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Thread: Renowned rock climber dead

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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Bad news.

    Looks like a repelling accident in which Gobright rapped off the end of the rope with no knot placed to prevent that.

    His partner was extremely lucky to land on a ledge and stay there. He was not injured.

    More info at Rock & Ice web site.

    cb
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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Yeah this was a nasty outcome. I have simul-rapped a couple times (when it was the only way to safely descend a particular formation). Risk of an accident is increased, and focus and concentration are required to mitigate that risk.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    Yeah this was a nasty outcome. I have simul-rapped a couple times (when it was the only way to safely descend a particular formation). Risk of an accident is increased, and focus and concentration are required to mitigate that risk.
    I know very little about rock climbing but was surprised to see that they didn't have knots at the end of the ropes. Isn't that "rock climbing 101"? In the annual Accidents in Climbing book (drawing a blank on the official title but I'm sure you know what I mean) that is put out every year rappelling accidents are always right up there, with failure to tie safety knots in ropes as a common factor. I was expecting a much more unusual cause of the accident for an elite climber like this. All those accomplishments and yet his life is cut short on a rookie mistake. Does simul-rappelling entail bypasses of such safety protocols on purpose for speed or is this really just a case of negligence or over confidence?
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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Knotting the ends of ropes is a pretty common safety practice, but not always used or necessary. There are also some safety disadvantages to knotting the ends in some situations. Climbing forums are full of discussions on this topic (even before this recent event) and many folks are passionate one way or the other about knots. It's a somewhat situation dependent decision, so it's not really a "rookie mistake."

    Simul rapping does not really bear on the "knots vs. no knots" question.

    Don't know what exactly caused this, of course, but discussion suggests that maybe Brad's end of the rope was obscured in brush, so he could not see the end. Not being able to see the ends of the rope is one situation that suggests tying knots may have been a good idea (but there are other factors, and we cannot jump to any conclusion.)

    If you can wade through the cursing and the flame wars, there's lots of detail on this accident here:

    https://www.mountainproject.com/foru...-brad-gobright

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    This is vey unfortunate. Lots of talk about the lack of a knot. But disregarding preparing the rope into equal parts may have contributed. In my personal experiences of simul rapping being synchronized with your partner has always been of the utmost importance and that begins with each having the equal amount of rope. Also a climbers “High” can cloud judgement. Very important to not get carried away in the moment and disregard safety. Not saying that is what happened and not Monday morning quarterbacking. Hopefully more hard evidence will emerge that will help all understand. Godspeed.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    This is vey unfortunate. Lots of talk about the lack of a knot. But disregarding preparing the rope into equal parts may have contributed. In my personal experiences of simul rapping being synchronized with your partner has always been of the utmost importance and that begins with each having the equal amount of rope. Also a climbers “High” can cloud judgement. Very important to not get carried away in the moment and disregard safety. Not saying that is what happened and not Monday morning quarterbacking. Hopefully more hard evidence will emerge that will help all understand. Godspeed.
    I’ve never done a simul-rap. Normal rappelling was frightening enough. When I started climbing the Dulfritz rappel was in vogue: rope between the legs and over a shoulder. (Remember wool sweaters with a leather patch on the top of the shoulder OMG).

    The Dulfritz was painful but you felt enveloped by the rope and it kept your attention. I switched to using a carabiner brake and then an ATC and that made things a lot easier, and almost casual. Too casual in some cases. Now most folks now use Grigris and they are even more convenient.

    These guys climbed so far above my grade I can’t even imagine their skill level. A real shame to lose a 5.13d climber on a rappel, especially one in which the anchor did not fail and cause the fall.
    Last edited by ChrisB; 12-01-2019 at 03:35 PM.
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    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    Decades ago, while in college I was part o a very dedicated and safety conscious outing club, focused on caving more than anything else. We practiced endlessly following then accepted safety procedures and rules "by the book" with current equipment from tall college buildings before going into drops in local caves. Over Christmas break one year six of us traveled to New Mexico to explore previously unexplored caves with national park official permission into unknown blank holes as deep deep as 300 feet. I was rappelling into those in complete darkness (except for my carbide lamp) on long ropes with knots definitely tied into the end. In many cases we had no idea how deep the drop was, but I always ended up on solid ground safely before exploring and then the long climb out
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

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    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Lots of talk about the lack of a knot. But disregarding preparing the rope into equal parts may have contributed.
    I forget where I was reading, but apparently they were dubious about reaching the ground from their anchor, so they chose to do this short rap onto a ledge to be sure. Since it was such a short rap "of course" there would be enough rope without finding the middle and that probably also played into the decision not to tie stoppers. It was a very small and simple rap to set up for the final long one and that may have contributed to some level of inattention. It's pretty common for the simple things to become the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jniehof View Post
    I forget where I was reading, but apparently they were dubious about reaching the ground from their anchor, so they chose to do this short rap onto a ledge to be sure. Since it was such a short rap "of course" there would be enough rope without finding the middle and that probably also played into the decision not to tie stoppers. It was a very small and simple rap to set up for the final long one and that may have contributed to some level of inattention. It's pretty common for the simple things to become the problem.
    An analogy to this type of issue happened to me this summer. Left my pack on the trail to dig a cat-hole, went fair distance into the brush, and got turned around....So then a moment or two of sheer panic before I thought did a for reals "STOP" that allowed me orientate myself correctly. I don't know if you would call that a rookie mistake, negligence, or overconfidence.

    The climber had a preventable accident. Hopefully others will learn from it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jniehof View Post
    I forget where I was reading, but apparently they were dubious about reaching the ground from their anchor, so they chose to do this short rap onto a ledge to be sure. Since it was such a short rap "of course" there would be enough rope without finding the middle and that probably also played into the decision not to tie stoppers. It was a very small and simple rap to set up for the final long one and that may have contributed to some level of inattention. It's pretty common for the simple things to become the problem.
    Keeping your head in the game is not always one of the simple things. Especially when your jacked up on elated brain juices. I was very fortunate to learn how to technical climb from a very safety oriented individual. A lot of that was oneself following a routine and monitoring your partner 24/7. It can be stressful and fatiguing to do so. Unlike free climbing up rapping is equipment dependent.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    ..... Unlike free climbing up rapping is equipment dependent.
    So true. I was usually heavier than most of my partners so they always asked me to go down first. If the anchors held me they were bombproof! Brotherhood of the rope?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    So true. I was usually heavier than most of my partners so they always asked me to go down first. If the anchors held me they were bombproof! Brotherhood of the rope?
    That's actually a pretty common strategy but the way it is usually done is to add an additional non-weighted backup to the anchor which is then removed by the last (skinniest) person when they descend assuming the primary anchor has survived that long. I suspect you may have left that detail out to make a better story...

  14. #14
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldEric View Post
    That's actually a pretty common strategy but the way it is usually done is to add an additional non-weighted backup to the anchor which is then removed by the last (skinniest) person when they descend assuming the primary anchor has survived that long. I suspect you may have left that detail out to make a better story...
    Non weighted? Hmmmm....sounds like potential elongation and shock loading not to mention not equalized. Do you have any pictures or links to better describe this? http://klingmountainguides.com/kmg-blog/?p=460
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldEric View Post
    That's actually a pretty common strategy but the way it is usually done is to add an additional non-weighted backup to the anchor which is then removed by the last (skinniest) person when they descend assuming the primary anchor has survived that long.
    I've rappelled that way, but I've also seen cases where the first one down has been belayed with another rope. I've also watched someone rappel off the end of his rope (at the Gunks), but only fell about 20 or 30 feet to the ground.

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