American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall from Rappel, Unclipped From Safety Line, No Hard Hat, Oregon, Camp Baldwin

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995

FALL FROM RAPPEL, UNCLIPPED FROM SAFETY LINE, NO HARD HAT

Oregon, Camp Baldwin

On July 6, 1994, Adam Clark (17) was teaching a group of Boy Scouts—about 17 of them—how to rappel. According to the report, he unclipped from his safety line to adjust the slack in the line. He then lost his balance and fell 70 feet to his death. (Source: Jeff Sheetz, Portland Mountain Rescue)

Analysis

The details here are difficult to sort out. One question would be to ask why he was “clipped in” to a safety line. Standard practice for teaching rappelling is to tie in to a belayed line before clipping into the rappel line. There was no explanation forthcoming from the Boy Scouts as to why this young man was allowed to teach such a large class, to be unsupervised, and not to wear a helmet. (Source: Jed Williamson)

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