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it's scarier when it hits close to home
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elvislegs


Sep 24, 2004, 2:32 PM
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brian, i believe the route was animal cracker. have fun this weekend.


brianinslc


Sep 24, 2004, 2:37 PM
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In reply to:
brian, i believe the route was animal cracker. have fun this weekend.

As I recall, there's a tough move out from the flaring flake crack up high on that, then thin crack top out? Er something like that.

Come on over. Campsite 70 (upper breadloaves).

Thanks,

-Brian in SLC


elvislegs


Sep 29, 2004, 4:20 PM
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just got off the phone with kevin again. he is walking. he went for a half mile walk today. doing well, all things considered. thank you all for you well wishes.

he is also much more coherent now, and we talked some more about the route and the accident. this is a synopsis of his account:

kevin said that he had been feeling fine climbing the sustained .10a animal cracker. he had indeed fallen twice before the deck fall. both falls were on different consecutive stoppers placed behind a large flake. both stoppers were bomber. he looked at them again after falling on them and had no qualms about climbing above them again, he was not sketched about these pieces holding. at this point the route lies back a large flake out to easier climbing, as he climbed out further he greased off again, pulling outward on the flake, he thinks that perhaps the flake was a little bit "expando" and had shifted as he climbed, or as he came off, letting the pieces drop out, and sending him for a BIG fall. he remembers seeing those pieces come out and thinking that he would be taking a huge fall, but he was still confident that the metolious cam he had placed below the two stoppers was going to stop him short of the gound. he doesn't know what made the cam fail, but it might have something to do with the fact that he was looking at a near factor 1 fall by that point. hard to say really. he is pretty sure that there was no zipper effect on his pieces during the first two falls, he was dilligent about putting long runners where they needed to be, and had looked closely at the system as it was loaded on the initial two falls. he is sure that the pieces did not shift due to rope pull. the only explanation he can give is the flake shifting.

kevin's most vivid memory of the day is the enourmous impact as he hit the ground. more specifically he says he was amazed at the force with which his head struck the rock behind him. as i mentioned before, he was wearing a helmet, which he and his belayer fully attribute to saving his life. even with the helmet on the impact blurred his vision to the point of only being able to vaguely make out shapes, and seeing stars for a good long while.

kevin specifically wanted me to tell everyone out in interweb climb land, to ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET AT THE CRAGS.

it's sad really, go to any local crag and look around, you will see people everywhere without helmets. it's like if you wear one you are some sort of climb nerd or something. what a stupid reason that would be to die before you've had all your fun eh?
two months ago in boise, an experienced local climber died after being struck in the head by a rock. less than two weeks ago, another, longtime climber and pocatello pump organizer died due to rockfall from the top, kevin caudil is alive at home today, getting hugs from his daughter, because he wore a helmet. climbing is dangerous people, minimize your risk all you can, put your helmet on.


that is all.


jdouble


Sep 29, 2004, 4:53 PM
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Thanks for the posts Elvislegs, all the best to Kevin.

My brainbucket just went into the pack for good.


crimpandgo


Sep 29, 2004, 5:02 PM
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70 feet fall,,, and he is up walking around? Someone was watching over him that day... These "good ending" stories are always nice to read. Stories like this are also the reason I have somuch trouble stepping into trad leading. Lots of variables that climber needs to control and many variables the climber can't control. glad to hear he is ok :)


lokiraven


Sep 29, 2004, 5:13 PM
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Damn........hope that dude gets better. Best wishes to all involved.

Ryan


johnson6102002


Sep 29, 2004, 6:02 PM
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wow thats a crazy story i hope your freind has a good recovery and i also hope he can undertake teh huge mental bariers when going back into climbing


Partner cracklover


Sep 30, 2004, 6:13 AM
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It's fabulous news that his injuries weren't more severe, and that he's recovering so well and so quickly. Thanks for posting!

