Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

What your instructor never taught you. Continuing your education and learning from others. Climbing safety topics and accident/incident discussions.
PaulB
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by PaulB »

Hmm, thanks for the compliment but I've only bolted a handful of routes :D Anyway, it highlights the reponsibility of the bolter. Imagine someone died on a route you'd bolted? I don't think I could live with myself. And when I think about my own bolting I know I tend to the side of underbolting. And the reasons are laziness or financial (save bolts for another route!). This is unforgivable. Jeez, this sort of death is so preventable. Tears my heart out. Take care people.


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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

PaulB wrote:Imagine someone died on a route you'd bolted?
:roll: :cry: :oops: :puker: :| :( :x :!:
frosty
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by frosty »

Sigh. Yes bolts are safe most of the time. However in the western cape there is a problem and bolts are breaking as can be read up on the ARF page and therefore are being replaced. Which is great! ARF ROCK! :thumright My issue is that many people are climbing on bolts which are old and may break, as others have, while thinking that bolts will never break. Its only a matter of time before an inexperienced moderate climber is seriously injured or something worse. Personally I think many of the routes in the western cape are very seriously dangerous because of this. Most of these areas are at easy crags like Lakeside. So trust new bolts but if you climb on old bolts in bad areas there is real danger.
Marshall1
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Marshall1 »

"Personally I think anyone wanting to start bolting should first have to attend mandatory training"

By who? Who is going to certify the trainers? Who is carrying the cost? Who is going to enforce "it" (in SA)? The MCSA? The police? Remember that all bolting in SA is undertaken by volunteers, mostly at their cost. Be gratefull that there are any sport routes.

Bolting entales cost & effort...normaly it is only enthusiasts that make the effort. Normaly an enthusiast has already enthusiasticaly undertaken research & done the home work.
SNORT
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Clive Curzon comments from Australia

Post by SNORT »

Gday Chas

Howzit sport? Chewing the fat again? Mmmm, I havent used my drill in 6-8yrs so I'm a bit rusty on such matters.
Araps is not a very bolt friendly place - there are also too many birds out there, which I'm finding a little distracting.

Apparently the guy in the Blueys went off route onto a route that was a work in progress, I climbed Bunny Buckets about a year ago guiding Donald and really enjoyed it. At that time there were no other routes nearby.... As you know, Blue Mtns sandstone is nothing like Araps or even TM (more like Everest), but the person who was bolting it couldnt have been much chop as apparently most of the bolts were loose...?

As for my crappy 15-18yr old Restuarant bolts, I was quite chuffed about them when I was there 3yrs ago. Thought they were good for another 15 - 115yrs, actually. Some of the lower-offs had lost their galvanizing coz people have been toproping on them, but not much of the steel seems to have gone. But then again, maybe I don't really trust them as I have picked up about 10kg, (which I plan to lose before my visit to SA later this year). It will be good to catch up with my little pathetic 8mm bolts (oh, & a few crusty old friends who may still remember me). They have certainly fared a lot better than the cold shuts near Bishop.......

I dont remember replacing Mick's Egowhip bolt. But I should have, it may well be problematic - I wonder if it wasnt a 6mm bolt like the ones Andrew Smurf used to place. I had a chat to Mick about a mnth or 2 ago when we were up in the Blueys. We thought the treeroots had probably reclaimed Egowhip as well as Pangaman......!

Stay well, sport

Cheers Clive

PS I was not unhappy about the recent cricket events....
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

A video of the bolts being removed. Really, really, really scary :shock:

Happy climbing
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Mark
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Mark »

I reckon with the bolting being done that poorly there is probably an argument for gross negligence. From what I understand in terms of a law (and I'm not a lawyer) if you set anything up for public use you have a certain obligation to ensure safety. Fair enough climbing is a dangerous occupation and it is difficult to argue negligence of a bolter (did someone make changes etc) but I think that video is pretty strong evidence that things are in a poor state. Mostly I hope it makes bolters aware of the danger of other people relying on their routes and makes them take the bolting process seriously. (Yes I am aware that many bolters do, so please excuse the generalisation)
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bigbatman
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by bigbatman »

I feel sick......
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Note the video is of the bolts on the climb in AUSTRALIA, not Cape Town. So comments that things are in a pretty poor state are misleading. Seeing how soft the rock is in the video, it should never have been equipped with mechanical anchors. SA rock is way harder. Our problems here center around corrosion. If your worried simply avoid old routes equipped with the original Upat bolts (most of the old routes have these).
mokganjetsi
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

he guys i read the follow-up report and almost lost it. if you do what they did you should not be allowed to come near any rock with a drill in hand. absolutely shocking!!!!

you can read it here:

http://www.onsight.com.au/news-blog/art ... -follow-up

i just hope those two did not bolt any routes in SA.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

Mokganjetsi by suggesting that someone is criminally liable is opening a whole can of worms. If you contend thus then you can make the case that anyone who places a bolt anywhere is then liable if it fails at any time and all bolts will fail eventually! The implication is that if you place a bolt the you are not only responsible for its initial quality but also for its maintenance. That's not practical.


