American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mt. Otis

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1965

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mt. Otis. On 25 July at about 3 P.M. a party of six climbers in the Rocky Mountain Guide Service Mountaineering School was participating in a rock climbing demonstration and practice on a rock formation on the south wall of Mt. Otis Rocky Mountain National Park. The school was demonstrating and practicing techniques of tension climbing under the direction of Chief Guide Tom Nash. The party consisted of Nash, Dr. William Eubank, Steve Mineto, Park Ranger Russell Betts, Tom Lea, and Henry Monroe. Mr. Monroe (61) was taking pictures of the other climbers while standing on the broad ledge in the cliff face about 200 feet above the valley floor. Mr. Monroe stepped down off a small rock, lost his balance and fell to the ground, twisting his right ankle which immediately caused pain. Mr. Monroe announced to the others that he had injured his ankle; at which time Dr. Eubank examined him and gave first aid which consisted of a splint from above the knee to the foot.

Source: Rangers Betts and Thompson.

Analysis: The party had been climbing most of the day in very warm weather at an elevation of about 11,000 feet. This may have resulted in some fatigue on the part of the victim due to his age and degree of acclimatization. It is felt that Mr. Monroes loss of balance was due to this condition. He was not in a technical climbing situation at the time of the accident and the terrain did not suggest the likelihood of an accident. Due to the strength and extensive experience of members of the party, the technical evacuation was carried out with great efficiency.

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