RIP tinaballina

General Palm Springs area.

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Ed » Thu Mar 31, 2022 10:10 am

Yes, Larry's reply confirmed what was said in the Desert Sun article, that rappelling off of old nylon slings is a common practice, though one that should be combined with some judgement. In another communication, Larry used the term 'life-saving paranoia'. I like that term.

We used to make our slings in a few minutes over the kitchen table. Cut the webbing, tie it into loops, seal the ends with a match. It was standard to carry seven: four singles, two doubles, and one triple. After a year or two of heavy use you threw them in a trash can and made another set. Today people buy slings factory-sewn into loops. Said to be safer than a knotted sling. I checked my knots before a climbing day, and never worried about them during a climb.

I hope this does not deter people from rock climbing. I view driving on the Santa Ana freeway at night in a rain storm as dangerous, stressful, and an activity to be avoided if at all possible. A weekend of rock climbing at Joshua Tree should be challenging, if you want to make it challenging, but fun and relatively safe. Hiking Skyline has a wider ranger of hazards not subject to your control.
Ed
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Ed » Thu Mar 31, 2022 2:34 pm

Another article on Tina's accident, along with following details on Tina and her accomplishments. I am amazed and impressed that with Raynaud's Syndrome she was into cold-weather climbing.

https://www.climbing.com/news/climber-dies-rappelling-accident-joshua-tree/
Ed
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Ellen » Thu Mar 31, 2022 6:59 pm

Ed, thanks so much for posting the article/tribute to Tina.

When Tina, Lance, Steve, Fern and I were snowshoeing from the tram in 2010, Tina talked about her hands "Going to the bad place." I recommended that she consult a rheumatologist for Reynaud's (I am an exercise physiologist). My hands frequently went to the "bad place" due to nerve damage sustained from frostbite in 2008. Tina had an autoimmune health condition (asthma) associated with Raynaud's. If I recall correctly, she was prescribed a vasodilator medication (calcium channel blocker) to increase blood flow to her fingers. She told me it took longer for her hands to "go to the bad place," but did not completely eliminate her symptoms.

Miracle Marilyn, Sister Sally and I went up the Baldy Bowl yesterday. It was an exquisite day -- a reminder that life and friendships are precious.

Fromm the heart,
Ellen
Ellen
 
Posts: 2556
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:38 am
Location: Riverside, CA

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Ed » Fri Apr 01, 2022 6:48 am

Not sure what the cause of my Raynaud's Syndrome is. Perhaps too much cutting brush with hand loppers. When I researched it, there seemed to be multiple causes and no great solutions. I found there were two 'bad places'. First the pain, then the numbness that makes your fingers dysfunctional. I found the dysfunctional fingers bad enough hiking, let alone climbing.

Great to hear that you, Marilyn and Sally are out taking advantage of the remaining snow. Any pictures?
Ed
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby phydeux » Fri Apr 01, 2022 6:49 pm

Sorry to hear about Tina. I think I met her on that group trip on the San Bernardino Peak trail quite a few years ago, then would run into her once in a while on some of the other local L.A. area trails doing 'epic' conditioning hikes. Did she ever get down to Aconcagua?

The one thing I can remember about climbing on JT was all the routes I ever did had ways you could 'walk-off' after finishing a climb. I wonder if this one did, or if she just wanted to do the rappel off of it for practice.

I never really got heavily into rock climbing, but had enough experience to know how to set up a descent anchor to rap off some of the more technical sections on Sierra Nevada peaks. We'd use webbing (knotted), sometimes adding a piece of protection or two. We'd ALWAYS use our own webbing/pro, and it was customary to take any older pieces you found so that the place was as clean as possible and no one would be tempted to use older stuff that could be compromised by the environment.
3 of the 5 voices in my head are telling me to "Go for it!"
User avatar
phydeux
 
Posts: 347
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 5:32 pm
Location: Orange County, CA.

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Ed » Sat Apr 02, 2022 6:52 am

Second what Phydeux said. In rock climbing areas there is normally a non-technical backside route. Rappels are done for fun, practice or photos, not because they are necessary. I was stunned to find that rappelling off old nylon slings is so common today that there is a name for them, 'tat'. People today talk about 'best practices'. A best practice would be what Phydeux describes, what I remember, and what is perhaps still standard in mountaineering situations. Cut any slings you find in place with a knife and stuff them in your pocket or pack for future disposal in a trash can. Place a knotted sling of your own, cost two or three dollars. Leave it there, because you can't retrieve it, and feel a little guilt about littering.

