American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Rappel Failure

Texas, Mt. Bonnell

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year: 1983
  • Publication Year: 1984

On January 15, 1983, Bruce Spiegelberg (22) fell eight meters while rappelling on Mt. Bonnell. “I was looking up, and it happened just like that,” Spiegelberg said from his bed in Brackenridge Hospital. “It was probably a piece of glass, because the rope looked like a knife cut through it.”

Spiegelberg fell eight meters while rappelling down the mountain, landing in sandy gravel. He said it was fortunate that he did not land on a nearby rock, which would have inflicted more serious injury. He sustained a fractured back and pelvis, which his doctors think can be mended through therapy.

“I was pretty lucky,” Spiegelberg said. “If I had been higher up, I might have gotten seriously hurt.”

He said he was attracted to the sport because of the thrill and because he likes heights. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he said he had learned rappelling from a friend about nine months ago.

“The climbing around here is pretty good, but I don’t think it’s high enough.” he said. (Source: Austin—American—Statesman, January 16, 1983)

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