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Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident
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socalclimber


Oct 13, 2011, 5:06 AM
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Re: [dindolino32] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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This really all comes down to partners checking partners, or in this case, not doing so. One of the things I see constantly these days is the rush through the belay signals and how they are done. When the climber TELLS the belayer "on belay" it is not a statement of fact, it is a question. For that question to be answered, the checks need to be done first before the belayer answers "on belay".


gblauer
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Oct 13, 2011, 6:30 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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Thoughts and prayers to the climber. I hope she has a speedy recovery and is unfettered by long term physical effects.


patto


Oct 13, 2011, 3:36 PM
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Re: [socalclimber] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
This really all comes down to partners checking partners

I politely disagree. First and foremost it comes down to the climber tying the knot properly. EVERY TIME. There are many situation where you can't have your partner check your knot or other item which your life depends on.

Your harness. Your knot. Your rope. Your anchor. All needs to be explicitly checked. The consequences for failure are obvious and great. Never let complacency creep in.

Partner checks? Well they're goo too. But 75% of my life critical decisions my partner isn't there to check.


sandstone


Oct 13, 2011, 5:59 PM
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Re: [patto] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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socalclimber wrote:
This really all comes down to partners checking partners

patto wrote:
I politely disagree. First and foremost it comes down to the climber tying the knot properly. EVERY TIME..... Never let complacency creep in....

You're both right. It's your own responsibility, but the way I see it part of that responsibility is to be honest with yourself and your partners about human nature. We goof up -- all of us, there is no immunity from it.


DougMartin


Oct 13, 2011, 8:56 PM
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Re: [rosco22] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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rosco22 wrote:
I am one of the climbing guides at HCR and was at the ranch during the accident. There are a number of things that need to be clarified and addressed, and our thoughts need to move on towards a speedy recovery for the girl.

First off, this was not a guided climb. It was three good friends out climbing. The belayer was in fact one of our guides, which is where the assumption came from, but he was simply out climbing with two friends he has known for a long time. It was his day off, and they had come up for the weekend.

Secondly, the accident was an unfinished knot. The climber tied her own knot, and unfortunately she did not finish it. She has been climbing for around 5 years. When she reached the anchors and sat in her harness, the knot came untied and she fell. She was not wearing a helmet, and is beyond lucky that she sustained no head trauma.

Thirdly, it did not take anywhere near 2 to 3 hours before she was flown out. Her belayer had a radio and immediately called it in. We received his message for a mediflight and immediately called 911. First responders were at the parking lot incredibly fast, and mediflight arrived at the same time the ambulance did. There were several EMT's and other knowledgeable people that were on the scene within a matter of moments. In situations like this it often feels like hours have gone by, but I can assure you that she was in the helicopter in around an hour.

This is exactly the kind of thing we all hear about and think will never happen, but that is why they are called accidents. A great majority of us go out and climb without helmets, and a good number of us don't double check our climbers knots. As guides we spend day after day, week after week, tieing clients in and double checking our systems before every climb. We use helmets as guides because that's the right thing to do. But when we go out with our friends, most of us are guilty of ditching the helmet or trusting that our climbing partner can and will tie their knot correctly. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens, and she is very lucky things went the way they did.

I can't go into the details of her condition, but I can say that things look extremely hopeful. She has no head trauma, and has feeling in her legs. She is expected to make a full recovery, but it will be a very long and difficult road. If you could keep her in your thoughts, that would be greatly appreciated.

Praying for her and remembering to check my buddies knot! Glad a full recovery is possible!


Partner rrrADAM


Oct 14, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Re: [rosco22] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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rosco22 wrote:
First off, this was not a guided climb. It was three good friends out climbing. The belayer was in fact one of our guides, which is where the assumption came from, but he was simply out climbing with two friends he has known for a long time. It was his day off, and they had come up for the weekend.

Secondly, the accident was an unfinished knot. The climber tied her own knot, and unfortunately she did not finish it. She has been climbing for around 5 years. When she reached the anchors and sat in her harness, the knot came untied and she fell. She was not wearing a helmet, and is beyond lucky that she sustained no head trauma.

