American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, California, Yosemite National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT

California, Yosemite National Park

On September 7, 1991, John Medlock (28) was lead climbing the Nutcracker route on Manure Pile Buttress and was about 120 feet off the ground going around a large rock horn when he fell. For protection, Medlock had placed a sling around a tree below, a stopper protection chock, a Camelot camming device and three more stoppers above that as he began to climb around the horn. When he fell, the stoppers above the Camelot and the stopper below all pulled out of the crack. Medlock fell about 40 feet down the cliff face before the Camelot held his fall. Medlock hit on a small ledge as the rope caught his fall, landing on his right foot severely injuring his ankle. Medlock also sustained numerous abrasions on his hands, right arm and both legs.

Medlock was able to reach a tree nearby for stabilization, then was assisted by several other climbers. Medlock was lowered by rope about 40 feet to a large ledge located 40 feet above the base of the cliff where the rangers contacted him upon their arrival at the scene.

Medlock was diagnosed at Yosemite Medical Clinic as having a closed fracture and dislocation of the right ankle. (Source: R. Scott Bowen, Park Ranger, Yosemite National Park)

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