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ACCIDENT REPORT: Please don’t tell my Mum by Mike 'Twid&#03

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 Michael Ryan 08 May 2008
IFMGA Guide Mike 'Twid' Turner writes,

"During a brief visit to Ben Nevis in early April I was involved in an incident while climbing Smith's Route (V,5).

The accident I was involved with highlighted a few issues about winter climbing that other climbers might find beneficial. This short article is not meant as a 'whipping stick' for the unfortunate climbers that I had to help rescue. No offence is meant in mentioning their misfortune but good lessons can be learned for all.

Learn more here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=974
 Morgan Woods 08 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Thanks Twid for the impartial, non-judgemental write up....one thing not mentioned - would an italian hitch have been better than a body belay in this case?
 Michael Ryan 08 May 2008
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
>
> Thanks Twid for the impartial, non-judgemental write up....one thing not mentioned - would an italian hitch have been better than a body belay in this case?

4. Waist belaying is difficult to arrange. Stitching the rope correctly around your body needs experience and understanding of how your anchors work. If resorted to using another system the Italian hitch can work well. If using the waist belay why not tie off the rope every so often with a knot clipped into your anchors?

 David Peters 08 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: > 1. The climbers were strong rock cats ...

The eighties will never die - (c) S Haston I believe ;-)
 John2 08 May 2008
In reply to David Peters: Tom Jones, I thought? "It's all right, we're experienced rock cats."
 Morgan Woods 08 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

cheers Mick, i stand corrected.
 David Peters 08 May 2008
In reply to John2: The famous Vivian quarry incident, I stand corrected !
 Paz 08 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

It's a nice article but it kind of underplays the importnace of building as good a belay as reasonably possible and using a belay device if these are the `useful tips'. I'd regard these as pretty f*cking important essentials, but what do I know?
In reply to Paz:
Although belay devices are useful, I still think it's important to know how to waist belay safely. I started climbing before plates came in and have held quite a few falls. Subsequently I've had numerous occasions when my ropes have been too frozen to use a plate and I've had to return to waist belays.
It is however very important that the belayer is tight to the belay and the twist is round the arm holding the "dead" rope. I once had a second fall off the last hard pitch of Orion Face Direct. I was on a snow bollard belay and hadn't got the system tight enough. I got pulled off my stance and spun round so that the rope was pulled from my hands. The second was saved from a very long slide my the fact that the rope to him became wrapped around the rope to my anchor. Oops.
 DaveWarb 08 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Theres a couple of things that are a tad 'out' but i doesn't matter, as the writer has stated, it is a good piece for warning others and it is an eye opener to what could happen, people can learn from our mistakes as we have..

One thing i will mention is however, If Ian said anything about his mum finding out, i imagine it would have been a joke(!)... he would have known full well that he was going to not be able to drive back to yorkshire with his injuries and that we were going to need 'saving' from that hell hole Fort William.. ;-)
 Paz 08 May 2008
In reply to John Alcock:

Fair point. It's useful to know classic and ropeless abseils too. I'd be happy with you, but your average bloke I climb with there's no way I'd be happy with a waist belay, and I'm normally happy with anyone belaying. Not trusting my partner and thinking I'd be better off soloing (I mean our guide didn't want to rope up to us... ) was what put me off winter climbing though. Even if a hitch wouldn't work either, I'm surprised they haven't built a belay device that works on frozen stiff ropes yet though. There's room in the market for one, surely.
 Billy the fish 08 May 2008
In reply to Paz:
> (In reply to John Alcock)
>
> It's useful to know classic and ropeless abseils too

What's a ropeless abseil, apart from a freefall?
 muppetfilter 08 May 2008
In reply to Paz:
> (In reply to John Alcock)
>
It's useful to know classic and ropeless abseils too.


Is the ropeless abseil called a plumit?
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: inacurate, but a good article non-the-less. hope it helps people.
 Jamie B 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:

What aspects are innacurate? I'm sure Twid is just recording what he saw first-hand. He is as straight-down-the-line as you get and has no vested reason to distort facts.
In reply to Jamie B.: well for one the belayer was body belaying in the correct manner.
 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> well for one the belayer was body belaying in the correct manner

had this been so, he would/should have held the fall.
 Gerald Davison 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
I wasn't there, but according to Twid the belayers wrist was broken. It's only a short leap to a conclusion that the twist was round the "live" hand, which it should not have been. It could be wrong, but I suspect with that kind of injury it's a fair conclusion to come to.