GO


usmc_2tothetop


Sep 30, 2004, 6:23 AM
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Wow...very interesting. I'll have to remember that. That's what scares me about trad.


unabonger


Sep 30, 2004, 10:55 AM
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In reply to:
We all know that it is ideal to let a rope 'rest' for ten minutes or so after taking a lot of falls on it, as it has lost a lot of its stretch.

Good point.

In reply to:
... Furthermore, this loss of stretch may have been compounded by the gear pulling...I have read in several places (such as analysis of Goran Krop's fatal accident) that if you sew it up too close, and then pull gear, all lower pieces will be hit with essentially a static force.

Here I think you're getting into less solid ground. Are you implying that a longer distances between lower pro would have been safer?

Here's to a speedy recovery.

UB


cfnubbler


Sep 30, 2004, 11:27 AM
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In reply to:
Are you implying that a longer distances between lower pro would have been safer?

I think this may be a reference to one of two ideas.

1. The idea (which I believe has been tested empirically, see the RGoldstone's distilled wisdom thread) that increased rope drag in a system, as might be caused by lots of pieces with inadequate runners, effectively reduces the amount of rope actually elongating under load in a fall and thus increases the force applied to the top piece of protection.

or

2. I also seemed to recall someone suggesting in another thread that the short elapsed time between impacts when a top piece fails and there is another a very short distance below doesn't allow the rope to "recover" its elasticity before the next piece is impacted, resulting in a higher peak load on that piece.

I believe the poster's comment was a reference to one or both of these ideas. But maybe I'm wrong. Lets wait and see...

-Nubbler


elvislegs


Oct 1, 2004, 8:48 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Are you implying that a longer distances between lower pro would have been safer?

... I also seemed to recall someone suggesting in another thread that the short elapsed time between impacts when a top piece fails and there is another a very short distance below doesn't allow the rope to "recover" its elasticity before the next piece is impacted, resulting in a higher peak load on that piece.


-Nubbler


that's how i understood paul's comment.


Partner camhead


Oct 1, 2004, 9:51 AM
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yeah, I was speaking to the idea of the rope not "recovering" its elasticity between closely-places pieces. Don't know if it is a factor or not, but I just recall reading about it in an analysis of Kropp's accident.


boadman


Oct 1, 2004, 10:01 AM
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No offense to the belayer, but another option is that the belayer was a little nervous after the repeated falls and didn't give a dynamic enough belay. With a static belay, even good gear can pull.


madmax


Oct 1, 2004, 10:32 AM
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In reply to:
Dang. A good reminder that it's unsafe to take repeated falls on gear as you would while sport climbing.

This is certainly not the moral of the story. We only wish it were so simple. Other people have suggested more pertinent lessons to learn, such as the "elasticity and recovery" of the rope, distance between placements, and prudent runner use. Perhaps valeberga was suggesting something more like checking your placements after falls, but repeated falls on the gear is superfluous to the real cause(s) of the accident.

Amazing Kevin is walking around after such a massive fall. Best wishes to him.


unabonger


Oct 2, 2004, 3:39 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Are you implying that a longer distances between lower pro would have been safer?

I think this may be a reference to one of two ideas.

1. The idea (which I believe has been tested empirically, see the RGoldstone's distilled wisdom thread) that increased rope drag in a system, as might be caused by lots of pieces with inadequate runners, effectively reduces the amount of rope actually elongating under load in a fall and thus increases the force applied to the top piece of protection.

Right. Effective fall factor is ALWAYS greater than the theoretical fall factor. But given the same amount of drag, a shorter fall with the same rope out would be of a lesser fall factor.

In reply to:

2. I also seemed to recall someone suggesting in another thread that the short elapsed time between impacts when a top piece fails and there is another a very short distance below doesn't allow the rope to "recover" its elasticity before the next piece is impacted, resulting in a higher peak load on that piece.

Intriguing, but on this I've yet to see data. Till then I think I'll stick with the general practice that shorter falls are safer.

