Rappelling Accident Report

Discuss vertical caving, equipment, & techniques. Also visit the NSS Vertical Section.

Moderator: Tim White

Rappelling Accident Report

Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 19, 2005 3:10 pm

Below is a thread about a rappelling accident rescued from the previous NSS Discussion Board. The thread may not be complete, since I deleted the off topic posts and some posts were not archived/cached by Google.

If you would like to find other threads/posts from the previous NSS DB go here: LINK


#1
12-18-2004, 01:52 AM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 189

Rappelling accident

This accident report was posted to an email list by Josh Babcock. I have his permission to post his report here.

BACKGROUND:

On 12/12/2004 a northern Virginia fire department was conducting day two of a four day NFPA Ropes II class. The department, part of a combined system, is active with about 5000 calls per year and two operational stations.

The department runs a rescue engine and a quint, as well as several pumpers and EMS units. They are expecting delivery of a truck early next year.

The class was being attended by both volunteer and career personnel, including a career captain and three career lieutenants. The class was being taught by a commercial training outfit based in northern Virginia. The instructors are all experienced instructors and technical rescue experts, and all serve on FEMA USAR teams. This portion of the class was being conducted in a partially constructed 5 story apartment building.

ACCIDENT:

At about 1500 the instructors decided to move the class from a balcony, where they were practicing rappelling using racks on ropes with high rigging points, to the roof where the students could practice going over edges with low rigging points.

The edge of the roof had a knee wall approximately 18" high, and dropped down to a one foot overhang slightly below roof level. The anchors were bombproof HSTOs located about twenty feet from the edge at roof level. The rope went directly over the ledge with carpet for edge protection. The students were instructed to go backwards over the edge on two feet with their brake hand on the rope. They were also instructed that they could skip locking off their racks while negotiating the edge if they felt comfortable, on the grounds that it was more effective to rappel over the edge rather than lock off and lower themselves over the edge into the rappelling position.

At the time of the accident, there was one instructor and five students on the roof at three different ropes. The other instructors were at the bottom of the rope supervising the bottom belay or on their way up to the roof.

After three successful rappels on rope 1 by other students, the fourth student, a lieutenant, attempted to negotiate the edge sideways on his stomach instead of as instructed. Another student pointed out to him that he had both hands on the knee wall and that his rack was not locked off. At this point he locked his rack off and continued to negotiate the edge sideways. A third student, a firefighter, was assisting the rappeller at the edge. The rappeller then began to transition to rappelling. He placed his right hand in the brake position and his left hand on the tail of the rope, which he had run under and across his buttocks. As the rappeller transfered his weight to the rack, it became detached from his carabiner. The firefighter on bottom belay immediately executed a strong bottom belay. The rappeller at this point brought both hands together by brute strength and almost completely wrapped the rope around himself. This position is similar to the emergency rope bail that is taught in the fire service, but lacked the component of the PPE and SCBA which provide extra friction and protection. The rappeller then fell five stories and landed in soft dirt. He was not injured. The edge assistant then retrieved the rack from the top of the rope and he and the other student who had noticed the un-locked off rack called to the instructor to come over.

RESPONSE:

After the accident, the instructors immediately stopped all operations and investigated the fall. They were unable to determine exactly how the rack became detached from the biner, and surmised that it had never been locked. The rappeller reported that he neglected to check the biner before rappelling, and the firefighter assisting him at the edge could not recall whether or not he had checked it. After gathering the entire class and briefing them on safety procedures, the instructors moved the operation back to the balcony and continued rappelling practice without incident for about half an hour.

During this period both students involved in the accident were coached by instructor to get back on the rope and rappel. Once on the ropes, they were coached to lock off and hang until they became comfortable being back on rope. After that they called for the class to DC all operations and rigging for the day and ended that day of class.

CONCLUSION:

It is most likely that the rack became twisted on the biner and was able to open it when loaded because the biner was not locked. In some circles this is know as "rolling out". It is known to be a common accident in the caving community, and is probably common wherever rappellers use racks.

Causes contributing to this accident are as follows:

1 - Failure to check all attachments before beginning rappelling on the part of the rappeller, the edge assistant, and the instructor.

