/ Fallen? Fractured something? Cam fear?

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Jon James - on 28 Aug 2013
Afternoon all.

I don't get onto the forum much but I find myself with a little time on my hand so thought I would take the time to tell a tale and ask some questions.

A week ago today I fell.
I was climbing at Stanage Edge and my head just wasn't right, I had dropped a few grades and had still decided to back off the simple route I was on. I was in a chimney and decided to lower off my gear from around 5+ meters, bad move.
The cam I was lowering from popped out and the next thing I know I'm hitting the ground. I did have another cam in that caught and slightly reduced the impact. This may have massively reduced my injuries. The fall resulted in me smashing my calcaneus (heel bone) in my right foot, but the rest of me survived unscathed.

So here I am a week later, immobile, bored and waiting to see the fracture specialists tomorrow for further information. I expect an operation and hope to be climbing again within three to six months if I'm lucky.

This has brought several questions to my mind.

1. Have I now got cam fear, will I trust them again? Maybe I can find a course on placement and use.

2. Has anyone else fractured their calcaneum, how long did your recovery take?

Or just share your story...

Answers on a postcard to Jon at Bored Stupid, Hurty Lane, Bumsville.
Gordon Stainforth - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

Re. point 1. Learn how to place gear better, giving priority to nuts/slings rather than cams.
Coel Hellier - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

> 1. Have I now got cam fear, will I trust them again?

Cams in good placements are good, cams in bad placements are bad. What was the placement like? Presumably you thought it good, otherwise you would not have lowered on it? If you're being over-optimistic about what sort of cam placement might hold (and some people are over-optimistic about this, any flared placement is marginal at best) then it may be good to reassess your placing of cams.
Timmd on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James: I fractured mine when I was 12, and it got mistaken for bruising on the Xray, and I hobbled about on it until it eventually healed, after which the hospital got in touch and said I'd not bruised it, but fractured it, though if it was now fine not to worry, and there was no need to go back to the hospital.

Mine was sorted well before 3 months but it might have only been a tiny fracture.
abcdefg - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

> 2. Has anyone else fractured their calcaneum, how long did your recovery take?

I broke mine once. I remember being on crutches for about five weeks. After that it was still tender, but I could start getting back to normal.

Take the advice of the quacks, and take it easy; it'll get better!
Simon Caldwell - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

Practice your down climbing so you don't need to lower off :-)
Wesley Orvis - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to Jon James)
>
> Practice your down climbing so you don't need to lower off :-)

my thought too!

wurzelinzummerset on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I've read somewhere that one manufacturer tried testing cam placements that experienced climbers deemed "good". Apparently 1 in 20 failed. I don't know how the figures would work for nut placements, but I'd suspect it would be better. So, with regard to the scenario in this thread, lowering off a single cam with nothing else between you and the deck seems like a very bad idea.
Graeme Hammond - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

It largely depends on the type of fracture you've got and individual recovery time. I've got a undisplaced fracture on my left heel currently and am nearly 3 months to the day since the accident.

I was, given a "walker protective boot thing" but now use a trainer as I am allowed to fully weight it (this happened after 8 weeks I think, 4 non weight bearing before this. I would have been put in plaster but for other injuries on the other foot). I can stand and walk on it, but so far only walk short distances due to the much worse breakages requiring an operation on my other foot which I can now semi weight bear so am at least on crutches now which is why I only walk short distances but suspect I could walk normally without any crutches if it wasn't for this (also my hands hurt from a bad sprain and a broken other hand). My foot feels tender particularly when I stand up in bare feet. I suspect I could climb on it but haven't tried properly due to the other foot.

If your fracture is displaced you may be looking at a longer recovery to mine, I expect my recovery time has been made longer by the other injuries I have.

Take it easy and get well soon,

ps I'm even more bored
Coel Hellier - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to wurzelinzummerset:

> lowering off a single cam with nothing else between you and the deck seems like a very bad idea.

There's certainly plenty of cam placements where I'd be happy lowering off a single one -- more or less anything where the exit is narrower than the inside. Parallel placements are usually ok but not bombproof, and slightly flared placements are marginal. Anything more than slightly-flared isn't worth placing.

