Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by Chawn Harlo » Sat, 31 May 2003 12:39:29


Anybody know the fate of the guy who cratered off at the Three Yogis on
Sat.? I participated in the rescue and am hoping the guy is doing ok.

Chawn Harlow

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by Steelmnk » Sat, 31 May 2003 12:51:36

Quote:
>Anybody know the fate of the guy who cratered off at
> the Three Yogis on Sat.? I participated in the rescue
> and am hoping the guy is doing ok.

Word I heard today is that he died of head injuries.

Do you know any details of the accident?
Was it on the Left Yogi?

G.

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by Chawn Harlo » Mon, 02 Jun 2003 12:06:16

Yes, it was left Yogi. Apparently the climber sat on a piece at 30' with two
others between him and the ground. That piece pulled as did the second. The
one closest to the ground was too low ( and had a very long runner on it) so
he decked on his head.

According to his climbing partners he was a very proficient sport climber
(5.12?). He had climbed several traditional 5.7's and 5.8's at JTree.
Apparently the Left Yogi was one of his first 5.9's.

When I arrived he was coherent but seemed to have lost some level of
consciousness by the time he was lifted out by helicopter.

It is sad. I don't think the Forks is a good place to be doing a first 5.9
trad lead. The place demands serious crack technique and stamina.

"Two solid pieces between yourself and the ground...."


Quote:
> >Anybody know the fate of the guy who cratered off at
> > the Three Yogis on Sat.? I participated in the rescue
> > and am hoping the guy is doing ok.

> Word I heard today is that he died of head injuries.

> Do you know any details of the accident?
> Was it on the Left Yogi?

> G.


 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by TheMiddlePa » Fri, 06 Jun 2003 13:37:11

I a not a rock climber so I am not used to the rock climbing jargon.
But I know this guy quite well and somehow need to understand how this
could have happened. Was there anything that he was doing that was
wrong ? Like why did the 2 pieces (I assmue a piece is some peg which
is hammered into the wall) come off ?  If 2 pieces can just come off,
something must be wrong. And what do you mean when you say 2 solid
pieces between you and the ground. Any explaination would be welcome.

Thanks

Quote:

> Yes, it was left Yogi. Apparently the climber sat on a piece at 30' with two
> others between him and the ground. That piece pulled as did the second. The
> one closest to the ground was too low ( and had a very long runner on it) so
> he decked on his head.

> According to his climbing partners he was a very proficient sport climber
> (5.12?). He had climbed several traditional 5.7's and 5.8's at JTree.
> Apparently the Left Yogi was one of his first 5.9's.

> When I arrived he was coherent but seemed to have lost some level of
> consciousness by the time he was lifted out by helicopter.

> It is sad. I don't think the Forks is a good place to be doing a first 5.9
> trad lead. The place demands serious crack technique and stamina.

> "Two solid pieces between yourself and the ground...."

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by Lord Slim » Sat, 07 Jun 2003 00:05:46

Quote:

> I a not a rock climber so I am not used to the rock climbing jargon.
> But I know this guy quite well and somehow need to understand how this
> could have happened. Was there anything that he was doing that was
> wrong ? Like why did the 2 pieces (I assmue a piece is some peg which
> is hammered into the wall) come off ?  If 2 pieces can just come off,
> something must be wrong. And what do you mean when you say 2 solid
> pieces between you and the ground. Any explaination would be welcome.

Since I don't have any more information than what's below, take this with
a grain of salt.  But I'd say your friend screwed up.

Many "good" sport climbers don't know how to place their own protection.
The fact that he's climbing sport 5.12 and leading trad 5.7 and 5.8 is telling.
Placing good protection, and knowing that it's good, takes years of practice
which, it appears, your friend doesn't have.  Good protection doesn't pull out
when you fall on it.

- Lord Slime


Quote:
> > Yes, it was left Yogi. Apparently the climber sat on a piece at 30' with two
> > others between him and the ground. That piece pulled as did the second. The
> > one closest to the ground was too low ( and had a very long runner on it) so
> > he decked on his head.

> > According to his climbing partners he was a very proficient sport climber
> > (5.12?). He had climbed several traditional 5.7's and 5.8's at JTree.
> > Apparently the Left Yogi was one of his first 5.9's.

