FALL ON ROCK, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, NO HARD HAT
North Carolina, Looking Glass Rock, Bloody Crack
In late November, two people began climbing Bloody Crack (5.8), a popular rock climb on the south side of Looking Glass. The first pitch to Stage Ledge was completed without incident. One of the climbers was leading the second pitch when he moved off route (due to wet rock on the face) onto the arete. He had placed four or five pieces of protection in the main crack. However, he was unable to place gear on the arete. He climbed to a point approximately 20 feet above his last piece when he fell. His fall was partially broken by the tree at the base of the pitch. He landed in a crack on Stage Ledge (on his back), suffering numerous lacerations and a concussion. He was not wearing a helmet. The backpack he was wearing absorbed the majority of the impact, sparing him further head injury.
Brevard Rescue Squad and EMS arrived on the scene, stabilized the patient and executed a litter lower. The patient was carried out, assisted by Job Corps personnel, and transported to Transylvania County Hospital.
This climber moved off route because of wet rock. With more experience he may have been able to negotiate the wet rock or the new terrain. Wearing a helmet could have minimized head injury. (Source: Bill Zink)