A nylon sling should be able to take the shock of a long leader fall. People should not die because it can't even support their weight in a rappel. I knew two people who died rappelling. But not like this.
Ed
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Perry » Sat Apr 02, 2022 10:58 pm

Why aren't slings made of black polyester like seat belts? But maybe the nylon sling was damaged by abrasion and not UV. With aging in a popular area, I would think that they would be removed before they are weakened to the point of being unable to take a static load.

I'm still in almost disbelief that Tina is gone like this. It wouldn't have surprised me if it was from other more risky activities, but equipment failure on something that is well below Tina's skill level is shocking. It hurts to think of the scene, and it's possible that life stress played a role. I would imagine that people using old slings would usually inspect them and do a few quick tugs if it's possible to assess them that way. Maybe she created a slight dynamic load on the way down, celebrating or enjoying the rappel a little more. I really don't know.
Counting the days until October...
User avatar
Perry
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1515
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: Palm Springs, CA

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Ed » Sun Apr 03, 2022 7:03 am

I assume the sling looked ok on the surface, so that abrasion was not the problem. I believe the sewn slings widely used today are polyester or some other non-nylon material, and do not deteriorate so rapidly from sunlight. I think you can find plenty of stuff on the web about the materials for slings, when they should be replaced, etc. But I think the articles we are drawing on said it was a nylon sling, and a knotted nylon sling is more likely to be left in place than a more expensive sewn one. Not that I would trust a more expensive sewn one either. If you make an unbelayed rappel from an old sling, the chances are 99.99% that it will be ok. But if it breaks the chances are 99.99% that you will die, or wish you had.

I have a keen interest in climbing and other wilderness accidents, as I am sure some of you have noticed. In mountaineering situations, people are focused on making the summit, make decisions that lead to situations beyond their control, and sometimes with fatal consequences. Same with other wilderness activities, such as hiking Skyline. In a narrow, technical sense the decisions made were 'mistakes'. I am very reluctant to use that term when the people involved were well-prepared, experienced and with a strong track record. Tina was in this category by a very, very wide margin. I have made unbelayed rappels myself from dodgy anchors in situations where there was no choice. But this was an unforced error which can only be explained by an environment of bad practice. Such a tragedy for someone who everybody who knew her describes are being so full of life, and with so many good years left.
Ed
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby guest » Sun Apr 03, 2022 10:47 am

Perry, I was in a bit of shock like you hearing the news, as she is / was so full of life. Doug & Brad meet her on her 2nd Skyline, before she knew many in the desert & climbing community, and landed up doing over 50 trips to the tram, or summit with her.
As some has stated, she was never a dull person to be around, and you knew when she was on that trail, if your were anywhere close!

Another interesting aspect to the sling, is it appears a number in her group used that same piece of equipment before she did. Makes one wonder if most figured all was good with it, (maybe there's no visual way to tell, not sure, but I've seen nylon "evaporate" in the sun over years). A couple of my backpacks, which had little use over the years, (were kept in a ventilated, but not climate controlled, shaded carport type structure in the desert), and when I went to put them on, the smaller straps broke as soon as I tried tightening them.
And, as Perry mentioned, life stress can have an impact on our though process, decision making, situations we get ourselves into, etc. ss
guest
 
Posts: 747
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:27 pm

Re: RIP tinaballina

Postby Ed » Sun Apr 03, 2022 5:20 pm

Scott,

I don't think the others rappelled off the same sling. If they had, they surely would have talked about it. I know I would have. 'There but for the grace of God go I', etc. I think it would bubble out of anybody but a robot.

To check, I re-read George Himmelstein's account in Climbing. He states that he believes Tina 'cleaned' the site of their gear and rappelled off an older sling. He refers to the anchor system they used for top-roping, but says nothing about anybody rappelling but Tina. You would think that they did rappel down using the same anchor system they used for top-roping, with Tina belaying them if there was a nano-doubt about it. Seems curious this was not covered in the interview.
Ed
 
Posts: 780
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:04 pm
Location: San Diego Area

PreviousNext

Return to Mt. San Jacinto & Santa Rosa Mountains

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests