Indeed, Santa's so bad at rappelling, that it's lucky that he's still in one piece.
As a parent with young children, I can just imagine their thoughts. First, they would probably be horrified. And then after the horror wore off a little bit, they would probably ask a number of questions...you know, like:
"Why did Santa let go of the rope when he was trying to free himself. What if the device somehow released when he was trying to pull the rope through. Santa would have gone splat!"
"Why didn't Santa have an autoblock back-up on his rope or wrap the rope around his leg while he tried to work his beard out? You know, so he would have been safer and not gone splat?"
"Why didn't Santa have a couple of prussik cords or slings that he could have used to climb up the rope to release his beard?"
"Why didn't Santa just rappel on an extension? You know, like the guy in the next picture? This would have put the device up high enough that his beard would have been less likely to get stuck."
The kids might have some comments too, like, "Santa needs to take a class. Mrs. Claus should get him a course with AAI...you know, so that he's around to bring us gifts next year!"
My four-year old and five-year old are really smart. They're so smart that they even found this cool write-up and description of exactly what Santa could have done...
Happy Holidays from all of us at the American Alpine Institute!
--Jason D. Martin