American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, No Hard Hat, California, Joshua Tree National Monument

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989


California, Joshua Tree National Monument

On August 20, 1988, Gert Hirst (48), Jim D’Allura (32), and Kevin Springer (28) were climbing on “The Blob” rock formation. They were attempting a new climbing route just right of the climb “Disco Sucks.”

D’Allura was leading the climb first. He got about six meters off the ground when he could not climb any higher. He placed a #2 Friend in a crack and was lowered to the ground by his belayer, Springer. Hirst then decided that he would attempt the lead. He started the climb with Springer belaying him. On a small ledge about three meters off the ground, Hirst was given about a meter of slack so he could step over his rope. He had the rope on the wrong side of him, and while stepping over it, he lost his footing and fell. The #2 Friend that he was being belayed through was pulled out. Hirst fell to the ground, striking the back of his head on a rock. Hirst did not lose consciousness, but did not remember the fall. (Source: Kip Knapp, Ranger, Joshua Tree National Monument)

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