Yellow Spur Rope Failure Investigation
Full Yellow Spur Rope Failure Investigation, 15 pages, 1 MB, PDF
On June 22, 2010, Joe Miller fell to his death while attempting to lead (rock climb)
the second pitch of the
Yellow Spur route in
Eldorado Canyon State Park.
documents the mechanical and geometric factors involved in the rope
failure and identifies the probable failure mechanism. The
report does not evaluate human factors, alternative protection placement(s),
or possible outcomes from different hypothetical circumstances.
RMRG's investigation did NOT find any manufacturing defects in any of the climbing equipment Miller used.
Probable accident sequence figures, right:
Prior to the fall, Miller was near or above the last piece of protection (P)
above a slight bulge.
When he fell, this top piece of protection failed. Blue
lines represent motion.
Miller fell vertically past a bulge until the rope began to catch his fall.
The next piece of protection (Black dot) held, but was slightly
climber's right of Miller's trajectory. As the rope pulled tight, Miller swung
("pendulummed") slightly to the right, dragging the rope over a sharp protruding
"knife" edge (Dashed green arrow) just below the protection
that held (Black dot). The rope probably slid along the
edge (movement parallel to the edge) while under the high tension caused by
nearly arresting the fall. The edge severed the rope, and Miller fell to
the ground, suffering fatal injuries.
The second figure (right most) shows a profile view at the time when the rope
pendulummed across the knife edge. Note the two bulges: one above the runner
where the climber likely fell from and pulled the protection (P), and the second,
where the knife edge (Dashed green arrow) is located.
Both figures: Red line represents the rope.
More explanation, test results and photographs,
Yellow Spur Rope Failure Investigation,
15 pages, 1 MB, PDF
RMRG offers our deepest condolences to Joe Miller's family and friends
for their loss.