Friday, July 5, 2013

Superstar Preteen Climber Dies - Gear Failure

Tito Traversa, an Italian climber who just turned 12 years old and climbed 5.14, died in a tragic accident when a climbing partner assembled quickdraws incorrectly, leading to a groundfall after 8 quickdraws failed. This is horrendous [STORY HERE]

But it's also a warning to us to inspect, reinspect, test, and overprotect all of our gear and protection and anchors. The first picture is a toprope anchor on bolts and hangers at a crag in Colorado. Note that I extended the  lockers over the edge so that the rope wouldn't be dragged over any sharp rock while belaying up and down. I also added in a tri-cam and sling as a backup in case of failure. The tri-cam is wedged into an hourglass section of crack and took a bit of care in extracting. I knew it wouldn't fail.

This second photo is of a toprope solo setup on bolts and hangers done as per the instructions at Petzl's website.Note two knots in the middle of the rope with a short tail between them, each bolted to a hanger. I should pad the edge over the rock, or add a plastic tube over the rope. I could also extend the loop out to another anchor somewhere close without extension as a backup. This short cliff was essentially a highball boulder problem on the very low end of the V scale though. But if it were taller and more difficult I would totally consider more backup in this system.

The bottom line in all this is of course, to BE SAFE! Who would ever imagine 8 quickdraws in a row failing?