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A video of how to not self-arrest.

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A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby atalarico » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:03 am

I'm at a loss for words over this video I saw on Gizmodo this morning. So many face-palm moments for this guy.

http://gizmodo.com/mountain-climbing/?post=58138465

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=U3C799_ruzQ

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby climbingaggie03 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:20 am

You know, sometimes I think that we weren't that much better at avoiding idiotic mistakes in the days before cameras were on everything; we just didn't get our mistakes caught on tape. Videos like this convince me otherwise.

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby TallGrass » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:41 am

atalarico wrote:So many face-palm moments for this guy.
Such as... :-k I can see a couple, but I also wasn't there to see what other factors he was dealing with.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby atalarico » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:20 pm

The initial whoopsie daisy style loss of balance. The sitting down like he's sledding instead of immediately trying to turn over to arrest. Not keeping his crampons off the snow. Loosing his leashed axes (plural). Oh and after he comes to a stop he checks his camera first. I mean, really, everything wrong in one fall?

Granted, if he was seriously injured or died I'd show a little more respect. However, when things like this get posted on a non mountaineering site like Gizmodo, it makes the rest of us look like morons.

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby doggler » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:33 pm

atalarico wrote:The initial whoopsie daisy style loss of balance.


I saw him reach up to shield himself from a chunk of falling ice. Looks like that is what caused the fall.

Obviously, you're supposed to have practiced self-arrest enough to have it down to instinct...but once you're careening downward, everything that follows happens so quickly. Dude obviously did not properly self-arrest, but it's admittedly pretty easy to armchair quarterback.

I'm glad he's OK.

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby RunRalphieRun » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:45 pm

First off, I'm glad the guy survived and is okay, but for some reason this is interesting to me. I've only climbed three 14ers so far, and I've got aspirations to climb them all. However, despite my little experience and by reading and watching a few documentaries about mountaineering, even I know to flip on your belly when performing a self-arrest.

I guess this IS a great video of how not to do it #-o

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby Doug Shaw » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:11 pm

atalarico wrote:Granted, if he was seriously injured or died I'd show a little more respect.


If you're so concerned about how one person's behavior can reflect poorly on others, why not apply that same mindset to your own behavior and consider the nature and tone of your posts? How does it look when you explicitly and intentionally display your intention to be disrespectful? The judgmental, scornful nature of your comments doesn't bring anything of value to the discussion and it also reflects badly on both you and our community.

From his movements in the initial parts of the video and his response to the fall, I might hypothesize that the subject may not have much experience in those sorts of conditions. Despite his mistakes, he is extremely fortunate - and I for one am glad - that he was not seriously injured or killed. I suspect most of us have found ourselves in situations somewhat beyond our skill sets and consider ourselves fortunate to have escaped without injury. Hopefully this guy will learn from his mistakes and grow as a climber as a result of this.

Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby Bean » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:38 pm

Doug Shaw wrote:The judgmental, scornful nature of your comments doesn't bring anything of value to the discussion and it also reflects badly on both you and our community.

Take a look in a mirror.

Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby MonGoose » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:51 pm

That was definitely a scary scene. Breaking the down the video we can see the following: The chunk of ice came down on him at 0:30 as he dodged to avoid it, causing the fall. Two seconds later we can see that he loses the ice axe in his left hand but is still holding the other one in his right hand. He has until ~0:34 seconds to attempt a self arrest and after that he is in the narrow, rocky shoot. At 0:37 he loses the right ice axe and then it's a free fall as he tries to self arrest with his empty hands. 0:52 looks rather painful.

I'm glad he survived.

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby jaymz » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:21 pm

It really drives home how quickly things can deteriorate when the poopoo hits the fan. I can certainly see why people would scratch their heads at his self arrest technique (or lack thereof), but it's hard to pass judgment on someone in that situation.

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby dpage » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:28 pm

I'm not an ice/steep snow climber and would like to learn something from this.So what is the appropriate response if caught beneath some falling ice?

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Re: A video of how to not self-arrest.

Postby Doug Shaw » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:49 pm

dpage wrote:I'm not an ice/steep snow climber and would like to learn something from this.So what is the appropriate response if caught beneath some falling ice?


There's no one response that will protect you in every case - this is simply one of the objective hazards we face by choosing to go into these types of terrain.

That said, I think the generally-recommended course of action is to tuck in: get your body as close to the slope as you can so that you minimize your profile and, if you are hit, have a helmet between your head and the projectile, and your pack to help protect your back.

In cases where you've got time and the wherewithall - for example when someone yells "ROCK!" - also plant an axe and get your feet secure to help brace against any impact, while assuming the aforementioned tucked-in position.

Had the subject of this video leaned in like that, it's possible (though far from certain) that the ice may have glanced off of his backpack or helmet. He may have been sore or even injured from the impact, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody who would suggest that tumbling out of control down a rocky and icy gully is a better option.

I don't say this to be critical of the climber in the video - when you've got a fraction of a second to recognize what's going on it's difficult to overcome your instinctual reactions. But this is exactly why a lot of mountaineering training for things like ropework and self-arrest really tries to drill home the point that the "right" response needs to be practiced a lot so that it becomes your instinctual reaction.

But as I said earlier, falling projectiles are an accepted hazard and there may be times where there simply won't be anything you can do to protect yourself short of simply not being there. You can do everything right and find that the 80-pound block of ice careening toward you doesn't appear to care...

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