Yesterday I was sport climbing with my girlfriend. I fell around a 1.5m above the second bolt. Much to my surprise the snapgate on the bolt end of the quickdraw (petzl spirit, 6mo old) snapped clean in half resulting in me decking from around 8m and winding up in hospital with a fractured spine and a couple of broken ribs. No idea how this has happened and I understand it is somewhat of a freak accident but I dont know how Im going to have the confidence in my gear to carry on climbing and have faith in my gear.
Before this I was the kind of climber who I felt was happy to take big (safe?) falls all day and felt like it was one of my strongest climbing attributes.
I was wondering if anyone else has any experiences like this happen to them and manged to regain the confidence in their gear and climbing?
Ouch, hope you recover quickly.
Have you got the bits, I'm sure there are some technical people at the BMC who'd like to see if they can work out what happened.
My other question would be, what type of bolt? Is it possible the crab somehow got twisted on the bolt so that its back was effectively snapped across the bolt? I could imagine that in the dynamics of a fall, parts of the "safety chain" get into positions that you wouldn't expect, so if the back was broken across the bolt there may have been nothing wrong with your quickdraw clipping and it may (as you say) just be a freak occurrence.
> Yesterday I was sport climbing with my girlfriend... a fractured spine and a couple of broken ribs....
> ........I was wondering if anyone else has any experiences like this happen to them and manged to regain the confidence in their gear and climbing?
Very, very sorry to hear what happened to you, and I hope you have a good and full recovery
I had a bad abseiling accident (which I don't like talking about) in which I was injured. I got better but then I was more wary when I got back to climbing, especially when abseiling (the latter = understandably). However it didn't affect me too much, and I still enjoyed climbing almost as before, with good confidence in my gear and climbing
Sorry to here that. I hope your prognosis is good and that the pain is bearable.
As per Michael's post, please, when you are able, submit a gear failure report and send the krab (as many bits as possible), route details and any photos you have, especially of the bolt to the BMC. Info is here:
It's not a quick process (especially at the moment) but these kind of things need looking into.
I have had my fare share of close calls and also injuries. They haven't hindered my performance in the long run, but naturally short term affects were there (especially after injuries requiring surgery and long 6 months plus recovery).
To get back on the point, indeed do report it to your local governing body (BMC in this case) and also if you have biner bits, those too.
Lastly I have yet to break a biner, but a few of my friends have. On both cases the bolt & biner interaction was the cuplrit. One was using older Camp wiregates (nosed), and the wiregate got stuck on the the nut and thus the backbone of the biner was loaded over the hanger and it snapped... The other case was also a nosed wiregate, that was partly open (nose snagged on the hanger) and afaik again some hanger-biner loading action.
I have not heard anyone breaking a good condition biner on glue-on bolts (that is not the say, it can't happen, but I think in such cases it would also require bad bolt placements).
So was it and expansio bolt, or glue-on?
Where did it break?
Very sorry to hear about what happened and like everyone else I wish you a speedy recovery.
I've not broken any crabs yet [knocks on wood] but I do know a couple of people who have broken them. One was a very long time ago and I don't know the details of how it happened. The other was more recent and, similarly to yours, the break happened on a carabiner attached to a bolt during a fall.
Can't comment personally on coming back from serious injury [more knocking on wood] but I know a number of people who have had very serious injuries and have gotten back into climbing without this slowing them down in the long term (obviously in the short term you have a lot of psychology to overcome to regain the confidence you had before).
It broke at point 3 according to this diagram & it was an expansion bolt.
That very much sounds like a "nose hooked failure" as described in Stegosaur's link. That is, it wasn't properly on the bolt but hooked on the nose?
Get well soon by the way.
I'm fairly sure it wasn't as it was a redpoint attempt so the draw was definitely in position.
Which direction did you clip the hanger? Gate facing towards the high side or gate towards the low side?
There's a known failure mechanism with expansion bolt hangers where the carabiner gets lifted upwards and can unclip itself on the upper half of the hanger. My thoughts would be that this is what has happened here but that rather than unclipping entirely, the carabiner has half unclipped and then the nose has been loaded during your fall. The impact force required for failure in this scenario is comparatively low.
This seems more likely to me that a simple 'not quite clipped in' scenario because the Spirit has a clean nose that drops into a bolt very easily.
