American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Lowering Error – Rope Too Short, Failure to Close System

Utah, Little Cottonwood Canyon, The Egg

  • Accident Reports
  • Author: Michael Finger, Salt Lake County SAR and The Editors
  • Accident Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

Salt Lake County Search and Rescue got called out at 2:36 p.m. on October 2 for a 35-year-old male climber who had fallen 30 or 40 feet after climbing Leggo My Eggo, a 5.10a bolted face on the Egg. He was believed to have broken or sprained his ankle. The fall occurred when the man’s climbing partner was lowering him and let the end of the rope run through the belay device. The patient’s fall stopped when he fell into some scrub oak, possibly saving him from worse injury. Rescuers lowered the patient to the foot of the wall, where he was packaged into a litter and carried to the parking lot.

ANALYSIS

Another climber was dropped while lowering from this same route a few years ago. This is a long pitch that requires a little downclimbing after lowering, even with a 70-meter rope. It’s essential to close the belay system on the ground by tying a stopper knot in the belayer’s end of the rope, tying the end to a rope bag, or having the belayer tie in. (Sources: Michael Finger, Salt Lake County SAR, and the Editors.)

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