American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

FATIGUE, FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT, Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

FALLING ROCK, POOR POSITION

Colorado, Eldorado State Park

On February 22, a thirty year old female climber was walking along the base of the Rincon Wall when she was struck on the right forearm by a falling rock about the size of a climbing helmet. Her only warning came too late from a party of climbers directly above her. The rock had been dislodged by another party farther above who failed to provide any verbal warning. The victim sustained some bruises and was assisted by her climbing partner and a nurse who was climbing nearby.

Analysis

In heavily trafficked areas especially, climbers must provide immediate and clearly audible warning to anyone in the surrounding area if they dislodge a rock. Conversely, climbers should consider their position beneath another climbing party—unless they knowingly assume the associated risks. Hikers in a climbing area should also be on the alert for falling objects and avoid walking directly beneath climbing routes. A helmet is certainly a good idea when in a place where falling rocks and/or objects are a possibility. (Source: Steve Muelhauser, Park Manager, and Conrad Bieniulis, Seasonal Park Ranger)

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