An update on the Brad Gobright tragedy

The climbing partner that Gobright was simul-rapping with did not rap off the end of the rope, as previously believed. While tragic, this climbing accident was ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE. These guys made four mistakes that I know of. First, you always, always, always tie knots in the ends of the rope when rappelling. Always. Second, if the rope is tangled up in a bush, as Gobright’s side was, untangle it before you begin rappelling. Third, pull the rope to center before you begin rappelling. These three things will give you an excellent head start on any problem you might encounter. Now, short of the anchor popping, these guys both should’ve made it to the ledge below safely. Except for a fourth thing they did wrong. They knew their rope was too short and they began rappelling down despite this fact. Don’t get cocky with gravity or purposely push your luck beyond beginner basics and common sense. This applies to all four of these mistakes. Now, Brad Gobright’s death is a tragedy. I’m not disputing that, and I’m sad about it, too. What this experienced climber and his partner did in ignoring the safety basics, though, amounts to lazy, sloppy, dangerous rappelling, and you wouldn’t find me climbing with these guys knowing their disregard for common sense, basic rappelling safety. Climbing is dangerous enough with safety protocols in place. They got complacent and it cost someone their life. Was it worth it?

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