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Rappel Mishap by an Expert

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by willie92708, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. willie92708

    willie92708

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    I posted this incident report on RopeWiki, but it will likely get more visibility here (green text added to original post):

    One member who rigged a 50 foot drop with a 135 foot rope doubled over, no block, rappelling double strand, rappelled off one rope end. Once one end went through his rappel device he fell about 10 feet onto rock landing on his backpack which had a loosely packed 200ft rope in it, saving him from any physical injury. Given that he has been avidly rock climbing and canyoneering for over 25 years, and had already rigged several rappels in this canyon this very day double stranded, it just shows that one can never be too careful about rigging and always be wary of distraction and complacency.

    http://ropewiki.com/Incident:Rappel_Mishap_in_Muir_Ravine_(West)_2018/11/22
  2. Andrew J Farrow

    Andrew J Farrow

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    unless there is a dammed good reason not to - ie abseil straight into a pool then swim

    tie the rope ends together - simples
  3. Canyon Monkey

    Canyon Monkey Useful Idiot

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    So if you have a 50' rap and 200' of rope in a bag, you are tying the ends together?
  4. Andrew J Farrow

    Andrew J Farrow

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    if you have 200 feet of rope in a bag - how do you set up a 2 strand abseil ?
  5. Canyon Monkey

    Canyon Monkey Useful Idiot

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    Feed 50' of one strand through the anchor and toss that strand down and then throw the bag.
  6. Andrew J Farrow

    Andrew J Farrow

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    having done what you just said - i can tie the 2 strands together @ 55 feet point - can you ??

    what is your point here ????

    PS - i dont throw bags of rope down pitches either
  7. Canyon Monkey

    Canyon Monkey Useful Idiot

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    My point is I should know better than to comment on any of these forums, thank you for the reminder.
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  8. Zach Olson

    Zach Olson

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    willie92708 likes this.
  9. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I can correct most rope lengths on a double rope rappel "on the fly". A stone knot wouldn't allow me to do that.

    A stone knot would isolate the strands....hmm....still, adds a complication to what should have been a fairly simple rig.

    Just like a lot of "things"....not setting the rope distance correctly is a mistake that's more easily done that I usually consider. Especially having a very experienced friend do just that, and, end up with multiple surgeries and a fairly long rehab.

    I don't normally knot my rope ends. Either single or tied together. I've had knots in ropes get stuck in cracks...and, really, unless I'm on a super high angle multi pitch rappel with hanging stations, if I can see the ground and the distance is fairly short, I should be able to see the end hit or at least know I'm close (pay out a bit extra rope). Even so, pays to pay attention to both rope ends (or even a single end).

    Good reminder to double check both your rappel device at your harness and on the rope, and, the rope ends at the bottom. Easier mistake to make which is probably why its easy to get complacent with that aspect of a rappel.
  10. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Sounds to me like there's more to this story than is being reported.

    Issue: Experienced person fails to correctly rig a 50 footer DRT?
    Let's see:
    Step1 - thread rope thru anchor.
    Step2 - toss rope and verify both ends are on the ground.

    Rudimentary basics, not advanced. I'm leaning towards the issue being the laxity that can potentially defeat us all - regardless of expertise level - Distraction.
  11. qedcook

    qedcook

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    Haha, so true. Some people are so dogmatic about this.
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    heat. fire. taking it. AmIRight?
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I'm with Brian, though only on a limited basis. The error here was not in how the rap was rigged - anyone can mess that up - but in not paying attention while rappelling. Glad the perp/victim was okay.

    Tom
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  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Thanks Willie.

    Certainly all us "experts" have time periods where we are not experts. aka Brain Farts.

    YET ANOTHER canyon accident caused by the crazy idea of rappelling double-strand!! WHEN will the madness END????

    Tom
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  15. willie92708

    willie92708

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    Certainly, there is always more to the story. The rappel runs about 30 feet down a slab, over a slight bulge, then dead vertical. The rope (mine) did not have a middle marked (my responsibility). My buddies built a new anchor around a BFR, while I was distracted disassembling 2 old anchors, both with highly Sun bleached webbing (one buried rock cairn / deadman, the other a wimpy small bush). Next thing I know, something has happened on the rappel, and I find out after rappelling down the drop in question the story. He had tossed both end down and thought he saw both at the bottom, but neglected the fact that part of the rappel the double strands were not visible, and that's exactly where one end was short. And rappelling he was under the false impression that they were both at the bottom, when in fact both end were not. The 2 were chatting pretty much the entire time until he fell off the end; I was not tuned into their conversation because I had bigger fish to fry, getting the knots out of old webbing and digging up the cairn anchor. So, YES, distraction clearly played a large role in this "near miss"
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  16. willie92708

    willie92708

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    Yes, this could be part of the problem too. Rappelling double strand and always being aware if one end is short, only to have a Brain Fart and forget to check while in progress on a rappel where part of the drop the rope is hidden from view at the top.

    When I stop doing canyons with my rock climbing buddies! ;) Seriously though, We all love rappelling double strand, no block, on squishy and super stretchy 8mm dynamic climbing half ropes with ATC XP's.

    Willie
  17. Andrew J Farrow

    Andrew J Farrow

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    appologies - maybee i should take your advice too
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  18. Ram

    Ram

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    Geez folks. It is Internet communication. It is inflection free. Hard to know intent. Let your "better angels" give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It doesn't matter if they ultimately deserve it. It is a gift to yourself. Participate. You have something to offer.
    Ram
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  19. willie92708

    willie92708

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    I was ask why my friend did not strand isolate the rope, such as Zach's suggestion of using the stone knot. Well, first and foremost he is a rock climber. He did not strand isolate, because he did not want to do so, nor is it his habit to do so. This comes from rock climbing where 99% of climbers rappel double strand with no strand isolation (or block). It's less rigging and your climbing partner does not have to change the rappel rigging for the last person down. And with climbers, anytime the rappel might be getting close to 1/2 rope length they tie 2 ropes together and thus have a knot to mark the middle (of the 2 ropes), which make equalizing the two ends going down trivial. For single rope rappels doubled over, most climbers rely on the rope having a middle mark, and thus basically every climbing rope you can buy these days has a middle mark.

    The rope he used was mine and I did not have the middle marked, since this rope is not a single piece dynamic climbing rope, but rather kernmantle nylon 8mm rope off a big spool. He knew the middle was not marked, and I told him that each time as he was rigging drops and using that rope. I was distracted from watching the rigging on this drop, because I was disassembling two old anchors with extremely Sun bleached webbing. If I had watched him rig, I likely would have commented again that he needs to make sure the rope is fed evenly down on both sides. And I think he was distracted by chatting with his buddy too who was also on the trip (as mentioned in a previous post).
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  20. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Toss and go....
    carefully
    :D
    Tom Collins and willie92708 like this.
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