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UER Forum > Archived UE Main > A few lessons learned... (Viewed 1872 times)
Shane 

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A few lessons learned...
< on 6/12/2009 6:14 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
So this all started with an investigation of a gatehouse to a certain abandoned aqueduct. We'd been in the aqueduct before, but access has since been closed off nearly everywhere. It was a Saturday and a few of us ventured out to see if there was another way in. After futile attempts at getting in from beneath, I decided to try getting in via the top of the building. I tossed up a rope with a knot and a few biners on the end and managed to lodge it in a crack between 2 roof slabs. After weighting it in my harness and bouncin on it a bunch, I started ascending towards the top. This was by far my smoothest and most careful ascent ever for fear of the rope slipping out of the crack. I got up about 3/4 of the way when I finally got a good look at just how precarious my attachment point was. The roof actually sloped downward at a slight angle and it jutted out almost a foot from the wall. To get over that edge, I would have had to push away from the wall and that would have pulled laterally on the rope (likely pulling it out). I was high enough that injury would be pretty much unavoidable if I fell. At this point I decided it just wasn't worth the risk, and made a changeover to rappel and came back down nice and slowly. All it took to get my rope back was a slight tug sideways, a bit unsettling to say the least. Feeling defeated, I vowed to come back with a longer rope, and a better plan to anchor to something more solid. I told myself and my friends that I would conquer this entrance.

The next day I spent exploring the awesomest power plant in the northeast (imho) on 3 hours sleep, it was a long day to say the least. Monday I worked my day job and then went to the park and spent a few hours practicing ropework in a tree. Needless to say, after 3 days of continuous activity, I was already pretty sore and worn out. Of course, I wasn't going to let that stop me from trying again...

Tuesday is my day off from work so I decided to go out and give a shot at climbing into the gatehouse again. I couldn't manage to scrounge up anyone else on a weekday afternoon to come with me, so I decided to go it alone. I packed up a longer rope, all of my climbing gear, my headlamp, a small waterproof point and shoot, my cellphone, and not much else. I arrived at the gatehouse around 5:30pm and spent about a half hour or so tossing a rope up over the building, anchoring it around a beefy tree, and setting up my ascending rig. So now at about 6pm I called a few friends and let em know what I was planning on doing and that I would be out by 8pm. The plan was to go in, look for other possible entrances that are easier, and get out, this wouldn't be an extended photo trip.

I start ascending, and all goes pretty smoothly, I get over the edge and my only issue so far is my ascender getting stuck between the roof cornerstones. I work it out and pack up the ascent gear into my bag. I retie a second anchor around a tree on the roof in case some dumbass comes by and disconnects my ground level anchor while I'm inside. I swing over into the small 2x2 hole that is right in the middle of the roof and start my descent. About halfway down, I have to navigate around some metal beams... and that's when it all went wrong. I somehow lost control of my descender, and I free fell the rest of the way in, probably a good 12-15 feet. I hit hard with my right foot first, it twisted and I immediately knew I had injured something. I got out of the climbing gear and sat down as I began going into shock from the hit. I caught my breath and pulled off my boot to check for damage. No bones poking out, still had feeling in my toes and I seemed to be able to bear weight on it to some degree. I'm not sure if it's broken, but I'm certainly not going to be doing any serious running or even walking very far. Now injured, I figured it would be prudent to check for easier exits to avoid having to ascend back out with a bum leg. I climbed down to the aqueduct level and checked the nearest possible places where there might be a way out with absolutely no luck. Everything had been cemented over or rusted completely shut. In my search for an exit, I ended up getting pretty wet, having to squeeze under a huge metal gate that was only a few inches open to check the south side. I hobbled back up to the landing and started donning my ascent gear.

