VARIOUS FALLS ON ROCK, CLIMBING UNROPED, INADEQUATE BELAYS, ETC.
Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park
During 1994, seven climbing accidents were reported from this area. All involved falling from various heights, and one of them resulted in a fatality. The latter was one of five accidents in which the climbers were unroped. He was a 19 year old, who had climbed “100s of times” (according to his partner) without using a rope, and had that afternoon come from an indoor climbing wall.
Two other falls that resulted in serious injury were the result of inadequate belays, one on a rappel and the other in a top rope situation. The belayer on the top rope was pulled off, so both he and his climbing partner were injured.
The reports from 1993 came in as well. There were no fatalities, and three of the injuries were the result of being unroped. Reports from Devil’s Lake indicate that young (under 18), inexperienced climbers account for half the incidents. While one of the most popular climbing areas in the Midwest, it is a place that is still being discovered. As is the case with all climbing areas that are near roads and trails, there seems to be a lure to the talus slopes and cliffs that draws hikers into climbing situations.
Our thanks to Daniel Miskinis, the Law Enforcement Superintendent, for forwarding the park’s reports to us. (Source: Jed Williamson)