Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

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Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby Ernie Coffman » Jul 12, 2013 6:59 pm

This was on our SAR blog, so thought I'd share it, just in case...someone uses these quickdraws:

The Quickdraws that Led to the Death of Tito Traversa
Always check each others gear; especially if it is an emergency!

7/9/13 – The French magazine Grimper has published photos from the police of how the quickdraws that led to the death of 12-year-old Italian climber Tito Traversa were assembled. The young man was lowering off a 5.10b at the French crag Orpierre when, tragically, eight of the 12 quickdraws failed, sending him tumbling about 25 meters to the ground. Traversa spent three days in a coma in a hospital before succumbing to his injuries.

The quickdraws belonged to someone in Traversa’s group and had been set up incorrectly. The clipping carabiner passed only through the rubber-band “keeper” attached to the dogbone, instead of through the actual full-strength loop of the quickdraw. The eight draws assembled incorrectly were on the upper half of the route.

Grimper reports that the accident is under investigation. The photos were released as a reminder to always double-check that climbing gear is assembled correctly, knots are tied correctly, belay devices are loaded properly, and so forth.

Picture is missing, but it shows the nylon sling clipped in with a rubber keeper, rather than on the dogbone

The incorrect quickdraw set-up that led to Tito Traversa's fatal accident. The carabiner should be threaded through the full-strength nylon loop of the dogbone instead of the rubber "keeper" string. Normally this keeper is on the rope end of the quickdraw. Photo courtesy of grimper.com
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby hank moon » Jul 12, 2013 9:05 pm

A few (perhaps pedantic) comments on this post:

1 - The quickdraws did not lead to the death of Tito; like 99+% of all accidents, this was caused by human error.

2 - The 2nd to last sentence should read, "The rope-end carabiner should be threaded through the full-strength textile loop of the dogbone AND through the rubber "keeper" string, following manufacturer instructions." Note that draws need not be made of nylon, and that "keepers" should not be used on the anchor end of a quickdraw.

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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jul 12, 2013 9:21 pm

That's a truly awful story, and Hank is right, the title should read: The Quickdraws Stupid Mistake that lead to the death of Tito Traversa.
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby Chads93GT » Jul 12, 2013 11:30 pm

Wow. i cant even imagine not noticing that MY quick draws were only clipped into the rubber keeper. I mean, they wont even look right at all if they are set up like that. What is wrong with people?
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby NZcaver » Jul 12, 2013 11:38 pm

Yep, sad and very avoidable.
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby paul » Jul 14, 2013 12:53 pm

It is a sad incident and yes, human error was involved.

Yes, we should always check and double check, but it is easier for this to happen than you might think - for the clipped karabiner to be suspended by the keeper rather than the quick draw. See http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68190 for a video demonstration.
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby NZcaver » Jul 14, 2013 10:36 pm

paul wrote:Yes, we should always check and double check, but it is easier for this to happen than you might think - for the clipped karabiner to be suspended by the keeper rather than the quick draw. See http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68190 for a video demonstration.

Interesting video, and definitely worth watching. Do many climbers use those dyneema sling loops with keepers for clipping into protection during a climb? Unless I'm misunderstanding, this particular accident happened using sewn quickdraws (dogbones) - NOT dyneema sling loops. The same failure mode does not apply. :shrug:
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby paul » Jul 15, 2013 6:08 am

NZcaver wrote:
paul wrote:Yes, we should always check and double check, but it is easier for this to happen than you might think - for the clipped karabiner to be suspended by the keeper rather than the quick draw. See http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68190 for a video demonstration.

Interesting video, and definitely worth watching. Do many climbers use those dyneema sling loops with keepers for clipping into protection during a climb? Unless I'm misunderstanding, this particular accident happened using sewn quickdraws (dogbones) - NOT dyneema sling loops. The same failure mode does not apply. :shrug:


Well, as the article I linked to says
Apparently, the quickdraws used to equip the route were slung incorrectly, which resulted in total failure and a groundfall. Details regarding the improper usage of the quickdraws are still vague, however, a rough translation of Grimper's report notes that the slings on the draws were attached to the carabiners incorrectly. The report indicates that the slings were improperly attached to the plastic/rubber device used to keep the carabiners from turning on the slings. Therefore these mechanisms were the only attachment between the sling and the carabiner and are apparently what failed as they are not intended to hold a fall


Presumably these were not dogbones but ordinary quickdraws of the very short sling variety as indicated by the text in bold above..
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby driggs » Jul 15, 2013 10:20 am

Petzl says:

DANGER: Do not use an open webbing sling equipped with a STRING, as the potential for misuse is too high


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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby NZcaver » Jul 15, 2013 4:32 pm

paul wrote:Presumably these were not dogbones but ordinary quickdraws of the very short sling variety as indicated by the text in bold above..

I read that, but did not make the same presumption you did. In my understanding, a loop sling is not considered a "quickdraw" at all. Wikipedia and Petzl documents seem to concur.

