Friday, July 29, 2022

Climbing Rope Inspection and Retirement

How long does a rope last...?

Well, that depends. It depends on use and damage. For some, a rope will last several years...whereas for others, not so much.

A few years ago I opened up a new rope and took it on an ascent of Cutthroat Peak in the Cascades of Washington State. On the descent, the rope was damaged right in the middle. So literally, on the very first day of use, I had to cut a rope in half.

Assuming that there is no obvious damage, the length of time that you use a rope should be directly connected to the frequency of use. Check out this chart:

A second consideration is how you're using a rope. The longer you use it, the less it will retain its dynamic elasticity. And if you do something weird with a rope (i.e. use it to pull a vehicle - not recommended), that elasticity can disappear even faster.

Part of your process before climbing should be to do a check of the rope. You should ensure that the rope is in good shape before putting your life on it. The following video covers all the basics of checking your rope before use:

Many climbers use a rope beyond it's capacity for safety. It's important to retire your ropes when they need it. Your life is worth more than a rope...

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 7/28/22


--Anchorage Daily News is reporting on the death of two wildland firefighters last week: "Both pilots of a firefighting helicopter that crashed in Idaho have died, the U.S. Forest Service said on Friday. Mary Cernicek with the Salmon-Challis National Forest said Thomas Hayes, 41, of Post Falls, Idaho, and Jared Bird, 36, of Anchorage, Alaska, died from injuries they sustained when their CH-47D Series “Chinook” crashed in the Salmon River about 3:30 p.m. Thursday." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "Two people were shot dead at Whistler Mountain Resort, BC, yesterday afternoon. RCMP has arrested a number of suspects. The incident happened behind the Sundial and Pan Pacific Hotels near Skier’s Plaza, close to the base of Whistler Mountain. Police were called to the scene at 12:20 pm and arrived to find one man deceased and another in distress. Efforts were unsuccessfully made to preserve the man’s life and he died later in hospital." To read more, click here.

--Raptor climbing closures in Leavenworth for Bridge Creek Wall and Noontime/Midnight rocks have been lifted.

--Gripped is reporting that, "Lakit Lake in B.C. is a popular crag near the town of Cranbrook. There are fun moderate routes and steep climbs up to 5.13. The East Kootenay Climbing Association (EKCA) has issued a notice that some routes have been decommissioned to protect areas of archeological importance." To read more, click here.


--Huffpost is reporting that, "The U.S. Forest Service announced Friday it’s taking emergency action to save giant sequoias by speeding up projects that could start within weeks to clear underbrush to protect the world’s largest trees from the increasing threat of wildfires. The move to bypass some environmental review could cut years off the normal approval process required to cut smaller trees in national forests and use intentionally lit low-intensity fires to reduce dense brush that has helped fuel raging wildfires that have killed up to 20% of all large sequoias over the past two years." To read more, click here.

--SnowBrains is reporting that, "after several years of continued work by residents, local organizations, and local companies, including support from the Olympic Valley Firewise Community members, Friends of Squaw Valley, Palisades Tahoe, and the Resort at Squaw Creek, funding has been awarded for fire fuel reduction in Olympic Valley." To read more, click here.

--A climbing musician performed on the side of the cliff on a portaledge for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. These are impromptu musical interludes that artists submit to the radio. Check out a video on her concert below:

Colorado and Utah:

--A climber appears to have survived a 100-foot fall while climbing on Eldorado Canyon State Park's Red Garden Wall. The condition of the climber following a rescue has not been reported. To read about this incident, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Three climbers have died this week in Montana's Glacier National Park in two separate incidences. To read more, click here.

--Outside is reporting that, "three people were killed in a shooting Friday morning at Maquoketa Caves State Park in Iowa, and the alleged gunman appears to have shot himself to death, state officials say." To read more, click here.

--US News and World Report is reporting that, "Brooke Merrell has been named superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska and is the first woman in that role in the 105-year history of the park, the National Park Service announced Thursday. Merrell has been acting superintendent for the past nine months, the agency said in a statement. She had held prior roles with the park service and has been deputy superintendent at Denali since January 2021." To read more, click here.

--Snowbrains is reporting that, "the entire management team at Gunstock Mountain Resort, NH, quit on Wednesday night at the Gunstock Area Commission meeting, walking out in protest of the potential privatization of New Hampshire’s only county-owned ski area." To read more, click here.