Up I went, a few inches at a time, towards the only way out I knew. Once up at the top, I ran into my other problem. The roof of the gatehouse was at least a foot thick at the top, and as my rope was coming up the corner, I could only get it as high as the bottom of the roof. That meant that standing up on my rig, I was only able to just peek my head out the top. I was pretty wobbly since I could only use one leg to stand on, and I was already pretty exhausted. I couldn't pull myself up, I just didn't have the leverage with my shoulders below the opening. I kept trying and falling back into a sitting position, getting more and more tired each time. I started feeling a bit faint and I knew that if I passed out while hanging here, I'd be in a shitload of trouble. I carefully switched back to rappel and came down extra slowly this time. I was in trouble. I was trapped in a building with no exits out in the middle of the woods on a secluded path, I didn't have the strength to get out, I was injured, and I didn't have a drop of water or food with me. Luckily, I did have cellphone reception. I called up my gf, a friend that knew exactly how to get where I was, and the only person I knew with any kind of climbing/rope knowledge and skills. I explained my situation and that I was cold/wet/injured and had no supplies of any kind. It is possible there are easy exits a few miles north through the aqueduct, but nothing confirmed. I couldn't risk walking that far with my injury and no supplies, and likely, no cellphone reception once I went underground. Sure, I could have called 911 and had my friends show them where I was, but I would likely be arrested AND I would probably be in debt for the rest of my life because of the rescue fees involved. That would be a last resort.

I did the only other thing I could. I sat and waited for my friends to pull together and come help. Because of the remoteness of where I was, it would take them a few hours to get there. I sat there on the floor of the gatehouse, with the light slowly fading from the tiny hole in the roof. I didn't want to waste what little batteries I had in my headlamp or cellphone as I may need them for the rescue effort, so I just sat in the dark. I tried to find a dry spot, but it seemed that anywhere that water wasn't dripping from the ceiling was so damp that it didn't make a difference. It was a pretty intense experience, sitting there listening to the dripping water. I'd get up and move around a bit occasionally to keep the blood flowing, it was getting much colder now that the sun had gone down. I found a few dead bats curled up in some holes between bricks, and a couple live ones started flying around a bit after dark. I was shivering from the cold and my ankle was hurtin like hell. At one point, I think I even began hallucinating a little bit, seeing some weird patterns of light/color in the darkness.

Finally, my friends arrived. They couldn't hear me from inside, but I was able to bang on a wall with a brick so they could tell where I was. We talked via cellphone and they tried to get through a patch in one of the walls with a sledgehammer, but made virtually no progress at all. Now that they were nearby and I had been resting for a while, I felt like I could give ascending another try. At least if I passed out or got more injured now, they would find out pretty quickly and be able to go get help. This time, I set up my upper ascender with an extra short loop, it would make progress even slower, but it would give me a few extra inches of height at the top. Up I went, taking my time and resting when I felt like it, trying to conserve as much energy as I could. I made it up to the top and tried pulling myself out and failed again. On my second try, I put my bad foot into one of the other foot loops, pushed as hard as I could and was finally able to get my arms flat on the roof and push myself up onto it. I yelled in triumph to my friends below and then rolled over and just laid out on the roof for a minute catching my breath. I got up and undid the second anchor, packed up all my gear and lowered it down the opposite side of the building to my friends below. They sent up a bottle of water and I started rigging up for a rappel back down. My climber friend set up a bottom belay for me and helped me come down nice and slowly to avoid further injury.

I hugged everyone that came to my rescue, thankful that I had a bunch of capable, intelligent, and resourceful people who were able to come to my rescue. There were even a few others that were on standby in case a high angle rope rescue was necessary. I really don't know what I would have done if not for the people that showed up to help me, I woulda been in a buttload of trouble. I'm pretty sure it would have made the news, and not in the good way.

After walking out of the woods, and back up the 4 stories to my apartment, I was barely able to walk on my foot the next day. I finally made it to the hospital 24 hours later and got an X-ray. It appears that I was pretty lucky and didn't actually break anything, it's just a severe sprain. I've got an air-cast and I've been out of work for a couple of days now. Pretty dumb idea eh?

Lessons learned:

1. Don't go do really dangerous and strenuous shit after you've been running yourself ragged for 3 days straight.
2. Don't do dangerous SRT stuff by yourself in a remote area.
3. Don't go into someplace remote with few exits without water/food/extra batteries/light sources.
4. Always bring some sort of jacket when you're gonna be underground somewhere colder than the outside.

Few pics:

Climbing attempt #1:


Anchor for attempt #2:


Rope over the building:


Vertical entry:


Facing north underground:


No exit:


My view from the inside while I was stuck:


Rescue!


