Date of Incident
Lead climbing with spouse at indoor wall. Belayer chose to use a GriGri rather than regularly used tube style belay device for safety reasons, assisted breaking device generally accepted as safer device when used correctly. Belayer was new to using GriGri but competent with regular tube style device.
While lowering, belayer mistakenly tried to control rate of decent by controlling feeding rope with hand rather than using cam arm. Belayer let go of rope due to heat of friction with cam wide open, dropping climber approx 15ft. Belayer let go of cam arm to stop decent and leader had a fast landing but no adverse effects.
When using unfamiliar/new equipment practice adequately with supervision before leaving the ground. If possible have competent supervision/3rd to tail the rope or back up while gaining experience.
Positive was belayer remembered to let go of cam arm just in time which was discussed during recap on how to use the device before leaving the ground.
Belaying failure or error
Rescue Services Involved?
For more advice and guidance on good practices visit BMC skills
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.