American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Ground Fall – Inexperience, Inadequate Protection

Oregon, Smith Rock, Northern Point

  • Accident Reports
  • Author: Deschutes County SAR
  • Accident Year: 2018
  • Publication Year: 2019

On August 15, two male climbers (ages 32 and 47) were attempting Double Time, a 5.7 traditional route at Northern Point in the Basalt Rimrock area. After climbing approximately 30 feet, the leader fell, pulling out two cams (size unknown), and hit the ground. The climber was wearing a helmet.

ANALYSIS

It is believed the climber was new to traditional climbing, and that inexperience played a role in this incident. Before leading trad climbs, it’s helpful to practice placing gear at ground level and have someone experienced evaluate the placements. Mock leading (protected by a top-rope) can also be helpful. This area of Smith Rock is easily accessed from the top and makes mock leads very practical. (Source: Deschutes County SAR.)

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