Rock Climbing – Clear Creek Canyon, Little Eiger Crag

Happy Climbers at Little Eiger Crag, Clear Creek
Climbers: Jenny, Greg, Clare, Aika, and Barry
Time: 9am-2pm
Place: Little Eiger Crag
Pitches: 5 (*I only did 3 due to Cankle)
First Impressions*
Bush Administration*
Eiffel Tower*
Eiger Direct
Persistent Vegatative State
Jenny Rapelling Silouette, Little Eiger Crag, Clear Creek
Witnessed a horrible accident caused by miscommunication between a climber & belayer.

Jenny & I were on First Impressions and this party were to our left one route. Jenny was cleaning our anchor, preparing to rappel, and I was loitering at the bottom to ensure the ropes made it down okay. I was talking to Greg when I heard a sickly sound of rope whizzing.

The belayer dude was standing there with the rope just buzzing freely through his ATC! He dropped to the ground, stepped on part of the rapidly uncoiling rope, and grabbed it just in time to keep the last little bit from threading through…

In the meantime, the poor leader fell completely horizontally, arms flailing, and screaming. I would estimate he fell at least 70 feet. I looked up just as he came to a violent, jolted stop 10 feet above the deck.

Wow! In 11 years of climbing, I have never seen anything that terrifying. I have seen people fall and break bones, but this was staring at the brink of death.

I immediately asked the belayer if he was okay (I got a nod). The leader could not speak but muttered something about his lower back. I told the belayer to let the leader down gently. He did, but the leader just sat against the rock with wide eyes.

By this time the whole crag was quiet. One could hear a pin drop. The two climbers worked things out, and calmed down to assess the situation. The belayer had horrible burns on his hand and fingers, and the climber’s back was sore…

But, they were both alive, we were all relieved and shocked at what we experienced. The rest of the day, folks at the crag were double, if not tripple, checking their communication.

What a close call, I’m thankful they both survived!

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