I see this mistake sometimes, it's easily done if you are not belaying that way often. Body belaying needs lots of practice, which needs repeating regularly, otherwise it will let you down just when you most need it.
In reply to Alun: noooo, as half the belay stance popped. He was belaying correctly, not having the live rope coiled round his arm. I am not going to get back into this, but look on other threads. This article is a good resource and should not be bolloxed up by shitty arguments.
 blueshound 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Were you there Franco?
In reply to blueshound:No, but nor was he and he evidently, from his article did not bother to talk to those involved, unlike myself.

another innacuracy


"it was only their second hard winter route. "


one of them has done the Frendo Spur. They weren't both novices.
 pog100 08 May 2008
In reply to Alun:

Can't we just refer everyone to the other thread(s) with a few hundred back and forward arguments rather than resurrecting the whole thing again .. and again ... and again ...
 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> I am not going to get back into this, but look on other threads. This article is a good resource and should not be bolloxed up by shitty arguments.

You are a 100% correct, so why did you feel the need to post?
In reply to pog100: I completely agree.
 liz j 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
This article is a good resource and should not be bolloxed up by shitty arguments.

Hang on a minute, it's you starting the argument. I'm pretty damn sure that Twid is far better qualified to pass judgement on this incident than you will ever be.
In reply to Alun: so people realised what actually happened- further enhancing their knowledge. So people won't then just think 'belayed the wrong way round, what an idiot' but think ' unfortunate, could this have happend to me?' and then change their ways, as i'm sure many people who have used body belays may have been in a possition where this could have happened.
 Paz 08 May 2008
In reply to muppetfilter+ Billy the fish :

Very good, but you neglected one crucial thing: I always climb carrying a parachute. I neant a belay plate / hitch less/ krab brake less ab seil, i.e that SA abseil thing I've not looked up yet.
In reply to liz j: not when he gets improtant facts wrong. look on other threads, i can't be arsed.
 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> one of them has done the Frendo Spur. They weren't both novices.

They could both have ascended Cerro Torre blindfold and by night, for all it matters. The fact are that the leader was waist belaying and dropped the second. I'm sure there are reasons and excuses, but the moral of the article is that with a decent belay and belay device it probably wouldn't have happened.
1
In reply to Alun: agreed. Like I said, a useful article, but I just wanted to point out that people shouldn't read the account as 'gospel'.
 Paz 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:

I thought you were just caught by an avlanche and learnt a valuable lesson: Mountains are shit and populated by lemmings who queue up to drop ice axes on each other's heads. Sorry that's Kinder Downfall, very different.
 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
Franco, mate, you can't go around contradicting the word of one the most experienced and respected climbers in Britain with the justification of "look on other threads, i can't be arsed".

Nobody will take you seriously, unfortunately. And if you really don't care, I ask again, why did you bother posting?
 pog100 08 May 2008
In reply to Alun:

Far be it from me to defend Franco, but if you read the other threads you will see that he was intimately involved with this incident and probably is very well placed to know what happened. He and the others have clearly learned a lot. Every that needs to be said, and a lot more besides, has already been said.
 liz j 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to blueshound)No, but nor was he and he evidently, from his article did not bother to talk to those involved, unlike myself.

??? He wasn't there, so how did he manage to lower the leader to the ground. Or are you saying that he made up that bit???
 Alex Roddie 08 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Oh dear oh dear, this again.

I think it's good that the article raises some general pointers about safety when winter climbing but I think it's a bit silly continually running through what happened. Most of it is speculation since only the belayer knows exactly what went wrong. Yes some conclusions can be drawn by the remains of the belay as it appeared when the author arrived on the scene, but what's the use in picking it apart and speculating?

I think it's pretty obvious everyone involved has learned a great deal from the incident, and it has doubtless enriched their climbing abilities a great deal, despite the danger they were in.

Let's move on now!!
 liz j 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
Believe me, I've climbed a lot more than once. I merely would like to know how Twid managed to lower him down if he wasn't there??
 liz j 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to liz j) he didn't see the belay set up you pedantic retard.

Careful now, did you see the setup???
 Jamie B 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:

I really don't want to write you off as cretins, but I do struggle to understand why yer man lead on a single 8mm? I had a botched abseil last summer which showed me quite graphically how easily they cut...
In reply to liz j: no, but seen as there is a discussion going on, how come, the regular climbing partners and frineds of the two people involved, is in a lower position to discuss it than a load of sheffield bumblers?
 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> People on this forum never listen and are generally just a bunch of tw*ts.

There is absolutely no need to be offensive, even if I agree with you. Funnily enough, your post proves its content rather nicely. Well done, even if you didn't mean it.

But thanks for re-posting the details.

PS Calling people tw*ts and pedantic retards must be almost as rude as older people patronising you in a smugly superior way.
In reply to Jamie B.: the other rope was only an 8.5, and only 50 metres. the leader in question likes to climb fast and get routes done quickly, therefor used the single 60 metre rope. This was perhaps the greatest mistake.
estivoautumnal 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
Go to bed youngster. You're making an arse of yourself.
 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to estivator:
> Go to bed youngster. You're making an arse of yourself.

oh hush you, some of us are enjoying ourselves. ;)

reckon I'll go get me a second glass of bowmore...
 beardy mike 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to liz j) he didn't see the belay set up you pedantic retard.