I always check my belayer's harness and atc/biner/rope before I blast off, and they always check my harness and knot. This is the way I learned... And thank gOD, as we all mess up, and I have forgotten to finish my knot before.

Everyone I climb with does this instinctively, and I've climbed with people from all over the country in many different places.

The only people I've climbed with that didn't do this instinctively were ones that I was teaching to climb, and after a few climbs, they did it instinctively after understanding the possible concequences of not doing it.

I am dismayed that your guide is not in the habit of doing this.


(This post was edited by rrrADAM on Oct 14, 2011, 11:24 AM)


socalclimber


Oct 14, 2011, 7:23 PM
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Re: [sandstone] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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sandstone wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
This really all comes down to partners checking partners

patto wrote:
I politely disagree. First and foremost it comes down to the climber tying the knot properly. EVERY TIME..... Never let complacency creep in....

You're both right. It's your own responsibility, but the way I see it part of that responsibility is to be honest with yourself and your partners about human nature. We goof up -- all of us, there is no immunity from it.

I agree. I understand Patto's point, but they were standing next to each other when the climber left the ground. Therefore, there's no excuse for the partnership break down that occurred. Simple, if you climb with more than yourself, then you're now a team. Don't like it, then just stick soloing.

It's both members of the teams responsibility to ensure that the systems are in tact.


technogeekery


Oct 14, 2011, 7:24 PM
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Re: [sandstone] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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I hope she recovers soon.

This is a mistake that anyone can make in a moment of inattention - you start tying in, get distracted by something, and never go back to finishing your knot. I try very hard never to get distracted once I start my knot - but it happens. I always double-check, talking it through out loud and showing my partner, and then he does the same. Just 2 weeks ago this double check picked up exactly this scenario - I'd stopped halfway through typing the knot to help with something, then neglected to finish it. No harm done, slapped myself mentally and carried on - but reinforced my longstanding practice of partner checks. And if my partner isn't there (cleaning, setting anchors, setting off on rap) I check again, out loud.

Whatever works for you - but don't kid yourself, everyone eventually makes mistakes, and partner checks better your odds.


socalclimber


Oct 14, 2011, 8:16 PM
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Re: [technogeekery] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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technogeekery wrote:
I hope she recovers soon.

This is a mistake that anyone can make in a moment of inattention - you start tying in, get distracted by something, and never go back to finishing your knot. I try very hard never to get distracted once I start my knot - but it happens. I always double-check, talking it through out loud and showing my partner, and then he does the same. Just 2 weeks ago this double check picked up exactly this scenario - I'd stopped halfway through typing the knot to help with something, then neglected to finish it. No harm done, slapped myself mentally and carried on - but reinforced my longstanding practice of partner checks. And if my partner isn't there (cleaning, setting anchors, setting off on rap) I check again, out loud.

Whatever works for you - but don't kid yourself, everyone eventually makes mistakes, and partner checks better your odds.

Again I can't disagree, but if you make it a habit to complete each task before you start another, then things like this are less likely to happen.

I have radically changed my approach to climbing over the past ten years for exactly these reasons. Also having to zip people into body bags or send them on their way in helicopters to a trauma ward tends change your perspective.


JimTitt


Oct 16, 2011, 10:32 AM
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Re: [patto] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
This really all comes down to partners checking partners

I politely disagree. First and foremost it comes down to the climber tying the knot properly. EVERY TIME. There are many situation where you can't have your partner check your knot or other item which your life depends on.

Your harness. Your knot. Your rope. Your anchor. All needs to be explicitly checked. The consequences for failure are obvious and great. Never let complacency creep in.

Partner checks? Well they're goo too. But 75% of my life critical decisions my partner isn't there to check.

Quite agree, I refuse to teach partner check as a concept for those reasons. I expect my partner to tie knots which I will be relying on when Iīm not there to check, same for building belays, setting up abseils in the dark and so on. Anything that removes any part of his responsibility to be 100% correct and double check himself is stupid and a system which promotes a culture of `itīs all right, someone else will checkīis doubly stupid.
Itīs illogical anyway, if he canīt be trusted to tie his own knot then Iīm not trusting his checking ability either!

