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Fall on Rock — Poor Communication, Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park, The Bastille

FALL ON ROCK - POOR COMMUNICATION

Colorado, Eldorado Canyon State Park, The Bastille

On July 9, Darrell Kangiser (25) lead the first pitch of The Bastille Crack (5.8). When he arrived at the anchor (~35 feet above the ground), his belayer (23) thought he saw the leader signal that he was off belay, so the belayer let go. The leader leaned back to be lowered and fell to the ground. Fortunately the rope was still running through the belayer’s belay device and this provided some friction to slightly slow the leader’s fall to the ground. The leader landed on his feet and reported low back pain. He was transported by ambulance to a hospital.

Analysis

Climbing partners should be clear on the intended course of action (belay from above, lower, rappel, etc.) before they start the climb and exercise clear communication at all times. (Source: Steve Muehlhauser - Park Ranger, Eldorado Canyon State Park)

(Editor’s Note: See May 17 incident.)