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California, Yosemite National Park, North Face of Rostrum

California, Yosemite National Park, North Face of Rostrum. On 13 September Tim Auger (23), and Neil Bennett (21), were climbing Rostrum. From a belay ledge, Tim placed two aid pins and then started up a layback crack, carrying two pins on slings in his mouth. When he tried to protect this lead, however, one piton dropped from the crack before he could hit it and the other was too small. As the crack beyond looked good, Tim continued, but ran out of finger grips near the top. He started down, but fell before reaching the level where the last aid pin would have stopped him from striking the belay ledge. He fell an estimated 25 feet and suffered a broken heel bone. Party retreated without assistance.

Source: R. Culbert.

Analysis: Protecting a long layback without rest-points is a nasty problem. Leading out beyond protection was an obvious risk that Tim apparently judged worth taking.