American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Protection Pulled Out, Fall on Rock, Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park

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


Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park

On August 3, 1983, John Gorton (23) was climbing the rock face just below the balanced rock. He stated that he was using a Friend which he thought was in tight. He had been hanging on it for five minutes when it came out, resulting in his falling 20 meters. Paul Gorton was belaying below the victim and stated that the victim just fell. Both individuals were using headphones to communicate with one another, harnesses, ropes, and climbing shoes. A person was watching from above when the accident occurred and stated that Gorton just fell, stating, “Shit.”

Gorton had fractured his left wrist and experienced pain in his lower left back. He was evacuated by park personnel. (Source: Officer John Burnesch, Devil’s Lake State Park)

(Editor’s Note: Of the seven accidents in Devil’s Lake State Park this year, five of them involved falls where protection pulled out or was not placed at all. Park personnel believe that they still have many inexperienced climbers here, as the area is still in the process of being dis- covered. ”)

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