I have a simple rule to check my own knot when I reach down to clip the first piece and consider this the best habit to get into.


sandstone


Oct 16, 2011, 5:06 PM
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Re: [JimTitt] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
... I refuse to teach partner check...Anything that removes any part of his responsibility to be 100% correct and double check himself is stupid and a system which promotes a culture of `itīs all right, someone else will checkīis doubly stupid.

Jim, a simple pre-climb check of your partner does not create in him a nanny mentality. It reminds him that he's fallible, and thus reminds him to watch out for himself (and his partners).

In reply to:
Itīs illogical anyway, if he canīt be trusted to tie his own knot then Iīm not trusting his checking ability either!

What's illogical is the thought that it is possible for any of us to reach a state of mind where we are "100% correct", i.e. that we have eliminated the possibility of mistakes.

In reply to:
I have a simple rule to check my own knot when I reach down to clip the first piece and consider this the best habit to get into.

That's not a bad habit. If humans were capable of training ourselves to operate perfectly, then that would work every single time. But the brutal truth is that we are not capable of that. One simple distraction, or one bit of complacency due to over familiarity, is all it takes. No one is immune from that, not the gym climber, not the world class alpinist, not anyone.

I check my partners before they start up, and I ask that they do the same for me.


Partner j_ung


Oct 16, 2011, 5:20 PM
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Re: [JimTitt] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
patto wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
This really all comes down to partners checking partners

I politely disagree. First and foremost it comes down to the climber tying the knot properly. EVERY TIME. There are many situation where you can't have your partner check your knot or other item which your life depends on.

Your harness. Your knot. Your rope. Your anchor. All needs to be explicitly checked. The consequences for failure are obvious and great. Never let complacency creep in.

Partner checks? Well they're goo too. But 75% of my life critical decisions my partner isn't there to check.

Quite agree, I refuse to teach partner check as a concept for those reasons. I expect my partner to tie knots which I will be relying on when Iīm not there to check, same for building belays, setting up abseils in the dark and so on. Anything that removes any part of his responsibility to be 100% correct and double check himself is stupid and a system which promotes a culture of `itīs all right, someone else will checkīis doubly stupid.
Itīs illogical anyway, if he canīt be trusted to tie his own knot then Iīm not trusting his checking ability either!

I have a simple rule to check my own knot when I reach down to clip the first piece and consider this the best habit to get into.

I think I've agreed with or learned from close to 100% of your posts. This one's an exception. I really don't agree that doing a partner check creates some sort of invalid that can then no longer be relied upon to tie a knot without one. It's easy to do and has enormous potential benefits; case in point, this thread.

I certainly agree, however, with the point that a climber needs to be able focus long enough to complete simple tasks without interruption.


patto


Oct 16, 2011, 5:38 PM
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Re: [sandstone] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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sandstone wrote:
Jim, a simple pre-climb check of your partner does not create in him a nanny mentality. It reminds him that he's fallible, and thus reminds him to watch out for himself (and his partners).

So what happens the other 75% of the time when your partner can't check your anchor/knots/protection?


superchuffer


Oct 16, 2011, 5:49 PM
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In reply to:
This really all comes down to partners checking partners

I politely disagree. First and foremost it comes down to the climber tying the knot properly. EVERY TIME. There are many situation where you can't have your partner check your knot or other item which your life depends on.

Your harness. Your knot. Your rope. Your anchor. All needs to be explicitly checked. The consequences for failure are obvious and great. Never let complacency creep in.

Partner checks? Well they're goo too. But 75% of my life critical decisions my partner isn't there to check.

Quite agree, I refuse to teach partner check as a concept for those reasons. I expect my partner to tie knots which I will be relying on when Iīm not there to check, same for building belays, setting up abseils in the dark and so on. Anything that removes any part of his responsibility to be 100% correct and double check himself is stupid and a system which promotes a culture of `itīs all right, someone else will checkīis doubly stupid.
Itīs illogical anyway, if he canīt be trusted to tie his own knot then Iīm not trusting his checking ability either!

