American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Exceeding Abilities, Exhaustion, Inexperience, Washington, Leavenworth

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

FALL ON ROCK, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, EXHAUSTION,

INEXPERIENCE

Washington, Leavenworth

On April 19, 1987, Larry Laske (24) reported that he had successfully led two pitches of 5.8 on Airy Canary on Castle Rock and wanted more of a challenge. He started to lead the first pitch of Jello Tower, which is usually begun on top of a spire. He started at the bottom instead, climbed up two meters, and put in a Friend. He climbed higher and could not get a second piece of protection to stay. He traversed right two meters, and was about five meters up when, due to fatigue, he decided to “peel” and start the route over.

He said, “I yelled ‘falling’ and just let go. As I fell, I felt relaxed. [Falling is a part of technical climbing.] I was roped and felt secure. I soon realized I was falling a long time. About this time I felt something was wrong: Wham! My fall was broken by landing on the spire. Ironically, I slid off the spire and was suspended by my Friend.” He broke his sacrum. (Source: Larry Laske)

Analysis

I should have started the route on top of the spire. I should have been more familiar with placing protection. When my second piece of protection wouldn’t go, I should have downclimbed, not gone higher. This was my third time lead climbing. (Source: Larry Laske)

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