A locked biner most likely would have prevented this accident, though it is possible that the biner became unlocked by the sideways motion that the rappeller used when negotiating the lip on his stomach. Instructors searched for but did not find scratches on the lock ring indicating that it was opened by rubbing on the lip. This may indicate that the biner was unlocked before negotiating the lip, however the biner was also taken over either on or near the edge protection, which would not have left marks had the locking ring been opened by rubbing.

2 - Negotiation of the edge by the rappeller on his stomach.

The sliding motion of the rappeller may have been the cause of the biner unlocking, and is most likely the case of the rack getting into a twisted state. Had the rappeller gone over as instructed, he would most likely not have gotten into the twisted configuration where an unlocked biner would cause a
fall, and were he to approach that configuration he and the edge assistant would both easily have been able to see the misconfiguration.

3 - Failure to use a QAS device or other second point of attachment to the rope while negotiating the edge.

Such a device would have shortened the fall to several inches. With the long runs to the anchors, this would have produced a negligible fall factor and left the rappelled within easy reach of the edge.

4 - Failure to use a self belay suck as a French Wrap.

A french wrap know would have left the rappeller hanging upside down by a prusik cord instead of falling. For more info on the french wrap knot, see:
http://www.cavediggers.com/wrap.pdf
http://storrick.cnchost.com/Vertica...tAutoblock.html
http://www.rockclimbing.com/articles/index.php?id=53
Note: this is not a prusik safety, and does arrest falls with both positive and negative action from the rappeller.

Facts that mitigated the amount of damage caused by the accident:

1 - Good belay.

The belayer was very effective in his bottom belay. Even though the rappeller ended up using a very poor body wrap to descend the rope, the strong belay still slowed him enough to prevent any injury.

2 - Training in alternative rappel methods.

The rappeller used (possibly accidentally) a method intended for emergency exit from burning buildings by fully outfitted firefighters. Normally the rope bail uses the additional area provided by the firefighters SCBA cylinder to provide extra friction, and also creates a great deal of friction on the hands and armpits. This is normally mitigated by the extremely durable and protective clothing that firefighters operate in. When properly used it is a very effective, although dangerous, method for descending short distances. In this case it served as an emergency alternative to falling next to the rope or becoming entangled in it while falling to the ground.

3 - Use of gloves and protective clothing.

Had the rappeller not been wearing appropriate gloves and a sweatshirt, he would likely have sustained significant friction burns to his hands, arms and back. These are typical injuries, along with broken limbs and cerebro-spinal injuries, that occur in long falls down a rope.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#2
12-18-2004, 02:18 AM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 189

A little clarification for the accident report:

The victim did not 'fall' five stories. He did a poor and barely effective body rappel, somewhat like a 'flaming armpit' rappel. He was very lucky.

I asked Josh if I could post this here because I thought there were some good lessons to be learned or at least refreshed. This is not a caving accident, but it involves equipment, techniques and maneuvers that cavers use frequently. It is much safer to learn from others mistakes.

The process of 'rolling out' mentioned in the report is examined in this article: http://www.uiaa.ch/article.aspx?c=312&a=564 This can happen with a Figure 8, rack or other devices with the right size hole/eye.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#3
12-19-2004, 05:04 PM
hank moon
I © Petzl
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 66

Scott

Thanks for the thorough report. Might add "failure to provide top belay" to list of contributing causes.

hank

> opinion expressed in this post is mine, not Petzl's <
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#4
12-19-2004, 08:45 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 189

Don't thank me. Thank Josh. I just posted his report.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#5
12-20-2004, 11:04 PM
Gordon Birkhimer
NSS #42778
Posts: 16

French Wrap

The French Wrap (Autoblock) self-belay rappel safety system is a second point of attachment which can save your life if the rappel device becomes detached from the rope. The history of the self-belay during rappel can be traced to mountaineers and rock climbers who have developed many successful rappel safety systems. Climbing books have detailed the development of both mechanical and self-belay rope rappel safety systems. The self-belay rappel safety I am experienced with was introduced to me as the French Wrap or Autoblock. My research has taught me neither of those names is technically accurate. It has also taught me terminology in the world of knots can be confusing. I have learned that the system I use employs a friction hitch the French properly refer to as the "noeud Machard" or Machard Knot, which was named after the French mountaineer. I prefer to call it the Machard Hitch because a hitch is a knot that is tied around some object, namely the main rope. Many climbing books show the Machard Hitch as a rappel safety. In these books they refer to the Machard Hitch as a French Prusik or an Autoblock. The Autoblock is a generic term referring to a group of knots. The French call the entire class of friction hitches that can be used to grip a rope "noeuds autobloquants", which translated means Selfblock or Autoblock. The most common hitches in this group are the Machard, Machard Tresse (Braid), French Knot, and the Valdotain. There are several other friction hitches in common use such as the Hedden, Bachmann, and RBS. With proper training and practice one of these Autoblock hitches used as a self-belay rappel safety system can save your life if the rappel device point of attachment fails. Or, if you get hit in the head with a rock, and let go of the rope.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#6
12-20-2004, 11:49 PM
mgmills
Moderator
Location: Sewanee TN
Posts: 172

