American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Stranded, Rappel Error — Rope Too Short, North Carolina, Hanging Rock State Park, Moore's Wall

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  • Publication Year: 2012

STRANDED, RAPPEL ERROR – ROPE TOO SHORT

North Carolina, Hanging Rock State Park, Moore's Wall

On November 5, a male climber (28) with limited experience and unfamiliarity with the Sentinel Buttress area of Moore’s Wall rappelled to the end of his rope after missing the second rappel station. He noticed that he was short on rope approximately 75 feet from the base of the cliff. He did, however, have a belay rope attached, but it was too short as well.

Park personnel received call for assistance via a cell phone by a friend of the climber at the base of the cliff. The climber was instructed to reach behind himself to pull the last five feet of rope in front of him and to tie himself off while the rescue squad could get to his location and assess the situation. The climber was able to stand on a small ledge during the incident.

Rescuers lowered a rope; he clipped in, and was lowered to the base of the cliff. It took approximately three and a half hours to complete the rescue. Analysis

All climbers should be prepared and able to initiate a self-rescue in situations like this. Familiarization with the climbing area is also a practical way to prevent incidents like this from occurring. (Source: Sam Koch – Hanging Rock State Park, and Aram Attarian)

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