--Jackson Hole News and Guide is reporting that, "Search and rescue backers are trying to raise $6.6 million in private donations to buy and outfit a helicopter that would ensure year-round access for such SAR while asking the county to commit public dollars to monthly operational costs. If approved, Teton County would be the only county in Wyoming with a dedicated helicopter." To read more, click here.

--Snowbrains is reporting that, "this winter could see some supply disruption for ski and snowboard retailers. This does not just have to do with the lingering supply chain problems caused by the pandemic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also a significant factor.It is estimated that half of all the skis manufactured yearly are made in western Ukraine. Most of them are produced in a 50-acre facility owned by Fischer Sports in Mukachevo.  Additionally, the facility makes nearly 60% of all skis and snowboards sold in Europe. When the Russia/Ukraine conflict officially started on February 24, 2022, the factory shut down. It was closed for nearly a month and a half before re-opening." To read more, click here.

--Climbing is reporting that, "Carolina Climbers’ Coalition (CCC) and Access Fund are pleased to announce the purchase and protection of the Maibauer Boulders in North Carolina. The purchase secures 32 acres of hardwood forests topped with a compact cluster of high-quality granite boulders within the Brushy Mountains. In an area of the state without many climbing destinations, the Maibauer Boulders will provide sustainable recreation access and conservation value for generations to come." To read more, click here.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Retrieving a Stuck Rope

It happens enough that I'm always scared of it: stuck rope.

And while it happens enough that I'm scared of it, there have been a few incidences that really stick out. Like the time I was rappelling at midnight in rock shoes on an alpine peak. I rappelled over a frozen snowfield. When I tried to pull the rope, it was stuck. I had to reascend, in rock shoes, in the snow.

Bad news.

And then there was the time that I was on a commonly climbed route in Las Vegas. I pulled the rope and watched it drop behind a flake. It was totally stuck. I climbed up to try to get it out, but it was knotted inside and irretrievably jammed. I had to cut the rope.

Really bad news...

And finally, there was the time I was rappelling in the rain. The rope became jammed when we tried to pull it. But we kept pulling anyway. Eventually it came down, but we'd pulled so hard that we pulled the sheath off the core of the rope. Two-hundred dollar plus rope was ruined.

The worst news...

Today we're going to first, talk about some ways to first avoid a stuck rope. And then second, to get it down if it does get stuck.

Rappelling Zig Zag (5.7) at Mt. Erie



Occasionally there are anchors that are over and away from the lip. Ideally, these anchors can be extended so that the rope is on the cliff-side of the lip. This will decrease friction and allow for an easier pull.


If you intend to tie two ropes together, be sure to tie them with an overhand flat-bend (often also called a Euro Death Knot). The profile of this knot is that it is only on one side of the rope. This allows there to be a "smooth" side, which makes it less likely that the knot will get stuck.

Rappel Length

Long rappels provide more terrain for ropes to get caught up on. If you do shorter rappels, the falling rope simply doesn't have to travel as far, decreasing the likelihood that it will get caught.


Before you begin your rappel, test the pull. Make sure that the rope moves and that it's not going to get caught on anything.

A climber prepping for a rappel.

Retrieval Techniques

Now your rope's stuck. What do you do...?

Reversal Technique

The very first thing to try is to reverse the pull. Sometimes, with a double-rope rappel, you've simply pulled on the wrong strand. Other times, a simple reversal will dislodge whatever problem you might have.

Flip Technique

Sometimes a jammed rope will dislodge if the climber flips and whips the rope.

Walk Back Technique

If you're on the ground, you may be able to walk back a bit from the cliff. Once you've done that, you can use a combination of flipping and whipping to dislodge the stuck spot. The change in angle from walking back will often help.

Ascend the Rope

If you still have both ends of the rope, and you know that the anchor won't fail, then you can reascend the rope using prusiks or a plaquette. When you get to the top, you'll need to re-rig the rappel.


If you have one end of the rope, and you have enough rope, you may be able to lead up to the spot where the rope is stuck. This creates it's own issue, as you may have to rig a new rappel and surrender gear to get back to your belay station.

