Quantcast
It is currently Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:07 am

All times are UTC + 2 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:48 am
Posts: 607
Real Name: Warren Gans
Steven and I climb together regularly, with us being fairly even in abilities on trad. With the new guide book out we are trying to tick off the classic routes as a way of getting to know areas. Christina is a friend I met a few years ago who climbs occasionally, and being based in Switzerland she is more of a summer climber. About 2 weeks before we made contact to do something and figured that between Steven and myself we should be find taking her on one of the classics we were wanting to do. We figured Champs Elysees would be a good option because it’s close to Kasteel Poort, is a 17 and only 5 pitches long.

Being so short we only got to the base at about 10:30. We followed the RD but after a few moves in we thought we were sandbagged as those moves are not the 15 it ort to be, and while I lead it fine they weren’t willing to commit to the move with the pendulum I left for them- I didn’t think that much of the move. As I had linked the first 2 pitches I had to down climb to the first pitch, built a stance and took them up those few meters. They got through without incident and we continued back to my second pitch stance, which was now in the sun. The stance was on a grassy ledge which was in the fold of the book, not shown in the picture I took, and we still thought we might be on track, even if we couldn’t see the grass in the picture.

Steven took a very dirty & loose pitch to a big ledge, taking his time deciphering the line. He was suffering for heat at the start of the third pitch, and by the time he topped the 4th he was almost delirious for heatstroke, taking long time to figure out how to build a stance over a simple rock spike. We only knew how serious his condition was when we got there, and saw his state. While Christina kept an eye on him I explored the ledge we are on, finding an abseil station 30m left of us.
After Steven recovered a bit we moved to the station with the intention of abseiling for the safety of a large wet beverage having run out of water some time ago. Alas the wind was hard and we were high and when we threw the ropes off they swung underneath us beyond view. The guide said nothing about the station and we were concerned that the ropes wouldn’t make it to the bottom- they were 50ms and this might need 60m. Frustrated, we had few choices but to continue with the route, fortunately in the process of finding the station we also found the correct route, making the next two pitches known (at 16 and 17). It was after 4pm. I took the next pitch which doglegs right and stances in a big overhang, which my seconds easily followed.

The final pitch starts under the right side of the cave, traversing under the roof to the left and exiting out of a long chimney- great pitch! Well, it was for me anyway, however not so much for Christina: she fell off under the roof, swinging out into an open void over 100m above the valley floor and about 5m from the cave. I didn’t have the means to pull her up, and couldn’t lower her down.

Communication was highly limited due to the wind and for whatever reason our phones weren’t letting us talk to each other, only the outside world. It was 7:30 when she fell and so I gave Steven and her an hour to sort things out.
I could have lowered Steven lots of rope which he could have thrown to her to be pulled in, then I lower her to the stance, however because we couldn’t communicate we couldn’t implement this. I was hoping he was implementing something along these lines, or climbing up to grab her rope and pull her in, somehow. I called rescue at 8:30, ultimately getting us out at 1am.

Lessons learnt:
1. Have more people inspect the route guide
2. Everybody must carry prussics, and know how to use them. If they don’t know how go sports climbing rather.
3. Start earlier- rather have a chilled afternoon and an epic morning than the other way round.
4. Carry more water. Yes, we know its heavy.
5. Don’t take beginners on more adventurous routes, ideally no traverses.
6. Buy radios
7. Get good at pulling people out

Thanks to the MCSA Rescue team for helping us and being so professional. We were all expecting a team of 3 to arrive with a long rope, and to abseil us out, but instead there was 2 dozen volunteers hauling us up.

_________________
Sandbagging is a dirty game


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:48 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Western Cape
I think I speak for everyone in the rescue team when I say we're glad you're all ok :thumright

A quick word of caution to any that may find themselves in a similar position…Call rescue sooner rather than later. Even if we just put members on standby while you try and sort things out, it speeds up our response time.

To everyone that was involved on Saturday evening, very well done. This was a technical rescue and from call out to debrief it only took 4 hours.

Warren, you still owe me a beer...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 7:56 pm
Posts: 173
Entertaining tale Warren, and an easy epic to repeat on routes like that :-)
For your interest, the rap station you probably found (sling around a bollard/block ??) was left by Simon, Woody and I when rapping off a very damp and unpleasant Jongozi, and 50m ropes do get you down.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:44 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
Posts: 1168
Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
talking about 2-way radios, anybody that can recommend a specific one & where can I buy it (preferably online)? recently had a communication epic on slangolie buttress but cell reception saved the day. would not want to be in the same situation on klein winterhoek....