> > When I arrived he was coherent but seemed to have lost some level of
> > consciousness by the time he was lifted out by helicopter.

> > It is sad. I don't think the Forks is a good place to be doing a first 5.9
> > trad lead. The place demands serious crack technique and stamina.

> > "Two solid pieces between yourself and the ground...."

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by prodigal tradst » Sat, 07 Jun 2003 00:38:17

Quote:

> I a not a rock climber so I am not used to the rock climbing jargon.
> But I know this guy quite well and somehow need to understand how this
> could have happened. Was there anything that he was doing that was
> wrong ? Like why did the 2 pieces (I assmue a piece is some peg which
> is hammered into the wall) come off ?  If 2 pieces can just come off,
> something must be wrong. And what do you mean when you say 2 solid
> pieces between you and the ground. Any explaination would be welcome.

Maybe I should just let someone who knew the details of the accident
post this.  But hey, ignorance has never been an impediment to speech
on this ng, so here goes.

Basically there are a few different ways that climbing accidents can
happen.  One is something like force majeure -- like when a 500 pound
boulder falls out of nowhere and squishes you.  Another is equipment
or systems failure, like when a bolt rips out of the rock or something
like that.  The harness breaking in the opening scene of Cliffhanger
is an example of equipment failure that would probably never ever
happen in real life.  Equipment/systems failure accidents are, as far
as I know, pretty rare.  Another kind of failure is human error, where
a climber's mistake results in the accident.

From the sounds of things, the accident in Paradise Forks might have
been the result of human error.  The "pieces" mentioned in previous
posts are not pitons or bolts, but removable protection devices.  You
can read more about these in John Long's book "Climbing Anchors,"  but
there are two basic types.  The first, generally referred to as
"nuts," are wedge-shaped blobs of metal, and are meant to be placed in
constrictions in the rock (like tapers in cracks).  The second,
generally referred to as "cams," are shaped like little umbrellas and
are spring-loaded and trigger-activated.  The cams are retracted using
the trigger (making the unit look less like an umbrella and more like
a swizzle stick), the unit is placed into a crack, and the trigger is
released so that the cam lobes sit flush against the rock.  Cams tend
to work better than nuts when placed in parallel-sided cracks.

If placed correctly, both nuts and cams will be strong enough to
arrest a climber's fall.  The emphasis should be on "placed correctly"
-- there are a million different ways to place protection devices
incorrectly.  Since I know nothing about this accident other than what
I've read on this board, I can't say anything about the pieces your
friend placed.  I don't even know whether they were nuts or cams.
However, any good placement must take into account the following
factors (among others):

1. Rock quality (more is better)
2. Direction of pull (which is not always down, by the way)
3. Surface area contact (between the piece and the rock -- more is
generally better)

Any one of these factors can compromise the placement of a piece
enough for the piece to rip out of the crack with the force of a fall.
 It could have been that the pieces that ripped out were not set
correctly/securely, or that the rock quality was crappy and the rock
gave way...but this is all blind speculation, particularly from where
I'm sitting right now.  The other important thing is to be mindful of
how far you are climbing above the last piece you've placed.  If
you're 35 feet above your last piece and you fall, you're going for a
70+ foot ride.  And if it's less than 70 feet to the ground from where
you fell, the most bomber placement in the world isn't going to help
you.  This is probably why the first piece wasn't enough to stop your
friend's fall.

In any case, it is very very sad.  There are a whole lot of little
in-fighting groups in the sport of rock climbing, but the death of a
fellow climber is about the only thing which, even momentarily, causes
all of us to forget our petty squabbles, raise our glasses, shake our
heads, and double-check our knots.

PT

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by Steelmnk » Sat, 07 Jun 2003 09:39:48

I will also add that from what I've been able to find out, your friend was on
the left Yogi Crack at Paradise Forks. Although this is a moderate climb (5.9-
or so), it also has two things that would place it fairly far down on a list of
cracks I would recommend to someone without a fairly good chunk of experience:

1) The left Yogi is slickern' snot rock, polished by untold years of water
pouring through that end of the canyon.

