While at work yesterday, a couple of my climber buddies came in after climbing outside with... well, with a bit of a problem.Apparently they had been out a Palisade Head, way beyond the north tower in un-climbed areas, and were rappelling off the edge to clean new areas and check out climbing potential. One of the guys was on this rope (and I highly suspect he didn't pad the rock edge against the rope with something, because he looked guilty when I asked if he did) and when coming back up noticed first the little bite in the rope, then the gigantic chunk where the entire sheath of the rope split open and the core of the rope started to get split apart.
The especially crappy thing is that they bought this rope barely two weeks ago, excited for the prospect of a couple of summers of using it. Let me put this out there- CLIMBING ROPES ARE NOT USUALLY MEANT TO DO THIS. Climbing ropes are practically unbreakable- unless, of course, met with a knife or a very sharp edge or a rock, which I believe to be the case here. When on a rope, it's general common sense to pad the edge that a rope falls over to save on rope wear and tear, protecting your rope from getting like the above picture. It's extremely rare for a rope to get sliced this much, so they must have been running it over a pretty nasty bit of rock.
(I feel like I should insert here for my parents- I practice safe climbing- as much as I can- and am very careful when setting up my ropes. Don't worry too much, guys.) :)
Gear failure is rarely the reason for an accident- gear is made and tested to not fail. It's usually human error, misusing the gear. This is why you should take precautions to treat your gear with care, and learn how to use it properly.
Either way, crap can happen, and this is an excellent example.