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Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark.
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sungam


Feb 18, 2009, 11:36 AM
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Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark.
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A good friend of mine rapped of the end of his rope yesterday, due to being in a rush and not taking the time to triple check things. He (luckily) was at new frontier so only fell about 30 feet, had it been elsewhere the fall would have been much, much worse. He has an expected broken ankle and wrist.
He explained that he was rushing, he set up an anchor of a BFT, clipped to the middle mark, threw the rope, started rapping and suddenly found himself falling/tumbling.

Make sure you know your rope's markings, people. I hate to hear people getting injured so carelessly.
(P.s. - ironing that he got injured on his way to go soloing?)


Partner angry


Feb 18, 2009, 11:44 AM
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Re: [sungam] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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He mistook the end mark for the middle?

God what a hazard those marks have turned out to be.


kennoyce


Feb 18, 2009, 11:45 AM
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Re: [sungam] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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Yet another example of why rope manufacturers need to get rid of any mark that is not a middle mark.

I hope your friend heals quickly.


notapplicable


Feb 18, 2009, 12:02 PM
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Re: [sungam] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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I don't care whether it's ultimately human error or if a minority of climbers find those markings to be in some way marginally useful. End marks are fucking up more climbers than any other gear feature.

Can anyone else think of another piece of gear or gear feature that is combining with operator error and causing accidents as frequently as those end marks? I can't.

Standardization damn it!!!!


Partner angry


Feb 18, 2009, 12:08 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
I don't care whether it's ultimately human error or if a minority of climbers find those markings to be in some way marginally useful. End marks are fucking up more climbers than any other gear feature.

Can anyone else think of another piece of gear or gear feature that is combining with operator error and causing accidents as frequently as those end marks? I can't.

Standardization damn it!!!!

It's truly sickening to think that at least one person has died because of these things.

We're not talking about contributing factors. Someone lost his life to a little black mark. Now another is badly injured.

It wouldn't be too far to go to issue an industry wide recall on all ropes with end marks. They're not safe at any speed.


Partner j_ung


Feb 18, 2009, 12:08 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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I prefer no middle marks. That way I'm forced to find the middle.

I have to admit, when this last came up, I remember not being so against these marks. User error, responsibility and all that. But I'm starting to come around.


GeneralZon


Feb 18, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Re: [sungam] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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Damn, same thing happened to my climbing partner. Hope he has a quick recovery.

As you said, some things just can't be rushed.


Skidemon27


Feb 18, 2009, 12:49 PM
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Re: [angry] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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i hope your friend is truly going to heal up good and get back into climbing, however we cant go blaming the rope markings. if he took his time and knew his gear and most of all his life line,,,( the rope) then this would have not been an issue at all. thats what happpens when people put markings on rope and try to make more short cuts for the lazier people.........rope marking are there for a reason......even though i think just the middle should be marked for convience


Partner angry


Feb 18, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Re: [Skidemon27] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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Skidemon27 wrote:
i hope your friend is truly going to heal up good and get back into climbing, however we cant go blaming the rope markings. if he took his time and knew his gear and most of all his life line,,,( the rope) then this would have not been an issue at all. thats what happpens when people put markings on rope and try to make more short cuts for the lazier people.........rope marking are there for a reason......even though i think just the middle should be marked for convience

I disagree. The end marks are a hazard. Without them, this guy wouldn't have a broken wrist and ankle. Without them, some kids in South Dakota would still have their grandpa.

If ever I've seen a hazard, potentially even an actionable hazard in climbing gear, this is it.

A blanket industry wide recall won't bring someone back but it's the right step to move forward.


majid_sabet


Feb 18, 2009, 1:01 PM
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Re: [angry] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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I agree with Angry on this. There were several fatalities last year involving very experienced climbers who accidentally used the end mark as the middle and fell from the end of the line. These markings should be all removed.


notapplicable


Feb 18, 2009, 1:04 PM
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Re: [angry] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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angry wrote:
It wouldn't be too far to go to issue an industry wide recall on all ropes with end marks. They're not safe at any speed.