I would not trust any of these:

http://www.fotolibra.com/gallery/979721/rock-climbing-a-cam-placement/
http://www.rockclimbingcompany.co.uk/images/cam-over-cammed2.jpg
http://www.mountainproject.com/images/41/59/106864159_medium_5e92ad.jpg
http://www.mountainproject.com/images/41/57/106864157_medium_de9823.jpg
http://www.climbingtechniques.org/uploads/4/9/7/5/4975151/1300571201.jpg

Wiley Coyote - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

Were you on double or single rope? You have to remember that if you lower off a piece (or even down climb protected by one) the lower you go the more rope is being paid out and if it does suddenly pop the fall will be correspondingly greater. Sometimes it pays to unclip a high iffy piece if it means you will be held by a bomber one lower down. In extremis, however, it is always disconcerting to unclip your highest piece unless you are very cool and calculating about it.
Duncan Bourne - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:
Sorry to hear that you fell.
But with regard to cams, most cams are designed to hold in the event of breakage, so if a trigger wire breaks it will still work you just won't be able to get it out (a spring may be a different matter but I have never known one to break). That being said a cam works much the same way as passive gear, ie. slotting in to a hole/break in the rock in the hope of arresting a fall. The advantage of cams is that they work in parallel and slightly flared placements. But in shallow placements, loose rock or polished rock then there is a chance that they may pull. Also with a lot of jiggling around a cam can "walk" so it is always worth extending to avoid this. Not saying that you don't know this but it is worth repeating good advice.
Duncan Bourne - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
Oh yeah. I forgot about over camming being bad too
Wiley Coyote - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to wurzelinzummerset)
>

>
> I would not trust any of these:
>
>Is the overcammed one not reliable? I've always assumed (dangerous I know) that overcammed were safe though an absolute b*gger to get back out. But there have been times when losing a cam has been the least of my worries and I've practically hammered over-sized cams into under-sized cracks.
Stone Muppet - on 28 Aug 2013
With regards to that manufacturer test - I once fell and ripped out a cam that a passing climbing celebrity told me was bombproof. Good job I didn't agree - I'd placed a backup nut which caught the fall.

Another way cams can fail is the stem can break off if the cam can't move (because the back of the placement holds it in place) and the loading is parallel to the axle. This happened to a mate of mine.

As others have said cam placements range from great to useless - and most of us can only hope we know which is which.

If you're really bored, we'd probably all be interested if you managed to abseil back to the same place you fell, put the cam in the same way and take a picture..?
Stone Muppet - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: It's not the overcamming that's the problem, it's that the placement is mega shallow and flared.
Ramblin dave - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to Jon James)
>
> Were you on double or single rope? You have to remember that if you lower off a piece (or even down climb protected by one) the lower you go the more rope is being paid out and if it does suddenly pop the fall will be correspondingly greater.

Eh?

Surely you'll fall exactly the same distance (ie twice the distance between the cam and the next decent piece of gear), it's just that you'll start lower and end lower (and hence be more likely to deck).
DubyaJamesDubya - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Jon James)
>
> Re. point 1. Learn how to place gear better, giving priority to nuts/slings rather than cams.

Actually give priority to the best placement regardless of type.
Gordon Stainforth - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Well, yes. But too many people nowadays think only of cams, and tend to slap them in rather carelessly.
Coel Hellier - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> Surely you'll fall exactly the same distance ...

What he's saying is this:

If you're down-climbing and near a good bit of gear, then you'll not fall far. Now imagine the same, but that your rope is also going up and down to a dodgy placement 3 metres above, so you'd fall 6 metres if it ripped. That would be counter-productive compared to having unclipped that piece.
Wiley Coyote - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> [...]
>
> Eh?
>
> Surely you'll fall exactly the same distance (ie twice the distance between the cam and the next decent piece of gear), it's just that you'll start lower and end lower (and hence be more likely to deck).

On double ropes you are right. But on a single rope as you climb down with a piece above your head the second is paying OUT more rope and the fall potential if the top piece pops is correspondingly higher. If you unclip from the top piece the second is taking IN rope and the fall gets correspondingly shorter (assuming the next piece down is bomber, as I said).
Ramblin dave - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> [...]
>
> On double ropes you are right. But on a single rope as you climb down with a piece above your head the second is paying OUT more rope and the fall potential if the top piece pops is correspondingly higher.

Eh? Suppose I have a dodgy cam at 20m and a bomber hex at 18m.

If I'm hanging off the cam at 20m then there's 20m of rope out. If the cam pops at this point, that 20m of rope end up going up to the hex at 18m and then down again another 2m, so I end up at 16m, falling 4m.

