American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Various Falls on Rock, Some Solo, Some Inadequately Protected, Etc., Utah, Various Locations

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

VARIOUS FALLS ON ROCK, SOME SOLO, SOME INADEQUATELY PROTECTED, ETC

Utah, Various Locations

We received some sketchy reports on several other accidents in Utah. They are summarized as follows.

On March 2, Robert Moor (35) fell 100 feet to his death when the ice he was attached to broke off. He was climbing with a friend in Sanpete County’s Maple Canyon when the ice broke away from the face. Moore died on impact. It is suspected that weather related freeze/thaw was a contributing factor.

At 7:00 p.m. on May 29, a 21-year-old man was free-soloing with some friends at the Moss Ledges picnic area when he apparently slipped on a wet rock and fell backward into the creek. Witnesses said the man fell approximately 15 feet and landed on his head. County search and rescue volunteers and paramedics reached the man quickly and a life-flight helicopter was on hand waiting to transport, but the victim died at the scene.

On July 11, Tim Roberts (36) of Salt Lake City, sustained several broken vertebrae when he fell 20 feet after his climbing rope slipped (NB: Assume belay slipped) and his partner was unable to regain control. Dispatchers from the Utah County Sheriff’s office received a call reporting the accident at 9:00 a.m. Lone Peak Fire District Paramedics treated Roberts at the scene. The canyon was closed for several hours in order to bring in a helicopter to airlift him to L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City. Police report that Roberts and his partner were both experienced climbers and were using appropriate equipment.

On July 14, a 2 5 -year-old man was climbing next to a waterfall in Coal Pit Gulch in Little Cottonwood Canyon when one of the rocks he was using as a handhold pulled out. The man was free-soloing and fell into a very steep and treacherous area. He suffered facial lacerations and a possible broken ankle and was unable to move. The man’s friend ran down the trail to get help and encountered a third person with a cell phone who notified rescue personnel. Several hours of highly technical rescue work were required to bring the victim out of the gulch.

On July 18, Patrick Desisto (19) was rescued after being stranded on a ledge for 19 hours near Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. A large boulder had fallen on his hands. Desisto suffered lacerations and broken bones in several fingers.

On August 11, a 50-year-old man was rappelling into Pine Creek Canyon from the north rim when he found that his rope did not reach to the canyon floor. When he attempted to stop his downward movement, he turned upside down and rappelled off the end of his rope, falling 15 feet to the canyon floor. EMS personnel and rescuers attended to him and raised him 100 feet to the rim. He sustained fractures to four ribs and his left femur.

On December 17, a highly experienced rock climber was killed after apparently falling 400 feet from a peak in Ogden Canyon. The body of Kenneth Gigi of Syracuse was recovered on the afternoon of the 18th following an extensive search and recovery effort. Gigi went climbing near Malan’s Peak in Ogden on the December 17. He was due back at his home by 5:00 p.m. but never made it. About 9:00 p.m. his family called the Sheriff’s office to report him missing. Search crews found two of Gigi’s friends who were also looking for him, and they pointed searchers to the area Gigi frequented. At 11:00 p.m. a group consisting of Sheriff’s searchers and friends spotted Gigi’s body in a chute below the face of the peak. It appeared that he had slipped while climbing and had fallen or slid approximately 400 feet. Gigi was solo climbing with no gear or helmet, only a backpack. The best theory is that for whatever reason, he began climbing and was soon in a position

where the safest escape was to try to climb out of the canyon, followed by a slip on ice or snow.

Analysis

Not much can be said with so few details. The ones with obvious errors need no comment. An interesting conclusion to the man who rappelled off the end of his rope is that the leader of his five-person team was issued a citation for not having a canyoneering permit. Of greater concern should have been why no knot was tied in the end of the rope. (Source: Jed Williamson)

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