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Fall on Rock—Hand-Hold Came Off, Inadequate Protection, No Hard Hat, North Carolina, Crowders Mountain State Park, Gumby Roof

FALL ON ROCK—HAND-HOLD CAME OFF, INADEQUATE PROTECTION, NO HARD HAT

North Carolina, Crowders Mountain State Park, Gumby Roof

On June 14 at 12:55 p.m. I was informed that Gaston County Sheriffs Department had received a 911 call from a cellular telephone that a climber had fallen in the Gumby Roof area. I proceeded there and met Gaston EMS and Chapel Grove Volunteer Fire department, who had sent in a hasty team to assess victim. I led EMS and extrication team to the site. The victim (30) was placed in a Stokes litter. The terrain is steep and rugged, and required that the litter be belayed and lowered approximate 130 yards down the backside trail to an ambulance.

According to the victim’s wife, the rope and carabiner “unclipped” from a fixed bolt as he fell. A nut placed below the bolt also came out, sending D. P. on a 30-foot fall. D. P. landed flat on his back between two boulders. His wife, a nurse, said D. P. had a little difficulty breathing at first, but when she did a head tilt, chin lift, he began breathing normally. He never lost consciousness. D. P. received two stitches to the cut on the back of his head and minor first aid for other cuts and abrasions and was released. (Source: M.P. Edwards, Crowders Mountain State Park)

Analysis

When clipping fixed protection, it is important to consider the orientation of the rope and how it runs through the carabiner. Make sure the rope does not pass over the carabiner gate because it may cause it to unclip accidentally. We can only speculate how the carabiner became detached from the bolt. There is a good chance that if the climber had been wearing a helmet, he may not have needed the stitches. (Source: Aram Attarian)