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 Page 1 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 48
My ground fall in the Gramps

9:53:45 AM
I had a near miss (of sorts) on the weekend. I was attempting a ground up new hard (24?) trad line in the Grampians. The rock was slick polished marble like the Bluffs @ Araps. Some of the holds were a little wet from previous days rain. I began the thin overhung line by traversing in a line of jugs above a deep chasm. Kent was belaying on a ledge opposite the chasm without an anchor. The start moves were easy and I got situated below a rooflet. A slot in the lip of the rooflet was the only obvious piece of gear. If i had a big hex it coudl have been thrown it in and be bomber. I didn't have one so James threw me up a large tricam. I had never used these pieces before but the wedge shape seemed fairly straighforward. I sunk it in the crack and coudl see it had not much surface area touching on one one side - but the other side was almost hidden - wedged deep in the slot. I placed a small offset wire below it as a shoddy backup. I grunted through the rooflet and tried to jam the horizonatal crack above. It was slick and awkward and my hands slid out and I fell back - thinking I would be fine as my wasit was just above the 'bomber' tricam. Of course the next thing i felt was the ground smashing into my side and i slid down the chasm and was stopped just short of hitting the ground for the second time at the base of the chasm. Kent had managed to pull me up with his bare hands even though both my bits of gear had popped out. There was a lot of blood all over my hands, rock and rack but after mopping it up I discovered it was only a few cuts on my hands. The major injuries were only a big scratch on my arm and left side and a bit of bruising. I got away with a 5m+ groung fall onto rock on my back with almost no injuries. Stupidly my helmet was in my pack. If i had fallen backwards more my head would be mushed over the rock i reckon. Lesson learnt. Don't trust a single bit of gear, don't use gear you are unfamilair with and wear a helmet if there is a possiblity of a lead fall.

Video of fall can be found here
10:03:53 AM
That's a seriously nasty fall. Fortunately the slope of the shelf below must have dissipated some of the impact. You are one lucky man Mr Monteith!!

10:49:00 AM

11:15:39 AM
Ouch - I second Martin's comment here - you are very lucky to have got out of that winth minor injuries - very glad you did though!

11:55:59 AM
man, somebody was praying for you that day. very lucky indeed ?!?

2:04:04 PM
Holy shit man, u r one lucky man! It looked like you got up straight away. Wernt even winded......

2:07:36 PM

3:23:33 PM
Looked nasty! Glad your O.K.

3:46:09 PM
hhhhmmm, sounds dangerous.....maybe a bolt (or 8) is in order lol!!

3:48:39 PM
Gees, that was nasty neil, thought you would have known better than to use gear that you're unfamiliar with.

Glad your okay though.

8:33:19 AM
Scary stuff.... Glad you are OK Neil.
(Marvelous what technology allows us to share with others these days).

Sounds to me like the tricam rotated out, if one side of it was not set as your description implies.
I know of many people who swear by them and I use them myself, but only in the small to medium sizes, as I prefer hexes in larger sizes due to them being lighter on the rack!

For those who are unfamiliar with these devices; -

They can be used passively like a chock, or 'actively' by placing the sling in the 'groove' which gives a rotational 'bite' to the point of the device. This relies in both sides of the groove contacting the rock however, ... otherwise the placement would be marginal (bodyweight) at best ...
I set them in this mode with a sharp tug to ensure they are seated OK, but they can be a hassle to remove from gnarly granite sometimes because of this. Be kind to your second and place them with retrieval in mind ie a stance which is not too strenuous to hang around on, in case you have to fiddle with it.

I find them magic for solution pockets in limestone and the odd (roughly) parallel crack when I have exhausted the friends on my rack.

PS. Was that a chuckle I saw on the face of your belayer after the event, or nervous laughter perhaps?

8:42:46 AM
Kent (who was belaying) is straining like all hell to keep me from rolling down into the chasm. For some reason he was holding the rope directly - not through the belay device. I think it was something to do with having so much rope out when i fell and he then grabbed the slack halfway with his hands. He got some rope burn on his hands - but at least it stopped me from falling again.

8:53:03 AM
How are you now feeling Neil - and is Kent ok too?

9:11:17 AM
I am fine - just a little sore.

11:39:16 AM
wow you are a very lucky fellow. that looked very painful.


3:00:24 PM
As a physiologist by trade interested in performance, the psychology of this is what I find most interesting.

Although I have had taken some lead falls, these have all been on sport routes. I had absolutely no problem pulling myself together and continuing those climbs. However, as a larger climber (83 kg) I am still not confident with natural pro and as such steer clear of trad routes - exactly for this reason - fear of gear popping. Admittedly, I have not physically placed enough natural pro to get the experience, only on TR a couple of times. The obvious answer is to practice, practice, practice.

Upon viewing the video could, the fall could have been a lot worse. My questions to both Neil and Kent: with such a fall - what goes through your mind when you try it again? Do you question your gear placement abolity or just shrug off that particular one as a stuff up? Did you try that route again or just thank your lucky stars and bail?

I agree that falling is part of climbing and fear of falling indeed limits your climbing. Fear though is what keeps you alive!!!

3:19:55 PM
83kg being large?? - I am only a few kilos short of that figure. I have never really thought about wieght and natural gear placements before.

I didn't get back on the route - mainly because it was wet and it can wait for a nicer day (possibly with a rap inspection first!). I did shrug off the gear as a stuff up. There is good gear there - just not a slider nut placemnt. I will next tiem laso place more geat. I did however jump straight on an easy trad route which had me a little worried. I doubled checked all my gear on the way up. Later that day i had to lead the end of Kents project - which is solid grade 21ish climbing on trad above a grade 25 bolted overhang. I was quite concerend about trusting any of the gear - especially the tricams again so i made sure i didn't fall.

3:31:48 PM
What a bugger Neil, but hey someone suspected it as they started videoing u or did u request that saying "watch me! rolllem!" hey were there no cams in that break or vertical slot?

yeh i wouldn't think weight would have much of a difference on good placements, marginal placements maybe.. As for getting back on trad routes that I've had falls on, it often is a matter of "damn i should've done this or that or i shoudn't have done that or why so much bloody slack mate?!!" then u would usually jump back on and have another go and hopefully not make the same mistake again, assuming ur not too shaken up..

3:59:04 PM
It was an attempt at a ground up first ascent. Might as well video it! - trust me i was looking at that slot for a cam at the moment i fell. It was slopey, wet and my feet were awkward. I keep looking at the video - and i still can't see quite what caused me to fall off. It appears both my hands decided ot part with their handholds! I certainly didn't have time to warn either Kent or James that i was coming off.
4:29:04 PM
ouch neil,

glad your ok tho.

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There are 48 messages in this topic.


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