Incidents:Stuck rope in Rubio

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Stuck rope in Rubio
Date 2013-2-12
Location Rubio Canyon
Severity No loss
Canyoneering-related Yes
SAR involvement Yes
Navigation problem No
Environmental problem No
Communication problem No
Planning problem No
Skills problem Yes
Body movement problem No
Rigging problem Yes
Rappel problem No
Insufficient gear No
Gear failure No


A canyoneering team assisted an individual with questionable rappelling gear and technique.


John Caffrey:

We had a great climb and descent on our recent trip to Rubio. When we reached Thalehaha (spel?) falls, I noticed a rope hanging from the anchor. We had seen this rope before as we ascended--from the viewpoint opposite Thalehaha. When I looked down the falls, I noticed a person sitting on a rock below the second drop--he was slumped over as if he were depressed. I yelled down and asked him if he wanted us to retrieve the rope for him. He said yes. I asked if there was anyone else below us. He replied no. Barb and I hauled up his 11mm rescue rope, first on one side where there was several knots, a figure 8, a monkey knot and a half hitch. the other side was tied to a pull cord, a really skinny pull cord that was so tangled it looked like a fishing line tangle. Barb looked at me with disbelief. When I looked down again, I notice a single line running from the anchor below T. for the second rappel. It turned out it was only webbing. Long story short, John G. rapped down and returned the rope and webbing. The canyoneer said he would continue down but walk around the last rap. As we proceeded down canyon, a rescue copter flew above and hovered for quite some time above us. We waived them off, but they continued to hover I suspect to watch us as we descended. My guess is that the canyoneer had signaled for a rescue via SPOT. The rescue copter wanted to be sure we were OK.