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Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling
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blueeyedclimber


Aug 5, 2013, 7:51 PM
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Re: [billl7] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
wonderwoman wrote:
Personally, I set up my autobloc on my brake hand side. If I were to lose control, my cord would eventually jam up my rap device, preventing me from going further.

Maybe test if jamming actually happens?

I have heard of one accident where jamming occurred under soaking wet conditions. But other evidence indicates some rap devices will simply push the autoblock down like it wasn't even there.

Edit: I was assuming Syd meant an autoblock below the rap device and properly set so it can not extend into the rap device.

Yes, the idea of the autobloc is the grip the brake hand should your hand come off. It should not extend into the belay device. Theoretically, it might jam, but that's not its purpose. I have tested the autobloc at low speeds, but never at high speeds (I'm not stupid). I don't see how it would melt and fail, however, under any circumstance, since it is never taking your weight. A friction knot above the device, I can see how that might occur, but never below the device.

Josh


billl7


Aug 5, 2013, 8:33 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
I don't see how it would melt and fail, however, under any circumstance, since it is never taking your weight. A friction knot above the device, I can see how that might occur, but never below the device. Josh

Are we confident enough (as Syd seems to be) to promote that it can be reliably configured to not melt but still be helpful while slipping? On a long rap, there's a lot of energy to be dissipated to do that.

Bill L

Edit: I meant the above in the context of brake-hand forces.


(This post was edited by billl7 on Aug 5, 2013, 9:00 PM)


Syd


Aug 6, 2013, 4:48 PM
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Re: [billl7] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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I found this: http://www.canyoneering.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-4867.html?s=fca3499485e46f896957d62f57f64602

The fellow recommends this: http://www.bluewaterropes.com/home/productsinfo.asp?Channel=Occupation&Group=&GroupKey=&Category=Sewn%20Prusiks/Purcells%20and%20Rope%20Lanyards&CategoryKey=&ProdKey=367

I now use a mega jul for raps.


billl7


Aug 6, 2013, 8:24 PM
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Re: [Syd] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Syd wrote:
I found this: http://www.canyoneering.net/...6f896957d62f57f64602

The fellow recommends this: http://www.bluewaterropes.com/...Key=&ProdKey=367

I now use a mega jul for raps.

Aha! I haven't read it all but sounds like a case where it melted through and slowed down the rap.

But I still think its a bad idea to error on the side of it not working properly a la: "Well, it seems a little loose in this config but at least it might slow me down." Better to error on the other side else total failure is not far away.

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on Aug 6, 2013, 9:01 PM)


distantThunder


Aug 7, 2013, 5:41 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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First, very sorry to hear about a tragic accident. Prayers for the family and friends involved.

It's interesting to hear more people talking about autoblocs. They were not used in the old days. Back in prehistoric times, when folks just used Figure-8's (or Munter hitches ... doncha love 'em!), and then later ATC's, we basically relied on competent rapelling. Use a rig that has enough friction for your purposes, stay balanced, stay in control - mentally and physically. And in a group - just send the most competent (or the most expendable!) person first and ask them to belay from the ground by tugging the rope - when the next person is on.

I think when you add more and more gear - the system may not be getting safer. It can get too complex.

dT


(This post was edited by distantThunder on Aug 7, 2013, 5:42 PM)


socalclimber


Aug 7, 2013, 8:56 PM
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Re: [billl7] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Sterling makes a really cool autobloc:

http://www.sterlingrope.com/...018/CAB/_/Auto_Block

A friend of mine who is a rep for Sterling turned me onto one. They are really quite nice. I use them for classes all the time. Perfect size, and cheap!


socalclimber


Aug 7, 2013, 9:08 PM
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Re: [distantThunder] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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My all time favorite device is still the stich plate with out the spring. If you know how to use one, they work like a champ.

