American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Misuse of Belaying Device—Ontario, Milton, Rattlesnake Point

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1977

MISUSE OF BELAYING DEVICE—Ontario, Milton, Rattlesnake Point. Dave Embury (35) was climbing third on the rope of a 5.5 route in May 1974. His belayer was a Sticht Plate. About 20 feet from the top, Dave asked for tension to rest. His belayer agreed. Dave relaxed, then fell 30 feet, with some tension from the rope, and broke his wrist. His belayer had had the rope passing through the belay plate without the required 90-degree bends on both sides, and had the plate about three inches from the carabiner. He misjudged the direction of force and was put off balance, and could not recover and set the belay plate properly before the rope was going too fast to control. (Source: J. D. Embury, Lutz Ranke.)

Analysis. A cord should be used to keep the belay plate and the carabiner within two inches apart, and each part of the rope must bend 90 degrees as it leaves the plate. (Source: J. D. Embury, Lutz Ranke, Helmut Microys.)

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