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Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries
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alexkthayer


Oct 28, 2012, 3:53 PM
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Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries
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My partner and I climbed the first four pitches of Gift of the Wind Gods yesterday. It is a great line with decent climbing on mediocre rock. We did notice a number of substandard 1/4 inch bolts on the first four pitches before we bailed due to lack of time and not being prepared to lead this climb with moderate objective hazard at an adequate speed. When we bailed from pitch four, we rappelled to a fall line 60 meter rappel station (not part of the route). Here was my first experience in over 20 years of climbing of anchor failure. The anchor consisted of two 1/4 inch bolts with a single piece of 3/4 inch webbing looped through in an American death triangle. The webbing was intact but didn't look good so I backed it up with my own, and I backed up the entire station with a cam for the first rappeler. The existing sling failed during my rappel, and my backup system held with about 1/2 inch extension. it's a good reminder that fixed anchors do fail. More accidents obviously are waiting to happen.

Alex Thayer


(This post was edited by alexkthayer on Oct 28, 2012, 5:17 PM)


marc801


Oct 28, 2012, 4:53 PM
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Re: [alexkthayer] Red Rocks rappel station failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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alexkthayer wrote:
My partner and I climbed the first four pitches of Gift of the Wind Gods yesterday. It is a great line with decent climbing on mediocre rock. We did notice a number of substandard 1/4 inch bolts on the first four pitches before we bailed due to lack of time and not being prepared to lead this climb with moderate objective hazard at an adequate speed. When we bailed from pitch four, we rappelled to a fall line 60 meter rappel station (not part of the route). Here was my first experience in over 20 years of climbing of anchor failure. The anchor consisted of two 1/4 inch bolts with a single piece of 3/4 inch webbing looped through in an American death triangle. The webbing was intact but didn't look good so I backed it up with my own, and I backed up the entire station with a cam for the first rappeler. The existing sling failed during my rappel, and my backup system held with about 1/2 inch extension. it's a good reminder that fixed anchors do fail. More accidents obviously are waiting to happen.

Alex Thayer
Well actually, it sounds like merely an old piece of tat failing, not the rap station itself, so let's cut back on the sensationalism, m'kay? From the thread title, I though you were going to say the bolts pulled. Seriously, faded 3/4" webbing in an ADT config? Surprising you even tried it without just cutting it out and replacing it with your own webbing.

Sounds like a spicy route - one that I've not heard of till now....
http://www.mountainproject.com/...-wind-gods/105818088


gblauer
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Oct 28, 2012, 4:58 PM
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Re: [alexkthayer] Red Rocks rappel station failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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glad you are ok! Chilling story.


potreroed


Oct 28, 2012, 9:32 PM
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Re: [alexkthayer] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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If there was nothing but a single sling on there it means that somebody pulled their rope directly over the sling. Just one pull over sling like that reduces it's strength drastically. I'm with marc, you should have cut that off and replaced it right away, no questions asked.


socalclimber


Oct 29, 2012, 5:23 AM
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Re: [potreroed] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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This is the reason why a number of my slings are hand tied super tape. They are cheap, and I can leave them behind to back up tat anchors.

The only thing "chilling" about this post is that a "20 year" climber seemed surprised by this. Anyone with any real time under their belt would know up front that multi pitch routes = tat.

Trashed slings are everywhere, especially on seldom climbed routes.

Glad nobody was hurt.


csproul


Oct 29, 2012, 7:19 AM
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Re: [alexkthayer] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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It is not surprising that there was tat on a route, but in my 20 years, I have never actually seen one fail either. Good on you for backing it up and keeping yourself safe.


majid_sabet


Oct 29, 2012, 9:20 AM
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Re: [csproul] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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Two climbers died two years ago in East Coast when webbing on their rap anchor broke apart.Their accident report was posted on RC.


granite_grrl


Oct 29, 2012, 9:59 AM
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Re: [csproul] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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csproul wrote:
It is not surprising that there was tat on a route, but in my 20 years, I have never actually seen one fail either. Good on you for backing it up and keeping yourself safe.

Yup, I've rapped on any number of tat anchors having them backed up like the OP (thankfully) did. While I suspect these anchors enough to keep up this practice, I'd probably shit my pants if I actually had to make use of my backup because some element of the anchor broke.


socalclimber


Oct 29, 2012, 2:23 PM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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Here's another little tidbit for you. Years ago while rapping off a route (I think it was Daff Dome), we came to a tree with a bunch of tat. I first thought, well there's enough material here (like 20 slings all old) and figured no problem. I decided to feel around the back of the tree that was covered by a bush and low and behold I found out that the critters had been munching on the slings and the whole lot was basically threads. I seriously doubt that would have held 175lbs of me.

We girth hitched several sewn runners together and left them behind.


Rudmin


Nov 8, 2012, 12:51 PM
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Re: [csproul] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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csproul wrote:
It is not surprising that there was tat on a route, but in my 20 years, I have never actually seen one fail either. Good on you for backing it up and keeping yourself safe.

I was at RRG last week. I grabbed some old slings around a tree and ripped them all off with one pull.


billcoe_


Feb 25, 2013, 3:53 PM
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Re: [Rudmin] Red Rocks rappel sling failure--no injuries [In reply to]
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Jim Donini reported a similar experience recently. The guy has more climbing experience than 99% of the planet, and had he not tied a backup, would have died when a sling broke on rappel.


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