Heal fast buddy and maybe consider some 1-1 coaching when you come back to help with the headgame.
I took a very small fall on to a bolt last year that resulted in the quick draw gate deforming to the point it looked very close to breaking. This was a Petzl spirit solid gate. The draw was clipped in to the bolt properly and totally fine when I clipped it. After a while scratching my head and trying to figure out what had happened it appears that as I move up passed it, the rope drag lifted the biner and beacuse of the way the rock bulged around the bolt it managed to twist in to a position where part of the nose pinned against that rock. I suppose I was lucky it didn’t break! If the gate had been facing the other way it wouldn’t have happened so it was my fault. My take away was to try and consider what would happen if the rope lifted the QD. Easy when getting the draws in while working a route for the red point not so easy on an onsight!! Maybe the manufacturers could strengthen the biner to give it a higher force rating in this scenario.
I hope you heal up soon and good luck with the recovery!
Right anyone wanna buy 16 petzl spirit draws? 😂😂
Though that location is typical of a hooked nose failure, the krab in question is a clean nose krab. It does imply an open gate failure/hanging up/krab bolt interaction failure though.
It's worth pointing out that hooking/hanging up failures are not an issue with round bar glue ins.
This thread is making me want to replace all my sport QDs with floppy trad ones.
Sorry, I should have been clearer. On a round bar glue in, hooking up and hanging up failures don't occur as the krab rectifies itself in the fall but the unclipping scenario in your video is still possible.
> > It's worth pointing out that hooking/hanging up failures are not an issue with round bar glue ins.
> Untrue unfortunately.
Much less of an issue is perhaps more accurate. On steeper rock and depending on the profile of the bolt eye (some are deliberately sloped on top to help prevent hang-ups and unclipping) it's much less likely to happen. Plate hangers are generally snaggier (Petzl redesigned theirs a few years back to have wider radii and be better for this) plus there is the important factor of having the interference point of the nut and bolt - this can prevent a lifted krab from re-orientating itself.
Unfortunately, that's not the best video, as it doesn't show the rope movement which is pretty key to visualising how hanging up can happen.
Going back to the OP, the described fall is likely to be about as high a fall factor as you get in single pitch sport climbing - not much rope out, a hard catch as you're close to the deck etc. Even so, like many modern karabiners the Spirit has a beefy gate open rating despite being very light. It's been engineered on the premise that the gate will likely be open when the peak load comes on, and should be able to handle it even with the high fall factor you've subjected it to.
So, it's almost certain the load wasn't aligned on the main axis AND the gate was open. Witness marks on the remains of the krab may give a clue about this, plus seeing which way you had the draw clipped and which side of the bolt you subsequently climbed past will help ascertain if this was indeed likely to be a hung up krab scenario.
Get well soon!
I once broke a quickdraw in a fall. Well, not exactly broke a quickdraw, but the gate opened completely outwards. This was about 10 years ago now. I think these things are rare, but do happen.
Do you think using kwiklock carabiners on the bolt end of the first two quick draws would improve your confidence? it has me wondering about a couple of special ones for the bottom two draws (DMM Steel shadow kwiklock perhaps) might be overkill but you need confidence back it doesn’t matter
Just to add the Petzl Tech Tips on carabiner positioning:
Most have been said already, but their drawings are very good.
Sorry to hear this Jack, get well soon.
Sounds like a very specific and unlikely (but not impossible) combination of factors combined.
When you're ready let me know if you want any pointers on the process of getting your head back in the game.
Out of interest, are your quickdrawers set up gates opposing or facing the same way?
Get well soon and listen to/do the physio.
Most climbers who have been injured on here tend to ignore any predictions on future physical performance by non climbing medics. Best be extra careful whilst you are still feeling delicate.
> Out of interest, are your quickdrawers set up gates opposing or facing the same way?
Is there any right or wrong reason to do this? I'm curious...
I have both biners on a draw with the gates facing the same way so that I know when I clip a bolt that the rope clip biner is facing the same way as the bolt clipped biner, but even if you have your rope clip biner facing the other way, so long as you are consistent with that pattern for all your draws, so you know which way your system works, does it matter?