Maybe I'm missing something

Are you (those analyzing the situation) suggesting that the firemen should be taught to use a secondary belay device routinely or just in training? I would imagine that most of their rappelling in the line of duty would be of an emergency nature and their wouldn't be time to use such a safety.

Martha Mills
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#7
12-21-2004, 12:46 AM
Gordon Birkhimer
NSS #42778
Posts: 16

It doesn't really help anyone during an emergency situation if you are the rescuer and you die. With practice the French Wrap may be employed in about 15 seconds. That brief amount of time can save your life with a second point of attachment. I believe it's a matter of choice for most people. I want cavers to understand their is a method of rappelling that offers another chance to live should something go terribly wrong. I was taught never to ascend rope without at least two points of attachment. If that's the case then why is it acceptable to descend rope on only one point of attachment? To be safe, I wouldn't do anything on rope with only one point of attachment.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#8
12-21-2004, 02:42 PM
hank moon
I © Petzl
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 66

Quote: With practice the French Wrap may be employed in about 15 seconds.

Was this timed with a firefighter in full turnout gear and heavy gloves?

Backups are good. Self/partner checks (or proper supervision as the case may be) are even better...what if your backup pops out of the 'biner?

hank

> opinion expressed in this post is mine, not Petzl's <
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#9
12-21-2004, 03:21 PM
George Dasher
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 125

You know, it used to be that we used two carabiners to clip into the rapple device. They didn't even have to be locking biners, just turned backwards from each other.

Those kinds of lips are damn difficult. I hate them, and try to go over on my belly. But then I am a born-again whimp.

The fact that his rack wasn't tied off didn't affect what happened. After all, the rack stayed on the uphill part of the rope. The rack came unclipped--bet he forgot to lock his carabiner, which is something a buddy check should have caught.

I find, when reaching novices how to rappel, that a separate top belay is a good idea. That way everything can go wrong with the rappel and the belay can catch the rappeller. This has the added advantage of teaching people how to belay, which I think is a very good thing.

But Gordon has some good points. To be truthful, I'm still troubled by Dick Graham's death. And he came off rope too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#10
12-21-2004, 03:25 PM
George Dasher
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 125

Hey! What is a "quint"?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#11
12-21-2004, 03:34 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

Quote: Originally Posted by George Dasher
Hey! What is a "quint"?

http://www.georgetown.org/departmen...s.apparatus.php

Hmmm, who know? I guess I can go back to bed now. I learned my one thing for the day.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#12
12-21-2004, 03:52 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

Quote: Originally Posted by George Dasher
You know, it used to be that we used two carabiners to clip into the rapple device. They didn't even have to be locking biners, just turned backwards from each other.

Yep, that would do it. The article I posted a link to earlier in this thread, also suggests using a DMM Belaymaster biner. Anyone tried this yet? I have some reservations about this biner.

Supposedly, the leverage produced in the situation described in the same article, is sufficent to break the tip of a locked biner with less force than body weight. I can't provide any evidence of this tho. Maybe it's time go do some testing...

Dick's death was certainly tragic and rappel safety may have changed the outcome. Since the accident, I have seen several techiques for preventing what happened to Dick.

George, how does one become a member of your 'whimp' religion? I have all the necessary qualifications.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#13
12-21-2004, 04:39 PM
George Dasher
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 177

It takes years of practice and dedication to become a whimp of my high standing.

It also takes a lot of whining!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#14
12-21-2004, 05:03 PM
Jep
Lamda Sigma Delta
Location: Renick WV
Posts: 78

W(h)ining

I thought you liked Coors Light?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#15
12-21-2004, 05:38 PM
hank moon
The ugly one
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 97

Quote: The article I posted a link to earlier in this thread, also suggests using a DMM Belaymaster biner. Anyone tried this yet? I have some reservations about this biner.

