top of page



Date of Incident





Where were you? E2


We chose to climb a route with fewer logs as most of the other routes had already been climbed by us on this location. On arrival at the top by the leader, a belay was scarce to find however a large boulder the size of a fridge-freezer was selected after applying the usual principles to check its suitability. The second was belayed up. Nearing the top, the leader moved his feet slightly to allow more room for the second to top out. At this point, the belay anchor shifted around 5-10cm towards the edge of the cliff within millimetres from falling off completely. Second was directly underneath when this happened with leader attached to front.

On seeing this, second was able to detach from the unstable anchor via the unusually used method of screw gate carabiner they were tied in with and solo to the side. The leader was then able to detach from the unstable anchor and get to safety.

It took one extremely light tap with the foot to trundle the boulder off the cliff.


Check the top out before climbing. On dolerite top outs, the tops can be quite loose if there has been a lot of rain and then a spell of dry weather. The rain may be washing away some of the mud which then dries making the rock a lot less stable.

In this instance, not using the usual two point tie in method proved to be potentially lifesaving. Being tied in using a screw gate carabiner with figure of 8 on a bight enabled a quick exit from the rock which could have fallen at any point and easily killed both of us.


Trad rock climbing




No injury, Near fatality x2.


Belaying failure or error



Reported By


Wearing Helmets?


Rescue Services Involved?

None involved.

Near death climbing report


19 December 2023 at 12:37:44

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. 

bottom of page