VARIOUS FALLS ON ROCK
Idaho, City of Rocks National Reserve
This year we only had four reported climbing accidents. Two of these came to our attention only because the parties involved stopped by the Visitor Center to ask for directions to the hospital.
Daniel Hansen (22) fell while attempting Dynamo Hum, a popular 5.10c on Transformer Wall. He missed the correct start and fell from about eight feet up, landing on an erosion control retaining wall. He fractured and dislocated his ankle. This terrace was intentionally positioned such that it would provide a good landing zone should someone come off the start of the route—but not so good a landing zone for Daniel’s “variation.”
The second accident—which was a self-rescue—happened to Ian McNeill, who sustained a hip injury falling from New Troy, a notorious 5.10cR on Super Hits Wall. We do not know the details, but a fall from the crux would result in a 20-foot-plus ground fall. McNeill may have overestimated his abilities.
The other two involved rescue efforts by City of Rocks personnel. The first one was to Jamie Aghain (35), who was scrambling down the gully from the Crack House at Castle Rocks when he popped a hold and fell head first into a crevice between two boulders. He sustained a subdural hematoma. He was lucky to be in the company of an ER physician and that there happened to be other experienced rescue personnel nearby—because on any given day, there would have been no one within miles, as Castle Rocks is not open to the public yet. Also, Jamie may have walked away from this if he had been wearing a helmet.
The last incident was also in an area that is closed to the public. Robert Laymon (38) fell while climbing unroped on the controversial North Twin Sister, the closer of which has been the object of years of legal battles between the Access Fund and NPS. It is unknown how far Mr. Laymon fell, but his injuries would suggest that he took quite a tumble. He may have fallen due at least in part from distraction, as there was a major wildfire just south of the Sister, which, in fact, was forcing a general evacuation from the Reserve! (Source: From a letter and reports sent by Brad Shilling, Climbing Ranger)