American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, Inadequate Belay—Improper Use of Belay Device, Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Whittle Wall

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

FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT, INADEQUATE RELAY- IMPROPER USE OF RELAY DEVICE

Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Whittle Wall

On May 27, 1994, a climber (37) was leading on “The Whittle Wall” on Red Garden Wall near “The Bulge.” He failed to make it through the crux, thus falling and penduluming out and pulling two pieces of protection (Friends). The belayer was on a hanging belay. He was unable to stop the single-line rope from feeding through his Figure Eight device, thus sustaining injuries to his hand. The climber fell 50 to 80 feet to the ground, sustaining several fractures and abrasions. He was treated at Boulder Community Hospital by an ER doctor. (Source: Steve Muelhauser, Park Ranger)

Analysis

The rope was threaded through the Figure Eight device, as it would have been for a rappel. Normally when this device is used for belaying, a bight of the climbing rope is pushed through the small loop. The big loop is clipped into a carabiner on the belayer's harness, and the bight of rope then gets clipped into this carabiner. (Source: Jed Williamson)

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