-15 feet before a little bit of rope drag from the rope running through the Trango Cinch could be heard. The rope drag was not enough to slow him or make any difference in the fall. As he fell the belayer came into my peripheral view. I could see that he was out of balance and fumbling with the Trango Cinch. I immediately lowered my climber and proceeded to administer first aid.

Not being familiar with the Trango Cinch, i could not tell by looking at it if it were loaded correctly during the fall. After stabilizing Mike 15-30 minutes after the initial fall, i had a chance to inspect the Trango Cinch and do a pull test in which the device seemed to be set up correctly and working properly.

Analysis: Belayer Error.

i. Device was set up backwards.

OR

2. Device was set up correctly and the belayer was caught off guard accidentally clamping down on the Trango Cinch in an attempt to balance himself.


maldaly


Jun 17, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Re: [sampleinajar] Cinch is dangerous! [In reply to]
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sampleinajar, when I give a climbing clinic (usually titled "Trad Climbing for the Chickenhearted") I say almost the exact same thing about belay devices. "Watch the belayers" I say. If they are using a manual device their eyes and attention is always on the climber. If they are using a locking-assist device, their eyes and attention could be anywhere.

I wish it wasn't so.
Mal


RyanJames1984


Jun 17, 2010, 12:26 PM
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dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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I agree with the fact that people cause belay related climbing accidents and not the belay device. However, from what I've noticed, it seems like people fumble more with the cinch and use it incorrectly than any other belay device. I was reading a forum on MP.com where someone commented,

"it seems that everyone i've talked to has seen someone dropped or heard of a friend of theirs being dropped or nearly dropped with these things."

Could the fact that when the cinch is open the rope goes straight through the device, as oppose to the atc and gri gri where the rope is kinked through the device, possible cause the cinch to be more dangerous with lackadaisical belayers?


billl7


Jun 17, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
I'll ask myself every day, "Is there anything else I could have done to instruct or warn Mike and his belayer?" I don't know the answer to that but you can bet that I'll be spending a good bit of my time trying to figure that out.
I can't think of any other attitude I'd want in the designer of equipment. Simply put, above and beyond.

Of course, you already know that with belay devices it is a hard problem to solve. How does one make a fool-proof device that can both feed out rope freely when needed and brake flawlessly when needed? The answer lies somewhere in the gray areas. Or should I say the answers since obviously there are many different solutions on the market today. Edit: But none will ever be the perfect answer.

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on Jun 17, 2010, 12:29 PM)


jt512


Jun 17, 2010, 12:32 PM
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Re: [RyanJames1984] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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RyanJames1984 wrote:
I agree with the fact that people cause belay related climbing accidents and not the belay device. However, from what I've noticed, it seems like people fumble more with the cinch and use it incorrectly than any other belay device. I was reading a forum on MP.com where someone commented,

"it seems that everyone i've talked to has seen someone dropped or heard of a friend of theirs being dropped or nearly dropped with these things."

Could the fact that when the cinch is open the rope goes straight through the device, as oppose to the atc and gri gri where the rope is kinked through the device, possible cause the cinch to be more dangerous with lackadaisical belayers?

Pure sampling bias on your part. Until this thread, I had never seen or heard of anyone being dropped by a Cinch, but I have seen and heard of more people than I can remember being dropped using Grigris and ATCs. You cannot draw conclusions about the relative safety of belay devices from such sources.

Jay


RyanJames1984


Jun 17, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Re: [jt512] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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You're absolutely right. Is there any data out there that we can look at to see which is proven to be the safest device.

What I'm trying to say, is that I don't think that the cinch is the safest device.


jt512


Jun 17, 2010, 12:42 PM
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Re: [RyanJames1984] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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RyanJames1984 wrote:
You're absolutely right. Is there any data out there that we can look at to see which is proven to be the safest device.

Nope.

In reply to:
What I'm trying to say, is that I don't think that the cinch is the safest device.

And what I'm trying to say is that you have no valid reason to believe that.

Jay


silascl


Jun 17, 2010, 1:07 PM
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Re: [RyanJames1984] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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RyanJames1984 wrote:
You're absolutely right. Is there any data out there that we can look at to see which is proven to be the safest device.

What I'm trying to say, is that I don't think that the cinch is the safest device.

If you want to hear the opposing personal bias, I use the Cinch to belay regularly, and have never felt a slipping of the rope through the device that was described in this thread or the incident reported on mountainproject. I've been using the cinch for 2.5 years or so, belaying in the gym 2-3 days a week catching at least 1-2 falls per day.

The key in my opinion is to pinch the device over the two holes as described in the manual and video. There's a temptation to slide your hand up higher as it allows you to feed out slack even more easily, but you go from three fingers on the brake to two. You also get most of your hand over the device, increasing your gripping power that holds the cam open. That combined with the instinct of clamping down during a fall may have led to this accident, and almost definitely lead to the near accident described on mountainproject.

I've seen people use the Cinch with other methods, and I'm going to be a lot more careful when I see people belaying with autolocking devices in odd configurations. It may work 99.9% of the time, but during a moment of panic it means you're now holding the device incorrectly and can't catch a fall. The Cinch, just like any other device, can be 100% reliable provided it is used correctly by a competent belayer.


Partner rgold


Jun 17, 2010, 1:20 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Cinch is dangerous! [In reply to]
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Mal, I feel for you. You and other gear manufacturers are up against cultural trends within and outside of the climbing world that are way beyond your control.

In all honesty, I don't think it matters how many warnings you plaster on a piece of gear. Scan the threads on various sites to see how many times someone says "the manufacturer says you shouldn't do X," followed by the response, "That's just there for liability reasons---of course you can do X."

Climbers, most of who have neither engineering expertise nor understanding of the physics involved believe they know better. And many feel justified because in their years of experience they haven't had to deal with the kind of low-probability event that their faulty practices would turn into a catastrophe.

Climbing gear can't be designed to, say, civil engineering standards anyway. It would be far too heavy to carry and far too clumsy to use. Anything that is actually going to be usable for climbers will have subtleties and idiosyncrasies that are part of the compromise that must be made to create functional equipment for the real climbing world.

All this conflicts with the desirable but unattainable goal of making something "foolproof." It is not simply that fools will always find a way to defeat built-in protections. The reality is that real climbing gear will always have dangerous features that can only be mitigated by intelligent and attentive use.

This means that practice, experience, and vigilance are critical. New climbers, like new drivers, are already at increased risk, even if they remain vigilant, and there are now many environments in which the prevailing attitude does nothing to encourage even minimally appropriate attention.

Turning to the culture within the climbing world, sport and gym climbing have effected a major change in the notion of personal responsibility. People regularly climb using protection systems installed by someone else, systems that by and large cannot be evaluated by observation anyway. You can hardly be a climber today if you don't blindly trust gear that you yourself have had nothing to do with placing, gear with operating principles and failure modes that you barely understand and typically ignore.

It may be that the nightmares you mention come with the territory of the business you are in. One can hardly propose callousness as an alternative to the distress you feel. But, our litigious society notwithstanding, surely your responsibility ends at some reasonable point and the responsibility of the user takes over. The stupidity of the current thread title indicates the sad fact that there will be people who never understand this.


(This post was edited by rgold on Jun 17, 2010, 2:14 PM)


rock_ranger


Jun 17, 2010, 1:28 PM
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rocclimber30


Jun 17, 2010, 1:46 PM
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Re: [rock_ranger] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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rock_ranger wrote:
rocclimber30 wrote:
My account of the events leading up to the accident involving Mike Tucker:

I was belaying a friend on Darth Mall, which is about 15 feet to the left of Elephant Man. At the time of the accident my climber was in direct to the 3rd or 4th bolt. My eyes were on Mike as he smoothly climbed past the 4th bolt and entered the crux of the climb. He took what should of been a normal lead fall a couple of feet above the 4th bolt. He did NOT skip any bolt nor was he pulling rope at the time of the fall. While falling mike got into a textbook position. He was in a cat like position with his feet extended in front of him ready to impact the wall. He free fell for about 10-15 feet before a little bit of rope drag from the rope running through the Trango Cinch could be heard. The rope drag was not enough to slow him or make any difference in the fall. As he fell the belayer came into my peripheral view. I could see that he was out of balance and fumbling with the Trango Cinch. I immediately lowered my climber and proceeded to administer first aid.

Not being familiar with the Trango Cinch, i could not tell by looking at it if it were loaded correctly during the fall. After stabilizing Mike 15-30 minutes after the initial fall, i had a chance to inspect the Trango Cinch and do a pull test in which the device seemed to be set up correctly and working properly.

Analysis: Belayer Error.

i. Device was set up backwards.

OR

2. Device was set up correctly and the belayer was caught off guard accidentally clamping down on the Trango Cinch in an attempt to balance himself.

Rocclimber30,

can you clarify whether or not Mike was clipped into the 4th bolt? from your post I read it he was, but I don't want to assume.

Thanks.

Correct, Mike had clipped the fourth bolt and fell moving to the 5th bolt.


gitarooman


Jun 17, 2010, 2:01 PM
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Re: [jt512] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
RyanJames1984 wrote:
I agree with the fact that people cause belay related climbing accidents and not the belay device. However, from what I've noticed, it seems like people fumble more with the cinch and use it incorrectly than any other belay device. I was reading a forum on MP.com where someone commented,

"it seems that everyone i've talked to has seen someone dropped or heard of a friend of theirs being dropped or nearly dropped with these things."

Could the fact that when the cinch is open the rope goes straight through the device, as oppose to the atc and gri gri where the rope is kinked through the device, possible cause the cinch to be more dangerous with lackadaisical belayers?

