American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Lowering Error—Lost Control of Belay and No Knot in End of Rope, No Hard Hat, Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Rincon

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2007

FALL ON ROCK, LOWERING ERROR-LOST CONTROL OF BELAY AND NO KNOT IN END OF ROPE, NO HARD HAT

Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Rincon

On January 19, James Harr (25) fell to his death when his partner Dave Booton lost control of the climbing rope he was using to lower Harr to the ground. The rope slipped through Booton’s belay plate. Harr’s fall was 20 feet and he landed on his head. (Source: From an article in the Rocky Mountain News)

Analysis

It would appear they didn’t know the rock well enough to understand that the best option here might be to rappel rather than lower. Another question is why they didn’t have two ropes. It seems that the new generation of climbers takes only one rope on multi-pitch climbs. Taking two ropes, even if the second one is only of small diameter, provides the opportunity to rappel. Whether lowering or rappelling, tying a knot in the end(s) of the rope is usually a good idea. (Source: Jed Williamson)

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