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Fall on Rock, Placed Inadequate Protection, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Organ Pipes


Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Organ Pipes

On April 28, 1991, Charles Sharp (34) took a 15 foot lead fall while leading the second pitch of Organ Pipes on the Twin Owls at Lumpy Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park. Sharp impacted on a ledge and sustained an open tibia/fibula fracture of his right leg. Partner Jeff Defalco stabilized Sharp on the ledge, and then left to get help. The park service rescue team, supplemented with Colorado Mountain School guides, lowered Sharp vertically in a litter 240 feet, and then rerigged the litter for about 1,000 feet of non-vertical scree evacuation to the trail and then to an ambulance.


When leading above intrusive features such as ledges, the leader should consider placing protection in such a manner that if a fall were to occur, he would not hit the obstacle. Remember that it is the landing and not the fall which generally causes the damage! (Source: Jim Detterline, Ranger, RMNP)