UB


billcoe_


Oct 2, 2004, 6:34 PM
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Elvislegs;

I'm so glad your friend Kevin appears so relatively healthy considering... whew.

I was within feet of a near identical accident at Smith rocks (Tale of 2 shitties - I think was the route) @18 years ago which resulted in a fatality. Like Kevin remembering the hit, I remember the sound. This guy, Canadian fella, had a very, very, similar experiance, climbed a trad 5.10a, and does 2 falls on his fourth piece which held fine, then climbed up straight where he should have gone right, putting in more pieces, falls - and then pulled 4 pieces in succession, including the med wired he had fallen on twice. Grounds like a sac of potatoes from @ 70 feet up and dies in front for his buddies and girlfriend. We rapped down (we were like @ 50 feet higher almost directly above on another route) did CPR for some time: finally a Dr. showed up and pronouned him dead. The smell of wheat Thins on his breath, sage brush and juniper berries mixed with the feeling of sadness and helplessness has stayed with me very strongly till today.

damn. It could have been so bad, glad for everybody there....It is a reminder that this is a dangerous sport.

1 more thing, and I don't want to argue here, but you keep preaching about the helmet. I would suggest you go back and read Royal Robbins, one of the the premier climbers of the last century, if you want to know why so many people do not wear them: it really has nothing to do people feeling they don't look stylish like you indicate, but with mind set. There is a philosophical reason, of which skill and philosophy set the stage, which basically boils down to the fact that it's inside the head, not outside that counts for safety reasons. Lynn Hill fell 90 feet with out a helmet and walked away. Last year a guy doing Higher Cathedral dies with his helmet on, and a free-solist with no helmet climbed over to assist. But that isn't the point is it? Ya get in the mountains thats different - you wear it for objective dangers you can't control.

I probably shouldn't post this helmet thing, as I am really just happy that your friend is fine, it's a shocking thing which could have been real bad but wasn't: Kevin looks like he still has his mental and physical health, and his daughter still has a father, it dos not get better than that!

Thanks for sharing and congratulations.


elvislegs


Oct 4, 2004, 3:17 PM
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Elvislegs;

I'm so glad your friend Kevin appears so relatively healthy considering... whew.

I was within feet of a near identical accident at Smith rocks (Tale of 2 s--- - I think was the route) @18 years ago which resulted in a fatality. Like Kevin remembering the hit, I remember the sound. This guy, Canadian fella, had a very, very, similar experiance, climbed a trad 5.10a, and does 2 falls on his fourth piece which held fine, then climbed up straight where he should have gone right, putting in more pieces, falls - and then pulled 4 pieces in succession, including the med wired he had fallen on twice. Grounds like a sac of potatoes from @ 70 feet up and dies in front for his buddies and girlfriend. We rapped down (we were like @ 50 feet higher almost directly above on another route) did CPR for some time: finally a Dr. showed up and pronouned him dead. The smell of wheat Thins on his breath, sage brush and juniper berries mixed with the feeling of sadness and helplessness has stayed with me very strongly till today.

damn. It could have been so bad, glad for everybody there....It is a reminder that this is a dangerous sport.

wow. that is rough.
In reply to:
1 more thing, and I don't want to argue here, but you keep preaching about the helmet. I would suggest you go back and read Royal Robbins, one of the the premier climbers of the last century, if you want to know why so many people do not wear them:
actually, i have read some of Robbins' ideas, and i get it. i see where he (and you) are coming from, and even identify and agree to a certain extent.

