American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock—Inadequate Belay While Lowering, Utah, American Forks Canyon, Rockapella

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001


Utah, American Forks Canyon, Rockapella

On June 1, Aaron Johnson (17) was being lowered from Rockappella, but his partner could not hold him. The rope started pulling her up. Another young woman grabbed on to her, but even the two of them could not hold his weight. They let go. Johnson fell 25 feet straight to the ground, suffering back and neck injuries. (Source: Dennis Chapman - Utah County Sheriff’s SAR)


Obviously there was a considerable weight discrepancy between climber and belayer. It is common practice to be adequately anchored when belaying, whether one’s partner is climbing or being lowered. (Source: Jed Williamson)

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