Cut the Rope

Sometimes -- even though the rope is stuck -- you have enough to work with if you cut it. You may be able to use the left-over rope to descend to the ground.


The final and the last resort, would be to call for a rescue. If none of these other things are possible, and no one is coming down your same descent line the might be able to help you, you may have to call for help. You should only do this if your situation rises to the level of emergency and you simply cannot get down...

Getting a rope stuck while your on your way down is never fun. But if you remember these tricks and techniques, perhaps next time you'll have enough of a quiver to easily retrieve a stuck line...

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, July 22, 2022

Cleaning Anchors on a Single Pitch Climb

The American Alpine Club has put together an excellent video on cleaning single pitch anchors. Check out the video below:

The video identifies three governing principles to cleaning an anchor:

1) Minimize equipment so that essential items are less likely to be forgotten
2) Minimize communication with the belayer to avoid miscommunication
3) Eliminate or minimize transitions from one safety system to another.

Making an Action Plan

Before leaving the ground, make sure to come up with a plan. The belayer should understand exactly what is going to happen. Is the climber going to lower? Is the climber going to rappel? Ideally, this should be decided before leaving the ground.

Cleaning a Sport Anchor

Step 1 - Clip into the anchor with a quickdraw or with a personal tether. In the video, she clips into two draws that the rope is running through.
Step 2 - The climber pulls up slack and feeds a bight through the chains or rings.
Step 3 - Tie a figure-eight on a bight in the slack and clip it to your belay loops with a locking carabiner.
Step 4 - The climber can now call for tension.
Step 5 - Once there's tension the cleaner can check the system.
Step 6 - Clean the draw or personal anchor from the system.
Step 7 - Untie the figure-eight from the harness and pull the slack through the chains.
Step 8 - Clean the anchor and lower to the ground.

Cleaning an Anchor by Rappelling

Step 1 - call for tension and construct a personal anchor
Step 2 - Clip into the master point with a personal tether and a locking carabiner.
Step 3 - Call "off belay" and secure the rope.
Step 4 - Untie the original figure-eight follow-through and thread the rope through the anchor and tie a stopper knot.
Step 5 - Pull the rope through the anchor until both ends are on the ground. Get confirmation that the ends are on the ground from the belayer and use stopper knots.
Step 6 - Tie a friction hitch backup and attach it to the two strands of rope. This may be clipped to a leg-loop if rappelling off your belay-loop or to your belay loop if you're rappelling on an extension.
Step 7 - Rig for rappel.
Step 8 - Double check everything. Make sure ropes are on the ground and that everything is locked. Be sure both strands of the rope are through your device.
Step 9 - Detach your personal tether from the anchor. Clean the anchor and rappel.

You'll note that in the video, they had ten steps. I did eliminate one step to tighten up the whole system...

-- Jason D. Martin

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 7/21/22


--Here's an update from Climbing on the accident that killed Bryan Caldwell, a climbing coach, in Leavenworth last week.

Smith Rock State Park

--News 21 is reporting that, "A Smith Rock climber injured in a long fall was lifted from the bottom of a 110-foot cliff Monday night in a challenging, five-hour technical rope rescue that involved hoisting the 34-year-old Redmond man in a litter to the top of the cliff and a waiting ambulance, officials said." To read more, click here.

--The Seattle Times is reporting that, "Outdoor retailer Patagonia will pay nearly $55,000 to current and former Seattle retail employees after allegedly failing to post their schedules with enough notice. The company settled the allegations with Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards and agreed to pay $54,654 to 95 employees, plus a $575 fine to the city, the office announced Wednesday. Patagonia employs about 25 people at its Belltown store. The alleged violations spanned from May 2019 to April 2022." To read more, click here.

--There's going to be a big bouldering event in Squamish on July 30th.

Sierra: is reporting that, "A Los Angeles man has been charged with assaulting two Yosemite National Park rangers over the 4th of July weekend. The charges came down today after a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment today against 23-year-old Robert Anthony Mendoza Jr., of Pico Rivera, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California. He has been charged with assaulting a federal officer resulting in bodily injury and assaulting a federal officer with physical contact." By percentage, rangers are the most commonly assaulted law enforcement officers. To read more, click here.