I wouldn't use floppy trad draws for sport as the sling matetial is twisty and you lose the intention of the stiff sport draw sling keeping your biner gates facing your chosen direction....so if it twists you enable a back clipped scenario?...as it cannot be guaranteed to untwist when loaded. I started sport with trad slings but quickly replaced them with stiff sport slings when I saw how 16 and 22cm trad ones weren't staying facing the right way, even 12cm trad ones can twist the wrong way.
Sometimes a sport routes direction can weave a little between bolts /draws, so on a redpoint a quick draw could even be best placed with the gate facing what might appear to be the wrong way = your direction of travel, but because the sequence then weaves back the other way and the hardest move is then on the other side of the last clipped draw, so when you are executing that bit the direction the last draw clipped is facing will now be relevant to some harder / the crux moves, ie facing the right way for where you are most likely to fall off.
Sorry you got hurt and I hope it all mends well. What kind of bolt was it and do you recall anything unusual about the installation? I'd report it to the BMC technical team.
I'd be surprised if a (roughly) factor 0.75 fall would snap even a stuck/knocked open modern quickdraw krab without something else also going on. Once you have your answer to what happened you can plot a route through the process of getting over it.
I'd guess it got hung up somehow with the bolt trapped in the nose of the krab or bending/twisting it
All my climbing partners agree that gates the same way is generally best.
I always try to clip with the gate away from the likely body position close to/passing the bolt, the top krab is less likely to come open interfering with the hanger, the rope krab gate less likely to bang on the rock on slabby to vertical ground.
On the hanger krab longer falls are not normally a problem as the pull is generally down not sideways, assuming the krab is not fouled up already. There is also the issue of gate inertia, less so on wiregates, where you want the rope krab , at the moment of loading , to move away from the gate not towards it.
On steeper climbs I don't think it is as critical which way they are set up, but arguably gates opposing may be best for the gate flutter issue.
Manufacturers have admitted to me that they display drawer gates opposing because it looks prettier.
> Manufacturers have admitted to me that they display drawer gates opposing because it looks prettier.
I think I agree with you that same way is probably better, and it does seem kind of obvious now but that wasn't always the case.
We did (almost) all used to have our quickdraws with the gates in opposite directions and I don't know if anyone really thought about it much, that's just the way they were.
If you could afford really fancy kit in the 90s and were clipping bolts with a set of DMM Mambas you didn't even have a choice.
IIRC you could also buy a single mamba sewn to a sling. You could then use your krab of choice to the bolt, either way or tip over on the hanger.
Also at the time, I recall a few phone calls/ discussions at trade shows , about which way round was most popular/best. I got the impression they decided on prettiest.
Ian Parsons and his digital memory with be along soon, perhaps.
> Sorry you got hurt and I hope it all mends well. What kind of bolt was it and do you recall anything unusual about the installation? I'd report it to the BMC technical team.
> I'd be surprised if a (roughly) factor 0.75 fall would snap even a stuck/knocked open modern quickdraw krab without something else also going on. Once you have your answer to what happened you can plot a route through the process of getting over it.
A nose hooked or nose hung carabiner can break at 10% of closed strength.
It seems likely from the break position that the stress as been applied across the top of the main axis and hence as it was a notchless/keylock it seems more likely that the carabiner flipped and got caught as shown in this DMM page. Not quite nose hooked but nearly.
The only thing that would stop this is a carabiner with a much stronger gate open strength which would mean it would have to be steel with the obvious disadvantages.
I'd be very interested in the BMC/Petzl opinions..
On normal hangers with a protruding M10 or especially M12 stud rather than a neat bolt head, the krab can get nastily hooked up between the clippinghole and the studding.
Jon on here posts a link on here at regular intervals . Big push in France , apparently to stop using the M12 bolts.
This may also decide whether you clip from left or right as hangers are invariably handed one way.
> IIRC you could also buy a single mamba sewn to a sling.
Yes you're quite right about that, I remember those too. But I bet most people who bought them put their own carabiner on the other end the opposite way round to the captive one anyway.
> Also at the time, I recall a few phone calls/ discussions at trade shows , about which way round was most popular/best. I got the impression they decided on prettiest.
You were obviously better informed than me back then, probably still now.
On balance I do now think having them the same way is best, but whether it was prettiest or not I'm sure having them facing opposite ways was by far the most popular among the climbers I knew at the time. Which is no recommendation necessarily - it was also very common for the cool kids to belay indoors with a fig-8 descender in a way that would almost certainly get you chucked out of a wall now and rightly so.
