Author Topic: Is this suicidal?  (Read 6043 times)

Offline Alex

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Is this suicidal?
« on: January 28, 2016, 09:23:59 pm »
Is the following vid a bit suicidal or is it just me? Is this what caving is like in America? Yes it was a great pick off but why were they down there in that much water? Why were they not rigging with devis or something to stay out of the water and why the heck is the lady wearing a short sleve t-shirt. I doubt that water was warm!

http://www.beontherope.com/fr/2016/01/coincee-dans-une-cascade/

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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 09:27:30 pm »
Er, yes.

Offline martinr

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 10:06:43 pm »
Quote from:
Published on 17 Apr 2015

During a trip on 4/17/15 in warm spring flood waters we dropped some very wet pits! so wet that it flushed Megan's bun out of he helmet and into her rack! Luckily we had a second rope up top and I quickly wet down and performed a modified pickoff with the help of a small ledge. Afterwards she became entangled in the second rope just feet from the lip so I atempted to climb 70' back to her but the ropes were so badly twisted I had no choice but to change over and retreat. She managed to free her self and climb out. She then pulled the second rope up with the help of Heath and Clinton and I were able to climb out... Pretty scary stuff... These situations are why its important to practice your vertical skills. When I was forced to change over I completed it with my eyes closed because as you can see there was some water in my eyes...

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 10:08:56 pm »
This incident was briefly discussed by the NSS Safety & Techniques Committee to see if anything productive could be made of it. I don't recall any real conclusions, I think I suggested that rescuers should have a brimmed helmet or visor on hand when responding to a wet SRT incident.

Is this suicidal? It's very dangerous. Several less-experienced cavers have been killed in similar situations in the US. The only possible defense for this group is that they are very experienced and hopefully understood fully the risks of what they were doing. Some of the same cavers have done even more extreme wet pits, at least one of which is out there on Youtube. It may be that the thrill of rappelling a waterfall and their success in similar cases led them to ignore the absolute nature of what they were doing. I hope they are more cautious since this incident.

Is that what caving is like in America? In some ways. We do SRT like gorillas compared to UK cavers, whose vertical caving videos sometimes remind me of crocheting more than caving. I myself am entirely utilitarian on rope, do SRT to get down and up, and don't care one whit for elegance. I want to be safe though, and would never rig in the middle of a waterfall. Nor would most American cavers.

Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 10:46:56 pm »
It is very subjective.

I know we can see the video and I know we can see "what we can see" but it isn't enough to be judgemental per se.

.... I am aware of an incident around 12 years ago were a female was "caught" on an ascension in a waterfall and she became hypothermic and required rescue (which was difficult). She was luck in that there were people above and below her who were able to effect the recovery but it was a close call.

I am also aware of a personal experience of being underneath a 20 foot waterfall rift after being underground for the best part of a day and the "outside world" had (unknown to us) suffered a flash flood. The "rift" should have been no more than a light spattering of water but was, instead a gusher of water. So, do you risk it or wait it out knowing that rescue is coming later (they would wait it out anyway)?

We attempted it and made it out.

On another occasion, our club members were in a system not known to flood but caught by what appeared to be a flash flood (again, not knowing the outside world), the leader took the decision to "wait it out". Rescue was called and everyone (topside and underside) all waited and the cavers came out safely the following day. (an attempt to do so earlier would, in hindsight, have been fatal).

I think you have to make a judgement call based on the circumstances at the time. Although we got it right these times, I know we (cavers) don't always get it right.

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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 10:55:41 pm »
Excellent post from Kenilworth; thank you. Suicidal is not suicide.

It is generally held as unwise to rig into water, some would say it's a death-trap to do so and there have been numerous examples which support that viewpoint. The only fatality in Swildon's Hole to date was a death from hypothermia as a result of a caver becoming hung up while ascending a pitch in a waterfall; it therefore seems surprising, to put it mildly, perhaps even cavalier, that rigging into water in the same cave is still seen as an acceptable standard practice - make of that what you will.

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2016, 10:02:54 am »
Has any one given any thought to the wear the rope might see against rock in such situations?  I accept that for much of the time in the video, the ropes were under tension so they would not be moving around except for the buffeting experienced by the individuals in the water.     

Long term exposures of rope left in cave as a hand line has resulted in one case where the free end of the rope was caught by the occasional rising stream level.  That occasional movement was sufficient to causes gross wear at a rub point further up the rope within one year. 

