American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock — Incomplete Tie-In Knot, Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2012

FALL ON ROCK - INCOMPLETE TIE-IN KNOT

Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park

On May 28, Colin Gregg (34) was top-roping the first pitch of C’est La Vie (5.9) on Redgarden Wall. He had difficulty at a crux about 30 feet off the starting belay ledge (which is about 25 feet above ground level) and partially hung on the rope. The belayer reported that a lot of slack suddenly came into the system. When he tried to take in the slack, he noticed that the rope had come untied from the climber’s harness. Gregg could not clip into fixed gear in his vicinity and though he fought to stay on the rock, he fell. Somehow his fall stopped roughly at the level of the starting belay ledge, saving him from an additional 25-foot fall to ground level.

Greg was alert and oriented after the fall, but complained of lumbar back pain. He was evacuated and transported to a hospital by ambulance. It is unknown whether the victim’s tie-in knot was too loose, unfinished, or tied incorrectly.

Analysis

Climbers should double-check themselves and each other: harness double-backed and tied in properly, knot in the end of the rope, belay rigged properly, and carabiner locked, etc. (Source: Steve Muehlhauser - Park Ranger, Eldorado State Park)

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