Goat Wall (Mazama) accident


Original Post
Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Apparently a 20 y/o kid died rapping on Goat Wall Monday, which is absolutely heartbreaking. This is the third deadly accident in the last two years. Article (paywall):  https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2017/may/30/wwu-student-dies-in-fall-from-goat-wall/

Please be careful out there! Goat Wall is a chosspile and it's easy to get complacent on multiple raps. This same accident doesn't need to happen a couple times per year.

Sincere condolences to friends and family. 

Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 178

Just heard about this from a friend sharing it on Facebook. According to the B'ham Herald article, he and another climber were simul-rapping when he fell. No info other than that.

Rapping Goat Wall can be really mind-numbing and tiring, always good to remember to be safe and treat every rappel with the respect it deserves.

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

How does only one person fall off a simul rappel ?

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35
djh860 wrote:

How does only one person fall off a simul rappel ?

You can get to the anchor and let go of the brake and the rope if it doesnt have a knot can zip through your device dropping your simul rap partner is one scenario off the top of my head.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Tylerpratt wrote:

You can get to the anchor and let go of the brake and the rope if it doesnt have a knot can zip through your device dropping your simul rap partner is one scenario off the top of my head.

That's awful. A stupid mistake, but I can also see it being really easy to do, if they were both that young, and perhaps not experienced with that sort of rappel.

My condolences to all concerned, including the other climber. This will be tough to get past.

Best, OLH

Adam Fleming · · Moab, Utah · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 303
Old lady H wrote:

That's awful. A stupid mistake, but I can also see it being really easy to do, if they were both that young, and perhaps not experienced with that sort of rappel.

It's best not to assume anything in these situations.  
An experienced climber can a similar error as an inexperienced one.  The reasons why (complacency, speed, lack of communication vs lack of knowledge/understanding) can be different, but the devastating results can be the same.  Anecdotally, I find inexperienced climbers more cautious and therefore sometimes safer than the veteran who's cutting corners.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

R.I.P. Shelby. 

My sincere condolences to Shelby's Family and many Friends. 

Sad



Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497

"Withington and his friend were not completely in sync as they descended, although the two were not far apart. The friend reached solid ground (at the sixth pitch) first, which eliminated the counter-balance, said Rodriguez.  The rope slipped through the upper anchor and Withington was in free-fall — almost to the base of the climb — until he hit a ledge, said Rodriguez. “He died on impact. The injuries were catastrophic,” he said.

Source: http://methowvalleynews.com/2017/06/01/climber-dies-in-goat-wall-fall/ (Jun 1, 2017 • 1:58 pm)

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497

Habits tend to take over.  If most times one raps and once the feet touch, the brake hand lets go ... then it is hard to fight that habit when simul-rapping.

I'm not sure there is a universal solution.  Knots in the end won't work if it is the last rap.   A backup hitch above the device is likely to be pulled down in panic mode.  A backup hitch below the device is probably best if seeking assurances of avoiding this accident.  ... or using a brake assisting device (e.g., gri-gri).

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Bill Lawry wrote:

Habits tend to take over.  If most times one raps and once the feet touch, the brake hand lets go ... then it is hard to fight that habit when simul-rapping.

I'm not sure there is a universal solution.  Knots in the end won't work if it is the last rap.   A backup hitch above the device is likely to be pulled down in panic mode.  A backup hitch below the device is probably best if seeking assurances of avoiding this accident.  ... or using a brake assisting device (e.g., gri-gri).

Simul-rapping is significantly more dangerous than individually rappeling and it's almost never needed or justified.

Condolences.

Chuck Parks · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 2,081
Bill Lawry wrote:

Habits tend to take over.  If most times one raps and once the feet touch, the brake hand lets go ... then it is hard to fight that habit when simul-rapping.

I'm not sure there is a universal solution.  Knots in the end won't work if it is the last rap.   A backup hitch above the device is likely to be pulled down in panic mode.  A backup hitch below the device is probably best if seeking assurances of avoiding this accident.  ... or using a brake assisting device (e.g., gri-gri).

How about a 4 ft. sling connecting your belay loop to your partner's belay loop? A constant reminder that if he drops you, he'd better be anchored first or you're taking his ass with you.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497
Chuck Parks wrote:

How about a 4 ft. sling connecting your belay loop to your partner's belay loop? A constant reminder that if he drops you, he'd better be anchored first or you're taking his ass with you.

... like a string around your finger?  Anyway, no one intends to hurt or kill someone of course. 

Heart-felt condolences to those close to Shelby, especially his partner.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
Chuck Parks wrote:

How about a 4 ft. sling connecting your belay loop to your partner's belay loop? A constant reminder that if he drops you, he'd better be anchored first or you're taking his ass with you.

Yeah the few times I've done it, we've always been connected with slings.  Helps to keep you from getting "out of sync"...

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

I just read a report that he was dropped when the rope went through his partners belay device after he unweighted it.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497

Thank you, Richard.  Some great discussion over there too.

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 819

I've done a decent amount of simul-rapping, and don't really feel like it's particularly sketchy as long as you:

KNOT THE ROPE ENDS. NO EXCEPTIONS. Carry the rope with you if getting the knot stuck is a concern.

Assisted locking belay device or third hand backup. Again, NO EXCEPTIONS. 

Stay close together whenever possible. 

Never simul-rap with a partner you don't trust 100%.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,497
Trevor. wrote:

Assisted locking belay device or third hand backup. Again, NO EXCEPTIONS. 

Glad to see that one on your list.  Knots in the ends hardly ever are a sufficient backup on the last rap.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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