I've used one a fair amount for rock climbing, but not caving. A bit fiddly if you're taking things in and out of the 'biner frequently. Otherwise, probably the best available locking 'biner solution to certain safety problems. The biner will not close properly if it isn't locked (more specifically, the plastic divider won't close over the locking sleeve). Also, this 'biner helps prevent inward loading on the gate. Scott, what are your reservations? Y'otta try one!

Quote: Supposedly, the leverage produced in the situation described in the same article, is sufficent to break the tip of a locked biner with less force than body weight.
Not only less than body weight, much less than body weight (well...mine, anyway). I'll check the test report and post back.

Quote: George, how does one become a member of your 'whimp' religion? I have all the necessary qualifications

Humph! Contact George or me for a meeting with the council of wimpy elders! We'll see if you're qualified!


hank

> opinion expressed in this post is mine, not Petzl's <
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#16
12-21-2004, 06:01 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

Quote: Originally Posted by hank moon
Scott, what are your reservations? Y'otta try one!

My reservation is with the lack of slop available. It is possible to get stuck during a change-over if there is not enough slop/play/slack between your rack and harness. This mostly happens with Ropewalkers tho. I just need try and see if it's a problem. It may be just fine. I'll check the local rock shop for 'em...

Upon further review, this shouldn't be a problem. If one gets in a situation where more slop is needed, one can simple open the plastic part. Now, I guess I have no reason not to use one.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
User avatar
Scott McCrea
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:07 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA
NSS #: 40839RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flittermouse Grotto
  

Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 19, 2005 3:12 pm

Rescued thread continued...

#17
12-21-2004, 07:33 PM
Ralph E. Powers
caver extraordinaire
Posts: 244

Quote: Originally Posted by Scott McCrea
My reservation is with the lack of slop available. It is possible to get stuck during a change-over if there is not enough slop/play/slack between your rack and harness. This mostly happens with Ropewalkers tho. I just need try and see if it's a problem. It may be just fine. I'll check the local rock shop for 'em...

Upon further review, this shouldn't be a problem. If one gets in a situation where more slop is needed, one can simple open the plastic part. Now, I guess I have no reason not to use one.

I don't have a problem changing over from rope-walker to rack. I mean, utilizing my safety (top ascender) which is a gibbs, I pop off the roller and then undo the foot/knee ascenders and hang from the gibbs and got all the slack/play I need. Mebbe it's just me.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#18
12-21-2004, 07:51 PM
George Dasher
West Virginia
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 177

Change overs do get harder as you get older.

Either the equipment is harder to reach, someone has upped the gravity while you're on rope, or someone's bigger gut gets in the way.

But I think gravity is the problem.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#19
12-21-2004, 08:19 PM
Scott McCrea
Dig in...
Location: Asheville, NC, USA
Posts: 287

Quote: Originally Posted by Ralph E. Powers
I don't have a problem changing over from rope-walker to rack. I mean, utilizing my safety (top ascender) which is a gibbs, I pop off the roller and then undo the foot/knee ascenders and hang from the gibbs and got all the slack/play I need. Mebbe it's just me.

True, in a normal situation. But, I was refering to a not so normal situation that could be come normal if there is not enough slop, normally. I will explain better later... In a seperate thread.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
NSS 40839
Flittermouse Grotto
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#20
12-22-2004, 02:31 AM
Gordon Birkhimer
NSS #42778
Posts: 27

Quote: Originally Posted by hank moon
Was this timed with a firefighter in full turnout gear and heavy gloves?

Backups are good. Self/partner checks (or proper supervision as the case may be) are even better...what if your backup pops out of the 'biner?

Most accomplished vertical people/cavers can operate in fairly heavy gloves. I can see a carabiner somehow unscrewing due to a weird action during a rappel. But, not starting out at the lip. You have to at least start out with the carabiner locked.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#21
12-22-2004, 02:55 PM
hank moon
The ugly one
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 97

Quote: Most accomplished vertical people/cavers can operate in fairly heavy gloves.

"operate", sure, but how fast...and with turnout gear? Like to see a timed installation of autoblock with turnout and firefighter's gloves. ANyway, just a silly meander of sorts. REscuers should take the time to be as safe as possible, but they certainly don't always do it.

