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Thread: Accident in Birch Hollow.

  1. #61
    Your claim has been reduced to "once in a while, someone implies that someone else is stupid for not using Single Rope Technique".
    It is every single thread on the subject, not "every once in a while". Maybe it's every once in a while that someone uses the word stupid, but it is on every single thread on the subject that someone says that SRT is safer than DRT in dry canyons, even for noobs. I already provided several examples. It seems that you are trying to argue just for the sake of arguing.

    I provided several examples; now it is your turn. Show me one thread on the subject on that forum where someone did not suggest that SRT is safer than DRT for noobs, even in dry canyons.

    You already know what I mean and are trying to twist it around.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

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  3. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by TommyBoy View Post
    @Brian in SLC thanks for nothing, the whole point of my post is that SRT ISN"T complicated so just quoting me with some highlights does nothing. The only really extra step is adding the block for SRT vs DRT since you have to do step one for DRT as well in fact you have to do it twice to make sure both ends are on the ground. Step three is slightly different for DRT vs SRT but it's still there making sure you hook in properly, and step 4 is only a concern for LAMAR who should be a skilled canyoneer and extra careful.
    You asked for an explanation and then provided one for yourself.

    The whole point, which you originally helped point out, is that SRT is more complicated.

    Then, you said it's "not a super complicated system".

    Now you're saying it isn't complicated?

    You're at least consistently inconsistent.

    Which is more complicated?

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    What's amusing (and somewhat telling of the situation) is...try a Google search for "canyoneering rappel anchor" images.

    Look at all that hot mess of complication!

    Kinda funny.

    Toss-n-go. Why complicate it?

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  5. #63
    Fine if you want to split hairs SRT is more COMPLEX than DRT, but by the laymans usage of the word complicated SRT is NOT complicated with only 3-4 steps. All that aside if anything more complex than this


    has you confused then you have no business being the trip leader of a canyon any way.

  6. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by TommyBoy View Post
    Fine if you want to split hairs SRT is more COMPLEX than DRT, but by the laymans usage of the word complicated SRT is NOT complicated with only 3-4 steps. All that aside if anything more complex than this


    has you confused then you have no business being the trip leader of a canyon any way.
    Maybe so, but several people (including the person whom this thread is about) are getting confused and injured or killed.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  7. #65
    To me, I think it's important to distinguish complicated versus error-prone. One technique can be as simple as another technique, but it can still be more error-prone. I personally think SRT is both more complicated and more error-prone. Of course, SRT has it's place, but why make the more complicated, more error-prone technique your default technique?

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  9. #66
    The main point of my argument is that its not hard to setup correctly and inspect and no matter how error prone or error proof something is if you aren't being careful eventually you will have an accident. I've seen this happen several times where myself and others have clipped into a DRT setup and only snagged one of the lines through the biner attached to the device. Since we were paying attention to what we were doing we noticed it and clipped the second line through, but it is carelessness and or being in a hurry and forgetting to double check your setup that kills people not DRT vs SRT. Either one is safe and not difficult to set up properly all it takes is a few extra seconds to double check before weighting the line. I use both, granted I use SRT more often, its just my habit, but on short drops DRT is quick and easy to setup and so I use it.

    I think one argument for using SRT exclusively is that there are times where it is necessary even in dry canyons and some beginners forget to double check the setup so if you are switching back and forth between the two a beginner might clip into one line when its setup as DRT or maybe clip into both when its SRT with a knot on the pull side and run into trouble.

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  11. #67
    The same people that are screwing up SRT steps are just as likely to screw up the DRT steps. It comes down to paying attention and understanding they systems and their faults.

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  13. #68
    This has been a lively revisit to an old theme.
    My general take-a-way is that canyoneering is dangerous
    As in, REALLY DANGEROUS
    Just as in rock climbing, Noobs loose in canyons without training or experienced companions is VERY RISKY stuff.
    DRT is great, but it is NOT the 'best' practice in some situations, and SRT is NOT required for every drop.

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  15. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by harness man View Post
    This has been a lively revisit to an old theme.
    My general take-a-way is that canyoneering is dangerous
    As in, REALLY DANGEROUS
    Just as in rock climbing, Noobs loose in canyons without training or experienced companions is VERY RISKY stuff.
    DRT is great, but it is NOT the 'best' practice in some situations, and SRT is NOT required for every drop.
    This should be the take-away. All canyoneering techniques simply a tool to put in the box, you pull out the tool you need for the situation you're in for the canyon you're in. Why attempt to present DRT and SRT as a black and white (aka 'standard of practice') choice?

