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Falling Rock, Poor Position, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park

FALLING ROCK, POOR POSITION

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park

On May 18, 1989, Tricia Timms (20) was struck in the hip by a 14 kg rock on Eagle Cliff Mountain. Timms had been sitting at the base of a cliff band, directly in the fall line of rappellers in her party. One of the rappellers had dislodged the rock unintentionally. Rocky Mountain National Park Rescue Team responded and evacuated Timms via long scree evac. Timms’ injuries were diagnosed at Estes Park Medical Center as a deep contusion of the right buttock. (Source: David Essex, Chief Park Ranger, Rocky Mountain National Park)

Analysis

Positioning oneself directly beneath climbers and rappellers increases the chances of being struck by falling rock and/or equipment. Timms was not belaying anyone at the time of her accident, so it was unnecessary placing herself in that poor position. If possible, when belaying, one should be positioned off to the side of the fall line. (Source: David Essex, Chief Park Ranger, Rocky Mountain National Park)