American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock — Rappel Error, Oregon, Beacon Rock State Park

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2012

FALL ON ROCK – RAPPEL ERROR

Oregon, Beacon Rock State Park

On July 24, Nathan Turner (30) was on the second rappel of Jill’s Thrill at Beacon Rock. But he had threaded the single rope through a fixed anchor with both ends of the rope over the ledge. This left the rope ends not visible. He then mistakenly centered the rope on the manufacturer’s warning marking – six meters from the end. The uneven rope went un-noticed, as part of it was hung up out of view on a lower ledge. Without stopper knots and no belay backup device, Turner rappelled about 15 feet before his belay device passed the short end of the rope resulting in a 100-foot fatal free fall. (Source: Jeff Scheetz, Portland Mountain Rescue)

(Editor’s Note: Too many examples of this kind of error.; which is why we have included the instructional section on rappelling this year.)

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