On this I'm a bit ambivalent simply because they aren't, in any real sense, a defective product. I just can't believe the manufacturers haven't halted production of their own free will. I'm not a big advocate of regulatory intervention but in this case I think it's needed since the industry won't do it on their own.

Whats strange is that as much of a no brainer as this seems to be, the population of the Knob is split right down the middle on the issue of stopping production despite more than 2/5 of them saying that the marks are dangerous.


Poll: Should rope manufacturers stop selling ropes with end markings?

Yes 41 / 35%
Not sure, but leaning toward "yes" 10 / 8%
Completely undecided 14 / 12%
Not sure, but leaning toward "no" 10 / 8%
No 43 / 36%




Poll: Marking on ropes, is it safe or unsafe

Safe 11 / 61%
Unsafe 7 / 39%


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Feb 18, 2009, 1:32 PM)


d0nk3yk0n9


Feb 18, 2009, 1:10 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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Shouldn't you tie a figure eight or other stopper knot into each end of your rope before you rappel anyway so that you don't rappel off of the end of your rope if it doesn't touch the ground? Also, shouldn't you check to make sure you're in the middle of your rope anyway? Even if I have a middle mark, I'm going to do a visual check to make sure that I have about the same amount of rope on either side of the mark just to be sure.

I don't think the end marks are to blame. I think that they're definitely part of the problem, and that removing them is a step in the right direction. However, I actually think that the middle marks are contributing to the problem as well. I think that it's a significant possibility that the existence of middle marks is causing climbers to become lazy and not double check to make sure that the middle mark of a rope is actually in the middle of the rope. I mean, just because there's a middle mark doesn't mean that it's actually at the middle of the rope-- what if I buy a rope with a middle mark and for some reason (say, damage to part of the rope due to abrasion or something) have to cut part of one end off, making the middle mark no longer centered. If you assumed that it was in the middle, you could have a serious problem not caused by end marks, but by the middle marks giving climbers a false sense of security.


Gmburns2000


Feb 18, 2009, 1:33 PM
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Re: [d0nk3yk0n9] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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d0nk3yk0n9 wrote:
Shouldn't you tie a figure eight or other stopper knot into each end of your rope before you rappel anyway so that you don't rappel off of the end of your rope if it doesn't touch the ground? Also, shouldn't you check to make sure you're in the middle of your rope anyway? Even if I have a middle mark, I'm going to do a visual check to make sure that I have about the same amount of rope on either side of the mark just to be sure.

I don't think the end marks are to blame. I think that they're definitely part of the problem, and that removing them is a step in the right direction. However, I actually think that the middle marks are contributing to the problem as well. I think that it's a significant possibility that the existence of middle marks is causing climbers to become lazy and not double check to make sure that the middle mark of a rope is actually in the middle of the rope. I mean, just because there's a middle mark doesn't mean that it's actually at the middle of the rope-- what if I buy a rope with a middle mark and for some reason (say, damage to part of the rope due to abrasion or something) have to cut part of one end off, making the middle mark no longer centered. If you assumed that it was in the middle, you could have a serious problem not caused by end marks, but by the middle marks giving climbers a false sense of security.

Knots aren't always ideal. In windy places with a lot of chickenheads - Red Rocks, for instance - tying knots is more of a burden than anything because the rope can get snagged several yards away from where you're rapping, and it isn't always easy to simply pull the rope off the obstacle. I'm not sure about whether this is the case on ice, too.

But I tend to agree with flaking out the rope. I made the mistake of not knowing the length of one of two ropes I was rapping on (and wasn't looking down when rapping). The short rope...


coolcat83


Feb 18, 2009, 1:46 PM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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I don't like end marks, I whip some nylon thread around the middle of my rope that way i can see and feel it, and even with that i always find the middle if possible and safe, knots if safe(almost always). I once made the mistake of rushing and thought the rope was fine, ended up 25 feet up, had end knots, but it wasn't fun having to even out the ends, and had my rope been through some slings rapping instead of biners it would have really been a problem (ascend and pray).


acorneau


Feb 18, 2009, 1:50 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
Can anyone else think of another piece of gear or gear feature that is combining with operator error and causing accidents as frequently as those end marks? I can't.