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:40 am
Posts: 774
Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
http://www.iwarehouse.co.za/electronics/communications/license-free-radios

There you go Willem, they use public bands so no license required.

Glad you guys and girl are ok.

_________________
Happy climbing
Nic


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 7:56 pm
Posts: 173
There's an amusing story about 2-way radios and a pile of choss called the SE Arete of the Sentinel. Let's just say that the radios certainly made the day a little more bearable... and even got the participants in this "almost epic" back onto the footpath before total darkness set in.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
Posts: 1168
Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
Thanks Nic!

Found the same ones a bit cheaper at Cape Union Mart
http://www.capeunionmart.co.za/zartek-p ... radio-pack


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 10:57 pm
Posts: 108
Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Richard Halsey
Thanks for posting Warren, the best one can make of an epic is for others to learn from it, and hopefully avoid something similar.

Ideally all members of the party should have the gear and knowledge to get themselves out of the sh*t (like ascending a rope, escaping the system, hauling etc). However this is not always the case. If you have beginners one can reduce the chance of this by choice of route, always remaining in sight etc.

On the other hand, a competent climber can become your responsibility if they are injured on unconscious. If someone is hanging unconscious in a harness they can die very quickly (several reports indicating under 10 minutes). Sobering stuff.

This is a worst case scenario, and my aim is to scare people. However, my personal feeling is that if one is going to go multi-pitch trad climbing, one needs to have the right gear and competence to get oneself or a mate out of a bad situation. And sometimes things can get bad surprising fast. One does not need an entire rescue or rope access arsenal - a few pieces of gear, the knowledge and practice should be sufficient for most situations.

The rescue folks do absolutely outstanding work, and as Dav points out, one should not be shy about calling on their services when the situation demands. But what if one can not contact them or something needs urgent attention?

_________________
One life, one body. Use them well.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:40 am
Posts: 774
Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Q20 wrote:
But what if one can not contact them or something needs urgent attention?


Then there is no substitute for training and practicing that training occasionally. A little while ago the MCSA Mountain Rescue teams in Cape Town and in Jo'burg ran a trad self rescue/rescue your buddy course, free of charge, which covered pretty much all that you need to know in order to mount a fairly effective rescue by yourself with only standard climbing gear. We will in due course run the course again.

_________________
Happy climbing
Nic


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:44 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:25 pm
Posts: 210
Real Name: Wesley
Recently got myself 2 of these and liked them so much I ordered another 2.

http://dx.com/p/baofeng-1-5-lcd-5w-136- ... ack-129389

Great value for money and quite flexible, they also support the license free frequencies, although you do need to set them to low power to be legal in the free bands.

Edit: Just came across a set of the Zartech ones on gumtree: http://www.gumtree.co.za/a-other-electr ... 0019019309


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:08 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 2
Real Name: David Ritchie
Wes wrote:
Recently got myself 2 of these and liked them so much I ordered another 2.

http://dx.com/p/baofeng-1-5-lcd-5w-136- ... ack-129389

Great value for money and quite flexible, they also support the license free frequencies, although you do need to set them to low power to be legal in the free bands.

Edit: Just came across a set of the Zartech ones on gumtree: http://www.gumtree.co.za/a-other-electr ... 0019019309


I am looking at getting a two way radio too and did look at those Baofeng's but was told they are not ICASA approved and hence you could be fined if caught using them...
Have you not had any trouble with them?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:56 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:25 pm
Posts: 210
Real Name: Wesley
d7e7r7 wrote:
I am looking at getting a two way radio too and did look at those Baofeng's but was told they are not ICASA approved and hence you could be fined if caught using them...
Have you not had any trouble with them?


The Baofeng UVR5 has can transmit at up to 5 watts and at 136-174 / 400-480MHz. We only use them in lower power mode (3W) and on the license free bands. So we havent had any issues. Just dont go transmitting on the air, police, emergency services bands and you should be good.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:14 pm
Posts: 2
Real Name: David Ritchie
Wes wrote:
d7e7r7 wrote:
I am looking at getting a two way radio too and did look at those Baofeng's but was told they are not ICASA approved and hence you could be fined if caught using them...
Have you not had any trouble with them?


The Baofeng UVR5 has can transmit at up to 5 watts and at 136-174 / 400-480MHz. We only use them in lower power mode (3W) and on the license free bands. So we havent had any issues. Just dont go transmitting on the air, police, emergency services bands and you should be good.


