Don't let go!!!

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Don't let go!!!

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Feb 22, 2012 4:18 pm

A very clear lesson on why you never let go of the rope with your braking hand...



Looks like he was using an ATC and relying on a French Wrap as a backup (which obviously didn't work). I can't even express how incredibly lucky this guy was to survive the incident, let alone walk away.

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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 22, 2012 4:25 pm

I see he was also not leaning back on his harness and letting gravity take him down. He was standing vertical on slick rock, and downclimbing while rappelling. Thats always a recipe for disaster. Lean back, lean back, lean back.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby NZcaver » Feb 22, 2012 5:52 pm

Wow. :yikes: That guy was very lucky not to be hurt.

I frequently hear climbers say "rappelling is the most dangerous part of climbing." Seems they may be correct, especially with inadequate training, poor technique, and a desire to let go of the rope. Very interesting too that the Autobloc / French wrap failed to grip on the wet rope. Thankfully he was wearing a HELMET which may have saved his life.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Cody JW » Feb 22, 2012 5:59 pm

NZcaver wrote:Wow. That guy was very lucky not to be hurt.

I frequently hear climbers say "rappelling is the most dangerous part of climbing." Seems they may be correct, especially with inadequate training, poor technique, and a desire to let go of the rope. Very interesting too that the Autobloc / French wrap failed to grip on the wet rope. Thankfully he was wearing a HELMET which may have saved his life.
I read all published accident reports and do not remember anyone losing control on a climb. I talk to non cavers about rappelling and they do not understand when I say I am more concerned on rappel than on climbs.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Cavermax » Feb 22, 2012 7:23 pm

I see he was also not leaning back on his harness and letting gravity take him down. He was standing vertical on slick rock, and down climbing while rappelling. That’s always a recipe for disaster. Lean back, lean back, lean back.
.


Look at where he has his brake hand positioned as well. His hand is way to close to his rappelling device. For maximum control the hand should be behind his back or straight out just off the hip. Having your hand that close to your rappelling device is just inviting disaster, I.E. sucking in a glove or flesh. A belay might not have been out of the way either.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Feb 22, 2012 9:10 pm

I've noticed a lot of people are hesitant to lean back as far as they should on rappel. In those cases they're typically not trusting the rope. I guess they also feel more secure with their feet under them. His brake hand is very high but I don't think it matters in this case. As soon as he slips his brake hand shoots out to try and grab the rocks which is a sure sign of inexperience. Very scary stuff.

Not that it's any kind of panacea, but this sort of thing is exactly why we use the Petzl Stop and a braking carabiner. That's driven less by a fear of losing control on a normal rappel and more by a concern for getting clocked by falling debris but the net result would be the same.

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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 22, 2012 9:21 pm

Was at tag a month or so ago. We were derigging 3 pits and leaving but i was standing at the 3rd of the 3 pits, the only one I hadnt done, waiting for my buddy to come up. once he got up he said "bounce it really quick, you got time before the others are done pulling rope." so once he cleared the upper lip where I should have got on rope, i stood in the bottom of the slippery sink, grabbed the rope, rigged my rack and immediately slipped. I fell into the pit and as the slack came out of the rope I swung violently under the undercut, slamming into the opposite wall of the pit. All 6 bars were engaged, 1 hand was free, one hand wasnt. I dont remember which hand was free but I am pretty sure my left hand was wrapped tight around the bars, pushing up on them, as all this went down as I didnt go down the rope at all. After I assured my buddy i was ok, as I had dissappeared out of his view, I bounced the pit and we left.


Yeah, dont let go. I sure as hell didnt.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby boogercaver71 » Feb 22, 2012 10:37 pm

Wow. :yikes: That guy was very lucky not to be hurt.

I frequently hear climbers say "rappelling is the most dangerous part of climbing." Seems they may be correct, especially with inadequate training, poor technique, and a desire to let go of the rope. Very interesting too that the Autobloc / French wrap failed to grip on the wet rope. Thankfully he was wearing a HELMET which may have saved his life.




I watched it twice and couldn't make out a French wrap. I saw the ATC and his brake was in front of him. A french wrap should have a loop on your back thigh of your braking side. I did not see it. But you are right, he was lucky it was not a free drop.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 22, 2012 10:42 pm

He specifically said it was an autoblock, not a french wrap. Similar yes, but thats like saying a prusik or a bachman knot. both can be used to climb, but they are different.

