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The Splat calculator

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:26 pm
by rlown
due to recent circumstances/reports, I'm posting this. The splat calculator. Sorry for the choice of words but they're not mine. I was surprised to even find it.

please don't climb recklessly.

Re: The Splat calculator

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:03 pm
by maverick
They should have the option to use lbs and feet too, and yes, the word "splat" is kind of witless.

Re: The Splat calculator

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 3:12 pm
by rlown
conversion math is pretty easy. 2.2 lbs/kg and meters, think 3 feet.. I was a product of the push for the metric system, so not that hard. Still, don't fall w/o the rope. That in itself is a weird experience, but a belay is always welcome.

Re: The Splat calculator

Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 6:23 am
by RoguePhotonic
You can die just by tripping and hitting your head right. Any length of fall should be taken seriously.

Re: The Splat calculator

Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:15 am
by rlown
true! even a doctor can put you on a drug at a dosage that makes you faint every time you stand up. That happened to me and after my head fell the 6' to land on the tile floor (twice), I called him and halved the pill. No more fainting. It is weird to not have control over your own body.

Re: The Splat calculator

Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:53 pm
by giantbrookie
RoguePhotonic wrote:You can die just by tripping and hitting your head right. Any length of fall should be taken seriously.
Yes, I'm sure we can all think of examples. The one that comes to mind was one of most esteemed young brewers in the craft brewing industry sometime in the 90's I recall. The young fella was walking down some stairs to a basement. The short flight of stairs was icy, and he slipped, hit his head, and died. I think the fall distance was very short but the head shot did it.

I think those of us who climb and scramble around a lot develop a healthy respect of relatively low heights . In the very beginning when hikers are introduced to any kind of slope they are not always sure (take for example class 2 talus) how far they may potentially fall, but they become educated in this by watching other falling objects (rocks, gear, etc.). Soon folks become "calibrated" to what may represent a potentially damaging fall and the mental thought process usually takes into account the fact that there are some potentially damaging landings and bumps one can take even for a relatively low height (<10' for example). I got off relatively easy after falling about 3' out of a tree a week ago after failing to do some questionable balancing while pruning (slightly strained left knee, some bruises and abrasions). Part of the reason I didn't suffer more serious injury was that I had a relatively "soft target", smacking sideways into a fence. Make those granite boulders and... My worst hard-target fall was about 12-15' (a bit higher than the top of a basketball backboard) of free fall onto boulders off of a sea cliff on the Marin Coast. I had an absolutely perfect landing (on boulders) otherwise I would have badly broken my "landing gear" at minimum. I have little doubt that a head shot from that height would have been the end. The impact was amazing. After I had allowed my legs to collapse and I rolled off the boulders onto the sand, my quads were in uncontrollable spasm for over 5 min and I could only sit in the sand and watch them quiver (needless to say I couldn't stand up). Those enormously strong quads (they were back then at age 20) a perfect landing including the roll off at the end to dampen the impact were what saved me from serious injury.

Anyhow I strongly suspect the unfortunate young woman who died in that fall was fully aware of the potential danger of what she was doing. Whereas I think there may be some non-climbers out there (who haven't been outdoors) who are misdirected by Hollywood movies (wherein folks routinely fall hundreds of feet, brush themselves off and keep going) into believing that a fall isn't fatal until it is thousands of feet, I don't think those are the folks going out there and climbing granite faces along highways.

Hollywood's hyperbolic defiance of gravity irritates me. In contrast I recall this starkly realistic scene in the first Chinese megaseries version of Three Kingdoms. This is a recreation of the famous scene where Deng Ai leads his army in this sneak attack on the Kingdom of Shu over some rugged mountains. These mountains feature some relatively low cliffs made of horribly loose rock (conglomerate in the film). In part of the scene, soldiers occasionally have a handhold or foothold fail they plunge about 40-50' to the talus below, but it is clear from the way they film it that the falls are supposed to be fatal (some soldiers don't move at all after impact, a few writhe briefly and then stop moving). Toward the end of the scene, the camera view shows all these bodies littering the bottom of the slope. That is a far more realistic treatment of high places and falling than we'll ever see from Hollywood.

One way or another, though, it is always sad when a young person is killed in an accident like that, even if it is something they love doing.

Re: The Splat calculator

Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:43 am
by longri
For that matter, you don't even need to fall to die.

There are probably dozens of free fall calculators on the web. I'm sure it would be easy to find one that uses feet and MPH... and pounds, although I'm not sure how useful it is to know the kinetic energy just prior to impact. How would you use that to determine the probability that your aorta will detach or brain turn to mush? You need to know something more, the type of surface at the very least; body position is also critical.

Instead of entering numbers it might be easier to look at a graph.
Here's one that includes air resistance for an adult human in a stable free fall position (face to earth, back arched):


Recently a free soloist fell approximately 200 feet and survived (he bounced off of the rock and then landed in a river). And then there are these guys who miraculously survived much, much longer falls.

Re: The Splat calculator

Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:45 pm
by rlown
still depends on how you fall. My hiking/skiing buddy from the 90's was mountain biking and stopped at a river's edge on top of a 25' cliff. Bike rolled on some loose rocks, and the bike pulled him off the ledge. He missed the river by 3', broke his C3, and was almost quadraplegic. He got his arm use back, but only one finger works.