American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Improper Protection, Falling Rock, California, Yosemite Valley

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1982

FALL ON ROCK, IMPROPER PROTECTION, FALLING ROCK

California, Yosemite Valley

On June 14, 1981, Frederick Fritschler (27) was at the top of the layback section on the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral when he fell to a ledge 35 feet below. He did not come to the end of his rope because he had pulled up slack due to rope drag on the first part of the second pitch. He was also hit on the head by a grapefruit-sized rock, which he believes was dislodged by a party above who did not call “Rock.” His hard hat prevented injury to his skull, but he fractured a metatarsal when he fell. (Source: Michael Durr, SAR Ranger, Yosemite National Park)

Analysis

Fred says he caused rope drag by clipping the rope directly into a fixed pin on the first part of the pitch. He realizes he should have put a sling between the pin and the rope to reduce drag. He had been climbing just two weeks. (Source: Michael Durr, SAR Ranger, Yosemite National Park)

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