American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Alone and Unroped, California, Yosemite Valley, Sunnyside Bench

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995


California, Yosemite Valley, Sunnyside Bench

On August 7, 1994, James Howell (21) free-soloed Lazy Bum, a 5.10d route on Sunnyside Bench. To get back to the ground he traversed several yards left and down to a large flake that required underclinging. As he was downclimbing around the flake, his feet slipped and he fell 20-25 feet to the ground.

When rescuers reached the scene, they found Howell sitting on the ground, alert but complaining of pain in his left wrist and forehead, which sported a three-inch laceration. The team immobilized him in a full-body vacuum splint, administered oxygen and an IV and carried him several hundred yards to the ambulance.

At the clinic he was diagnosed as suffering a fractured talus in one foot and a Colles fracture of one wrist in addition to the forehead cut. He also had an old (healed) L-5 fracture from a previous free-solo attempt. (Source: Rick Foulks & Chris Pergiel, NPS Rangers)

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