I was abseiling to the start of the climb. Not knowing the crab or climb, I wasn’t sure whether to stop on a ledge or keep going. I pulled some rope through the belay device so I could move along the ledge to assess it, but quickly decided I had to keep going. I pulled the rope back through and stepped off the ledge, but hadn’t weighted the rope, didn’t think, so there was of course some slack in the rope, I had already abseiled about 25m, so I started falling. Grabbed the rope, burnt my hands, let go of the rope, and landed in an undignified heap at the bottom, about 2m further down. Thankfully my prussic had worked, and there wasn’t enough slack for me to hit the ground hard, I just sort of sat down. Ended up with 2nd degree rope burns on both hands.
If you have to stop mid abseil and take your weight off the rope, particularly if you need some slack to move around, never start abseiling again without testing that the rope is tight, put your weight on it in a controlled way. And once a rope is moving fast, you can’t stop it with bare hands, the pain of a burn means you have to let go.
Trad rock climbing
Abseil or rappel failure or error
Rescue Services Involved?
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All reports are self-submitted and have not been edited by the BMC in any way, so please keep an open mind regarding the lessons and causes of each incident or near-miss.