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  • Climber Killed in Simul-Rappelling Accident on the Goat Wall
  • Climber Dies in Fall From El Cap's East Ledges
  • Fatal Unroped Fall On Easy Terrain - Bear Creek Spire, California
  • Simul-Rappel Goes Tragically Wrong - Reed’s Pinnacle, Yosemite
  • Dropped Haulbag Strikes Climber in Yosemite
  • Rappel Knot Fails, Climber Falls to Death on the Goat Wall
  • Climber Loses Finger Tips in Crack
  • Climber Grabs Draw, Skins Finger
  • Gear Pulls, Climber Decks at Indian Creek
  • Climber Dropped at Instructional Clinic
  • Euro-Death Knot (Flat Figure-8) Mysteriously Fails
  • Mark Davis Dies in Tragic Rappelling Accident at Indian Creek
  • Climber Dies In Fall From Moonlight Buttress, Zion
  • Ice Climber Falls 100 Feet in Banff National Park
  • Ice Climber Falls 100 Feet on Screw and Climaxe
  • Diablo Canyon Climber Dies in 170-foot Fall
  • Climber Breaks Ankle and Back After Fall in the Palisades, California
  • Rockfall Knocks Out Belayer, She Never Lets Go
  • North Carolina Climber Dies in 50-foot Fall
  • Lightning Strikes Twice - Rockfall on the Cassin, Cima Piccolissima
  • Climber Dropped When Lowered in Autoblock Mode
  • Climber Dies in a Fall at Dishman Hills, Washington
  • Climber Falls 200 Feet on the Nose
  • Danger Zones: The Nose - Accidents On El Cap's Most Popular Route
  • Rappelling Accident Leaves Climber Shattered
  • Gunks Climber Raps Off End of Rope
  • Inattentive Spot Leads to Broken Arm
  • Man Survives Fifty-Foot Ground Fall
  • Bolt Breaks, Climber Falls to Death
  • Climber Falls to Death, Apparent Bolt Failure
  • Tragedy on Infinite Bliss - Rappelling Claims Climber
  • Gear Rips, Leading Climber Critical
  • Impaled by a Quickdraw
  • Two Carabiners Break on Leaning Tower
  • Climber Fined For Obstructing Rescue
  • Climber Triggers Rockfall, Kills Two on El Cap
  • Gear Pulls: Grounder at White Rock, New Mexico
  • Death on Capitol Peak
  • Respected Climber Falls 50 Feet and Dies at Cathedral Ledge
  • NPS Chops Bolts: Man Dies Descending Forbidden Peak
  • Not Again: Eldo Climber Raps Off End Of Rope
  • Flake Breaks, Leader Falls, Hits Belayer
  • BUNGLED!: Autoblock Belay Device Misused
  • Fatal Gym Accident
  • Solo Ice Climber Dies in Fall
  • Three Killed in Cairngorms
  • Ice Climber Killed
  • Despite Warnings, Three Injured in Mount Washington Avalanche
  • Four Dead in Scottish Highlands
  • Bolt Pulls Out in the New River Gorge
  • Belayer Drops Climber 70 Feet to Ground
  • Rope Cuts, Climber Dies in Eldorado
  • Belayer Pulls Leader Off Ice Climb
  • Fifty-Footer Rips Three Screws
  • Rope Chopped by Carabiner
  • Climber Falls 140 Feet and Lives
  • Todd Skinner Killed on Leaning Tower Rappel
  • Climbing's Insidious Danger: Rockfall
  • Top Rope Slips Off
  • Rappel Knot Fails, Climber Falls 300 Feet to Death
  • Ice Cave Collapses, Kills Hari Berger
  • Climber Unclips From Anchor, Falls to Death
  • Counterweight Rappel Failure
  • Back Cleaning Results in 150-foot Fall
  • Climber Dies When Rappels Off End of Rope
  • Mouse Attacks
  • Hold Breaks, 60-foot Fall
  • Avalanche Kills Six In Alps
  • Autoblock Belay Failure Causes Fall
  • Lathrop Strang Killed in Mount Sopris Ski Accident
  • Rappel Swing Goes Awry, Climber Injured and Rescued
  • Ice Climber Falls Entire Pitch, Dies
  • Climber Comes Unclipped, Falls 140 Feet at Red Rocks
  • Ice climber rides Vail's famous Fang 100 feet when the pillar collapses
  • Two Bolt Hangers Break, Climber Falls
  • Nose-hooked Carabiner Breaks, Causing Ground Fall
  • Bowline Comes Untied, Climber Falls to Ground
  • Rope Burns Through Lowering Sling, Climber Falls to Ground
  • Gear Rips, Leader Hits Ledge
  • 600-foot Ice Climbing Fall
  • Ice Climber Unropes, Slips, Falls 60 Feet
  • Ice Climber Dislodges Ice, Belayer Hit and Seriously Injured
  • Belayer Drops Leader Due to Miscommunication
  • Leader Rips 10 Pieces on El Cap, Falls 80 Feet
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    Climber Grabs Draw, Skins Finger

