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


Dec 28, 2012, 3:00 AM

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Registered: Aug 22, 2004
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Re: [Syd] Rappel accident, 60' fall
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Rgold wrote:
The one thing I disagree with is your statement that the accident has nothing to do with the failure of an autoblock. It is beyond contention that the autoblock failed, probably because it was set up too close to the rap device. If the autoblock had held, there would have been no incident at all. Of course he should never have let go of the brake strand like that to begin with, but once he made that potentially fatal error, the autoblock indeed failed to function.

I wasn't commenting on the autoblock failing or not, but was simply stating my opinion the presence or absence of an autoblock was irrelevant in this incident and, as marc801 is also saying, the direct cause of the accident was a lack of competence, skill, and judgment for the rappel at hand.

Personally, when I've used an autoblock I have never 'relied' on it to compensate for any aspect of my ability to manage a rappel. Any assumption an autoblock or any backup device can compensate for lack of skill, competence, or judgment is beyond erroneous, it's a disaster waiting to happen at any moment (and don't even get me started on the risks of rapping waterfalls for a good time).

As for use of a fireman's belay, it's a belay no different from any other belay and if you as a belayer can't competently manage and execute such belay then you shouldn't be doing it and probably shouldn't be belaying TRs or leads either. It's not as common a belay today as it was BITD, when it's use was fairly routine, but its effect is immediate and excellent for the purpose.

As to the effectiveness of autoblocks on skinny, wet, single ropes (let alone figure-8s) you damn well better tune it all out ahead of time and know what the hell you're dealing with. If I somehow became delusional enough to partake of this activity I'd only do it on a 10mm rope and an Anthron double-stop Descender.

(This post was edited by healyje on Dec 28, 2012, 10:56 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by healyje () on Dec 28, 2012, 10:56 AM
Post edited by healyje () on Dec 28, 2012, 10:56 AM

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