Owens River Gorge Accident

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Jessie_11

Sport climber
Bishop, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 17, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
Does anybody know any details about yesterday's accident? We were down there climbing and heard this and that, but aren't sure of the details. Sure hope she's okay.
climbingchristopher

Sport climber
San Francisco
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:09am PT
My friend and I were around the corner from the accident and arrived within a few minutes of the fall. A number of people came to her aid and we assisted as best we could to stabilize her. Me and one other guy ran to call 911 at the phone located at the power station, which was in working order and saved us from having to run up the middle gorge approach to get cell reception.
A young woman took a very long fall (57 meters or so) from the top of the 2nd pitch of a climb South of El Dorado roof ("Members only" at Staying Power Towers). After falling roughly 110 feet, her rope, which was running through the anchors, snagged briefly at the anchor and the sudden tension behind her leg flipped her upside down. This caused a brief pause in her fall, but then the rope popped free and she fell the remaining 50 feet to the ground, where she landed on her lower back. Fortunately she landed on a flat dirt area, free of rocks and debris.
It was obvious that moving her was going to be difficult given the amount of pain she was in and the questionable nature of her injuries. Fortunately, she didn't hit her head and her appendages were in good shape, although she might have injured her ankle. She was conscious the whole time and was able to communicate her condition. She was able to move her toes and had feeling in her legs so there was some relief amongst the people at the scene.
A climber/search & rescue guy helped out considerably by helping to get her into a litter and secured for transport. She was more or less ready for transport by the time that the paramedics and the fire crews arrived. The paramedics were able to monitor at the scene and the crew moved her into a truck and straight to the Bishop emergency room.
She was flown to Reno following scans and x-rays.
Apparently her injuries included a broken pelvis and some vertebrae. This could've been much worse considering the overall length of the fall and certainly the brief pause at +50' saved her. She was dealt a very fortunate hand. I haven't heard anything further regarding her status, but I'm hopeful that she'll make a full recovery.

Many climbers came to her aid and everyone involved should be commended. I'm proud to be part of such a supportive community.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:19am PT
Wow Christopher, thanks for the report. That is wonderful that her injuries weren't anymore severe. That sounds like a horrendous fall. If you hear more about her condition, please let us know. I want to keep good thoughts and prayers going her way.

John
climbingchristopher

Sport climber
San Francisco
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:24am PT
She's been in our thoughts and I'm sure she'd appreciate to know that strangers in the community are praying for her recovery. I'll post an update if I hear anything further.
hb81

climber
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:27am PT
Glad she is relatively ok... I wonder though how that fall happened?
bjj

climber
beyond the sun
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:34am PT
Yea, how the hell does anyone fall that far at a clip up joint like ORG? A bad belayer f*#k up is the only thing I can imagine.

IIRC, there's litters in the gorge (been 10+ years since I been there).
climbingchristopher

Sport climber
San Francisco
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:54am PT
That doesn't seem to be the case. She wasn't being belayed at the time. My understanding from talking with her partner was that she was supposed to rap down to the 1st pitch anchors, then pull the rope and rap again to the ground.
Somehow she became detached from the anchor before pulling the rope up and she fell. She's the only one who knows the details of how that occurred.
Accidents happen. It was a good opportunity for me and my partner to examine areas where we could be safer. Hopefully other climbers have similar conversations.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:54am PT
hey there all, say... i will be chipping in my prayers.... glad to know she made it through that awful fall....

god bless, to her, this eve...
:)
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:03am PT
Holy buckets.

We're very lucky that she's alive after such a fall. Sounds like she has some experience?

At any rate, we're pulling for her here at the Taco, and hope she has a complete recovery.

Hang in there girl!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:47am PT
Best wishes to her.
Jessie_11

climber
Bishop, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 18, 2010 - 10:09am PT
Chris,
Thanks so much for the update! You guys did a great job of caring for her, and sticking to that phone! We chatted with you a bit when you used the phone, and while you WAITED by the phone for what probably seemed like hours! Patience always pays off. Thank goodness this woman had some very good people to support her, and also some VERY good luck that day!
chez

Social climber
chicago ill
Oct 18, 2010 - 10:18am PT

Sounds like this gal got very lucky. Hope she recovers fast.



bjj your an ass, go imagine somewhere else.
Lambone

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Oct 18, 2010 - 11:09am PT
Rappeling accidents are scary and too common! Double check your sh#t y'all!

Amazing she is alive.
Chinchen

climber
Way out there....
Oct 18, 2010 - 11:19am PT
I may know the parties involved and am worried about who this may be. I have heard some roumors around town. One is that there was miscommunication and that the climber thought she was to be lowered...
Can someone PM the name of the climber who fell?
Vulcan

Sport climber
Oct 18, 2010 - 11:35am PT

No names but is she from Mono or Inyo county???
climbingchristopher

Sport climber
San Francisco
Oct 18, 2010 - 12:08pm PT
No, she's not from mono or inyo county.
labrat

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
Oct 18, 2010 - 12:20pm PT
Thinking good thoughts for a full recovery.
Erik
426

climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Oct 18, 2010 - 01:30pm PT
Gnar, these days I always 3x check before, starting, and after, "are you sure you're going to rap?"

I also make sure rope is tight before I unclip, cuz I'm scared like that...often downclimbing to avoid the initial mini"drop"...

Best wishes on recovery
hb81

climber
Oct 18, 2010 - 04:26pm PT
I also make sure rope is tight before I unclip

I've learned never ever to do otherwise. Always transfer your body weight onto the rappel device before unclipping from the anchor. Failing to do so is one of the main causes for rappeling accidents.

couchmaster

climber
pdx
Oct 18, 2010 - 09:04pm PT
I'd rather wish her well than speculate how this came to be. We all can make mistakes, indeed, it's possible for this to happen to any of us with a slight moments inattention. Amazing that she's doing so well. Best of luck to continued recovery and health for this lucky girl in the future.

Remember though...life is already an eyeblink, and you probably used up 8 of your 9 lives with this one.
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