trad leading

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: trad leading

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:01 pm

SNORT wrote:Nic your graph cannot show what is safer or not because it does not account for the number of people participating in each.
nic le maitre wrote:Assuming that the climbing stats are not skewed by the low numbers and are actually representative it is clear that there is little difference between the consequences of a fall when climbing or walking.
Those are proportional stats in percentages and it's only looking at the consequences of a fall while taking part in that activity. It says nothing at all about the probability of a fall happening during that activity.

We don't have any user number stats for mountain areas so I can't look at that. Based on my experience, I'd say that there is a fairly constant rate of callouts per user.

I understand that there are far more walkers and scramblers than there are climbers, hence my comment that the low numbers may have skewed the data. However, heavily caveated, IF the assumption is made that the stats are not skewed by the low numbers, the consequences of a fall are similar for rock climbing, sport climbing and walking.

Rock climbing is all types of climbing excluding sport (both single and multi-pitch)
Happy climbing
Nic

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: trad leading

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:24 pm

mokganjetsi wrote:but assuming there are far more sport climbers than trad climbers, getting 18 vs 31 events implies a much higher incidence on the trad side (unless "rock" also includes bouldering, which will skew the participation numbers the other way?)

a wild guess - and assuming the stats is for the Western Cape only:
23-years of data; 1201 weekends; assuming 200 climbers sport climbing per weekend on average (wild assumption because numbers would have been much lower in '94 than 2016) gives 18 events out of 240350 climbing days - i.e. a probability of an event of 0,0075% every time you go climbing; and then death 1/9th of that.

Anybody that can improve on my assumptions here?
Without accurate user numbers you really cannot draw any conclusions about the probability of an accident occurring in the first place.

Couple more caveats:
1) This includes what I'm going to call technique errors (dropping the climber etc) which I assume happens more in sport climbing than in trad due to the usually lower barrier to entry and the prevalence of "auto-locking" belay devices in sport climbing.
2) This excludes abseiling accidents.
3) This excludes any accidents not reported to rescue:
3.1) I know of a couple of 'technique errors' at Legoland that have required a visit to the hospital but did not result in a callout.
3.2) Trad climbing accidents tend to happen in more inaccessible areas and self-rescue is often not possible, so generally the capture of that data is better.
Happy climbing
Nic

DeanVDM
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Re: trad leading

Post by DeanVDM » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:35 pm

Some international stats taken (voetstoots) from some local SAR Risk and Situational Awareness Training material (which won't help much in this specific debate but perhaps give some quantified context):
Climbing safety.jpg
Climbing safety.jpg (249.34 KiB) Viewed 775 times
ObStat: If you are interested in the how long is a piece of string caclulations of whether dirving or flying is safer take a look here: Is GA Flying Safer Than Driving?

mokganjetsi
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Re: trad leading

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:17 pm

Nic Le Maitre wrote:Without accurate user numbers you really cannot draw any conclusions about the probability of an accident occurring in the first place.
agreed. but sometimes an educated guesstimate can be quite revealing......... like the time me & an actuary buddy calculated the odds of dying of a shark attack while surfing is less than dying in an accident whilst driving to the airport. at least our conclusion gave us comfort while bobbing around alone in the backline on a grey muizenberg day ...... :mrgreen:

btw, i see from your response there is some very pertinent in & exclusions in the data; useful! it remains interesting to me at least in that i know the total climbing days pertaining to that data set will be more than 10 climbers per weekend and less than 5000. gives a pretty wide range but still, the quantum might be revealing / encouraging.

Hector
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Re: trad leading

Post by Hector » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Back to the topic of learning trad safely: there is lots of good advice on this thread. Trad is about more than just placing good gear though. The Trad Climbers’ Bible by John Long has a nifty take on decision-making, and I reckon it’s the heart of what makes the whole thing fun. It goes something like this:
Each move on a climb requires a mini decision: “Do I attempt the move or do I back off?”. The more info you have the better the decision. Once you make a decision, follow through with full commitment.
It sounds so simple, but it relies on a broad spectrum of technical and mental skills. By all means put a big effort into learning to place gear, but don’t neglect the other skills.

Here are a few scenarios:
• The move is easy, the gear is good and the fall is safe: do the move
• The move is hard, the gear is good and the fall is safe: do the move
• The move is easy, the gear is bad or the fall is unsafe: could go either way. Use all your experience to make a call, which may even differ from day to day.
• The move is hard, the gear is bad or the fall is unsafe: back off

In a nutshell you must know 1. Your physical abilities, 2. how good your gear is, 3. how safe a fall is, and 4. how to back off. Fortunately these can all be trained:
1. Your physical abilities. Climb loads and be brutally realistic about your abilities. Learn to know how much you have in the tank and whether you can downclimb. Visualise a move before doing it and compare how it felt to how you thought it would feel. Know how you’ll feel when you’ve done the move – will you have enough juice left to place the next piece or will your forearms explode? Sport climbing is great to train this.
2. Gear placements. This is the obvious core technical skill that everything else depends on. In addition to some of the previous suggestions a good option is to find a steep sport route and aid it on gear while clipping the bolts (or rig a toprope). Bounce test each placement before moving on. The advantage is you can literally see how the placement reacts under load. The punishment for a mistake is getting pinged in the face and a safe fall. It’s a good way to focus the mind and learn to trust gear. Removing the bounced pieces on the way down is also good practice.
3. Falling. Take lots of falls on sport routes to learn how your body flies through space in different scenarios, and how to react safely to a fall. Build up falling engrams so that on a trad pitch you can intuitively eyeball your trajectory and look for ledges, arêtes or roof lips that might injure you if you fall, and also so you know what to do if you do come off.
4. Backing off can take many forms. Options include building a stance and rapping, lowering and sending your mate up, downclimbing, traversing to an easier route, getting a mate to drop a rope to you (mortifying but it’s been done many-a-time), jumping off before the runout gets unhealthy (I’ve done this twice and both times it was the right call). In terms of skills practice downclimbing in the gym and then outside on a toprope. Know how to build an equalised rap anchor. You can almost always make a plan to go retrieve any bail-gear, so don’t be shy to leave kit behind.

