American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Exhaustion, Unfamiliar with Equipment, Utah, Zion National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988


On September 24, 1987, two climbers drove almost nonstop to Zion from Atlanta, Georgia, arriving at 0900. On seeing the great walls of Zion, they decided to do a climb pointed out to them by a climbing acquaintance. Fails of Power (5.11+) is located to the left of Cerberus Gendarme in upper Zion Canyon.

Apparently they borrowed an 8.6 mm rope that was over 50 meters long. The climber then tied into the center of the rope and proceeded up the crack with belay (through a belay plate) attached to his partner at the base of the climb.

The climber ascended approximately 15 meters and began to feel weak, dizzy, and iil from the fatigue of their long car drive. He communicated this to his belayer, telling him he needed to descend immediately. He clipped one rope into a fixed bolt and the belayer began to lower the climber.

The belayer was looking up and concerned about the ill climber. The climber was concentrating on getting down quickly. The end of the rope came and slipped through the belay plate and the belayer’s hands, resulting in the climber falling about six meters onto a rocky talus slope. Injuries included lacerations, abrasions, and sore muscles that took approximately three weeks to heal.

(Source: Bob Linsback, Ranger, Zion National Park)

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