/ NEWS: HEAD CAM VIDEO: Massive Fall Down Parsley Fern

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UKC News - on 12 Mar 2013
Parsley Fern Fall, 4 kbIn late February, Mark R was soloing Parsley Fern Lefthand Gully when he was knocked off by a chunk of falling ice.

The result was a terrifying slide down the gully all captured by his helmet-cam...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67900

Offwidth - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News: A very polite man! If that was me it would need censoring... I hope he is OK!
Henry Iddon - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News:

Amused me that the first thing he checked was the Go Pro was still attached to his helmet !
Enty - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Henry Iddon:

According to Supertopo it was shown on CBS news...

And there's a bit of a row going on on ST with a knob call Tradman who was gobbing off about.

E
JSA - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty:

St?
Enty - on 12 Mar 2013
JSA - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty:

Ahh, cheers Enty.

ChrisJD on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty:

> And there's a bit of a row going on on ST with a knob call Tradman who was gobbing off about.

One quote: "Then there is the britt factor. Britts on ice= annother 200% increase in the odds of an accident."

(not my spelling!)
dickie01 - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to ChrisJD:
Yeah, I read that, trolling in the USA!!
Simon_Sheff - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty:

I think they have a fair point

twem on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News:
Video of Llanberis team and RAF picking mark up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuOWvEhLfFU
Simon_Sheff - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to twem:

Lof of effort, for an avoidable accident
a lakeland climber on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff:
> (In reply to twem)
>
> Lof of effort, for an avoidable accident

The same could be said for pretty well every road accident.

He made a mistake and given the terrain, pretty well got away with it. If he hadn't had the head-cam then it would have been just another statistic.

ALC
ollybowman - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Simon_Sheff:

Is avoidable accident an oxymoron?
Gordon Stainforth - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to twem:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> Video of Llanberis team and RAF picking mark up.
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuOWvEhLfFU

Great footage of a job being done superbly.


Liam Brown - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:

Just to be clear. What do you think the mistake was here?
Aldaris - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Liam Brown:

His mates were dislodging those iceicles, he knew that,
- maybe he could have been standing in a safer location
- if no safer location exists, at least he could have been prepared for self arrest
and then when the problem occured
- I did not see any kind of attempt of self arrest, from the interview it seems he tried to slow himself with his pack?!
Liam Brown - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Aldaris:

Ok. Yes I can see how these are all mistakes but I would have thought soloing as a pair (or more), at all, was his main mistake.

It struck me that the choice to do this was the wrong one, in which case, the accident was indeed avoidable.
ScraggyGoat on 13 Mar 2013
There is a positive element to this story. There were no other roped or unroped parties lower in the gully. Which given behaviour regularly observed on the hill is often (wrongly) a common occurance.

We could have been watching a clip of half a dozen skittles heading south, imagine how much the press would have liked that footage.

Hopefully this footage will make everyone reconsider following behind parties. So far its only by luck that there hasn't been a huge multi-team pile up at the bottom of a classic somewhere.
Martin W on 13 Mar 2013
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Simon_Sheff - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber:
> (In reply to Simon_Sheff)
> [...]
>
> The same could be said for pretty well every road accident.
>
> He made a mistake and given the terrain, pretty well got away with it. If he hadn't had the head-cam then it would have been just another statistic.
>
> ALC

Yes especially if they weren't wearing a seatbelt.
Soloing, behind another group, not stanced out of the way of potential ice fall, and unprepared for it when it happened.
Lucky there wasn't other climbers lower down.
Tom Row - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News:

One thing which doesn't seem to have come up as a lesson to learn from this is what to do if you see a lump of ice coming towards you.

From watching the video a few times it seems that the climber tried to palm the lump of ice away from him using his free hand (he had already placed the axe and let go of it). He then seems to lose balance and start falling.

I would think that what you should do in this situation is hunker down into the slope and hold onto your axes. In this way even if the lump of ice hits you you shouldn't be knocked off. Any injury that the impact causes you is likely to be less than that you'd potentially cause by falling down the mountain.

Does this seem a reasonable comment?
Baron Weasel - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Tom Row: I think it's a fair comment. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though.

BW
Martin W on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Tom Row: I'm going to stick my head above the parapet and say that I tend to agree with you. It's one of the reasons why you wear a helmet in winter: to give yourself something to "hide" under as best you can if lumps of hard stuff start falling on you.

I can't help wondering, given that the casualty's first reaction on finally coming to rest was to check his helmet camera, whether it was concern for the camera that prompted him to try to bat the falling ice away, rather then hunkering down and relying on his helmet to provide some protection. In a choice between a shattered hand vs a dented helmet, I know which one I hope I'd opt for in those few seconds (by which I mean it's always easy to be wise after the event, and in his position I cannot possibly be certain that I'd have done the right thing).

Taken as a whole, it does seem to be a good example of what divers call "The Incident Pit": a sequence of what might appear outwardly to be insignificant choices or minor errors which, when added up, result in unhappy consequences (fortunately not too unhappy in this instance - but even that was more down to luck, it could have turned out much worse). Divers share these kinds of narratives in order to learn from them and, hopefully, avoid going down similar paths. I think climbers could do well to adopt a similar approach, rather than the: "Wow, close one, good on you for having a go!" reaction which some people seem to think is appropriate. Maybe that kind of response is a way of expressing relief that the people involved ended up more or less OK - which is in itself understandable - but not if it gets in the way of analysing why things happened in a rational way with a view to avoiding them happening again.
Roberttaylor - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News: I've work a gopro once or twice when winter climbing, the first time the footage was completely useless, the second time I got better results. I keep it for filming other things now.
In reply to Tom Row:

> Does this seem a reasonable comment?

