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Fall on Artificial Rock Wall, Handhold and Foothold Broke off at the Same Time, Colorado, Denver

FALL ON ARTIFICIAL ROCK WALL, HANDHOLD AND FOOTHOLD RROKE OFF AT THE SAME TIME

Colorado, Denver

On June 11, 1991, I came home from work and went out to work on my artificial climbing wall in the back yard. The wall is approximately 20 feet long by 13 feet tall. The “holds” are natural rocks that were glued on the wall with “highway reflector” cement. I’ve had the wall for three years. I used to do “laps” of traverses and ascending and descending laps. The highest difficulty on the wall would be 5.8.

I’d done a number of traverse laps and started doing the up and down laps. Along the top of the wall I’d glued some larger chickehead blocks. As I got to the top of the wall, I grabbed a large hold (six or seven pounds) with my right hand. As I pulled up, the hold broke off at the same time. My left foothold broke off too. I couldn’t recover and hang on to my left hand hold. I fell about eight feet to the pavement. I landed squarely on the heel of my right foot. I sprained my ankle and broke the right heel bone. I was surprised how painful an injury this has been.

Analysis

I highly doubt that mine is the first or last accident on a man-made climbing wall, but, I was able to take care of myself, in keeping with the doctrine of self-rescue. (Source: Halsted Morris)