Grigri's.
Unimpressed


Partner angry


Feb 18, 2009, 1:56 PM
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Re: [acorneau] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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acorneau wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Can anyone else think of another piece of gear or gear feature that is combining with operator error and causing accidents as frequently as those end marks? I can't.

Grigri's.
Unimpressed

With the grigri you have to do two things wrong. Load it wrong and let go of the belay hand.

With the rope, you only have to do one thing wrong, and in the dark or over a ledge, it's pretty tough to even double check.

I agree with knots but when you've got a 60m rope and you are rapping like 70ft, you're probably not going to tie knots. Same goes with the fatality in the Needles.


Alpine07


Feb 18, 2009, 2:32 PM
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Re: [d0nk3yk0n9] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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d0nk3yk0n9 wrote:
Shouldn't you tie a figure eight or other stopper knot into each end of your rope before you rappel anyway so that you don't rappel off of the end of your rope if it doesn't touch the ground? Also, shouldn't you check to make sure you're in the middle of your rope anyway? Even if I have a middle mark, I'm going to do a visual check to make sure that I have about the same amount of rope on either side of the mark just to be sure.

I don't think the end marks are to blame. I think that they're definitely part of the problem, and that removing them is a step in the right direction. However, I actually think that the middle marks are contributing to the problem as well. I think that it's a significant possibility that the existence of middle marks is causing climbers to become lazy and not double check to make sure that the middle mark of a rope is actually in the middle of the rope. I mean, just because there's a middle mark doesn't mean that it's actually at the middle of the rope-- what if I buy a rope with a middle mark and for some reason (say, damage to part of the rope due to abrasion or something) have to cut part of one end off, making the middle mark no longer centered. If you assumed that it was in the middle, you could have a serious problem not caused by end marks, but by the middle marks giving climbers a false sense of security.

He only fell 30ft, and mistook the 15ft mark for the middle. which I take to mean it was only a 45ft rap.
I rarely tie stopper knots on a rappel that short. And as for checking if it is actually the middle, its not so easy to do on some rappels. I can easily see how this accident came about. End marks are just a bad idea all together.


moose_droppings


Feb 18, 2009, 2:40 PM
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Re: [sungam] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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Glad to hear your friend wasn't hurt worse than he was and I hope he heals quickly.

Even without any marks on a rope, it seems that rappeling accounts for more injuries than most other parts of our hobby. Double check yourselves and your partner.

I'm a little ambivalent about middle marks. I like them if there the only mark on the rope, like some of my ropes are, and yes I've checked each one out. None of my ropes have end markings. I'd agree to some extent that markings provide dangerous shortcuts. I've always kind of thought that if someone took the time for a mental note to find the middle of the rope, then one would make a mental note to look down the rope ahead of them while their rapping to make a visual verification on were the ends of their ropes are. Guess this becoming less and less of the case.

Every one be mindful out there, lets make this a better year than last year was.


notapplicable


Feb 18, 2009, 3:09 PM
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Re: [acorneau] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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acorneau wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Can anyone else think of another piece of gear or gear feature that is combining with operator error and causing accidents as frequently as those end marks? I can't.

Grigri's.
Unimpressed

Hmmm good point. Just about every climbing accident is the result of human error so thats probably not the most helpful filter to use. Perhaps a better way to look at it is from the perspective of utility vs. likelihood of being the primary contributing factor in an accident.

Edit: disregaurd this paragraph, I'm retarded - To everyone who thinks end marks should be kept in use, please riddle me this. The justification for end marks is that they warn you that you are nearing the end of your rope. Well in every case where a person rapped off the end of their rope, they cruised right on past the "warning" mark and decked. So not only did the end mark lead them to rap on an uneven rope but it failed to fulfill its only conceivable purpose by preventing them from rapping of the end of that uneven rope.

