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Fall on Rock, Failure of Chock, Manitoba, Gunton, Limestone Quarry

FALL ON ROCK, FAILURE OF CHOCK

Manitoba, Gunton, Limestone Quarry

On May 31, 1981, Everett Fee (36), who had been climbing for nine years, was aid climbing at a limestone quarry near Gunton, Manitoba. When he was 30 feet off the ground, the bottom corner of a #1 Chouinard stopper that was holding his weight broke off and the piece pulled. The wire sling on the next chock and another small stopper six feet lower broke at the carabiner when his weight came on it. This produced an upward pull which dislodged all lower chocks and caused him to hit the ground. The fall resulted in a cracked rib and a compression fracture of two vertebrae. (Source: Everett Fee)

Analysis

The chock that pulled was not well placed as only one corner of it was holding full body weight. As stated by the manufacturer, small stoppers cannot be relied upon to hold even a short fall. The use of a double rope technique might have prevented the total failure of the protection system, as it provides two independent sets of chocks. (Source: Everett Fee)