X-ray:


"Because there's no possibility of real disaster, real risk, we're left with no chance for real salvation. Real elation. Real excitement. Joy. Discovery. Invention. The laws that keep us safe, these same laws condemn us to boredom. Without access to true chaos, we'll never have true peace. Unless everything can get worse, it won't get any better." -Chuck Palahniuk
SaraBellum 

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 1 on 6/12/2009 6:36 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
What a story! I'm glad you made it out safely and (relatively) unharmed.

[01:47:56] <GreyDeath> Sara just stares her enemies into submission and eventually madness

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 2 on 6/12/2009 6:50 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Shit man, sorry I couldn't give you more information about the roof before you went. With overhangs like that it's often handy to rig a short etrier/aider/tape ladder to assist with the exit.

Get well soon huh!

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 3 on 6/12/2009 7:02 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Glad to hear all was well. I have twisted my ankles bad before and hairline compression fractured a vertebra once (on trail). I am glad I had people near me. I had to walk the 2 miles out with my back - not fun.

systemx29 

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 4 on 6/12/2009 8:13 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
holy fuck dude.

that was my exact concern with that exact location.

i was looking at it, as we are trying to get a rope over, thinking to myself, what if you we can't fucking get out.

im glad to hear your okay and that you got out alive!

"Patient delusional-Is inventing space ships for a scientist."
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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 5 on 6/12/2009 11:25 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
nice story! a "healthy" sense for adventure.

I tried being reasonable, I didnt like it. - Clint Eastwood
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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 6 on 6/12/2009 12:59 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Holy shit! Glad to hear you made it out OK. Thats some freaky stuff right there.

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 7 on 6/12/2009 1:09 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Wow! I'm glad you made it out ok

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 8 on 6/12/2009 1:50 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Yikes! Doesn't sound like too much fun. Glad it wasn't anything worse and that your friends were able to come to the rescue. Thank goodness for cellphones!

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Till someone cares.
Now no one cares.
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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 9 on 6/12/2009 1:52 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Aw! Glad you're ok

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 10 on 6/12/2009 2:02 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
i'm really glad you are ok. you scared the bejesus outta me! we both do some pretty scary stuff both together and solo, when we are focused on gaining access to special places. really, i feel like we are pushing our luck sometimes...

i have become very fond of our adventures together and would be absolutely ruined if we lost you. glad you are out and ok, we can do some mellow stuff for the next few weeks. ~k

"Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd." -Bertrand Russell

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 11 on 6/12/2009 2:06 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Glad you made it out Shane. I know what you went through with a bum foot, fucking sucks.

*Best Post Ever* any meetups to go to the malt plant? I'll join and be the first one over, so you know I'm not a cop. Also I'll bring beer. *DO NOT MESSAGE ME WITH ISSUES. PLEASE USE CONTACT A MODERATOR*
Control 


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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 12 on 6/12/2009 4:44 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
From the Rescue Team perspective:

Your a lucky bastard. If you hit your head this would be a whole different story on so many different levels...

1) Telling someone what you're doing is a must, but definitely don't go solo on something like this. The single point of entry being relatively inaccessible to anyone without the right gear doesn't make for a quick rescue. Even if you have the right gear it might be too precarious to try, and the last thing you want to do is get anyone else injured and make things worse. If it wasn't for Shane's calls and ability to call out, This would have been a much longer and probably worse situation. I suspect it would have been a few more hours before a search party went over without knowing what the situation was.

2) A trunk full of tools can help, but walls that thick are impervious to sledge hammering, unless you've got hours of time and energy. What looks soft on the inside could be layered in concrete on the outside.

3) If you have to get someone official involved, try to get the Fire Dept to arrive. They don't arrest, obviously. If it's a dark remote area, and you have it, throw on something bright like a yellow raincoat so that they'll easily see you when rolling up.

We're all glad it didn't come to that. This was one of those things where curious cops probably would have shown up and called in the CO, who'd call esu, and in doing so let every press stringer in the area know (they monitor that radio channel a lot). Prescription for a night in jail at the least, Jeb Corliss style.

I don't think they'd bill you (not really standard practice around here) but they'd probably want to make an example out of you to the rest of the world. Some other area you'd not get the attempt at public shaming via press but you'd get the bill for going to fetch you.


There were like 5 people there first wave, even more people ready to come help on standby, and maybe a dozen more that woulda come if they knew it was going down. This is probably one of the first times anyone around here has had to mobilize on such a level, and hopefully the last!

