American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Colorado, Third Flatiron

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1962

Colorado, Third Flatiron. On July 30, Dennis Dreher (18), Evans Winner (28), and Roy Rieckus (19) were descending the Third Flatiron in the face of an impending storm. Dreher rappelled down their ascent route, the east face. The rappel was fixed at one end to an anchor bolt and the other end was tied around Dreher’s waist. He started down at an angle along the edge of a rock lip. He realized he had to go straight down so he stepped off the lip, lost his footing, and fell about 30 ft. to the end of the rope, then pendulumed in against the rock. His friends helped him to a safe position. Evacuation was accomplished by two teams. The rescue was hampered by the storm and slippery rocks.

Source: Ed Anderson.

Analysis: The climbers showed good judgment in attempting to avoid being caught by the storm. Their haste and selection of the wrong descent route (normally the south side is used) indicate that one should have proper knowledge of the routes and be prepared for contingencies of this sort.

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