Fall on Rock, Inadequate Belay — Rope Ran Through Device and No Knot in Rope Ends

Colorado, Boulder Canyon, Bihedral Wall
Climb Year: 2009. Publication Year: 2010.

On August 19, 2009, a 29-year-old woman and her partner were climbing on a route, possibly Trick or Treat (5.8), a single-pitch climb on the upper tier of the Bihedral Wall. A climber who witnessed the fall saw the woman bounce off the belay ledge and fall down a rock gully until bystanding climbers jumped on her rope and arrested the fall. She was lowered to the ground and received care until Rocky Mountain Rescue Group arrived. Apparently her belayer had not tied into or tied a knot into the end of the rope. After the woman led the climb and was being lowered, the rope end ran through the belay device, causing the fall. She fell between 10 and 30 feet and hit several ledges, sustaining injuries to her face, head, and right knee.


The routes in this section are all bolted and approximately 100 feet in length with a weird slabby section for the bottom ten feet of the climb. A fifty- meter rope or a short sixty-meter rope may not be long enough to lower the leader all the way to the base of the climb. Closing the belay system by placing a knot on the end of the rope, anchoring the rope, or have the belayer tie into the rope could have prevented the rope from being pulled through the belay device. (Source: Britton Calvert, Boulder, CO.)