Got to the junction with vector okay went up and down a few times clipping one cobra 9mm into a no2 and no1 friend in the good holds on the layback. Second rope clipped to nut at the base of slab where vector comes in, 10ft below higher runner.
Lots of traffic noise, belayer out of sight , didn't bother to say watch me etc! Go for the top, Typically foot slips on vector layback and I come off with my top runner level with my right hand at chest height.
Fall off , stopping 35ft below, inverted, head below initial overhang.All gear clipped and still in place, ropes tied correctly.
Estimate 80 feet of rope out. Knot to high runner hard to undo. Knot to second rope to lower runner not tight though I stopped 25ft below it.
Belayer describes feeling pull on the rope at the same time as seeing me emerge below overhang 30ft below runners.
Have not taken many big falls, is it normal to go 35ft with gear at chest height? Get stiffer ropes? Is this route a death trap with the long traverse, belayer round the corner can't communicate E1 5b (not!) combination?
Enough drivel from me.....
?Sounds like your belayer had either:-
a) unclipped and gone for a walk, fag, or cup of tea.
b) clipped on but switched off
d) All of the above
e) Some of the above
No not at all. Very experienced. Very reliable, alert to the danger of the situation. That's why it's a weird one.
35ft is 10 metres. either you have over estimated your fall or your belayer has some lessons to learn.
I remember mis-reading this route and generating rope drag with a kink left; rope drag then creates difficulty for leader and belayer to know whats going on and inevitably produces run-out. Could this be part of the problem ??
Saw someone fall a very long way from this route many years ago. The fall appeared similar to the one described by yourself -fell from junction with Vector, a long fall into space ending up just below the overhangs a little way above the tree line. I thought it slightly strange to fall such a distance from an E1 (havn't done the route myself but have done Vector) but wondered whether gear had ripped or belayer error had occurred. I guess that on rising traverses ropes can get snagged under or above features and it's quite possible that friction on one or both ropes caused the belayer to pay out mopre slack than required. I remember being surprised at how far my fall from 2/3 of the way up Adjudicator wall in Dovedale was (another rising traverse) seeing as the gear was only just below my feet but I guess this is the nature of these routes. I think the lesson is trying to keep the ropes as straight as possible with the use of slings/extenders and trying to communicate with the belayer at difficult sections.
It would be unusual for there to be 30' of rope drag out of 80' - even on Diadic.
I suppose there is a possibility that the rope drag took a lot of the initial force out of the fall, and that your second didn't realise you had fallen until the rope came tight towards the end of your fall?
Lessons to be learnt either way.
I think you will often go a bit further than you expect, even with attentive belaying, unless you get the belayer to 'pull it in close' which being out of site on a traverse didn't happen here.
That said, you went a bit further, than the bit further I'd have expected.
Yes that was the same as my fall, plus smashing my elbow on some of the ledges on the way down. There was no rope drag as I climbed and everything was extended except the top 2 friends which were as short as possible!
I think there is something about this route, rising traverse and a hard bit on vector that makes it likely to produce this result.
I wanted to try and identify the trap so I can avoid it next time. There are times when you know you are on the edge and times when you know you are safe with bomber gear next to you. It was scary that after 20 years of climbing, that on this route, I couldn't tell which one it was!!
Point them to this.....
I think if someone said to me: 'Bro. Your belaying is inapprops. Pay attention, respect the job, and follow these guidelines for giving a great catch'
I'd just kill them in cold blood
Good arrticle. Was the belayer using a grigri?
another way in which slack rope is accumulated, is when you prepare high runners and step back down; your belayer may not then take back the slack as you move up. However this could not account for the slack in the OP's fall.
I'm afraid the evidence is weighing heavily against the belayer; there's no reason why a slanting line should implicate excess run-out.
'regard our duties as belayers with the obedience of a monk and the vigilance of a gladiator'
definitely poor belaying allied to poor comms makes shit in a rat trap......
Belayer was using a ATC guide or equivalent, one of those with grooves in so it will catch skinny ropes.
I think I would have noticed slack building up my side of the arete from moving up and down to place the high gear but you can get tunnel vision when contemplating vector laybacks so it is a possibility.
Good to see the arrival of non belayer yarns. Rope was able to straighten up a few curves. I did this route several times and feel it was relatively up and up but rather wandering and a fair bit blind. Certainly you had drag on both ropes, just an extra metre of it on the lower clip plus it being lower allows it not to tension if both went around that extra promontory. The second will normally see this and point it out but if they cannot see it. .. .
You felt quite firm on the rope as you set off on the layback as you were on rope drag.
in the process of transferring some old 35mm transparencies to digital I encountered a couple of very grim shots of Diadic. It reminded me of the struggles, and of everything I'd learned about rope management being forgotten as rain and wind came in from the sea. A tactical retreat, no falls, but fingers metaphorically burned
Tricky one to retreat from with the overhang below and vector above! I had a good think about whether to try to reverse the traverse and go home.
It has put me off vector a bit.
The traverse/layback combination looks like it could produce a similar fall...
Out of interest anyone taken the plunge off vector? How far did you go?
For 80' you could get 10' stretch, add a few feet from you to the runner, 10' max say for any slack, belayer movement or rope line movement (you sure one of the lower runners didnt pop and straighten the rope? ). Then most climbers estimates of 30' falls can be more like 25' and the problem is solved. There does have to be a solution afterall.
I guess that is right. Hard to guesstimate distance but if you know the route hands reaching left for good hold at the end of the difficult layback section on vector to end of fall inverted, feet level with the overhang you come round, head 6ft below!
It was huge surprise to me to go so far with a runner at chest height. My only other longish fall was left wall, same ropes, maybe 100 ft rope out, gear 2ft below feet estimate went about 20ft landing neatly back in the niche! That one was as far as I expected to go. This one I had time to think 'shit I've fallen, shit the gears pulled, no I can see it is still there, rope must have cut.... Boing!!!'
I will just avoid climbs with traverses and belayer round the corner.
Thanks for all your ideas everyone.
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