The Zoo York Goon Squad.

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 13 on 6/14/2009 11:21 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I'm glad to hear you made it out ok. It sounds like you were pretty lucky, both for not injuring yourself worse than you were, and for having some great friends.

Posted by Shane
I hit hard with my right foot first, it twisted and I immediately knew I had injured something. I got out of the climbing gear and sat down as I began going into shock from the hit. I caught my breath and pulled off my boot to check for damage. No bones poking out, still had feeling in my toes and I seemed to be able to bear weight on it to some degree.


I just wanted to offer some friendly advice that might help some people out in the future though. If you find yourself in a situation like this with a foot/ankle injury, it is almost always a better idea to NOT take your boot off. Taking the boot off will allow the injury to swell, and can lead to more problems than if you left your boot on for the remainder of your "situation". It's a better idea to leave the boot on, leave it tied, and only take it off to assess the injury once you know you are safe and won't need to continue bearing weight on it.

Lock Pick Reviews
Shane 

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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 14 on 6/14/2009 11:31 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Indeed, I did know that taking it off might cause it to swell, so I put it back on pretty quickly and laced it up good to stabilize it a bit. Since it was a pretty stiff boot, I wanted to be sure that I didn't have a compound fracture and that I had circulation in my toes. If it was a worse injury I would've tried to make a splint to facilitate easier movement.

"Because there's no possibility of real disaster, real risk, we're left with no chance for real salvation. Real elation. Real excitement. Joy. Discovery. Invention. The laws that keep us safe, these same laws condemn us to boredom. Without access to true chaos, we'll never have true peace. Unless everything can get worse, it won't get any better." -Chuck Palahniuk
IcarusBurns 


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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 15 on 6/14/2009 11:52 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Holy shit, that is one intense story! Glad to hear you made it out alright. This is probably a stupid question, but how exactly do you climb up those ropes? They wouldn't be thick enough for me to just grab and pull myself up, how do you do it?

jbtxk 


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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 16 on 6/15/2009 5:05 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by IcarusBurns
how do you do it?



look up "single rope technique." basically you use a pair of ascenders (which can be mechanical cam-type devices or even certain knots) to climb up the rope.

attempt the absurd!
Senseriffic 


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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 17 on 6/16/2009 5:16 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
OMG that sucks... I just broke my foot too... but... it wasn't half as cool as your story. Can I come visit and we can be gimps together? my left foot is broken so we can be one full person if we put ourselves together! My lesson was never run up concrete stairs just cus you do it at home all the time

How bad is it broken? I fucking WALKED on mine because I wasnt really in pain till the 2nd flight of stairs, I thought i just banged it and scrapped myself.

Breaking something in abandonment even with people would suck so bad, can you imagine if it was really far walk? I'm really terrified to try anything remotely dangerous after this... ive gotten some small injuries that could have been very serious ones if i wasnt lucky... you should always be extra cautious... I hate to think of someone ending up dying because of a broken bone in an abandonment cuz they went exploring alone

edit: damn you sprained yours... fucking lucky bastard... im sure your injury hurts worse but you'll be fine in no time... i have at least another month left....
[last edit 6/16/2009 5:19 AM by Senseriffic - edited 1 times]

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But of all our iniquities ignorance may be the worst.
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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 18 on 6/16/2009 7:41 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
What were you using to descend?

I usually use a hands off set up like a figure 8 safegaurded with a prussick. You have to really put some effort into keeping the prussick loose and you go slow as fuck but once its weighted its very hard to lose control of your descent. I don't really trust the mechanical devices they have out for rappeling.

"Aint nothin' to it but to do it"
Air 


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Re: A few lessons learned...
<Reply # 19 on 6/16/2009 8:16 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by uLiveAndYouBurn
What were you using to descend?

I usually use a hands off set up like a figure 8 safegaurded with a prussick. You have to really put some effort into keeping the prussick loose and you go slow as fuck but once its weighted its very hard to lose control of your descent. I don't really trust the mechanical devices they have out for rappeling.


I've only ever used a rack descender...highly recommended.



"The extraordinary beauty of things that fail." - Heinrich von Kleist
UER Forum > Archived UE Main > A few lessons learned... (Viewed 1872 times)
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