I have a simple rule to check my own knot when I reach down to clip the first piece and consider this the best habit to get into.

checking your partner's knot is like looking in the rearview mirror when someone else is driving. sure, you should trust them implicitly, but you give a different perception, and hence an decreased margin of error.


sandstone


Oct 16, 2011, 6:33 PM
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Re: [JimTitt] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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Jim, I agree with j_ung's comment about your posts. Your posts are signal, not noise -- and you deliver them with an enjoyable wit. Thank you for that, and for all the info on your web site.


notapplicable


Oct 16, 2011, 6:45 PM
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Re: [patto] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
sandstone wrote:
Jim, a simple pre-climb check of your partner does not create in him a nanny mentality. It reminds him that he's fallible, and thus reminds him to watch out for himself (and his partners).

So what happens the other 75% of the time when your partner can't check your anchor/knots/protection?

1. The base of most popular crags have a pretty casual atmosphere with people coming and going, gearing up, beta swapping, planning dinner, etc... Generally speaking, those type of distractions don't exist during our solitary moments on the wall. Usually we just have the task at hand to focus on.

2. People are fallible and it seems foolish to willfully pass up the opportunity to insert redundancy in to critical tasks when possible.


vencido


Oct 16, 2011, 7:16 PM
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Re: [patto] Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Accident [In reply to]
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patto wrote:
So what happens the other 75% of the time when your partner can't check your anchor/knots/protection?

Many of the other tasks we do don't necessarily spell death if we screw them up.

But this one is so simple to check.
I think if you climb with enough people you will have seen a few folks forget to finish a knot or lock a carabiner.

The fact the Lynn Hill messed this up once tells me that I and my partners are not above making this same mistake.


bearbreeder


Oct 16, 2011, 7:23 PM
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ditto ... if lynn hill can screw up tying a knot ... anyone can ... at any time

no one is perfect ...


patto


Oct 16, 2011, 8:14 PM
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I have never said don't do partner checks. But if you think that they are necessary then I question the your own competence and reliability.

notapplicable wrote:
1. The base of most popular crags have a pretty casual atmosphere with people coming and going, gearing up, beta swapping, planning dinner, etc... Generally speaking, those type of distractions don't exist during our solitary moments on the wall. Usually we just have the task at hand to focus on.

If there is a casual atmosphere that is leading to distraction and mistakes then the solution isn't partner checks. Wink


(This post was edited by patto on Oct 16, 2011, 8:15 PM)


notapplicable


Oct 16, 2011, 8:30 PM
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patto wrote:
I have never said don't do partner checks. But if you think that they are necessary then I question the your own competence and reliability.

notapplicable wrote:
1. The base of most popular crags have a pretty casual atmosphere with people coming and going, gearing up, beta swapping, planning dinner, etc... Generally speaking, those type of distractions don't exist during our solitary moments on the wall. Usually we just have the task at hand to focus on.

If there is a casual atmosphere that is leading to distraction and mistakes then the solution isn't partner checks. Wink

Good luck negating human nature in it's entirity.


JimTitt


Oct 17, 2011, 1:34 AM
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The difficulty I and many others have is the emphasis being on buddy-checks (which is clear from the number of previous posts) whereas the emphasis must be on self-reliance, own control and concentrating on what one is doing.
When I watch beginner groups being taught to tie-in they check each others knots before they are even remotely competent to tie them which unconciously reinforces the reliance on others, leading to the ludicrous (and not so rare) situation that they lead their first route and canīt re-thread to lower because they arenīt sure of their knot.

My view is that the instructor should check they are tying the knot correctly as part of learning knots as a clearly seperated section of a climbing course, then the learner then tests his knot by hanging on it above a boulder mat. This reinforces in their minds the need to get it right every time.

Sadly the modern pressure on instructors to get the climber through the course and on the rock in the shortest possible time before the customers for this `adventure sportī get bored means they have to teach methods well suited to climbing walls and simple sport climbing but utterly unsuitable for anything more challenging.


