Don't let go!!!

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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Scott McCrea » Feb 23, 2012 10:42 am

First of all, very glad Mac is alright. He is quite lucky.

Second, lots of things can be learned from this video.

-Mac was wearing what appear to be running shoes. Probably not the best choice for this canyon.
-His instinct was to grab the rope with both hands.
-The autoblock did not work. Was it installed properly? Can't tell from the video.
-Better technique may have prevented the slip.

So, based on the evidence in this video, rappel safeties need to work automatically because the rappeller will abandon the rappel device and hold on for dear life. Autoblocks are not reliable and should not be trusted to catch a fall. Good technique, appropriate gear and effective training/practice are the best safety devices.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Feb 23, 2012 11:25 am

One would also have to assume that he never tested the "autoblock" at the start of the pitch to determine if it was functional. Accidents tend to result from a cascade of events and this demonstrates that clearly.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 23, 2012 1:32 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:
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?


Sorry. No slack. I am not sure why I worded it that way. What I meant was. When the ground was no longer under my feet and I swung into the drop. The rope hit the undercut lip swinging me violently into the opposite wall. Imagine a 3 foot pendulum vs a 30 ft pendulum. There wasn't any slack. No shock load. Just a slip.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Cody JW » Feb 23, 2012 1:46 pm

Glad you are Ok Chad. The caving community needs as many younger hard core responsible types as it can get. Glad the guy in the video is OK . I would of S#@% my pants.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby chh » Feb 27, 2012 11:04 pm

Also, I think it bears repeating again, this guy was not a climber. Just like how climbers think canyoneering is caving. Whatever, :off topic:
Had the guy tested his knot he would have stood a better chance. Better technique and it wouldn't have been an issue. What have we learned here?
Don't be stupid.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2012 12:21 am

chh wrote:Also, I think it bears repeating again, this guy was not a climber. Just like how climbers think canyoneering is caving. Whatever, :off topic:
Had the guy tested his knot he would have stood a better chance. Better technique and it wouldn't have been an issue. What have we learned here?
Don't be stupid.


Use a rack ;)
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Batgirl » Feb 28, 2012 1:58 am

I think what disturbs me most about this video is what seems to be the laughter under his breath as he's asking if his friend is ok. Maybe its relief laughter, but it makes him seem disingenuous about the ordeal plus the fact that he continues to video it rather than running to his friends aid and grabbing the rope for tension which would have been a more appropriate response. Should he have been belaying his friend while he was descending? Probably would have been a good idea.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby gdstorrick » Feb 28, 2012 4:55 am

Post deleted.
Last edited by gdstorrick on Jul 8, 2012 5:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2012 7:20 am

Bottom belay = 2 people in the hospital instead of 1. PeoPle like that guy who laugh first. Then ask if you're ok while they are laughing piss me off. I have "friends" who do that. None of them are cavers however.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Cody JW » Feb 28, 2012 11:56 am

gdstorrick wrote:
Batgirl wrote:I think what disturbs me most about this video is what seems to be the laughter under his breath as he's asking if his friend is ok. Maybe its relief laughter, but it makes him seem disingenuous about the ordeal plus the fact that he continues to video it rather than running to his friends aid and grabbing the rope for tension which would have been a more appropriate response. Should he have been belaying his friend while he was descending? Probably would have been a good idea.


I am one of the people who does NOT favor bottom belays; in fact, I will NOT allow people to bottom belay me. First, it puts people in the rockfall zone. Second, and of much less importance, their "help" can interfere with my control of my rappel. Finally, bottom belays often fail to work effectively if the drop isn't short. Yes, I can imagine things going wrong without a bottom belay but I can also imagine things going wrong with one. A better way to avoid rappel injuries is to stay at home and watch Jerrry Springer on TV like most normal Americans.
I agree with you when you say bottom belays may not work on longer drops. I was in a rather lengthy debate on a previous thread ( bridge day) when I said that we could not get one to work when we tested it on a long drop there. Others disagreed with me. I do feel there is a place for a bottom belay when training new people on shorter drops. I have personally seen one person saved from death or serious injury many moons ago in a short Indiana pit when a vertical novice was sent down on too few bars. I was on bottom belay and saved him. I will admit that the problem in that case was up top when he was sent down on too few bars , he was a young man that did not weigh much. If I were up top it would not of happened. But I do feel there is a place for them in some situations. I bet money the guy I saved was glad I had him on one." On rope " has an illustration where you can use a deviation on bottom to protect the belayer from the fall zone. Not sure how effective that is as it seem to me it takes alot of force to stop someone.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby Batgirl » Feb 28, 2012 12:07 pm

I totally disagree with ya'll about bottom belays. I know specific examples where its saved someone's life, but like everything else, it is a skill that has to be properly taught. First rule of caving, don't stand in the fall zone. This includes belaying. I was always taught to wrap the rope around your body and stand off to the side, out of the fall zone. Give plenty of slack but be ready to put your entire weight on the rope if something goes wrong. Secondly, these are canyoneers/rock climbers. Belaying is a common practice in their sport and should have been used in this case. If he (meaning the guy videoing the event) would have had that rope properly secured to his harness and belay device, he could have stopped that fall before he ever got to the bottom. Luckily he was ok, but it could have deadly for him.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby George Dasher » Feb 28, 2012 1:58 pm

I think he was damn lucky his buddy never had to put the camera down and quit filming.

It would have been a truely horrible thing had that happened.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby George Dasher » Feb 28, 2012 2:00 pm

It appeared to me as if his only mistake was to try to catch him self with his braking hand--and taking his braking hand off rope to do it.

He could have come down barefoot, upside down, and wearing a pink ballerina outfit and been ok--as long as he kept his braking hand on the rope and braking.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Feb 28, 2012 2:18 pm

I have to disagree. He made many mistakes and the chain of mistakes culminated in the accident. Some were minor (poor footwear choice and bad rappelling posture) and some were major (not testing the autoblock at the top of the pitch and letting go of the rope). If his footwear choice had been better, maybe he would never have slipped in the first place. The same could be said for his posture. If he'd verified the operation of the autoblock then he wouldn't have fallen when he let go of the rope. It all adds up in the end and taking any one element in isolation prevents a proper assessment.

Without any doubt, he's lucky to be alive.

George Dasher wrote:It appeared to me as if his only mistake was to try to catch him self with his braking hand--and taking his braking hand off rope to do it.

He could have come down barefoot, upside down, and wearing a pink ballerina outfit and been ok--as long as he kept his braking hand on the rope and braking.
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Re: Don't let go!!!

Postby tathazar » Feb 29, 2012 10:21 pm

:doh: All I can say is my butt puckered and it wasnt even me. I look at this as a lack of time on rope. I had a slip on a thin awkward lip (my friend is so good at picking out) and I swang under the rock face in a semi upside down position. If I had let go, I doubt I would have been in half as good of shape as he was. The rappel was about the same height. You have to get down the basics.
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