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Heaps near miss update

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by Christian G., May 25, 2016.

  1. Christian G.

    Christian G.

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    Regarding the drysuits, in case it needs clearing up, though I tried to be specific about it. The "borrowed'" drysuit is the one that caused the significant issue. As I stated, he could have checked it and should have checked it. That was clearly a mistake. But it's easy for anyone to trust a friend when they say it is in good working order. But yes, always double check. End of discussion there.

    My drysuit had minor issues, but definitely manageable and I would not chastise the rental company. I purposely left their name out, because I did not have an issue with them. Yes, I did tell them to double check it to be sure it was in good working condition, when we returned the gear. Hope that helps.
  2. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Honestly the best drysuits I have ever used were from Zion Adventure Center. Dry as a bone. More than I can say for my own (not so)dry suit.
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Thank you for clearing that up.

    Tom
  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I kinda sorta work for ZAC, and this is one of my pet peeves. The drysuits are used 95% for walking in the Narrows, and 5% for doing technical canyons, though usually Pine Creek or Boundary - where a little leakage is not a problem. Walking the suits chews up the seams in the crotch area, and they leak. And are fixed. And they leak, and are fixed. Leaks, fixed, leaks fixed. At some point they become unfixable.

    The solution would be to just plain not rent suits for big canyons, Heaps and Imlay. There are not enough rentals for Heaps and Imlay to support setting aside a set of suits (ie, one of each size, and two or three of the popular sizes) for Heaps and Imlay. This would be the most responsible solution. Another solution would be to rent suits for I & H when the suits are new (1-2 months at random times through the year) and not rent them at other times.

    Or rent suits and warn people that the suits are not non-leak. I have borrowed a suit for a winter Heaps (postponed), and had to test 7 suits before finding one that only leaked a little.

    I tried to work out how to test the suits in a practical manner. The best I could get was a test set up that would cost roughly 25$ per rental, and might not get the kind of leakage through the fabric we usually get.

    UPSETS are usually caused by expectations that are not met. As in many relationships, often the problem is that the expectations are unrealistic, rather than that the performance was out of line with reality. That is what I see here. Perhaps the likely performance needs to be better communicated.

    Tom
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  5. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    7 suits? I mean, come on. It just doesn't mix with canyoneering. Maybe if you wear it over a wetsuit. Half of you crazy fools who do freezefest wear wetsuits I'm told. If you can wear a wetsuit in the black hole on New Years Day surely you can wear a wetsuit in Heaps in May. Seems smart to me. I mean, sure, go diving in a drysuit, but canyoneering? When is the last time you came home from a big canyon without a new hole in anything?
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  6. Wes1

    Wes1

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    This year I ran warm in black hole,on New Year's Day,with a 7mm wetsuit, and base layers. Next year I will likely wear a 4/3, 2mm shorty, and base layers. Sure a drysuit is lighter, but why risk it?
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  7. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    There's a decent wetsuit/drysuit thread HERE. Suggest continuing the discussion there.

    hank
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
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  8. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    It seems that some are much better with the dry suits than others. Those suits can't be abused. Definitely not for us knuckle draggers out there. I made the mistake of putting on a dry suit too early trying to find my way into Das Boot for the very first time. That was a bad call. It was never the same after a bit of bush whacking. A dry suit is definitely not appropriate in a down climbing environment. On the plus side, the neoprene provides some needed padding.
  9. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    You know, like a canyon.
  10. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Perhaps I need to clarify that. I am of course awkwardly trying to compare the canyons in Zion that are more open compared to say the tighter canyons one finds in Escalante with more elevator work.
  11. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I'm just giving you a hard time. It's amazing how long your gear will last in Zion compared to anywhere else.

    Comp Stemming.
    Not a good place for a drysuit.

    July 2014- Canyoneering Zion 088.JPG Maybe a good place for a drysuit
    IMG_0565.JPG The only place I'd trust a drysuit
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
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  12. Iceaxe

    Iceaxe

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    There are two types of serious canyoneers in the world. Those who have experienced a forced bivy and those who will eventually experience a forced bivy.
  13. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Where you obviously don't need it .
  14. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    My N=2, neither in a canyon, one overnight awaiting daylight and one for several hours waiting on weather. But if my experiences are any indication, and I believe they are, forced bivies are usually the result of poor decision making, usually several poor decisions, and sometimes with the addition of a little bad luck like weather or an accident.
  15. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    I believe that is the point. Stuff happens.
  16. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I experienced mine this year, hopefully my only forced one :twothumbs:
  17. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    The Park's rescue blog entry on this incident:

    https://www.nps.gov/zion/blogs/Leaking-Dry-Suit.htm


    Leaking Dry Suit

    May 21, 2016 Posted by: Zion National Park
    On May 21, 2016 Zion dispatch received a report of an overdue party in Heaps Canyon. The reporting party (RP) stated that the group had started at 4:30 am at Lava Point and had not made it out yet. Due to the late hour of the call the RP was told to let us know in the morning if the group had still not made it out. On May 22nd at 800am rangers made contact with the RP and were told that the party had still not made it out of the canyon. The RP was asked to stay at a pullout on the roadway where he could observe the final rappel sequence in Heaps canyon and to let Rangers know if any one started to descend the rappels. At about 11:30 am when there was still no sign of the party, a helicopter from the Grand Canyon was requested for an aerial reconnaissance and possible short-haul if the party was located and in trouble. At about 2:00pm, just before the Grand Canyon Helicopter was launched a group arrived at the final rappel sequence and began descending. The RP notified rangers and reported that the first person who reached the ground was not a member of his party, but had seen the group moving around 8:00am. It was learned at this time that the party was still moving out of the canyon. They had leaks in their drysuits and had spent the night to dry out. Two SAR team members were sent up the trail to the bottom of the last rappel (Upper Emerald Pools). The three members of the overdue party all made it to the bottom of the last rappel safely.

    Members of the overdue party told SAR team members that they had spent a lot of time replacing anchors and that their dry suits had started leaking so they took longer than expected the first day. They decided to spend the night to dry out and warm up. The group had a 200 foot rope, a 300 foot pull cord and were planning on their 3rd party member to be at the bottom of the last rappel to send up a 300 foot rope.

    Lessons learned for the party: Test your equipment before making a commitment to a canyon as dangerous as Heaps Canyon. Don't rely on someone else not in the party for your equipment needs. The plan made sense if everything went according to plan but if it didn't the party was not self-sufficient to get through the canyon.
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  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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