Forums: Climbing Information: Accident and Incident Analysis: Re: [bearbreeder] Rappel accident, 60' fall: Edit Log


Dec 23, 2012, 9:57 AM

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Registered: Oct 13, 2005
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Re: [bearbreeder] Rappel accident, 60' fall
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There was also a wet-rap-with-autoblock accident in Zion, unfortunately fatal:
Man dies rapping in Zion

In the Zion case, if understood correctly which may not be the case, it appears the too-close autoblock jammed in the rap device preventing further lowering. Pushing the autoblock down the rope has been my limited experience and I think this is normally the conservative assumption to make about the failure mode.

A fireman's / caver's belay has its issues too. The person giving the backup belay needs to be 100% attentive the whole rap and understand they need to pull down to apply braking.

I emphasize that because our very-frequent imprinting (and so the common instinct) is that resisting rope movement is enough: instinct that becomes ingrained by catching a fall, by lowering someone from a climb, or by braking your own rap. But simply resisting rope movement is no good when actually needing to save someone with a fireman's / caver's belay.

Better to not rely on instinct when giving a fireman's / caver's belay. I'll go a step further and say it is best to periodically practice holding a fall with a fireman's / caver's belay in hopes of negating that other instinct.

Bill L

Edit: P.S. It took about 3 seconds (maybe 2) from the time the person rapping first slips to the sound of the splash when he decks. Three seconds seems a long time. But I still doubt that's enough time for a person belaying below and relying on the common instinct to
a) realize it's time to engage the fireman's / caver's belay (first second);
b) realize that gripping the rope isn't helping (second second), and
c) realize that just gripping the rope harder also is not doing the job (third second).

(This post was edited by billl7 on Dec 23, 2012, 10:31 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by billl7 () on Dec 23, 2012, 10:03 AM
Post edited by billl7 () on Dec 23, 2012, 10:04 AM
Post edited by billl7 () on Dec 23, 2012, 10:24 AM
Post edited by billl7 () on Dec 23, 2012, 10:31 AM

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