I vaguely remember changing mine around after my regular partner (and mentor - he was a much more experienced and better climber than me) did it and explained to me why he thought it was a good idea, probably around 20 years ago now.
> IIRC you could also buy a single mamba sewn to a sling. You could then use your krab of choice to the bolt, either way or tip over on the hanger.
> Ian Parsons and his digital memory with be along soon, perhaps.
Funny you should say that Rick; I was just pondering this very subject!
You're certainly correct about the Mamba option that just had the bent gate at one end - leaving you to use whatever krab you favoured, and in either orientation, at the other. Having seen deepsoup's post, though, I was convinced that the 'Double Mamba' draw [a drawer is where you keep your socks] was actually available in both orientations - ie not just the 'gates opposite' one shown in his attached illustration. I haven't found an equivalent online image to link to, but should you for instance glance at page 118 of Climbing Magazine's 1997 Gear Guide you'll see that this was indeed the case. I've no idea whether or not DMM maintained both options throughout the Mamba's production period.
> Just to add the Petzl Tech Tips on carabiner positioning:
> Most have been said already, but their drawings are very good.
I wonder if that was what happened (the first set of pictures) they were using smooth nosed crabs so it would be very difficult to hook just the nose in.
> I haven't found an equivalent online image to link to, but should you for instance glance at page 118 of Climbing Magazine's 1997 Gear Guide you'll see that this was indeed the case. I've no idea whether or not DMM maintained both options throughout the Mamba's production period.
Holy crap, he wasn't kidding about a digital memory!
My own memory is rubbish, and I'm wondering now if it's faulty and 'draws with gates facing in opposite directions weren't actually as ubiquitous back then as I thought. I just had a quick scan through "Statement of Youth" on youtube - no Mambas in the '80s of course, but you can clearly see Moon and Moffatt using a mixture of quickdraws with gates both the same and the opposite ways.
"..specially M12 stud rather than a neat bolt head, the krab can get nastily hooked up between the clippinghole and the studding."
I stopped using 12 mm through bolts for just that reason.
> I haven't found an equivalent online image to link to, but should you for instance glance at page 118 of Climbing Magazine's 1997 Gear Guide you'll see that this was indeed the case.
I'll just nip up to the loft and dig that out Ian and have a look!😁
> It seems likely from the break position that the stress as been applied across the top of the main axis and hence as it was a notchless/keylock it seems more likely that the carabiner flipped and got caught as shown in this DMM page. Not quite nose hooked but nearly.https://dmmclimbing.com/Knowledge/May-2015/Carabiner-and-bolt-interaction
Yes, given they're clean nosed krabs, lifted and snagged against the hanger/stud so the nose was levered out away from the spine when loaded is the most likely, it can happen and there's not much can reliably be done about it. I mostly climbed on long floppy slings, even once I switched from trad to redpointing so it wasn't something really worried about day to day but on the few occasions where I *really* didn't fancy the fall if something failed I would take extra care: screwgates on the bolt, back to back crabs the rope end and on a couple of occasions I even remember threading staples so they couldn't snap or open a crab but those were generally the spicier end of 'sport', spaced bolts, bad landings, big drops below no belay, that kind of thing.
Grim - hope you're on the mend soon!
I'm always really careful when using stiff sport draws as they occasionally lift and twist, cross loading the bolt krab - usually when climbing past, so easily rectified. If your waist was 1.5m above the bolt then a part of your body may have moved the QD? Happened to me yesterday actually, with a short length DMM Spectre QD. But then again, longer, open sling trad style draws can do weird things when jiggled about by the rope too.
If you watch Dave MacLeod leading 'Hunger' (very impressive by the way) he has all of his draws reversed. I wonder what his thinking is on this question?
I've never understood the 'opposite' facing logic.
Looking at manufacturer's websites at the mo, they mostly seem to have forgone the 'pretty' look!
Sorry if this repeats anything, but couldn't be bothered to read the whole thread through. So there are a couple of ways it could fail like this - the hook nose configuration but also one where the whole carabiner has spun around and gotten trapped between the bolt nut and the hanger. The other way is if the gate was opened by movement against the rock - gate open strength is far less than gate closed. it could happen by the krab pushing down into the rock and swinging as you fell. The other would be gate flutter, but not at the bolt end...
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