Incident:Fractured + sprained foot in Bangalore Canyon 2023/05/01
|Incident:Fractured + sprained foot in Bangalore Canyon 2023/05/01|
|Body movement problem||No|
Some background, we were in a rush trying to clear the canyon as quickly as possible to accommodate the 5hr drive back home which awaited. Furthermore, the beta we were given detailed the pitch in question as only requiring 13m of rope (as opposed to ~20m). One should always expect beta to be incorrect/incomplete (as it often is the case. Measuring pitch lengths is generally done on a best effort basis. Furthermore canyons change over time), however in this case, the beta gave me some false sense of confidence in the rope length being appropriate. When rigging, I threw down around 17.5m of rope (half point on a 35m rope) and started abseiling SRT on a releasable system, keeping track of the rope below me as per standard practice. When I arrived at the top of the log, I threw my backpack down into the pool below to reduce the risk of getting snagged when abseiling behind the log. I also threw around 4-5m of the remaining rope behind the log. This should have rung some alarms bells as I was around 7m from the pool below. Once I started abseiling behind the log, the sheer amount of flow being funneled onto my body made me forget to keep tabs of the rope below, instead making me focus on just trying to keep my composure and breathing in check. This in conjunction with the near pitch-black environment, resulted in abseiling off the end of the rope falling the remaining 2-3m.
So what went wrong? For starters, even if I had noticed the rope being too short when abseiling behind the log, I doubt I could have tied off due to the amount of flow on my body. Instead, before abseiling behind the log, I should have changed to a 2nd chance munter mule and been lowered the remainder down to the pool below, allowing for the rope length to be safely set. Alternatively, as the first person at risk, I should have forgone abseiling behind the log to confirm the rope reached the bottom safely, while also validating no new strainer hazards had formed behind the log. If a new strainer had formed behind the log, I would have certainly been pinned against it, with recovery likely via a pully system likely impossible due to the extra forces being exerted on my body (maybe a 7:1 or 9:1 would have worked). It should also be noted that because I threw my backpack down the pitch, I had little floatation to help me swim across the pool with a broken foot and bruised back.
- Why not throw down like 40m of rope to be confident it reaches the bottom? Answer: you can get tangled in the rope and drown.
- Why not tie a knot on the end of the rope? Answer: normally we would, but due to the constricted high flow, there was a chance of getting pinned against the knot when reaching the bottom, preventing us from detaching from the rope.