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

FALLING ROCK, FALSE ASSUMPTION

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)

Analysis

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)