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Via Ferrata Accident – Here’s What a Torn Mammut EAS Looks Like After a Fall

May 26th, 2014 Posted in Mountaineering Equipment, Via Ferrata

A couple weeks ago, our office had rented out some via ferrata equipment for a group of local folks looking to do a nearby via ferrata. One of the guys took a moderately nasty fall and tore the energy absorbing systmem (EAS) of his Mammut via ferrata set. Thank Goodness, he was unharmed. But his gear was not; here’s what it looked like:

The broken via ferrata set

See how the thing came out?

Now, we do dozens of ferrata trips with clients and friends – we’re huge fans of the sport – but we’ve never seen anyone take a fall, let alone a fall significant enough to tear the EAS at the end of their via ferrata lanyards. The guy had told us what happened in detail and it’s definitely worth a share with you all, so here we go… Oh, and be sure to pass this info along because especially in Europe (but in the Americas too) everyone and their brother takes on via ferrata routes due to their accessibility and fun factor – but few actually know what they’re doing.

Here’s how we were told the story: “My friends and I went for the E trail (E=extreme difficulty). At a crux section of the trail, I was so busy with climbing up that I actually forgot to clip my carabiners over on the next wire section… I only noticed this when I climbed so far ahead that the lanyards actually pulled me back. So, instead of climbing back down, I tried to reach down and clip the carabiners from way up… but I didn’t succeed and fell about 4 meters (appr 13 feet) back. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt, but the brake-thing opened.

So, this particular via ferrata set goes to trash. Actually, we’re mounting it on the office wall – nice decoration.

The broken via ferrata set

That’s what a torn EAS on a via ferrata set looks like – the white stuff isn’t supposed to be visible

Do you know the basics of via ferrata safety? We have more info on this coming up in a subsequent post. Like, showing you a video of a test where 80 kilograms of dead weight was casted 5 meters on a via ferrata using various safety mechanisms…

Until then, have fun and be safe…

4 Responses to “Via Ferrata Accident – Here’s What a Torn Mammut EAS Looks Like After a Fall”

  1. John Says:

    Wow,it only has to work once to save your life,and I have seen climbers with rigid slings,no shock absorption at all. They will end up with a broken back,if they are lucky.

  2. zsalti Says:

    John, wait ’till I finish writing our next post… I’ll show you a video of 80kg of dead weight cast down a via ferrata… and we’ll see what happens to the different safety mechanisms…

  3. What happens to an 80kg person who falls on a via ferrata? | Climb Big Mountains Says:

    […] last post on the via ferrata accident stirred some emotion from quite a few of you. We owe you the learnings of the story and will show […]

  4. Via Ferrata Accidents – what you don’t know might hurt you | the Severe climber Says:

    […] research and few first hand accounts of accidents have been published. I could only find one account from someone who had fallen on a via ferrata  and in that case the cause seemed to be carelessness. I also found a video of a climber who falls […]

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