American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Failure to Test Hold, Protection Pulled Out, California, Yosemite Valley

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986


California, Yosemite Valley

On September 19, 1985 Daniel Pisciotta (22) was reportedly leading the second pitch of the Absolutely Free, Left Side route (rated 5.9). A hold came loose in his hand and he fell, pulling out two pieces of protection (a stopper and a Friend), tumbling fall about 15 meters. His partner lowered Pisciotta down to the base of the climb which is still about 130 meters above the ground, then went and reported the accident.

A team of climbers brought up a stokes litter, ropes and other gear, and Pisciotta was lowered, immobilized in the stokes litter to avoid further injury to his ankle, with two attendants, to the ground. The lowering was started after dark, and was complicated by loose rock, brush and the broken, low angle nature of the rock wall in that area, requiring the assistance of numerous climbers.

After reaching the group, we evacuated Pisciotta by litter to the road, and then by vehicle. Several of the rescuers were stung by wasps, after a nest was apparently disturbed in the dark while descending through the woods. (Source: Michael Murray and Gary Colliver, SAR Rangers, Yosemite National Park)

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