Look closely at the photo in your link of the unfortunate young Tito. You will see on this occasion (years earlier) his belay rope appears to be clipped into a quickdraw (dogbone) attached to a bolt below him as you might expect. The original post in this topic implies whoever attached the carabiners to the quickdraws used when the accident occurred may have somehow threaded them through the rubber keepers (Strings) without actually feeding them through the webbing itself. I can't imagine how anybody with any climbing knowledge could make a gross error like that, but the article did say "the quickdraws used to equip the route were slung incorrectly." Eight quickdraws, to be exact. This implies to me it was not an isolated case of one sling moving around in a gear bag and becoming suicide-clipped through its own carabiner.

Edited to add: A simple Google search confirmed my suspicions. See this article and the image below.

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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby paul » Jul 16, 2013 6:35 am

NZcaver wrote:
paul wrote:Presumably these were not dogbones but ordinary quickdraws of the very short sling variety as indicated by the text in bold above..

I read that, but did not make the same presumption you did. In my understanding, a loop sling is not considered a "quickdraw" at all. Wikipedia and Petzl documents seem to concur.

Look closely at the photo in your link of the unfortunate young Tito. You will see on this occasion (years earlier) his belay rope appears to be clipped into a quickdraw (dogbone) attached to a bolt below him as you might expect. The original post in this topic implies whoever attached the carabiners to the quickdraws used when the accident occurred may have somehow threaded them through the rubber keepers (Strings) without actually feeding them through the webbing itself. I can't imagine how anybody with any climbing knowledge could make a gross error like that, but the article did say "the quickdraws used to equip the route were slung incorrectly." Eight quickdraws, to be exact. This implies to me it was not an isolated case of one sling moving around in a gear bag and becoming suicide-clipped through its own carabiner.

Edited to add: A simple Google search confirmed my suspicions. See this article and the image below.

Image


It may be the usual difference in English and terminology between the US and UK. Here in the UK (see my previous UKClimbing link and https://www.thebmc.co.uk/deadly-quickdraws-open-sling-rubber-band-accident for example. (The BMC is the British Mountaineering Council)

In the UK, a Quickdraw is a short sling used in extenders and is often a simple open sling. They can be of differing lengths and two karabiners can be clipped to a doubled-up sling to allow differing lengths which is often useful in traditional clmbing (i,e, no bolts in the rock and using placed protection). This allows for a striaghter run of the rope with the less straight-line run of protection gear you tend to get in trad climbing when compared to bolted Sport routes.

A Dogbone is a specialised sort of sling which hs been sewn across the sling near either end to form a small tunnel through which to place karabiners and helps hold them in place. These tend to be used more on Sport routes (i.e. bolted) because lines of bolts tend to have a straighter run along the route inlike with natural placements. The keep helps to stop the karabiners from swivelling in the tunnel. A similar setup can be created with simple slings by using a couple of small rubber rings slipped onto the ends of the slings as shown in the video clips.

I suppose someone may have threaded the katabiner through a rubber ring and then attach the ring to a quickdraw but that seems incredible to me. It just seems to me that the odds of setting up a set of dogbones with keepers such a the Petzl String totally incorrectly aren't anywhere near as high as causing the deadly situation as highlighted in the above video clips with simple slings and rubber rings -if its is conceeded that the term "Quickdraw" can include simple slings as well as Dogbones ("It's on WikiPedia so it must be true" and Petzl sell a lot of gear to Sport climbers so will probably default to Dogbones.

I may appear to be dragging the discussion out and being pedantic, but My Petzl Via Ferrrata lanyards have simpliar sewn ends and these "String" keepers and you have to set them up yourself. I don't see how they could be threaded incorrectly so that the "String" was between a dogbone or lanyard end and a karabiner. I can easliy see how you could end up with a weak rubber ring bewteen a karabiner and a simple sling quickdraw though.
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby NZcaver » Jul 16, 2013 6:33 pm

Fair point about our difference in terminology, possibly further complicated by my upbringing in NZ. Even there, I had it in my head for something to be a quickdraw it had to "quick" to clip at both ends using one hand, and therefore with the semi-rigid characteristic of a sewn quickdraw. No matter. Personally I don't recall ever trying to use a keeper on a regular loop sling - only on quickdraws and one of those Petzl sewn cowstails - but in light of the failure mode you brought up this is a good thing!

paul wrote:I suppose someone may have threaded the katabiner through a rubber ring and then attach the ring to a quickdraw but that seems incredible to me.

It seems incredible to me as well. But according to the article in the Grimper magazine, that is exactly what happened and this gross human error directly contributed to the fatality. Somebody out there must be feeling really bad about this.
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Re: Quickdraws that led to a youngster's death

Postby acountrycaver » Jul 17, 2013 11:06 am

At 12 years old Tito may not have had sufficient experience to focus on all safety issues. You would have thought that a more experienced climber would have gone before Tito and found the errors. Sad waste of a young life.
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