2) The ability to place trustworthy protection is notoriously difficult in the
center section of the route. This sounds like exactly where the two pieces of
protection failed.

It's unfortunate and sad that this happened. As climbers, we always have the
option of looking something over and either walking away, or starting up a
route and accepting whatever we get handed to us once we leave the ground. If
we're smart (or lucky), we always choose the right path or never encounter this
kind of situation.

That's about it.
G.

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by Chawn Harlo » Sat, 07 Jun 2003 12:48:42

Great summary of the issues associated with protection of crack routes.

I'd like to emphasize, however, that, according to his belayer, the climber
(who is to remain un-named) did not fall on his piece but sat on it for the
purpose of resting. This means to me that the placement was quite poor
indeed because it could not hold body weight. Also, that the climber did not
know how bad the placement was or over-estimated his stamina as he
apparently did not back it up. If I know a piece is questionable I am
desperate to put another in before I sit or fall on it. Either the climber
didn't recognise that his piece was suspect and sat on it thinking it was
safe or he ran out of strength before he could get a second one in. Remember
that this is a notoriously difficult climb to protect and is quite
physically challenging as it is slippery and slightly overhanging. In any
case it was an unfortunate, tragic case of pilot error.

Chawn



Quote:
> > I a not a rock climber so I am not used to the rock climbing jargon.
> > But I know this guy quite well and somehow need to understand how this
> > could have happened. Was there anything that he was doing that was
> > wrong ? Like why did the 2 pieces (I assmue a piece is some peg which
> > is hammered into the wall) come off ?  If 2 pieces can just come off,
> > something must be wrong. And what do you mean when you say 2 solid
> > pieces between you and the ground. Any explaination would be welcome.

> Maybe I should just let someone who knew the details of the accident
> post this.  But hey, ignorance has never been an impediment to speech
> on this ng, so here goes.

> Basically there are a few different ways that climbing accidents can
> happen.  One is something like force majeure -- like when a 500 pound
> boulder falls out of nowhere and squishes you.  Another is equipment
> or systems failure, like when a bolt rips out of the rock or something
> like that.  The harness breaking in the opening scene of Cliffhanger
> is an example of equipment failure that would probably never ever
> happen in real life.  Equipment/systems failure accidents are, as far
> as I know, pretty rare.  Another kind of failure is human error, where
> a climber's mistake results in the accident.

> From the sounds of things, the accident in Paradise Forks might have
> been the result of human error.  The "pieces" mentioned in previous
> posts are not pitons or bolts, but removable protection devices.  You
> can read more about these in John Long's book "Climbing Anchors,"  but
> there are two basic types.  The first, generally referred to as
> "nuts," are wedge-shaped blobs of metal, and are meant to be placed in
> constrictions in the rock (like tapers in cracks).  The second,
> generally referred to as "cams," are shaped like little umbrellas and
> are spring-loaded and trigger-activated.  The cams are retracted using
> the trigger (making the unit look less like an umbrella and more like
> a swizzle stick), the unit is placed into a crack, and the trigger is
> released so that the cam lobes sit flush against the rock.  Cams tend
> to work better than nuts when placed in parallel-sided cracks.

> If placed correctly, both nuts and cams will be strong enough to
> arrest a climber's fall.  The emphasis should be on "placed correctly"
> -- there are a million different ways to place protection devices
> incorrectly.  Since I know nothing about this accident other than what
> I've read on this board, I can't say anything about the pieces your
> friend placed.  I don't even know whether they were nuts or cams.
> However, any good placement must take into account the following
> factors (among others):

> 1. Rock quality (more is better)
> 2. Direction of pull (which is not always down, by the way)
> 3. Surface area contact (between the piece and the rock -- more is
> generally better)

> Any one of these factors can compromise the placement of a piece
> enough for the piece to rip out of the crack with the force of a fall.
>  It could have been that the pieces that ripped out were not set
> correctly/securely, or that the rock quality was crappy and the rock
> gave way...but this is all blind speculation, particularly from where
> I'm sitting right now.  The other important thing is to be mindful of
> how far you are climbing above the last piece you've placed.  If
> you're 35 feet above your last piece and you fall, you're going for a
> 70+ foot ride.  And if it's less than 70 feet to the ground from where
> you fell, the most bomber placement in the world isn't going to help
> you.  This is probably why the first piece wasn't enough to stop your
> friend's fall.