Franco, as far as I can tell YOU should not be posting at all, Dave and Ian should be as they were there. Twid was also apparently much closer to the action than you were. If you want to defend the actions of your friend fair enough but you really are doing yourself no favours by being agressive on their behalf. Might I suggest you go climbing?
 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> But the forums need to change people don't really want to learn only to persecute and heckle.

and how does labelling people tw*ts and retards help bring about this change?
estivoautumnal 08 May 2008
In reply to Alun:
> (
>
> reckon I'll go get me a second glass of bowmore...

Now that is a good idea.

 Alun 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
well it certainly gives some of us a good laugh. Anyway I'm ruining the thread, I let the excitment go to my head, sorry.
 beardy mike 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Alun) It don't, but it gives people a taste of their own medicene.

No, it makes you look like a wally. Might I suggest you go climbing again until you calm down as you will at some point regret it all. I am not trying to antagonise you, FFS just for once listen to me will yer?
 Alex Roddie 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> I went to three crags today and climbed over 20 routes, including an E4 6b onsight lead. Sorry I couldn't do more.

Nice one! Wish I was out there doing routes instead of cramming for finals. =(
 liz j 08 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
I'm not from Sheffield and I'm not a bumbler. If you ask me, it seems you will never learn from your mistakes - and that's what this was and your friends were damn lucky to get away with it - because every time someone who DOES know what they are on about puts there point over, you get all defensive about it. They cocked up, they got away with it and Twid's article is not having a go at them, only trying to prevent someone else doing the same thing. Climbing is about judgement and they made a bad call.
In reply to mike kann: iy. first thread after coming back. lol. Arh well, I aint going to post on this issue anymore. the not very in-depth, but true storey can be found here:

http://francocookson-climbing.blogspot.com/
In reply to Alex Roddie: yehhhhhh, I've got my As exams next week, lol. Should be reet.
 Paz 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:

Ah right, thanks for the diagram. nice one on the E4 you bastard.
 liz j 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
I don't have a complex about anything, and I'm not judging anyone. Sorry, but how many others have safely climbed that route and belayed from that spot. 8mm is hard enough to hold in a belay plate as a single rope, let alone with a body belay, there is the error of judgement maybe. I bet they don't do it again though.
 liz j 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
One last thing, is your mate right or left handed??
 Jamie B 09 May 2008
In reply to liz j:

Co-incidentally I actually know someone who has held a falling second from a snow belay at the top of that pitch. Think his rope choice was more conventional though..
In reply to liz j: left. And i have heard (maybe incorrectly) that it is better to body belay with a thin rope than use a belay plate that is too big?
In reply to Jamie B.: I believe the belayer has held lead falls before whilst body belaying.
 beardy mike 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson: I believe it is better to use a friction hitch rather than a body belay - he had an HMS right? Stop trying to justify your mates actions! They were his actions so stop trying to take responsabilty for something which actually has very little to do with you. Let it go!
 Jamie B 09 May 2008
In reply to mike kann:

> I believe it is better to use a friction hitch rather than a body belay

That depends on the anchors....
 beardy mike 09 May 2008
In reply to Jamie B.: True enough.
 liz j 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to liz j) left. And i have heard (maybe incorrectly) that it is better to body belay with a thin rope than use a belay plate that is too big?

Ok, and he broke his left hand, so that would tend to suggest he was using that on the dead end of the rope, but why was it going over his shoulder? Also, if the belay plare is too big, there are ways of increasing the friction, ie, adding an extra krab.
 john howard 1 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to mike kann)
> [...]
> Might I suggest you go climbing?
>
> I went to three crags today and climbed over 20 routes, including an E4 6b onsight lead. Sorry I couldn't do more.

Sorry to be off topic but that ain't onsight-in your blog post you say you've already bouldered the first few moves, but fair play nonetheless, I don't want to sound negative.But seriously i think that we should all try and remember what the point of this article was-to increase safety awareness about winter belays, there's no need for silly generalisations about ukc forum posters or name calling,it just detracts from your argument, the words mountain and mole hill come to mind..
 whispering nic 09 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Hey Franco

I've read this and the other thread. Why oh why can't you take it on the chin that your chums f*cked up?

