Accident report: confusion of the belayed end and the loose end at top anchor

An accident occurred in Long Dong last week.  A beginner was seconding a 5.7 trad route.  She tied into the middle of the rope, unclipping draws above her and reclipping the dangling tail back into them below as she passed.  At the top anchor, she also unclipped and reclipped the loose end that nobody secured into the top.  No one noticed the mistake.  Afterwards, she asked to be lowered.  Then she fell directly to the ground and had her arm fractured.

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top-roping …56161553_10157167680442628_9070317299554058240_o

…and then off-belay at the top anchor without noticing…

There was a similar accident in Turkey in 2012.  It happened to Rannveig Aamodt, a Norwegian professional climber.  At the top anchor, Aamodt forgot that she was not leading and clipped the loose end into the top.  She had a 15m near-death ground fall.  It took her a long time to recover.

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This is how the mistake happened: the orange end is the loose end; the blue end is the belayer.  Climber mistakenly clips the loose end into the top and thus takes herself off belay.

Lessons:

Remember to communicate with your partner clearly about what you are going to do before climbing!

Be particularly careful when lowering!

Climb safe!

 

Pictures by Maurice Chen and Sammy Chen

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