American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, Failure to Follow Route, Failure to Test Holds, No Hard Hat, Inexperience — California, Mount Sill

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1985

FALL ON ROCK, CLIMBING UNROPED, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, FAILURE TO TEST HOLDS, NO HARD HAT, INEXPERIENCE

California, Mount Sill

On September 21, 1984, after climbing third class rock to the beginning of the Swiss Arete route on Mount Sill, Richard Abrams (31) and Neil Grey (20s) decided not to attempt the climb. On the retreat, they got off route and Abrams fell when a hand hold pulled out. He came to rest on a ledge 30 meters lower at the 4100 meter level. He had severe face and head lacerations, bleeding from the ear, and unequal pupil size. Fortunately, another party observed the fall. The rescue process proceeded very well at several critical phases, and Abrams was helicoptered to the hospital after dark. He was extremely dehydrated in addition to his injuries, but survived. (Source: Robert Rockwell, China Lake Mountain Rescue Group)

Analysis

These climbers turned around on a very well known route (Grade II, 5.4) before attempting the technical part. This occurred around noon, indicating a start several hours later than usual. They had been observed in this extremely popular climbing area for almost a week and had not attained a single summit. (Source: Robert Rockwell, China Lake Mountain Rescue Group)

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