I agree, the newer climbers these days are heavily gear reliant. Keep the systems simple and PAY ATTENTION, and KNOW WHERE YOUR ROPE ENDS ARE.


majid_sabet


Aug 7, 2013, 10:32 PM
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Re: [distantThunder] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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distantThunder wrote:
First, very sorry to hear about a tragic accident. Prayers for the family and friends involved.

It's interesting to hear more people talking about autoblocs. They were not used in the old days. Back in prehistoric times, when folks just used Figure-8's (or Munter hitches ... doncha love 'em!), and then later ATC's, we basically relied on competent rapelling. Use a rig that has enough friction for your purposes, stay balanced, stay in control - mentally and physically. And in a group - just send the most competent (or the most expendable!) person first and ask them to belay from the ground by tugging the rope - when the next person is on.

I think when you add more and more gear - the system may not be getting safer. It can get too complex.

dT

autoblock and anything with auto mentality is asking for trouble so relaying on auto device to stop you from killing yourself is not the solution . in fact auto devices can contribute or disaster.

pilots,even with best of auto devices still work with two people double and triple checking everything before take offs or landing with checklist on their hand one reading and another following and check marking the list over and over again till every one is walking out of gate.

climbing is no different than flying with thin line between life and death.

you want to stay alive in this sport then double check your list before rapping down the line

any other way, could end up in a black bag ( or blue ).


blueeyedclimber


Aug 8, 2013, 5:26 AM
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Re: [billl7] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
blueeyedclimber wrote:
I don't see how it would melt and fail, however, under any circumstance, since it is never taking your weight. A friction knot above the device, I can see how that might occur, but never below the device. Josh

Are we confident enough (as Syd seems to be) to promote that it can be reliably configured to not melt but still be helpful while slipping? On a long rap, there's a lot of energy to be dissipated to do that.

Bill L

Edit: I meant the above in the context of brake-hand forces.


Confident enough? Yes. 100% confident? Are we that confident with anything in climbing? Are you 100% confident that your gear will catch you when you fall?

Josh


billl7


Aug 8, 2013, 6:23 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
Confident enough? Yes. 100% confident? Are we that confident with anything in climbing? Are you 100% confident that your gear will catch you when you fall?

I define 100% confidence that pro will catch me as that I'm willing to bet my life on it.

In the spectrum of acceptable to marginal to unacceptable pro, the one's I'd bet my life on are the acceptable placements. And I'll quickly add that a lead fall can be hard enough or rock apparently poor enough that there is no placement in the "acceptable" sub-range even for a text-book placement. (Nothing knew to you in this I know.)

I'm not willing to bet my life on the the marginal setting of an autoblock - in that I mean the french prusik, either explicitly or through developing habits that rely on it. And I wouldn't promote doing so to others.

Because, one can always configure it to absolutely have enough friction to stop an out-of-control rap ... although of course one can go to the point of an impractical amount of friction.

Bill L

P.S. Full disclosure - I don't use a french prusik on the brake strand.


(This post was edited by billl7 on Aug 8, 2013, 6:25 AM)


distantThunder


Aug 8, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Re: [billl7] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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you know - it would be nice if this thread was re-titled. Or someone took a number of the posts here, and copied them over to a new thread with a name like "Staying Safe On Rappel".

I'll pass on a couple of foul-ups that happened to me when I was a junior climber, In retrospect, I am lucky these incidents didn't kill me.

The trouble with being a junior climber is that you know just enough to get yourself in trouble - but not enough about how to get out of it. Hahahaha! Beats me how I survived some of this stuff.

