American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, Panic, Inexperience, Mississippi, Tishomingo State Park

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


Mississippi, Tishomingo State Park

On March 26, 1988, around 1600, Robert L. Breland (c. 20) sprained his left ankle as the result of a ten meter unroped fall on rock at Tishomingo State Park, Mississippi. Breland was scrambling unroped on the upper section of a technical rock climb of moderate difficulty (“Muscle City Direct” 5.7). He said he panicked on the final section of the route while stepping off the ledge into a corner pockmarked with solution pockets. His discomfort was caused by looking down and realizing the consequences of a ten meter fall. Breland began screaming as he attempted the move, and then fell to the ground. His two partners helped to break Breland’s fall by attempting to spot him. Breland landed primarily on his left ankle and slid about eight meters down the slope below the base of the climb. Members of the Memphis Mountaineers, Inc., responded and carried Breland out via litter to the trailhead. He was transported by private car to the hospital. (Source: Jim Detterline—AAC member)


Breland told me that he had been “scrambling” for several years without incident. He said that he was aware of the existence of technical climbing techniques and knew of a competent instructor in his home area (Jackson, MS) but he had not availed himself of any training or practice. Tishomingo State Park is one of a handful of sites in the mid-South where accidents by non-climbers in a climbing situation may adversely influence climbing policies by legislators and landowners. It is important that these limited resources remain available to climbers. Public awareness of climbing s safe aspects will help. (Source: Jim Detterline—AAC member)

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