Fall on Rock, Inadequate Belay, Distraction

Kentucky, Red River Gorge, Military Wall
Climb Year: 2010. Publication Year: 2011.

A large group was gathered at Military Wall on September 12 playing music, possibly loud enough to make communication between climber and belayer difficult. Climber was getting into the upper knee bar on Reliquary (5.12b) when he fell near the last bolt. The climber landed on the belayer’s dog, killing it instantly.

The belayer was holding the GriGri in her right hand with fingers over the cam, preventing it from locking, and said she didn’t know how it could have happened. Worse yet, she said this was the third time it has happened to her.


Crags are becoming more crowded and distractions occur. Music, dogs, kids, cats, bears, etc. Pay attention to the climber! That person’s life is in your hands! And don’t pick up a belay device if you don’t have proper training. (Source: From a post on www.redriverclimbing.com.)