There was also one fatality where wear by the rope presumed rubbing on rock (the evidence was not sufficiently clear) was enough to cause the rope to break under the weight of the first caver to ascend after having only having seen 3 descents.

Offline Alex

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2016, 10:13:08 am »
I would have to agree with capt Chriss on this one, you should not be rigging into water.

I also agree with Jacklepup when you do get caught out in that situation there is no right answer as to whether you should try and make it out or wait it out. I guess that largely depends on where you wait it out if it's sufficiently out of the water and the water won't flood that section. We got caught out in Ireby Fell once a while back and waited it out about 4 hours in the high level series before fighting our way out with still high but lowering water levels.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2016, 10:21:05 am »
P.176-177, Marbach & Tourte, ACT:

Rigging Fundamentals:

Ergonomic/easy to use
Rig safely
Ensure integrity of the rope
Rigging should be beyond reproach
Should be simple, clear and straightforward
Beware unstable rock
Always rig outside of potential flood zones
Respect for the cave environment

Offline Spike

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2016, 10:23:05 am »
P.176-177, Marbach & Tourte, ACT:

Rigging Fundamentals:

Ergonomic/easy to use
Rig safely
Ensure integrity of the rope
Rigging should be beyond reproach
Should be simple, clear and straightforward
Beware unstable rock
Always rig outside of potential flood zones
Respect for the cave environment

But it's not a flood zone, it's the normal path of the stream, so it must be OK right?

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2016, 10:24:02 am »
Of course, you are correct. In a flood all the water courses down a completely different part of the cave, so there's nothing to worry about.  ;)

Joking aside, M&T are most likely presuming that cavers are sufficiently intelligent* to not be rigging into water in normal, low conditions, but they are also pointing out that you need to consider where the water levels *might* be in the event of significant heavy weather and therefore to rig specifically to avoid even those parts of the pitch.

* Are they making a gross misjudgement?

Offline al

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2016, 12:37:49 pm »
Very brave of them to post this useful film. It may seem obvious that rigging in the water isn't a good idea, but a film like this describes the problems in a better way than words ever could.

Judging from the clothes and some of the actions, the water on the film is not as cold as the stuff you'd encounter in UK caves, where the fast-onset immersion hypothermia would easily and quickly compromise your thoughts and actions.

And it's not simply a question of not rigging wet pitches either. I've been directly involved in two different shouts where a pitch has changed from a pleasant dry-ish abseil to a deafening maelstrom in the matter of hours. Sometimes it is predictable, but not always.
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Offline Brains

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2016, 12:39:52 pm »
Only slightly off topic, but back in the day when wetsuits, ladders and hairy ropes were still popular, we used to wait for a wet day to have sporting trips down P8, Giants, Swildons or some such, with the ladder hung in the main flow and rigged from floor level. Entering P8 through a vortex with no air gap on a hand line was... interesting!
Times and practice have moved on tho'

Offline Alex

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2016, 01:00:17 pm »
P8, Giants and Swildons are all very short pitches, though. I guess with enough life liners they can simply just pull you up if you get into trouble on those short drops as not using SRT. I guess that's one advantage of ladders over pure string is that its very unlikely to get hung up, though the ladders in my experience can get tangled.
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Offline Fulk

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2016, 01:37:15 pm »
I'm not sure what you mean, Alex, by
Quote
its very unlikely to get hung up,

Anyway, a lot can go wrong when climbing ladders. e.g. climbing on the 'wrong side', so as you near the top you get squashed against the wall; still, that's not as bad as getting half-way up a big pitch only to find that the lifeline somehow managed to thread itself through the ladder when it was being lowered down.

Offline paul

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2016, 05:47:46 pm »
Even though they are short pitches, P8 and Giant's Hole appear quite often in call-outs involving both ladder and lifeline and SRT. See http://www.derbyshirecro.org.uk/call_outs.html . Especially note Incident 325 which was on Garlands Pot in Giant's Hole using ladder and lifeline and sadly ended in a fatality.
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Offline psychocrawler

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2016, 07:30:32 pm »
Reminds me of a trip down Washfold.

