American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Failure of Nut, Colorado, Lumpy Ridge

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

FALL ON ROCK, FAILURE OF NUT

Colorado, Lumpy Ridge

On July 15, Dave Trout (21) and Gary Buckham (19) started climbing a route on the Book, believed to be just west of the Kors route. Buckham had run the rope out as far as he could in the first lead but was approximately eight feet short of a good belay ledge. Buckham put in four pieces of protection to anchor himself to a crack just above him (a #5 hex, and #5 and #6 stoppers).

Trout climbed up to Buckham, then took the lead heading for the belay ledge, traversing to the right and up to avoid an overhang. Trout put in a running anchor (#1 wired stopper) a short distance above Buckham.

As Trout moved up, the rock or lichen apparently eroded under his feet and he fell. The wired stopper pulled out and somehow Buckham was pulled from his belay stance and fell approximately ten feet. Trout fell approximately 30-40 feet before Buckham could check the fall.

Buckham lowered Trout approximately 120 feet to the ground at the base of the climb and then rappelled off. Two climbers on an adjacent route (Kors Flake) also rappelled off to assist. Buckham went to the Twin Owls residence for help while the two assisting climbers carried Trout down to the Black Canyon access road piggyback, using a tragsitz-type setup made out of climbing slings.

Trout’s ankle was angulated, swollen and quite painful. Trout refused first aid immobilization, preferring to avoid any delay in reaching the hospital. He claimed that any pressure in the area of the ankle was very painful and that he would rather support the leg and ankle himself. Trout had circulation, feeling and movement in the toes upon reaching the hospital. (Source: Charles Logan, Rocky Mountain National Park)

Analysis

The wired stopper failed to hold the leader and the belayer’s protection failed also. Placement of nuts and chalks is still being learned by climbers. (Source: Larry Van Slyke, Rocky Mountain National Park)

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