52 Ways to Die in a Cave

1. Acetylene explosion (acetylene still used by some as fuel for cave lamps)
2. Camp stove explosion (white gas or butane)
3. Fall while climbing rock
4. Fall while downclimbing rock
5. Fall while ascending rope
6. Fall while rappelling (descending rope)
7. Rockfall
8. Dig or tunnel collapse
9. Unplanned detachment from rebelay
10. Failure to complete change from rappel to ascent, and vice versa
11. Prusik knots jammed
12. Prusik knots won’t grip
13. Ascenders slip on muddy, wet, or icy rope (this one almost got me on a 250-foot drop)
14. Strangulation in vertical gear
15. Fall from losing grip on handline
16. Rope anchor failure
17. Rope failure
18. Rope cut by falling rock
19. Ladder failure
20. Uncontrolled rappel
21. Harness carabiner opens during rappel (as with Chris Yeager)
22.Rappel shunt (emergency brake) defeated during rappel
23. Unwanted rappel shunt activation
24. Rappel off end of rope (as with Alexander Karabikhin)
25. Drop rope
26. Rope recoils out of reach after rappel
27. Rappel into pit without ascent gear
28. Foot hang
29. Chemical contamination of rope
30. Animals eat rope
31. Rappel rack nut falls off
32. Hair caught in rappel rack
33. Clothing or chinstrap caught in rappel rack
34. Sewn sling tears
35. Exhaustion
36. Hypothermia
37. Drowning
38. Becoming lost
39. Out of light
40. Entrapment by flood
41. Entrapment by rockfall
42. Asphyxiation by methane, carbon dioxide, blast fumes, etc.
43. Locked inside gated entrance
44. Poisonous snakes and insects
45. Struck by lightning while in cave stream
46. Struck by lightning while talking on cable telephone to surface
47. Rabid bat bite
48. Bacterial or fungal infection: histoplasmosis, etc.
49. Hyperthermia (some caves are 130F)
50. Incapacitating injury
51. Incapacitating illness
52. Stuck in crevice

BLIND DESCENT by James Tabor is in stores on June 15, 2010 and available for preorder now. Learn more at http://www.BlindDescent.com

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