Pure sampling bias on your part. Until this thread, I had never seen or heard of anyone being dropped by a Cinch, but I have seen and heard of more people than I can remember being dropped using Grigris and ATCs. You cannot draw conclusions about the relative safety of belay devices from such sources.

Jay

+1


(This post was edited by gitarooman on Jun 17, 2010, 2:14 PM)


jt512


Jun 17, 2010, 2:03 PM
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Re: [gitarooman] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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gitarooman wrote:
jt512 wrote:
RyanJames1984 wrote:
I agree with the fact that people cause belay related climbing accidents and not the belay device. However, from what I've noticed, it seems like people fumble more with the cinch and use it incorrectly than any other belay device. I was reading a forum on MP.com where someone commented,

"it seems that everyone i've talked to has seen someone dropped or heard of a friend of theirs being dropped or nearly dropped with these things."

Could the fact that when the cinch is open the rope goes straight through the device, as oppose to the atc and gri gri where the rope is kinked through the device, possible cause the cinch to be more dangerous with lackadaisical belayers?

Pure sampling bias on your part. Until this thread, I had never seen or heard of anyone being dropped by a Cinch, but I have seen and heard of more people than I can remember being dropped using Grigris and ATCs. You cannot draw conclusions about the relative safety of belay devices from such sources.

Jay

+1

Good username.

Jay


jape


Jun 18, 2010, 6:42 AM
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Re: [jt512] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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First of all, thanks so much Itz and Kostic for clearing up what happened in this terrible accident. Thanks to Mal Daly too.

Since it's gotten a little OT I'll weigh in this belay device issue

I have heard of several near misses with a cinch and read about a few more, like

http://mountainproject.com/v/climbing_gear_discussion/yet_another_cinch_warning_yes_i_dropped_him_20_feet/106658764__1

Of course similar accidents happen with other devices...

To me, the Gri-gri is a perfect device...for me. I've used it on thousands of routes from severe sport to soloing bits of walls when speed climbing...I've used it in a lot of unorthodox ways rigging for photos etc, but again, it's my experience that makes it the safest device for me. As well as knowing how it "could" unlock if it gets caught in the works weird...

I still remember the time that my friend threaded it backwards, 2 pitches up, climbing with another, toproping a 5.11. As the climber started up, there was clearly something wrong! He couldn't pull rope through! I "Took" with both hands, hastily muntered while we fixed it. That was many years ago, but it is still crystal clear in my mind and always leads me to 5x check....hand, hand, anchor/climber, etc. Safety last....

Thx again fellas.


ClimbClimb


Jun 18, 2010, 1:22 PM
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Re: [rocclimber30] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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rocclimber30, kostik - thank you and others for providing information about this accident. I hope it serves to make all of us a little bit safer.

In terms of locking threads and getting information about accidents, here's how I see it -- (1) after some interval allowing for decency and dealing with the immediacy of the trauma has passed, the basic bare-bones information should be made available, but (2) there should not be information-free speculation, accusation or needless disclosure of private details that infringe on the privacy and dignity of those involved.

For example, the NTSB will, after some time, release the transcript of the cockpit voice recording capturing the last minutes of a doomed flight. They do not release the actual recordings of the horrifying last moments of the pilots' lives. Similarly, things like descriptions of last words, death agonies, pictures of injuries, or medical information does little to enhance our safety -- but may very well aggravate the suffering of the injured & killed and their friends & families.

I think this kind of approach to this forum may be more helpful than the somewhat imprecise guidelines discussed earlier, that seem to devolve into "I know it when I see it" and "I have rights".

Again, thank you to those who posted the details. Let's take the belay device discussion into another thread -- I have my thoughts on it, but don't want to add them here.


wmfork


Jun 18, 2010, 2:42 PM
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Re: [rocclimber30] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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rocclimber30 wrote:
He took what should of been a normal lead fall a couple of feet above the 4th bolt.... He free fell for about 10-15 feet before a little bit of rope drag from the rope running through the Trango Cinch could be heard.
This is a bit more dis-concerning than I'd originally assumed... Not to lay blame on the device, but I think this is one of the situations where the belayer has to pay the uttermost attention when using a cinch. One of my partner somewhat "rapidly lowed" me close to the ground from the 2nd or 3rd bolt of a gym route the first couples of weeks we started using the cinch. Normally, when you have time to react to a fall, you can slip your right hand down and grab the rope with all your fingers. An unexpected fall from a short distance above the bolt, especially close to the ground (usually with very little slack out), means one has very little time to adjust the hand position before the rope starts to run through the device out of control. Of course, you can screw up with all devices, but the low friction nature of the cinch means small mistakes are amplified and takes a longer fall distance before they can be rectified.


patto


Jun 18, 2010, 5:12 PM
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Re: [maldaly] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
PS: The lawyers will undoubtedly flip out when they read this. They want me to design products and write warnings that will keep me out of court. I want to design products and write warnings that will keep you off the ground. - MD

That is exactly what I thought when I first read that. Thanks for your post Mal. I think we all appreciate your comments. Smile

maldaly wrote:
Could I re-design it so that it is fool-proof? I don't know the answers to any of those questions, so the nightmares continue.

Climbing isn't a fools game. While there clearly are better and worse designs for climbing equipment nothing will be 100% fool proof.

That said in my opinion belaying by pinching/squeezing/pressing/holding pivot points of an autolocking device is far less fool proof than an ATC. Fools who fail to understand how the device operates may change hand postion and indadvertantly supress the autolocking function.

In contrast if these devices are opperated without touching the device (which normally makes quick feeds difficult), then the devices do come very close do being fool proof.

But if you want a fast smooth and solid belay. You want a good belayer first.

I have led first time belayers up multipitch climbs numerous times. Sometimes I use a gri-gri, with the simple instructions of never touching the device and never let go of the brake hand. Othertimes its ATC with a backup person on the brake rope. Of course its still a do not fall situation for me on lead.

wmfork wrote:
Normally, when you have time to react to a fall, you can slip your right hand down and grab the rope with all your fingers. An unexpected fall from a short distance above the bolt, especially close to the ground (usually with very little slack out), means one has very little time to adjust the hand position before the rope starts to run through the device out of control.

Any device/method that requires you to change hand position in order to provide braking is a recipe for disaster. I can't comment from personal experience on the Cinch but it seems to me that there is no change in hand position when Mal catches a fall in the Cinch video.

Personally I almost exclusively use my reverso to belay. My hand brake hand never leaves the rope and it is always in a locked off position below the device.


(This post was edited by patto on Jun 18, 2010, 7:16 PM)


Partner j_ung


Jun 19, 2010, 10:59 AM
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warrenw wrote:
j_ung wrote:
While I fully understand the advantages to the community as a whole that can come from analyzing accidents, I believe common decency far outweighs any "need" we may have to climb.

Hmmm. I’m sorry j_ung, but I think I would respectfully disagree. Though, I’m not sure I actually disagree, because I’m not sure exactly what your argument is. The sentence is somewhat ambiguous.

If you mean that common decency outweighs any thing (concrete or abstract) that we “need” to climb, then I presume you mean the chance of psychological harm to family and friends multiplied by that harm outweighs the chance of information about an accident has of saving life multiplied by the good of saving that life.

If instead you mean that common decency outweighs any “need” to engage in the activity of climbing, then you seem to suggest that everybody should just stop climbing until family and friends have had sufficient time to mourn or an official accident report comes out.

Both of these seem false.

Perhaps you mean that common decency outweighs any “need” to satisfy various persons’ morbid curiosity. I’d agree with that. But no one had said anything to the contrary.

Could you clarify? I don’t intend this to be confrontational. It seems to me that most information about accidents should come out as soon as possible, save perhaps names, etcetera. I think this would include speculation based on scant details. As, even if incorrect, speculation can be informative. But I could be convinced otherwise.

w

I won't take it as confrontational -- thanks for your consideration.

I meant pretty much what blondgecko said a couple posts below mine.


jakedatc


Jun 19, 2010, 9:54 PM
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Patto, the way i belay with my Cinch i do not change my hand position when i catch a fall. I always have 3 fingers on the rope that act as the brake.

Also i keep it oriented vertically for the most part

For me the bottom line is the Cinch and Gri gri are not "plug and play" you need to know what the hell you are doing and need to be able to do it without thinking.

Gri gri's have had far more accidents than the Cinch but since less people use them and even less know about them there is a lot more skepticism.

Mal i think you involvement here is awesome in good and bad times. Your immediate responses to issues and questions about your gear is second to none. I am not sure what else you can do to warn people. what is the quote.. "nothing is fool proof to the properly motivated fool" something like that.


jt512


Jun 19, 2010, 10:06 PM
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jakedatc wrote:
Gri gri's have had far more accidents than the Cinch but since less people use them and even less know about them there is a lot more skepticism.

Not exactly the paragon of clear thinking, that.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Jun 19, 2010, 10:07 PM)


patto


Jun 19, 2010, 10:38 PM
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jakedatc wrote:
Patto, the way i belay with my Cinch i do not change my hand position when i catch a fall. I always have 3 fingers on the rope that act as the brake.