    For example I live in Grand Junction and Arches NP is an easy access playground. The use of DRT (arguably poor DRT) has resulted in massive and permanent rope grooves that threaten the very existence of the sport in the national park. Here SRT, and even more explicitly, using a fiddle stick or other similar device can eliminate rope grooves entirely (and in many other CP canyons).

    Do I think fiddle sticks should be 'standard of practice' for canyoneering? Not at all. However for certain canyons it is the proper tool and a superior method. In other situations it could be out right dangerous to use it.

    Arguing the DRT is superior because it has seen greater adoption in climbing is not exactly solid proof. Just pick up any copy of Accidents in North American Mountaineering and you will find rappelling DRT has killed many climbers.

    As for how complicated each set-up really is relative to the person setting it up. For an experienced rigger SRT may actually be the lesser complicated system as there is no risk of uneven ends and less risk of rappling of the end of the rope. Additionally, it can be much quicker to deploy a SRT set up since you only need to get as much rope out as needed for the rappel.

    Other may find greater simplicity in DRT as you are not using a block, but the technique it has its disadvantages as well.

    There are pros and cons to both. The sport of canyoneering is enriched by understanding these and deploying the correct tool at the correct time and place.

    I believe the reason this issue drags out time and time again is that the context is often lost. No one method is good for all canyons. You can stick to DRT only, but please have a system to eliminate your rope groves. That would be a great challenge in many of the canyons in Arches.

    What about that anchor that is around a corner or far back from the edge? SRT and a fiddle may provide the fastest, safest, and least environmentally damaging method in some situations.

    There is simply no single solution to how to anchor your rappels. A poorly implemented DRT is just as deadly as a poorly implemented SRT. A tool box is required and the the canyoneer must use their judgement on each and every situation. The rope system is not what fails, it's how it was used.

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  17. #70
    To me, it's not just a question of whether one is "better". It's a question of whether one is being promoted or pushed too much, so much so that it unintentionally becomes a standard.

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  19. #71
    ^^^THIS^^^

    My concern is one method is being highly promoted causing noobs to adopt it when another method would be better/safer/easier/simpler.

    It's great to have a toolbox full of tools, but it's also important to know how to choose the correct tool for the job.

    When your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

  20. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGJ View Post
    For example I live in Grand Junction and Arches NP is an easy access playground. The use of DRT (arguably poor DRT) has resulted in massive and permanent rope grooves that threaten the very existence of the sport in the national park. Here SRT, and even more explicitly, using a fiddle stick or other similar device can eliminate rope grooves entirely (and in many other CP canyons).


    My opinion is that DRT during an actual rappel puts less force on the rock than SRT. So, whilst rappelling, it'll have less occasion to create rope grooves.

    And, if you're pulling your rope down, whether DRT or SRT, if the rope travels across an edge, in the soft rock of Arches, it'll create a deep groove.

    So, I wouldn't put the rope grooves in Arches on DRT per se. Anchor position is more important, IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanGJ View Post
    Arguing the DRT is superior because it has seen greater adoption in climbing is not exactly solid proof. Just pick up any copy of Accidents in North American Mountaineering and you will find rappelling DRT has killed many climbers.


    Actually, no it hasn't. Rappelling accidents in general are less than 4% of all climbing accidents. And, when you peel back and look at cause, nearly no fatalities involving climbers and rappelling are related to double ropes per se.

    The big causes are failed anchor. Next might be unequal rope lengths or rope too short but its a pretty small amount of fatalities (nearly none). Certainly not "many" climbers and not in "any copy" of what used to be called ANAM but is now called "Accidents in North American Climbing".

