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Rap accident, 25' to deck
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Partner xtrmecat


Jun 16, 2011, 2:11 PM
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Rap accident, 25' to deck
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  This is a reminder to all, to close the system when rapping. A climber, I will call A was seconding a route at our local crag, behind a leader, I will call J., who had lowered off the anchor on his draws.

A had successfully climbed the 5.9 route of approximately 60 or 65 feet, cleaning the draws left by J's lead of the route. Upon A's arrival at the chains, he anchored in an unknown at this time fashion(not pertinent to the accident anyhow), and called off belay, so J took him off belay. It is common here to rap the routes off of the anchor chains when cleaning to prevent wear and tear to the anchors, and this is what A was doing.

J had been relieved of his belay duty, and went to reorganize gear, shoes, and what not in preparation for the next climb. J heard a comment of unknown words, and a small holler and A augered into the deck within feet of J within milliseconds. The observation that follows is both first, and second hand information to me.

A had approximately 25 to 35 feet of rope running through his belay device, one side only, on a locked biner. All the rope was on the ground with A. The draws had been cleaned on ascent and were all on the gear loops as cleaned.

It is estimated the crater happened from at least 25 feet, and the injuries to A were very significant. Arrival of a pair of partners of mine occurred within seconds of the incident and impact. J was unaware of what, how high, and how bad, and was very visibly shaken. A was grossly contorted and unconscious. No cell service is available so A#2 left the scene to inform the authorities, while D stayed and assessed the situation.

Paramedics and fire personnel arrived and packaged A for transport quickly, and A was shipped out of state to a critical care hospital that evening with at minimum, a broken pelvis, collar bone, femur, and several fractures of one arm. There was suspected spinal trauma, but at last report, is only speculation at this point.

It was the consensus of all first hand people at the accident scene, that A had threaded the anchor at least part of the way, started a rap from it, and rapped off one end of his rope. J was extremely shaken as to his feeling somewhat responsible, and questioning as to whether he witnessed both ends of the rap on the ground did not happen, nor will they probably happen.

As of this time, there is no investigation, by any agency, nor is one expected.

A#2 and I climbed the same route last night, with A#2 leading, and me cleaning while seconding, and nothing out of the ordinary was observed in bolt or anchors on the route. I cleaned in the same fashion as A, (with a couple of exceptions) and arrived safely on the deck. It is my opinion that the knott I tied in the end of the rope as I threaded the anchor, and careful confirmation of it's arrival on the deck, as well as my prussik backup were responsible for the different outcomes, just 24 hours apart.

It is the opinion of both A#2 and myself that the responsibility of getting down safely is for both climber and belayer to check each others actions, and ultimately we are responsible for our safety. We also discussed that complacency of actions we partake in on a real regular basis, breeds bad habits and behaviors, such as no backup for the rap, no knott in the rope end, not confirming the location of the ends of the rope.

It was also our consensus that the accident was without a doubt preventable, and in no way a fluke or unforeseeable event. Procedures are used every day to prevent us from just such things. Be safe, and enjoy.


Burly Bob


squierbypetzl
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Jun 16, 2011, 2:30 PM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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Sorry to hear it. Hope the climber makes a full recovery.


gblauer
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Jun 16, 2011, 2:36 PM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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What a terrible accident.

I hope "A" recovers fully.


patto


Jun 16, 2011, 3:21 PM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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I'm terribly sorry for your friend. I hope his condition improves.

Also, that is an excellent accident report, I wish more could be of that standard. Thanks.

One thing though, abseil backups will not normally prevent one from rapping off the ends, knots obviously do but the best thing is to visually observe the rope below you while you rap.

Edit:
Oh, and wait for the comments from others that you should lower and not rap.
Crazy


(This post was edited by patto on Jun 16, 2011, 3:23 PM)


jt512


Jun 16, 2011, 4:20 PM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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xtrmecat wrote:
A#2 and I climbed the same route last night, with A#2 leading, and me cleaning while seconding, and nothing out of the ordinary was observed in bolt or anchors on the route. I cleaned in the same fashion as A, (with a couple of exceptions) and arrived safely on the deck. It is my opinion that the knott I tied in the end of the rope as I threaded the anchor, and careful confirmation of it's arrival on the deck, as well as my prussik backup were responsible for the different outcomes, just 24 hours apart.