Well done. As I said from what I have seen of Mal belaying with one thats the way to do it.


sed


Jun 19, 2010, 10:43 PM
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Mal, I've used a lot of gear from a variety of manufacturers over the years and never have I found anything foolproof. Even standing on the ground and watching someone climb can get you killed. Warning labels are nice and all but it's the instuctional information that comes with gear and now online instruction as well that's important. There is no excuse for not knowing how to use gear as designed. If the instructions are incorrect then that might be a designer issue but if the climber doesn't follow instructions than it's the climbers issue. When climbers do things wrong people get hurt. If someone leaves both hands off their ATC and their leader decks, no one is blaming the ATC manfacturer. If someone uses a cinch or a Gri-gri incorrectly then it's the climbers fault if someone gets hurt. Devices may have peculiarities and even limitations. They may not work in some situations or be dangerous in others but as long as that information is given to the consumer clearly then it's the climbers responsibility to be responsible. I really think we need to focus on individual responsibility and not blame the gear. If you don't like the usage of a device then don't buy it.


stonefox


Jun 19, 2010, 10:57 PM
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ltz wrote:
This is definitively NOT an official accident report and, to my knowledge, none of the parties involved has been contacted by any institution for an authoritative report. That said, no information is being actively repressed. There are no people to my knowledge withholding information. So, know in advance that what I post here is a third- and fourth-hand summary of what I have been able to piece together from various sources, including the belayer, who is continuing to work through his own recollection of this horrific accident. I know that the people involved in the fall and rescue intend to contact the organizations that report annually on Climbing and Alpine injuries and fatalities. For those of you seeking non-conjecture, authoritative finality, keep an eye out there.

The bottom line is that with any ground fall, if the rope or harness didn't break and bolts didn't fail - and in this case they didn't - the error is a human one. The failures that led to Mike's fall began long before his group hiked into the Darkside and they revolve around a set of beliefs and poor safety habits that are, unfortunately, all too pervasive in the climbing community. This includes “quickie” peer instruction for lead climbing/lead belaying; an over-reliance in the effectiveness of lock-assist devices; a willingness on the part of more experienced climbers to put less experienced belayers in situations requiring difficult catches (I've been told, and those of you who have belayed on Elephant man know, that it is a tough catch); and a general ambivalence toward the use of helmets - and I'm guilty of this too.

The belay device used at the time of Mike's fall was a Cinch, and the belayer inexperienced at using it. Clearly, it did not engage. Reports from the site indicate that the device was correctly loaded. Reports from the site also indicate that the belayer did not have a fixed hand on the brake. So, what this means is that the device did not engage and that the belayer was not using one of the fundamental actions required of a belayer: braking.

We know that a belayer should always have a fixed hand on the brake. But this accident presents a more complex situation that requires a look at what went wrong. On a Cinch, the device will not engage if 1) the device is manually held down, per Petzl's instructional videos on feeding rope to a lead climber; 2) the device is tipped on its side, which prevents rotation of the Cinch plates; or 3) if you belay from a position in which the pull force on the device is perpendicular to the belayer. This last scenario is particularly prevalent in a lead situation where the rope runs out (rather than up) from a belayer to the first bolt. Because of the steepness of Elephant man and the talus at the bottom, the latter situation seems to be the most likely.

Just because you know how to do something doesn't mean you know how to effectively teach it to someone else. What’s more, the people you choose to instruct become your responsibility. If you aren't qualified to teach someone don't pretend you are. Send them to someone who is qualified. And, if you're on the receiving end of instruction from your "buddy who's been doing it, like, forever and is really good" - use caution. Your instruction may well be inadequate.

Hi, not sure who you are but nuff said. Thanks for the post, its covered, you got it all right here - there should be no more question on the subject.


stonefox


Jun 19, 2010, 11:04 PM
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kostik wrote:
I was not present when the accident occurred, but I was the 'buddy' who had given the belayer a 'quickie' instruction in the fall of 2009. Therefore I feel responsible for what happened.

I was the one who recommended the Cinch over grigri and ATC to the belayer involved for the lead belay, because I have witnessed an accident involving an ATC used by inexperienced belayer, who panicked and let go of the breaking end of the rope, and because I did not like the idea of manually blocking the grigri when feeding out the rope. Cinch, when used properly, allows easy rope release without need for blocking the cam. At the same time, when you hold it with your index finger and a thumb, the breaking end of the rope is always in your hand. You never need to let it go.

It was his first, I believe, instruction in lead belaying. We went to a gym and I explained how to hold the cinch properly with a finger and a thumb in the pivot hole and holding the breaking end of the rope in the hand. Unlike Grigri, the Cinch during the lead belay has to be tilted horizontally with its colored side up. When the leader falls, the cinch turns up and blocks the rope, providing the rope is held with the hand. When held properly, the rope is always in your hand and you never need to let go of it. See the demo video, around 2:10:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9TO5ikqXwo

Unfortunately, due to schedule conflict, I never had a chance to continue instructions and watch the belayer to practice more with the device. I was planning to go with him to the Red, but our weekend schedules never matched.

After the accident, my other friend experimented with the cinch and found that when it was held like grigri, i.e. vertically and not tilted, the device did not lock the rope. I did not know about this when I was giving my instructions, but I remember that I specifically told the belayer involved in the accident to hold the cinch horizontally, green side up, with index finger and the thumb in the pivot hole and the breaking hand always on the rope.

I don't know how the cinch was actually held during the accident.

I still think that when used correctly Cinch is a very safe device. However, the rules for using grigri are not applied to the cinch. These are two different devices and are supposed to be held differently. Perhaps, Trango needs to explore potentially dangerous positions of cinch and make the results of this study public.

Lee is correct by saying that when force is applied perpendicular to the belayer the cinch may not lock, especially since it is normally held horizontally. Like with all other devices, it is advisable that the belayer stays under the first draw.

I feel that my instructions were adequate and correct, but insufficient in terms of practicing time with the device. I don't know whether in 6 or so months between my lesson and the accident the belayer used the cinch correctly and did not confuse the grigri and cinch belay methods. I simply never had a chance to lead climb with him after that.

I also know that Mike was not very familiar with the Cinch. He asked me about the device a few months before the accident being curious about it. Therefore, he could not provide the belayer with proper instructions and he might suggest the incorrect grigri technique when using cinch.

I didn't know that you are an instructor at the gym.


drucilla


Jun 19, 2010, 11:12 PM
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this has become an exercise in tedium: cinch v. gri gri v. atc v. belayer and so on. In addition, i've punished myself with reading the endless lock/unlock debate revolving around certain parties wishing more information.
At this time, i believe we have a fair analysis of what happened. The accident has been adequately explained.

At the time when i could begin to think rationally after we lost Mike, i decided that we could help ourselves more than we have been. We need something like a crusade to spread the message of safety. I live very near a popular sport climbing area where i commonly see unsafe things perpetrated by all ability level climbers. I SPEAK UP. Do you? It's often intimidating to tell climbers/belayers to correct their methods.
Be bold and speak up when you see something unsafe. Many among us frequently ignore unnecessary danger.
I do not know if this would have helped Mike. But i am certain that we need to take better care of each other.
I'll end with a Mike Tucker quote: "have fun, climb safe"


jakedatc


Jun 20, 2010, 5:43 AM
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jt512 wrote:
jakedatc wrote:
Gri gri's have had far more accidents than the Cinch but since less people use them and even less know about them there is a lot more skepticism.

Not exactly the paragon of clear thinking, that.

Jay

it was late.. i just think that people are quick to blame the Cinch because it is new and not the belayer. make more sense?


socalclimber


Jun 20, 2010, 9:13 AM
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Re: [jakedatc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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When are people going to learn and accept the fact that the gear is not dangerous.

It's the people using it. Period!

I've been using a grigri for 20 years and I HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO DROPPING ANYONE. Same goes with atc's, tube style devices and stich plates, which I currently use.

Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Jun 20, 2010, 9:14 AM)


duppyc


Jun 20, 2010, 9:19 AM
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socalclimber wrote:
When are people going to learn and accept the fact that the gear is not dangerous.

It's the people using it. Period!

I've been using a grigri for 20 years and I HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO DROPPING ANYONE. Same goes with atc's, tube style devices and stich plates, which I currently use.

Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

+1...user error causes accidents, not gear.


kostik


Jun 20, 2010, 9:53 AM
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stonefox wrote:
I didn't know that you are an instructor at the gym.

Instructors in the gym charge $55 per lead belay class on ATC. I am just a 'buddy' who gave a free 'quickie' on Cinch and now I regret that I ever did it.


ClimbClimb


Jun 20, 2010, 3:54 PM
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socalclimber wrote:
Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

This seems unnecessarily harsh in a thread about a fatal accident, don't you think? I'm sure the unnamed belayer and kostik feel horrible enough already.

And anyway, the reality is that while it's less *likely* to happen with more training and practice, every time you belay, there's a risk of you dropping someone. It's a small risk, reduced greatly by proper training & experience, but it's still a horrifying thought. Even world's top climbers occasionally make mistakes.


patto


Jun 20, 2010, 4:27 PM
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kostik wrote:
stonefox wrote:
I didn't know that you are an instructor at the gym.

Instructors in the gym charge $55 per lead belay class on ATC. I am just a 'buddy' who gave a free 'quickie' on Cinch and now I regret that I ever did it.

I hope you don't beat yourself up too much about it. With over 6 months between your instruction and the incident you friend had plenty of time to learn a secure belay.

A secure belay isn't just something you are taught. You need to THINK. You need to understand the belay system and trust yourself to be able to hold a big force. The belayer clearly did not understand his device. That is his problem.


socalclimber


Jun 20, 2010, 5:27 PM
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ClimbClimb wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

This seems unnecessarily harsh in a thread about a fatal accident, don't you think? I'm sure the unnamed belayer and kostik feel horrible enough already.

And anyway, the reality is that while it's less *likely* to happen with more training and practice, every time you belay, there's a risk of you dropping someone. It's a small risk, reduced greatly by proper training & experience, but it's still a horrifying thought. Even world's top climbers occasionally make mistakes.

