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Colorado, Pikes Peak, Near Bear Creek, Specimen

Colorado, Pikes Peak, Near Bear Creek, Specimen—On May 24, about 17 members and guests of the Colorado Mountain Club were engaged in a scheduled climb of Specimen, a rock above Bear Creek. The route was short, ordinarily requiring about 60 feet of rope. A 15-foot chimney led to a spacious shelf from which at least four routes led to the summit. There were eight ropes present. One or two people were on the summit. Wilbur Arnold was on the second shelf, about fifteen feet above the first, belaying a climber up. Philip Thompson (16) attempted to climb upward from the first shelf by another route and fell from the face at the cliff several feet above the first shelf. He landed on the shelf, where he received several lacerations on the lower legs. Band-aids were offered but refused. A few minutes later he climbed to the second shelf. While the others were belaying or being belayed on various routes, Thompson and a companion descended from the second shelf and departed, without reporting to the leader (Arnold). Two weeks later, Thompson went to a doctor, who said he should have seen him immediately so that stitches could be put in. Without stitches the wounds failed to close properly and would leave scars.

Source: Wilbur Arnold.

Analysis (Arnold): It was early afternoon on a warm sunny day. Climbing conditions were ideal. Judgment of party was somewhat deficient. Organization was lacking. Strength of party was adequate. Clothing and equipment were satisfactory.

It is probable that none of the ten essentials were carried. The rock is below timberline at about 9,500 ft. above sea level, and about 2 miles from the cars.

Thompson’s climbing without a rope was unsafe and unnecessary, as there were several climbers and ropes on the second shelf and summit who could have given him an overhead belay had he requested it.