American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, California, Yosemite Valley

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

FALL ON ROCK, CLIMBING UNROPED

California, Yosemite Valley

On June 19, Jeff Drinkard (18) and Steve Larson (19) were climbing the Royal Arches route. On the 15th pitch, they unroped for a 4th class section. When they came to the last pitch, a 5.4 friction traverse, they decided not to rope up again. As they were climbing across, Drinkard slipped on a wet spot on the rock, slid down the slab, and fell approximately 800 feet. The body was evacuated by Park Service personnel. (Source: Hal Grovert, SAR Officer, Yosemite National Park)

Analysis

Even though the last pitch of the climb is fairly short, and fairly low angle, there is no way to stop once you begin to fall. There is also 800 feet of exposure below the slab. Climbers should stay roped until they are definitely off of the climb. (Source: Hal Grovert, SAR Officer, Yosemite National Park)

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