Mario Luginbühl dead in tragic accident

Sharp carabiner and the result (not the carabiner and rope from the accident, but equipment used in a lab test by BD)  © Black Diamond equipment
Sharp carabiner and the result (not the carabiner and rope from the accident, but equipment used in a lab test by BD)
© Black Diamond equipment

22 September, Mario Luginbühl and a friend went climbing at Magletsch, in the St.Gallen canton, Switzerland. Mario was trying to work out a sequence and took a controlled fall. This proved fatal as the fixed quickdraw had been worn sharp through extensive use and cut the rope right off, resulting in Mario falling 25 meters to his death.

The 37 year old mountainguide and geologist was, according to friends, a careful and serious climber. He was the president of the Rätikon Climbing Club and author of the Rätikon climbing guide.

Apparently the quickdraw was fixed in a steep spot where you would rarely fall and because of this it had only been worn in one direction, leaving a sharp edge instead of a rounded that would otherwise be result.

Beware of this when climbing on routes with fixed quickdraws.

Black Diamond ran a piece on this recently that is worth checking out.


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15 Oct, 2012
Scarey stuff, and very sad. I've seen several gates like this over the years so I guess I've been lucky. Worth also noting that this is very common at lower offs and although it's rare to climb above a lower off I can think of a few occasions when I have, e.g. to check out the start of a second pitch that also has a first pitch that gets climbed on its own. Whether the wearing is the same I don't know but probably best to avoid.
15 Oct, 2012
I don't think it's the same. The wear on this krab was caused by the ropes wearing only one side, creating a very sharp edge. On lower-off krabs, the rope is rubbing on both sides, so it shouldn't quite cause such a knife edge. Still.... scary stuff! :-s
15 Oct, 2012
Sad and shocking news. I can't really get my head round exactly what has happened here (as if we don't have enough to worry about) but it is interesting that in both examples the sheath has been cleanly cut but the core appears to have been stripped. Chris
15 Oct, 2012
The key is that it isn't fallen on generally. This means that, if you think about the krab hanging, the only wear it ever gets is from a rope going in from the back of the krab and out through it, so the side of the krab that's against the rock gets all the wear, and eventually that creates an edge. It's like a slower version of taking a file, putting it through the krab, and running it across the krab at an angle of say 20 degrees from the angle of the spine of the krab.
15 Oct, 2012
Side away from the rock presumably? The wear was from people lowering then. This would wear the krab but can't see it generating a sharp edge, just a sharper angle, it looks around 90 degrees in the photo. In the example in the gym, the wear appears to have almost met the strengthening rib on the krab and created a sharp edge mind. Chris
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