Offline Amata

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2016, 03:19:20 am »
I happen to know Clinton. Anyway, he posted a very good write up in Vertical Cavers on facebook, and I think it is a public note on his fb page? Anyway. There are many caves in TAG that your only choice is in the water. If the top isn't in the water, by midway down the entire place is soaked anyway, and so actually getting underneath it quick can often be the quickest way out of the worst of the flow (just something to keep in mind). In the end, It comes to experience and skill and a bit of crazy, but what cavers don't have a bit of crazy? I think some of the digs you do in unstable areas is crazy, but each their own. In the end, despite a potentially very bad situation, the *SKILLS* of the people there meant there were no incidents, no injury, no death. This cave in particular this is low/mid level of the amount of water that flows in, so it was not seen as a hazard initially. If you don't like being on rope in water, don't go to that cave (or many others in TAG) but seeing as how there are over 15,000 to choose from you'll find something to suit your style.
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Offline meanderthal

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2016, 09:19:50 am »
Interesting video and comments. It looks like good old fashioned 'fun'. But more importantly it also look dangerous. I wonder what a thoroughbred canyoner would make of it?

Anyway. There are many caves in TAG that your only choice is in the water.

From the first few seconds of the video, there appears to be a large black and dry (read spray) space beyond the waterfall. Would it not be relatively straight forward to traverse out and drop down here?

I think some of the digs you do in unstable areas is crazy, but each their own.

Agreed!

Offline Amata

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2016, 12:25:58 pm »
Spray free at the top but typically not farther down, lota of our stuff where you do bother to bolt and rig put of water it doesnt help. Ive not been to this one to say. I do know Clinton is an expert rigger, bolt climber, and does lots of alpine style work. He is probably one of if not the best exploratiom caver in all of TAG. So if this cave is not rigged that way, it isnt for a reason. My point is more we can argue this or that for whatever thing we wish. It doesnt change what almost happened and it doesnt change the fact that the skill of the people involved prevented it from being a problem. I enjoy the video for the skillset i do see. And i do think itgoes to show what the cave rescue folk here say ks true - even if you dont want to be on a team at least take rescue training because you are the first there when it is someone in your group with a problem. A LOT of our callouts are prevented by promoting small party rescue. :)

Without risk there is no reward. You cant judge people for taking more risk than you would. Risk level varies based on multiple factors and is also weighted against skill and trust in your group. Clearly this example the risk was not too great as even with everything going wrong that could everyone out alive and unharmed.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 12:38:44 pm by Amy »
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Offline HardenClimber3

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2016, 07:27:10 am »
You were doing so well with the justification, and then added a paragraph which undoes what you say above (and, perhaps is a literary example of the same problem). You should just have stopped with the first paragraph which made it's point well.

The second paragraph is a perfect example of the sort of heuristic trap which can lead to disaster.
The fact that everyone got out ok has no bearing on the risk present. All that getting out okay on a single episode shows is that the risk of a poor outcome is not 100%.
It is an easy trap to drift into - if you want to read more try looking up avalanche safety and personal factors / heuristic traps .
& in the same vein I'm not sure that 'everything' that could go wrong went wrong.....this is akin to 'the last place we looked' thought (did you go on looking in other places after you found it?).


Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2016, 08:54:55 am »
Without risk there is no reward.

Couldn't agree less.

Offline ianball11

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2016, 10:27:27 am »
I think that's wrong Cap n Chris, you can have loads of reward with minimal risk surely!

Oops!!!   :o

Sorry, read the question Ian!  :-[

Completely agree Captain Sir.

Offline Alex

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2016, 11:22:12 am »
Also Amy has to realise the temperature of water in this country makes doing something like that particular very serious indeed, so peeps from here will take a very dim view on that. People have been killed hung up in waterfalls. Ireby Fell (Dong pitch), near death in Diccan (severe Hypothermia). The one mentioned above in Garlands which I was not aware of and others. In-fact I am sure I have read of quite a few deaths in America in-fact more than here of people being hung up in waterfalls. (Correct me if I am wrong).

So its the cavalier attitude people don't like, though I agree the vid shows what can go wrong. Just think if that guy was not there to rescue her or they did not have a separate rope, then what would have happened?

I guess with me when I am caving water, is always on my mind, more than boulders (which is surprising considering how many times I have been whacked by them!)
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Offline Kevlar

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2016, 01:51:17 pm »
Just think if that guy was not there to rescue her or they did not have a separate rope, then what would have happened?

Couldn't she just cut her hair?

Offline Alex

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2016, 02:07:06 pm »
If she had a knife and even if she did as people have said, she could not see anything, she could easily accidently cut the rope instead/as well as. Anyone seen the film Sanctum hehe?