The people you are contradicting, who have shed loads of experience are not trying to diss you, just helping others to learn from mistakes that were made on Smiths Route. Nothing you can ever say will change the fact that your buddies cocked up and this is a learning experience for all, not just those involved. You really should pull your head in a bit and look advice that massively experiencedly guiys like Twid are offering...
 Erik B 09 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: good article, Twid mentions something very important ie the importance of your legs when belaying, the amount of folk I see sitting on their arse at a belay is unbelievable, stand up with as good support for your legs as possible - most weight can be absorbed through your legs without putting weight on the anchor, I dont think Ive ever loaded a (non hanging) belay anchor with a second falling off. Its also much warmer standing up. Forget the temptation to rest your legs and sit down - its pointless (unless its snow climbing).
 normie boy 09 May 2008
In reply to whispering nic:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> Hey Franco
>
> I've read this and the other thread. Why oh why can't you take it on the chin that your chums f*cked up?
>
> The people you are contradicting, who have shed loads of experience are not trying to diss you, just helping others to learn from mistakes that were made on Smiths Route. Nothing you can ever say will change the fact that your buddies cocked up and this is a learning experience for all, not just those involved. You really should pull your head in a bit and look advice that massively experiencedly guiys like Twid are offering...

Aye...and show some gratitude for him helping to save his buddy!"
 andyinglis 09 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Agree, good article..... pity about the unnecessary slagging match. Having made a shitload of mistakes, these incidents have taught me so much more than any number of days of successfully doing summer and winter routes. It was nice that the issue/question of competency (of both parties) to be on the given route was not explored.

Cheers

Andy
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

The stand up/sit down argument depends on a lot of factors. Height of anchors above belayer, quality of anchors, etc.

The "which hand was the rope in" discussion is getting coloured by the question "Is the belayer left or right handed?" Left or right handed-ness is irrelevant. The choice about which way the rope goes round the body depends on the location of the anchors and the direction of the climber on the other end. The intention should be for the falling climber's weight to wind the rope onto the belayers body not unwind from it.

I'm not suggesting that the rope was unwound due to the rope going the wrong way around the belayer, but from the description of the icident and injuries, it is a possibility worth considering.



 Michael Ryan 09 May 2008
In reply to andyinglis:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) Agree, good article..... pity about the unnecessary slagging match.

I've deleted most of Franco's rants and have sent an email asking him to calm down, cut the insults and think before he posts.

 Simon Caldwell 09 May 2008
In reply to Alex Roddie:
> I think it's pretty obvious everyone involved has learned a great deal from the incident

From reading this and the other threads, I think it's pretty obvious that one of them has learned a lot, one has learned a little, and one is in denial and has learned nothing at all.
 Toby S 09 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good article Mick, thanks for posting. Sounds like Mike was well positioned to comment. Presumably he was thanked for helping out?

The point about using an Italian hitch is a good one, have had to use one of those more than twice due to a dropped or forgotten belay plate and I can testify to their effectiveness.
 beardy mike 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson: So contact Ian and let him correct it. However many times you say it you still weren't there, the only one who was, was Ian. Its his fight (if it is even a fight) so let him deal with it. You are doing a fair impression of a wall made of North Yorks Moor Gritstone.
In reply to mike kann: Ian will just blame him self to let it pass. I am stuborn and am not willing to let people think either myself or my mates made mistakes that we actually didn't make.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: why did you delete those posts?
 blueshound 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) why did you delete those posts?

Possibly because you are consistently repeating yourself, refusing point blank to listen to anyone else, and making a comploete fool of yourself in public.
 beardy mike 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson: YOU WEREN'T THERE! The only mistake you keep on making is coming on here and sticking up for your mate when he needs to do it himself! The other incident is not what this article is about so I really don't see why you are involving yourself to this degree. All Ian needs to do is state what actually happened because he is the ONLY one who really does know and correct any innaccuracies present in the article. Him not doing so will just allow people to keep tutting and sighing so FFS got get him... and you keep stoom cos you are making it hard for yourself...
 Michael Ryan 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) why did you delete those posts?

Check your email. You've done enough ranting.
In reply to Franco Cookson: Franco, even if you friend had been waist belaying correctly, you point out yourself somewhere above that parts of his belay pulled apart under the force of second slipping off. That to me seems like a big error. Of course there are place where you just can't find a better belay, we've all been there, but the fact that Twid notes when he got to your mate he built an eight point belay to lower him off suggests that your mate was putting speed well ahead of safety. That balance is always one that everyone has to make, but it would seem that in this case many factors (like using just one rope when two were available) suggest that balance was well off.

Jamie B. You said that your choice of body belay or HMS if you had lost your belay plate, would depend on the anchors. Can you explain your thoughts on this? Exactly this happened when we were in Norway at Easter. I arrived at the top of this pitch http://bp1.blogger.com/_3bhSo6922y4/R-gDP_TM5hI/AAAAAAAAAgw/r-ERilUveME/s1600-h/ice+climbing.JPG to find for various complex reasons and FUps that I had no belay device, and my two mates sixty metres below had four between them! I was belayed from a stout tree, and used a HMS bringing them up one at a time. Would you have done the same?

Paz - I don't think modern dry treated ropes ever get to the point where you can't get them through a modern belay device. I've had very frozen ropes in different ways but always been able to use my device, and that's many years, many ropes, and many belay devices of experience.
 galpinos 09 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

Good article, it's jsut a shame we now know who was involved and have a slagging match of a thread. As a rock climber who plays on Scottish winter stuff once or twice a year it's a sobering read. I'll be buying some pegs for next season.

Any chance of just deleting all the rubbish posts or "un-attaching" this thread from the article?
 galpinos 09 May 2008
In reply to galpinos:

Bugger, how do you turn bold off?
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to Franco Cookson) Franco, even if you friend had been waist belaying correctly, you point out yourself somewhere above that parts of his belay pulled apart under the force of second slipping off. That to me seems like a big error. Of course there are place where you just can't find a better belay, we've all been there, but the fact that Twid notes when he got to your mate he built an eight point belay to lower him off suggests that your mate was putting speed well ahead of safety. That balance is always one that everyone has to make, but it would seem that in this case many factors (like using just one rope when two were available) suggest that balance was well off.
>

that is a mistake they may well have made. I can accept that they made mistakes, as they obviously did. It was a major error and the speed safety ratio is probably the biggest thing we will take out of this.
 andyinglis 09 May 2008
In reply to TobyA: I have had seriously frozen ropes which could barely move through a belay plate before (dry treated). Also I find when the rope freezes into the ice, this also causes problems!!!

Franco - Pull your head out of the sand if you think your mates didnt make any mistakes. Thats a really dangerous attitude to have if you are not willing to accept and learn. Especially if you have bigger things in mind......

Andy
 smolders 09 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

The article doesn't refer to any of the 'unfortunate climbers' by name. So unless someone had read the previous threads on this subject, or knows the people involved, they wouldn't have had any idea who it was about.

Until Franco decided to stick his oar in again.
In reply to andyinglis:
> (In reply to TobyA) I have had seriously frozen ropes which could barely move through a belay plate before (dry treated). Also I find when the rope freezes into the ice, this also causes problems!!!

Many times I've had to bite the ropes to get them into the belay device, but once they're in there I've never had that much problem - is physical, yes, to tug them through the device but I've always been able to manage - plus it keeps you warm whilst belaying!

I completely accept that climbing with frozen stiff ropes is far from ideal, indeed I think this is one of biggest problems with trying to camp on an ice climbing trip - you really need to be able to get your gear dried out. But on a day out on the hill or on an ice fall I've always been able to use a belay device. I have dropped one once though (N. Buttress, Buchaille Etive Mor) and like I said above, leave mine on my mates harness in Lyngen - doh.

One time ice climbing in Lapland my new iceline ropes got completely covered in ice - like they were wrapped in clear plastic, never seen anything like it before, I could still get them into my (at the time Reverso) and belaying was fine, but we descended by abseil and even using a shunt I had to take wrap around my legs because I could get so little friction - that was really really scary, as this didn't become obvious until after I had set off.
 IanJackson 09 May 2008
I read the artrial when it was first released. I was quite happy with twidds report and have contactted him through email before and after the report. I didnt think such details really mattered in the purpose of the report. That is education.

But There's still questions floating around, which ill answer honestly. I tried to avoid answering them. Mainly because I was a pick and feel like one.

I tied only onto a 8.1mm as i lead out 60m to reach the start of the route. we didnt like the snow. I built a belay under Kellets route. Kerletts looked in great condition so i climbed Kelletes first pitch. I decided to

still use the 60m 8mm as the first pitch looked over 50m's and i realized i was handicapped with only 4 ice screws. 10 meters of extra rope would give me rope to find a belay for Dave.

Unable to find a rock belay (having only one screw after the 50 meter pitch) I traversed into the cramped smiths cave. Building a good belay, i realized my 8mm would be difficult to belay with my equipment available. I chose a body belay which i was familiar with. having used this system on on rock climbs and alpine climbs and a the few Scottish climbs i had completed. I have held a small leader fall, and quite a few tired seconds, (even with a single 8mm, while climbing the frendo spur) I was well aware how much fiction a body belay creates and how uncomfortable lowering can be.

Dave followed fine. In the cramped stance, i felt cold, but instead of taking time to but a fleece on i rushed off the belay to warm up. forgetting to tie into my 50m, which while placing my first ice screw i realized my mistake, but saving time didnt down climb.

Arriving at the stance i arranged this belay

http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc131/ianjackson_bucket/Scotland2008.jpg

its in important to consider the how i built this belay, as it looks to good on paper. The snow/ice was terrible. ignoring this i dug a stance and dugout some ice to place my last ice scew. It when in to easily and i wasnt happy with it. I hammered my ice axes in above linking them all with a sling. Not happy and dug away snow to find, too my relief a peg. which was loose so i replaced it and was I happy with it. The nut in my unprofessional opinion was solid, hammered home. equalized these pieces with my 8mm rope.