Tightened Prusik
In the old days we did not have anything fancy like professional autobloc's. But we did have the good old fashioned prusik knot that could be slid down the rope ABOVE our rappel device. The idea sounded plausible to me when I was a young guy. But the trouble with sliding a prusik on the rope (as an emergency to catch you if you fall) is this ... what do you do when the prusik actually tightens up? Of couse, that's what happened, I was rapelling, somehow I put too much force with my top hand on the prusik knot, and the stupid thing just tightened up. GREAT - not! A perfectly safe rappel just became very complicated. What do I do now, I thought? I'm hanging from a rope by a prusik knot tied by some cord to my belay loop. My rappel device is connected, but it's loose - the prusik is holding my weight. For a young climber this situation is challenging mentally. Really, you are still learning to be confident with normal rappels. You are not ready for the process of tying off a rappel device, unweighting a prusik, and stayin mentally cool while you sort out the mess. I don't remember what I did at the time, but apparently it must have worked because I am still around. I do remember that I never used a prusik again as a backup. The point is that complicated backup gear can suddenly transform a simple maneuver into something that is quite unexpected. Do new climbers have the skills to unravel a "mess" while hanging rom the side of a cliff. It's dangerous.

T-Shirt Mania
Here's an even greater piece of idiocy. But so simple to do. Again while I as a young climber on rappel. I used to wear loose T-shirts. Why ... becaue it was really hot on the rocks in California. So my T-shirt is hanging out, I am rappelling down ,and you guessed it - the end of my T-shirt feeds up into the Figure-8 device. It gets totally tangled up in the rope and the Figure-8. And again I am hanging from the side of a cliff. Now the positive side of this - is that a loose T-shirt makes a great autobloc. HAHAHA!! You are not going anywhere. But the negative side is that unless you have jumars and etriers, a cool mind, and a LOT of patience - you are freakin not going to untangle the T-shirt from the rappel gear. It's a very dangerous situation. If I recall, I actually asked a friend to thow me up a small folding knife and somehow managed to cut off the end of the T-shirt and unravel the mess, and get myself sorted out. But this solution is a journey into the Land Of Lunacy. Hahaha! Because now you've got a junior climber hanging from a cliff, in a state of confusion, with a knife in one hand and ropes under tension. It could have ended badly.

It is a miracle that we survive a lot of this cr**. I suppose it's some sort of Darwinian test to find out whether you can think clearly under stress. But it's not a good way to operate. And yes - I did learn to keep my T-shirt tucked in. Hahahaha!!

In the end the old-fashioned guys just learned to work with simple gear and tried-and-true techniques. More often than not - that is the real lifesaver.

dT


(This post was edited by distantThunder on Aug 8, 2013, 11:43 AM)


bearbreeder


Aug 8, 2013, 12:27 PM
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Re: [distantThunder] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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the biggest problem i have with autoloblocks or prussiks is that many newbies i find who depend on them all the time dont know how to rappel very well at all

because its the only way they ever learned, theyll often jerk all over the place going down in little spurts ... they never learn to let gravity do its work on raps, just sit back ... this makes rappels particularly time consuming and on more marginal rap anchors, dangerous

the other issue is the over dependance of the backup ... i see many who rap with poor technique and control because they believe the backup will always save them ... once of these days you wont have a prussik and youll have to do raps ...

there was a video posted not too long ago where some canyoneer leaned back onto his backup and fell to the ground ... he mistied it, and didnt have the experience to keep a hand on the brake

Wink


marc801


Aug 8, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Re: [Syd] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Syd wrote:
I found this: http://www.canyoneering.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-4867.html?s=fca3499485e46f896957d62f57f64602

The fellow recommends this: http://www.bluewaterropes.com/home/productsinfo.asp?Channel=Occupation&Group=&GroupKey=&Category=Sewn%20Prusiks/Purcells%20and%20Rope%20Lanyards&CategoryKey=&ProdKey=367

I now use a mega jul for raps.
Maybe you should just learn how to rappel properly.


Danxz


Aug 8, 2013, 2:08 PM
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Re: [marc801] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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marc801 wrote:
Syd wrote:
I found this: http://www.canyoneering.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-4867.html?s=fca3499485e46f896957d62f57f64602

The fellow recommends this: http://www.bluewaterropes.com/home/productsinfo.asp?Channel=Occupation&Group=&GroupKey=&Category=Sewn%20Prusiks/Purcells%20and%20Rope%20Lanyards&CategoryKey=&ProdKey=367

I now use a mega jul for raps.
Maybe you should just learn how to rappel properly.