    Looking through the database (fully searchable), the Red Rocks accident in Solar Slab gully comes up from 2015:

    On December 26, three climbers finished the classic three-pitch route Johnny Vegas (5.7) in Red Rock’s Oak Creek Canyon. The three stopped for a brief lunch at about 11 a.m. on the terrace at the top of Johnny Vegas to consider whether they should continue up Solar Slab or rappel to the ground. Because of the cold and windy conditions, they decided to rappel the Solar Slab Gully instead of climbing any higher. The two females in the party made the first rappel from a less commonly used bolted anchor to safely reach an anchor on a large, bushy ledge. As the third member rappelled to join them, he fell approximately 100 feet, landing on the ledge where they were waiting. His partners called for help with a cell phone. Despite efforts to revive their fallen partner, he was deceased when LVMPD Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel arrived. The two uninjured climbers were assisted down the two remaining rappels by SAR.
    ANALYSIS
    It is difficult to definitively determine the cause of the victim’s fall. There was no evidence of a failure in the anchor or a piece of personal equipment. The distance from the rappel anchor to the ledge below is greater than 100 feet, and their dynamic lead rope was measured to be 200 feet in length. The victim was carrying a 6mm “pull cord,” sometimes used by climbers to retrieve a lead rope from below. Strangely, the pull cord and the primary rope were not connected.
    It is believed the victim initially tied the lead rope to the anchor and his partners individually rappelled on this single strand to the ledge. He then likely rearranged the rappel setup to include the pull cord, so that he could retrieve the main rope after completing the rappel. Because the two-bolt anchor and chains remained intact but the ropes were not connected, it seems that when he weighted the lead rope it was not supported by the anchor and allowed him to fall to the ledge below.
    Upon inspection, the lead rope and pull cord had no damage. The lead rope had no knots or hitches. The pull cord had a figure 8 on a bight at one end that was clipped into a closed and locked screw-gate carabiner. The climber’s partners report that when he struck the ledge the lead rope was threaded through his rappel device, approximately 15 feet from the end that had been secured to the anchor, but they disconnected him to facilitate CPR.
    The evidence suggests he attempted to set up a “biner block” rappel anchor, threading the lead rope through the anchor bolts and then tying it to the carabiner clipped to the pull cord. He likely either failed to connect the two ropes, tied the lead rope to the carabiner improperly, or tied the wrong knot (e.g., a Munter hitch instead of a clove hitch. Click here for a report of a similar rappelling accident in 2015.) (Source: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search and Rescue.)

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  22. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by qedcook View Post
    To me, it's not just a question of whether one is "better". It's a question of whether one is being promoted or pushed too much, so much so that it unintentionally becomes a standard.
    I do agree that SRT seems to be used un-necessarily on many occasions. But the cause of this is unclear. The focus in these threads is on the narrow (and unfounded) idea that SRT is being "promoted to newbies by the 'pros' or 'the great ones'." There is also a strong insistence that SRT has become the "standard" technique used as a default by most canyoneers. Yet no-one is able to convincingly show that either assertion is true.

    Here's a brief ramble through some of what I think is going on (re: accident causation, the roots of this thread, etc., not in any recognizable order):

    The Gee-Whiz Factor.
    Around 1999-2000, a bunch of people I know took up canyoneering. Some of them learned Euro SRT techniques from Rich Carlson (e.g. me). I was probably doing as much promoting of SRT as anyone back in the early aughts, when I thought a blocked strand was the coolest thing around, allowing fun techniques not possible with DRT (e.g. guided rappel). I think a lot of people on this forum went through a "gee-whiz-that's-cool-i-didn't-know-about-that" phase with the bag of tricks RC was showing around. It's a normal dynamic, to want to show off your stuff after learning something new. So there's that. And I'm sure this dynamic continues to this day, especially with people who already know a little about rope techniques, whose minds are perhaps more ripe for being blown than those of the pristine newbie.

    People get into habits
    Humans form new habits quickly. Sometimes for good reason: good habits can consistently produce good outcomes, which is especially important when your life is on the line. Of course bad habits can have the opposite effect. And some bad habits aren't obvious. Anyone who is "always" using the same rope technique (e.g. SRT or DRT) to approach every obstacle will eventually get into trouble by doing so, even when that same wonderful technique has served them well 100s of times before.

    Authority / rote learning
    Too often, vertical travelers simply "do what they were taught" and fail to understand the nuances of the techniques they are using. They also fail to understand that they fail to understand.