--The Trek is reporting that, "The US Forest Service has announced that all overnight visitors to California’s Desolation Wilderness, which is in Eldorado National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, will be required to store food and refuse in bear-resistant containers. The order goes into effect today, July 18th, and will remain in effect through July of 2025." To read more, click here.

--The Tahoe Daily Tribune is reporting that, "Heavenly Mountain Resort’s recent North Bowl chairlift auction raised more than $160,000. The resort auctioned 97 chairs for a total of $162,000, of which $50,000 was donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe and an additional $50,000 is being put towards constructing a community park in the Ski Run Boulevard area. The rest of the funds were put towards the EpicPromise foundation which supports community grants and employees in times of need." To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--The Aspen Times is reporting that, "Rescuers and a helicopter responded to an injured climber on Snowmass Mountain on Sunday after the 29-year-old Denver woman suffered two leg injuries due to rockfall, according to a Pitkin County news release." To read more, click here.

--The Daily Camera is reporting that, "A 20-year-old woman was rescued on Monday after falling and injuring her ankle while climbing near Dinosaur Rock. The woman fell 10 feet while climbing with friends, officials at the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office announced in a news release. Rescuers from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department were dispatched to the area near Dinosaur Rock, southwest of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, to locate and evacuate the climber." To read more, click here.

--So for some reason, a guy pushed a peanut up Pike's Peak last week. He actually broke a speed record doing this, which means others have done it too... To read about it, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--And finally, if you're on the market for a ski area, this one in Maine could be yours for five million dollars.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Route Profile: Mt. Erie's Zig Zag Route (5.7 or 5.8 II)

Mount Erie is a beautiful lone summit just off the ocean with beautiful views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. The peak stands 1,273-feet above sea-level, which is quite high considering there are no other substantial hills or mountains in the immediate area.

The South Face of Mt. Erie

The south side of Mt. Erie is comprised of steep and exposed cliffs and crags. The American Alpine Institute regularly uses the area to teach all of our introductory rock programs. And though there is a lot of rock, there aren't that many multi-pitch lines. There is one though, that stands out as an outstanding outing.

The Zig Zag route with the Springboard finish is an awesome line. It starts with two beautiful 5.7 pitches and then finishes with a very exposed 5.8 that requires one to walk out on a "diving board" dead snag to climb up a crack system.

The route is absolutely phenomenal...and the views can't be beat either.

A climber makes his way up the last few moves of the second pitch.

The climbing is always fun and engaging.

And the views cannot be beat.

The final 5.8 pitch is steep, exposed and fun.

Sunsets on Mt. Erie are astounding!
Final Photo by Andy Bourne

I found the following video on YouTube. It's a little bit redundant, but it really gives you an idea about how cool the Zig Zag route can be.

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, July 15, 2022

Extending the Anchor

"Belay off!"


"Belay off!!!"

"Are you at the anchor...?"

"I said, BELAY OFF!!!"

Sound familiar? Many parties establish an anchor and then have communication problems.  Some feel that the best way to deal with this is to employ the use of radio, whereas others use rope tugging tricks to communicate.

I'm not a fan of the use of radios, in part because people become used to them almost too quickly. When people depend on radios, they lose touch with even the most basic command sets. And when something goes wrong with the communication, it becomes incredibly hard to reestablish effective communication.

Rope tugs are fine, but they should be used sparingly.

It's common for climbers to miss one major factor in communication. That factor is the position of the belayer.  Many climbers climb up to a large belay ledge, walk across the ledge, build an anchor and then clip into it.  The fact that they are away from the edge and cannot see their partner compounds all of the communication issues. The best thing that one could do in order to decrease these issues is to extend their anchor to the edge.

There are three systems that you might employ to extend the anchor. They are as follows:

Estimated Extension

In this first option, you belay directly off the anchor with an autoblocking device, but  extend your tether so that you can look over the edge. This is a quick and dirty technique wherein you simply estimate how much rope you'll need to look over the edge and then tie yourself off into the anchor with clove-hitch.

There are two issues with this system. First, it's easy to estimate incorrectly, which means that you have to walk back up to the anchor and readjust your clove-hitch. And second, your autoblocking device is out of reach, which makes it hard to provide slack or lower a climber.

The advantage to this system is that it is really really quick.

