March 24, 2012; Rescuers evacuating an injured climber below
Happy Hour Crag
. Rescuers use scree evacuation
technique. Six rescuers (blue shirts, right and below middle) lift the litter-borne
climber (beneath the yellow helmet), pulling against a lowering rope
while progressing downhill. Brake/ lowering station (tree anchor with purple
sling and barely visible blue brake plate friction device) upper left with
brake man (facing camera) controlling the litter crew's descent. Rescuer
with yellow pack handles (feeds)
rope for brake man.
The climber led a route tentatively identified as
built an anchor at the top, and appropriately connected the rope through
The belayer at the base then lowered the climber with control most
of the distance down the cliff. However, the climber's rope was not long enough to reach
the ground, and the belayer lost control of the rope when the end passed through
the belay device and the climber was still 15' to 20' above the ground.
accident could have been prevented had the party tied a knot in the end of the
rope before starting the climb, preferably a knot securing the belayer to the
climbing rope. This is a disturbingly frequent climbing accident
scenario In Boulder County. The climber was wearing a helmet, which almost
certainly mitigated his injuries. Although rock fall was not a factor in this
accident, climbers should also keep in mind that winter weather and relatively
low climber traffic tends to increase rock fall hazard with increasing spring
Boulder Sheriff press release for this rescue.