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Abseiling near miss

6:27:49 AM
Climbing Tiptoe ridge yesterday with a beginner yesterday in a party of 3. When abseiling off pinnacle, beginner said he would be ok rapping off the short 3 meters. When going over lip, he didn't move his feet and fell headfirst but still held onto rope. Almost immediately he rectified situation and was ok.
Lessons learnt.
1. Abseiling even short distances is dangerous.
2. Beginners can be overconfident.
3. There was another rope and I could have had a safety line attached to lower him if needed.
4. The wind was howling, it was about 10 degrees and it was getting late. On reflection this caused me to be in a rush to get off the pinnacle.
5. Other climber at base could have Fireman belayed just in case.
Thankfully have learnt these lessons without any adverse outcomes.

9:08:20 AM
That's an awkward rap for beginners anyway - low anchor point and overhanging right at the top.

Afternoons are always the time to be on the look out for stuff ups. Glad you were ok an could be out on the rock.

10:36:28 AM
Thanks Pat
10:59:17 AM
Would a top belay (or just straight lower) be more suitable then a bottom/firemans belay given the very short distance/time between the edge transition and the ledge ?

Any other factors which would have put the beginner at higher risk of inverting ? ie high center of gravity in some overweight climbers ?

What was the rappel system being used ? Was there a rappel extension/friction hitch below device (which can make akward edge transitions harder ?).

Thanks for your post, sounds pretty spooky.

12:13:00 PM
On 19-Jul-2020 groveller wrote:
>5. Other climber at base could have Fireman belayed just in case.

This is a very simple and effective backup that is rarely used.

Thanks for posting the writeup! Glad it turned out OK

7:44:10 PM
I agree that the easiest safety measure would have been a Fireman belay. I normally insist that people I climb with use a prussik as back up but didn't in this case as the distance being abseiled was only 3 meters. In hindsight I should have set up a rope to lower the beginner just in case something happened.
I posted this as I think it is very important to discuss accidents and near misses.
Also the beginner is super fit, smart and willing to take direction.
So many factors that can lead us to making poor decisions.

9:15:27 AM
In all honesty I never abseil off that pinnacle. Facing the main cliff the right side to the back is easy to down climb. I belay people down, then down climb it myself.

There are 7 messages in this topic.


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