American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Inadequate Protection, West Virginia, Nelson Rocks Preserve

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007


West Virginia, Nelson Rocks Preserve

West Virginia State Police say Amanda Joy Crawford was climbing a “via ferrata” (iron way) at the Nelson Rocks Preserve in Pendleton County when she unhooked one of her lines to go around a tree, mis-stepped, and fell almost 150 feet. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The type of mountain climbing Crawford was doing is rare in the United States. It’s a system that is said to be safe for people who have no prior climbing training. We spoke with an Eastern Mennonite University professor who is familiar with via ferratas. He says this type of climbing is designed to prevent any accidents. The route Crawford was climbing was only the second of its kind in the United States. (Source: From an article by Lauren McKay)

(Editor’s Note: There may be more than two via ferratas in the U.S. There is one such route on Half Dome in Yosemite National Park that has been climbed by thousands without incident. A few individuals have attempted to establish more via ferratas in the U.S., but most are opposed to this because of the level of destruction it causes to the rock. There are a lot of websites to go to,including www.nelsonrocks. org, to learn about these. Also go to Google and just put in via ferrata.)

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