I'm well aware of this incident. My intentions were never aimed at the belayer or the climber. My comments were towards those who seem to be fixated on gear. Not their responsibility to their partner.

There is nothing harsh about it.

It's the truth.


jakedatc


Jun 20, 2010, 5:38 PM
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patto wrote:
kostik wrote:
stonefox wrote:
I didn't know that you are an instructor at the gym.

Instructors in the gym charge $55 per lead belay class on ATC. I am just a 'buddy' who gave a free 'quickie' on Cinch and now I regret that I ever did it.

I hope you don't beat yourself up too much about it. With over 6 months between your instruction and the incident you friend had plenty of time to learn a secure belay.

A secure belay isn't just something you are taught. You need to THINK. You need to understand the belay system and trust yourself to be able to hold a big force. The belayer clearly did not understand his device. That is his problem.

well said, you can't learn it in one whole day lesson let alone a quick intro. Your responsibility ended when he left for the day and should have sought more guidance.


ltz


Jun 21, 2010, 6:45 AM
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jakedatc wrote:
patto wrote:
kostik wrote:
stonefox wrote:
I didn't know that you are an instructor at the gym.

Instructors in the gym charge $55 per lead belay class on ATC. I am just a 'buddy' who gave a free 'quickie' on Cinch and now I regret that I ever did it.

I hope you don't beat yourself up too much about it. With over 6 months between your instruction and the incident you friend had plenty of time to learn a secure belay.

A secure belay isn't just something you are taught. You need to THINK. You need to understand the belay system and trust yourself to be able to hold a big force. The belayer clearly did not understand his device. That is his problem.

well said, you can't learn it in one whole day lesson let alone a quick intro. Your responsibility ended when he left for the day and should have sought more guidance.

I told myself that I wasn’t going to step back into this conversation and, after this, you can all rest assured that I’ll keep my trap shut.

It saddens me deeply that this seems to be the typical and pervasive mentality in the sport. IMHO it is a complete abdication of responsibility and is something that desperately needs to change. If you choose to take it upon yourself to train someone, your responsibility *begins* on that day and continues from that point. I’m not such a fool as to think you need to follow your ‘students’ around forever or to be there every time they send a climber off the ground. But, it has always been self-evident to me that people tend to be only as good as their training. Those who are merely shown a quick ‘what to do’ tend to be limited in their understanding of system-wide safety and tend to be unable to adapt and adjust quickly within the safety parameters of a given system. The people who tend to be the safest are those who are taught why they are doing what they are doing as well as system safety *and* are introduced to the critically necessary mentality of comprehensive safety. You should feel it is inherent in your responsibility to ensure that you have imparted a thorough understanding of all of those things. If you are unable to do so, whether from lack of time or lack of consistent interaction, send them to someone who is better able to provide that type of training. In short, take better care of your fellow climbers.

Further, I would argue that there is a significant difference between quickly showing someone how to do something and actually training someone. Just because you take a second to show someone how to load a chamber and pull a trigger doesn’t mean that you have trained a person in the appropriate use of firearms, firearm safety, or instilled in them a healthy understanding of the responsibilities and potential hazards of firearm use. Nor does it mean that you, as a self-appointed instructor, are free from responsibility after you say “It’s easy. All you have to do is…” If you believe that by simply showing someone a quick ‘what to do’ you have fulfilled your responsibility as an instructor, you’re incorrect. Nor should you assume that the person you have shown will seek additional instruction. You have placed yourself in the position of "expert;" they believe they have already gotten the necessary training. You should be seeking to give exceptional instruction not merely ‘adequate’ instruction.

That any individual in the sport would be continually seeking to improve their skills, on both climbing and belaying, should go without saying. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the climbers I’ve met have no qualms about wanting to get better at climbing, to snag a harder route or grade or sequence, but I hear frighteningly few climbers who seek to get better at belaying, who want to be safer. It seems to me like the focus is on the wrong end of the rope. As I said, we need to take better care of our fellow climbers. This includes ensuring that people get thorough and appropriate training. And, if you choose to instruct, it includes a necessity not only to provide thorough and appropriate training, but also to hold yourself accountable for those you train.

I know I'm probably not going to change many minds. Likely, I'm either preaching to the proverbial choir or you're firmly convinced that adequate training is enough and that the people you show how to belay aren't your responsibility. Hopefully, people will be more mindful of the instruction they opt to give and more mindful of the quality of instruction the person belaying you (go ahead and read 'protecting your life' here) has received.


dlintz


Jun 21, 2010, 8:00 AM
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maldaly wrote:
I'm sorry I don't usually do this but here goes:

First, How the hell did the thread title get hijacked from Darkside Accident to Cinch is Dangerous? I would love to be able to hijack a few thread titles myself.

Second, RyanJames, the body of your thread says it all. You do a dis-service to everyone who has so eloquently contributed to this thread by titling it "Cinch is Dangerous" when, in fact, it should be titled "Belayer is Dangerous", or "Don't climb with a dangerous belayer".

Please change it.

Mal

+1

d.


patto


Jun 21, 2010, 9:14 AM
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Interesting topic your bring up. I disagree but you do raise important discussion. Smile

ltz wrote:
It saddens me deeply that this seems to be the typical and pervasive mentality in the sport. IMHO it is a complete abdication of responsibility and is something that desperately needs to change.
There is a very good reason why this mentality is universal across the sport and across the world.

ltz wrote:
But, it has always been self-evident to me that people tend to be only as good as their training.
I taught myself and now I teach others. Training isn't the only way that knowledge is gained. In fact it normally is the worse way. Foremost a climber needs to THINK. This cannot easily be taught.

ltz wrote:
If you choose to take it upon yourself to train someone, your responsibility *begins* on that day and continues from that point.
That has a nice ring to it but it is a worthless point. I have taught people things and never seen them again in my life. The best one can do is tell them that there is more to learn.

ltz wrote:
Those who are merely shown a quick ‘what to do’ tend to be limited in their understanding of system-wide safety and tend to be unable to adapt and adjust quickly within the safety parameters of a given system.
As long as they are made to understand this then it is fine.

ltz wrote:
The people who tend to be the safest are those who are taught why they are doing what they are doing as well as system safety *and* are introduced to the critically necessary mentality of comprehensive safety. You should feel it is inherent in your responsibility to ensure that you have imparted a thorough understanding of all of those things. If you are unable to do so, whether from lack of time or lack of consistent interaction, send them to someone who is better able to provide that type of training. In short, take better care of your fellow climbers.
If we adopted this attitude we would never get new people into this sport. Most people initially experience climbing from brief initial experiences.

ltz wrote:
Nor should you assume that the person you have shown will seek additional instruction. You have placed yourself in the position of "expert;" they believe they have already gotten the necessary training. You should be seeking to give exceptional instruction not merely ‘adequate’ instruction.
No matter how exceptional the instruction is it will not prepare them completely. There is a continuous line of experience and as long as the student is aware of that then there is no problem.

ltz wrote:
And, if you choose to instruct, it includes a necessity not only to provide thorough and appropriate training, but also to hold yourself accountable for those you train.
As a trainer I will happily train. I am however loath to 'approve' somebody as being capable of independent leading. I will never try to lay that sort of accountability on myself.

ltz wrote:
Hopefully, people will be more mindful of the instruction they opt to give and more mindful of the quality of instruction the person belaying you (go ahead and read 'protecting your life' here) has received.
I think we all have been blaise about our belayers at some point.


jakedatc


Jun 21, 2010, 10:20 AM
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I also disagree (obviously). People need to take RESPONSIBILITY for THEMSELVES. If you are not proficient with a skill, YOU need to get more instruction.

Hell i've taught people on routes next to me how to thread their anchor correctly because it was easier for me to explain than have them fumble through it.. does that mean i have to watch them the rest of the day to see if they get it? fuck that. I've told people in passing that they are back clipped.

the guy said he hadn't seen the belayer in 6 months. how the hell is he supposed to keep teaching him anything? Kostik shouldn't feel bad that someone he knows failed a fundamental rule of belaying and caused an accident.

some states make you take a short firearms course before getting a gun license.. do you think an instructor should feel bad if a year later the guy shoots himself in the leg because he was stupid and didn't have the safety on his gun? Crazy


patto


Jun 21, 2010, 10:31 AM
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{Bigot persona}

Climbing (particularly trad) is a sport that actracts competent people. Most incompetent people know deep down that they are incompetent, they tend to stay away from activities where clumbsy thought would kill them.

{/Bigot persona}

I find the number one point I want to emphasise to a new belayer is that "THEY HAVE A PERSON'S LIFE IN THEIR HANDS". Emphasise this and most people can perform a top rope belay. However it is scary when even this doesn't work.

I know of a university club that had an accident where a beginner belayer dropped a new climber (fractured vertibrae). Two weeks later the belayer was literally laughing about the incident and retelling it. Some people just don't GET what is SERIOUS. Some people just don't understand.


jt512


Jun 21, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Re: [patto] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
Most incompetent people know deep down that they are incompetent, they tend to stay away from activities where clumbsy thought would kill them.

That's not what the research says. See Unskilled and Unaware of It.

Jay


billcoe_


Jun 21, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Re: [socalclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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Sorry to hear of this and wishing the best to all.

Some points to add to what Rgold says above Malcolm. I wish they paid you money everytime you have stepped into this site and reiterated again and again and again like it says in the instructions - "do not use the Cinch for toprope self belay."