Really though she could rescue herself by putting on ascending gear and getting weight off her rack but she either did not have it equipped or had not thought of it in the panic, hence why she needed rescuing so again if he was not there....
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Online Roger W

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2016, 04:44:27 pm »
As I'm sure has been mentioned before on the forum, long hair (and beards!) and SRT devices should be kept well apart.

Could long loose locks be just as much a hazard as falling water?
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Online AR

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2016, 09:12:45 pm »
That, of course, is something that a buff is excellent for.... :smartass:
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Offline tamarmole

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2016, 09:41:01 pm »
As I'm sure has been mentioned before on the forum, long hair (and beards!) and SRT devices should be kept well apart.

Could long loose locks be just as much a hazard as falling water?

Been there!

http://www.aditnow.co.uk/community/viewtopic.aspx?t=11074

Offline HardenClimber3

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2016, 09:58:39 pm »
A few years ago a friend exiting a rather wet SE Pot (the big pitch, minus deviation, I think) had her scarf washed off and her hair caught in the stop. She managed trim her hair but couldn't free the stop which was well and truly jammed. It did end well...after cooling  down very fast.

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2016, 10:20:18 pm »
Really though she could rescue herself by putting on ascending gear and getting weight off her rack but she either did not have it equipped or had not thought of it in the panic, hence why she needed rescuing so again if he was not there....

Yes, this is another reason that the justification for this trip is a little flat. It's not good enough to say, "There's an expert rigger, bolt climber, etc. etc. in the party, so it's ok to do something I'm unqualified for--he can rescue me if I need it." And unless I'm missing something important, anyone without the skills or equipment to free their own caught hair or gear from a rack is unqualified for a wet pitch, probably any pitch of much consequence. This is quite a separate issue from the simple rigging in water question. I agree with Amy that if a wild bunch of skilled cavers want to rappel waterfalls, and know the risks involved, then they should rappel waterfalls. But I do not entirely agree that "...the *SKILLS* of the people there meant there were no incidents..." Clearly there was an incident, seemingly caused by a lack of skills or judgment by at least some of the party.

Offline Amata

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2016, 11:33:20 pm »
Or it is called
"Shit happens"

Please tell me you are perfect and have never had any close calls underground or seen them happen in your group of trusted friends?

If you havnt good and well for you. But i doubt if you keep caving that being totally incident free will last forever. Unless perhaps you just do the same easy ones over and over - but then again complacency is dangerous in and of itself.

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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2016, 11:59:49 pm »
Or it is called
"Shit happens"

Please tell me you are perfect and have never had any close calls underground or seen them happen in your group of trusted friends?

If you havnt good and well for you. But i doubt if you keep caving that being totally incident free will last forever. Unless perhaps you just do the same easy ones over and over - but then again complacency is dangerous in and of itself.

It is easy to sit in an ivory tower and judge. But ivory sure shows every speck of mud...

Oh dear.

I'm a rudimentary caver. Being solitary and learning primarily through my own mistakes, I have done enough stupid things that I should have been hurt by now. Haven't been. Oh well. Maybe one day...
I have also foolishly led my friends into caving situations they couldn't handle, with dangerous results. I've made most of the mistakes that can be made, but I try to learn. And I've learned that I've done many things I really had no business doing.

Yes, things happen, and I have often and passionately remarked on the idiocy of trying to turn every tragedy into a "learning experience." Still, there are good reasons to identify the causes of dangerous situations, and some good may still come from stating and restating the most basic lessons learned from these. It has been long understood that a caver should be able to changeover to free a jammed device... here is another example that reinforces that this skill should be standard. This isn't abusive of your friend, it's meant to be productive. And do try not to take every contradiction of your own conclusions as an assault. It is good, to a point, that we disagree and share our arguments.


Offline Amata

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2016, 12:17:09 am »
Since everyone seems to lazy to go read his (public) fb note on this here it is copy pasted

Quote
Megan Carden, Heath Rowland, Chris Higgins, and I (Clinton Elmore) decided to enter [TNWH148] Cave to see what it's like. I had been just inside the entrance to it three weeks prior and knew it was a very wet multi-drop (very much like Thunder Hole in Alabama). The water pouring into the entrance was a tiny stream that was lower than two weeks prior, so I saw no reason to abandon the trip due to too high water. I opted to wear a full 3mm wet suit since I wear a wet suit 99% of the time when doing anything that is wet and/or vertical, even when others don't (in case I have to be in the water/cave longer than anticipated). The others in the group run much hotter than me and wore only polypro (the water in the cave was warmer than usual cave water which also helped). Once inside the cave, we rigged a 50 foot rope for the first two short pits (a five foot pit and a 15 foot pit). Some where between the entrance and the first 15 foot pit the cave gained a lot more water from an unknown source. This new larger stream was still manageable and even enjoyable to rappel in for the first two short pits.

