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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Default Skaha Climber Fatality

Quote:
quote:A Seattle man died Saturday when he fell while rappelling at the popular Skaha Bluffs recreational rock climbing area near Penticton.

The man, whose name has not been released, is thought to be in his 30s by other climbers who were in the area at the time. He was believed to be with a group of climbers from Seattle.

According to fellow climbers interviewed Sunday, the man was rappelling down the Fortress Wall when he fell. The route he was taking involved two sections of rope and, apparently, he failed to properly make the switch from the first to second sections of rope.
Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/Pentict...s-to-his-death

We were in Skaha over the long weekend. It was oddly quiet for a holiday actually. We chatted with this group from Seattle. A few of our friends where close enough by to hear the fall and screams for assistance and tried to perform CPR. It appeared the climber failed to run both strands of rope through his rappel device before beginning the second stage of a rappel off of the Fortress and fell about 25m's.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 07:19 PM
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Wow. That's tragic.

Thanks for posting. A simple mistake indeed.
Sorry to hear this.

AT
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 09:09 PM
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I made that mistake once. I had fed the rope into my belay device and realized it was coming out to the wrong side brake hand, so I re-fed the rope to come out the right way. Just as I was about to lean back I realized one loop wasn't clipped into the biner on my harness. I had a rush of adrenaline and chastised myself for being so inattentive. As I mentally went through my set up, I realized that my prussic back up, that was in place, would have prevented a nasty fall. Always back up your rappel with a prussic!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 10:15 PM
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I wouldn't trust a Prussik tied to a leg loop to catch my full weight, but it's gotta be better than nothing!

Really sucks to hear... Especially something so avoidable. I hope I never lose my OCD behaviour when it comes to that stuff.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 11:11 PM
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Wow, dude, that's terrible. Too bad it turned out so terribly.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 11:35 PM
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that's why you fully weight and test the belay / repeal device before taking off the leash. too bad for the person and those had had too see it.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by ryanisnan

I wouldn't trust a Prussik tied to a leg loop to catch my full weight
That's why it's best not to have your prussik on your leg loop

This is a sad accident and a good reminder to be vigilant. As this was a Seattle guy, there's a more detailed report on cascadeclimbers.com by someone who helped provide first aid.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by ryanisnan

I wouldn't trust a Prussik tied to a leg loop to catch my full weight, but it's gotta be better than nothing!
While I was rapping off a big waterfall a long time ago, a car-sized chunk of ice came free and hit me, breaking my ribs and causing me to black out. Of course my hands came off the rope. My backup prussik saved me from tumbling down 1000ft to the river below, thank goodness.

A terrible accident. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by icevixen

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by ryanisnan

I wouldn't trust a Prussik tied to a leg loop to catch my full weight, but it's gotta be better than nothing!
While I was rapping off a big waterfall a long time ago, a car-sized chunk of ice came free and hit me, breaking my ribs and causing me to black out. Of course my hands came off the rope. My backup prussik saved me from tumbling down 1000ft to the river below, thank goodness.

A terrible accident. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
Yikes! In that scenario, I'm betting your prussik just held your rope in place while your belay device held your weight. Glad you made it out ok; that sounds like an insane ordeal.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by ryanisnan

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by icevixen

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by ryanisnan

I wouldn't trust a Prussik tied to a leg loop to catch my full weight, but it's gotta be better than nothing!
While I was rapping off a big waterfall a long time ago, a car-sized chunk of ice came free and hit me, breaking my ribs and causing me to black out. Of course my hands came off the rope. My backup prussik saved me from tumbling down 1000ft to the river below, thank goodness.

A terrible accident. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
Yikes! In that scenario, I'm betting your prussik just held your rope in place while your belay device held your weight. Glad you made it out ok; that sounds like an insane ordeal.
Incredibe luck and fortune at your side that time.

K
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by ryanisnan
Yikes! In that scenario, I'm betting your prussik just held your rope in place while your belay device held your weight. Glad you made it out ok; that sounds like an insane ordeal.
The prussik was a very short one off my leg loop, and it acted like a backup brake hand on the rope below my ATC, so yes my belay device took my weight (which makes it much easier to restart and complete the rappel). We were using the prussik backup because it was dark and wet, we were tired, and some of the raps weren't simple straight-down affairs.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by icevixenWe were using the prussik backup because it was dark and wet, we were tired, and some of the raps weren't simple straight-down affairs.
I use a back-up most of the time, and ALWAYS in multi-pitch climbing. What seems to keep some folks from using it is the extra time to remove and re-rig at each transition, but if you work on getting your system down, it can be done very quickly and efficiently.

As for this particular fatality, it's not an uncommon error. It's easy to become complacent after you've rigged your rap a few hundred times, or for beginners to not notice a fatal error. What I do...

Rig my rap with ABCDE:

A: Anchor - Does the anchor look solid and able to hold my weight as I descend? Are 'biners and cord or rings, etc, where they should be?

B: Buckles - Even on a multi-pitch I'll give my buckles a quick check. Something might have happened, and a buckle problem is easily deadly.

C: Carbiner - Is the carabiner locked and in the right position?

D: Device - Is the rope threaded correctly through the device? Is the keeper in the right spot?

E: Ends of the rope - Are the ends on the ground, knotted, etc? Rapping off the ends is another easily made fatal mistake. Do I need to make saddlebags?

My tether is long enough to allow me to bounce test, but short enough not to get out of reach. Once my rap is rigged, I fully weight it and ensure that once the tether is off the anchor, I'm good to go. But, this is another step that takes time. If you've got 10 or 20 or whatever raps, it's tempting to skip some of these checks to save time. Rapping in the dark sucks, but being dead is worse.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 10:11 PM
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In my case, the prussic was above my belay device and attached to my main locking biner, the same that the ropes fed through. This is the way I originally learned. Since then, I have changed to a prussic below the rappel device, attached to a leg loop. Also, I should note that I use the term "prussic" loosely. I actually use a Klemhiest, which I find faster to tie and untie.

This could be an entire topic on it's own and I apologize for drifting from the main subject. It is very sad to hear of a death in sport climbing, which is ordinarily a very safe sport.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 10:58 PM
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I see how that could happen. Sorry that you had to witness this. It's not a climbing gym out there. Pay attention and beware, I'm talking to myself also.

Metta,
Lynn
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 08:27 PM
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I don't want to detract from the topic, but this concern about the leg loops concerns me. I was instructed to tie the prussik or klemheist to the legs on the explicit understanding that legs are fully-rated. Is that incorrect?
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