American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, Colorado, Boulder Canyon, Happy Hour Crag

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2011

FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT

Colorado, Boulder Canyon, Happy Hour Crag

On May 8, I took a 15-foot ground fall at Happy Hour, resulting in three broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung. Very lucky! I was leading “I, Robot” (5.7), a right-facing dihedral. There’s not a lot of gear off the ground. I had a 0.5 cam in the crack about ten feet up and I had backed it up with a small stopper above it. I was trying to get above the gear and took a short fall. The gear held. I didn’t re-set the gear or even look at it after that fall, because I figured the stopper would be well sunk into the rock at that point. Mistake? I just don’t know.

I tried again, and managed to get my feet several feet above the gear and was on a small ledge. The crack wasn’t great, so neither the holds nor the places for gear were very great. I found a spot on the left side where I could have jammed a cam in there, but I didn’t have enough time.

I peeled off. I was off balance, so I swung out to the right and then down. I remember seeing my gear. At that point, I had no idea it wouldn’t hold. I didn’t even know I was going to deck until I was already down.

Analysis

I’ve tried to analyze my gear placement with friends and I have two thoughts about it. I should have at least checked the placement after my first fall. But it’s possible that the reason it popped was the angle of the fall. (Source: Kitty Turner from a post on mountainproject.com)

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