"52 ways to die in a cave"

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"52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby Steven Johnson » May 20, 2010 10:34 am

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/05/20/52 ... -in-a.html

Some upbeat reading for your coffee and donut time.

A couple of weeks ago, I read Blind Descent, a book about speleologists exploring the some of the deepest caves* on Earth. One of the things that struck me about the story was just how frequently potentially deadly accidents happened. Towards the end, it got to the point where somebody was cheating the Reaper every other page or so. But, really, that's kind of the whole deal with deep cave exploration—when the surface is a multi-day trek away, through constricting passages and up sheer cliffs, just about any injury can quickly become life-threatening.

In fact, author James Tabor was able to come up with a list of 52 different ways deep caving could kill you—and that's with lumping all "incapacitating injuries" into one entry.

*"Deep" in this case means depth from top to bottom of the cave, not depth below sea level. These were journeys into the Earth, but they tended to start up a mountain and end at the bottom of a river valley, rather than in the land of the mole-people. That distinction confused me through the first few chapters, and left me still wanting to know about caves that go deep below the surface of the Earth, as opposed to caves that are just deep.
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby Steven Johnson » May 20, 2010 10:46 am

And the "52 Ways" are here...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/31358060/52-W ... -in-a-Cave

1. Acetylene explosion (acetylene still used by some as fuel for cave lamps)
2. Camp stove explosion (white gas or butane)
3. Fall while climbing rock
4. Fall while downclimbing rock
5. Fall while ascending rope
6. Fall while rappelling (descending rope)
7. Rockfall
8. Dig or tunnel collapse
9. Unplanned detachment from rebelay
10. Failure to complete change from rappel to ascent, and vice versa
11. Prusik knots jammed
12. Prusik knots won’t grip
13. Ascenders slip on muddy, wet, or icy rope (this one almost got me on a 250-foot drop)
14. Strangulation in vertical gear
15. Fall from losing grip on handline
16. Rope anchor failure
17. Rope failure
18. Rope cut by falling rock
19. Ladder failure
20. Uncontrolled rappel
21. Harness carabiner opens during rappel (as with Chris Yeager)
22.Rappel shunt (emergency brake) defeated during rappel
23. Unwanted rappel shunt activation
24. Rappel off end of rope (as with Alexander Karabikhin)
25. Drop rope
26. Rope recoils out of reach after rappel
27. Rappel into pit without ascent gear
28. Foot hang
29. Chemical contamination of rope
30. Animals eat rope
31. Rappel rack nut falls off
32. Hair caught in rappel rack
33. Clothing or chinstrap caught in rappel rack
34. Sewn sling tears
35. Exhaustion
36. Hypothermia
37. Drowning
38. Becoming lost
39. Out of light
40. Entrapment by flood
41. Entrapment by rockfall
42. Asphyxiation by methane, carbon dioxide, blast fumes, etc.
43. Locked inside gated entrance
44. Poisonous snakes and insects
45. Struck by lightning while in cave stream
46. Struck by lightning while talking on cable telephone to surface
47. Rabid bat bite
48. Bacterial or fungal infection: histoplasmosis, etc.
49. Hyperthermia (some caves are 130F)
50. Incapacitating injury
51. Incapacitating illness
52. Stuck in crevice


Really? That's all?
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby trogman » May 20, 2010 2:17 pm

I didn't see "starvation" on that list anywhere. Of course, I suppose that one is part of what could ultimately kill you in cooperation with several of the others on the list. Such as "becoming lost," or "locked inside a gated entrance."

Trogman :helmet:
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby Chads93GT » May 20, 2010 4:01 pm

quite a bit of redundancy on that list. It could be shortened by a lot. Afterall dying from a fall from climbing up a wall is the exact same thing as dying from a fall while down climbing, either way, you fall off the wall and go splat.
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby gdstorrick » May 20, 2010 6:58 pm

Post deleted.
Last edited by gdstorrick on Jul 10, 2012 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby ek » May 23, 2010 12:14 am

Chads93GT wrote:quite a bit of redundancy on that list. It could be shortened by a lot. Afterall dying from a fall from climbing up a wall is the exact same thing as dying from a fall while down climbing, either way, you fall off the wall and go splat.

Agreed. And it leaves out:

Fall while horizontally traversing left on rock
Fall while horizontally traversing right on rock
Fall while negotiating a knotty traverse to the left
Fall while negotiating a knotty traverse to the right
Fall from a tyrolean
Fall onto a Spectra cowstail :big grin:
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby Teresa » May 23, 2010 10:01 am

Drop out some of the falling things.
Replace with:

Encounter with large wild animal
Murder
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby plicpriest1 » May 23, 2010 1:24 pm

Dont forget:
Suicides
Religious cults
Religious cults + Suicides

Taco Bell= Nasty burrito= Bad Air= Suicides Which of course could be coupled with Religious Cults.

More include:
Monsters, Deamons, man eating bats, witches, boogieman, etc. all of which could again be coupled with Religious Cults
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby Sean Ryan » May 31, 2010 10:45 pm

What about White Nose Mutating Into Human-Lethal Strain?
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby NZcaver » May 31, 2010 11:12 pm

Death by rapid conflagration after entering a "warm" lava tube:

Image
"After you, I insist!"
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby NZcaver » May 31, 2010 11:20 pm

I'm surprised this one isn't on the list:

Sudden death by cardiac arrest, unrelated to environment or injury. It happens.
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby Marmaladeskye » Jun 16, 2010 1:03 pm

James Tabor explains "foot hang" to Jon Stewart while promoting "Blind Descent"


Edited to remove dead link. See http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-j ... ames-tabor
Last edited by NZcaver on Jun 16, 2010 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited to remove dead link
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby JR-Orion » Jun 17, 2010 9:58 pm

Image
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby Larry E. Matthews » Jun 19, 2010 11:03 am

Hair caught in rappel rack?

Why would that be fatal? It would certainly hurt.

In fact, that happened to my first wife as she was rappeling into Neversink many years ago. Her long, blond hair fed into her rappel rack, so she stopped and broke them off, a few at a time. Not a lot of fun, but certainly not life threatening. A good self-rescue.

And, acetylene explosion?

That's happened to almost all of us who used to use carbide lamps, but unless you somehow dropped an entire two (2) pound can in a pool of water, then set it off, it's hard to imagine "death by acetylene explosion". A little burned hair? Yes !!! I guess it could happen if you were in a really small, enclosed space and the acetylene gas used up all the oxygen.

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Re: "52 ways to die in a cave"

Postby gdstorrick » Jun 19, 2010 3:49 pm

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