fatal climbing accident

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18 years 5 months ago - 18 years 5 months ago #122930 by Steve De Ford
fatal climbing accident was created by Steve De Ford
12-3-03: a 30 year old tree climber (contract climber for the Bureau of Land Management in Salem, Oregon) apparently failed to visually inspect his lanyard snap catch (locking hook) after performing a limb-over and fell over 100 feet. He had years of experience and was in a great mood before the accident.

He was working on a green snag creation project that involved topping and top-girdling Douglas fir trees at 6" diameter or 20 feet from the top of the tree.

This is a great but sorrowful reminder to always visually inspect the snap-catch on your lanyards each time you use it.

ALWAYS VISUALLY INSPECT LANYARDS LOCKING SNAPS.

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18 years 5 months ago - 18 years 5 months ago #123246 by treeman
Replied by treeman on topic A better solution
Better than checking your lanyard is to use a double lanyard system. I will back myself up with either the end of my rope or carry a second lanyard when I do a limb-over move. A limb-over is when you climb over another limb. Many deaths have occured with top climbers by neglecting to be backed up with a second rope or line while making a simple shift of position with only a few feet of height gained. Professionals used to the need of climbing quickly to get a job done faster (and hence more $) will bypass this simple rule because it takes a minute or two more and more gear (a few carabiners and a line). I personally gain a high sense of security when I use this little extra time and effort for safety.

WHEN YOU GO VERTICAL- ONLY A LITTLE MISTAKE CAN CHANGE OR END A LIFE!! Fast climbers might make more money and look daring, but it often comes with a sudden cost that is very expensive to ones health.

Waving from a treetop,
Peter Treeman Jenkins

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18 years 5 months ago - 18 years 5 months ago #123247 by Steve De Ford
Replied by Steve De Ford on topic fatal climbing accident
The climber in question was using 2 lanyards and had just set his top one but failed to visually inspect it (from my climbing/investigation report).

According to Oregon OSHA a climber must have a lanyard around the tree before leaving the ground and it must stay around the tree until he's back on the ground. This policy is outdated and is mostly meant for logging climbers setting up spar trees.

Oregon OSHA likes the National Tree Climbing Field Guide and is probably going to use parts of it to set up a new climbing policy.

Sole proprietors are not subject to OSHA (Oregon) rules. According to their current rules climbers (except sole proprietors) CANNOT rapell or do limb overs.

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18 years 5 months ago - 18 years 5 months ago #123268 by icabod
Replied by icabod on topic Application to Rec Climbing
I come into tree climbing with a background in High rise window washing, in which you are always secured in two seperate and equal points. When I first started tree climbing I lost alot of time and was very slow because a single tie in point made me really nervous. I still dislike a single tie in point, but have made myself quicker when I realised that once I am in the tree I can manuver far better by having two tie in points active at almost all times. While the line tending does slow me somewhat the extra point of contact makes for a nice balance, and allows me to make otherwise impossible limb walks. I've found that dual tie-ins make me far more comfortable too, and I don't spend as much time fussing with my knots and thier location, and don't jump with every creak in the tree.
For limb overs I use a double lanyard, making sure I'm tied in securly at both. I can't understand how one could fall on such a system, other than neglecting to use both legs. All the gear clipped in makes me look like the top rigging in a circus tent and it requires concentration to keep everything in the right place but the payoff for security, and movement within the canopy is well worth the time.

Icabod

Cam "Icabod" Taylor

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