Climber Confessional: Danger while Lowering—Parent Nearly Drops Child

My climbing confession

This one involves my child. I hauled her up to the top of a 27-meter route, but in doing so, I jumped off a 3-meter cliff to help pull her up. I then proceeded to lower her very quickly (for her enjoyment). At the last minute before the rope slipped through the auto-locking belay device, it was slowed down by the taped end.

I reflexively reached up and grabbed the rope and managed to catch it milliseconds before it would have whipped out of my reach and plunged her 3 meters to the ground, causing massive bodily harm. I’ve been climbing for about 15 years and should have known better.

belay

 

The lesson I learned

Always watch the end of your rope when lowering someone or tie a knot. Be aware of terrain and if you go lower than the base of the route, realize you have just used that much rope. I got incredibly lucky that day and I will never forget how her life would have been changed in one instant.


This a Climber Confessional: an honest recounting of a climbing experience you’re less than proud of but have learned a valuable lesson from. Have your own story to share? Submit a confessional.

 

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