Yet mere days later some new person comes up and AGAIN asks the same goddamn question again: "Can I use the Cinch for TR self belay?" And the cycle repeats. You are left with the fact that no matter how hard you try, and you try very hard, you will never reach everyone and at some point we are all left with this perfect statement below.

socalclimber wrote:
Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

I will add that anyone who deigns to teach the skill of belaying (no matter what the device is) needs to repeat ad nauseum to their "student" how this is the MOST critical skill they will learn and that it must be mastered perfectly and done flawless EVERY SINGLE TIME! .

EVERY SINGLE TIME! .


Toast_in_the_Machine


Jun 21, 2010, 1:04 PM
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Re: [jt512] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
patto wrote:
Most incompetent people know deep down that they are incompetent, they tend to stay away from activities where clumbsy thought would kill them.

That's not what the research says. See Unskilled and Unaware of It.

Jay

In a thread of sadness and severity, that was beautiful. Well done.


majid_sabet


Jun 21, 2010, 1:09 PM
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Re: [duppyc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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duppyc wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
When are people going to learn and accept the fact that the gear is not dangerous.

It's the people using it. Period!

I've been using a grigri for 20 years and I HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO DROPPING ANYONE. Same goes with atc's, tube style devices and stich plates, which I currently use.

Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

+1...user error causes accidents, not gear.

+1.... improper instruction from unqualified instructor


socalclimber


Jun 21, 2010, 2:42 PM
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majid_sabet wrote:
duppyc wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
When are people going to learn and accept the fact that the gear is not dangerous.

It's the people using it. Period!

I've been using a grigri for 20 years and I HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO DROPPING ANYONE. Same goes with atc's, tube style devices and stich plates, which I currently use.

Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

+1...user error causes accidents, not gear.

+1.... improper instruction from unqualified instructor

+2 Agreed.


majid_sabet


Jun 21, 2010, 3:07 PM
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Re: [socalclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
duppyc wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
When are people going to learn and accept the fact that the gear is not dangerous.

It's the people using it. Period!

I've been using a grigri for 20 years and I HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO DROPPING ANYONE. Same goes with atc's, tube style devices and stich plates, which I currently use.

Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

+1...user error causes accidents, not gear.

+1.... improper instruction from unqualified instructor

+2 Agreed.

last month, I gave a presentation on climbing and instructor related accident and refer this to;

1x1 vs 1x17

one unqualified climber kills one climber
one bad instructor could kill 17


jt512


Jun 21, 2010, 4:23 PM
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socalclimber wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
duppyc wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
When are people going to learn and accept the fact that the gear is not dangerous.

It's the people using it. Period!

I've been using a grigri for 20 years and I HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO DROPPING ANYONE. Same goes with atc's, tube style devices and stich plates, which I currently use.

Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

+1...user error causes accidents, not gear.

+1.... improper instruction from unqualified instructor

+2 Agreed.

If A = {instructors who Majid would classify as qualified}
and B = {instructors who Socalclimber would classify as qualified};
then, if x is a member of A, I wonder what the probability is that x is a member of B.

Jay


socalclimber


Jun 21, 2010, 4:59 PM
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jt512 wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
duppyc wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
When are people going to learn and accept the fact that the gear is not dangerous.

It's the people using it. Period!

I've been using a grigri for 20 years and I HAVE NEVER EVEN COME CLOSE TO DROPPING ANYONE. Same goes with atc's, tube style devices and stich plates, which I currently use.

Learn to belay properly, learn your job properly, and pay attention. Then these things won't happen.

+1...user error causes accidents, not gear.

+1.... improper instruction from unqualified instructor

+2 Agreed.

If A = {instructors who Majid would classify as qualified}
and B = {instructors who Socalclimber would classify as qualified};
then, if x is a member of A, I wonder what the probability is that x is a member of B.

Jay

Null Set.


Leave my member out of this...

Pervert.


karmiclimber


Jun 21, 2010, 9:41 PM
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Re: [ltz] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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ltz wrote:
jakedatc wrote:
patto wrote:
kostik wrote:
stonefox wrote:
I didn't know that you are an instructor at the gym.

Instructors in the gym charge $55 per lead belay class on ATC. I am just a 'buddy' who gave a free 'quickie' on Cinch and now I regret that I ever did it.

I hope you don't beat yourself up too much about it. With over 6 months between your instruction and the incident you friend had plenty of time to learn a secure belay.

A secure belay isn't just something you are taught. You need to THINK. You need to understand the belay system and trust yourself to be able to hold a big force. The belayer clearly did not understand his device. That is his problem.

well said, you can't learn it in one whole day lesson let alone a quick intro. Your responsibility ended when he left for the day and should have sought more guidance.

I told myself that I wasn’t going to step back into this conversation and, after this, you can all rest assured that I’ll keep my trap shut.

It saddens me deeply that this seems to be the typical and pervasive mentality in the sport. IMHO it is a complete abdication of responsibility and is something that desperately needs to change. If you choose to take it upon yourself to train someone, your responsibility *begins* on that day and continues from that point. I’m not such a fool as to think you need to follow your ‘students’ around forever or to be there every time they send a climber off the ground. But, it has always been self-evident to me that people tend to be only as good as their training. Those who are merely shown a quick ‘what to do’ tend to be limited in their understanding of system-wide safety and tend to be unable to adapt and adjust quickly within the safety parameters of a given system. The people who tend to be the safest are those who are taught why they are doing what they are doing as well as system safety *and* are introduced to the critically necessary mentality of comprehensive safety. You should feel it is inherent in your responsibility to ensure that you have imparted a thorough understanding of all of those things. If you are unable to do so, whether from lack of time or lack of consistent interaction, send them to someone who is better able to provide that type of training. In short, take better care of your fellow climbers.

Further, I would argue that there is a significant difference between quickly showing someone how to do something and actually training someone. Just because you take a second to show someone how to load a chamber and pull a trigger doesn’t mean that you have trained a person in the appropriate use of firearms, firearm safety, or instilled in them a healthy understanding of the responsibilities and potential hazards of firearm use. Nor does it mean that you, as a self-appointed instructor, are free from responsibility after you say “It’s easy. All you have to do is…” If you believe that by simply showing someone a quick ‘what to do’ you have fulfilled your responsibility as an instructor, you’re incorrect. Nor should you assume that the person you have shown will seek additional instruction. You have placed yourself in the position of "expert;" they believe they have already gotten the necessary training. You should be seeking to give exceptional instruction not merely ‘adequate’ instruction.

That any individual in the sport would be continually seeking to improve their skills, on both climbing and belaying, should go without saying. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the climbers I’ve met have no qualms about wanting to get better at climbing, to snag a harder route or grade or sequence, but I hear frighteningly few climbers who seek to get better at belaying, who want to be safer. It seems to me like the focus is on the wrong end of the rope. As I said, we need to take better care of our fellow climbers. This includes ensuring that people get thorough and appropriate training. And, if you choose to instruct, it includes a necessity not only to provide thorough and appropriate training, but also to hold yourself accountable for those you train.

I know I'm probably not going to change many minds. Likely, I'm either preaching to the proverbial choir or you're firmly convinced that adequate training is enough and that the people you show how to belay aren't your responsibility. Hopefully, people will be more mindful of the instruction they opt to give and more mindful of the quality of instruction the person belaying you (go ahead and read 'protecting your life' here) has received.

Disagree...sorry. Its a climber's responsibility to find out for themselves how their gear works. What a mentality of "lets blame anyone but myself for screwing up." If I watch a video on youtube about how to rock climb and its terrible and unsafe and then I go copy their instructions and maim myself...who's fault is it? Mine. Duh.

Edit to add, just for fun:
1. The cinch is not an unsafe device. Its a tricky to learn how to operate correctly device. There is a difference.
2. Its the more experienced climber's responsibility to make sure their belayer knows what they are doing.
3. Its the more inexperienced belayer's responsibility to cut the bravado and say "hey, wait...I don't really understand how to use this thing..."
4. Climbing involves humans. Humans are prone to error.


(This post was edited by karmiclimber on Jun 21, 2010, 9:49 PM)


majid_sabet


Jun 21, 2010, 9:54 PM
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Re: [karmiclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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karmiclimber wrote:
ltz wrote:
jakedatc wrote:
patto wrote:
kostik wrote:
stonefox wrote:
I didn't know that you are an instructor at the gym.

Instructors in the gym charge $55 per lead belay class on ATC. I am just a 'buddy' who gave a free 'quickie' on Cinch and now I regret that I ever did it.

I hope you don't beat yourself up too much about it. With over 6 months between your instruction and the incident you friend had plenty of time to learn a secure belay.

A secure belay isn't just something you are taught. You need to THINK. You need to understand the belay system and trust yourself to be able to hold a big force. The belayer clearly did not understand his device. That is his problem.

well said, you can't learn it in one whole day lesson let alone a quick intro. Your responsibility ended when he left for the day and should have sought more guidance.

I told myself that I wasn’t going to step back into this conversation and, after this, you can all rest assured that I’ll keep my trap shut.

It saddens me deeply that this seems to be the typical and pervasive mentality in the sport. IMHO it is a complete abdication of responsibility and is something that desperately needs to change. If you choose to take it upon yourself to train someone, your responsibility *begins* on that day and continues from that point. I’m not such a fool as to think you need to follow your ‘students’ around forever or to be there every time they send a climber off the ground. But, it has always been self-evident to me that people tend to be only as good as their training. Those who are merely shown a quick ‘what to do’ tend to be limited in their understanding of system-wide safety and tend to be unable to adapt and adjust quickly within the safety parameters of a given system. The people who tend to be the safest are those who are taught why they are doing what they are doing as well as system safety *and* are introduced to the critically necessary mentality of comprehensive safety. You should feel it is inherent in your responsibility to ensure that you have imparted a thorough understanding of all of those things. If you are unable to do so, whether from lack of time or lack of consistent interaction, send them to someone who is better able to provide that type of training. In short, take better care of your fellow climbers.