Quote: I can see a carabiner somehow unscrewing due to a weird action during a rappel. But, not starting out at the lip. You have to at least start out with the carabiner locked.

Main point is that the root cause of this accident was negligence, not poor technique*. Recently a well known climbing gym (Earth Treks) discontinued the use of auto belay devices (retractable reels) because (solo) climbers were leaving the ground without clipping in (!). Some injuries later, the mgmt. decided that having a partner was the best safety practice, no matter what quality of device or technique being used.

hank

> opinion expressed in this post is mine, not Petzl's <
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#22
12-22-2004, 07:06 PM
Gordon Birkhimer
NSS #42778
Posts: 27

Main point is that the root cause of this accident was negligence, not poor technique*. Recently a well known climbing gym (Earth Treks) discontinued the use of auto belay devices (retractable reels) because (solo) climbers were leaving the ground without clipping in (!). Some injuries later, the mgmt. decided that having a partner was the best safety practice, no matter what quality of device or technique being used.[/QUOTE]

I read you loud and clear. The final Safety Gear Check can catch many errors which can be life threatening. It is really wise to have someone check you out before rappelling. Some people are too proud to ask for the final check. I know a guy who rappelled into Golondrinas without a gear check. Once on the bottom he radioed for assistance. He asked if the next rappeller down would bring his helmut...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#23
12-23-2004, 12:31 AM
Roger Mortimer
Cavedoc
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 27

Quote: Originally Posted by Gordon Birkhimer
Most accomplished vertical people/cavers can operate in fairly heavy gloves.

On my first in-cave rappel, I started to take off my gloves to fiddle with a carabiner. The experienced person assigned to watch over me intervened to have me do it with my gloves on. His advice was that I should practice all of this with my gloves on to get good at it. There could come a day when I wouldn't have the option and I didn't want to have to learn then. It was very good advice.

Roger
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#24
12-29-2004, 03:46 PM
RescueMan
Rather be Climbing
Location: Granville VT
Posts: 125

Quote: Originally Posted by Gordon Birkhimer
The self-belay rappel safety I am experienced with was introduced to me as the French Wrap or Autoblock. My research has taught me neither of those names is technically accurate. It has also taught me terminology in the world of knots can be confusing. I have learned that the system I use employs a friction hitch the French properly refer to as the "noeud Machard" or Machard Knot... The Autoblock is a generic term referring to a ...the entire class of friction hitches that can be used to grip a rope.

One of my "missions" is also to encourage universal terminology for knots, but I beg to differ with you on this one.

While it is true that the French have a variety of hard-to-pronounce names for their friction hitches (including the Valdotain Tresse - simlar to the dog-'n-tails - which is very popular among arborists but is called simple the VT hitch), US mountain guides have popularized the use of the "autoblock" as a rappel backup. In the US (and English language) "autoblock" refers to a particular friction hitch made with a loop of cord and multiple spiral wraps around the host rope). By its use the term has become standardized and nearly universal among climbers and rappellers.

While common terminology is important (so that we can speak a common language across rope disciplines) it is not necessary for us Anglophones to learn complicated French names (with all due respect to Francophones) for simple hitches.

- Robert

aVERT - a Vertical Emergency Response Training
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#25
12-29-2004, 03:56 PM
RescueMan
Rather be Climbing
Location: Granville VT
Posts: 125

Quote: Originally Posted by mgmills
Maybe I'm missing something

Are you (those analyzing the situation) suggesting that the firemen should be taught to use a secondary belay device routinely or just in training? I would imagine that most of their rappelling in the line of duty would be of an emergency nature and their wouldn't be time to use such a safety.

In fact, the only rappelling that most firefighters are taught is the use of an emergency self-rescue device to bail out of a second or third story when their retreat route has become blocked or destroyed by fire. This is a small-diameter high-temp cord with a pre-attached mini-friction device meant to be used only once and then destroyed.

You're quite right that the need for an emergency rappel during fire-fighting operations does not allow for the luxury of a backup of any sort - it is a life-or-death last-ditch escape plan.

However, during training, there should always be additional safety precautions taken. And I also question why these instructors were having trainees go over the edge on their feet with a rappel anchor below their point of contact and an overhang beneath them. Rolling off the edge is the prefered method. The "edge trauma" (vector force) with a low anchor point is far more than almost any rappeller can resist, and the result is usually a sudden fall to the edge which can be more destabilizing than a careful roll.