I learnt on the system gear to my right, gear to my left. I felt tied in. i felt really solid. obviously false. I took the rope round my back and twisted over my left arm.

Daves weight came onto the system. I held him. fully confident on the system i didn't even thing "what if?". My Ice belay came out. this twisted my hip sending the rope over my shoulder and on to my neck. halving the fiction Dave increased speed. I believe i must of let the rope over my neck. maybe because it was stinging? the rope now twisted only round my arm. I had lost complete control over the rope. the rope came tight, with extreme force. Crushing my hand as twist round the rope formed a bite round my hand. I fainted. Leaving my and dave held on the Peg and Nut. I belive the belay broke davids fall. the speed he was going, he would of not wakled away if the smiths icefall was 50 meters tall.

I woke up in extreme stress, expecting to have killed my partner. Shouting down his name, a faith reply came up. "Iam not coming back up!!" in a rather angry yorshire ascent that i recognized as Daves. In shock, i started to prepare to rope down to Dave. the crux of the matter trying to tie a prussic knot. I came aware of Twidd and his client and wisy decided to stay put as he "suggested".

Twidd climbed to my stance, built an amazing belay. dragged his client up and lowered me to the ground. where now i was pleased to meet, Duncan Francis. who was descending Tower Gulley after climbing Point 5. He and Dave helped me down to the CIC hut. Duncan and his partner Simon then drove me and my car to hospital.

I wasn't suppose to be climbing that day. We were driving home. I was planning soloing a climb in the morning and running back. I didn't have the heart to say I was wanting to climb alone. So Dave joined me. Me were slow setting off and slow walking up. Time was pushing, I was rushing. Rushing the wrong things.

Please see ive got nothing to gain from this post. I hated writing it and now Iam now regretting writing it, but some people leave me with no choice!

Francis - you have mail.

Ian Jackson.
 blueshound 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

Respect, thanks for posting that.
 beardy mike 09 May 2008

> Please see ive got nothing to gain from this post. I hated writing it and now Iam now regretting writing it, but some people leave me with no choice!


You did the right thing though... it clears up all the issues people have had. How's the wrist?
 Alun 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
Thanks for posting, and best of luck with your recovery and future climbing!
 Toby S 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

Brave post. You're a bigger person than many of the folk on here.
 Caralynh 09 May 2008
In reply to Toby S:

Agreed. About time someone actually held their hands up and stated the facts, failings included. Hope you're recovering well
 galpinos 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

I think your post will be much appreciated. It's has cleared things up (which Franco's posts, however well meaning, cetainly didn't) and hopefully "insulting" side of the thread can be put to bed.

Mistakes are made by us all, as are bad decisions. Sometimes we get away with it, sometimes we don't. Your posts on UKC have always been intelligent and well thought out, to your credit, so is this one.

Hopefully you'll have a speedy recovery and will be back on the rock/ice/snow/whatever choss it is you climb up in the NYMs sometime soon.
 normie boy 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
Well done for posting. Good luck.
 Alex Roddie 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
Thanks, Ian, that explains a great deal, particularly the diagram and your description of how the belay failed.

And well done for writing it. That took some courage.
 Andy Hobson 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

> Mainly because I was a pick and feel like one.

Don't. That post took guts. Thanks for clearing things up; hopefully it will be left at that.
 Paz 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

Cheers for posting that. Hope you recover.

In reply to TobyA:

Cheers, I was never convinced I'd not be able to get mine in my ATC whatever the weather desipte my lack of experience. Some people thought you don't get a huge amount of friction with a Reverso and Ice lines even when they're dry, that's why they brought out the Reversino, didn't they? I think it's just like with an ATC you have to just hold the dead ropes below the device firmly and let it lock off and hold the fall.
 Simon Caldwell 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
> Mainly because I was a pick and feel like one

Possibly you were, most of us have been at some time or other, but most have been lucky enough to get away with it. The important things are that (a) everybody survived (relatively) unscathed, and (b) you recognise where you want wrong, and will therefore not repeat the same mistakes. And I guess (c) you've got the guts to come on here and say what happened, UKC is not normally the most forgiving place!
In reply to Paz:
> Some people thought you don't get a huge amount of friction with a Reverso and Ice lines even when they're dry, that's why they brought out the Reversino, didn't they?

Yep - although I replaced an original ATC with a reverso after getting scared at how tight I was having to hold doing a long steep ab of the Rebuffat Route on the Midi! The thing with the reverso was that reversing it did add lots of friction (the sharpish edge that way round also would clear ice off the rope). But normally if you use a shunt any ropes are fine, but on that one particular icy occasion even having a shunt on didn't seem to help.

I use a BD ATC guide now which I think is excellent on thin ropes even when they are icy.

 liz j 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
Thanks for writing the response, I'm sure you will learn from this experience and others will too. Good luck in your future climbing and I hope the wrist heals soon
 Paz 09 May 2008
In reply to TobyA: Cool. You ab using a shunt above the device then? I just use a prussik (larksfooted with only one turn) on my leg loop below the ATC, but haven't tested it in winter. I can see how you'd get a shunt the ropes quite easily, but then it's easy to drop to.

