American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock, False Assumption, Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park

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


Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park

On May 28, 1987, my wife, Ruth Ann Laine (28), was following me on Grotto, an easy route. I led the one-pitch climb and belayed Ruth up the pitch. At a point two thirds up the pitch near the top, Ruth stood on a block that I did not use on my climb. The block, about 60 cm on a side, came out, hit her right foot, and fell to the base of the climb. Several people sitting below scattered when I yelled, “Rock.” No one below was injured. Ruth walked off on her EBs after taking some codeine. Xrays revealed a small break in the metatarsal. (Source: Lawrence Laine)


Ruth was cleaning the pitch and did not realize the block was loose. She assumed 1 used the same block when I climbed, so it was solid. I did not use the block but I, too, never noticed it was loose. We just were not concerned about loose rock in a much-used practice rock climbing area. (Source: Lawrence Laine)

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