FALL OR SLIP ON ROCK, PULLED LOOSE ROCK OFF - FALLING ROCK HIT CLIMBING PARTNER
Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Doub-Griffith
During the afternoon on May 27, two experienced climbers, Chris Lee (38) and Chris Klinga (25) were attempting Doub-Griffith, a 5.11c 3-pitch traditional route that starts from a small ledge 150 feet above the base of Redgarden Wall. As Lee was climbing, he inadvertently pulled a large, tablesized flake free from the wall. The rock hit Lee in the abdomen, causing both Lee and the flake to fall. Using a Cinch auto-locking belay device, Klinga stopped Lee’s fall after which Klinga was struck with the rock that had broken loose, injuring both his legs. Lee was able to get to the ground and walk out on his own.
Rocky Mountain Fire and Rocky Mountain Rescue climbed to Klinga’s location and set up an evacuation system. The team evacuated Klinga off of the rock ledge and down to the road. The evacuation included a 150-foot vertical and a 300-foot scree lowers. Klinga was transported to St. Anthony’s Central by a medical helicopter.
Loose rock is relatively common objective hazard. Climbers should be wary of loose rock by testing handholds, avoiding sections of loose rock, and not being in a direct line of potential rockfall from above. Climbers should also ask themselves, “What if?” In this case, what sorts of precautions can be taken by the belayer to protect the leader if the belayer is incapacitated during a leader fall? (Source: From rockymountainnews and bouldercounty. org websites and Aram Attarian)