- Robert

aVERT - a Vertical Emergency Response Training
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#26
12-30-2004, 12:37 AM
Faraway Ern
Crawler
Location: Grants Pass, Oregon
Posts: 40

Robert,
What about the Pompier's hook--that giant biner--that firefighters use?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#27
12-30-2004, 11:00 PM
RescueMan
Rather be Climbing
Location: Granville VT
Posts: 125

Quote: Originally Posted by Faraway Ern
Robert, What about the Pompier's hook--that giant biner--that firefighters use?

What about it? Here, we call it a ladder hook and it's used to secure a firefighter to a ladder or aerial ladder or platform while working, particularly while discharging water from a hose.

As far as I know it's not used for rappelling.

- Robert

aVERT - a Vertical Emergency Response Training
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#28
01-03-2005, 02:35 PM
ljthawk
Crawler
Posts: 76

Quote: Originally Posted by Gordon Birkhimer
Most accomplished vertical people/cavers can operate in fairly heavy gloves. I can see a carabiner somehow unscrewing due to a weird action during a rappel. But, not starting out at the lip. You have to at least start out with the carabiner locked.

I dislike bulky leather gloves. I once found a pair of PMI rappeling gloves, gave them away because they were too bulky to efficiently do vertical work with. Most cavers I cave with feel the same and prefer the lighter weight gardening gloves that fit tightly to the hand, they allow for much better dexterity when rigging or using vertical gear. I would consider these cavers some of the more proficient cavers in TAG who also participate on expeditions to Peru, Mexico, and also cave in other parts of the world.

L.J.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#29
01-03-2005, 04:33 PM
hank moon
The ugly one
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 97

Quote: The "edge trauma" (vector force) with a low anchor point is far more than almost any rappeller can resist, and the result is usually a sudden fall to the edge which can be more destabilizing than a careful roll.

Yep, nasty stuff that edge trauma. Did some informal testing here on our in-house climbing wall and developed over 1000 lbf on the anchor with a single rappeller. I tore some rib cartilage on a low anchor rap once (stupid).

hank

> opinion expressed in this post is mine, not Petzl's <
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#30
02-05-2005, 09:13 PM
Strider
Greg "Strider" Moore
Location: Troy NY
Posts: 13

Quote: Originally Posted by ljthawk
I dislike bulky leather gloves. I once found a pair of PMI rappeling gloves, gave them away because they were too bulky to efficiently do vertical work with. Most cavers I cave with feel the same and prefer the lighter weight gardening gloves that fit tightly to the hand, they allow for much better dexterity when rigging or using vertical gear. I would consider these cavers some of the more proficient cavers in TAG who also participate on expeditions to Peru, Mexico, and also cave in other parts of the world.

I'm going to make a plug for the PMI ropework gloves I got last year. Folks looked at me funny the first time I took them into a cave, but I love them. They're fairly tight fitting, stretch across the back for comfort and provide some protection. I had tried heavier leather work gloves in the past, and while fine for actual movement up/down the rope, they were impossible to do actual stuff like a change over with. I'll have to try the gardening gloves at some point though, probabyl cheaper.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#31
02-06-2005, 03:19 AM
RescueMan
Rather be Climbing
Location: Granville VT
Posts: 127

Quote: Originally Posted by Strider
I'm going to make a plug for the PMI ropework gloves.

I can't tell from the PMI website what their gloves are made of, but beware of the "synthetic leather" that many of the high-tech gloves are using. I melted a pair grabbing a moving rope and it did a number on my hand.

- Robert

aVERT - a Vertical Emergency Response Training
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#32
02-06-2005, 12:53 PM
Strider
Greg "Strider" Moore
Location: Troy NY
Posts: 13

Quote: Originally Posted by RescueMan
I can't tell from the PMI website what their gloves are made of, but beware of the "synthetic leather" that many of the high-tech gloves are using. I melted a pair grabbing a moving rope and it did a number on my hand.

- Robert

As I recall, Steve said they're real leather. I'll try to remember to ask him next time I see him.

Scott McCrea
SWAYGO
User avatar
Scott McCrea
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:07 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA
NSS #: 40839RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flittermouse Grotto
  


Return to On Rope!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot]