American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Failure to Follow Instructions, Utah, Wasatch Mountains, Big Cottonwood Canyon

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


Utah, Wasatch Mountains, Rig Cottonwood Canyon

On July 5, Karen Wilson, a student in an organized climbing course, took an unroped fall of approximately eight feet. Miss Wilson had completed her turn climbing and rappelling, and had removed her climbing harness and climbing helmet, so that she could slip off and go to the bathroom. Upon returning, she climbed up on the rock buttress to observe the other students and fell off, hitting her head.

The Sheriff's SAR team responded and carried her to the trail head where she was transported to the hospital by ambulance.


The climbing school instructors were interviewed, and they indicated that they had reminded all of the students present, several times, to use care and not take off their protective equipment. The ratio of instructors to students looked adequate, and no negligence was noted. (Source: G. Banks, Salt Lake County Sheriff SAR)

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