American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Inadequate Protection, Oregon, Smith Rock, Lyon's Chair

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002


Oregon, Smith Rock, Lyon's Chair

On July 7, Christopher Ekstrom (22) was leading the first pitch of Lyon’s Chair in the Morning Glory Wall area of Smith Rock State Park. Lyon’s Chair is a three star route rated 5.11a and requiring gear to 3.5 inches according to Alan Watts’ Climber's Guide to Smith Rocks. “The start of the initial pitch makes a popular 5.10c stemming jaunt” according to Alan. Christopher was about eight inches from the first bolt anchors when he came off the rock, falling 15 to 20 feet and twisting his ankle.

His friends continued to climb for a while and then assisted him down the path toward their car, a half mile distant. They were met at the Crooked River bridge by a State Park Ranger who drove Chris up the steep hill to the parking area. X-rays taken the next day showed a broken tibia, requiring a cast for seven weeks. He made a full recovery.


Christopher states he was seven to ten feet above his last piece of trad protection, and he reminds everyone to watch their run-outs. This is one of many accidents at Smith Rock that would not have been reported had not the Ranger observed the slow, painful progress of the group up the path. (Source: Robert Speik)

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