Further, I would argue that there is a significant difference between quickly showing someone how to do something and actually training someone. Just because you take a second to show someone how to load a chamber and pull a trigger doesn’t mean that you have trained a person in the appropriate use of firearms, firearm safety, or instilled in them a healthy understanding of the responsibilities and potential hazards of firearm use. Nor does it mean that you, as a self-appointed instructor, are free from responsibility after you say “It’s easy. All you have to do is…” If you believe that by simply showing someone a quick ‘what to do’ you have fulfilled your responsibility as an instructor, you’re incorrect. Nor should you assume that the person you have shown will seek additional instruction. You have placed yourself in the position of "expert;" they believe they have already gotten the necessary training. You should be seeking to give exceptional instruction not merely ‘adequate’ instruction.

That any individual in the sport would be continually seeking to improve their skills, on both climbing and belaying, should go without saying. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the climbers I’ve met have no qualms about wanting to get better at climbing, to snag a harder route or grade or sequence, but I hear frighteningly few climbers who seek to get better at belaying, who want to be safer. It seems to me like the focus is on the wrong end of the rope. As I said, we need to take better care of our fellow climbers. This includes ensuring that people get thorough and appropriate training. And, if you choose to instruct, it includes a necessity not only to provide thorough and appropriate training, but also to hold yourself accountable for those you train.

I know I'm probably not going to change many minds. Likely, I'm either preaching to the proverbial choir or you're firmly convinced that adequate training is enough and that the people you show how to belay aren't your responsibility. Hopefully, people will be more mindful of the instruction they opt to give and more mindful of the quality of instruction the person belaying you (go ahead and read 'protecting your life' here) has received.

Disagree...sorry. Its a climber's responsibility to find out for themselves how their gear works. What a mentality of "lets blame anyone but myself for screwing up." If I watch a video on youtube about how to rock climb and its terrible and unsafe and then I go copy their instructions and maim myself...who's fault is it? Mine. Duh.

Edit to add, just for fun:
1. The cinch is not an unsafe device. Its a tricky to learn how to operate correctly device. There is a difference.
2. Its the more experienced climber's responsibility to make sure their belayer knows what they are doing.
3. Its the more inexperienced belayer's responsibility to cut the bravado and say "hey, wait...I don't really understand how to use this thing..."
4. Climbing involves humans. Humans are prone to error.

if you pull a n00b off the street and give him a climbing gear and ask him to manage it then walk away. did you just walked away from a climber and based on your logic, you still think that was his responsibility to find out for himself ?


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Jun 21, 2010, 9:56 PM)


karmiclimber


Jun 21, 2010, 10:04 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:

if you pull a n00b off the street and give him a climbing gear and ask him to manage it then walk away. did you just walked away from a climber and based on your logic, you still think that was his responsibility to find out for himself ?

Yeah, because that is a likely scenario. Personally, I don't engage in teaching people how to climb unless I am banging them. Technique is as far as I go. When people ask questions...I point them in the direction of good books...long's books, freedom of the hills, etc.


blueeyedclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 6:43 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:

if you pull a n00b off the street and give him a climbing gear and ask him to manage it then walk away. did you just walked away from a climber and based on your logic, you still think that was his responsibility to find out for himself ?

Dude, that happens every day. They're called REI salespeople.Wink

On another note, the answer is somewhere between being responsible and having no responsibility whatsoever. There is NO teacher or instructor anywhere in the world in any subject matter that is expected to guide a student entirely through their learning. That is just unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that it is a student's responsibility to learn. Should the teacher provide quality instruction? Absolutely! But, in the end, no matter how qualified and excellent a teacher is, some people just can't learn certain things. Sometimes a student may be doing fine under supervision, but when asked to recall it later has trouble. You can't blame a teacher for that.

This is a terrible tragedy, for sure, but outside of obvious negligence, you cannot blame instruction.

Josh


Partner rgold


Jun 22, 2010, 9:10 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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We old codgers learned it all (and by and large continue to learn it all) by ourselves. No instructors to blame for our own stupidity.

And that's the way it ought to be. Personal responsibility is central to climbing. If something goes wrong on your watch, it is your fault (even if it isn't). Deal with it.

It is no one's fault but your own, not the gym that provided an atmosphere of inattention and an illusion of safety, not the instructor who didn't give you the whole story and neglected to move in with you for the next ten years to keep tabs on your progress, not the leader who trusted you when they shouldn't have.

Someone put their life in your hands and you fumbled the pass. You will have to live with this, and you better not start looking around for someone else to point the finger at, because there is no one but yourself to blame.

Harsh? Part of the problem is that the general atmosphere isn't harsh enough. People need to hear this loud and clear. This ain't tiddlywinks. It isn't the NBA finals or Word Cup Soccer or the US Open either. In those things, if you lose, you go home and try harder next year. When you "lose" in climbing, someone might go home in a goddamn box.

I'm beginning to get nostalgic for the days of the hip belay. The belayer knew they were in for it. No gadget of unknown frictional properties that supposedly works with everying from dental floss to tugboat hawser, no non-autolocking autolocking device that will work even if the belayer is asleep but of course really won't, no "hands-free" device that can't really be used with hands free, in short, no technological substitute for continual attention and some very simple skills.

One of the reasons climbing is becoming so popular is that the various industries involved in promoting it manage to continually downplay the dangers, to the point that a casual attitude is easy to adopt. Look at the "you're gonna die" line, which has become a pervasive joke line in internet forums. Ha ha.

The warnings are, of course, in the fine print, but they get about as much attention as the conditions-of-use documents we routinely agree to with a click when we install new software.

But none of this excuses in inexcusable. That rope in your hands is somebody's lifeline. You sure as hell better know what you are doing with it.


blueeyedclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 9:28 AM
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Well said.

One thing I will add is about personal responsibility as far as instruction goes. Rgold is exactly right that it is up to the individual to keep themselves and their partner safe. But, if I were to instruct someone and then they hurt themselves or someone else applying that instruction, I WOULD feel responsible. I think anyone with a heart would feel the same.

So, I think an instructor needs to think long and hard about the type of instruction they give, because human emotion and guilt are unavoidable if an accident were to happen, regardless of who is actually at fault.

Josh


maldaly


Jun 22, 2010, 9:37 AM
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Well said, rgold. One of the best things about climbing for me is that it's one of the few places left where we can make our own decisions and then take full responsibility for those decisions. The opening paragraph of the warning we post on our website says just about the same thing:
---------------------------------------------
Climbing and mountaineering activities, which include technical rock, snow, and ice climbing, backcountry skiing, general mountaineering and slacklining, combine many unique opportunities and choices to experience individual freedom and self-determination in our natural environment. An essential element of this expression of freedom through climbing and mountaineering is the acceptance of the many risks and dangers that are inherent in and integral to these activities.
----------------------------------------------

No so sure I'm ready to go back to the hip belay though. I'll never forget early belay school in 1972. We were in a parking lot on a hill, tied in to a lamp post belaying a goddamn Volkswagen coasting at 11mph down the hill. Someone had calculated that the force the rolling VW generated was close to that of an F2 fall. I got the damn thing stopped but had rope burns on my back through the heavy army coat I was wearing and through the pair of welder's gloves I had on.

Ouch! But it was a lesson I'll never forget.
Climb Safe,
Mal


reno


Jun 22, 2010, 10:17 AM
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rgold wrote:
We old codgers learned it all (and by and large continue to learn it all) by ourselves. No instructors to blame for our own stupidity.

And that's the way it ought to be. Personal responsibility is central to climbing. If something goes wrong on your watch, it is your fault (even if it isn't). Deal with it.

It is no one's fault but your own, not the gym that provided an atmosphere of inattention and an illusion of safety, not the instructor who didn't give you the whole story and neglected to move in with you for the next ten years to keep tabs on your progress, not the leader who trusted you when they shouldn't have.

Someone put their life in your hands and you fumbled the pass. You will have to live with this, and you better not start looking around for someone else to point the finger at, because there is no one but yourself to blame.

Harsh? Part of the problem is that the general atmosphere isn't harsh enough. People need to hear this loud and clear. This ain't tiddlywinks. It isn't the NBA finals or Word Cup Soccer or the US Open either. In those things, if you lose, you go home and try harder next year. When you "lose" in climbing, someone might go home in a goddamn box.

I'm beginning to get nostalgic for the days of the hip belay. The belayer knew they were in for it. No gadget of unknown frictional properties that supposedly works with everying from dental floss to tugboat hawser, no non-autolocking autolocking device that will work even if the belayer is asleep but of course really won't, no "hands-free" device that can't really be used with hands free, in short, no technological substitute for continual attention and some very simple skills.

One of the reasons climbing is becoming so popular is that the various industries involved in promoting it manage to continually downplay the dangers, to the point that a casual attitude is easy to adopt. Look at the "you're gonna die" line, which has become a pervasive joke line in internet forums. Ha ha.

The warnings are, of course, in the fine print, but they get about as much attention as the conditions-of-use documents we routinely agree to with a click when we install new software.

But none of this excuses in inexcusable. That rope in your hands is somebody's lifeline. You sure as hell better know what you are doing with it.

Best post on RC.com in a long, long, long time.


JimTitt


Jun 22, 2010, 10:31 AM
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Pure sampling bias on your part. Until this thread, I had never seen or heard of anyone being dropped by a Cinch, but I have seen and heard of more people than I can remember being dropped using Grigris and ATCs. You cannot draw conclusions about the relative safety of belay devices from such sources.

