American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Utah, Salt Lake City, Pete's Rock

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1960

Utah, Salt Lake City, Petes Rock—On January 11, Curtis Hawkins (18), and Dick Wallin (16) were climbing on Pete’s Rock. They had been climbing for about one and a half hours before the accident. During this time Hawkins had been trying a lead on Route #14, a Grade 5 climb. After working over an hour on the route he became tired. After a brief rest Curt decided to lead Route #1, a route he had led several times before without any trouble. The rock was dry and easy.

After climbing 20 feet and making a small traverse, Curt placed a three foot runner or sling in a carabiner and reached a ledge some 10 feet higher where he placed another three foot “biner” runner. Then reaching back, he removed the lower runner and linked it with the upper one. A six foot “biner” runner was then used. The reason he used this was to keep the rope free while surmounting an overhang above the runner. He then proceeded to climb the overhang. As he was giving the final pull that would have put him on top, his arms gave out.

Feeling a fall he leaped back from the rock falling free for about 50 feet. He hit the rock feet first, bounced against an opposing wall where he bumped his head, receiving a three inch cut in his head and slight concussion. He was on belay and his fall would have been completely stopped but as he hit the rock the rope burned through the pants and hands of Dick.

Source: Harold Goodro and Curtis Hawkins.

Analysis (Hawkins): The accident could have been easily prevented if:

The tiredness of Hawkins had been considered more carefully;

The lower runner had been left in;

Gloves had been worn by Wallin;

If the softer white nylon had been used.

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