If I've lowered to 10m before the cam pops, there's now 30m of rope out! But it still ends up going up to the hex at 18m and then down another 12m, so I end up at 6m, ie still actually falling 4m.

The issue comes if it waits until I'm 4m off the deck before popping...

This is the same fallacy as "if you fall while clipping, you'll fall further if you're trying to clip above your head." In fact, you'll end up lower, but you'll fall exactly the same distance.

> If you unclip from the top piece the second is taking IN rope and the fall gets correspondingly shorter (assuming the next piece down is bomber, as I said).

Agree with this, though, so it would make sense to unclip before downclimbing under some circumstances. Or use double ropes... In reply to Wiley Coyote:
Wiley Coyote - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)

> In fact, you'll end up lower, but you'll fall exactly the same distance.

I don't dispute the maths and I'm sure it will come as a great comfort to the mangled climber as he waits to be shovelled into the ambulance/body bag that although he hit the deck and has multiple fractures because he 'ended up lower' at least he only fell the same distance. So that's all right then.
LakesWinter on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: they are all terrible looking placements!
Wiley Coyote - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

>
> This is the same fallacy as "if you fall while clipping, you'll fall further if you're trying to clip above your head." In fact, you'll end up lower, but you'll fall exactly the same distance.
>
Don't see how this is a fallacy. Let's say bolts are 2 metres apart. If you always clip at waist level you never have more than 2 metres of rope out so the max fall is 2x2 metres = 4 metres (disregarding stretch, slack etc) However if you clip above your head there is still 2 metres of rope out between the bolts PLUS the length of rope coming back down to your waist, say another metre, making a total of 3 metres of rope out. If you fall making that clip the fall is 2x3 metres = 6 metres instead of 4 isn't it? And yet again you'll end up further down the crag.
lazzaw - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James: I fractured my calcaneum 2 years ago after a poxy 6ft fall. It was in many little bits but the joint surfaces were fairly non displaced so I got away without surgery.

They removed the cast after 2 weeks to help stop my ankle seizing (it had done so impressively within just 14 days) but, as nothing was stabilised I then had a further 4 weeks of complete non-weight bearing (by complete I was told I couldn't even put my toes to the floor)

Once that was over I could do as much as I wanted but it took me around 4-5 weeks to completely get off crutches and I limped for quite a while. I was back climbing indoors after 5 months and outdoors in 6.

The range of movement took a long time to come back (still not 100% but I'm happy with it)and it felt 'wierd' for ages. I did lots of physio as used it as much as I could so I think the recovery was OK

Now I can funciton fine. It hurts for a few steps after sleep or sittign down for a long time and I feel decidedly middle aged as I need to wear slippers at home in cool weather as it aches if I have it on cool wood floors.

Oh, and my right foot is now an entire size larger than my left - makes buying climbing shoes a bit of a bugger
Ramblin dave - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
No - exactly the same argument as before applies (except that the gear is now bolts and in the second case you'd be at 19m rather than 10m).

In your "above the head" case, I'd be starting with my waist at 19m and have 21m of rope out total when I'm clipping - 20m up to the bolt and 1m back down. If I fell 6m as a result then I'd end up at 13m. But that would mean 18m of rope up to the last bolt plus 5m going down again = 23m total!

What would actually happen is that I'd end up still having 21m of rope out, but that would go up to 18m and back down to 15m. Since I started at 19m, that's still a fall of 4m.

The distance that you fall is twice the amount of rope that goes from going upwards to going downwards (if you see what I mean by upwards and downwards). Having extra rope out doesn't make any difference if it was going downwards in the first place.

Obviously the "further down the crag" thing is an issue if you're low down to start with (hence clipping the second bolt above your head could be a bad idea), but once you're higher up it'll depend entirely on the route and where the sticky out bits are.

In practice, from my limited experience of sport climbing, the thing that'll probably make the most difference is where you're in a comfortable position to make the clip and where you're most likely to fall off. In an extreme case, if I'm stood on a ledge with a bolt at head height and a couple of hard moves to get off the ledge, I'm not going to make myself much safer by doing the hard moves first and clipping afterwards!
Ramblin dave - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
FWIW, I don't disagree with your point in the original case that it's sometimes better to unclip a dodgy piece of gear and downclimb to something solid than to lower off the dodgy piece, so you can leave out the histrionics about mangled bodies...
Dave Williams - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

I'm extremely sorry to hear that you've fractured your calcanium. It's a very nasty injury indeed. OK, here's my story:

In July 2009 I had a 3 metre groundfall onto solid rock and ended up with a badly displaced class 5 calcanial fracture; the calcanium, talus and subtalar joint were all shattered. I was hospitalised for over 5 weeks and had a 6.5 hour operation which involved an open reduction and internal fixation with eight pins and five non-locking calcanial plates. I also developed post-op Compartment Syndrome and also ended up with permanent nerve and tendon damage. The pain initially was beyond belief and I was on a cocktail of morphine, oxynorm and oxycontin for 3 months.