Jay
Hmmm, I´d have though a guy like you would have been a little more cautious with his choice of words! That you´ve never heard of anyone being dropped is merely your sampling bias in that you neither looked nor heard in the right place.

The current issue of Panorama (the DAV magazine, 3.2010 http://cms.alpenverein.de/download_file.php?id=6589&showfile=1) reports 6 cases of serious injury from belaying failures with the Cinch and statistically the accident rate is 21 times that of the Grigri and 112 times that of ATC style devices.


majid_sabet


Jun 22, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:

if you pull a n00b off the street and give him a climbing gear and ask him to manage it then walk away. did you just walked away from a climber and based on your logic, you still think that was his responsibility to find out for himself ?

Dude, that happens every day. They're called REI salespeople.Wink

On another note, the answer is somewhere between being responsible and having no responsibility whatsoever. There is NO teacher or instructor anywhere in the world in any subject matter that is expected to guide a student entirely through their learning. That is just unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that it is a student's responsibility to learn. Should the teacher provide quality instruction? Absolutely! But, in the end, no matter how qualified and excellent a teacher is, some people just can't learn certain things. Sometimes a student may be doing fine under supervision, but when asked to recall it later has trouble. You can't blame a teacher for that.

This is a terrible tragedy, for sure, but outside of obvious negligence, you cannot blame instruction.

Josh

You guys love to blame the problem on some one else cause you like to see things in black and white.

if a student fails and kills some one , is always his problem but no dudes. if a child goes and become pregnant in 13, that should be her problem right ?

Responsibility does not end once you pass the belay device to a inexperienced climber. you need to make sure that this child can apply brake, steers the wheel and controls the entire thing before you walk away. This is call teaching. you either give it full or you do not.


jt512


Jun 22, 2010, 10:49 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
In reply to:

Pure sampling bias on your part. Until this thread, I had never seen or heard of anyone being dropped by a Cinch, but I have seen and heard of more people than I can remember being dropped using Grigris and ATCs. You cannot draw conclusions about the relative safety of belay devices from such sources.

Jay

Hmmm, I´d have though a guy like you would have been a little more cautious with his choice of words! That you´ve never heard of anyone being dropped is merely your sampling bias....

That is implied by my post.

Jay


socalclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 10:57 AM
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Re: [rgold] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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rgold wrote:
We old codgers learned it all (and by and large continue to learn it all) by ourselves. No instructors to blame for our own stupidity.

And that's the way it ought to be. Personal responsibility is central to climbing. If something goes wrong on your watch, it is your fault (even if it isn't). Deal with it.

It is no one's fault but your own, not the gym that provided an atmosphere of inattention and an illusion of safety, not the instructor who didn't give you the whole story and neglected to move in with you for the next ten years to keep tabs on your progress, not the leader who trusted you when they shouldn't have.

Someone put their life in your hands and you fumbled the pass. You will have to live with this, and you better not start looking around for someone else to point the finger at, because there is no one but yourself to blame.

Harsh? Part of the problem is that the general atmosphere isn't harsh enough. People need to hear this loud and clear. This ain't tiddlywinks. It isn't the NBA finals or Word Cup Soccer or the US Open either. In those things, if you lose, you go home and try harder next year. When you "lose" in climbing, someone might go home in a goddamn box.

I'm beginning to get nostalgic for the days of the hip belay. The belayer knew they were in for it. No gadget of unknown frictional properties that supposedly works with everying from dental floss to tugboat hawser, no non-autolocking autolocking device that will work even if the belayer is asleep but of course really won't, no "hands-free" device that can't really be used with hands free, in short, no technological substitute for continual attention and some very simple skills.

One of the reasons climbing is becoming so popular is that the various industries involved in promoting it manage to continually downplay the dangers, to the point that a casual attitude is easy to adopt. Look at the "you're gonna die" line, which has become a pervasive joke line in internet forums. Ha ha.

The warnings are, of course, in the fine print, but they get about as much attention as the conditions-of-use documents we routinely agree to with a click when we install new software.

But none of this excuses in inexcusable. That rope in your hands is somebody's lifeline. You sure as hell better know what you are doing with it.

Thank you.

I've been a harsh fucking prick on this site for a long time and have been beaten over the head for it. I've stood my ground and will continue to do so for the very reasons you are stating above.


Partner j_ung


Jun 22, 2010, 10:59 AM
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Re: [karmiclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
if you pull a n00b off the street and give him a climbing gear and ask him to manage it then walk away. did you just walked away from a climber and based on your logic, you still think that was his responsibility to find out for himself ?

Yes.


Partner j_ung


Jun 22, 2010, 11:01 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
You guys love to blame the problem on some one else cause you like to see things in black and white.

No, that's what you're saying. Most of the rest of us seem to be saying the opposite.


jomagam


Jun 22, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Re: [rgold] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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Rgold really ? You wish climbing gear came with no instructions ? You're like that angry old man who wants children off his grass. Personal responsibility is a given especially because who the hell care whose fault is it if you or a friend gets seriously injured. Having said that you can have a legitimate discussion about the safety of various belay devices. It's nice to preach about users causing accidents, not gear, but reality has more shades than most people on this thread make it seem like.


socalclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 11:48 AM
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Re: [jomagam] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jomagam wrote:
Rgold really ? You wish climbing gear came with no instructions ? You're like that angry old man who wants children off his grass. Personal responsibility is a given especially because who the hell care whose fault is it if you or a friend gets seriously injured. Having said that you can have a legitimate discussion about the safety of various belay devices. It's nice to preach about users causing accidents, not gear, but reality has more shades than most people on this thread make it seem like.

Oh good lord and butter.


karmiclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Re: [jomagam] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jomagam wrote:
Rgold really ? You wish climbing gear came with no instructions ? You're like that angry old man who wants children off his grass. Personal responsibility is a given especially because who the hell care whose fault is it if you or a friend gets seriously injured. Having said that you can have a legitimate discussion about the safety of various belay devices. It's nice to preach about users causing accidents, not gear, but reality has more shades than most people on this thread make it seem like.

LOL. Personal responsibility doesn't have "shades", fyi.


Partner rgold


Jun 22, 2010, 12:29 PM
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Re: [jomagam] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jomagam wrote:
Rgold really ? You wish climbing gear came with no instructions ?

If I said anything related to that, it is that people don't attend to the instructions that are provided and ignore the manufacturers warnings.

In reply to:
who the hell care whose fault is it if you or a friend gets seriously injured.

A large portion of the thread seems to be devoted this question.

In reply to:
Having said that you can have a legitimate discussion about the safety of various belay devices. It's nice to preach about users causing accidents, not gear, but reality has more shades than most people on this thread make it seem like.

I don't disagree about the shaded reality, but I'm growing weary of an emphasis on failure of technology and poor instruction that casts the incompetent as hapless victims of circumstances beyond their control.

If the device flies apart in your hands, then you got a beef.

If you basically don't know how to use it, haven't practiced with it, haven't thought about and worked through its idiosyncrasies, and then you literally take someone else's life in your hands, then I don't think anyone should be looking around for external sources of responsibility for the consequences.

In reply to:
You're like that angry old man who wants children off his grass.

If the lawn is covered with signs saying poison has been put down, then I do want them off my grass.

Learn your craft, and you can play on my lawn all you want. Otherwise, the angry old man is gonna yell at you.


karmiclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 12:37 PM
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Re: [rgold] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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In reply to:
jomagam wrote:Rgold really ? You wish climbing gear came with no instructions ?

If I said anything related to that, it is that people don't attend to the instructions that are provided and ignore the manufacturers warnings.

The instructions and warnings are a legality, or am I wrong? IE the manufacturers put them there to avoid sue-age.

In reply to:
If you basically don't know how to use it, haven't practiced with it, haven't thought about and worked through its idiosyncrasies, and then you literally take someone else's life in your hands, then I don't think anyone should be looking around for external sources of responsibility for the consequences.

Honest question. How does one practice with, say a cinch, to become competent with it? It seems that even in practice, you are going to be putting someone at risk, no? I think that is why I stick with the ATC....its what I learned to belay on, so why change it up...


blueeyedclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 12:59 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
blueeyedclimber wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:

if you pull a n00b off the street and give him a climbing gear and ask him to manage it then walk away. did you just walked away from a climber and based on your logic, you still think that was his responsibility to find out for himself ?

Dude, that happens every day. They're called REI salespeople.Wink

On another note, the answer is somewhere between being responsible and having no responsibility whatsoever. There is NO teacher or instructor anywhere in the world in any subject matter that is expected to guide a student entirely through their learning. That is just unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that it is a student's responsibility to learn. Should the teacher provide quality instruction? Absolutely! But, in the end, no matter how qualified and excellent a teacher is, some people just can't learn certain things. Sometimes a student may be doing fine under supervision, but when asked to recall it later has trouble. You can't blame a teacher for that.

This is a terrible tragedy, for sure, but outside of obvious negligence, you cannot blame instruction.

Josh

You guys love to blame the problem on some one else cause you like to see things in black and white.

if a student fails and kills some one , is always his problem but no dudes. if a child goes and become pregnant in 13, that should be her problem right ?

Responsibility does not end once you pass the belay device to a inexperienced climber. you need to make sure that this child can apply brake, steers the wheel and controls the entire thing before you walk away. This is call teaching. you either give it full or you do not.

Look, I know English isn't your first language, but if you're not even going to attempt to understand what I wrote, then I don't know what else to do. What you are not understanding, is that an instructor could be perfect, do everything right, and even go above and beyond what is asked of them...and the student could STILL screw it up. This is not a 7-year-old we're talking about. These were adults.

