Paarl Accident??

What your instructor never taught you. Continuing your education and learning from others. Climbing safety topics and accident/incident discussions.
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Johanm
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Paarl Accident??

Post by Johanm »

Received a picture from a non climbing friend of a red rescue helicopter parked next to the walkway between the main dome and belly button slab this weekend. Right where you turn left to go up the chains for the main dome.

According to him it was a climber that fell. For him someone walking up the chains and a climber's the same thing (My opinion).

Anybody got details?


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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

Just checking some details and then I'll post an explanation
Happy climbing
Nic
vinceB
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Re: PAARL ACCIDENT??

Post by vinceB »

Hi there,

We were a group of six climbing in Paarl last Saturday. While four of us went climbing "Stairway to Heaven", two others went to the Belly Button Slab. We were just walking down the Bretagne Rock when we heard a scream and saw one of our friends running up to us and asking us for the number of mountain rescue. The leader of another party just took a fall on the climb next to them. The route is called "Dyke".

We quickly ran a the bottom of the slab and were able to help. I won't detail that part but it's a miracle that the climber didn't die.

As experienced climbers, we noticed the critical details to help the community understand the circumstances of the accident. First, let's indicate that the bolts and the hangers are in good conditions. Second, the draws were still in. Third, this route is going diagonally left. The fall happened vertically from the fourth quickdraw which means the climber was being lowered down when the accident happened. He was probably setting up a top-rope when the rope went short. The rope was not 2/3m short. The rope was 15 meters to 20 meters short.

This is an extremely common accident. So be particularly vigilant during that phase. Applying the following rules could be a good idea:
- Save the number of Mountain Rescue in your phone (or at least have a topo with this number).
- Check the length of the route you want to climb before you climb it (if you don't know this route).
- Check the length of the rope you are using (if it's not your usual rope!).
- Tie a knot at the end of your rope (to your rope bag for example).
- Always check out the amount of rope you have left when lowering someone. As a leader, ask for the amount of rope that's left.

These rules are the same when you abseil down.

Be safe,

Vincent
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

So here is the story:

Two climbers, one experienced and the other inexperienced, went climbing on the Belly Button Slab at Paarl. They were on the 15 next to Gecko Blaster. The idea was the the experienced climber would lead the first pitch, placing all the quickdraws and then get lowered off from the anchors at the top of the first pitch so that the inexperienced climber could lead it.

The pitch is 35m long and they were using a 60m rope. During the lower, the end of the rope passed through the GriGri2 and the climber fell the remainder of the distance to ground, breaking both legs and his wrist. He was not wearing a helmet.

Lessons to be learned: Tie stopper knots in your rope. Never assume a rope will reach the ground.

The number for rescue in the Western Cape is 021 937 0300
Happy climbing
Nic
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Overide
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Overide »

Just for my own information what should one do if you are in the process of getting lowered and you notice you are out of rope?
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justin
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by justin »

Lock off (device dependant)
Then tie a 'good' knot in the end of your rope.

Then you can figure out more on what you need to do...
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

Stop.

Prusik back up.

In this situation, you should walk/climb back up to the anchor while your belayer takes in the slack. The routes on that slab were not bolted with the idea that you'd only climb one pitch. There are abseil anchors separate to the belay stations on the routes and a walk off down the east side of the slab (best choice in my opinion).
Happy climbing
Nic
mokganjetsi
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by mokganjetsi »

Belaying 101: it is the belayer's RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that the climber is not lowered off the rope. standard practice should be to tie a knot (attached to the groundsheet or separate) at the belayer's end. the consequences here are binary - if the rope goes through, the climber falls. there is no back-up or redundancy or small probabilities alleviating the danger. the importance of this cannot be overstated and climbers should ensure their belayers know what they're doing. for climbing's dangers it seems like most deaths and serious injury is due to not doing the very basics right.

glad that the climber got away with his life intact. wishing a speedy recovery :thumright

ps: it is of course also the climber's responsibility to check rope length & the belayer's rope end safety.
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justin
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by justin »

Always always always a knot in the end of the rope.

I've was at the crag one day and spotted a rope with no end knot. I then proceeded to tie a knot in the rope. Whilst tieing said knot the owner informed me that the rope is 70 meters long therefore not an issue. I acknowledged this and finished the knot and told them it was a habit of mine (I have a passionate dislike of carrying people down the mountain).

A minute or two later (with a touch of humility :wink: the rope owner relayed a story where they had once accidentally picked up the wrong rope bag and brought their 40 meter (gym) rope to the crag.

An accident is an unplanned event.
Always tie a knot in the end of your rope no matter what :thumleft:
justin@CapeTownClimbing.com
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henkg
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by henkg »

As an additional safety feature, is it feasible to dye say last 5m on both ends of the rope? One would think this would by now be standard for rope manufacturers.
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens
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justin
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by justin »

henkg wrote:dye say last 5m on both ends of the rope? One would think this would by now be standard for rope manufacturers.
I know that Mammut do this with some of their ropes (it's not common with climbing ropes). In my experience the dyed section of the rope also has a different (more hard) feeling to it.
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

henkg wrote:As an additional safety feature, is it feasible to dye say last 5m on both ends of the rope? One would think this would by now be standard for rope manufacturers.
Anyone not switched on enough to realise that they only have 5m of rope left is not going to be switched on enough to notice dye. Always tie a knot, then there is never a problem.
Happy climbing
Nic
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tygereye
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by tygereye »

The climber admitted to me it was his fault. It was his first time on a route after bouldering for quite some time. It was a route he knew well and he was confident that he would not fall.
Because of too much enthusiasm and psych, he couldn't wait to start climbing.
His belayer was new to climbing, and followed all his instructions.
However, the climber did not consider the length of the route in relation to the length of the rope. He was too excited to get going; it didn't cross his mind.
Simple mistake.
Fortunate ending. He hit the ground very hard.
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Xharlie
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Xharlie »

Another good idea: always take a rope long enough for the longest route on the crag you're visiting, EVEN if you don't intend to have a go on it. By doing so, you can prevent this accident before "enthusiasm and psych" start affecting you.
TheDon
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by TheDon »

This is why i stick to trad!!

no untying, and there is a person on the end of each rope, even tho I'm skinny you wont get me through the belay device
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Hann
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Hann »

I agree with Nic here.

All the ideas like colourful ropes and longer ropes do show some, but not great, benefit.

In the hills you need to have safe habits, not cute gear.
These habits will not eliminate the risk of accident, but is a good start at prevention.

Thus I am a strong advocate of the basics:
Tie those stopper knots in your abseils.
Tie the end knot in your lead-rope AND top-ropes. (yes, top-ropes too. A similar accident happend at Paarl, on top rope, some years ago)
Check you climbing partner's knots and harness.
Belayers, keep your hand on the dead-end (yes, grigi users, you too)
The list goes on and on...

At TheDon:
How many traddies have abseiled off the end of their ropes?
Same rules and habits apply...

At the climber in hospital:
Dude!
Eina.
Hoop jy raak gou beter.
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Q20
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Re: Paarl Accident??

Post by Q20 »

Just a quickie on this.

A loose over hand knot or such can come undone if the rope gets moved around etc. Especially if you keep climbing on the same end of the rope, the knot may not get checked for a while.

So tie a proper, tight barrel knot. IMHO
One life, one body. Use them well.
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