Due to the severity of the injury I was told that I had suffered a "terrible, life-changing injury", received counselling and was warned that I would have a permanent limp, acute or chronic pain, much loss of mobility and would never be able to run, dance or jump again. A year later this all turned out to be true. When I asked the consultant surgeon if I'd ever climb again, he icily replied that 'heels are b@stards' and his only priority was to ensure that I could simply walk again!

I was on two crutches, then eventually on one, for 6 months. I had intensive physiotherapy for 6+ months. A year after the accident I could manage, just about, to walk a quarter of a mile before crippling pain literally stopped me from going any further. I was in constant pain once on my feet and my heel/ankle would swell as soon as I put weight on it. I had to wear an orthotic support in my shoe and walking barefooted was completely impossible. I could climb though, which was a big plus, but it did take some 10 months, post-accident.

For a good while I became less and less positive about regaining any semblance of normal mobility but then over a 2 year period, I gradually pushed my pain tolerance up to the point when, by last summer, I was able to walk 2-3 miles in one go.

My GP was unsympathetic and opinioned that I was very lucky to be walking at all. But I persevered and eventually got referred to a different consultant. He operated again last year (another 4 hour job), removed all the metalwork and did a lot of trimming of bones which were still displaced. This was successful and improved my quality of life a lot - no more orthotic support and I could walk barefoot again. I was on crutches for about a month, but was back climbing within 2 months.

So, 4 years on, this is how it is for me (and this may not apply to you):

The good:

- I still climb regularly, generally at better grades now than when I broke it.
- Walking up to 3-4 miles is now possible with little pain.
- I can run (a few paces), dance (badly - no change there) and jump (modestly).

The bad:

- I have a slight, permanent limp, which gets worse depending on how much I do.
- After a 'long' (3-4 mile) walk, the next day the foot is very stiff and is extremely painful, but after a lot of excrutiating limping it comes back to something like normality. This is getting worse and is presumably due to osteoarthritis.
- Trekking poles are vital over any real distance.
- Walking on uneven ground is challenging/ painful.
- My balance, when walking, isn't what it was.
- Bouldering outdoors is limited to problems without a drop as I can't jump off anymore.
- Alpine climbing, UK mountain days etc are impossible due to my much reduced mobility. I haven't been up a mountain since 2009 and expect I never will again.
- Multi-day trips aren't at all easy and need careful pain management.
- My right foot is also a full size bigger than it was; a real bugg£r when it comes to normal footwear, let alone walking boots, climbing shoes etc.

Ask if you'd like more detail - it's not necessarily as bad as it seems. Despite the fact that all serious calcanial fractures are extremely complex injuries, they are individual in nature and one person's experience will not necessarily be indicative of someone else's. Hopefully you'll experience will be far more positive than mine.

All the best with your recovery.

Dave
Ron Walker - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:
>Has anyone else fractured their calcaneum, how long did your recovery take?

Mine took about two years before I could take long mountain walks though I could crag after a about a year.
I was told I'd be lucky to walk without a severe limp never mind climb! Twenty five years on I've slightly restricted movement, with some pain and swelling after long walks of over twenty miles.
Climbing not affected as much as running and jumping. I used to road run a lot before the accident but could only run on soft forest or mountain trails a few years later after the accident.
The important thing is to maintain non load bearing mobility in the joint and keep it moving during the first few weeks and months of recovery.
ads.ukclimbing.com
spearing05 - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: in your second instance with 3 meters of rope paid out, you don't fall 2 x 3meters. Yes you fall 3 meters below the last bolt but your waist is only 1 meter above it this time not 2 so your waist falls 1 meter till level with the last bolt, then 3 meters below due to slack rope giving a total fall of 4 meters, the same as if you clipped at waist height 2 meters above your last bolt. The difference is you are now 3 meets below last bolt not 2 which could be the difference between being caught by the rope and being caught by the ground.
neilwiltshire on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

Well I can't help you with your specific injury as I have no experience of that. But I might be able to offer an opinion on whether or not you have the fear now.

