Sunday, December 2, 2012

Notes from my accident

Right after my surgeries, Justin took down these notes so that the details would be somewhat fresh in my memory. Bear in mind, I was also loopy on all the pain-medication so I was not very coherent. Justin told me that at one point I was asking about the Catholic church in Hong Kong and papal matters. I also recall really wanting a Diet Coke.

I am not sure what I am feeling re-reading all this. Just a numbness.

Talked with Wendy on 10/22/2010 at 3:00pm

At the start of the day I asked what commands Bob likes to use.  Bob said “okay and lower.”  I wanted to use “off rappel and on belay.”

Bob said: “Yeah, I don’t see the point in untying from the rope unless you’re going to rappel.”

I felt iffy.

I said: “I usually append names to commands.”

Bob said: “That is a good point.”

After getting down from a climb, Bob said: “I wish I had brought a radio.”

I said: “Actually, you don’t need them with the appropriate lowering protocol.”

I said: “But this is from the point of view of a trad climber.”

Bob didn’t wear a helmet, didn’t bring a helmet.

At the top of one of the climbs, Bob just signaled “nonchalantly” with his hand that he wanted to be lowered.

On a multipitch climb before the accident... the only other multipitch climb we did.

1st pitch, 10a
2nd pitch, 10b

The name of the climb is “Blood, Sex, …” or something like that.

The climb is located in the Central, Inner Gorges area, close to a river.

The plan was Bob would take the first pitch, I would take the second.

Bob proceeded up the first pitch, 10a with no helmet.  He made it look hard.  He stayed at the anchor and got off belay.  I followed up, got to the anchors, then proceeded to do the second pitch.  One big difference here is that this pitch moves over to the right.  This one would have been very difficult to rap off of.

We got to the top and then Bob went down first.  I owered him to the top of the first pitch.  We couldn’t hear each other.  After the rope lost weight, I yelled and yelled that he was ready to be lowered.  He eventually lowered me.  Apparently, this was normal for Bob but not normal at all for me.  So then we were both at the top of the first pitch.  Bob wanted to simul-rap, but I did not want to.  So we both rapped off individually.  I can’t remember who went down first.  Eventually the pulled the rope down.

So then we went over to do some other climbs, but people were toproping them and they weren’t available.  I recall that they had done a 10c and 10b earlier while it was colder in the morning.

To go towards the next climb, we took a scree trail abutting the rock, next to the river.

Bob mentioned a really fun 10c climb “women and their tits” not in the guidebook.  Very enjoyable.  10c, pretty moderate.  I went up first.

From my recollection, I built an anchor using a cordellette.  I put the rope through, and then asked Bob to lower me.  I went to the ground okay.  Then Bob followed or we pulled the rope and he led.  I can’t remember.

When he got to the top, I lowered him.  Not 100% about the cordellette now.  I remember being dragged by his body weight.  Not comfortable.

Next, I wanted to do other climbs nearby that were taken.  So we went back to near the first climb.

10d, 5.9   “Members Only” ?

Bob had highlighted the first pitch (10d) of this route in his guidebook, and was pretty sure he had done it before.  He wasn’t very comfortable doing the runout pitch, but I wanted to do the 10d, so I led and linked the two pitches.

I said: “What do you want to do when we get to the top?”

Bob: “Oh, we can just lower.”

I then planned in my mind to do that, just like we had done on the previous multipitch climb.

The climb was spicy but satisfying.

According to the guidebook, we had enough rope to link the two pitches.  I knew we did not have enough rope to lower each other all the way to the ground.

Something happened while I was leading the pitch, and Bob called up to her just to lower him all the way to the ground later.  This did not register to me at the time, as I was focused on leading the pitch.

Bob had asked to be lowered to the ground when I was about 50ft up.  He was very nonchalant about it.  You can’t see the belayer after about 50ft.

I got to the top of the 2nd pitch.

I didn’t want to use the shunts, so I tied a figure 8 on the rope and clipped it to a quickdraw, and then a girth hitch on another quickdraw.

The rope was not running through the shunts as I belayed up Bob, but I did use another quickdraw as a redirect.  The quickdraw was on one of the shunts, rope was through that, belaying off harness.

Bob got to the top, and really enjoyed the climb.  He was impressed by my climbing and we talked about the climb.

When Bob got to the top, I tied off my belay device.

I think he stayed a little lower down instead of scrambling to the top of the small summit.  I saw he had enough draws from cleaning to clip himself into the 1st pitch anchors.

He also had some long runners, no exchange of gear.

Actually, he must have come all the way up to the anchor, because I told him to clip the rope through the shunts to be lowered. 

The anchors had big hooks, with no closure.

Aside: I remember I always tied a stopper knot onto the end of the rope while I was belaying, but Bob never did this.  Whenever I was concerned I had to tie one in for myself.  I thought maybe I was being paranoid, but I wanted to stick to my old habits.

Now, he is threaded through the anchors and I am lowering him.  Lowering was difficult because I was being pulled upwards. I was uncomfortable about this because the hooks had no gate on them.

Lowering was awkward.

Bob went down and down and down.  I didn’t think about how far he had gone down at the time.  There wasn’t a huge amount of rope left, but there was a good 10-20 meters of rope.

Rope drag was a big factor in this climb.  We used his rope and draws.

Then I felt his weight go off the rope and yelled, “Robert, Robert, ready to lower!”

In hindsight, this was mistake: I was still hooked onto the anchors, but wasn’t taught at the anchors.

The rest of the rope pulled through the anchor.  All loose rope got pulled through the anchor.  It felt just like a tension.

I yelled more, “Robert, Robert.”  So then I unclipped from the anchor and started to go down.  There was a bit of tension.  Not down climbing, it felt like tension.  I was holding on to the other side of the rope initially but then let go when it felt like I was being lowered.

Eyes open the whole way down.  Didn’t know what was going to happen.

Then, I felt a jerk.  So I thought that… didn’t know what it was.  In hindsight it was probably my foot getting caught around the rope or something like that.

Then, I hit the ground.

“Bob, Bob, what happened?”

Bob said: “You were supposed to rappel!”

Then I was screaming, screaming in pain.

When lowering off I did not remember that Bob had asked to be lowered to the ground.

Bob told it to me while I was climbing and I was not in a great position to acknowledge or hear it, but I nodded.

Bob always seemed in a rush to get down to the ground as soon as possible.

I am trying to remember if there was ever a plan to get lowered to the first pitch immediately after climbing…

After the accident, I talked to Holly.  They logrolled me onto a rickety stretcher.

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