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Fall on Rock, Climbing Alone and Unroped, Exceeding Abilities, Missouri, Kansas City, Cliff Drive


Missouri, Kansas City, Cliff Drive

Cliff Drive is a limestone crag near downtown Kansas City, Missouri. There are six to 12 routes of varying difficulty. I was climbing with friends on October 4, 1992. Two climbers that we didn’t know showed up and one, Russ Engle (19), started climbing the route known as “The Book” (5.9). He was solo climbing and was well within view from the route we were top roping. As he got near the top of the climb, he was obviously having difficulty. He was only a few moves—about eight feet— from the top of the climb when he fell approximately 45 feet, landing on his feet and tumbling over backward after impact. He rolled five to eight feet down a scree type slope where he came to rest. Immediately Bill Leo took control of the situation. Bill is a certified EMT. Chris called for an ambulance on his car phone and Melissa stabilized Russ's head. Engle was in a great deal of pain. An ambulance and emergency help arrived within 15 minutes. He was transported to North Kansas City Hospital where he was listed in critical condition. This was upgraded to serious by 2000 that evening. He sustained two severely broken ankles. (Source: Robert Scheier)