Once you have all these skills you can make a fully informed mini-decision for each move on a climb. The last important step is to commit fully to whatever you decide. Dithering is dangerous and kills psyche. If you decide to climb make the move with confidence and commitment. Getting this right is probably the most satisfying aspect of trad – those days when you’re just able to shut out the irrational fear and execute moves at your limit knowing the consequences of a fall are ok. Other days you get it wrong and dither and prevaricate for ages and invariably sag on gear. When that happens don’t beat yourself up. Rather take the time to figure out what’s bugging you, rational or irrational, and add it to your experience arsenal. If you decide to bail do it calmly and safely and don’t second-guess the decision. A mate and I once made a leader downclimb to two cams and then lower off after he’d sent a new scary pitch in the berg. We weren’t prepared to follow the big, gearless traverse. The leader was pissed and there were words. Two hours later as we strolled back to camp the mother of all thunderstorms pulled in. If we’d carried on it would have been touch and go even if the traverse had been ok. My cams are still there – best money I ever spent.

For me the move-by-move decision making process is the heart of what I love about trad, and makes it different to sport and bouldering (which are awesome for other reasons). In trad you’re constantly using your experience to evaluate your situation and make the best compromise between safety and sending. When you’re starting out, a slow, deliberate, rational approach is best. Make an effort to train the various mental and technical skills in a controlled environment. Isolate each skill when training it. So if you’re learning to place gear don’t complicate things by trying to climb hard at the same time. When practicing falling focus only on that and don’t combine it with placing gear. Only step out of one of your comfort zones at a time. Get single pitches dialled before doing multi-pitches. Start with easy walk-ins so you’re not thrashed when you’re learning. Use whatever resources you can (guides, other climbers, books, interwebs, MCSA). But ultimately, be cautious, be healthily sceptical and take responsibility for your own skills journey.

jacosmuts
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Re: trad leading

Post by jacosmuts » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:04 pm

Another two cents.

I've never been excited about aid climbing. Until I had to learn how to aid. I was surprised to discover that I rather enjoyed it. I also learned some valuable lessons from it.

You have to trust every gear placement. Albeit only weight bearing (different to catch a fall). You are going to commit to standing in/trusting each placement you've made. It definitely changed my approach and thought process when it comes to placing gear.

I've often noticed people placing gear for the sake of having placed gear. If it's not going to catch you then don't place it. It gives you a false sense of comfort and exposes you to more risk. Admittedly I've placed bad gear and continued climbing and still do. But mentally I don't count that peace. I calculate my last good gear as my last good placement when keeping track of my run-out as well as calculating the consequences of a fall. That peace of gear you placed for the sake of feeling better although it's a bad peace. It's a false sense of security. Don't do it.

If you are learning how to lead on trad I'd say don't focus on on-site or red points. Focus on learning a new craft. Hang on gear. Test it and as mentioned before - get an experienced friend to evaluate what you did.

Interesting discussion. Thank you

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henkg
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Re: trad leading

Post by henkg » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:54 pm

Confiming what Hector said...

On Spitz I have been very disappointed when my partner rationally got us to bail. I went a year later with a stronger leader and realized that we were in way, way out of our depth on the previous attempt.

On trad one should aim to progress measured. For most of us it should not be about grades, but the experience.

I differ from Snort in setting the safety bar at 20. For a start trad grades are old school. Many a 16 is perfectly steep to clear you from hitting a ledge. At the same time I am way more scared and tend to avoid slopey grassy ledging kind of climbs. The gear usually sucks, lots of loose stuff and is not fun for me. In the sub18 grades (5.10 is the bar for me), stick to the well traveled traderoutes.

Aiding might be fun, but everything looks twice as hard once you sag onto gear...
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens

jacosmuts
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Re: trad leading

Post by jacosmuts » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:58 am

Henk

Just to clarify - my reference to aiding was not intended to mean pulling on gear on a free route. I was referring to full on aid routes. Etriers and scaling sections of rock on aid only (not just pulling on gear now and then).

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: trad leading

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:27 am

mokganjetsi wrote:btw, i see from your response there is some very pertinent in & exclusions in the data; useful! it remains interesting to me at least in that i know the total climbing days pertaining to that data set will be more than 10 climbers per weekend and less than 5000. gives a pretty wide range but still, the quantum might be revealing / encouraging.
The database is open to anyone to go and pull the data out, so go wild. You can even check by day of the week to see when most rescues occur. Serious kudos to Andy Lewis, the guy who runs it, it is likely the best, most comprehensive, database of rescues in the world.

One of the coolest things that you can observe is that once we started using helicopters in rescue, the number of blue (dead) patients dropped and the number of red (critical) patients increased. Helicopters have made a massive difference in saving lives.
Happy climbing
Nic

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