American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Rappel Failure, Inadequate Equipment, No Hard Hat, New Mexico, Sandia Mountains

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

RAPPEL FAILURE, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT, NO HARD HAT

New Mexico, Sandia Mountains

Leo Sandoual (17) and Lloyd Hriunak (18) were injured in a 60-foot fall from the practice cliffs on La Luz trail on August 6. They were demonstrating rappelling to friends, and were using separate ropes tied to one sling and anchor point. The sling knot “slipped” as they went over the edge. (Source: Don Mattox, Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council)

Analysis

At times it is necessary to rappel using only one anchor point. Even then, the anchor point, though it may be a tree two feet in diameter, is only as good as the means by which the rappel rope is secured. Two rappel ropes coming from the same anchor point is not unreasonable under certain conditions, but using separate slings is the minimum which might have prevented at least one of these accidents. The type of knot used was not mentioned, but would be worth knowing. (Source: J. Williamson)

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