Pinpoint Extension

In this second system, you will clip a locking carabiner into the anchor, run the rope through it, walk back to the edge of the cliff, and then clip another locking carabiner into your harness. From there, you will clip the rope running up through the anchor to your belay loop with a clove-hitch. This allows you to set yourself exactly where you need to be.

The same problems exist for this system as for the previous system. You are unable to reach the belay device in order to provide slack or lower the climber.

Extended Powerpoint

This last system is really smooth. When you reach the anchor, clip into it with a munter hitch, then belay yourself back to your desired position. Once you are in position tie a BHK. This will lock you into place, but will also give you a powerpoint to work with. You can then belay off that powerpoint and when your partner gets up to you, you'll be able to use the munter hitch in the anchor to belay both you and your climber up to the anchor.

Smooth and elegant.

 In this photo, a climber clipped into an "anchor" to lower himself to the edge.  And before all of you jump down my throat, yes, it is a single cam.  I was trying to teach this quickly when I took these photos. So let's pretend it's a SRENE 12 point anchor.

 The climber makes his way to his stance and ties a BHK, thus securing himself and creating a powerpoint.

 He places his autoblocking device on the new powerpoint and belays.

 Once his climber gets to him, he can tie a catastrophe knot behind his autoblocking device.

 Now he's ready to transition.

 He belays both himself and his climber up to the anchor.

Once at the anchor, both climber and belayer can tie-in.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 7/14/22


--Fox 13 is reporting that, "A search and rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island rescued a skier who injured himself near Sahale Mountain in the Cascade Mountain Range Saturday night." To read more, click here.

--KIRO is reporting that, "a Forbes article titled “Warning: The Deadliest National Parks In America” cited a study where Washington’s North Cascades National Park was crowned 'the top park where you are most likely to suffer a fatal accident.' Lots of other news sources and websites picked up the story, but, it turns out, the data crunched by the personal injury law firm that commissioned the study doesn’t show the full picture." To read more, click here.

--The WTA is reporting on the closure of two of the most popular trails in Washington: "The Annette Lake and Snow Lake trails, popular hikes along the I-90 corridor, will be closed for several months due to trail construction work. The Snow Lake closure will also affect the lesser-hiked Source Lake trail. The Annette Lake trail was scheduled to close beginning the week of July 5. The Snow Lake and Source Lake trails will be closed starting approximately July 16. Construction on the latter project will require explosives to get rid of some rockier trail segments, and will also level out sections of trail that are too steep." To read more, click here.

Mt. Shuksan from the Artist Point area.

--The road (SR 542) is now open all the way to Artist Point. The trailhead for Mt. Shuksan's Fisher Chimneys is on this road.


--A climber was rescued near Lover's Leap this week. There is no real info about the incident online aside from that a rescue took place.

--These types of "parties" need to go away. From Tahoe Daily News: "More than three hundred volunteers, an eight-person dive team, and one beach-cleaning robot spread out across five Lake Tahoe beaches Tuesday in a collaborative effort to remove leftovers from July Fourth celebrations, as part of the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s annual Keep Tahoe Red, White and Blue Beach Cleanup. In total, the litter-fighting teams removed 3,450 pounds of trash from the environment – litter that would have found its way into the lake’s blue waters if it wasn’t collected by event participants." To read more, click here.

SFGATE is reporting that, "With the Washburn Fire at 25% containment as of Monday, the famous giant sequoias of Yosemite National Park’s Mariposa Grove have seemingly been spared the worst, according to Yosemite forest ecologist and firefighter Garrett Dickman. And while the trees aren’t entirely out of the woods yet, so to speak, Dickman told SFGATE he's optimistic that the beloved giants are poised to survive." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

Mt. Wilson in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

--3 News is reporting that, "Four horses have been shot at close range and killed in Red Rock Canyon dating back to January this year. The killings have all occurred at Cowboy Trail Rides, a family-run business less than two miles down the road from the Red Rock Canyon visitor center." There is a $1000 reward for information leading to an arrest. To read more, click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--A 41-year-old climber died in a fall in the Sangre de Cristo mountains on Tuesday. There is limited information about the accident in the article, but a fair bit about the deceased individual. To read more, click here.

--There's even less information about a female climber that was killed by rockfall in Larimer County. To read more, click here.