What's your point ? Some form of auto block should be used for raps, which is quite correct.


distantThunder


Aug 8, 2013, 3:28 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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"and didnt have the experience to keep a hand on the brake "

yup. right there. the old-timers NEVER took their hand off the brake. Never. That was grilled into you. :-)

"the biggest problem i have with autoloblocks or prussiks is that many newbies i find who depend on them all the time dont know how to rappel very well at all "

also very good feedback. people would learn faster IMO if they rapped with simple gear, did a lot of practice on very straightforward terrain, and if necessary a third party kept them on a separate belay rope. Better to learn the right techniques with minimum gear. Then with experience they can judge whether to add extra hardware - personal preference.

dT


(This post was edited by distantThunder on Aug 8, 2013, 3:34 PM)


marc801


Aug 8, 2013, 11:31 PM
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Re: [Danxz] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Danxz wrote:
What's your point ? Some form of auto block should be used for raps, which is quite correct.
Well, no, that isn't correct. That's just your preference.


blueeyedclimber


Aug 9, 2013, 5:19 AM
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Re: [billl7] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
I define 100% confidence that pro will catch me as that I'm willing to bet my life on it.

In the spectrum of acceptable to marginal to unacceptable pro, the one's I'd bet my life on are the acceptable placements. And I'll quickly add that a lead fall can be hard enough or rock apparently poor enough that there is no placement in the "acceptable" sub-range even for a text-book placement. (Nothing knew to you in this I know.)

I'm not willing to bet my life on the the marginal setting of an autoblock - in that I mean the french prusik, either explicitly or through developing habits that rely on it. And I wouldn't promote doing so to others.

Because, one can always configure it to absolutely have enough friction to stop an out-of-control rap ... although of course one can go to the point of an impractical amount of friction.

Bill L

P.S. Full disclosure - I don't use a french prusik on the brake strand.

I'm not entirely sure it's apppropriate to have this discussion in this forum, so I will stop. If you want to open a new thread on the merits of a rappel backup, I will gladly contribute, but I will say one last thing. No one should "depend on" or "bet their life" with a backup. That's why they call it a back up.

Josh


billl7


Aug 9, 2013, 5:54 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
No one should "depend on" or "bet their life" with a backup. That's why they call it a back up.
I would agree they should not be routinely exercised. But when needed, they should be designed / configured to work as intended. If one intends for an autoblock to slip and possibly melt, then I guess that is ok too.

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on Aug 9, 2013, 5:57 AM)


majid_sabet


Aug 9, 2013, 8:46 AM
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Re: [distantThunder] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/...id%20rapple;#1381870


$ Am I tied in to any thing on top while setting up my system

$ How is my anchor, is it bomb proof and safe

# Did I wear my harness correctly

# What type of belay device am I going to use today

#$ Do I have the proper training with this device or is it my first time

#$ Does my rope size is a correct size with this belay device

#$ How do I slow my descent with this device and or stop myself

$ Do I have a back up in place to stop my sudden descent

#@ Do I need to wear gloves for this long rappel

$ How old is this rope

$ Why am I descending too fast

#$ How far am I descending

#$ Does the end of this rope reaches the ground

$ Since this is a multi-rappel, do I have the end of rope tied in case I fall

@ Where are my next belay stations

$ How good is my next belay station

$ Do I need to beef-up my next station, if so do I have the materials to do this

@ They lied, there are no second belay station, what am I going to do now

@ How long would it take to get down, it is getting dark, do I need a flash light

$ If using two rope, what are the hazards of pulling the rope, getting it stuck

@# Sh*t I forgot to tie safety knot and one end is 16 feet shorter, how do I fix it