Below the first two pits, I found the next drop only 30 feet away and proceeded to rig the rope for it. The only way I could find to rig the pit was to tie the rope to the bottom of the first rope and than use an old hand drilled bolt for the main anchor. Looking down the pit with the rope tied to the bolt, I noticed that 80% of the water in the stream drops down a parallel cloverleaf portion of the pit while the rope appeared to mostly be in spray. From the top, the drop appeared to be much less wet than the similar pits in Thunder Hole (AL) with the rope rigged where it was (mist and spray obscured my vision of the bottom of the pit). I put my ascender and cows tail on the vertical rope and the back up tie off rope respectively. I than jerked with my weight on the rope in a direction away from the drop to test the bolt and rigging. I decided to take as much tension out of the backup line as I could and rigged it to where the load was split between the bolt and the backup rigging (since I don't fully trust old hand drilled bolts). After a few more jerk tests, I rigged my micro rack in and proceeded to back over the lip. Once over the lip, I unclipped both my ascender and cow's tail, and then rappelled down the pit at a moderately fast speed, for me at least (since I hate doing rope work in waterfalls). I reached the bottom and rapidly unclipped from the rope, rushed out of the fall-zone/waterfall, and took the end of the rope with me. Once safely out of the fall-zone/waterfall, I yelled “OFF ROPE!”. Fearing that someone might loose control on rope due to the waterfall, I had the end of the rope in a loop to catch any uncontrolled rappels. Megan gets on rope and rappels down around 25 feet before stopping. Megan then started yelling “HELP!” while remaining in place on rope. At that point, I knew that our short, fun, and wet multi-drop cave trip instantly turned into a very serious situation.

I though through many different scenarios and many different options, I even though about a possible scenario where I climbed the rope around her and did pick-off. I remembered the we had a second 100 foot rope at the top of the pit just encase we felt like doing the second major pit in the cave. I waited for a minuet or so and was hoping that Chris was thinking about doing what I would do: use the second rope to rappel down and figure out what was wrong with her (he was). Chris had rigged the rope to the same bolt the first rope was rigged to (since no other anchors, natural or otherwise, existed). While this was going on, I quickly figured out Chris's plan with no communication (because would be my plan) and attempted to kept the two ropes separated from each other as best as I could (to try to prevent the ropes from twisting together).Chris assessed what was wrong and finished doing a modified SRT pick-off to rescue Megan. He then clipped her ascenders into the rope and got her to climb out of the pit (she was only 25 feet away from the top). Chris then rappels down to the bottom and we discuss what happened. I learned that Megan's hair had been knocked out of it's tie and got fed through her micro rack (she had to hold her helmet somewhat close to the rack to use it as a shield against the waterfall while rappelling). Chris and I discussed what to do next and I told him that I'm fine with waiting at the bottom of the pit while he climbs out since I had a wet suit on. Chris climbs the second rope 90% of the way out of the pit before changing over and coming back down. I was very surprised to see him and asked him what happened. He was completely worn out and couldn't talk until he had a chance to catch his breath. He finally was able to tell me that the ropes were twisted and both ropes actually fed into his ascenders and got stuck. After I was informed of our newest situation, Chris and I both yelled up “PULL ONE ROPE!” Thankfully Heath and/or Megan heard our yells and started pulling the rope number two.

Seeing that Chris was completely spent from his last climb, I decided to climb up next. I yelled “ON ROPE!” before stepping out into the fall zone/waterfall and getting on rope. I opted to conserve energy while climbing in the portion of the pith that had light spray before muscling up through the 20 foot section of the pit with the heavy waterfall. This 20 foot section of the climb was hard to do but still had an air bell to rest in between the waterfall and the wall. If all things had went smoothly from the beginning, this 20 foot section of the pit would be difficult but not too dangerous to do. I climbed through the rough spot and was right below the lip when I noticed that Megan was oddly still on rope. She was unable to relay what was going on due to her physical state of exhaustion and hypothermia. I realized something was wrong, so I climbed around her on rope (luckily I was climbing with a "Texas" SRT climbing system which allowed me to rapidly climb around her with ease). I clipped my cow's tail into the carabiner on the bolt and unclipped my upper ascender from the rope rigged for the pit and clipped it into the section of rope between the bolt and backup anchor (the first rope). I pulled slack through my upper ascender while standing up in my lower foot ascender. After reaching the lip and finding a way to brace myself at the edge of the pit, I reached down and grabbed Megan's D-ring with my right hand while grabbing my upper ascender with my left hand (for leverage), and pulled her up and over the lip of the pit. She now was sitting down at the top of the pit near the edge. While doing this, Heath informed me that Megan's ascender had jammed up against the knot and that, once again, she had the bad luck of being stuck on rope with jammed gear. I then started helping Megan off rope while making sure she remained safely clipped in.  I finally freed her upper ascender from being jammed into the knot and told both her and Heath to head towards the entrance.

