American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Off Route, Fall on Rock, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Lumpy Ridge

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2010


Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Lumpy Ridge

My partner and I (ages not recorded) were climbing White Whale (5.7) at Lumpy Ridge on July 15. It is considered by many as a fantastic three-pitch trad route. Neither of us had done the route before. My partner began leading the third and final pitch, then got off route, apparently following a 5.8 R/X crack. She was able to get herself to a small ledge then continued climbing a crack up the face.

Moments later she yelled, “Watch me!” a couple of times, then fell. When she fell the rope went very slack. During her fall, she caught her foot on the ledge and fell below it. I was able to arrest her fall about three feet below the ledge. Her last piece caught her fall. She was able to get back on the climb following the ledge to the tree for the regular belay. Striking the ledge injured her foot, but she had no idea how bad it was. She was able to hike out with the assistance of a walking stick, but still insisted on carrying her pack. She drove herself to Boulder and stopped at the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a Lisfranc fracture. The Lisfranc fracture is a fracture and dislocation of the joints in the mid-foot, where a cluster of small bones forms an arch on top of the foot between the ankle and the toes. From this cluster the metatarsals, extend to the toes. She broke the two middle metatarsals and she lost the Lisfranc tendon, which required surgery to reattach.


Always plan ahead. A route map or route description is a good resource to have, especially if one is unfamiliar with the route. Down-climbing is an essential skill all climbers should possess. (Source: From a post on, July 29, 2009)

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