American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

FALL ON ROCK, CLIMBING UNROPED

Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park

On June 21, two young men (18 and 19) were climbing without ropes in a remote area of the park when one of them dislodged a rock and started to fall. The rock then struck the second climber, causing him to fall. The first victim fell about 80 feet, the second about 20 feet. Injuries were several and significant. The second victim was able to crawl to a dry creek bed and spent the night there. The next morning, he was spotted near the Badger Army Ammunition Plant by a guard. Both subjects were then extricated and taken by ambulance to the local hospital. (Source: Steven Schmelzer, Park Ranger)

(Editor’s note: There were four other incidents reported from Devil’s Lake. Three were falls while leading, and one was a 15 year old on a top rope who fell and pendulumed, resulting in a broken arm. Ranger Schmelzer reported that his rough estimate is that there are about 15,000 climbers who visit this park annually. On busy days they have 300 or more climbers on the bluffs.)

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