American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing


  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1953

Colorado—Boulder: Blain St. Clair, a freshman business student, checked out with the Mountaineer’s Register sometime in early 1952 at the University of Colorado and started up “the back route of the rock” alone. He reached the top and started down the front by rappel. On completing the rappel he could not free his rope so continued without it. Reaching the top of the 1911 Gulch he decided to descend in the gulch instead of by the more exposed route which he had ascended. About two thirds of the way down the most difficult part of the gulch he lost his balance while changing position and fell. He stated that he first fell head first and then ended up feet first. A small ledge arrested his fall. He called for help unsuccessfully and finally negotiated the remainder of the descent in spite of difficulty at the bottom of the gulch. He checked back at the Mountaineer’s Register in time to prevent a party being sent in search for him. St. Clair had received a lacerated lower lip requiring one stitch, abrasions of the left hand, a large bruise on the right hip, a bruised knee, and shock.

Source: Dick Tagg, Manager, University of Colorado Hiking Club.

Analysis and Comments by Tagg: Tagg pointed out that if St. Clair had not used the register and had suffered more serious injuries, this accident might have had more serious consequence. Following the accident St. Clair is reported to have said, “I sure learned my lesson. I am taking a first aid course now, and will take the climbing course in the Spring. I don’t see any reason to quit climbing altogether.”

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