• Rappelling Accident Leaves Climber Shattered
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Gunks Climber Raps Off End of Rope
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Inattentive Spot Leads to Broken Arm
  • Climbing Accidents: My Helmet Saved My Life - Short Story Series
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Man Survives Fifty-Foot Ground Fall
  • Bolt Breaks, Climber Falls to Death
  • Climbing Accident: Earthquake, Avalanche, 21 Dead on Everest, Over 4,600 in Nepal
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Falls to Death, Apparent Bolt Failure
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Tragedy on Infinite Bliss - Rappelling Claims Climber
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Gear Rips, Leading Climber Critical
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Impaled by a Quickdraw
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Two Carabiners Break on Leaning Tower
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Fined For Obstructing Rescue
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Triggered Rockfall: Kills Two on El Cap
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Gear Pulls: Grounder at White Rock, New Mexico
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Death on Capitol Peak
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Respected Climber Falls 50 Feet and Dies at Cathedral Ledge
  • Rock Climbing Accident: NPS Chops Bolts: Man Dies Descending Forbidden Peak
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Not Again: Eldo Climber Raps Off End Of Rope
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Flake Breaks, Leader Falls, Hits Belayer
  • Rock Climbing Accident: BUNGLED!: Autoblock Belay Device Misused
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Fatal Gym Accident
  • Solo Ice Climber Dies in Fall
  • Climbing Accident: Three Killed in Cairngorms
  • Climbing Accident: Ice Climber Killed
  • Climbing Accident: Despite Warnings, Three Injured in Mount Washington Avalanche
  • Climbing Accident: Four Dead in Scottish Highlands
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Bolt Pulls Out in the New River Gorge
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Belayer Drops Climber 70 Feet to Ground
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Rope Cuts, Climber Dies in Eldorado
  • Climbing Accident: Belayer Pulls Leader Off Ice Climb
  • Climbing Accident: Fifty-Footer Rips Three Screws
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Rope Chopped by Carabiner
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Falls 140 Feet and Lives
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Todd Skinner Killed on Leaning Tower Rappel
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climbing's Insidious Danger: Rockfall
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Top Rope Slips Off
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Rappel Knot Fails, Climber Falls 300 Feet to Death
  • Climbing Accident: Ice Cave Collapses, Kills Hari Berger
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Unclips From Anchor, Falls to Death
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Counterweight Rappel Failure
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Back Cleaning Results in 150-foot Fall
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Dies When Rappels Off End of Rope
  • Mouse Attacks
  • Climbing Accident: Hold Breaks, 60-foot Fall
  • Climbing Accident: Avalanche Kills Six In Alps
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Autoblock Belay Failure Causes Fall
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Rappel Swing Goes Awry, Climber Injured and Rescued
  • Climbing Accident: Ice Climber Falls Entire Pitch, Dies
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Comes Unclipped, Falls 140 Feet at Red Rocks
  • Climbing Accident: Ice climber rides Vail's famous Fang 100 feet when the pillar collapses
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Two Bolt Hangers Break, Climber Falls
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Nose-hooked Carabiner Breaks, Causing Ground Fall
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Bowline Comes Untied, Climber Falls to Ground
  • Climbing Accident: Rope Burns Through Lowering Sling, Climber Falls to Ground
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Gear Rips, Leader Hits Ledge
  • Climbing Accident: 600-foot Ice Climbing Fall
  • Climbing Accident: Ice Climber Unropes, Slips, Falls 60 Feet
  • Climbing Accident: Ice Climber Dislodges Ice, Belayer Hit and Seriously Injured
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Belayer Drops Leader Due to Miscommunication
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Climber Rappels Off Rope, Dies
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Leader Rips 10 Pieces on El Cap, Falls 80 Feet
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Leader Falls, Gear Rips, Belay Fails
  • Rock Climbing Accident: Not Again: Eldo Climber Raps Off End Of Rope

    07-Jul-2014
    By

    Tower One, Eldorado Canyon State Park, scene of a recent rappelling accident. Photo by Steve Levin.At about 2 p.m. on December 15, Jordan Moore and Daniel Gloven were rappelling the Vertigo Tower of the Redgarden Wall in Eldorado Canyon, near Boulder, Colorado. They followed the standard rappels: two rappels to chain stations that take climbers down the wall left of Vertigo. At the second station, Gloven pulled the rope as Moore fed it through the chains. 

    Moore leaned out and watched one side of the rope pile up on the ground. He didn’t visually confirm that both ends were touching but he remembers saying, “That’s probably good.” 

    Moore rigged his ATC and started rappelling. “I wasn’t looking down,” he said. “Just kicking off, rapping fast.” 

    Gloven, who was waiting at the belay stance, remembers seeing 30 feet of rope shoot through the chains. When he leaned out, he saw Moore lying on a ledge 70 feet below him.

    A party on a nearby route heard Gloven’s cries for help and used a cell phone to call for a rescue. A climber from another group stabilized Moore’s head until members of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group arrived, rigged a litter and lowered Moore from the ledge. 

    Moore says he had “barely a scratch” on his head, but he had sustained a traumatic brain injury, the equivalent, according to his doctor, of 12 concussions. Today, Moore says he is still having problems with his attention span and memory, but that he is expected to recover fully in 12 months. 

    “No rock climbing for a year,” Moore says. “After that I will be back.”


    [ ANALYSIS ]

    Moore wound up on the ledge with one strand of rope still threaded through his rappel device. The other strand dangled above the ledge. The obvious conclusion is that he hadn’t evened the ends. When Moore rappelled past the end of the strand still above the ground, he fell and landed on the ledge. 

    [ PREVENTION ]

    Unfortunately, rappelling and belaying accidents in which the rope end passes through the rappel/belay device are all too common. According to a report in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, based on incident reports filed by the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group from 1998 to 2011, belay and rappelling accidents in Boulder County in which the rope was too short accounted for 21 victims, 16 of whom had severe or fatal injuries.

    Accidents of this type are easy to prevent. All you have to do is tie knots in the ends of your rope. For rappelling, you might want to buy a rope with a middle mark. This will aid in evening the ends of the rope, but you’ll still need to knot the ends to prevent rapping off them on multi-pitch climbs. Simply tie the ends together for all rappels. Make it a habit and never neglect to do it. 

    Some climbers will argue that knotting the ends of your rope can result in the rope becoming stuck in cracks. This is true, but the occasional hassle of freeing your rope is a small price to pay to survive.

    For lowering, always tie a knot in the free end of the rope

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