    Exceeding abilities
    People often overestimate their abilities. So much so that "exceeding abilities" is a standard accident-causation factor in ANAM. How does this happen? Very dangerous topic - you go first. Here's a good place to start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunnin...3Kruger_effect

    People favor simple stories, with simple conclusions/morals
    Example #1: canyoneer falls, rigged on wrong side of unsecured pull line in SRT setup. Moral: Another death due to SRT! End of story. Example #2: Granny spills hot coffee in lap in McDonald's drive-thru, gets 3rd degree burns, sues McDonalds for millions. Moral: Another frivolous lawsuit! End of story. I mention this lawsuit b/c I see parallels in these accident discussions, in the way that many view lawsuits. In accidents and lawsuits, there is a tremendous amount of detail. The details are vital to understand what happened. But...most of us don't care for details. We want a simple story. In the famous McDonald's coffee-granny lawsuit, the details reveal that the suit was not frivolous and that in fact the public does not know how much money was involved in the settlement. Despite this, it is a persistent urban legend that this is a prime example of a frivolous lawsuit. Confirmation bias applies. Lack of curiosity applies.

    re: the accident that inspired this thread. Note that few verifiable details of the accident have been published in this thread. Until we know the details, there is little point in attempting a serious analysis of the accident. Yet it seems that many here have already decided the cause(s) of this accident, and are using this to reinforce their preconceived story about it. Confirmation bias applies. Lack of curiosity applies.

    Forum dynamics
    A lot of short posts, one-liners and meme-baiting tends to happen on these forums. Very few fact-based discussions. Why? People are at work, people like simple stories, facts are less interesting, there's a potential book on every topic, yet no time to write it, etc. People hiding behind screen names. Lack of vulnerability. Most of what happens here (and on any forum) is attention getting and interaction-seeking. Post something, and get a reaction! Fun! Stuff gets posted out of boredom and provocation, more than a willingness to truly engage with others and seriously explore a topic. There's also the fact that many posters are at work when on forums, and so have limited time and attention span. Speaking of which, this post is over. I just realized I'm starting to write a highly disorganized book here. And no-one's gonna read it. I tried to find a meme to express all the above, but leave that post to someone else. :-)


    Further reading on accident causation for the curious: http://itrsonline.org/wordpress/wp-c.../Byrd.2002.pdf

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  24. #74
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian in SLC View Post
    Red Rocks accident in Solar Slab gully comes up from 2015:

    On December 26, three climbers finished the classic three-pitch route Johnny Vegas (5.7) in Red Rock’s Oak Creek Canyon. The three stopped for a brief lunch at about 11 a.m. on the terrace at the top of Johnny Vegas to consider whether they should continue up Solar Slab or rappel to the ground. Because of the cold and windy conditions, they decided to rappel the Solar Slab Gully instead of climbing any higher. The two females in the party made the first rappel from a less commonly used bolted anchor to safely reach an anchor on a large, bushy ledge. As the third member rappelled to join them, he fell approximately 100 feet, landing on the ledge where they were waiting. His partners called for help with a cell phone. Despite efforts to revive their fallen partner, he was deceased when LVMPD Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel arrived. The two uninjured climbers were assisted down the two remaining rappels by SAR.
    ANALYSIS
    It is difficult to definitively determine the cause of the victim’s fall. There was no evidence of a failure in the anchor or a piece of personal equipment. The distance from the rappel anchor to the ledge below is greater than 100 feet, and their dynamic lead rope was measured to be 200 feet in length. The victim was carrying a 6mm “pull cord,” sometimes used by climbers to retrieve a lead rope from below. Strangely, the pull cord and the primary rope were not connected.
    It is believed the victim initially tied the lead rope to the anchor and his partners individually rappelled on this single strand to the ledge. He then likely rearranged the rappel setup to include the pull cord, so that he could retrieve the main rope after completing the rappel. Because the two-bolt anchor and chains remained intact but the ropes were not connected, it seems that when he weighted the lead rope it was not supported by the anchor and allowed him to fall to the ledge below.
    Upon inspection, the lead rope and pull cord had no damage. The lead rope had no knots or hitches. The pull cord had a figure 8 on a bight at one end that was clipped into a closed and locked screw-gate carabiner. The climber’s partners report that when he struck the ledge the lead rope was threaded through his rappel device, approximately 15 feet from the end that had been secured to the anchor, but they disconnected him to facilitate CPR.
    The evidence suggests he attempted to set up a “biner block” rappel anchor, threading the lead rope through the anchor bolts and then tying it to the carabiner clipped to the pull cord. He likely either failed to connect the two ropes, tied the lead rope to the carabiner improperly, or tied the wrong knot (e.g., a Munter hitch instead of a clove hitch. Click here for a report of a similar rappelling accident in 2015.) (Source: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search and Rescue.)
    Excellent example of an accident CAUSED by DRT.