So you tied a knot in just one end of the rope and you used a prussic, and you think either of those things would prevent you from rapping off the end of your rope?

Jay


Partner xtrmecat


Jun 17, 2011, 6:47 AM
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Re: [jt512] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
xtrmecat wrote:
A#2 and I climbed the same route last night, with A#2 leading, and me cleaning while seconding, and nothing out of the ordinary was observed in bolt or anchors on the route. I cleaned in the same fashion as A, (with a couple of exceptions) and arrived safely on the deck. It is my opinion that the knott I tied in the end of the rope as I threaded the anchor, and careful confirmation of it's arrival on the deck, as well as my prussik backup were responsible for the different outcomes, just 24 hours apart.

So you tied a knot in just one end of the rope and you used a prussic, and you think either of those things would prevent you from rapping off the end of your rope?

Jay


No, these things are the changes I made that A did not. I also had a closed system due to a knott in the other end previous to leaving on my lap( a habit that started very early on in my climbing, due to a fatality from someone going off the end of their rope). My prussik is above my rap device, so yes, it has the potential to do some good, in case of rockfall, a slip, loss of control for any unforseen reason, etc., etc...

That and the fact that my partner also conrirmed both ends on the deck verbally, to reafirm what I saw when I visually checked, about the time my bicolor rope was centered in the anchor.

Perhaps you would like to read the sticky, the one in the A&I forum? It specifically addresses things like this. I was only trying to help, not confuse anyone. I did not pound away on the keyboard for an extra hour just to include every detail, such as what we had for lunch. Just felt it was not needed to remind people to check themselves, ask their partner to check them, or just to use good practices such as closing the system or knotting the ends of the rope.

Burly Bob


jt512


Jun 17, 2011, 10:22 AM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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xtrmecat wrote:
jt512 wrote:
xtrmecat wrote:
A#2 and I climbed the same route last night, with A#2 leading, and me cleaning while seconding, and nothing out of the ordinary was observed in bolt or anchors on the route. I cleaned in the same fashion as A, (with a couple of exceptions) and arrived safely on the deck. It is my opinion that the knott I tied in the end of the rope as I threaded the anchor, and careful confirmation of it's arrival on the deck, as well as my prussik backup were responsible for the different outcomes, just 24 hours apart.

So you tied a knot in just one end of the rope and you used a prussic, and you think either of those things would prevent you from rapping off the end of your rope?

Jay


No, these things are the changes I made that A did not. I also had a closed system due to a knott in the other end previous to leaving on my lap( a habit that started very early on in my climbing, due to a fatality from someone going off the end of their rope). My prussik is above my rap device, so yes, it has the potential to do some good, in case of rockfall, a slip, loss of control for any unforseen reason, etc., etc...

That and the fact that my partner also conrirmed both ends on the deck verbally, to reafirm what I saw when I visually checked, about the time my bicolor rope was centered in the anchor.

Perhaps you would like to read the sticky, the one in the A&I forum? It specifically addresses things like this. I was only trying to help, not confuse anyone. I did not pound away on the keyboard for an extra hour just to include every detail, such as what we had for lunch. Just felt it was not needed to remind people to check themselves, ask their partner to check them, or just to use good practices such as closing the system or knotting the ends of the rope.

Burly Bob

Bob, don't be butthurt. No matter how many hours you didn't spend pounding on your keyboard, the resulting post implied that a prussik and a knot [one 't'] in just one end of the rope are effective means of preventing rapping off the end of the rope. Neither are. Although your intent may have been admirable, your post was misleading and certainly could have confused the very people you were trying to help.

Jay


Partner xtrmecat


Jun 17, 2011, 1:38 PM
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Re: [jt512] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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 Jay, you said: Bob, don't be butthurt. No matter how many hours you didn't spend pounding on your keyboard, the resulting post implied that a prussik and a knot [one 't']

Not butthurt at all, just trying to keep all this on a consructive path. Thanks for the help with that. Oh, and it is a double T thing from another forum, an inside joke.

Burly Bob


JAB


Jun 18, 2011, 8:07 AM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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xtrmecat wrote:
This is a reminder to all, to close the system when rapping. A climber, I will call A was seconding a route at our local crag, behind a leader, I will call J., who had lowered off the anchor on his draws.

