American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Alone, Inadequate Protection, Inadequate Equipment-No Helmet and No Climbing Shoes, Colorado, Eldorado State Park, Red Garden Wall

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003


Colorado, Eldorado State Park, Red Garden Wall

On September 14, Kirk Chynoweth (31) was soloing Redguard on Red Garden Wall when he fell about 50 feet. Two people got up to the victim before Alex and I did. Then the EMT and others members of Rocky Mountain Rescue jugged up immediately thereafter. He had cranial and wrist fractures and had to have his chest popped twice to relieve pleural pressure. We lowered him 120 feet to a ledge and then he was helicoptered to a hospital in Denver.


There were a couple odd details with this one. The victim was rope soloing with a Grigri and gear. When he fell, he wasn’t wearing his climbing shoes or a helmet. He also had a #4 Camalot with two lobes wired shut (probably because the trigger had broken). One of the two lobes that did function had a severely bent wire with a little fraying.

He landed on a sloping, rocky ledge that was maybe 50 feet up and right from the anchors of the first pitch of T2. One account from a member of RMR that happened to be climbing Touch and Go at the time of the accident said that the soloist probably fell from 20 feet above his anchor. His anchor had three pieces for upward pull (a small stopper, a medium stopper and a small/medium sized cam). He also had one larger cam clove hitched to the rope for downward pull. (Source: Leo Paik)

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