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Thread: Renowned rock climber dead

  1. #31
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    Thanks, DougPaul. This is worthwhile information.

    I would imagine that Gobright and Jacobsen did understand all this, as experienced climbers.

    But folks asking about this have taken the discussion down a bit of a sidetrack, which is interesting, but not related to the accident. In the accident, the anchor did not fail. It appears Gobright rappelled off the end of his rope. There are numerous possible causes for this to have happened, and we will probably never know for sure.
    I expect that they did understand this--estimating forces on the gear is an important part of leading. As is dealing with trade-offs from different sources of risk.

    While the reports suggest that the cause of the accident was rapelling off the end of the rope, it may be worth noting that the double rappel does place the sum of both climbers weights on the anchor, possibly increasing the chance of anchor failure.

    FWIW, rapelling is both easy and dangerous. I don't recall the exact statistics, but a large proportion of climbing deaths are rapelling accidents.

    Doug

  2. #32
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    I ain’t buying it ski guy! The first artl you cite is really about leader falls. And the second vaguely refers to a “pulley effect “ without explaining how exactly that might work. Hooey I say!

    If a 150 lb climber is being lowered by a belayer on the ground, I don’t see how the anchor above the climber can experience a load heavier than the climber if the descent is smooth and controlled.

    Doug, what say you professor??
    If a climber weighs X, then the belayer needs to counter that weight with X (minus friction). Both loads are pulling down on the anchor. If the belayer weighs significantly less than the climber, they will lift off the ground. The pulley effect is about the mechanical advantage you get over the fixed point.

    This is what most people clip their belts before tighten up the straps, it's easier to tighten a strap than it is to pull straight.
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  3. #33
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    If a climber weighs X, then the belayer needs to counter that weight with X (minus friction). Both loads are pulling down on the anchor. If the belayer weighs significantly less than the climber, they will lift off the ground. The pulley effect is about the mechanical advantage you get over the fixed point.
    Ah ha. After reading this nice summation and drawing myself a little force vector diagram I totally get it!

    It really has nothing to do with the pulley effect which implies some mechanical advantage at work. This is more like a fulcrum with a bar weighted on each end.

    Thanks all for the clarification. Off belay
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  4. #34
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Ah ha. After reading this nice summation and drawing myself a little force vector diagram I totally get it!

    It really has nothing to do with the pulley effect which implies some mechanical advantage at work. This is more like a fulcrum with a bar weighted on each end.

    Thanks all for the clarification. Off belay
    Now that we have that straight and not to be creating anymore “Hooey” . But could you possibly answer this for us? “What is the average air speed velocity of a laden swallow”?
    Last edited by skiguy; 12-05-2019 at 01:24 PM.
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  5. #35
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I'm going to weigh in here and possibly muddy the waters. I used to be a technical climber, so I have some knowledge on potential reasons for an accident like this. If two climbers want to simul-rappel to a ledge and its going to be close rope length wise, it is critical you find the middle of the rope. If your off by 10 or 20 ft. and the guy on the short end goes faster, he could zip off the end of the rope and this would send his partner into fall mode. I bring this up for two reasons. I thought I heard somewhere someone suggesting they did not find the middle of the rope. Second reason, if one climber zips off the end, he is more likely to gain air speed and either miss the ledge or have enough force to bounce off it, the second climber would have a slower descent rate or may even have been closer to the ledge, thus not having enough force for him to fly by it or bounce off of it. The second climber we know landed on the ledge, which saved his life I believe.

  6. #36
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    I haven't been on the sharp end in more than 5 years, so my head is firmly out of the game. But I'm reminded just how much one depends on their partner in that sport. A mistake by one can mean the death of the other. Jacobson is unbelievably lucky to be alive. I've rapped off others' anchors, I've belayed partners as they run it out over sketchy gear where a fall likely would have ended up impacting the belay anchor. And I've let myself be influenced by others' seeming expertise. I wonder if that factored into this accident? Jacobson deferring to Gobright in not finding the middle of the rope and not tying stopper knots. Someone more experienced/accomplished than you saying 'It's fine' can make you feel like you should just get on with it instead of taking another look.
    Sure. Why not.