You seem to be implying that all climbing instructors need to follow their students around for the rest of their lives. Am I missing something?

Josh

Edited to say: the pregnant 13 year-old is their parent's problem, not their climbing instructors Tongue


(This post was edited by blueeyedclimber on Jun 22, 2010, 1:01 PM)


redlude97


Jun 22, 2010, 1:06 PM
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Re: [karmiclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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karmiclimber wrote:
In reply to:
jomagam wrote:Rgold really ? You wish climbing gear came with no instructions ?

If I said anything related to that, it is that people don't attend to the instructions that are provided and ignore the manufacturers warnings.

The instructions and warnings are a legality, or am I wrong? IE the manufacturers put them there to avoid sue-age.

In reply to:
If you basically don't know how to use it, haven't practiced with it, haven't thought about and worked through its idiosyncrasies, and then you literally take someone else's life in your hands, then I don't think anyone should be looking around for external sources of responsibility for the consequences.

Honest question. How does one practice with, say a cinch, to become competent with it? It seems that even in practice, you are going to be putting someone at risk, no? I think that is why I stick with the ATC....its what I learned to belay on, so why change it up...
How did you practice with the ATC? Aren't you putting someone at risk while you learned how to use it? The cinch is no different. If you learned proper technique to start, and follow that, and don't do anything you aren't supposed to, the worst that happens is you shortrope your climber, which is the intention is practicing they shouldn't be climbing anything where this is an issue, or you have a slow and jerky lower. These same things happen with a noob on an atc. You can back up a cinch belayer the same way by putting someone on the brake strand.


jakedatc


Jun 22, 2010, 1:10 PM
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Re: [karmiclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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karmiclimber wrote:

Honest question. How does one practice with, say a cinch, to become competent with it? It seems that even in practice, you are going to be putting someone at risk, no? I think that is why I stick with the ATC....its what I learned to belay on, so why change it up...

You learn the same way you learned how to use your ATC

I switched a few years ago. I started by belaying with it on easy routes with little risk of falling to get the mechanics down. I read the instructions and watched Mal's video for tips. I also PM'd Mal himself and asked him questions.

how did you learn to drive a car. You start slowly with instruction, drive cautiously, eventually you become comfortable. Once you start rolling you and people around you are at risk.

The failures in this accident would have happened with ANY device. The guy didn't have his hand on the brake. #1 rule of belaying .. broken. User error. period.


blueeyedclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 1:12 PM
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Re: [rgold] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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rgold wrote:

Learn your craft, and you can play on my lawn all you want. Otherwise, the angry old man is gonna yell at you.

Awesome! With all due respect, I'm taking this. Cool


socalclimber


Jun 22, 2010, 1:18 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
rgold wrote:

Learn your craft, and you can play on my lawn all you want. Otherwise, the angry old man is gonna yell at you.

Awesome! With all due respect, I'm taking this. Cool

Agreed! Brilliant response.


jt512


Jun 22, 2010, 1:21 PM
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Re: [karmiclimber] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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karmiclimber wrote:
I think that is why I stick with the ATC....its what I learned to belay on, so why change it up...

If by "ATC" you mean the classic ATC (as opposed to ATC-dash-something), then you should change, because it is doubtful whether your belay device provides enough friction to control a severe fall with the current generation of ropes.

Jay


redlude97


Jun 22, 2010, 1:22 PM
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Re: [jakedatc] Darkside accident [In reply to]
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jakedatc wrote:
karmiclimber wrote:

Honest question. How does one practice with, say a cinch, to become competent with it? It seems that even in practice, you are going to be putting someone at risk, no? I think that is why I stick with the ATC....its what I learned to belay on, so why change it up...

You learn the same way you learned how to use your ATC

I switched a few years ago. I started by belaying with it on easy routes with little risk of falling to get the mechanics down. I read the instructions and watched Mal's video for tips. I also PM'd Mal himself and asked him questions.

how did you learn to drive a car. You start slowly with instruction, drive cautiously, eventually you become comfortable. Once you start rolling you and people around you are at risk.

The failures in this accident would have happened with ANY device. The guy didn't have his hand on the brake. #1 rule of belaying .. broken. User error. period.
Although its hard to know for sure, i don't think this was the only error made in this case. I think the belayer squeezed the device overcoming the camming action. Much worse in that even if he was holding the brake strand it still would have failed


kostik


Jun 22, 2010, 1:52 PM
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Re: [JimTitt] dangerous belayer [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:

The current issue of Panorama (the DAV magazine, 3.2010 http://cms.alpenverein.de/...=6589&showfile=1) .

Thanks JimTitt. This article explains clearly in plain German that one cannot hold the Cinch vertically. It is dangerous because in this case the rope goes straight through the device toward the climber without meeting any friction. Those people who are claiming to hold it upright during the lead belay are endangering their climbers. You can hold it vertically only when belaying on a TR.

Therefore, as I have explained previously in this thread, the Cinch must be tilted way to the left with its opening away from the direction of the rope. I hold the device flat on its side with the colored panel up. I explained this to the belayer involved during my instruction. By teaching him I was hoping to make him my permanent climbing partner, therefore, I took my instructions seriously. It was not only about loading and holding the Cinch, but also about feeding the appropriate amount of slack, keeping rope away from the climber, etc.

I tried to arrange a climbing trip together with him several times after that, but we always had a schedule conflict. He climbed for half a year with other people. I have no information on whether he used the Cinch correctly after our session or used incorrect technique.

When I bought a Cinch, I hated it at first. It locked the rope when I was feeding it out, and I practiced with it for two weeks during which time I found that pinching it with the index finger and a thumb and holding it flat on a side is the safest mode of operation. Then I tried it in the gym with a climber. Caught several controlled falls. Then I took it outside. After several months of practice, I felt that, when used correctly, the Cinch is easier to use and safer than grigri. Now I must also agree that the Cinch is less forgiving when the belayer is not following the instructions precisely. In particular, holding it vertically, or cupping it with the hand is plainly dangerous.

Perhaps, it will make Mal feel better if I tell that at least on one occasion the Cinch saved climber's life in a situation when an ATC would have failed. I was belaying a climber on toprope on a steep climb. I was standing not directly under the chains, but closer to the wall. There was a large boulder right behind me. At about 60 ft above the ground my climber asked me to take. I was pulled back and hit the boulder with the back of my head. I saw sparks and almost fainted or perhaps I did faint. I was still holding the breaking end of the rope, but not firmly enough to break the fall. If I were using an ATC, there would have been a dead body on the ground. But the Cinch locked the rope and held. The Grigri would have done the same.


redlude97


Jun 22, 2010, 2:01 PM
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kostik wrote:
JimTitt wrote:

The current issue of Panorama (the DAV magazine, 3.2010 http://cms.alpenverein.de/...=6589&showfile=1) .

Thanks JimTitt. This article explains clearly in plain German that one cannot hold the Cinch vertically. It is dangerous because in this case the rope goes straight through the device toward the climber without meeting any friction. Those people who are claiming to hold it upright during the lead belay are endangering their climbers. You can hold it vertically only when belaying on a TR.

Therefore, as I have explained previously in this thread, the Cinch must be tilted way to the left with its opening away from the direction of the rope. I hold the device flat on its side with the colored panel up. I explained this to the belayer involved during my instruction. By teaching him I was hoping to make him my permanent climbing partner, therefore, I took my instructions seriously. It was not only about loading and holding the Cinch, but also about feeding the appropriate amount of slack, keeping rope away from the climber, etc.

I tried to arrange a climbing trip together with him several times after that, but we always had a schedule conflict. He climbed for half a year with other people. I have no information on whether he used the Cinch correctly after our session or used incorrect technique.

When I bought a Cinch, I hated it at first. It locked the rope when I was feeding it out, and I practiced with it for two weeks during which time I found that pinching it with the index finger and a thumb and holding it flat on a side is the safest mode of operation. Then I tried it in the gym with a climber. Caught several controlled falls. Then I took it outside. After several months of practice, I felt that, when used correctly, the Cinch is easier to use and safer than grigri. Now I must also agree that the Cinch is less forgiving when the belayer is not following the instructions precisely. In particular, holding it vertically, or cupping it with the hand is plainly dangerous.

Perhaps, it will make Mal feel better if I tell that at least on one occasion the Cinch saved climber's life in a situation when an ATC would have failed. I was belaying a climber on toprope on a steep climb. I was standing not directly under the chains, but closer to the wall. There was a large boulder right behind me. At about 60 ft above the ground my climber asked me to take. I was pulled back and hit the boulder with the back of my head. I saw sparks and almost fainted or perhaps I did faint. I was still holding the breaking end of the rope, but not firmly enough to break the fall. If I were using an ATC, there would have been a dead body on the ground. But the Cinch locked the rope and held. The Grigri would have done the same.
Look closely at the pictures. The mag is advocating to flip the cinch upside down and then using it horizontally, not the same as your case, notice how it causes the belay loop to twitch. Malcom has mentioned before that europeans have suggested this method, although it is not his reccommendation. Explain how the method of camming is different in a TR vs a leading situation that makes the device in a vertical orientation more dangerous?


kostik


Jun 22, 2010, 2:11 PM
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redlude97 wrote:

Look closely at the pictures. The mag is advocating to flip the cinch upside down and then using it horizontally, not the same as your case, notice how it causes the belay loop to twitch.

On Abb2 the Cinch is not flipped upside down. The picture on the left overemphasizes tilting the device to the left. The pic in the middle and in the circle shows that the cinch is tilted to the left, but not clipped to the biner upside down. This brings more friction into the system and gives the belayer more control over the rope. You can use the advantage of google translator to read the text.