In reply to:
it really has nothing to do people feeling they don't look stylish like you indicate, but with mind set. There is a philosophical reason, of which skill and philosophy set the stage, which basically boils down to the fact that it's inside the head, not outside that counts for safety reasons.

agreed.
some climbers eschew helmets for this reason.
however, i would venture to say (without any hard data to back it up), that considering climbing's increase in popularity, and with the gym-dustrial revolution which is in full force even yet; a very small percentage of those climbers who aren't wearing helmets, aren't wearing them because of the philosophical implications of assuming failure. no, i think that instead, they aren't wearing them because of a magazine-fed, cool climber = no helmet, stigma, of which they have failed to see the finer points. climbing is very peculiar that way, there is a very fine line between something being foolish and being fun. it's personal and everyone's experience and comfort level will be different. what may be entirely safe and prudent for you to do, might be insane for me because of my expereince level and skillz. in this way, i don't see the helmet issue any differently from the soloing issue. that said, for me, i will minimize my risk by wearing one, and i will recommend them highly to others because, as you said, hazards exist in climbing which are beyond our control (not just in the mountains, even sport climbing at a well traveled crag). that's really what i'm preaching here.

In reply to:
...I am really just happy that your friend is fine, it's a shocking thing which could have been real bad but wasn't: Kevin looks like he still has his mental and physical health, and his daughter still has a father, it dos not get better than that!

it sure doesn't. thanks again billcoe and everyone else for the well wishes and prayers.

kevin's condition continues to improve.


sarcat


Oct 4, 2004, 4:10 PM
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I'll still always wear my helmet. Glad your friend is OK.


hugepedro


Oct 4, 2004, 5:10 PM
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Glad your friend is alive. Hope he recovers fully.

Here is my guess.

Your, and your friend's, assumption, that he placed bomber gear, was incorrect. Your friend considered gear placed behind a flake as bomber - I'll bet he never does again. I always consider gear behind a flake as suspect.

Also, when climbing at or near one's limit, it's a good idea (if the route allows) to place more than 1 piece and equalize them before a crux. That would be a practice of a climber who is "very safe", and "places good gear".

1. He took a couple falls and didn't give the rope enough time to recover.
2. By the 3rd fall the force was enough (or him pulling out on the flake was enough) for the stoppers to pull.
3. By the time he hit the cam the forces were enough; due to the pre-stretched rope, and/or high fall factor, and/or the cam placement was not as good as he thought; to blow it.

Not intending to be crass, but I find nothing about the above scenario surprising. You're friend is luckey to be alive.


elvislegs


Sep 28, 2005, 10:18 AM
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an update to a very old thread.

i climbed with kevin last sunday. he had not touched rock for a year, as was his promise to his wife. first thing he wanted to do was hop on lead and see how he felt.

it was something to watch, as this guy for whom the last time he touched rock was a very near death experience, got back on lead and cruised up a 5.8 sport route as i belayed nervously. he felt good, he looked strong, and he is taking it slow and easy for now.

so glad to still have my friend around, and to still have him climbing.

props kev. nice lead buddy.


Partner cracklover


Sep 28, 2005, 11:25 AM
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Good for him!

How did he manage to have confidence in his gear after that?

GO


skateman


Sep 28, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Glad to hear your friend is back on his feet again! I think your OP mentioned one of the pieces that pulled was a tri-cam. Those suckers scare me a bit, although I still use them on many a gunks climb.

Dan


oldrnotboldr


Sep 28, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Wow, that's an amazing recovery. It really points out how much influence good physical conditioning has on injuries. And to be mentally/emotionally ready to go back at it,,,,outstanding. Glad to see it!

After reading through the old threads a couple of thoughts come up.

First, there are always some objective dangers (the flake pulling loose) we cannot control. We can only try and minimize their impact.

Secondly,While a recent post talked about helmet protection from side impacts, some protection is better than none. As your friend's case shows. I had a large chunk of ice give me a side impact hard enough to knock me into a whipper once. I'm sure the helmet saved my head a good deal of damage. Sure there are long falls from people not wearing a helmet who had no injuries and some helmeted people who had severe injuries. I would bet, without any hard data, those are the exceptions.


Partner blonde_loves_bolts


Sep 28, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Congratulations to both of you :)
It's really inspirational to see someone come back after an accident of that magnitude.
Hope all continues to go well,
Andrea

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