In april I fell. I was maybe 6-10 feet above my last piece of gear which was a nut. As it turns out it was a poorly placed nut but then I thought that when I placed it. The nut came out in the fall, I fell 20 or 30 feet, didn't deck luckily, my next piece of gear held, also a nut. I remember the moment I fell but don;t remember the fall or the impact, I woke up maybe a minute or two later on the ground having been lowered by my belay partner. Helicopter rescue and so on, turns out I broke 3 bones in my back, broke ribs in 3 places, and one of those breaks punctured my right lung which partially collapsed as a result.

Remarkably this meant just 2 nights in hospital and only 2 weeks off work (I sit at a desk).

I knew within 24 hours that I wanted to be climbing again as soon as possible.

By July I was fully recovered and climbing again. I have since climbed harder routes than that which I fell off. In fact the first trad route I climbed after healing was the same grade I fell off. I wondered if I would freak out half way up but didn't.

I think the lesson here is, if you want to go climbing again, you probably won't have developed 'the fear'.

As for your cam placement, well, much like my nut placement, it was probably a poor placement - which doesn't mean you need to be afraid of all cam placements. Can you remember exactly what that placement looked like? If so, keep that in mind and know in future that this is not good enough. This is the attitude I now take for gear placements. If I think its a poor placement, it is a poor placement, try again!

Learn from your dodgy cam placement and you'll be fine.
Wiley Coyote - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to spearing05:
Clearly I was away the day they did maths but it doesn't alter my main point that it is not 'a fallacy' that you will fall further if pull up extra rope to clip above your head than if you clip at waist level and that you will end up further down the crag or even on the ground, which is, I would suggest, the salient point.
thepeaks - on 28 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: In my experience even dodgy looking cams are ok to lower off if you do it gently so not meaning to be rude but yours must have been a shocker esp on grit ( limestone placements can be dodgy). Time spent practicing placements at the bottom of a cliff is never wasted.
Wiley Coyote - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to thepeaks:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote) In my experience even dodgy looking cams are ok to lower off if you do it gently so not meaning to be rude but yours must have been a shocker esp on grit ( limestone placements can be dodgy). Time spent practicing placements at the bottom of a cliff is never wasted.

Not me, guv. It was the OP's cam that popped? I'd never have the balls to lower off a cam in limestone. :-)
DubyaJamesDubya - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to spearing05)
> Clearly I was away the day they did maths but it doesn't alter my main point that it is not 'a fallacy' that you will fall further if pull up extra rope to clip above your head than if you clip at waist level and that you will end up further down the crag or even on the ground, which is, I would suggest, the salient point.

Agreed. This is so bloomin' obvious I can't see why anyone would argue with it.
Nick Russell on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to spearing05)
> Clearly... it is not 'a fallacy' that you will fall further if pull up extra rope to clip above your head than if you clip at waist level

This is incorrect. You fall no further*.

> and that you will end up further down the crag or even on the ground, which is, I would suggest, the salient point.

This is correct. You end up closer to the ground.

I can see why this argument comes up... How close to the ground you get is in almost all circumstances going to be the important point, the distance of the fall mostly irrelevant. However, you do fall the same distance in both cases! This has been explained higher up in the thread and also in other threads... A diagram would clear things up a lot.

*unless your waist is below the previous bolt when you clip the next one.
Jon James - on 29 Aug 2013
Gosh, this would appear to be an emotive subject.

I had better just clear things up a bit.

Firstly, I would normally have down climbed, I like to down climb, I'm good at it, but on this occasion chose to leave my gear behind so once I had come down and sorted my head out I could have another crack at it. I know I could have down climbed and let my gear in place by unclipping it, but I didn't. Thats the thing with mistakes and accidents, you need an abnormal chain of events.

Secondly, if I could have placed nuts and slings I would have. Place a sling, I should be so lucky, how you heart sings when you clip into a sling. However at Stanage this is a rare event. Stanage eats cams, yes we can have the argument of cams Vs hexes but often nothing but a cam will fit.

Thirdly, placement. I will have to go back and have a look at where I placed the cam (horizontal crack). But as I remember the camming angle was really good, the crack not flared, placed reasonably far in and the crack looked clean. Now I looked at it and was happy to hang on it and that says something in itself.
However I placed it and I must have got something wrong. My fault. Lessons to be learned.

