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Soap Creek Canyon fall

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by Krampus, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Krampus

    Krampus

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    Just curious if anyone had any details on this fall?

  2. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Couple of posts from his facebook page:

    I feel like sharing this video of my accident is more important than trying to ignore the fact that it happened. I incorrectly blocked the rope. For people in the world of Canyoneering, I used a Fig 8 block, but forgot to follow it through. What I have learned from this experience among other things is redundancy. Just because you have done something over and over again, does not make you infallible. And when that game always involves life or death decisions, if you don't have redundancies, when not if, is the scenario. My number was called yesterday. Somehow, I survived. It may be hard to watch.

    A very humbling day. So thankful to be alive. Honestly I am not sure how I am. I am a mixed bag of emotions. Pissed at myself. Confused. Humiliated. So Greatful and blessed. I am completely overwhelmed by this experience. I set up half of a contingency anchor, then rappelled off of it. Tonight though, I am just happy to be with my family. A human being is fallible. No matter how many times I have remembered to set rigging and check it, playing in the vertical world is not forgiving. Somehow my descent was slowed enough and the shelves of rock halfway down broke some of my fall. fall. Very sore but nothing is broken. Thinking about my future poignantly tonight.

    Glad he just got bumped around...whew!

    You can tell from the video...he expected to be hurt fairly badly...that tone in his voice...yikes!
  3. John Styrnol

    John Styrnol

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    Glad to hear he is ok.
  4. RossK

    RossK

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    It's hard to tell from the video, but his friend said he fell 90ft. But amazingly there were no broken bones, thankfullly. (Not sure about stitches)
  5. wisconnyjohnny

    wisconnyjohnny Lagargar pockets

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    This was the first canyon i ever did. The first Rappel which he fell on is 60ft tops.
    Still considering the ledges surprising nothing got broke.
    The approach is about 20 minutes from 89a so he didn't have a long way to walk back to car.
    To me the hike out is brutal considering the quality of canyon it is.
    AW~ likes this.
  6. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    I appreciated him sharing the video. A reminder to us all to triple check every time. The video and story, being out there, may save a life or two.

    You do this enough, several hundred times each year or two, you are bound to slip or not quite make that leap over a pot hole. It happens. I'm slow to judgment on a rigging error.
    townsend likes this.
  7. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    I'm just curious. What would be the purpose of rigging a Figure 8 block on this rappel? The only advantage I can see is when rappelling in swift water, but that is not the case here.
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Wasn't the first rappel, at least the way we did it. And a lot further than 20 minutes from the car, even at regular hiking speed. (as I remember, always an important qualifier with my memory.

    T
  9. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I remember it as about 40 feet, landing on rock.

    It's good to be lucky. Generally helps if you are good too, but...

    Tom
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  10. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Some people have gone to rigging a contingency anchor for all or most of their rappels. There are decent arguments for doing so, though I do not find them convincing. In this case, since the fellow he was with was a total beginner, it is hard to see the point, other than the Fig 8 Block is Nick's now-standard block.

    Tom
    Kuenn and Mountaineer like this.
  11. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Todd's book says that there are two rappels in the canyon. The first one is a two staged rappel of 100 feet, with the first stage at 60 feet and the second stage at 40 feet. The second rappel is 75 feet. Is this the first stage of rappel 1?

    Welcome to the Grand Canyon (or even Marble Canyon)!
  12. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I'm a little hazy on exactly what he was trying to do. He mentions not finishing a figure eight block and also mentions setting up half of a contingency.

    Then, in the KSL article:

    https://www.ksl.com/?sid=43118861&nid=148

    He says:

    The routine rappel went wrong after Nick Smith, 37, of Kanab, said he forgot to set up a block.

    “It’s essentially what we use to block one side of the rope to allow us to rappel off of it, and I fell,” Smith said.


    So...rapped off wrong side of a figure eight block?

    Hmmm. Dunno.

    Edit to add...

    So, he was guiding? With a client or clients? Was rigging a rappel, and, as a guide, with no other guides to help, was descending first?

    How does one manage a contingency anchor as the sole guide while rappelling first?

    Tom, and anyone else who's guided, what's the standard protocol or best practice for a single guide with say, a single or two clients? If were me, I'd either be belaying them from the top while they rappel, or, hook them up on rappel and then rap down and give them a fireman's from the bottom.

    His language and explanation doesn't really "fit" for what I'd expect from an experienced guide. But, I dunno.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
    Taylor likes this.
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Figure 8 block: first you rig as a figure 8 lower, than you pull a bight through to finish it and lock it off. He did the first step, but not the second step.

    Real awkward start under the boulder, also makes the anchor rigging hard to check, and also makes the other person grabbing the rope to stop the fall very difficult. All good reasons to not do the anchor there - many options available.

    Tom
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I remember this drop well, as we spent quite a bit of time figuring out where the best place to rap would be. But as usual my memory has conflated the canyons of that weekend into one idealized canyon. Thanks for looking that up, Scott.

    This is the first stage of Rap 1.

    Tom
  15. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Ahh...a "figure eight" rappel device block, not a knot block. Gotcha.

    So, still, was he on the wrong side of the block? Or, did he just pull the rope through the figure eight device at the anchor? Must have been. That's what slowed him down enough to not hit hard methinks.
    Chris Harmon likes this.
  16. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    He wasn't on the block side, as Tom stated above he failed to lock off the block (2nd stage), thus his weight pulled the rope (with some friction) through the figure 8 on the proper side - not sure if the opposite tail made it all the way through the figure 8 and fully released him. I would assume that was not the case.
  17. clangingsymbol

    clangingsymbol

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  18. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    He failed to lock off his contingency rig (didn't secure the rope at the figure eight device). So, wasn't a "block" per se, but, an unblocked contingency anchor rig thing what ev's.

    Made sense when I review how he was describing what happened. Just took me awhile to catch on...ha ha.

    Rope is still hanging from the anchor and he said he fixed it and climbed back up so...
  19. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Figure 8 Block acts as both a Block and a contingency anchor at the same time. Many people have changed over to this as their standard block.

    Of course, it's really only a block when it is tied correctly...... :moses:
  20. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I've always preferred this type of contingency over a munter/mule. Smooth lower. Easy to rig. Except when you don't...

    I've been in the habit of having me and mine double check that rappel rig prior to launch. Load it up, inspect, then unclip when you're sure everything is good to go. Had he done that, he'd have fallen to the end of his tether (or, loaded his hand/arm if he was on terrain that he could just hang onto the anchor...a risky practice but still might avoid the train wreck).
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