The bolt pulling out is not directly what caused his death, it was the rope that cut!

I don't think we should take the pedestal here.

The messages are clear and lets learn from them.

I started this forum topic with two points both of which probably would have saved his life. Both are back-ups! The "safety parachute" or whatever you want to call it: 2 ropes and 2 bolts. What is also known as "redundancy".
mokganjetsi
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

he snort the "criminally liable" part was in the heat of the moment - have since removed it.

i disagree with your view on it though. the facts that have been established:

these guys were informed of the norm for bolting in the area and they deliberately decided to ignore it even though it was pointed out to them that their bolts were insufficient.
while they bolted the route some bolts moved and even came out i.e. they were aware that these bolts were unsafe and are LIKELY to result in failure if a fall was taken / rested on etc.
they nonetheless left a shiny trail of new but completely dysfunctional bolts and hangers that would seem to be okay to climb on to any (most) climbers - i.e. they set up an accident waiting to happen.

there is NO way that these guys can avoid some degree of responsibility. i climb on bolts very often and i trust that adequate equipment was placed using acceptable methods. i'm aware that bolts can and do fail BUT it is a huge difference if a bolt was set-up for failure as opposed to some unforseen accident occurring. if my tyre burst on the road and i crash tough luck; but if the manufacturer took short-cuts and furnished me witha dysfunctional tyre they are in big shnuk - same principle.

maybe my rant is going off in a different direction of what you intended the thread to be, but hey, i think it is worth while to look at the situation in a holistic fashion. i'm with you on never trusting only one bolt / piece of gear.
Marshall1
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Marshall1 »

A less popular part of backing-up is wearing 2 harnesses & 2 helmuts.

People die. In SA its more likely to involve a car, crime, alcohole or health. We don't drive 2 cars, carry 2 guns, stop at 2 beers or join 2 gyms.
SNORT
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

Marshall 1 Go look at your address book and see who has been injured and killed and by what.

Of the 2000 odd people I personally know of which the majority are acquaintances over the last 20 years or so: I do not know anyone that has been seriously physically injured (with permanent impairment or disabilty)or killed by crime or a road accident!

Compare this to the people I know that through life style choices are permanently damaged or dead.

Rock climbing 3 dead. At least 5 with serious injuries and many with minor injuries
Alpine Climbing 2 dead
Paragliding and base jumping 1 dead and at least 50 serious injuries (I have personally operated on more than 40 paragliders and I know many of them personally prior to injury) and one partly paraplegic

In my professional field of Orthopaedics 4 colleagues I knew well are now dead from Life Style choices.

Lloyd Turner - Yellowwood
Mark B Microlight
C Meyer Small plane
Chris R Motor bike joy ride

In my sphere of reference the people I know are more a danger to themselves than crime and car accidents put together.

Go do an audit on your address book and see who has been injured or killed and by what. You may be surprised.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Snort Im afraid you are wrong on the liability issue. I was informed by the powers that oversee matters such as bolting that I would most certainly drawn into the fray if equipment I had placed failed resulting in injury and a subsequent lawsuit. This emerged after I was compelled by said powers to place mechanicals at the start of Kirika at Main Crag Silvermine. I was adament that the rock there requires glue ins yet was told that only ARF personell are allowed to place these, despite the fact that I have successfully placed many glue ins previous to that route. The Australian case was stupidity, but in the case of my route its the authorities that have forced the placements of bad bolts due to some stupid regulation!! I have insisted to both Tony and this site that any report of Kirika must carry an adequate warning (as the wiki here does) in an effort to cover my own arse. Its the 'subsequent lawsuit' that everyone is shitting theselves for, so far it has not happened in this country, but be warned if it ever does you most certainly will not be immune from investigation and possible prosecution as a bolter of a route!
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

X-mod I am not saying one can't or won't be successfully sued but what I am saying is don't go there....

