American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Rock Gave Away — Fall on Rock, Colorado, Indian Peaks

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


Colorado, Indian Peaks

On August 21, Glenn Porzak (64), his son Austin Porzak, and Robert Petrowsky were climbing on the East Ridge between Little Pawnee Peak (12,466 feet) and Pawnee Peak (12,943 feet). Sometime during the morning, Glenn fell and suffered serious injuries.

Robert said the fall happened while the group was on a low fifth-class rock face when a rock gave way as Glenn was climbing down. Robert stated that he saw Glenn tumble down with additional rocks falling around him and then he went out of sight. Robert then ran down the trail to summon rescuers while Austin went down to help his father.

Once rescuers reached Glenn and Austin around noon, they found him on a steep 50 to 60 degree scree slope at approximately 12,000 feet and that Glenn had fallen approximately 60-70 feet and had sustained significant injuries. Per one RMRG member on scene, it was going to be a “multipitch, all-day event” to evacuate Glenn off the scree slope. Rescuers on scene worked to medically stabilize Glenn and to place him in a litter for evacuation. Rescue crews had to rig up a technical rope rescue that involved six pitches to get down to walk-able terrain (almost 1,200 feet down). The effort was hampered by significant loose rock and a lot of rockfall. Rescuers were able to evacuate Glenn to a suitable landing area, where a Blackhawk military helicopter ferried him to another landing site near Brainard Lake. A Flight For Life then flew Glenn to St. Anthony Central Hospital. (Source: Boulder County Sheriff's Department Press Release)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.