I don't know much about the ICASA regulations but I thought you need a license to transmit anything at over 0.5W?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:15 pm
Posts: 28
Glad to hear that you and your party got off the mountain safely.

Sounds like it was epic and good that it turned out OK in the end.

Well done to Mountain Rescue.

Regards


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:31 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:16 am
Posts: 96
We Western Cape trad climbers have all been in this situation before - the seconder falls off, under a big roof. Now what? I heard the exact same story from my buddies Deon and Hugh just two months ago. They got out of it because the third person fell off, not the seconder, so leader and seconder hauled #3 up by brute force. (I think they may still have blisters to show for it).

So I asked Jason Collins from MCSA Search and Rescue to teach the self-rescue course again at CityROCK, Jason did so just a few weeks ago. BUT: the theory of hauling someone else up sounds fine on paper, but doesn't work too well in practice (Jason and I couldn't haul up a climber over the edge onto our own mezzanine 3 m high). The theory is also easily forgotten. And done in a stressful, hot, real-world situation with a climber hanging off your harness - forget about it.

I carried walkie-talkies for a while, soon to be left behind because they were rather impractical: batteries empty, extra weight & bulk on a rack that's already too big, fragile broken electronics, radios switched off by accident, etc. I would rather carry a cell phone/camera, which works in most places these days and has the added benefit of allowing you to call Search and Rescue, not just your climbing partner, as was the case here.

The only real solution to me is that the seconder prussiks up. It takes all of 30 minutes to learn and practice, and isn't very complicated, so in five years time when Warren falls off Atomic Sky he will figure it out again, assuming of course he has those two prussiks on his harness.

Glad you OK Warren.

- Robert

PS: We were out on TM on Sat too, it was an absolute scorcher, 29 in the shade on top. So starting 10:30 on an unknown 5-pitch route on a day when the thermometer was going to hit over 30 wasn't too mountain-smart, but I am not sure what that would fundamentally changed w.r.t. the situation at hand.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:40 am
Posts: 774
Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Hi there

Something you can use, which works well for shorter raises is something called a "Spanish Burton". I've tried to illustrate it below:

Attachment:
Spanish Burton.jpg
Spanish Burton.jpg [ 35.98 KiB | Viewed 1354 times ]


Basic procedure:
Tie off the belay so that your hands are free.
Remove one half rope from the Reverso/Guide/Whatever
Put a prussik on the rope coming out of the belay device (not on the climbers side).
Take the free half rope and connect it to the prussik.
If you can, drop the rest of the free half rope down to the hanging climber.
Both of you pull together.
When the prussik gets too far away, slide it up as close to the reverso as possible.
Progress capture is handled by the reverso. (If you don't have a Reverso/Guide/autolocking device then use a 3-wrap prussik on the climbers side of the device for progress capture. The device will open the prussik to allow rope through and then lock again when you stop hauling.)

Learning to prussik is easier though, as Robert said

_________________
Happy climbing
Nic


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:44 pm
Posts: 13
Real Name: Briann
Thanks for the diagram and explanation Nic
Very useful


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:38 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:33 pm
Posts: 26
Location: nieuwoudtville
Real Name: Albert Smit
@ Nic: in your "Spanish Burton" move, how do you safely "Remove one half rope from the Reverso/Guide/Whatever"...?

With a slightly different arrangement one can carry out the hauling without having to disconnect any ropes!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:40 am
Posts: 774
Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
noordkaapaap wrote:
@ Nic: in your "Spanish Burton" move, how do you safely "Remove one half rope from the Reverso/Guide/Whatever"...?


It depends on how safe you want to be. If you want to be super safe, put a french prussik (connected via a short sling to the anchor) on one half rope coming up from the climber to the Reverso/Guide/Whatever (pick the half rope furthest from the carabiner gate) and lower the climber on to it. Then take the other half rope out of the carabiner.
Or if you don't mind being less safe then feed out slack on the half rope closest to the carabiner gate, open the gate and take the half rope out. The open gate strength of most carabiners is in the 6-10kN range, much more than your climber weighs so it'll be fine.

The advantages of the Spanish Burton over a normal 3:1 are that it allows the bottom climber to assist (if you can get the rope to him), to do that with a normal 3:1 you'd need to redirect the rope which add lots more friction. Also, the top climber can pull the rope down rather than up which is easier.

_________________
Happy climbing
Nic


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] 

All times are UTC + 2 hours


Who is online

Registered users: Bing [Bot], Exabot [Bot], Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot]


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group