Lastly, Stanage Edge is Gritstone, Gritstone is a sandstone. It is a hard, coarse-grained, siliceous sandstone, a sedimentary rock that is formed by compaction of other materials such as coarse sand grains and small stones. As such, yes it is very grippy, yes it is hard wearing but will small bits of it come off in well used cracks making a surface unstable, yes.
I may find I placed my cam on a fine layer of dusty sand and that was the cause of the gear failure, I wait to see.

Right I feel I have defended myself a little. I'm off to see the surgeons now to see what the plan is, I will keep those interested posted.

Oh and I have enjoyed the maths debate, cheers.

Jon
Jon James - on 29 Aug 2013
Oh I almost forgot to say, thank you to everyone who has wished me well and offered encouragement, its very kind of you.

Jon
Michael Ryan - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to DubyaJamesDubya)
>
> Well, yes. But too many people nowadays think only of cams, and tend to slap them in rather carelessly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW1teH6k9xo
samwillo - on 29 Aug 2013
spearing05 - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to Nick Russell: Thanks Nick. Once above the second, or in some cases the third bolt the distance of fall is all that is relevant (unless of course you are on a route with big ledges.

near the ground (or a ledge then yes high clipping is dangerous, once you have enough height to avoid hiiting something if you fall it is neither here nor there the fall will be the same length.if high clipping means protecting a hard move then this is clearly better than not doing so.

Wiley C, Lets assume a pitch with bolts evenly spaced at 2 meters, a climber high enough up to not deck however they clip and no rope stretch. The length of fall is measured from the waist of the climber before the fall to after.

Scenario a) climber is 2 meters above last clip and about to clip at waist level when he falls. As you correctly said earlier he falls 2 x 2 meters ( 2 meters till his waist is level with last clip and 2 meters below to take up slack in rope) total fall height 4 meters.

Scenario b) Climbers waist is 1 meter above last clip, pulls up slack to reach for next bolt and again falls as he is about to clip. He now has 3 meters of slack rope, 2 from the previous clip to the one he is reaching for and 1 back down to him. However his starting point is now only 1 meter above his last bolt not 2 so he falls 1 meter till his waist is level with the last bolt and 3 to take up the slack rope total fall height is again 4 meters. the only diference is he is 3 meters below his last clip not 2 and on well spaced bolts near the ground (or a ledge) this could be the difference between decking or not.
IainRUK - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James: I did similar.. well broke my navicula.. I was scared for a long time but just did loads of easy mileage. I never soloed again as I'd been in a similar position but never thought I'd fall.. then did. But lead harder but then focused on safer climbs. Before then I'd chase easier grades.. Sunset slab.. 3PS..
Lukem6 - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James: The problem with lowering of Camming devices

CAMS can walk

When waiting gear you angle the gear towards you once you get a couple of meters down the angle changes, Torquing the cam more downwards.

This will walk two out of 4 lobes upwards(further into the crack), this tends to happen once you've gone from at your gear to 1 meter below. YOUR CAM IS NO LONGER HOW YOU SET IT. and to add you've got more rope now between you and previous piece... see what is gonna happen here.

Now add a minor amount of bobbing from you walking/bouncing down the route and watch your cam pop and you ass hit the deck.

P.S I had just arrived to do Amazon Crack as you were being stretchered off.
Wiley Coyote - on 29 Aug 2013
In reply to spearing05:
Quite. I think it got embroiled in some imprecise language on my part v mathematical exactitude. My use of 'fall further' was in the loose sense that you'd fall (ie end up) further down the crag albeit the air time would be the same because of the lower starting point. That to my mind is really the significant part especially if, as you say, the climber is within striking distance of the deck, a ledge etc. Personally I'd prefer to keep that extra metre of fresh air between me and the A&E dept.
Plus of course in the real world your second, seeing you stretching for the overhead clip, will probably throw you some extra slack to make sure you can reach it so that's even more extra rope coming into play if you take flight.
Bottom line to my mnd is only go for the overhead clip from a very stable position (as opposed to a panicky wobbly long reach from sketchy holds because you are bricking yourself.
Jon James - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Lukem6:

I would imagine that this could be what happened.
Certainly good advice.

Wish I had stuck to climbing step ladder crack as I had planned previously that morning.

Hope you enjoyed your days climbing, it was a lovely morning.