    By Hayden Carpenter

    Of all the “don’ts” of climbing, grabbing a quickdraw while you are falling is one of the bigger no-nos, and can result in serious injury, including “de-gloving” a finger.IN MARCH, Phil Cody reached the top of a 5.10d at the Bruise Brothers Wall, Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Fighting a serious pump, Cody, 21, struggled to clip the anchors, which consisted of bolts with two pre-hung quickdraws left by a climbing partner. After a few flubbed attempts to get the rope clipped, he became desperate.

    “At that moment I was willing to do anything not to fall,” Cody says. “I made a wild last attempt to jam the rope into the carabiner.”

    It appeared to his friends that Cody grabbed for the anchor as he peeled away from the cliff.

    As his belayer lowered him to the ground, Cody saw blood streaming from his left index finger.

    “I held it up to my face to take a look. That’s when I saw a thin white something protruding from my finger. In order to confirm what I was seeing, for whatever reason, I licked some of the blood off, and, yeah, I had licked my own finger bone.”

    The “meat” of his finger was found on the sandy ground behind the belayer. Luckily, Cody’s climbing partners were able to clean the flesh and muscle and bring it to the hospital. Even luckier for Cody, that hospital happened to have one of the best hand surgeons in the world—one who was part of the surgical team that performed the first successful full- hand transplant.

    Cody went directly into surgery and the surgeon was able to re-attach his finger, nail bed included. Although the finger is a little shorter now, Cody eventually has regained full sensation and movement.



    Cody was new to leading and this pitch was his most difficult lead to date. It appears that his left index finger opened the gate of the lower biner on the anchor quickdraw and was pinched between the gate and the nose, stripping the meat from the bone when he fell. In medical terms, Cody’s finger was “de-gloved.”



    Reaching for a draw to prevent a fall is an instinct common to new leaders and veterans alike, but can have horrible consequences. Stories abound of climbers who have lost fingers or impaled their hands on the nose of a biner when attempting to grab a draw.

    “Everybody knows you don’t grab the quickdraw,” Cody says. “I knew it, and I don’t even remember grabbing it.”

    When you’re pumped and slipping, grabbing a draw might seem safer than falling, but, in situations where the fall is safe, it is usually better to take the lob.

    In some instances—such as runouts above ledges or potential groundfalls— falling could be disastrous. In situations like these, absolutely grab the quickdraw, but first make sure to carefully set your feet and aim to grip the draw by the sling, above the lower carabiner.

    Under no circumstances should you attempt to grab a quickdraw, or any piece of gear, when you’re already falling.

    Practice efficient clipping and keep tabs on whether you’re in a position to fall safely. This accident would have
    been prevented if Cody had successfully made the clip, or simply taken the whipper.


    Also read Impaled by a Quickdraw


    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 225.



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