Goto Chockstone Home

  Tech Tips

      Sponsored By

Chockstone Photography
Australian Landscape Photography by Michael Boniwell
Australian Landscape Prints

Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

Topic Date User
25-26/12/2019 Candlestick accident 9-Sep-2020 At 2:11:54 PM One Day Hero
On 7-Sep-2020 gordoste wrote:
>One of the reasons clubs exist is to give people interested in climbing
>the opportunity to learn safely. That clearly didn't happen here and the
>reason I'm posting is that if people just focus on the obvious technical
>issues, then this point could be missed in whatever findings come out of
>the club's review of the incident.

Gordo hit the nail on the head. This incident irks me more than the usual avoidable bumbly shit show, so I'm going to give a full critique from technical stuff ups all the way through to the systematic failings inherent in climbing clubs.

1) 6mm rap line

This is a specialized twin rope/cord designed for alpinism. If there is any info from Edelrid suggesting that rapping on a single strand is within scope please add the link, because that does not appear to be a recommended use of the product. I am absolutely flabbergasted that numerous people on this thread have expressed a blase acceptance of rapping on a single strand of 6mm. In hot and/or wet conditions, rapping on two strands of 8mm rope can get pretty hairy. I wouldn't dream of deliberately rapping on a single strand of 8mm, and the idea of rapping on a single 6mm strand makes my hair stand on end.

As to the benefit, I can maybe understand why Colin Haley would risk using this thing on 36hr 5000 vertical meter slogfests in Patagonia. The Candlestick is 1.5hrs pretty flat walk from the car, and they had seven people to carry stuff. The correct rope for the Candlestick fixed rap/Tyrolean is a 10.5mm static with a couple of tubular rope protectors. A slightly thinner static or a chunky dynamic would also be acceptable. There is no excuse for using this joke cord, it was grossly unsafe and I am truly shocked at how many people are glossing over it.

2) Location

The Candlestick is mountaineering. Three pitches of gr16 sounds like an easy day at Arapiles, but the difference in commitment is vast. Due to the lack of mountaineering in Australia, it's fairly common for bumblies to be completely ignorant when it comes to objective risk and commitment. Loose rock, the Southern Ocean, and speed/ease of retreat are the relevant concerns, compounded by the decision to climb in a stupidly large group.

3) Group size

The illusion of safety in numbers is a pervasive theme with uni bumblies. Two completely independent parties of two is probably best in remote locations, any more than that will likely have negative implications for safety. A group of five with at least one totally dependent beginner is a nightmare.

The local rock is quite prone to shedding blocks (Paul Pritchard got his head caved in just twenty meters away). One person on a belay ledge has some ability to dodge rocks dislodged by the leader. Four people crowded onto the same ledge present a bigger target and have no room to maneuver.

The major problem with large group size is the increased time required for retreat. Two competent people should be able to safely retreat from anywhere on the Candlestick and be back on the mainland in less than an hour, without going near the water. For this group the escape time was huge. Any bad weather, big swell, injury, could have resulted in fatalities from exposure or drowning because their retreat time was huge. The ability to move quickly when required is absolutely crucial in these sort of locations.

4) Informed Consent

There is no way I would take climbers of limited experience to The Candlestick and would quite like to hear from some climbing guides as to whether they would ever consider taking clients there.

I am a firm believer in climbers being able to take whatever risks they choose, as long as they have the experience necessary to make informed decisions. That's why it's standard practice to introduce beginners via extremely low commitment/low risk crags. Newbs are in no position to make judgments about their own safety, so massive prudence from the more experienced climbers is the only conscionable path.

The most appalling aspect of this trip is the risk which was heaped onto inexperienced climbers by people who were cos-playing as climbing guides.

5) Choosing to continue with an injured beginner.

Just fuch this decision. It's so bad it doesn't require explanation.

6) If the epirb hadn't been triggered

Patto's suggestion that the group would have made it back to camp in the early hours of the morning had a rescue not been initiated is naive and irritating. This sounds like the start of an accident report. A large group of bumblies jugging on loosish rock, on top of each other, in the dark, over the Southern Ocean is completely out of control. So many things could have gone wrong, and it is completely unacceptable to have been in that position in the first place.

7) The general shitfuchery of Uni/State Climbing Clubs-

Would you take driving lessons from someone who first sat behind the wheel two years ago? The idea that someone can go from raw beginner to "trip leader" in a couple of years is abhorrent to me, but the uni club system takes it as given due to the short lifespan of members. Most climbers require at least some loose supervision for the first six months, then need to spend the next couple of years slowly pushing out the boundaries of their experience while fully concentrating on their own safety. There is no reserve during this phase for managing the safety of raw beginners.

It's a uni club paradox which seems to be persistent and universal. From inside the bubble, two year gumbies look like experienced pros. Meanwhile there is no motivation for competent people to hang around and put their own climbing ambitions aside in order to offer free guiding services to a never ending stream of newbs.

There are 37 replies to this topic.


Home | Guide | Gallery | Tech Tips | Articles | Reviews | Dictionary | Forum | Links | About | Search
Chockstone Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | Landscape Photos Australia

Please read the full disclaimer before using any information contained on these pages.

Australian Panoramic | Australian Coast | Australian Mountains | Australian Countryside | Australian Waterfalls | Australian Lakes | Australian Cities | Australian Macro | Australian Wildlife
Landscape Photo | Landscape Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Fine Art Photography | Wilderness Photography | Nature Photo | Australian Landscape Photo | Stock Photography Australia | Landscape Photos | Panoramic Photos | Panoramic Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | High Country Mountain Huts | Mothers Day Gifts | Gifts for Mothers Day | Mothers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Mothers Day | Wedding Gift Ideas | Christmas Gift Ideas | Fathers Day Gifts | Gifts for Fathers Day | Fathers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Fathers Day | Landscape Prints | Landscape Poster | Limited Edition Prints | Panoramic Photo | Buy Posters | Poster Prints