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Fall on Rock—Rappel Technique, Arizona, Windy Point

FALL ON ROCK–RAPPEL TECHNIQUE

Arizona, Windy Point

On August 31, Joaquin Fox (38) was climbing with several other people in the North Fin area west of Windy Point. He had reached the top of his climb when he fell 80 feet, still connected to his rope according to Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy T.J. Price. Fox was unable to stop himself and neither could his belayer, Lori Elliott, the climbing partner who secured his rope. Fox hit the rocks below and tumbled, injuring his back and eye and possibly received other head injuries, Price said.

Crews from the Southern Arizona Rescue Association, the Mount Lemmon Fire District and Rural/Metro Fire Department helped in the rescue. Rescuers hiked to Fox, then hauled him up about 200 feet away from the climbing slope, then carried him a short distance to a saddle where the Department of Public Safety’s Ranger helicopter was able to land. Fox was flown to University Medical Center about 3:45 p.m.

Analysis

Cody lye and Ryan Fitzgerald were climbing nearby when Fox fell. At first, Tye said, it seemed like Fox was doing a fast rappel, but then he shouted “Stop!” The friction of the rope helped to slow Fox, but the fall still appeared potentially devastating, Fitzgerald said. “I actually thought he was going to be dead.” Tye called Fox a “real experienced, sharp climber...” (Source: Eric Swedlund, Tucson Arizona Star)

(Editor’s Note: This was the only report received from Arizona this year. No other details were available.)