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Falling Rock, Handhold Failed, Quebec, Mont Gros Bras

FALLING ROCK, HANDHOLD FAILED

Quebec, Mont Gros Bras

S.C. (25) and R.B. (29) were climbing “Valerie Reverie”, a 5.8 route at Mont Gros Bras. R.B. was leading the chimney on the third pitch when he pulled off a large rock which hit S.C. on the left side of his back. R.B. rappelled to the base of the route with S.C. and called for help on his cell phone. A helicopter from the Canadian Armed Forces was sent to evacuate the victim. S.C. suffered from four fractured ribs, perforated lungs, and a lumbar and cervical sprain.

Analysis

The rock is generally very loose on this mountain and so R.B. had been careful to test each hold. The block that pulled had appeared solid until it was fully weighted. Whenever possible climbers should attempt to place belay stations off to the side or under an overhang for protection from falling rock. (Source: Michel Bolduc, Quebec, and Nancy Hansen)