AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Fall on Rock—Poor Position, Inadequate Protection, Oregon, Smith Rock, Zebra


Oregon, Smith Rock, Zebra

On June 23 Grant Pease (38) was leading Zebra, a 5.10a trad route rated three stars and requiring gear to three inches, according to Alan Watts’ Climbers Guide to Smith Rock. Grant was high on the wall on a near horizontal traverse of a thin crack leading to the Zion route finish. He found that he was not able to protect the crack with his gear. He was about 15 feet out when, uncomfortable, he started to make his way back toward his last secure protection. He slipped off the traverse and made a 2 3 foot pendulum fall into the rock dihedral with great force. With a serious compression fracture of his ankle, Grant was lowered by his partner to their third belay anchor and then self rappelled to the ground. He reached the hospital about three hours after the fall.


Grant Pease has been gym climbing weekly and sport climbing on summer weekends once or twice a month with friends for about ten years, leading to 5.9 and 5.10. He considers his experience level to be Moderate.

Grant suggests that climbers need to be very aware of the dynamics of a possible fall. While he was not uncomfortable with a total 15 foot vertical fall from his good protection, he essentially decked at the end of his 23-foot pendulum into the rock dihedral. (Source: Robert Speik)