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Abseil Fatality, Goat Wall / Mazama, Washington USA
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knudenoggin


May 6, 2016, 10:43 AM
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Abseil Fatality, Goat Wall / Mazama, Washington USA
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I know only of this Methow Valley News article of 2016-05(May)-04.
(I found no hint of discussion on The Taco.)

http://methowvalleynews.com/...es-in-fall-at-mazama

Here is key info from the article:

In reply to:
"The team's rappel
[edit : which was previously by another member, & presumed re-used/-done prior accident]
... consisted of a twin rope rappel which entailed tying the ends of two identical ropes together with a backed up figure eight knot. One of the ropes is then threaded through the anchor and a full-length double rope rappel is achieved," Brown said in the press release. "This provides a much faster descent as they end up rappelling a full rope length of 70 meters per rappel station."

Erps became fatigued from leading many of the pitches and then managing ropes on the rappel, Brown said. At the second-to-last anchor, Kautz took over and rigged the rappel at about 3:30 p.m., Brown said.

[question : But why should this entail RE-tying the ARJoint knot?
--vs. just re-threading/-clipping the already-joined-as-just-used
abseil line(s) into the new, lower anchor!? ]

Jackson and Erps told sheriff's deputies they trusted Kautz to rig the rappel because he had "instructed this sort of thing with Outward Bound."

A spokesperson for Outward Bound, however, said there is no record that Kautz worked for the organization.
[..]
Jackson was in position to see Kautz put himself on belay then pull down and check the function of the rappel device with a personal arrest system still in place, Brown's release said.

Jackson watched as Kautz began his rappel. He had rappelled about 5 meters when Jackson and Erps said they heard a loud snap and Kautz and the rope fell. Jackson told deputies that Kautz struck two ledges before he fell into a gully out of sight of Jackson and Erps, Brown said. It was estimated that the fall was more than 100 feet.

I'd like to know to what extent the surviving members (who were at the top, rap. station, by the anchor) were aware of the knot and could pinpoint the origin of heard "snap" --which I suppose could've been made by the newly loosed ends of the lines smacking rock.

Could this be a case of a decent knot becoming loosened and then losing integrity after having been pulled down (a few times)?! One would hope that the knot would be if not inspected at least obvious in view during re-loading for the next descent and anything bad enough to fail in this way would be obvious.

And was any knot remaining in either rope --to be expected if the cited knot was in fact used, but maybe not if the "offset" (EDK-like) version had been substituted (or if that's what they mean ...).

*kN*


sungam


May 6, 2016, 8:23 PM
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Re: [knudenoggin] Abseil Fatality, Goat Wall / Mazama, Washington USA [In reply to]
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There was a reddit discussion about it but it is reddit


majid_sabet


May 7, 2016, 10:00 AM
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Re: [knudenoggin] Abseil Fatality, Goat Wall / Mazama, Washington USA [In reply to]
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This report make no sense on how things were set or who was doing what.

if the entire rap was on twine rope (70m long)then everyone should be on the same anchor as they begin their rapping so multi-pairs of eyes were examining the system.

if one pitch was shorter than 70m then this make sense where one person still rap and once the person reaches the anchor, use the other unused rope and sets the next rap (unsupervised) while others on top are getting ready to rap to where he is.

Report says"Jackson was in position to see Kautz put himself on belay then pull down and check the function of the rappel device with a personal arrest system still in place, Brown's release said. "


So where they all on the same anchor point or no, two were on higher pitch?

Any other thoughts ?


knudenoggin


May 7, 2016, 7:30 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Abseil Fatality, Goat Wall / Mazama, Washington USA [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
This report make no sense on how things were set or who was doing what.

...

So where they all on the same anchor point or no, two were on higher pitch?

Any other thoughts ?
You are reading too much into this. IMO, the article indicates that a trio of retreating climbers (threatening weather) shared the rappels in sequence, with Mr. Erp doing all of the (re-)rigging until the fatal one, where the victim did the set-up while others rested. So, choosing to do 70m raps one after the other vs. some sort of simultaneous rapping of 35m lengths with two ropes separate.

The article notes that the survivors were together at the top of the fatal rappel, w/o means to descend until another party came to them.

And maybe I'm missing a point that typically climbers will untie joined rap ropes for easier "threading" through the anchor --just poke one end through-- than if leaving the already joined ropes tied but then having to pull the full length (of a rope) through (if the anchor isn't able to be just tied around the mid-point).

Still, there should've been eyes on that knot, which one might think would look quite different, if not the "backed-up fig.8" claimed to have been used by Erp previously (which would look extensive / bulky / large).

It's not clear to me whether anything was yet tied in the ropes --e.g., one half of a loosened and pulled-apart knot.

*kN*


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