Lukem6 - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James: It was a fine day. Hope your ankle heals and as far as the fear goes. get out and climb lots of rock you'll get over it eventually. and remember natural placements first then passive then cams.


Good luck
Days on Rock - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James: hi jon, i did something pretty similar a while back. I cracked
(not smashed) my calcaneus and i was running again 2 months afterwards, walking after 5 weeks. I just got right back on the horse, and it made me a far more gear-placement-concious climber. Don't let it scare you too much!
adamre12 - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK: I too am recovering from a fractured navicular in April. How much has it affected your life? I have had no end if pain and still need to have surgery to remove a metal plate
Oceanwall - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:
Hope you liked the little video of the stretcher party carrying you down.
Jon James - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Oceanwall:

Indeed a good bit of video, what a splendid bunch of men and women the mountain rescue lot are.
Not to mention the helpful other climbers who gave up their time to help whilst all I did was laze about getting high.
beychae - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Nick Russell:
> This has been explained higher up in the thread and also in other threads... A diagram would clear things up a lot.

Here's my diagram from a while back:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=206460
Timmd on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James: By the way, my fractured heel was very painful to walk on, presumably while it was still fractured, best described as really really sore, a kind of sharp pain where I'd landed on it.

Don't let any pain you're having now make you feel too disheartened.
IainRUK - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to adamre12: It was fine.. Its such a small bone once its recovered its fine. Isn't it the ankles equivalent of the scaphoid? Anyway it took a long time to heal.. 2.5 months until I could run really. I remember because I ran around Christmas and fell towards the end of October.
adamre12 - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK: it articulates the movement between your first 2 toes and tails bone, Im glad your ok! I shattered mine quite badly cycling. Climbing don't seem to have been affected much now but can't run
halfwaythere - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:
I wondered if anyone would say did you weight the cam before you trusted it; I know it is not always possible...also if you lowered past any decent gear you could have hung on that until you revised your descent method from a lower to an ab off your now fixed rope attached to individual or more than one piece equalised with your rope.
halfwaythere - on 30 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:
Hi,
fantastic to hear all these stories. I like to tell how I fell off Silhouette arete and banged my heel on the ledge. I placed an optimistic sky hook, climbed past it up to the sloping ledge and safety when a combination of rope drag pulled me back onto the hook which held me once then I bounced up and of course it was pulled up and off landed me on a red superlight rock several feet below. The rope stretched and bang! I struck my heel then found myself hanging backwards over the edge. Ugh. Unabashed I went back up and finished the climb.
The other time was when i was climbing on two half ropes; I put in gear that would take a downward pull; nuts; and the traversed until I found a decent cam placement and slotted in a bomber 2.5 friend. i then clipped in with the other rope - I thought - and fell off on what I thought would be a short fall. As I fell I felt something give and prepared for a ground fall which is what happened. No harm that time but lesson learnt.
I guess most of these accidents happened when you get gripped or pumped and stop planning ahead lucidly.
I did injure my neck once but that was kick boxing..stupid sport.
mole2k - on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

I fell May last year when a hold came off on me, fell about 4m onto the rope only for the entire rock around the placement to blow as the weight came onto it, fell a further 2m to land my left heel on a boulder then tipped backwards off the boulder onto my head on the rocky ground.

After a short trip being winched up into the helicopter I had a cracked Calcaneus (non-displaced thankfully), 30% wedge compression on my L5 vertebrae and 13 staples holding my head back together.

I spent 3.5months off work, first 6 in foot cast lying in bed. As soon as the cast was off I was pushing myself to be able to stand up on the foot and then start to walk on the foot. I actually walked (with a walking pole as the crutches I didn't get along with) into my first of 3 physio lessons.

Started back indoors climbing after about 6 months and outdoors about 12 months had an epic on my first lead after the accident (freaked out on a severe 4a despite 2 days earlier comfortably high-ball bouldering font 6a). Now 15 months later I can climb at the same level and only lasting effects are my ankle and back getting tired slightly before the rest of me.
needvert on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to wurzelinzummerset:

I read the same 1/20 of what looked like good cam placements blowing too. Not sure who wrote it...But I felt they knew much better than I what a good cam placement looked like.
needvert on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
...
...

Totem cams!

Photos taken for the review, and tested with a small lead fall.
(Why would you drop a totem cam in a flaring placement? Well they're advertised as better than other cams in such cases.)

