FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT, NO HARD HAT
Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, The Book
On February 6 at 1600, Kevin Hare (19) was leading the 5.9 traverse pitch near the top of J Crack (III, 5.9) on The Book formation. One of Hare’s feet slipped on the face climbing section of the traverse pitch. He suffered a lead fall, swinging left, back beneath the last piece of protection he had placed in the hand crack at the start of the traverse. The piece pulled out, and Hare fell 30–40 feet onto a ledge, landing on his stomach. He sustained a fractured finger, laceration to the back of his head, and bruising to his lower back. Hare’s belayer, Katelyn Shumaker, was able to lower him to the base of the route to await park rescue personnel.
The traverse out of the J Crack is difficult and complicated by some tough route finding. One really needs to be more than just a 5.9 leader to negotiate this pitch. Because the face traverse section is completely unprotected, the final placement in the hand crack needs to be bombproof. The prudent leader may use an extra piece as part of that anchor to insure the integrity of the anchor. Because Mr. Hare was not wearing a hard hat, he sustained a head injury. (Source: Jim Detterline, Longs Peak Ranger)