@ Is taking longer than I thought, its getting cold and windy, where is my parka

@ I was using this prusik as back up and now it is locked, how do I unlock it

@ Ohh Fu^k I dropped my ATC, how do I rappel now

# Some dude told me about rappelling with that weird knot and biner, I forgot and I am stuck here with no belay device

$ Stop swinging with that rope dude, do not you see the sharp edge above

@ I feel so happy to be down but sh*t this is wrong canyon

#$ I am scared of rappelling can you lower me with your device



@ Based on actual accident report where climber got rescued
# Based on actual accident report where climber got injured
$ Based on actual accident report where climber got killed


(This post was edited by majid_sabet on Aug 9, 2013, 3:04 PM)


climbingtrash


Aug 9, 2013, 7:59 PM
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Re: [Syd] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Syd wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
By the way Syd, people have died because they botched their autobloc and relied on it rather than checking their systems. Nothing can save you from yourself.

Yep, I agree but an autoblock does help. At least it usually slows you down and helps prevent injuries like the branch that went up through behind a fellow's balls and out his side not so long ago.

In the case of a Canyoneer in Zion last September, his autoblock played a part in the loss of his life. After his autoblock became jammed in his rappel device while hanging in a waterfall, he chose to cut his waist belt which sent him over backwards and left him hanging by his feet, which were stuck in the leg loops. <<<( that was not stated in the Park news release but I know some of the SAR guys here)

http://www.nps.gov/...ictim-identified.htm


Danxz


Aug 9, 2013, 8:33 PM
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Re: [climbingtrash] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Sounds like inexperience was a big factor. No telling how he tied his autoblock or what he did. I would imagine it would be much harder to screw up with an autolocking belay device like the alpine smart etc.


marc801


Aug 9, 2013, 8:51 PM
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Re: [Danxz] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Danxz wrote:
Sounds like inexperience was a big factor. No telling how he tied his autoblock or what he did. I would imagine it would be much harder to screw up with an autolocking belay device like the alpine smart etc.
IN that incident there is no question that inexperience was the primary factor. But so many in this thread are advocating precisely that (in some cases without realizing what they're really saying) - substituting and autoblock for experience. Your post was one of them.


patto


Sep 1, 2013, 5:55 AM
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Re: [wonderwoman] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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wonderwoman wrote:
Personally, I set up my autobloc on my brake hand side. If I were to lose control, my cord would eventually jam up my rap device, preventing me from going further.

That is idiotic.

Your rap device might not jam, if often doesn't. In which case you have no backup. If you are going to use an autobloc, for gods sake make sure it works reliably.


Danxz


Sep 2, 2013, 10:13 PM
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Re: [marc801] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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marc801 wrote:
Danxz wrote:
Sounds like inexperience was a big factor. No telling how he tied his autoblock or what he did. I would imagine it would be much harder to screw up with an autolocking belay device like the alpine smart etc.
IN that incident there is no question that inexperience was the primary factor. But so many in this thread are advocating precisely that (in some cases without realizing what they're really saying) - substituting and autoblock for experience. Your post was one of them.

What bs. Nothing is a substitute for experience. An autoblock or autolock simply adds to safety. There's endless stories of very experienced climbers who have died making stupid errors. Anything that adds to safety is worthwhile ... unless you some idiot who wants to die.


bearbreeder


Sep 3, 2013, 12:58 AM
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Re: [Danxz] Climber fell 40-60 feet while repelling [In reply to]
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Danxz wrote:

What bs. Nothing is a substitute for experience. An autoblock or autolock simply adds to safety. There's endless stories of very experienced climbers who have died making stupid errors. Anything that adds to safety is worthwhile ... unless you some idiot who wants to die.


so i take it you only get belayed on assisted locking devices ... and climb only on double/twin ropes

Wink

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Forums : Climbing Information : Accident and Incident Analysis

 


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