American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Stranded—Rappel Anchor Failure, Colorado, Capitol Peak

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2006

STRANDED–RAPPEL ANCHOR FAILURE

Colorado, Capitol Peak

In June, Kevin Smith (32) was rappelling with a partner on Capitol Peak, a 14,000 foot peak with a Grade IV 5.9 North Face route and a classic “knife- edged” hiking route about 14 miles west of Aspen, when his anchor gave way and left him stranded as a result of his climbing rope falling with the anchor. He was about 80 feet off the ground.

Smith’s climbing partner, Doug Shepherd (23), was not able to reach with a rope and left for help at about 1:30 a.m. Shepherd had to hike about eight miles in the dark. The sheriff’s office did not receive information on Smith’s whereabouts until 8:55 a.m.

A rescue team from Mountain Rescue Aspen got a climbing rope to Smith about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. He rappelled down and hiked out on his own. (Source: Edited from the Rocky Mountain News, June 20, 2005)

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