American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall or Slip on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, Failure to Follow Instincts, North Carolina, Table Rock, Talkin' 'Bout Mudflaps

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

FALL OR SLIP ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT, FAILURE TO FOLLOW INSTINCTS

North Carolina, Table Rock, Talkin' 'Bout Mudflaps

During the morning of October 17, Jeff Pock (36) fell while climbing Talkin’ ’Bout Mudflaps (5.11) causing his first piece of protection, a #3 stopper, to pull, resulting in a ground fall. He suffered two broken heels, a broken left foot and a broken left wrist.

Jeff mentioned that he and his partner and their girlfriends were on their way to climb Second Stanza (5.8). Jeff was leading the group to the start of the climb. He stopped beneath Talkin’ ‘Bout Mud Flaps to wait for his party to catch up. After arriving, his partner suggested that they climb Talkin’ ‘Bout Mud Flaps instead of continuing to Second Stanza, their intended climb. Jeff reluctantly agreed. Later, he commented that he had a bad feeling about the route and that he didn’t feel comfortable with his decision, as he had a very limited amount of lead climbing experience, especially at this level of difficulty.

Jeff recalled starting the climb and missing clipping the first fixed anchor. He continued upwards and placed a stopper and in the process of placing a cam to backup the stopper he lost his footing and began to fall, the stopper popped. He remembers die sensation of being in mid-air, then striking the ledge below with his heels and doing a clean flip before hitting the ground. Joe mentioned that when the stopper popped, “It was the sickest sound I’ve ever heard.”

Chris Rhyne and his partner who were climbing nearby, were first on the scene and with the help of Joe’s party were able to evacuate him using a piggyback carry. This was a difficult task, as the terrain and narrow climbers trail proved to be very demanding. After reaching the main Table Rock (TR) trail, the rescuers were able to do a two-person carry down to the TR parking lot and their vehicle. Joe was driven to Sloop Memorial Hospital in Crossnore, N.C., approximately one hour away where his injuries were assessed.

Analysis

Overall the climbers, with assistance, were able to initiate a self-rescue. The ability to be self-sufficient is a skill set that all climbers should have. Intuition is something that many of us, including climbers, possess. When intuition tells you that something doesn’t feel right, heed its warning! (Source: Chris Rhyne, Joe Pock and Aram Attarian)

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