American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock—Inadequate Belay (Including No Knot in the End of the Climbing Rope), No Hard Hat

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  • Publication Year: 2005

FALL ON ROCK—INADEQUATE BELAY (INCLUDING NO KNOT IN THE END OF THE CLIMBING ROPE), NO HARD HAT

California, Tahquitz Rock, Whodunit

On May 23, my partner and I had just arrived at the base of Whodunit (5.9) about 9:00 a.m. A female belayer (c. 25) was at the base of the route. She began to lower her partner (male, c. 25), who had just finished leading the first pitch of the route. It was not clear to us as to why the decision was made to lower rather than continue.

The belayer allowed the end of the rope to pass through her belay device, so her partner fell—a sliding, tumbling fall—about 40 feet and landed at her feet. He suffered a fractured arm, dislocated shoulder, and assorted abrasions/lacerations. Despite not wearing a helmet, there were no head or neck injuries.

Five of us (including his partner) were able to get him to the parking area, where he was able to be transported to medical treatment. (Source: Michael Morley)

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