A had successfully climbed the 5.9 route of approximately 60 or 65 feet, cleaning the draws left by J's lead of the route. Upon A's arrival at the chains, he anchored in an unknown at this time fashion(not pertinent to the accident anyhow), and called off belay, so J took him off belay. It is common here to rap the routes off of the anchor chains when cleaning to prevent wear and tear to the anchors, and this is what A was doing.

J had been relieved of his belay duty, and went to reorganize gear, shoes, and what not in preparation for the next climb. J heard a comment of unknown words, and a small holler and A augered into the deck within feet of J within milliseconds. The observation that follows is both first, and second hand information to me.

A had approximately 25 to 35 feet of rope running through his belay device, one side only, on a locked biner. All the rope was on the ground with A. The draws had been cleaned on ascent and were all on the gear loops as cleaned.

It is estimated the crater happened from at least 25 feet, and the injuries to A were very significant. Arrival of a pair of partners of mine occurred within seconds of the incident and impact. J was unaware of what, how high, and how bad, and was very visibly shaken. A was grossly contorted and unconscious. No cell service is available so A#2 left the scene to inform the authorities, while D stayed and assessed the situation.

Paramedics and fire personnel arrived and packaged A for transport quickly, and A was shipped out of state to a critical care hospital that evening with at minimum, a broken pelvis, collar bone, femur, and several fractures of one arm. There was suspected spinal trauma, but at last report, is only speculation at this point.

It was the consensus of all first hand people at the accident scene, that A had threaded the anchor at least part of the way, started a rap from it, and rapped off one end of his rope. J was extremely shaken as to his feeling somewhat responsible, and questioning as to whether he witnessed both ends of the rap on the ground did not happen, nor will they probably happen.

As of this time, there is no investigation, by any agency, nor is one expected.

A#2 and I climbed the same route last night, with A#2 leading, and me cleaning while seconding, and nothing out of the ordinary was observed in bolt or anchors on the route. I cleaned in the same fashion as A, (with a couple of exceptions) and arrived safely on the deck. It is my opinion that the knott I tied in the end of the rope as I threaded the anchor, and careful confirmation of it's arrival on the deck, as well as my prussik backup were responsible for the different outcomes, just 24 hours apart.

It is the opinion of both A#2 and myself that the responsibility of getting down safely is for both climber and belayer to check each others actions, and ultimately we are responsible for our safety. We also discussed that complacency of actions we partake in on a real regular basis, breeds bad habits and behaviors, such as no backup for the rap, no knott in the rope end, not confirming the location of the ends of the rope.

It was also our consensus that the accident was without a doubt preventable, and in no way a fluke or unforeseeable event. Procedures are used every day to prevent us from just such things. Be safe, and enjoy.


Burly Bob

I almost did the same thing once, except I looked down as soon as I got over the lip and saw that one end was only 15 feet from me (and 50 feet off the deck), so I think this is what happened:

"A" gets to the anchors and clips in. He undoes the rope from his harness, and puts it through the anchor. At this point he decides that he should do something else (maybe take off his hurting shoes or his helmet because it's too hot), so he feeds just enough rope through the anchors so it doesn't pull off by its own weight. He finishes this other business, threads the ropes through his atc and off he goes.

The accident is of the same type as those, where the climber forgets to complete his figure-8 knot. As there is no buddy check when rapping, it is essential to finish setting the rope and not stop to do anything else in between. Alternatively, he could have tied the rope to the anchor with a clove hitch to prevent it falling down.


bearbreeder


Jun 18, 2011, 9:39 AM
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Re: [JAB] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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IMO when rapping it is always good practice to get the ends and pul them together to the half way mark no matter what ...

takes like an extra min or so ...


altelis


Jun 18, 2011, 10:20 AM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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didn't you JUST post in another thread something along the lines of "as long its safe, just don't say 'my way is better'"?


bearbreeder


Jun 18, 2011, 10:30 AM
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Re: [altelis] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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i didnt say its better ... just what i do ... and i do consider it good pratice

i dont generally consider not finding the middle mark safe on raps unless you can CLEARLY see the ends on the ground

Tongue


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Jun 18, 2011, 10:31 AM)


ClimbClimb


Jun 20, 2011, 9:20 AM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Rap accident, 25' to deck [In reply to]
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Besides double-checking everything, this may be a reminder that if you have other options (i.e. you're single-pitch sport-climbing), it is better to do use them instead of rapping. Obviously, there are cases where you have no other choice but rap, but seems like this wasn't the case here.


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