Sep 4, 2008


Rock climbing can be dangerous, especially when you run 30 feet up a pitch and then your protection fails when you lose your grip.*

While on the second pitch of Captain Hook, a 5.7 trad climb on Suicide Rock near Idyllwild, Trevor Matthew of Irvine lost his grip, lost his pro and fell 30 feet into his belayer, Claire McKay of Costa Mesa, knocking her out cold. His He then fell another 100 feet to the ground, his belayer unconscious and unable to put on the brakes - that might have saved her life, as her own safety anchor came loose in the collision.

The photo here of Suicide Rock is courtesy of Guy McCarthy, who reported the story for City News. Both the LA Times and OC Register have since picked it up. (More for McCarthy.)

Idyllwild is a trad climbing mecca, best known for a granite monster called Tahquitz.

*Correction: Originally the post said Mathews had not set any protection when he fell. Per McCarthy's story:

Earlier accounts that Mathews had climbed without protection were not true ... Mathews had placed another protective device into a crack in the cliff before he fell,
[Donny] Goetz said. But that device failed, and McKay's anchor failed as well when Mathews crashed into her, Goetz said.

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