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Fall on Rock—Hand Hold Came Off, Inadequate Protection, Off Route, Wyoming, Grand Tetons, Symmetry Spire


Wyoming, Grant Tetons, Symmetry Spire

On July 14, Chris Schroeder (34) and his partner Ronald Fleck were attempting an ascent of the Southwest Ridge of Symmetry Spire (II 5.7). Schroeder was leading the second pitch and believes that he was off the regular route. He had placed a small spring loaded camming unit and proceeded to “run it out” on easy climbing when he pulled out a loose rock. This caused him to fall approximately 70 feet before the rope halted his fall approximately five feet above a ledge. Schroeder remembers bouncing off a ledge and injuring his left ankle. He then began to tumble and in the process cut his left hand. He believes he would have landed on the ledge if his belayer had not taken in slack and shortened his fall. Schroeder was not wearing a helmet at the time of the fall.

Following the incident Fleck treated his injuries and then lowered Schroeder a rope length to the ground. He had a cellular phone with him but was unable to phone out on it until they were near the trail. Once at the base of the climb, Fleck continued lowering his partner down the snow couloir as much as possible. Schroeder was also able to “scoot” himself down the slope unassisted at times. Schroeder stated that he had been doing roped climbing for approximately 15 years. (Source: Rich Perch, SAR Ranger)