Once that starts..........
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

since i'm depandant on bolter's efforts to enjoy climbing, and intend to bolt myself in future, i do not want to instigate witch-hunts and regulation that makes it problematic to bolt.

simple common sense will do: as a climber you can see if bolts are in bad shape / rusted / old (in the majority of cases); as a bolter it does not take a doctorate to learn proper bolting methods and ethics & use adequate equipment. as is the case in SA, sport climbing should be quite safe and a great way to introduce newcomers to climbing.

it seems from the Aus report that those croatian dudes' only concern was getting to their goal of bolting a route on each continent and they happily sacrificed due practice, care and ethics in the process. this directly resulted in a persons death (was the guy married? kids?) and is an absolute disgrace that needs to be condemned in the strongest terms. btw, i stand to be corrected, but from the report it seems that the rope cut before the belayer's bolt was impacted from the fall - if that is the case the rope cutting resulted in one death in stead of two.
MarkM
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by MarkM »

... then it's time to start Trad climbing exclusively :pukel:
Open hand, open mind...
SNORT
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by SNORT »

Marshall1 you ridicule the concept of back-up - something one even does with your PC if you have half a brain. You are sending out some contrary messages that are disingenuous to say the least.

I have never heard of two ropes cutting? Have you? The mechanics of climbing on two ropes is completely different to climbing with one. They are always at different tensions and the more tension applied to an elastic material, the more vulnerable it is to cutting.

This principle is surgery 101. One keeps the tissues that one wants to cut under tension and the arteries and nerves that one does not want to cut are slack. Even quite hard pressure with a very sharp knife won't cut them unless you place them under tension or they are backed by a hard substance like bone.

I know 3 South Africans that have been victims of a rope cutting and two have died as a consequence. Gunter Zeppel fell from the top of Jacobs ladder about 50m and survived a fracture femur!

Climbing with 2 ropes is an accepted practice around the world and there are now very light weight ropes that barely weigh more than a single and one can reduce drag too boot that makes up for the extra weight.

Wearing a helmet is in itself a back-up. You already have a protective layer around you brain called a skull.

All harnesses have redundancy built into the design. This is double taping in the belay loop and tape around the very strong swami section and then leg loops. That is plenty of backup.

If you don't want to use 2 ropes then that's your choice.....And you accept the additional risk. But it is always easier to blame someone else and be in denial that 2 ropes are safer than one.

If Nick was climbing on 2 ropes I am convinced he would still be alive . And the one thing he had under his control was to use two ropes seeing as he had no control of the quality of the bolts.

If you don't accept what I say then read this:

Twin Ropes
Twin ropes are the skinniest lines out there, ranging from a tiny 7.5mm to a still-tiny 8.5mm. They are bought separately but always used together, usually on straightforward ice climbs or alpine climbs made almost entirely of ice. Both twin ropes are clipped through each piece of protection as you climb. This may seem strange. After all, why not just use a single rope? Well, two ropes allow full-length rappels, you can divide the load for approach and descent, and they provide redundancy should one be cut. Single ropes have been cut over very sharp edges, but there has never been a reported failure of both ropes with a twin-rope system.
http://www.backcountry.com/store/newsle ... mbing.html
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

I dont think anyone can argue that a backed up system is not safer than one that is not. However as Snort points out (and I have discussed this at length with him via e-mail) most sport routes do not offer back up in the first three or so bolts. This is the case with Kirika. Mokganjetsi please note that Kirika is a new route and there are zero outward signs that the first two bolts may be unsafe. Unless one is familiar with the rock at lower Silvermine (the lower band is super soft) you would have no way of knowing this.

As far as liability is concerned, yes lets not go there. I wont, but what is to stop my family from suing if I die? They are not climbers and the repercussions a lawsuit will cause for climbers is of no concern to them. The crucial point in my last post which you are missing is that I was forced by the authorities to place equipment which I knew to be inadequate. Upon being compelled to do so my reply to them was that then responsibility for the equipment was on their heads, they in turn replied that this would not be the case and that I would most certainly be 'drawn into the fray' in the case of a lawsuit. Lawyers have been consulted about this so I know this is true. It irks me that Parks insist on only ARF placing glueins so that they can cover their arses for liability, yet that same regulation has resulted in an unsafe route knowingly being created. I requested ARF replace those bolts at their earliest possible convenience, this has not yet happened three years later!
Last edited by XMod on Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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bigbatman
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by bigbatman »

mokganjetsi wrote:simple common sense will do: as a climber you can see if bolts are in bad shape / rusted / old (in the majority of cases);
~~ Unfortunately , I've seen pictures of bolts looking in perfect condition that have
snapped off due to rust and corrosion on the inside. This makes things a lot trickier to identify....

:pirat:
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mokganjetsi
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by mokganjetsi »

he x-mod, thanks for pointing it out. the regulation certainly is worrying, but then again, i draw some comfort from the fact that it is only the 1st 2 bolts - unlikely to result in death if a bolt fails. (btw, i always climb with a helmet, even on toprope).

bigbatbru, jip, you are right - that is a risk i'm accepting.
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bigbatman
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by bigbatman »

I guess it's a risk we've all accepted.

