American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Poor Position, Exceeding Abilities, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

FALL ON ROCK, POOR POSITION, EXCEEDING ABILITIES

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park

On August 23 at noon, Marcus Hall (30) took a five meter leader fall from La Chaim, a 5.7 route on the Pear. Hall slipped while he was attempting to clip the first bolt on the route. Jill Wilson, Hall’s climbing partner, went to get assistance from Rocky Mountain National Park rangers in effecting a evacuation. (Source: Rocky Mountain National Park Rangers)

Analysis

The act of placing protection is generally the most vulnerable situation a lead climber is exposed to. It is very important for the leader to maintain a wide, stable stance and to keep three points of contact with the rock if possible. On bolt-protected leads, the climber is often tempted to stretch upwards and out of balance in an attempt to clip in before the stable stance that the bolt was drilled from is obtained. Leaders should concentrate on getting a good stance first, and then clipping in second.

This type of accident is more common on rappel-placed routes where the first ascender is not really in contact with good stances. (Source: Rocky Mountain National Park Rangers)

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