    Since this person was a dedicated user of DRT, when he thought he needed to do some SRT, he had no training and GUESSED what he was supposed to do. He guessed wrong.

    If this person had been trained in SRT, they would be alive today. They were not trained in SRT because they worship at the Church of the Holy Double Strand.

    ---

    See how confirmation bias works?

    I see a lot of accidents from people using SRT with almost no training in it. You know, saw a friend do it once or twice, saw it on the internet, etc. To me, the problem is not this technique or that technique, but using techniques that one is not trained in. Does this happen with DRT? In a way - which results in people rapping off the end of their ropes while double-strand rappelling. But really, the problem is using techniques that one is not proficient in. Don't do this.


  25. #75
    As a follow-up to recent discussions (and maybe this needs a different thread), I went canyoneering this weekend. I got to the first rappel of the canyon, and there was a larger group ahead of us. They were nice enough to let us use their rope to rappel so we could go ahead. I saw the clove hitch on a biner block and asked if I could tie a figure eight on the rope.

    Before I said anything else, I thought to myself: "There's no point in mentioning that the clove hitch has some known weaknesses. People get so entrenched in what they learned from instructors when they very first started canyoneering that they never let go of it, even in the face of contrary evidence." But I decided to mention it anyway. I casually said that the clove hitch can slip if the knot moves to the curved part of the carabiner. I suggested looking up videos of how it slips. The response I received was: "I don't trust dubious YouTube videos for my canyoneering."

    I wondered how my advice might have been received if I had said: "Tom Jones posted on his website recently the potential dangers of the clove hitch." (Sorry to pick on you, Tom.)

    As I said recently on here, it's not just a question of whether one technique is "better" than another. It's a question of whether one technique is being promoted or pushed too much, so much so that it unintentionally becomes a standard. And then when that standard needs adjusting with new evidence, people are too entrenched in their ways to change.

  26. #76
    Climate change is Bogus I don't trust no science!!!!!!

  27. #77
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qedcook View Post
    As a follow-up to recent discussions (and maybe this needs a different thread), I went canyoneering this weekend. I got to the first rappel of the canyon, and there was a larger group ahead of us. They were nice enough to let us use their rope to rappel so we could go ahead. I saw the clove hitch on a biner block and asked if I could tie a figure eight on the rope.

    Before I said anything else, I thought to myself: "There's no point in mentioning that the clove hitch has some known weaknesses. People get so entrenched in what they learned from instructors when they very first started canyoneering that they never let go of it, even in the face of contrary evidence." But I decided to mention it anyway. I casually said that the clove hitch can slip if the knot moves to the curved part of the carabiner. I suggested looking up videos of how it slips. The response I received was: "I don't trust dubious YouTube videos for my canyoneering."

    I wondered how my advice might have been received if I had said: "Tom Jones posted on his website recently the potential dangers of the clove hitch." (Sorry to pick on you, Tom.)

    As I said recently on here, it's not just a question of whether one technique is "better" than another. It's a question of whether one technique is being promoted or pushed too much, so much so that it unintentionally becomes a standard. And then when that standard needs adjusting with new evidence, people are too entrenched in their ways to change.
    Good on ya. A lot depends on the presentation. Coming in cold, hard to figure out the presentation that will be effective.

    Birch Hollow, first rappel, there is another rappel line 40 feet to the right (facing downcanyon) that is shorter, cleaner and allows passing.

    Tom

  28. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by ratagonia View Post
    Good on ya. A lot depends on the presentation. Coming in cold, hard to figure out the presentation that will be effective.

    Birch Hollow, first rappel, there is another rappel line 40 feet to the right (facing downcanyon) that is shorter, cleaner and allows passing.

    Tom
    I'm not sure I follow, but I tried to be nice about the presentation of the information, if that's what you're referring to. FYI, this exchange of mine did not happen in Birch Hollow.

  29. #79
    Content Provider Emeritus ratagonia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qedcook View Post
    I'm not sure I follow, but I tried to be nice about the presentation of the information, if that's what you're referring to. FYI, this exchange of mine did not happen in Birch Hollow.
    Thanks for the clarification.

    Yes. I have a distinct advantage as a one-name celebrity in the canyoneering world.

    T

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