> In any case, it is very very sad.  There are a whole lot of little
> in-fighting groups in the sport of rock climbing, but the death of a
> fellow climber is about the only thing which, even momentarily, causes
> all of us to forget our petty squabbles, raise our glasses, shake our
> heads, and double-check our knots.

> PT

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by TheMiddlePa » Sun, 08 Jun 2003 10:41:07

Still I find it hard to believe that a proficient climber can place
not 1 but 2 pieces incorrectly. Heck he probably did not weight more
than 140 lbs.
Anyway thanks very much for all the explainations. I certainly learn
alot about rock climbing in these few days.
And apprecite very much you and the rest of the rescue team efforts.
Based on the turn out at his funeral his short life touch a hell a lot
of people.
Quote:

> Great summary of the issues associated with protection of crack routes.

> I'd like to emphasize, however, that, according to his belayer, the climber
> (who is to remain un-named) did not fall on his piece but sat on it for the
> purpose of resting. This means to me that the placement was quite poor
> indeed because it could not hold body weight. Also, that the climber did not
> know how bad the placement was or over-estimated his stamina as he
> apparently did not back it up. If I know a piece is questionable I am
> desperate to put another in before I sit or fall on it. Either the climber
> didn't recognise that his piece was suspect and sat on it thinking it was
> safe or he ran out of strength before he could get a second one in. Remember
> that this is a notoriously difficult climb to protect and is quite
> physically challenging as it is slippery and slightly overhanging. In any
> case it was an unfortunate, tragic case of pilot error.

> Chawn

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by Michael A. Riche » Sun, 08 Jun 2003 12:37:56



Quote:
> Still I find it hard to believe that a proficient climber can place
> not 1 but 2 pieces incorrectly. Heck he probably did not weight more
> than 140 lbs.

Why is that...??? I watched a dhuuude pull out three pieces, one time, with
nothing but rope drag. He was a proficient climber, also...just not very
proficient at placing gear.

Quote:
> Anyway thanks very much for all the explainations. I certainly learn
> alot about rock climbing in these few days.
> And apprecite very much you and the rest of the rescue team efforts.
> Based on the turn out at his funeral his short life touch a hell a lot
> of people.

My condolences...

Ratzzz...

 
 
 

Accident at Paradise Forks 5/24/03

Post by prodigal tradst » Sun, 08 Jun 2003 14:01:03

Quote:

> Still I find it hard to believe that a proficient climber can place
> not 1 but 2 pieces incorrectly. Heck he probably did not weight more
> than 140 lbs.

I find it hard to belive that proficient climbers would be subject to
rampant displays of machismo wherein their inexperienced girlfriends
are dragged out to the crag, given a fif***-second belay lesson, and
unwittingly wind up lead belaying off their gear loops while said
proficient climber shows off by climbing Cinnamon Slab, placing two,
maybe three pieces of gear, almost certainly thinking that if he can
make it to the top in style, maybe, just maybe, his studliness will be
rewarded with vaccuum-style ***.  And yet I see this kind of ***
all the time.

Read what Lord Slime said again.  Being a proficient sport climber (in
which all the protection devices are preplaced, in the form of bolts
drilled in the rock) is very different from being able to proficiently
place your own nuts or cams.  Protecting sport climbs is a relatively
simple and mindless matter, but placing your own gear in a crack is an
art, which takes time to learn.  Being a proficient climber is not the
same thing as being a proficient placer of gear.  Weight has very
little to do with whether pieces rip out or not.  A well-placed piece
in good rock would hold Andre the Giant on a 100-foot screamer.

When tragic things happen a natural reaction is to find someone, or
something to blame.  Lproudman, you sound a little like you are
looking for a reason to blame the gear manufacturers for your friend's
death.  These kind of games are ultimately counterproductive.  People
make mistakes sometimes, even those with tons of experience.
Sometimes those mistakes are of no consequence and sometimes the
consequences are dire.  It's kind of like driving -- 90% of the time,
running a stop sign results in no disaster whatsoever.  It's the 10%
that makes you slow down.

PT