Monday, November 28, 2011

An Accident and a Self-Rescue

Recently an amazing video was uploaded onto YouTube. And no, it has nothing to do with puppies or overweight cats. flash-mobs or kids hopped up on laughing gas. Nope, instead this one has to do with a climbing accident.

Brice and Ed were ascending a multi-pitch ice funnel when an avalanche struck, knocking them both from their positions. In the aftermath, Brice was fine, but Ed had a seriously broken ankle and a lacerated knee.  This video shows how the team successfully self-evacuates after the accident.

Brice and Ed did a great job. However, there is one moment in the film where the team could have clearly made a better decision. 

During Ed's rappels, there was no backup. Ed was rappelling with one hand while trying to protect himself with his other.  It would have been better if Ed had an autoblock on the rope, or if Brice were protecting him with a fireman's belay.  Had Ed slipped, this very bad situation could have become significantly worse.

Self-rescue is a difficult and often time-consuming process. But when bad things happen, we often don't have much of a choice.

--Jason D. Martin


Mark Vander Pol said...

I think you forgot to embed the video or provide a link to it.


Ben Pope said...

Will Gadd posted on this, and Ed responded...lots of thoughts here:

Jason Martin said...

Fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.


Susan DeBruin said...

This video is definitely getting around! Will Gadd offers an analysis on his blog here, and my partner wrote about it on our blog as well.