As they started traveling in the direction if the entrance, I shifted my focus to the task of getting Chris (who was tired and very cold) out of the pit alive. I stepped across the top of the pit and started looking for any way to redirect the rope as far away from the main waterfall as possible. I looked over everything and couldn't find a single anchor to rig to. I came up with the plan of wedging a large rock into a crack for one part of the redirect anchor and using myself as the other part of the anchor (me and the rock needed to hold just enough weight to move Chris over 4 feet). While setting everything up, I actually uncovered a better natural anchor that was underneath the large rock I planned to wedged in the crack. I quickly tied the rope off to it instead of going through with the earlier plan. When finished tying the knot, I yelled “OFF ROPE!” to Chris below. After hearing “ON ROPE!” from below, I shifted my focus back to Megan (I still saw her light at the bottom of the five foot pit around the corner). I stepped back across the top of the pit only to see her struggling against the full force of the waterfall on the short five foot drop. I got to her and with my help she successfully made it up the pit.

I then went back to the pit to check on Chris only to see him on rope and already past the roughest portion of the pit. Glad to see him up that high, I again shifted my focus back to Megan. I free climbed the five foot pit and found Megan struggling to fight the waterfall for the 15ft pit while Heath was at the top. At this point, I could tell that Megan was getting bad hypothermia so told her to get off rope and out of the water. I than yelled at Heath to go grab my 5mm wet suit vest that I had at the entrance of the cave. I took off my balaclava and gave it to Megan and started sharing body heat with her. While I was working on warming Megan up, Chris successfully climbed up the pit and started heading towards mine and Megan's location. Once he got to the top of the five foot pit, I told him to tend to Megan while I started de-rigging ropes and collecting any stray gear.

What I didn't know was that Chris was progressing towards a state of severe hypothermia while resting at the bottom of the pit. His condition was rapidly worsening until Megan's pack randomly fell down as I pulled her over the lip. He quickly took advantage of this good luck and put on Megan's rain jacket that was in her pack. While I was collecting gear for the trip out, Chris got Megan's dry polypro out of her pack and helped her change into it. After this, Heath showed up with my wet suit vest in hand, but this was now not needed. Chris informed me that he, Megan, and Heath were leaving the cave if I didn't need help. I told them I was fine and to take off. While they headed out, I coiled both 100 foot ropes and threw them up the five foot drop. I then reached the bottom of the 15 foot drop and tied both 100 foot ropes mid-line into the rope rigged for the 15 foot drop. I climbed three quarters of the way up and proceeded to pull the two ropes up while trying to keep them out of the waterfall. I finally threw the ropes up on a ledge at the top of the pit, and then I pulled up and coiled the 50 foot rope and started throwing the ropes and my pack in front of me through the entrance crawl. After 20 feet of throwing gear down a crawling passage, I made the discovery that I was actually heading down the wrong crawl. I grabbed the ropes and pack and threw them back out of the crawl after saying a few choice words. I finally went down the correct entrance crawl leading out of the cave. I finally climbed out of the cave only to see everyone topside and enjoying the nice day. “At least my cave gear is finally clean,” I said as I tossed the three heavy wet ropes and my pack on to the ground next to the rest of the group.

All this happened only 75 feet from the entrance and in a matter of only a few hours. It doesn't take a long cave trip to make things dangerous!

The next day, I opted to go kayaking out in the nice warm weather rather than going into a cave.
Sunguramy, my cave photography and blog website

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Is this suicidal?
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2016, 12:29:21 am »
It has been some weeks since I read Clinton's account, thanks for posting it. Quite reinforces that deficiencies in skill and judgment were probably more to blame than "shit".