American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Fall on Rock—Not Anchored at Top of Cliff, Inexperience, Utah, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Storm Mountain Amphitheater

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


Utah, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Storm Mountain Amphitheater

On October 10, Amberly Rogers (20) fell at the Storm Mountain Amphitheater while attempting to set up a top-rope. She was on a buttress just west of the climb Big in Japan (12b). The area she was in is accessed by a short scramble from the west and has no established climbing routes on it. She was planning to set a top-rope on the buttress and was either about to throw the rope or was in the process of throwing the rope down to her climbing partners when she slipped. It is not known whether she had set her anchor yet, but if she had, then she did not clip in to it. No gear was left at the spot. She took about a 2 5-foot high-angle slide/tumble, followed by a 2 5-foot free-fall to the ground.

The area in which she fell is in the Storm Mountain Picnic Area. Paramedics from Salt Lake County Fire were able to reach her easily, and transported her by Air-med helicopter to the hospital. Amberly died from her injuries several days later.


In an exposed spot, it’s clearly better to rig a good anchor first and tie in to it before doing anything like throwing the rope where you might risk a fall. At the time of the accident, Amberly had been climbing only about a month. (Tom Moyer, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue)

(Editor’s Note: Tom Moyer submitted a few other reports, involving a stranded climber who had thrown his rope down, loss of control on glissade, and a protection failure following a fall.)

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