Notes from All Over:

--Climbing and many others are reporting on this climate related disaster: "In the early afternoon of Sunday, July 3, a massive slab of the Marmolada Glacier detached, thundering down onto groups of climbers below. The slab was estimated to be 650 feet wide, 200 feet high, and 250 feet deep. The resulting avalanche of rock, ice, and snow reached speeds of nearly 200 mph, colliding into at least two guided rope teams. In total, seven climbers were killed in the slide and eight injured, with two of those in critical condition." To read more, click here.

--Gripped is reporting on an accident in the Canadian Rockies: "a scrambler died this past weekend after falling while on a scramble with several other people. The accident took place on Mount Temple, a 3,543-metre peak famous to rock and alpine climbers for its big north face and classic East Ridge." To read more, click here.

--N Business is reporting that, "Apple is expected to unveil a rugged version of its smartwatch that feature its biggest display so far and is aimed at extreme sports athletes, according to a report. The coming Watch Series 8 is said to have a version that has a tougher steel casing, bigger battery and a more shatter-resistant screen with a diagonal size of about 51 millimetres, a Bloomberg report on Wednesday said, citing sources." To read more, click here.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Triaxial Loading on Trees

Surprisingly, there is one mistake that both beginners and advanced climbers alike tend to make. Many people will wrap a tree with a sling and then clip the sling. Often the sling is wrapped around the tree in such a way that it is loading the carabiner improperly. A carabiner that is loaded from three directions is often referred to as being triaxally or tri-directionally loaded. This is very very bad...

In this photo the carabiner is radically tri-loaded.
An impact on such a carabiner could cause failure.

A tri-loaded carabiner is crossloaded. It will not hold a high impact fall. As such, it is important to use slings that are long enough to tie off. In the preceding example, there is not enough sling material to get all the way around the tree, but even if there was enough for the carabiner to hang more loosely, it could still triaxally load it.

One could tie the sling off with a pre-equalized knot, but this isn't required. The following photo shows one quick example of a tie-off that eliminates the possibility of triaxal loading.

Triaxal loading is a detail that a lot of climbers don't think about. But it is just these kinds of minor details that can get you in the end. The phrase, "the Devil's in the details," didn't come from nowhere.

--Jason D. Martin

Friday, July 8, 2022

The Problem with Rappel Backups Off Modern Leg-Loops

Innovation in climbing equipment almost always leads to better and more effective gear. But it also leads to problems. This is why it is important for every climber to educate themselves about new equipment and gear as it comes out.

I recently was shocked to find a somewhat major problem with my brand new harness. I bought a harness with "fast-buckle" systems. These systems have been around for five years or so, but are becoming an increasingly popular system on harnesses. The fast-buckle is essentially a system that allows you climb into your harness and tighten it up. You don't need to double it back or anything, once it's been tightened, it's supposedly good.

I've always been concerned that these harnesses might cause people to forget to double themselves back if they use a "normal" harness after using a fast-buckle for a period of time. But such a concern is nowhere near as disturbing as what I found when playing with my new fast-buckle harness.

I discovered that the leg-loop can actually unbuckle itself if you clip your rappel back-up friction-hitch directly into it near the buckle. See the following picture for what not to do with your carabiner on your leg-loop.

Note the location of the carabiner on the buckle. If you actually had to use a rappel back-up
clipped to this carabiner, it could potentially cause the buckle to release. Do not do this.

The best thing to do with the friction-hitch back-up in order to avoid an unintentional unbuckling, is to clip it to the leg-loop near the crotch. The strap that goes up to the belay-loop will isolate the carabiner from the buckle and will not allow it to unbuckle.

A carabiner clipped into the appropriate place on a fast-buckle harness for a rappel back-up.

A climber set up to rappel properly with the carabiner to the back-up friction-hitch
clipped near the crotch.

Every new piece of equipment has a few bugs to work out and the fast-buckle harnesses are no exception. The problem is that a lack of knowledge on this particular issue could lead to an injury or a fatality. So spread the word far and wide. This is a great invention, but it's really only great if everyone knows its limitations.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Climbing and Outdoor News from Here and Abroad - 7/7/22


--There are reports of a serious accident on the Icicle Buttress in Leavenworth. Initial reports indicate that it was a rappel accident and that the deceased was from Vancouver, Washington. To read more, click here.

