American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987


Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park

On June 1,1986, Joseph Aulbach (26) and Peter Ostebo (25) were doing some climbing on Balanced Rock. According to Aulbach, he was standing below Ostebo, at the base of Balanced Rock, watching Ostebo climb down the rock. Ostebo lost his footing and fell approximately eight meters to the ground. As he was falling, he brushed against the rock wall and his arm got twisted behind his back. He landed feet first, then fell backwards onto the ground. His right elbow hit the ground and absorbed all the impact from his body weight (85 kilograms). When he lost his footing, Aulbach was unable to prevent him from falling because they were unroped. (Source: Judi Nigbor, Ranger, Devil’s Lake State Park)


Aulbach said he did not realize Ostebo was having trouble with his footing. Ostebo did not say anything or show any signs of fatigue while he was climbing.

Aulbach said Ostebo did not have a rope on when he fell. He further stated that he had been climbing with Ostebo for five years, and only knew of his using a rope twice. “Pete preferred to climb without ropes.” (Source: Judi Nigbor, Ranger, Devil’s Lake State Park)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.