Their intended to prevent accidents but their causing them instead. Thats pretty damning if you ask me.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Feb 18, 2009, 5:08 PM)


snowey


Feb 18, 2009, 3:22 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
The justification for end marks is that they warn you that you are nearing the end of your rope. Well in every case where a person rapped off the end of their rope, they cruised right on past the "warning" mark and decked. So not only did the end mark lead them to rap on an uneven rope but it failed to fulfill its only conceivable purpose by preventing them from rapping of the end of that uneven rope.

Their intended to prevent accidents but their causing them instead. Thats pretty damning if you ask me.

I agree that the "warning" marks have become more of a danger than an aid and I would support an effort to reduce their use by rope manufacturers.

However your above statement it does not make sense because you fail to consider how many people may have been "saved" by the warning marks. You probably would never hear about the people who actually benefitted from these marks in the news or on rc.com.


(This post was edited by snowey on Feb 18, 2009, 3:24 PM)


altelis


Feb 18, 2009, 3:26 PM
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Re: [snowey] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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Snowey, I can't be bothered to search just now, but if memory serves Sterling Jim was curious about just that issue not too long ago and put up a poll.

Granted, not everybody uses the knob and even fewer respond to surveys, but the results didn't look too favorably upon the end marks. He (if I'm remembering correctly) asked how man people found themselves in a situation where the end-mark directly resulted/aided in preventing an accident from occurring.

You can go look it up, but there were few if any cases....


snowey


Feb 18, 2009, 3:31 PM
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Re: [altelis] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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altelis wrote:
Snowey, I can't be bothered to search just now, but if memory serves Sterling Jim was curious about just that issue not too long ago and put up a poll.

Granted, not everybody uses the knob and even fewer respond to surveys, but the results didn't look too favorably upon the end marks. He (if I'm remembering correctly) asked how man people found themselves in a situation where the end-mark directly resulted/aided in preventing an accident from occurring.

You can go look it up, but there were few if any cases....

I agree with you and am not surprised by Sterling Jim's poll results, I was mostly just being critical of notapplicable's logic.


(This post was edited by snowey on Feb 18, 2009, 3:32 PM)


hafilax


Feb 18, 2009, 3:35 PM
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Re: [altelis] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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It still boggles my mind that people can mistake an end mark for a middle mark but the accident reports have spoken and the markings have got to go.


altelis


Feb 18, 2009, 3:48 PM
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hafilax wrote:
It still boggles my mind that people can mistake an end mark for a middle mark but the accident reports have spoken and the markings have got to go.


That pretty much exactly summarizes how I feel about the situation. 100%.


boymeetsrock


Feb 18, 2009, 4:33 PM
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Re: [notapplicable] Rappeling accident - Ouray ice park. Mistook 15' mark for middle mark. [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
acorneau wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
Can anyone else think of another piece of gear or gear feature that is combining with operator error and causing accidents as frequently as those end marks? I can't.

Grigri's.
Unimpressed

Hmmm good point. Just about every climbing accident is the result of human error so thats probably not the most helpful filter to use. Perhaps a better way to look at it is from the perspective of utility vs. likelihood of being the primary contributing factor in an accident.

To everyone who thinks end marks should be kept in use, please riddle me this. The justification for end marks is that they warn you that you are nearing the end of your rope. Well in every case where a person rapped off the end of their rope, they cruised right on past the "warning" mark and decked. So not only did the end mark lead them to rap on an uneven rope but it failed to fulfill its only conceivable purpose by preventing them from rapping of the end of that uneven rope.

Their intended to prevent accidents but their causing them instead. Thats pretty damning if you ask me.

The problem is that they didn't "cruse right past the warning mark" because that mark was at the anchor. Your going to go off the short end of the rope long before you pass any other marking, if you've put the end mark at the anchor.

I have to admit that I was a fan of the end marks initially (although I never owned a rope with them) but as these reports continue I'm fading through ambivalence into not liking them.

Also, I don't buy the argument that it is tough to find the middle of a rope at the belay. I can't really think of more than one situation where you could not flake the rope before rapping.

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