American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, Inadequate Protection, Exceed Abilities, No Hard Hat, Utah, Indian Creek, Cat Wall

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009


Utah, Indian Creek, Cat Wall

On May 17, a man and his wife and their two friends (ages unknown) were climbing Johnny Cat (5.12+). The man was going for the final moves, just below the anchor, when he fell. His last piece failed with the force, and due to his sparse protection, allowed him to deck. He hit head first, no helmet, recoiled with the rope, and crashed violently on his right shoulder. His vitals were a rollercoaster and the depth of his injuries unclear.

About 30 minutes later, the park service arrived. They brought more advanced first aid, which greatly helped, and let the IC situation stay as is while they coordinated other resources including Flight for Life and SAR. It was another 30-plus minutes after that that Paramedics, the rescue equipment, and SAR arrived. Once on scene, they took command. We all continued to work together, getting the victim fully stabilized and ready for transport. Then, in one co-operative effort, we took him successfully down the hillside.

Once down, the pros stabilized him and drained some internal fluids to get him ready for the flight. They then flew him and his wife to Grand Junction.


Follow gear recommendations in guide and protection standards of type of climbing. In this case, one placement for at least every body length, don’t push beyond limits without proper protection, wear your helmet, and be prepared for any and all possible emergencies when climbing in the backcountry or severe isolation. (Source: From a posting by Shane Neal)

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