American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Failed to Follow Directions, Inadequate Equipment, Climbing Alone, Exceeding Abilities, Utah, Little Cottonwood Canyon

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

FALL ON ROCK, FAILED TO FOLLOW DIRECTIONS, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT, CLIMBING ALONE, EXCEEDING ABILITIES

Utah, Little Cottonwood Canyon

On June 5, 1989, Larry Irvine (40) was climbing “Call It What You Please” (5.8) alone, using a self-belaying device called a “Soloist.” He was 12 meters up, and had placed seven pieces of protection, but when he fell, he turned upside down. He fell to the ground because the camming device allows the rope to slide through in this position. He suffered a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder. The two climbers reporting this accident are nurses, and fortunately were nearby. They provided first aid and assisted the victim to the road and drove him to the hospital. (Source: Robin Waxman and James Garnett)

Analysis

The directions which came with the device state the following: “....Manufacturer recommends backing up the Soloist with a safety knot at regular intervals and advises that low-angle tumbling backward falls may not be stopped by device... Must be used with a chest harness.” (Source: From Rock Exotica Soloist description by manufacturer)

(Editor’s Note: M. Thad Moore, Deputy with the Salt Lake County Sheriff Search and Rescue, reported three rock climbing accidents, two involving protection pulling, the other no protection, all

victims sustaining fractures. One uncontrolled snow descent of 60 meters could have been prevented if the victim had had an ice ax—and the knowledge of its use. As noted last year, climbing is on the increase in the Salt Lake area. It is now also a popular haven for sport climbers.)

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