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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

 Page 5 of 5. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 86
Author
Rescued in Blue Mtns May 31 2015, the analysis.
patto
29-Jun-2015
11:15:38 AM
Inexperienced abseilers are the last people who should be using an autoblock. If there are inexperienced abseilers in a party they should have a backup from another person either a top or bottom belay.

Drake
29-Jun-2015
12:03:18 PM
>>> I don't mean to rubbish autoblocks but they're not a cure for all ills.

I agree with your assessment Kierani that inexperience was the dominant factor in these examples, and the many other examples I could dig up. But I fail to see how an autoblock could have hurt in these situations, and it could have helped.

I don't think that autoblocks are a panacea. I don't think they are a substitute for experience.

My point boils down to this: weird sh*t happens when abseiling, and (correctly implemented) autoblocks can help to mitigate the consequences of that weird sh*t. Obviously experience is incredibly valuable in avoiding or dealing with that weird sh*t too. I prefer to use both.
patto
29-Jun-2015
12:45:39 PM
On 29/06/2015 Drake wrote:
>I agree with your assessment Kierani that inexperience was the dominant
>factor in these examples, and the many other examples I could dig up. But
>I fail to see how an autoblock could have hurt in these situations, and
>it could have helped.

In three of the four instances there I would disagree that a prussik was an appropriate solution for the circumstances. (The low angle slab i cannot say a prussik was inappropriate.) Like has been said and inexperience abseiler should be protected by a bottom/top belay.

Prussiks can and have cause serious and dangerous issues and have resulted in deaths and rescues. Inexperienced abseilers should not be using them.

On 29/06/2015 Drake wrote:
>My point boils down to this: weird sh*t happens when abseiling, and (correctly implemented)
>autoblocks can help to mitigate the consequences of that weird sh*t. Obviously experience is >incredibly valuable in avoiding or dealing with that weird sh*t too. I prefer to use both.
That sounds like a well informed choice. I have no reason to suggest that you change.

Macciza
29-Jun-2015
1:37:01 PM
What sort of 'weird sh*t' are you talking about??
Sure if you seriously expect said weirdness to occur then use a back up . . .
But if no weirdness is likely then there is no need and its better not to . . .
Of course all of this is based on actually being capable and experienced . . .

Drake
29-Jun-2015
3:17:05 PM
>> What sort of 'weird sh*t' are you talking about??

I have been attacked by bees twice and a falcon once, and I was happy to be able to let my autoblock take my weight and use both hands. A mate was struck by rockfall while abseiling on Cannon Cliff and credits his backup for his life (he just got a bruised arm, but lost control of his rope). These experiences are rare, but they happen and are difficult to predict.

I have been a bit forward with my views here because I think abseil backups have received a raw deal on this thread. I've made my point so I'll shut up about it now. Thanks for your patience.
DMWdesign
4-Jul-2015
5:46:57 PM
On 29/06/2015 patto wrote:
>Inexperienced abseilers are the last people who should be using an autoblock.
> If there are inexperienced abseilers in a party they should have a backup
>from another person either a top or bottom belay.

Yes, I agree.
Beginners should learn good solid abseiling skills before going on to using back-up methods.
Re backing up abseils, the following comments relate to my canyoning experience, not climbing, but may still be relevant to the discussion.
I have never used backups, below or above descender, as they are too fiddly to manage, hindering maneuverability and just not practical when negotiating sharp overhangs, chockstones and narrow places. Not to mention potentially dangerous in waterfalls.
Rule 1: never let go of the rope.
Rule 2: never let go of the rope.
Extending the descender is fine on straightforward abseils but I find that closer to the body the descender is, the more manageable it is. This is critical on overhangs.

Depending on how risk adverse one is, I think there is a case for back-up on long exposed abseils with the possibility of rock fall and where belaying from below is difficult.
If I am the first down an abseil, I usually just lock-off the descender to untangle ropes but having an autoblock below descender (as in photo) is easier. (350mm x 6mmō sling fully wrapped on double 9mm ropes). I have found this leg loop arrangement has also worked well on knot passing practice. On a lot of the latest harnesses itís not that easy to effectively rig the autoblock onto the leg loop because of the way the straps are arranged.


Best practice is to always use the firemanís belay, but I think we can all get a bit slack at times and be distracted by talking, taking photos and trying to stay out of that freezing cold pool.

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There are 86 messages in this topic.

 

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