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Fall on Rock, Exhaustion, Utah, Little Cottonwood Canyon


Utah, Little Cottonwood Canyon

On June 2, 1985, Richard Jefferis (29) fell while attempting to climb Half A Finger (5.9). He had been bouldering on the rocks at the entrance to the climbing area for several hours before agreeing to attempt the climb. Although the climb was near the limits of his ability, he had successfully completed a number of climbs of this grade during recent weeks. After making several difficult moves across a blank 11 meters from the base of the climb, he placed a solid nut approximately three meters above the last protection.

At this point, however, his arms gave out. Three attempts to clip the carabiner attached to the nut failed, and he fell approximately six meters. Near the bottom of the fall, his right foot struck a small protrusion, resulting in a spiral fracture of the tibia. He was assisted back to his car by several other climbers in the area, and received medical attention within two hours of the accident. (Source: Richard Jefferis)


This climb probably should not have been attempted given the amount of bouldering activity undertaken prior to the climb. One is reminded of the time distribution of skiing accidents, which is heavily weighted toward the late afternon. The ability to judge one’s condition before attempting a particular climb is an essential part of the process of assessing the route, and the injured climber failed in this respect. (Source: Richard Jefferis)