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Rappel Accident, 60-foot Fall

The vanity of capturing a video instead of providing a belay almost resulted in serious injury or worse. At Thalehaha Falls in Rubio Canyon, Altadena, CA. Matt slipped on the mossy waterfall face and let go of his brake line. His leg loop auto block was not affixed properly, as verified by a still frame, and did not grab. He fell 60′. Miraculously he was just banged up and bruised. His helmet certainly served well, as he banged his head on the way down.

Responses

  1. Glad he wasn’t badly injured. That said, this is a perfect case study scenario/training video. When Matt slipped, he reflexively took his break hand off the rope to stabilize himself, realized he had made an error, and grabbed the rope above his rappel device to break himself (of course, with no effect). It’s a great reminder to always test autoblocks to make sure they engage properly, have friends at the bottom provide fireman’s belays instead of recording, and have a solid mastery of one’s break hand and friction settings so that errors (should they ever happen) don’t end in total free falls.

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