American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, No Protection, Not Wearing Crampons, Colorado, North Cheyenne Canyon, Hully Gully

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2008

FALL ON ICE, NO PROTECTION, NOT WEARING CRAMPONS

Colorado, North Cheyenne Canyon, Hully Gully

On January 30, moments before falling 170 feet to his death, experienced climber Reid Judson Hunt (32) asked two climbers at a popular ice wall in southwest Colorado Springs if they were done on the “upper pitch,” or top part. Pete Elliott told Hunt he and his partner would be finished in about 30 minutes, and Hunt asked if they’d mind if he and his friend rappelled down to climb the lower pitch. They didn’t mind, Elliott told him.

Hunt walked to the edge of Hully Gully in North Cheyenne Canyon while Elliott and his friend turned uphill to speak to Hunt’s friend, Elliott said. “We turned around a couple of minutes later and Reid had disappeared,” Elliott said. “It wasn’t clear at first what had happened.”

Analysis

Hunt, who was wearing a helmet, wasn’t secured to the wall with a rope or wearing crampons, witnesses and authorities said.

Additional Note: Hunt was supervisor of student life at The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind near downtown and oversaw athletics, dormitories, and the transition program, said school spokeswoman Diane Covington. He had worked there for three years. Hunt and his climbing partner, whose name wasn’t released, are deaf. (Source: From an article by Anslee Willett, in The Gazette, Colorado Springs—posted on line) (Editor's Note: Over the years, we have reported many falls of this type. The climber is at the top of an ice route, not tied in and not wearing crampons, either having just completed a route or waiting to rappel. One small slip in a moment of inattention or distraction results in an unstoppable fall. It is an error that has occurred to as many experts as beginners.)

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