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: Sergey Nadtochey, Simferopol

Safety problems on Crimean ascents

There are many people in Crimea who climb all their life long but don't feel the need to write about it. This article was written by Sergey Nadtochey (Terrorist) appeared not spontaneously. From time to time we met in different membership and discussed regular rescues. As the results of these discussions appeared this article.

Aleksey Shelhakov.

Alpinism is closely related to the falls. But fallings can be different. Nobody is secured against occasional break or stone blow. There is no 100% reliability. But the paradox is that people usually get wounded not because of objective reasons, but on account of their own muddle-headedness. You can be filled with indignation with this phrase, but analyze your actions, starting from the moment of making a decision to go on route X. Most likely you will agree . Preparations: aims are unclear, thoughts are sleeping: what to take, what to leave? Later on . I ' m also the same , and I have been lucky . Summary is : think about all in advance , including opportunities of rescue from the route .

Grade of modern alpinism has grown, and Crimea isn't an exception. Many people can climb 7A and higher. There are many reasons: appearance of clear climbers on the alpinist routes, bringing into service of many institutes courses like Mountain tourism and climbing, big amount of climbing trainers in many cities.

But why there are so absurd consequences and traumas in the same time? Most likely, it happens because of automatic transfer of trainer climbing to the rocks. On climbing rocks bolting helps to predict falling of 3- 5 m . On alpinist walls it is difficult. Flight can be 15 m instead of 5 m .

Photo: Andrej Ghernokleev
One has to test holds before using. If it isn't reliable, then try a different variation, or, if there are no other variations, be ready to break. Somebody relax on simple sections after overhangs and neglect the belay, forgetting about ledges and trees. Then a lot of people go and save them, risking to kill somebody else.

Summary: trainer skills are inadequate for rock climbing. In the mountains you won't hold everything that seems to be comfortable, and one cannot lade holds to tear of, like in stands. Stands are mostly overhanging, mountains are inclined. One has to climb on foot, balancing. Mountain climbing requires adaptation.

Another widespread mistake is clipping in all one sees for self-belay and rest. Such cases are marked on many routes. Why people trust somebody else's trash bolt, nut? You can't see inside the rock and estimate how long is it and how it is located in the crack. You haven't tried it by hatchet (if sound is high, it is better). What is such a belief in old piece of iron based on? You think, this thick old bolt is tried by other alpinists? This is a wrong stereotype! It's better to think like this: the bolt was placed long time ago, so many people fell on it, and it can be unable to bear next weight. It must be avoided or used blocked with other point.

This concerns bolts also. In many manuals there are phrases like bolt is the most reliable belay unit. To break it, you need 2 ton. This is, to put it mildly, untruth. In manuals proprietary alloyed permanent bolts are mentioned, placed on adequate depth in the rock. Bolt that can be seen on our routes are mainly made of usual steel with 25- 40 mm working part of cylinder. They aren ' t too reliable .

Sometimes it happens that in the moment of jerk a cylinder takes off the hole. Did you fall because of the trophy nut break ? I did . I self belayed on a trophy nut which looked quite normally, and then flew and stroke the wall. Fingers on my left hand were broken. I was lucky to fell in the water, and people saved me. If you want to live long use your own nuts and bolts. It is necessary to add: don't put your belay point into the unreliable stones, because in case of whipper all these stones may accompany you and people below can suffer.

It is very terrible to hear stones on the wall. You try to hide, but the stone may seek its victim, may be next time. If a head-size stone is flying, a quality of your helmet isn't important. But every year in period of the end of April-10 th of May the whole queues go to the dangerous routes. In recent years these routes include Kant po Kantu, Semerka (7), and partly Red corner. Cry stones! is frequently heard and then - breath of relief. Several routes were like New year trees with ascenders instead of toys. And teams with whistles Imagine more than one such team on the wall. It's much better to know habits of your companion and be able to understand their moves.

Concentration of alpinist groups on Foros routes on May holidays exceeded all measures. It is too dangerous for not paying attention. It's interesting that in Foros-Melas regions there are also 2, 3, 4 grade routes, but they are rarely visited. It can be connected with little knowledge about the area. In this case many manuals for self-tuition come to help you. It happened that I didn't use this fiction (many of them can't be named differently) and compared my own experience with what was written. A very interesting feeling

Route may have the same name, but reality differs radically from the deion. Starting from the book Alps in Crimea of Goncharov, all of them are full of mistakes. Only Forgotten Mountain of Yu. Kruglov doesn't have such shortcomings.

Photo: Andrej Ghernokleev
Drawbacks include the name of the book and poorly printed topo. All the rest is well done. Rocks near the sea is also a rather good variant. But booklets of A. Brunza Forossky Kant and Mshatka-Kaya I don't like at all. Poor printing quality, relief is not well seen, and there are many mistakes.

One of the most widespread mistakes that make the ascenders is loss of route line. Pros will find the way out of the situation, but the beginners will not. May be, it's time to change our routes grade system to American one, where complexity of free climbing sections, AID and total grade are estimated? Like this : VI, 5.9, 1 ( may be, it is better to give grade of free climbable sections in French system, in this case it is 5c) and it becomes clear that average group will ascend from 4 h to a day.

I think that one can teach others if he usually ascends himself and has a wide experience as for the mountains. But in Crimea everything is different. Yesterday you have been a beginner, today you are teaching someone. And your wrong skills, doings you give to others.

What surprises me in modern alpinism, are modern belay devices, but more the belief in technical abilities of this gear. But even ropes of startos system break in unlucky cases. Example: our friend Andrew fell to 700 m and cut 2 ropes, one of them was Edelrid. Master of sports in climbing and alpinism. The ropes were cut with sharp ridge.

And what about using friends without thinking, is it needed or no? It's much easier to place a stopper, rocks, and hex. I also like them, but in lime wall rocks I would place them only as a last resort. They create an elusion of safety instead of safety. At least alternate them with other units.

Once I read a book about Big Wall. Something I translated directly: climb with brains. Here are these rules.

Check your gear regularly for integrity.

Know your partner and his habits well

Control weather conditions

Rocks are not eternal they can destroy.

Advice heard in time can save your life

Descent requires double situation control

Only your belay point gives you a chance, all the rest is elusion

Even easy route can become difficult if you aren't ready for it psychologically or physically.

Not only birds and rocks must know about your destination.

Clothes must conform to the weather

More you know about the route, more chances do you have

What is important:

Don't hope that rescue group will help you. Most probably, on the high-grade routes their help will be late. So, such situations must be prevented in first stages.

Small Kilse
Photo:Alexey Osipov, Moscow
What can I suggest for the improving of the situation:

Firstly, may be, it is reasonably to place under the wall a sort of rescue team consisting of people from different cities who have skills of saving people. Scheme can be like this: today Zaporozje and Kharkov are on duty, tomorrow Moscow and Ryazan , etc. You can also create a small fund of voluntary donations for reason of permanent duties of medical staff in these days.

Then, people from industrial cities, order some bolts, usual ones and with rings. It's time to treat our routes. Only wish is that bolts must be with non-corrosive rotary ear from 3,5- 4 mm metal. Hole for the carabiner must be quite big, for at least 2 carabiners clipped in the same time.

Cilinder length must be at least 60 mm . The most popular Foros routes must be bolted for 1-pitch return, that is with descent rings in every 24 m . to straighten several routes, for example, classical way of Semerka (7), to make variation for Ear.
I have written all this because my friends and I are tired of rescue operations with random gear instead of interesting ascents or merry drinking.

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