It's not unreasonable, but a piece of ice that big, going that fast could easily knock you out if it hit your helmet, then you're going to fall back down the gully with no control at all.

It could even have been palming it away saved his life, despite that doing so knocked him off. I don't think anyone can know one way or another.
Simon_Sheff - on 14 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Tom Row)
>
> [...]
>
> It's not unreasonable, but a piece of ice that big, going that fast could easily knock you out if it hit your helmet, then you're going to fall back down the gully with no control at all.
>
> It could even have been palming it away saved his life, despite that doing so knocked him off. I don't think anyone can know one way or another.

I think its a very reasonable comment. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Hunkered in on your ice axes is absolutely the right thing to do instinctively. Leaning out, looking up waving your arm at it, is absolutely not.

Anyway looks like he's making some cash out of it (its copyrighted now!), wonder if the MR will see any of it..........
In reply to Simon_Sheff:

> I think its a very reasonable comment. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Hunkered in on your ice axes is absolutely the right thing to do instinctively. Leaning out, looking up waving your arm at it, is absolutely not.

I think there is very little "absolute" about it. Neither you, me nor the bloke who fell off know whether what he did was the best or the worst thing to do. When it's one rock or one bit of ice you see, watching it fall so that you know if it is going to hit you or not, and whether you can dodge it or not, is no worse advice than "hunker down". If it even hits your helmet and your helmet works, you could still be left in a messed up state after than.

It's just silly to say that there is a right or wrong thing to do in situation like this; you have one or two seconds to make a decision,
martinph78 on 14 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Simon_Sheff)

> It's just silly to say that there is a right or wrong thing to do in situation like this; you have one or two seconds to make a decision,

I disagree with that. That's why people practice, practice and practice again what to do in various scenarios. It becomes second nature. Not just in climbing, in all walks of life.




In reply to Martin1978:

> I disagree with that. That's why people practice, practice and practice again what to do in various scenarios.

Sure, but what should you do? Try and dodge it or just brace for impact?

I'm also not sure if any climber does practice either avoiding or getting hit by ice. I know I never have. What would you do to practice either approach?
martinph78 on 14 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA: It's not really for me to say what you should do as I don't have the relevant experience/expertise in this case. Sure that's a debate for someone else who enjoys specultaing more than I do. I don't want to criticise the actions in the video either, it's not my place to do so.

My point was that it doesn't have to be a decision you make in seconds, rather it should be a reaction which is built on with practice/learning/experience.

Just like you don't have to set fire to your house/workplace to practice evacuation procedures/drills etc, you don't have to get hit by ice to practice ice axe arrests/digging in/hunkering down or whatever UKC decides would have been the best course of action ;)




In reply to Martin1978: No I agree entirely that you obviously need to practice things. I learnt how self arrest, practiced it more, and some years later was very glad that I had when I needed to do it for real! I just feel in this sort of case there's no evidence base to really say what you should or shouldn't do, so knowing what to practice is the difficult bit.

I recently was a substitute teacher for a PE class and all the kids wanted to do was play dodgeball. That might be practice for the dodging option - not sure how you would practice hunkering down though! Have your mates throw rubber bricks at you maybe? ;)
JKSimo - on 14 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News: I think we all seem to be missing the main point: The guy was a safety consultant! Given that there are a whole load of faults that he made which have or have not been pointed out here would suggest he is in need of a new career.
martinph78 on 14 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA: Or get the kids to wrap-up warm and bring their dodgeballs :)
Simon_Sheff - on 14 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I disagree with that. That's why people practice, practice and practice again what to do in various scenarios. It becomes second nature. Not just in climbing, in all walks of life.

Your forgetting that TobyA is the font of all winter climbing knowledge. As for the palming it away comment............
In reply to Simon_Sheff:
> the font of all winter climbing knowledge.

You just seem to not like people taking contrary views to what you say Simon. You said he did "absolutely" the wrong thing, and that what you suggest is "absolutely" the right thing - so presumably you know "absolutely" what is best. Good for you, must be nice to be so confident.
Simon_Sheff - on 14 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:

sorry..
Tom Row - on 17 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News:
Interesting...
I was taught through the people I had learnt to winter climb with that the best thing to do was to hunker down. When I came to a situation where ice was raining down on me that was what I did.
On a route in Canada my partner shouted down "rock!" to me. I hugged the face and the rock hit me on the shoulder. It cut through my softshell jacket, my fleece, my base layer and the skin on my shoulder (it bled a bit and 7 years later I have a scar but it didn't require medical attention). Maybe this wasn't the right reaction.
As I was roped up at the time even if I had tried to dodge the rock and fallen off the worst that could have happened would have been falling a couple of metres.
Don't really know what the best thing to do is. I guess it varies if you are soloing, leading or seconding.
MarketBoy - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC News: So, great news that he's OK, and indeed he's very,very lucky.

But sorry, and I know that I'll be pilloried for saying this (this being UKC after all) but am I the only person to notice he didn't even attempt an ice axe arrest ? Instead he tried to stop his slide with his crampons - spikes first. He's lucky he didn't snap his legs into pieces.

Stash - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to MarketBoy:

Look more closely, he did try. The steepness would make it really difficult. Read the interview on the accident.
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MarketBoy - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Stash: Ah, indeed - I concede, after now actually having read the interview.
I'm assuming from the interview that he did break his ankles. Glad he's OK.

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