Those photos were from this thread:
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/test-drive-totem-cams/106849780__2#a_107360213

Jon James - on 31 Aug 2013
Well I have to say I'm learning more and thinking more about gear placement as this thread goes on.

I would like to think of myself as an experienced climber, as I'm sure most people on this forum do, but how many of us have had any professional training?

I expect most of us have learn't what we know by watching others, taking advice offered or watching DVD's, youtube, etc. I for one have learn't most of what I know from my climbing partner, who has had professional training and is a very good teacher (don't let it go to your head Rob) but its still secondhand information.

I think a little treat of a course in gear placement will help my confidence no end and will be an enjoyable way to send a weekend. Everyday is a school day...

As for the foot, ten days on and its starting to look foot shaped again as the swelling goes down. I had the cast removed a couple of days ago, which is helping no end (horrid things). It's still rather colourful but movement is improving.
As the bones are displaced (broke into four bits) its surgery or forever trying to buy shoes in two different sizes! I see the surgeon on Tuesday so should know more then and expect the op later next week.
I have just bought some DMM offset nuts to cheer myself up and give me something to aim for.

Still bored, but optimistic.

I will keep you posted until people get bored and tell me to stop banging on.

Regards
Jon
Dave Williams - on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to Jon James:

> I have just bought some DMM offset nuts to cheer myself up and give me something to aim for.

Haha! I gradually replaced most of my rock climbing gear and bought a new rope and a pair of Nomics during the 10 months that I was out-of-action. (Internet shopping is such a wonderful thing.) I started modestly but it soon became a pretty major spring clean. I convinced myself that I was still saving money by doing all this retail therapy thing as I wasn't spending a penny travelling anywhere to go climbing. (My wife wasn't quite so convinced though!)

Anyway, my thinking was exactly the same as yours. It gave me something to aim for as I knew I'd have to climb again in order to justify buying all the new stuff. It worked too as I was mentally in the right place by the time I was able to climb once again.

All the best

Dave

Timmd on 31 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave Williams:
> (In reply to Jon James)
>
> [...]
>
> Haha! I gradually replaced most of my rock climbing gear and bought new rope and a pair of Nomics during the 10 months that I was out-of-action. (Internet shopping is such a wonderful thing.) I started modestly but it soon became a pretty major spring clean. I convinced myself that I was still saving money by doing all this retail therapy thing as I wasn't spending a penny travelling anywhere to go climbing. (My wife wasn't quite so convinced though!)

I love our (the human race's) capacity for self deception.

Jonny2vests - on 01 Sep 2013
In reply to Jon James:

The issue about cams is kind of missing the point I think. The main lesson I would encourage you towards is that resting or lowering off a single piece between you and the deck is a BIG call, it's quality should be beyond reproach whatever it is.
Jonny2vests - on 01 Sep 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> [...]
> >Is the overcammed one not reliable? I've always assumed (dangerous I know) that overcammed were safe though an absolute b*gger to get back out. But there have been times when losing a cam has been the least of my worries and I've practically hammered over-sized cams into under-sized cracks.

I've been told more than once that over cammed placements are more likely to skid out. I have neither science nor evidence to back this up. Anyone?
needvert on 01 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

Was just playing with my #5 overcamming it. If anything the more overcammed it is the more secure it is due to more spring tension.

I presumed the logarithmic spiral property isn't cut short at the extreme of its small range. Personally I'd be happy...
Jon James - on 01 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Jon James)
>
> The issue about cams is kind of missing the point I think. The main lesson I would encourage you towards is that resting or lowering off a single piece between you and the deck is a BIG call, it's quality should be beyond reproach whatever it is.

I agree, if you read my original post you will see that there was a second cam in situ that arrested the fall and reduced the impact.
Cheers
Jon
Jonny2vests - on 01 Sep 2013
In reply to Jon James:

Yeah, I read that, but I assumed use of 'impact' meant that it didn't really keep you off the deck, it just absorbed some force.
Jonny2vests - on 01 Sep 2013
In reply to needvert:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> Was just playing with my #5 overcamming it. If anything the more overcammed it is the more secure it is due to more spring tension.
>
> I presumed the logarithmic spiral property isn't cut short at the extreme of its small range. Personally I'd be happy...

Well that's kind of what I'd figured, the spiral is constant etc.
Jon James - on 02 Sep 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Jon James)
>
> Yeah, I read that, but I assumed use of 'impact' meant that it didn't really keep you off the deck, it just absorbed some force.

Indeed that was the case, I was very glad it was there.

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