American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Poor Practice — Hooked Fingers Through Bolt Ring, Colorado, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Rethinking the Ethics

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2009

FALL ON ROCK, POOR PRACTICE – HOOKED FINGERS THROUGH BOLT RING

Colorado, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Rethinking the Ethics

Rethinking the Ethics (5.10a) is a 45-foot, four-bolt sport climb located on the Ripple Wall. The climb culminates at a two-bolt anchor beneath the top of an arch. In late September, a male climber was leading this route and upon reaching the two-bolt anchor, hooked his fingers into the ring to pull up rope. In his attempt to pull up the rope, he lost his hold and fell with the rope behind his leg. This action caused him to flip upside down and strike the back of his head on the rock, causing a concussion requiring an evacuation.

Analysis

Upon reaching the top of the route, climbers clip the rope into both of the top anchors then girth hitch two slings to the harness through the belay/ rappel loop and attach a locking carabiner to the end of each sling. Each sling is then clipped to each bolt on the anchor, no longer relying on the belayer or the climbing rope. At this point a figure-8-on-a bight is tied and clipped into either a carabiner on the harness or into the anchor, which prevents losing the end of the rope when it’s untied in the next step. Next, the original tie-in knot is untied from the harness and passed through the rap rings on the anchor. More rope is pulled up from the belayer in order to rappel using both sides of the rope making sure both ends of the rope reach the ground. This technique eliminates unnecessary wear on the fixed gear, which has been an acknowledged problem at Red Rock Canyon. (Source: from a posting on mountainproject.com)

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