American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Inadequate Protection, Exceeding Abilities, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Lumpy Ridge, The Pear Buttress

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

FALL ON ROCK, INADEQUATE PROTECTION, EXCEEDING ABILITIES

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Lumpy Ridge, The Pear Buttress

On September 3, 1995, David Charis-Mink (39) began climbing the standard 5.7 runout start on The Pear Buttress (III, 5.8+) on the Book formation of Lumpy Ridge. Charis-

Mink said that he lost his grip about 20 feet up, causing him to fall to the ground. He fractured his lower left leg, requiring a litter evacuation by the Rocky Mountain National Park SAR team.

Analysis

This start of Pear Buttress is infamous for shedding itself of aspirant climbers. There is no protection for nearly 30 feet, yet this start is more popular than the off-width chimney, often wet, which is the alternative. You assume a sporting risk by deciding to lead this, and sometimes one loses. Charis-Mink was a 5.8 lead climber, and unprotected 5.7 may have been over-extending himself. (Source: Jim Detterline, Longs Peak Supervisory Climbing Ranger, Rocky Mountain National Park)

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