American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Rappel Failure, Inadequate Protection — Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1985

RAPPEL FAILURE, INADEQUATE PROTECTION

Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park

On October 20, 1984, a climber (F - 22) fell seven to eight meters to the ground when her rappel anchor—consisting of nylon webbing secured to a tree and a rock—failed. (Source: Visitor Accident Report Form, Devil’s Lake State Park)

Analysis

Though there are not enough details for us to know what part of the anchor system failed, the accident is presented as one of the few rappelling mishaps this year, and an illustrative one in terms of common cause. (Source: J. Williamson)

(Editor’s Note: The above is one of seven accidents reported from Devil’s Lake last year. Five involvedfalls, only one of which seems to have been protected. There were not enough details on these to present helpful descriptions. The other accident was unusual: A woman (21) dislocated her shoulder while reaching for a hold on a climb called Weisner’s Wall, on the West Bluff.)

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