Partner rrrADAM


Oct 17, 2011, 10:16 AM
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JimTitt wrote:
patto wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
This really all comes down to partners checking partners

I politely disagree. First and foremost it comes down to the climber tying the knot properly. EVERY TIME. There are many situation where you can't have your partner check your knot or other item which your life depends on.

Your harness. Your knot. Your rope. Your anchor. All needs to be explicitly checked. The consequences for failure are obvious and great. Never let complacency creep in.

Partner checks? Well they're goo too. But 75% of my life critical decisions my partner isn't there to check.

Quite agree, I refuse to teach partner check as a concept for those reasons. I expect my partner to tie knots which I will be relying on when Iīm not there to check, same for building belays, setting up abseils in the dark and so on. Anything that removes any part of his responsibility to be 100% correct and double check himself is stupid and a system which promotes a culture of `itīs all right, someone else will checkīis doubly stupid.
Itīs illogical anyway, if he canīt be trusted to tie his own knot then Iīm not trusting his checking ability either!

I have a simple rule to check my own knot when I reach down to clip the first piece and consider this the best habit to get into.

See bold above, as I hope I'm reading this wrong...

Already up on a route, reaching down to clip the first piece, seems like a bad time to double check your knot. I certainly wouldn't consider that a "best practice/habit" by any means. We preach redundancy in climbing, and having us instinctively double check each other IS a form of redundancy.

Imagine run-outs with the first bolt or piece above a lengthy slab section... Bad place to find your knot isn't up to par.


No offense... But if I were belaying you, or you me, and I tried to look at your harness and knot, or get you to look at mine, and you offered up resistance, I wouldn't climb with you.

The only person I wouldn't check a harness or knot on was Reardon, when he wasn't wearing one... When we tied in together, we checked each other.


(This post was edited by rrrADAM on Oct 17, 2011, 10:26 AM)


JimTitt


Oct 17, 2011, 11:01 AM
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Since it doesnīt matter how good my knot is until I get to the first piece it seems as good a place as any (though I have a look before I start anyway) since there I can clip in and do something about it, this seems better than getting to the top and checking the hard way!

Donīt worry, I keep an alert eye out for all the stupidity and forgetfulness we all get up to when we are climbing and I will have looked at your tie-in out of the corner of my eye. What I wonīt do is encourage a system which thinks safety is a series of simple rules taking over for a healthy alertness of what one is doing and the dangers.

Iīm the one tying-in with the rethreaded bowline anyway so most buddy-check fans would be screwed to start with.

Jim


Partner rrrADAM


Oct 17, 2011, 11:17 AM
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JimTitt wrote:
Iīm the one tying-in with the rethreaded bowline anyway so most buddy-check fans would be screwed to start with.
That would be me... I can't check those knots, and in the few instances I've climbed with one who ties in with it, I can only ask them to double check it while I check their harness.



And question regarding checking your knot whilst making the first clip...
In reply to:
...since there I can clip in and do something about it...

How are you clipping in if your knot isn't any good? I'm trying to imagine up on a route, placing a stopper, biner/draw, then reaching down to clip and noticing that your knot is fuxored... Clipping in and weighting an unfinished knot doesn't sound like a good plan.


Edit... BTW, I again mean no offense... I'm just trying to follow your reasoning for actually not emphasizing another form of redundancy. I agree that we all need to know what we are doing, and be self relient when needed, but to purposely exclude this form of redundancy (buddy check) seems a bad choice, IMHO.


(This post was edited by rrrADAM on Oct 17, 2011, 11:48 AM)


Gmburns2000


Oct 17, 2011, 12:36 PM
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JimTitt wrote:
I have a simple rule to check my own knot when I reach down to clip the first piece and consider this the best habit to get into.

I'm having a hard time seeing how this is better than checking it on the ground (regardless of your partner checking your knot). First piece is 20ft off the ground, it's not that solid but might hold a fall, moves are difficult to reverse back to the ground, etc.

I don't know, but on the route, just about anywhere beyond the first couple of moves, is probably the last place I want to find out my knot isn't finished. I'd much rather find out on the ground.

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Forums : Climbing Information : Accident and Incident Analysis

 


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