Fall on Rock, Inexperience, Failed to Thread Rope Through Anchors, Kentucky, Red River Gorge

Publication Year: 2012.


Kentucky, Red River Gorge, Muir Valley

A male climber (31) fell from the top anchors of Rat Stew (5.10a). He landed two feet from his belayer after free falling approximately 75 feet. Moments after he decked, another climber who witnessed the fall ran to the nearest emergency call station and radioed for help. A helicopter was requested and landed at a nearby Landing Zone and awaited delivery of the patient. He was treated, packaged, and transported to the University of Kentucky Medical Trauma Center.


The climber was cleaning the anchors and members of his party were expecting him to rappel when he fell. It was his first or second time cleaning anchors in an outdoor climbing environment. He failed to thread his rope through the top anchor rings and when he unclipped his tether, there was nothing to keep him from free falling to the ground. He has no recollection of climbing that day so he cannot provide any information as to why he failed to clean correctly.

Even though he suffered horrific massive internal injuries and traumatic brain injury, he survived the fall. He spent months in rehabilitation and physical therapy and has made a substantial recovery. (Source: Rick Weber)