Look at 58 seconds. you can see it looped around his leg loop.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby NZcaver » Feb 23, 2012 2:25 am

Chads93GT wrote:He specifically said it was an autoblock, not a french wrap. Similar yes, but thats like saying a prusik or a bachman knot. both can be used to climb, but they are different.

Sorry to nitpick, but somebody may have fed you misinformation there.

[Begin knot geek code.] In common American terminology, the Autoblock and the French wrap are the same hitch. "French wrap" is just a term reinvented by an American to refer to this common "autobloc" hitch used by the French. Historically, it would probably be more correct to call it the Machard. Confused yet?

See previous topic French Wrap Rappel Safety Myths Debunked where Bob Thrun explains:

Bob Thrun wrote:
TinY wrote: As for the history of the name "French Wrap", I coined this term after learning of this method of self belay from Van Bergen in his reply to a post of mine on this discussion in 2000.

It is unfortunate that TinY invented another name for a hitch that already had three names.

Machard -- Geroges Marbach told me that it was invented by Machard, a French mountaineer...

Autobloc, autoblock, or auto block -- The generic French term for hitches that can be used to grip a rope is "noeuds autobloquant". I can imagine the conversation between an English-speaking climber and a French climber: "What do you call this knot?", "Autoblocquant"...

French Prusik -- I can think of five different hitches that are called "French Prusik". Autoblock and French prusik are both used in climbing books and magazines. Sometimes I think one term is more popular and simetimes the other.

Long story short:

Image

And now back to your regular program... :waving:
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby paul » Feb 23, 2012 7:30 am

NZcaver wrote:Wow. :yikes: That guy was very lucky not to be hurt.

I frequently hear climbers say "rappelling is the most dangerous part of climbing." Seems they may be correct, especially with inadequate training, poor technique, and a desire to let go of the rope. Very interesting too that the Autobloc / French wrap failed to grip on the wet rope. Thankfully he was wearing a HELMET which may have saved his life.


In climbing situaions you also sometimes have to contend with "not quite" bomb-proof anchors as well which also colurs a climber's opinions of the safety of abseiling. In caving we regularly abseil as part of the caving trip whereas a climber will usually only abseil when there are no other options for descent (or your second can't get the damn protection gear out :doh: )
Last edited by paul on Mar 1, 2012 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Cody JW » Feb 23, 2012 10:06 am

Watching that video made me think of one reason why I use 6 bars on a standard rack when I see many others use 5. If you have enough friction you could let go with your brake hand and not drop like a rock. Not that I practice taking my brake hand off the rope but in the event a rock fall knocks you out ( do not laugh I have seen many rocks fall when I was on rope) you will not drop like a rock. Yes , depending on the condition of the rope I may have to force feed and it does not look as pretty and you can not hot dog it down the rope . I have gone down on 5 and did not like the fact that if for some reason my brake hand left the rope that I was gone. To me , extra friction gives you a margin of safety. I know that some of you who are lighter may not have the option of 6 bars and be able to move. But for myself at 220 lbs. I prefer 6 and unless I am on a new , wet rope what you witnessed in that video will not happen to me, brake hand or not.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Feb 23, 2012 10:10 am

Chads93GT wrote: i stood in the bottom of the slippery sink, grabbed the rope, rigged my rack and immediately slipped. I fell into the pit and as the slack came out of the rope I swung violently under the undercut, slamming into the opposite wall of the pit.



Dude!!! Why was there slack in the rope? Rigging in with slack above you is a very dangerous habit that exposes you and your gear to big fall forces. Maybe I misunderstood? :shrug:
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Billy » Feb 23, 2012 10:22 am

Not to further quibble/nitpick, but this guy is not in a climbing situation, he is canyoneering. He is also doing a single rope (instead of a doubled rope) rap. Climbers almost always (actually I don't know anyone, but I'm sure someone will correct me on on a new burgeoning style or area where it is done) double rope rap.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Scott McCrea » Feb 23, 2012 10:24 am

Anonymous_Coward wrote:
Chads93GT wrote: i stood in the bottom of the slippery sink, grabbed the rope, rigged my rack and immediately slipped. I fell into the pit and as the slack came out of the rope I swung violently under the undercut, slamming into the opposite wall of the pit.



Dude!!! Why was there slack in the rope? Rigging in with slack above you is a very dangerous habit that exposes you and your gear to big fall forces. Maybe I misunderstood? :shrug:

Also, did I miss the part where you did your rappel test?
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