American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Lowering Error at Rumney – Rope Too Short for Climb

New Hampshire, Rumney, Parking Lot Wall

  • Accident Reports
  • Author: Grant Farmer
  • Accident Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

On September 8, two men were climbing Shealyn’s Way (5.7), a sport route approximately 75 feet high. As the leader was lowering from the top, approximately 25 to 30 feet from the ground, the tail of the rope passed through the belayer’s device and the climber fell to the ground, sustaining an injury to his lower extremities.


These climbers were using a 40-meter rope—much too short for a climb this long. The rope had been cut to a length suitable for gym climbing but not for most outdoor use. A stopper knot in the end of the rope (or tying in the belayer) would have prevented this accident, despite the inappropriate rope. In addition, neither climber was wearing a helmet. The chance of head trauma in this case was very high, as the climber fell right between two rocks. (Source: Grant Farmer.)

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