American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out—Quality of Rock, Utah, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Hellgate, Cliffs

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


Utah, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Hellgate Cliffs

On August 4, Daniel Filler (21) suffered a 15 to 20 foot ground-fall at Hellgate Cliffs in Little Cottonwood Canyon. He was climbing Dark Star (5.12a), a trad route on a crag otherwise fall of bolted climbs. He had placed three pieces when he fell. The third piece, a large nut, pulled when it was loaded. He hit the ground, landing on rocks and bushes.

Salt Lake County SAR and Unified Fire responded. They packaged Daniel in a litter and vacuum splint and lowered him down the scree slope to the trailhead. He was then transported by ambulance.


Hellgate Cliffs are a limestone outcrop in Little Cottonwood. This area is known for rockfall and pulled holds. It is likely that poor rock quality contributed to the failure of the nut placement. (Source: Tom Moyer, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.