We stumbled on a YouTube video not too long ago by Guinness World Records showing the fastest 100m Abseil (or rappel).
The record setting 8:99 seconds by Steve Truglia is impressive nonetheless, but when watching the video, a few things stood out to us as red flags.
First off, in the first picture it shows Truglia suspended over Centre Point Tower in London, which is at least 100 feet away from the building. It’s understandable that he’d be that far away from the building just in case he started swinging on the way down.
What catches our attention is the mere single carabiner, and the backup line attached to Truglia. A single carabiner in any load bearing situation is a big no no.
Thus far in our “Learn how to Rappel” series we’ve taught that when using a carabiner to “screw down so you don’t screw up.” It’s hard to say whether or not the locking gate is screwed down, but we’ve always been taught in a configuration like this to use two carabiners with opposing gates, meaning the gates only open in opposite directions (both still screwed down).
It’s interesting they’ve chosen to go with a single carabiner here, and even more interesting that the backup line attached to Truglia comes from the rooftop and not off the crane extending him from the building.
If the single carabiner being used was to fail, yes, the backup rope would catch him, but to clear 100m (328 ft. 1 in.) in 8.99 seconds he’s traveling quite fast, and it wouldn’t be a good day for Truglia if the backup rope had to catch him and swung him into the side of the building sitting 100 feet away.
He’d become a giant pendulum in that situation, getting swung into the side of the building 100 feet away and most likely becoming severely injured if not dead.
But wait! there’s another huge red flag in the setup of this rappel, check out this picture of the rope that will be fed as he descends! Can anyone say safety hazard?
That’s just asking for your rope to get tangled up. It never did in the video, but it makes you wonder how much Truglia and his crew really considered safety during this record attempting rappel.
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