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Rjukan, Norway - 2 iceclimbers fall from stand, 1 dead
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Mar 3, 2009, 7:09 AM
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Rjukan, Norway - 2 iceclimbers fall from stand, 1 dead
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Tuesday Feb 17, 2009.
2 climbers fell from the top of pitch 4 on the route "Bølgen". When a rescue chopper arrives, one is pronounced dead at the scene and the other in really bad conditions is taken to a hospital in Oslo.

Those of you who read norwegian have the full accident report here.
A brief summary: 3 climbers of somewhat "below average" experience in ice climbing start up the 4 pitch climb "2 menn og ett foster", WI4, and get stumped on the crux on the last pitch.
They are tired and it's getting late so they decide to traverse to the adjacent "Bølgen" route, where they know the rappel route since they did that route earlier.
Climber 1 traverses over, finds a tree about 6-8" diameter and put a sling around it for an anchor. It's about 2 feet of snow so he digs down to get close to the roots.
He puts another sling round the tree and ties it off with an overhand knot for a powerpoint that he uses to belay the other 2 climbers over. They are using two 9-mm ropes.
Climber 2 and 3 go above the tree and clip themselves to the anchor before untying from the ropes that are set up for rappel.

Climber 1 get ready to rappel, and when he clips out of the anchor, the other two falls from the stand. He rappels 4 pitches and calls for rescue when he finds his friends at the base of the climb.

The conclusion is that the fallen climbers clipped to the first anchor sling, and not the one tied off to a powerpoint. So that when climber 1 clipped out to rappel, the other 2 were only clipped to a sling that hung loose around the tree! The anchor sling was found at the base of the climb, close to the fallen victims but they were not clipped to it and it was not broken.

My condoleances, and heads up everyone!! Check, doublecheck and triplecheck what you and your partners are clipped to before untying or unclipping anything!

(This is supposed to be the first fatal accident in Rjukan since the ice climbing boom here started some 15 years ago.)

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