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Juan Sharp

Accident (Death) on Forbidden -- Details?

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Does anyone know what happened as reported in the Seattle Times this morning? Bellingham woman killed on the descent. Story says she possibly rapped off the end of her rope and fell into a crevasse. This could certainly happy during a descent of the gully but the article doesn't say.

 

Really sad story. Be safe out there.

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She died rappelling off of the end of a rope, somewhere on the West Ridge, and her body was found in a 30' deep "crevasse", which was likely a moat or glide crack. Here's the link: LINK

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The Bellingham Herald has a much nicer write up and there is a remembernce here

 

https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/remembering-mountaineer-sue-bennett

 

To think it was simply rapping off the end of the rope is an oversimplification.

 

She was rappelling past the boulder move a boulder move on the descent, lost her footing and took a pendulum fall near the bottom of the rappel. She hit a rock face and lost control. The accident serves as an important reminder to always close the system, somehow.

 

It's a terrible tragedy for the Bellingham climbing community, which Sue contributed to immensely. Sue was an amazing person, tough as they come, and an inspiring climber. She will be dearly missed by so many people.

 

Be safe out there.

 

 

Edited by berget

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She was rappelling past the boulder move on the descent,

 

 

What is "the boulder move?

 

I recall two or three rappels between the false summit and where the angle lessons and there is mellower (downclimbing) terrain back to the notch.

 

 

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It was pointed out to me in a picture but I don't remember. Sorry I can't be more specific. I know it was up high. Probably the tower crux, but I don't know.

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It was pointed out to me in a picture but I don't remember. Sorry I can't be more specific. I know it was up high. Probably the tower crux, but I don't know.

 

OK, thanks. This is a sad event. :(

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The accident serves as an important reminder to always close the system, somehow.

 

Sad indeed. This sounds like a situation where a prussick or autoblock on the rappel would have made a difference. Or knotting the ends of the rope (not always practical, i know).

 

I've been hearing about too many rappelling accidents over the last few years. Play safe everyone.

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I'm surprised the Mountaineers are not insisting on the use of knotted rappel rope ends and Prusiks or autoblocks. Little excuse not to use both.

Edited by DPS

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They do teach the extended belay with autoblock, but I don't know if this is done consistently across all rock courses or courses with a rock component. Seems like everyone puts knots in the rope ends too; however, I've been on a couple climbs where there was concern that the knotted rope ends would get irretrievably stuck. Saddle bag method would solve that although it does take more time.

 

Alpine environments are more complex, and if there's an issue with time, limited daylight, incoming weather or other factors, who's to say that they would've done anything differently. It's heartbreaking to lose someone in the climbing community. We go into the mountains because it makes us feel alive and we get to be challenged mentally and physically. Plus we get to be in beautiful places and spend time with good people. We go knowing that there is some risk.

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I'm surprised the Mountaineers are not insisting on the use of knotted rappel rope ends and Prusiks or autoblocks. Little excuse not to use both.

 

They do teach that. They teach being conservative. To many here - TOO conservative.

 

I'm not second-guessing anyone's decision (or mistake). This sport is dangerous and margin for error is low.

 

This is a huge tragedy. It actually made me think twice this weekend and bail on a climb 15 miles in with class 4 slabs. Not worth my life, even to do a cool route like Goode.

 

Edited by KaskadskyjKozak

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They do teach the extended belay with autoblock, but I don't know if this is done consistently across all rock courses or courses with a rock component. Seems like everyone puts knots in the rope ends too; however, I've been on a couple climbs where there was concern that the knotted rope ends would get irretrievably stuck. Saddle bag method would solve that although it does take more time.

 

Alpine environments are more complex, and if there's an issue with time, limited daylight, incoming weather or other factors, who's to say that they would've done anything differently. It's heartbreaking to lose someone in the climbing community. We go into the mountains because it makes us feel alive and we get to be challenged mentally and physically. Plus we get to be in beautiful places and spend time with good people. We go knowing that there is some risk.

 

Well said. Sue taught me to climb over 10 years ago in the Bellingham basic course and out on some climbs. She was very safety-conscious and conservative. The course emphasized using an auto block for rappels, and a fireman's belay as an optional extra backup, but knots were done case by case depending on the rappel. I believe that Sue would have used an auto-block most of the time, and certainly told her students that. However, I've rappelled this route too, and if this was in the spot I'm thinking, I can understand the choice to not knot the rope due to it potentially getting stuck. While I'm surprised she didn't have an autoblock, perhaps the sideways/traverse nature of this rappel made that less ideal. Plus, the weather was cloudy/rainy that day. I was nearby in the Kool Aid lake area and everything was socked in. She may have been wearing boots that didn't grip the slab well, I'm betting she was going first to get the rappel clean for her team, maybe hurrying, tired, had been waiting for other parties. It's something that could happen to anyone. Sue was a great athlete, humble and caring person, one of the best climbing teachers around, and a pillar of the Bellingham climbing community. Very tragic.

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Well said. Sue taught me to climb over 10 years ago in the Bellingham basic course and out on some climbs. She was very safety-conscious and conservative. The course emphasized using an auto block for rappels, and a fireman's belay as an optional extra backup, but knots were done case by case depending on the rappel. I believe that Sue would have used an auto-block most of the time, and certainly told her students that. However, I've rappelled this route too, and if this was in the spot I'm thinking, I can understand the choice to not knot the rope due to it potentially getting stuck. While I'm surprised she didn't have an autoblock, perhaps the sideways/traverse nature of this rappel made that less ideal. Plus, the weather was cloudy/rainy that day. I was nearby in the Kool Aid lake area and everything was socked in. She may have been wearing boots that didn't grip the slab well, I'm betting she was going first to get the rappel clean for her team, maybe hurrying, tired, had been waiting for other parties. It's something that could happen to anyone. Sue was a great athlete, humble and caring person, one of the best climbing teachers around, and a pillar of the Bellingham climbing community. Very tragic.

 

Well said! :tup:

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It actually made me think twice this weekend and bail on a climb 15 miles in with class 4 slabs. Not worth my life, even to do a cool route like Goode.

 

I was thinking about Goode for later this summer, what made you bail?

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It actually made me think twice this weekend and bail on a climb 15 miles in with class 4 slabs. Not worth my life, even to do a cool route like Goode.

 

I was thinking about Goode for later this summer, what made you bail?

 

class 4 slabs with a full pack. one slip - you die.

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it was a while ago and my memory is kinda hazy...but i remember going left-ish up the slabs. steep for sure but mostly just yarding on cedar branches. felt pretty secure. might be an option for ya in the future.

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it was a while ago and my memory is kinda hazy...but i remember going left-ish up the slabs. steep for sure but mostly just yarding on cedar branches. felt pretty secure. might be an option for ya in the future.

 

We went to the leftmost waterfall. Started up just right of it. I did not see any branches. Just rock

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