CLIMBING ROCKS......

:lol:
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

Yeah, look Ive made it as safe as I could, rock at first bolt is the worst - bolt here is 90mm in a slabby piece of rock so should only be weighted in shear, rock at bolt two is ok+- - bolt again is 90mm but the next moves and clip are pretty hard. The very last bolt is one I would also like to see replaced, its is 68mm in reasonably good rock but more grainy than usual. If it fails you will get badly hurt, the second last is way below it. That said I have bailed on this piece repeatedly and it seems sound.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Marshall1 »

"Climbing with 2 ropes is an accepted practice around the world"...in trad climbing sure, but I have never seen a sport route climbed with 2 ropes. 2 ropes on a sport is not accepted practice. Maybe it should be. Who wears a helmut on a sport route? I do, but not many others.

I looked at deaths in my address book. 2x HIV Aids related, 3 suicides, 2 motor vehicle related, there were others who died from health & old age. Would broader statistics on death in SA even include climbing?
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Mark
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Mark »

I think that the solution to reduce a bolters liability and make it safer for climbers is quite simple.

1) A regulator / authority (like the MCSA) should issue a paper on accepted / good bolting practices (taking into account all rock types, bolts etc etc) - it can potentially be issued for comment etc to get general consensus

2) If a bolter bolts in terms of this paper it is near impossible to argue negligence (safety for the bolters)

3) It will give bolters a reference and peer pressure to ensure they are doing a proper job (safety for climbers)
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oOdball
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by oOdball »

Mark wrote:I think that the solution to reduce a bolters liability and make it safer for climbers is quite simple.

1) A regulator / authority (like the MCSA) should issue a paper on accepted / good bolting practices (taking into account all rock types, bolts etc etc) - it can potentially be issued for comment etc to get general consensus
I agree. Can I take your comments to mean that you're available to drive and implement this process? I can provide you with plenty of resources (information, not money or staff - sorry) and contacts (folks "in the know") to get going..
Last edited by oOdball on Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by XMod »

I have written to both the MCSA and TMNP asking that info on regulations pertaining to climbing be placed on their sites so that the public can have easy access to this information. As far as I can ascertain my requests were ignored. Personally Im not particularly enamoured by either of these organisations.
Oddball if you have links to the management plan for TMNP and the guidelines for bolting please post them up. I can find a link (with a bit of scratching) to the Cedarberg management plan but this does cover the bolting guidelines.
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Mark
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by Mark »

Hay oOdball, unfortunately I already have to many commitments so trying to take this on would result in a half a$$ attempt. More importantly I have no experience in bolting (I know how to clip them) - the idea just makes good common sense to me. Dont the MCSA have someone who could deal with this sort of thing?
JamesL
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Re: Fatal accident in Australia - essential reading

Post by JamesL »

XMod wrote:I dont think anyone can argue that a backed up system is not safer than one that is not. However as Snort points out (and I have discussed this at length with him via e-mail) most sport routes do not offer back up in the first three or so bolts. This is the case with Kirika. Mokganjetsi please note that Kirika is a new route and there are zero outward signs that the first two bolts may be unsafe. Unless one is familiar with the rock at lower Silvermine (the lower band is super soft) you would have no way of knowing this.

As far as liability is concerned, yes lets not go there. I wont, but what is to stop my family from suing if I die? They are not climbers and the repercussions a lawsuit will cause for climbers is of no concern to them. The crucial point in my last post which you are missing is that I was forced by the authorities to place equipment which I knew to be inadequate. Upon being compelled to do so my reply to them was that then responsibility for the equipment was on their heads, they in turn replied that this would not be the case and that I would most certainly be 'drawn into the fray' in the case of a lawsuit. Lawyers have been consulted about this so I know this is true. It irks me that Parks insist on only ARF placing glueins so that they can cover their arses for liability, yet that same regulation has resulted in an unsafe route knowingly being created. I requested ARF replace those bolts at their earliest possible convenience, this has not yet happened three years later!
This is very disconcerting to read. I have bolted a fair amount of climbs over the years and have always thought about my routes as "Use at your own risk". I know that my routes are safe after they have been bolted, but 5 years down the line I can't be sure if the bolts have been damaged, abused, overtightened by other climbers etc? After reading this, and after similar talk about sueing contributers to other sports where injuries have occurred, I am of the mind to now chop all of my routes so as to protect a court case down the line. What are the other bolters' opinions wrt this? It seems there is no clear legal answer to the liability of the bolter issue. I have spent thousands of Rands putting up my climbs and I love the thought of others enjoying the routes. I cannot however justify having them around though if there isn't a clear legal answer to our liability.
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