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WTF Wedneday: Cut webbing at Fat Mans Missery  


Adolfo Isassi
Member Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 5
26/06/2020 1:27 pm  

"On June 23, 2020, Kane County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch was notified of a fall that occurred in the early afternoon at “Fat Man’s Misery”, (a popular slot canyon just outside of Zion National Park that empties into the East Fork of the Virgin River in Kane County). On one of the last few rappels of the canyon, a 37 year old male attempted to descend. While leaning back and testing the tension of the anchor, the existing webbing snapped in half. The male individual fell approximately 20 feet and landed on slick rock below. His injuries resulted in traumatic conditions to his whole body. A member of the group was able to hike out high enough out of the canyon to get cell phone service to contact help."

Full SAR report here
There is another account where the victim was already 2/3 down the rappel when the webbing failure occurred.
Luckily, the SAR team took a photo of the webbing that failed.
The portion of the webbing that failed, suggests that it got exposed to cutting or abrasion damage. Any textile under load, webbing or rope, becomes more susceptible to damage while under tension.
Risk Mitigation Measures:
While is unclear what exactly damaged the webbing, there are some mitigation measures that can be taken:
  •  If there is textile contact with a sharp rock surface, inspect the textile after each team member loads the webbing and check for damage.
  •  If there is an extended master point going over the edge, add textile redundancy by doubling the webbing and adding an overhand.
  •  Perform courtesy rigging. This way you will not expose the webbing to damage for every team member. Just for the last person.
  •  Perform good rappelling form - Do not jump or bounce on the rope. Do not swing from side to side on the rope. All this just accelerates the damage if there is any textile contact with the rock.

More discussion on ART of RopeWork Facebook Group

This topic was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Adolfo Isassi
This topic was modified 1 month ago 6 times by Canyons and Crags