  7. #37
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    .... Someone more experienced/accomplished than you saying 'It's fine' can make you feel like you should just get on with it instead of taking another look.
    I guess the one remaining question I have was why a simul-rappel in the first place. It increased the risk factor and seemed to provide little advantage other saving a few minutes of time.

    But again, these guys were experts at their craft. The lesson for us mere mortals is bad things can and do happen, even to the best of the best.
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  8. #38
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Now that we have that straight and not to be creating anymore “Hooey” . But could you possibly answer this for us? “What is the average air speed velocity of a laden swallow”?
    English or African?
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  9. #39
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    I haven't been on the sharp end in more than 5 years, so my head is firmly out of the game. But I'm reminded just how much one depends on their partner in that sport. A mistake by one can mean the death of the other. Jacobson is unbelievably lucky to be alive. I've rapped off others' anchors, I've belayed partners as they run it out over sketchy gear where a fall likely would have ended up impacting the belay anchor. And I've let myself be influenced by others' seeming expertise. I wonder if that factored into this accident? Jacobson deferring to Gobright in not finding the middle of the rope and not tying stopper knots. Someone more experienced/accomplished than you saying 'It's fine' can make you feel like you should just get on with it instead of taking another look.
    I am currently reading a book on risk assessment relative to the outdoors and one of the author's quotes is that "the only thing that roping up together does is ensure that you don't die alone". I've never climbed like this but I certainly noticed the dependence on others for your own safety. Huge trust factor. Huge.
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  10. #40
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    I am currently reading a book on risk assessment relative to the outdoors and one of the author's quotes is that "the only thing that roping up together does is ensure that you don't die alone". I've never climbed like this but I certainly noticed the dependence on others for your own safety. Huge trust factor. Huge.
    Not sure who the author of that book is, but his statement is absolutely ridiculous and false on many levels. But, you're statement about trust is very accurate. I would only climb with my regular partners, I never tied in with anyone else, although I did occasionally climb with a guide, but they were well vetted. The one time that I would give any credence to your authors statement, is unprotected steep snow climbing. Some parties rope up and either use pickets or natural features occasionally, some run out long sections tied together with little or no protection. I would not climb in that style, too many variables and the risk assessment for that style is low. I do long snow climbs in CO, but I climb alone and carry two ice axes. If I'm going to fall, it will be on my own accord. But that style is not really that dangerous, it's fairly safe if you good at reading snow conditions and can predict that they will stay good for the duration of your climb. Also another key component to my style is avalanche assessment. I'm not the best in that regard, but I'm good enough to know within a safe margin. I have been in one avalanche, totally my fault. I knew it was bad and I got greedy. I'm very lucky to have survived it.
    Last edited by sierra; 12-05-2019 at 08:17 PM.

  11. #41
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    Not sure who the author of that book is, but his statement is absolutely ridiculous and false on many levels. But, you're statement about trust is very accurate. I would only climb with my regular partners, I never tied in with anyone else, although I did occasionally climb with a guide, but they were well vetted. The one time that I would give any credence to your authors statement, is unprotected steep snow climbing. Some parties rope up and either use pickets or natural features occasionally, some run out long sections tied together with little or no protection. I would not climb in that style, too many variables and the risk assessment for that style is low. I do long snow climbs in CO, but I climb alone and carry two ice axes. If I'm going to fall, it will be on my own accord. But that style is not really that dangerous, it's fairly safe if you good at reading snow conditions and can predict that they will stay good for the duration of your climb. Also another key component to my style is avalanche assessment. I'm not the best in that regard, but I'm good enough to know within a safe margin. I have been in one avalanche, totally my fault. I knew it was bad and I got greedy. I'm very lucky to have survived it.
    His comment was indeed related to snow travel, not climbing. This discussion just made me think of it. If I remember right it was from that bad accident on Mt Hood several years back. And I don't think his statement was a purely factual one. I think wry humor was intended, which is how I took it. He made his point and it stuck with me.
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