American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock—Dislodged, Colorado, Boulder Creek Canyon

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2004


Colorado, Boulder Creek Canyon

On July 16, Emergency squads rescued a man who was pinned on the bank of Boulder Creek when a rock the size of a couch crushed his leg this morning. The man, identified as Boulder resident Douglas Shaw, writhed in agony for more than 30 minutes as crews used winches and chains to stabilize the rock and then inch it off Shaw’s right leg. Shaw and two companions, identified as Mary Riddel and Simon Peck, were preparing to cross the creek on a traverse rope used to reach a climbing area on the southern slope of Boulder Canyon about ten miles west of Boulder. Riddel and Peck told rescuers that they were standing on the large rock around 9:45 a.m. while Shaw prepared to clip onto the traverse rope. The rock suddenly rolled and then slid onto Shaw’s leg, crushing it. Freeing Shaw required closing CO Route 119 through Boulder Canyon for nearly an hour, causing traffic to back up more than a mile in each direction. Shaw remained conscious throughout the ordeal and was able to talk with rescue crews. He was taken by ambulance to Boulder Community Hospital at about 10:3 5 a.m. (Source: Greg Avery, Boulder Daily Camera, July 17, 2003)

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