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Quickdraw: Cause of recent accident?

Don't be caught weighting a rubber band

Over the Easter weekend there was a climbing accident in the Slate Quarries of North Wales. Could an unfortunate co-incidence with a quickdraw be to blame - climbers speculate

Picture the scene - whilst red-pointing a sports route on the slate, you lean back to weight one of the clips and end up on the ground. The quickdraw is still clipped to the bolt, yet the bottom krab fell with you. How could a 'captive' karabiner become detached from the draw?

This is the unfortunate scenario that unfolded in the Slate Quarries of Llanberis over the Easter weekend - leaving a climber seriously injured. Following discussions with climbers who were on the scene, or involved in the rescue, there has been much speculation as to the cause of the accident. It would seem that 'open loop' quickdraws (with a rubber band to 'retain' the krab) can invert in such a way as to appear sound - yet the climbers weight will be held only by the rubber band. For a full (and succinct) explanation of this potential hazard, check out Mark Reeves' excellent posting on his blogspot Life in the Vertical

There is another excellent posting on UK Climbing - which demonstrates the same problem - with a short video by 'Streaky' Desroy

Whether this was the cause of the accident or not will always be speculation - the message for all of us is clear: This is (however rare and unlikely) a possibility with this sort of quickdraw set up - so always check your kit.

Thanks to Mark for his excellent work and pictures. Safe and happy climbing.