--There was also some kind of serious climbing incident in Skaha on Tuesday, but there's no real info other than secondhand Facebook reports and somebody thanking rescuers.

--Snowbrains and others are reporting that, "At around 6:30 am on Saturday, July 2 a 43-year-old man from Happy Valley was climbing Mt. Hood, when he fell several hundred feet and sustained serious injuries. Witnesses reported the climber lost his ice axe and fell approximately 600-700 feet from the summit ridge to the rocks above the Hot Rocks fumarole." The climber was transported with serious injuries via helicopter. To read more, click here.

--The Bellingham Herald is reporting that, "Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden Dave Jones says he was just as shocked by reports of a dead grizzly bear on Whatcom County beach last week as anyone else. In fact, he was so surprised, he went out to the beach just north of the Cherry Point Refinery to check it out for himself. 'That absolutely was 100% a grizzly bear,' Jones told The Bellingham Herald." To read more, click here.


--Unofficial Networks is reporting that Mammoth is working on employee housing. "The resort has purchased the Sierra Lodge in Mammoth Lakes, CA to add affordable housing for 72 employees in 36 units. The move comes as Mammoth Mountain and Mammoth Lakes are joining a nationwide initiative to offer affordable housing opportunities to resort employees." To read more, click here.

Desert Southwest:

--Rangers are seeing an uptick in gastrointestinal illness in the Grand Canyon. To read more click here.

Colorado and Utah:

--From Snowbrains: "On Wednesday, Vail Resorts announced that it will update its medical plan to support women seeking abortion and will even include a travel reimbursement package should the employee need to venture out of state." To read more, click here.

--The Summit Daily is reporting that, "State wildlife officials are looking to find and kill a bear that swatted a woman early Friday as she slept in a tent near Trinidad with her husband and their 2-year-old daughter." To read more, click here.

--The Ski Safety Group, a fledgling organization designed to make skiing safer for all, has folded due to lack of involvement. To read about it, click here.

--A large rockfall event took place last week in Rocky Mountain National Park. This resulted in the closing of the Chaos Canyon area. To read more, click here.

--In other Rocky Mountain National Park news, from Tuesday, July 19, through Friday, July 22, the Wild Basin Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will be closed to all uses, including vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians for road maintenance. This closure will occur at the Wild Basin Entrance Station and will include the entire two-mile section of the road to the Wild Basin Trailhead. The park’s roads crew will be spreading gravel and grading this narrow road to address ruts, potholes and help with drainage.  Due to the road being closed to all uses from July 19 through July 22, visitors should avoid this area of Rocky Mountain National Park during this time. 

Notes from All Over:

--Axios is reporting that, "Clothing company Patagonia said Friday it will pay bail for employees who peacefully protest for 'reproductive justice.'" To read more, click here.

--Speaking of Patagonia and bad news. From FN: "The U.S. Supreme Court stated Congress, not the Environmental Protection Agency, has the authority to cap carbon dioxide emissions levels, which would result in a transition away from coal-fired plants and toward cleaner energy sources. As expected, powerhouses in the outdoor — an industry defined by environmental stewardship — including Patagonia, REI Co-op and Keen, have responded. Also, Allbirds, a leader in sustainable sneakers, has weighed in." As expected, they are angry and continue to state that the fight against climate change is the most important fight that there is. To read their statements, click here.

--CNBC is reporting that, "the U.S. Interior Department said on Wednesday it will phase out the sale of single-use plastic products in national parks and other public lands by 2032, in an attempt to mitigate a major contributor to plastic pollution as the country’s recycling rate continues to decline. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued an order to reduce the procurement, sale and distribution of such products and packaging on more than 480 million acres of public lands, and to identify more sustainable alternatives like compostable or biodegradable materials." To read more, click here.

--Yahoo is reporting that, "another REI store has started the process of organizing a union. A store in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday filed a request with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election. The group is looking for the company to voluntarily recognize them through the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 union." To read more, click here.

--Gear Junkie is reporting that, On June 24, the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) announced three new events coming to the 2026 Winter Olympics. The slopes of Milano-Cortina, Italy, will now see competitors vie for medals in the following categories: men’s freestyle skiing dual moguls, women’s freestyle skiing dual moguls, women’s ski jumping large hill." To read more, click here.