Sport climbing: tie a knot in the end of the rope!
We have received the following appeal by the French Alpine Club section Causses et Cévennes that manages the Gorges du Tarn cliff reminding all climbers to tie a knot in the end of the tope before starting climbing a sport route.
While lowering a climber to the ground the rope suddenly finishes and the end pulls through the belay device, resulting in the climber falling straight to the ground, often with extremely serious consequences. This nightmare scenario is actually a very frequent mistake at crags where single pitches are long, such as the splendid Gorges du Tarn in France which registered 4 serious accidents last year due to the end of the rope whizzing through the belay device.
To avoid this mistake all you need to do is tie a knot, also referred to as stopper knot, in the end of the rope before starting up the route. In order to draw attention to this simple precautionary safety measure, the French Alpine Club section Causses et Cévennes that manages this splendid crag close to Millau has installed the following signs at the base of the crag and has sent the following text, published below.
ACCIDENT PREVENTION AT THE GORGES DU TARN
In 2015, four serious accidents required emergency rescue in the Gorges du Tarn. In each case the alpinist or climber fell several meters due to the rope being too short and without knot tied in the end. Several other minor falls were reported to have occurred due to the same reason.
In recent years several accidents, some fatal, have also taken place in other climbing areas.
In the Gorges du Tarn the climbs are sometimes long. We recommend you do the following:
- know the rope you are climbing with and its exact length;
- check the guidebook carefully as this includes the necessary rope length;
- and always tie a knot in the end of the rope, regardless of the length of the route and your rope.
Wishing you safe climbing.
The team of CAF Causses and Cévennes that manages the Gorges du Tarn crags.
TOPO: climbing at Gorges du Tarn, France