American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Rappel Error — Webbing Anchor Not Tied, Fall on Rock — New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2000

RAPPEL ERROR – WEBBING ANCHOR NOT TIED, FALL ON ROCK

New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

On October 14, Scott Ruit (29) fell about 80 feet to his death while attempting to rappel from Birdland. He set up an extended anchor using webbing, weighted it, and the fall began as the webbing came away from the anchor.

Analysis

Ruit’s rope was found on the ground with carabiners attached to it. A piece of unsecured nylon webbing was found hanging from the anchor. When Ruit went to weight the rope, it apparently dropped through the 25-foot webbing, which Ruit probably thought was tied. It did not appear that there was anything wrong with the equipment or the fixed protection.

Ruit was described by locals as a good friend and a competent climber who was a cautious, experienced climber and who did not push his limits. (Source: Kirsten Conley, The Times Herald, and the Mohonk Preserve annual report)

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