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crazyjizzy

Another rappel faiure

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My buddy Lenny was in the Bugs last week, and a slung block being used for a rappel in the McTech area pulled, resulting in the death of a climber from Chicago.

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I got up there the day after that happened. The story I heard was that the guy dropped his camera and was rapping to get it when the block pulled. Several climbers were in the area including one EMT or maybe just first responder, and they said that he was dead when they got to him.

It really sucks to see this happening so often recently.

Condolences to family and friends.

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I've thought about how to back up a block. We rapped from a block on Mixup that I wasn't 100% confident in. There was another block above it that could back up the first, but then I was thinking that if the first goes, the second has to be able to hold the weight of the first plus my weight. The original block was about 500-1000 lbs. We ended up by transferring some of the load to the second block. Finally, you have to say at some point, "good enough", and take your chances.

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same thing happened to me lane and becca last year on Mctech. inches from death. scary.

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Maybe I am not picturing this right, but wouldn't the first block fall through the sling and not require the second block to hold it? And if the first block were to fall, the second block would have to withstand the shock load if the first block, right? Please explain this a little more if you can--I have used blocks to rap from and I am wondering if I should be doing something different. Thanks.

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Maybe I am not picturing this right, but wouldn't the first block fall through the sling and not require the second block to hold it? And if the first block were to fall, the second block would have to withstand the shock load if the first block, right? Please explain this a little more if you can--I have used blocks to rap from and I am wondering if I should be doing something different. Thanks.
In this case, we put a double shoulder length 1" sling around the second block and then linked the slings (old plus new) on the first block with another shoulder length 6/16" runner, doubled. The base of the first block was rooted in such a way that it would have had to tip over (as opposed to slide) before it would go. Not sure I can make sense without a picture.

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back it up with a nut, hex or cam. HOW much is you and your friends life worth? seems like quite a bargain...even if its a Number 5 camalot.

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In that case, just rap off the hardware and use the block as a backup. At least you control the placement you rap off, instead of relying on your evaluation of the way some fridge-sized rock lies on the mountain.

 

drC

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I always take a couple smaller sized pitons with me that I could hammer into a small crack in case there is nothing better. This, of course, would not be helpful in every situation, but it does give one more options. I don't carry a hammer for this. I assume I will be able to find a rock or something else to hammer them in with.

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Also, be wary of active cams as anchors! It is difficult to assess just how good a purchase they really have. A wedged piece is easier to evaluate and determine to be good.

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All of this reminds me of the book, Angels Four or is it Angels Five, one of the best climbing stories I've read. In it they describe how desperate they are towards the end of the descent, I believe it took a number of days of rappeling and down climbing. Anyway, they got to the point where all they felt they had left to use as an anchor sling was a shoe lace. When they completed the rappel and went to pull the rope it broke through the lace! shocked.gif

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Also, be wary of active cams as anchors! It is difficult to assess just how good a purchase they really have. A wedged piece is easier to evaluate and determine to be good.

 

Hi Gary -- Could you elaborate on what point you're trying to make here?

 

I would say that most anyone who uses and relies on cams regularly to protect lead falls (with a high impact force) should be more than capable of incorporating cams into a very safe, redundant equalized anchor system while visually assessing their placements.

 

I do understand the point that a well-placed nut or chock in a constriction may potentially be more reliable or easy to assess than a cam overall -- but your post makes it sound like cams are hard to assess and ultimately not trustworthy as anchors -- which is not true.

 

Care to elaborate more on your cautionary point?

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Mainly you shouldn't be leaving cams in a rappel anchor BECAUSE THEY COST THREE TO FIVE TIMES AS MUCH AS A PASSIVE PIECE THE SAME SIZE!! rolleyes.gif

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I remember reading a story of somebody rappeling using the strap off their camera as a rappel sling. It was on Gasherbrum IV.

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rap failure scares the shit out of me. Scares me like nothing else. I've rapped many times and experienced failure zero times, but I can imagine the feeling of panic as the line you're hanging from goes slack and the rock unstoppably accelerates in front of you.

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Also, be wary of active cams as anchors! It is difficult to assess just how good a purchase they really have. A wedged piece is easier to evaluate and determine to be good.

 

Hi Gary -- Could you elaborate on what point you're trying to make here?

Gary may be thinking of something else, but I believe that the biggest danger when rappelling from cams is that if you unweight the anchor (briefly pausing on a ledge, for example) and then continue rapelling, cams may walk into a less secure position.

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Why would they do that? If they are properly placed and connected to the anchor slings they should not walk.

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