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Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06
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blueeyedclimber


Oct 2, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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THe route in question has a very stiff topout for the grade. It also puts you in an awkward position. I can remember thinking "I hope I don't fall here."

I am glad the climber is going to be all right. A helmet doesn't replace common sense and awareness but it certainly does help in those situations that you certainly didn't predict.

Overall (long-axis) strength of a biner is pretty much a meaningless number. What sets biners apart from the rest is the short axis (cross-load) strength and the open-gate strength. THese are the numbers that I look at when I purchase a biner.

Also, remember to sling your gear appropriately. Loading over an edge or twisting in a crack is a biner's worst enemy. Proper slingage can help to rectify both of those situations.

Josh


pastprime


Oct 2, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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I have some Omega Pacific Dovals, and like them for what they are for. The gates can get sticky; a drop of WD-40 makes them good as new. I just WD them about once a season, and that seems to take care of it. For some reason the JD's, which apear to have the same gate configuration, hardly ever get sticky. After seeing this, I'll probably start to lube them once a year too, though, and keep a closer eye on them. I don't plan to quit using them, though.
I like the biners, and have not seen the gates get sticky if they have seen any kind of lube within a year or two.


3rrdstone


Oct 2, 2006, 3:48 PM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Hello everyone,

I'm the subject of this thread. First of all I'd like to thank everyone who was there and pitched in to help me. I felt that I was getting what I needed throughout the entire episode. I'd especially like to to thank the Firefighter and the EMT (from Westminster?) who (i believe) managed the operation and also came to visit me in the hospital trauma center. I know you told me your names but they escape me at the moment. Also my partner Jim who drove back to Groveland to get my wife who hates to drive on the highway. And Mike who left work at Mt. Wachusett to see what he could do. I'd thank everyone by name but don't know them. I also apologize for interrupting everyone's climbing and hope I didn't freak anyone out too much. I am home from the hospital. My injuries were fortunately limited to two cracked transverse processes on the L2 and L3 vertebrae and scrapes and bumps on the back and side of my head. I received a mild concussion and don't remember anything about the fall.

Here's my two cents:

Why it happened. I have climbed that route a couple of times before and thought that I had it wired. But that was at least 2 years ago. I've had some physical issues that have kept me from climbing very much over the past 2 summers and was rusty, especially leading. I felt uncomfortable during the whole climb and by the time I was on the left side of the block it was obvious that I didn't want to be there. Instead doing the smart thing and backing off I lunged for the hold at the top of the block even though I wasn't in a good position. Who knows why we (at least I) do these stupid things. Feeling sketched and gripped didn't help and I felt another climbing season slipping away. Self-induced pressure. I guess the lesson is to have the discipline to listen to the the little voice. Sometimes going for it is good but only when things are in order.

The helmet. I have a helmet which I obviously prefer not to wear. It is a good idea to wear a helmet. Apart from the obvious reason there is the effect on others. I caused a lot of folks to interrupt their outing and engage in a rescue in which someone else might have gotten hurt. The professionals have to risk themselves on every call. In my case I may have needed to be rescued anyway, but you get the point. I won't be so sanctimonious as to recommend that everyone wear a helmet, but I will be wearing one henceforth. Perhaps people who saw me might be motivated to wear one.

Why the biner broke. I tend to agree with the idea that getting wedged in the crack caused the failure. I didn't extend the sling on the cam so that the biner was not so far inside the crack. I also should have placed another piece higher up but didn't, being sketched and gripped. The gate was not sticky but I have noticed that tendency on the Dovals. I don't believe that there was any previous damage.

Well, sorry to ramble. Thanks for all the interest and see you soon.

Jim


devils_advocate


Oct 2, 2006, 3:59 PM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Glad to hear you're doing better. Thanks for the report. Hope you heal well, mentally as well as physically.


chossmonkey


Oct 2, 2006, 4:47 PM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Thanks for posting up. It's good to hear you are doing okay. So many times we hear of someone falling and it doesn't turn out so well.

Good luck with your recovery!


boku


Oct 2, 2006, 5:03 PM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I have some Omega Pacific Dovals, and like them for what they are for. The gates can get sticky; a drop of WD-40 makes them good as new...

For applications like this, I generally recommend using a lubricant like Tri-Flow instead of WD-40. At issue is that WD-40 was originally formulated as a water-displacing anti-corrosion agent, and it isn't all that good or persistent as a lubricant.


jryan


Oct 2, 2006, 6:08 PM
Post #32 of 41 (7105 views)
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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I was the belayer on that fall. An here is my perspective At some point we plan to go back to the climb to get more clarity on what went wrong. However, it clear that a number of things contributed to the violence of the fall. First we were not wearing helmets. To be honest, I have no explanation of why we weren't wearing them, we just didn't. If you had asked me before the accident why I did not have one I would not have had a good answer.

Second, we should not have lead that climb. Even though we both had done the climb before and it was well within our grade, we had been climbing for a while and were tired.

Third, we did not discuss how to protect the climb. Prior to that climb we did a 5.9 and had a clear discussion on how it was going to be protected. That discussion did not happen and consequently the upper section was not protected.

Fourth, during the climb we should have been communicating more to cage how he was doing and for me to assist him on either backing off or dropping in more pro to better protect the route.

Fifth, the rope was between his legs at the point of the fall, and because he was to the left of his last piece it flipped him and he hit the wall upside down.

Sixth, the biner broke. It was an Omega wire gate rated at 25Kn and was in excellent shape (prior to the climb....) Until we get back up there its hard to say what happened. My guess is that the gate opened reducing it strength to 7Kn and because it was on an inclining shelf the force from the rope may have been closer to open side making it even weaker.

What was done right.... the work by the first responders. Jim was out of it the whole time prior to the EMT's showing up so he does not remember the work done by the other climbers who took care of him. I was so impressed with how it was manged before the EMT's showed up. Thanks to all of those who helped and their concern, it chokes me up thinking about it.

The good news is that my partner if going to be fine, which is still a shock to me. I have seen hundreds of falls and have fallen a fare share myself over the last 28 years but absolutely nothing came close to that fall.

If we learn anything more about why the biner failed we will re-post.


jryan


Oct 2, 2006, 6:08 PM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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I was the belayer on that fall. An here is my perspective At some point we plan to go back to the climb to get more clarity on what went wrong. However, it clear that a number of things contributed to the violence of the fall. First we were not wearing helmets. To be honest, I have no explanation of why we weren't wearing them, we just didn't. If you had asked me before the accident why I did not have one I would not have had a good answer.

Second, we should not have lead that climb. Even though we both had done the climb before and it was well within our grade, we had been climbing for a while and were tired.

Third, we did not discuss how to protect the climb. Prior to that climb we did a 5.9 and had a clear discussion on how it was going to be protected. That discussion did not happen and consequently the upper section was not protected.

Fourth, during the climb we should have been communicating more to cage how he was doing and for me to assist him on either backing off or dropping in more pro to better protect the route.

Fifth, the rope was between his legs at the point of the fall, and because he was to the left of his last piece it flipped him and he hit the wall upside down.

Sixth, the biner broke. It was an Omega wire gate rated at 25Kn and was in excellent shape (prior to the climb....) Until we get back up there its hard to say what happened. My guess is that the gate opened reducing it strength to 7Kn and because it was on an inclining shelf the force from the rope may have been closer to open side making it even weaker.

What was done right.... the work by the first responders. Jim was out of it the whole time prior to the EMT's showing up so he does not remember the work done by the other climbers who took care of him. I was so impressed with how it was manged before the EMT's showed up. Thanks to all of those who helped and their concern, it chokes me up thinking about it.

The good news is that my partner if going to be fine, which is still a shock to me. I have seen hundreds of falls and have fallen a fare share myself over the last 28 years but absolutely nothing came close to that fall.

If we learn anything more about why the biner failed we will re-post.


jumaringjeff


Oct 3, 2006, 6:31 AM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Jim, glad to hear you're doing better. Thanks for posting up!


blueeyedclimber


Oct 3, 2006, 7:01 AM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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In reply to:

If we learn anything more about why the biner failed we will re-post.

Please do. The only good that comes out of these accidents is that people can learn from them. Once again, I am glad Jim is ok.

Josh


skateman


Oct 3, 2006, 7:32 AM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Hi Jim,

Glad to hear that you are doing well! You scared the Sh$%t out of us! I didn't even recognize you as I helped peel you off of the wall. (perhaps it was because you were slumped over and your eyes were rolling around in your head at the time)

I think Mike D. has your gear. Let me know if you need to get in touch with him.

BTW> It was my daughters first but not last day climbing.

Dan


skateman


Oct 3, 2006, 7:33 AM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Hi Jim,

Glad to hear that you are doing well! You scared the Sh$%t out of us! I didn't even recognize you as I helped peel you off of the wall. (perhaps it was because you were slumped over and your eyes were rolling around in your head at the time)

I think Mike D. has your gear. Let me know if you need to get in touch with him.

BTW> It was my daughters first but not last day climbing.

Dan


skateman


Oct 3, 2006, 7:35 AM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Hi Jim,

Glad to hear that you are doing well! You scared the Sh$%t out of us! I didn't even recognize you as I helped peel you off of the wall. (perhaps it was because you were slumped over and your eyes were rolling around in your head at the time)

I think Mike D. has your gear. Let me know if you need to get in touch with him.

BTW> It was my daughters first but not last day climbing.

Dan


3rrdstone


Oct 3, 2006, 2:56 PM
Post #39 of 41 (7105 views)
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Say, I forgot to ask if anyone found a camera after the excitement died down. It was a Canon S10, very small and was in a gray leather case. I had it in the cargo pocket of my pants, but I remember my clothes being cut off at some point and maybe it fell out. Once again, thanks to everyone for their efforts and concern.

Jim


ja1484


Oct 3, 2006, 4:16 PM
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Re: Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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I might re-note at this point that an OmegaPac rep has posted here and they would like to take a look at the gear that failed. I sincerely hope you'll let them do so. The more we know, the better.


shockabuku


Dec 28, 2006, 10:40 PM
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Re: [ja1484] Accident at Crow Hill, MA 9/30/06 [In reply to]
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Anyone know if OP ever did any investigating on this?

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