To all: Right then everyone that's something good to come out of this thread: a BD ATC guide could possibly solve this problem.
dwtj 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson: Good write up, I particularly liked the angry yorkshire accent bit. I'm sorry you had this accident and that it's been discussed at some length in public. You made mistakes but people are lying if they've never taken any shortcuts themselves, particularly at your age. I think in that respect you;ve been really unlucky.

If I were you I'd be having words with my mate for dragging you into this argument again...
almost sane 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
>
> Please see ive got nothing to gain from this post. I hated writing it and now Iam now regretting writing it,

Ian, you have gained one thing from writing your post:
You have gained the respect of myself and many others on here.

Thank you.

In reply to Paz:
> (In reply to TobyA) Cool. You ab using a shunt above the device then? I just use a prussik (larksfooted with only one turn) on my leg loop below the ATC, but haven't tested it in winter. I can see how you'd get a shunt the ropes quite easily, but then it's easy to drop to.

No I follow Petzl's instructions and have the shunt on my belay loop and belay device extended above it. I do exactly the same in the mountains when I'm using a prussik instead of the shunt. I've never been convinced by the leg loop/prussik thing. Leg loops are designed for attaching things to so it's always seemed a bit heath robinson to me.



 Paz 09 May 2008
In reply to Franco Cookson:

I'm probably replying to one of your posts Mick deleted (he did the same to one of mine when I criticised an article author but I was being harsh). I thought they were funny anyway.

Basically a fair few of us also often feel this place is full of punters and that some people on here are full of shit and talk the talk (I count myself among both groups). It's frustrating, so much so that quite a few very keen people have simply given up or upped sticks and left (to you know where, or into the ether). But so what, UKC is still so f*cking useful, I'm more than willing to put up with it, a fan of biting back as I am, and there are loads of really knowledgable people on here too who you wouldn't otherwise meet. So while it's nice to have an online community and I respect that, I hope you'll put up with the annoying aspects as UKC will be a chuff of a lot poorer place without keen climbers, if they all give up on it or feel they can't post here. While this is a bit of muted praise to the administrators, I think you're well aware that there are few insurmountable obstacles to creating yet another popular rival that keen people could easily gravitate to (no, I'm not going to do it).

So while this place isn't perfect it's still (and for a long time has been) way better than Climb's letters page.
 DaveWarb 09 May 2008
In reply to dwtj:
> (In reply to IanJackson) Good write up, I particularly liked the angry yorkshire accent bit.

Artistic licence..i think it was more of a whimper....lol

In reply to TobyA:
> Leg loops are designed for attaching things to

That should of course read "aren't designed for attaching things to"!
 Jamie B 09 May 2008
In reply to TobyA:

> Jamie B. You said that your choice of body belay or HMS if you had lost your belay plate, would depend on the anchors. Can you explain your thoughts on this? .......no belay device, and my two mates sixty metres below had four between them! I was belayed from a stout tree, and used a HMS bringing them up one at a time. Would you have done the same?

Given a solid anchor, definately. The body belay however is to me a more effective way of reducing impact force onto poor anchors; you can let the rope slip a bit rather than arresting it sharply, and a human body is somewhat more spongy than metalware!

Agree about the Reverso being somewhat alarming on abseils; I also took to reversing it for this but then became alarmed at apparent "sharpening" of the braking edge. Have now replaced it with a BD ATC Guide which is effective with a wider variety of ropes, although it can be hard work with chunky singles. I can get quite pumped bringing up two fast-moving seconds!
 Jamie B 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

Respect to you. Your humility and willingness to learn and share could not be in greater contrast to Franco's posturing. Best wishes for your recovery and hope to see you back out on the Ben next year.

In reply to everyone:

I've only skim-read this thread, so apologies if what I'm saying is off track here.

Now, Franco is clearly an Angry Young Man, and his tone can be pugilistic, to say the least. However, poor old Ian, who clearly didn't want to post on here, simply confirmed everything that Franco said. If you actually read Franco's posts, he states that

a) he accepts that mistakes were made, and those mistakes lead to the accident
b) he just didn't want his friends accused of making mistakes they did not make (i.e an incorrect body belay), on a public forum.

Now that seems fair enough to me. He had accurate (albeit second hand) information, and wanted to set the record straight, for which he gets pilloried by people who seemingly didn't read what he'd written properly.

I'm glad the article was written, but actually find it MORE useful knowing the body belay was done properly. I've been in a situation like this many times, as I prefer body belays to brake plates on dodgy belays as I believe they help me give a dynamic belay and reduce impact on the anchors. To this day I hadn't considered what would happen if one of my anchors ripped and I was turned sideways. Very interesting. I'm glad everyone came out (just about) OK.


 Ron Walker 09 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
> (In reply to Morgan Woods)
> [...]
>
If using the waist belay why not tie off the rope every so often with a knot clipped into your anchors?


What on earth are you talking about...!
Cambridge 09 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

A useful method of keeping a waist belay in place is to use a direction snap link/screw gate on your belay loop. Rope comes up from climber, through snap link, round back. Adds friction as there is another change in direction and prevents rope slipping down under your arse (which I've seen happen).

Not sure how it would have worked given half the anchor failing.

Hope all parties heal quickly.

David.
 Ron Walker 09 May 2008
In reply to Jamie B.:

Try adding another Krab for abseiling on thin ropes and the standard reverso work fine...
 Paz 10 May 2008
In reply to TobyA:

Having the shunt above is just easier to transfer to abbing from actual shunting. I've tried to force the leg loop method to fail through inversion etc. and failed. I think it's just a nod to a safety back up element that enables you to do what's simple, fast and comfortable. The leg loops only have to hold the force needed to lock off belay plate - what you can provide with your hands. I've used this enough now to be willing to trust me life ot it, and (much as I liek Petzl's instructions) I've ever been one for text books (except for raising my monitor to eye level to enable correct posture, along with the yellow pages).
 Paz 10 May 2008
In reply to midgets of the world unite:

You just forgot the bit about `and I was an angry young man once too, and it meant I climbed dead hard and now I'm happily married ,so there's nothing wrong with that at all'. Some of the present company might need things pointing out to them sometimes.
In reply to Paz:

Paz, what are you doing up at 02:30? At least I've got being in Chile as an excuse... And I was never THAT angry. Or that young
 Enty 10 May 2008
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:

So Franco was right all along then. Apologies all round?

The Ent
 IanJackson 10 May 2008
In reply to Enty: Yes, Mick deleted all his posts that werent "right".
 Alex Roddie 10 May 2008
In reply to Paz:
The problem with fixing your abseil protection to your leg loop comes down to the design of some harnesses. On the Bod, which I have, the leg loop has a plastic buckle which is easily released by pressure from a karabiner. I used to attach the Prusik to the leg loop until its karabiner actually forced my leg loop to disengage, thus releasing the Prusik as well.

I now use the extended method from the belay loop, attaching the Prusik there too. Much safer and only marginally slower to set up.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: PMSL, dont tell my mum!
 Michael Ryan 10 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
> (In reply to Enty) Yes, Mick deleted all his posts that werent "right".

Indeed I did. Slagging off others and swear words won't be tolerated on a RockTalk thread.
In reply to Paz:

> Having the shunt above is just easier to transfer to abbing from actual shunting.


I've never had to do that, but having it aboveit makes abseiling jerky and insecure. If you have it below like they say, the position of the shunt brings the rope at a big angle out of the belay device, meaning that it helps add to the security by increasing friction, before you even get to the autolock function.

I've spent hours (wire!)brushing and gardening routes on abseil, and I really rate shunts for that sort of work.
 UKB Shark 10 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:

Hi Ian

I guess we wont be seeing you on fit club for a while !. If its any consolation I did far stupider things when I started climbing which I was lucky enough to get away with (ie abseiling off the end of the rope twice -and worse)with the comparative luxury of learning from those errors in private and at leisure rather than being the object lesson of a national/international article. Ouch !. Embarrassment or accident is an almost evitable part of a fast learning curve/progression but I think you have had more than an appropriate share of the former.

Best Simon

ps The main lesson that everyone seems to have missed is that ice climbing is never worth it..
In reply to Simon Lee:
ice climbing is never worth it..

Agreed.
 jas wood 11 May 2008
In reply to Simon Lee: "ice climbing is never worth it" come on say it isn,t so ! some of my best memories are on winter routes. i,ll agree ice climbing / scottish winter isn,t for everyone.
 jas wood 11 May 2008
In reply to IanJackson:
well posted ian.
 Paz 11 May 2008
In reply to midgets of the world unite:
I'd had rather a good evenings' trad climbing and was at the crag until nearly 10 (got away with it and survived again - yay!), got delayed by a thunder storm, went on a mini-bender nonetheless, had a puncture/flat tyre and then needed a burger. It all put a terrible strain on my time.
 Paz 11 May 2008
In reply to Alex Roddie:

I've got fixed leg loops with lots of comfy padding. Only for the odd occasion where I might need to weight the rope you understand ;-).
In reply to midgets of the world unite:

Just what I was thinking, that Franoc was right all along. Never a pretty sight when UKC decide one particular person needs slagging every time anyone gets the chance, especially when they're wrong. One saw the same kind of thing in the school playground, of course.

Still, worth it for the sight of Mick playing Mother Theresa.

jcm


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