Climber injured at popular Grottos spot
September 16, 2002
A mountain climber fell an estimated 30 feet from a popular cliff face on Independence Pass Sunday afternoon, the second such accident in three weeks.
The 27-year-old Colorado Springs man was in stable condition at Aspen Valley Hospital last night. He fell around 1 p.m. while climbing along the Grotto Wall, an oft-used rock face located between the Grottos recreation area and the Weller Campground. The man hit his right side and head on rocky terrain in the fall, a nursing supervisor at the hospital said. The hospital did not release his name.
Deputy Ann Stephenson of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said witnesses believed human error to be the cause of the fall, not faulty equipment.
The man was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Hospital supervisors described him as “very lucky” for escaping the fall intact.
“He has significant injuries from the fall, but he’s in good spirits,” one supervisor noted.
The man will be kept in the hospital for the next few days, the supervisor said.
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A 19-year-old man was injured on Aug. 25 while rappelling down the Grotto Wall cliff face.
That man, who also fell an estimated 30 feet, had run out of rope during his rappel down the rock face, witnesses said. The man fell while attempting to swing himself onto a stretch of secured webbing and climb to the ground.
The man fell on his back in a field of jagged rocks, but witnesses reported that the man was talking and moving both his fingers and toes as he was loaded into an ambulance. He was transported to Aspen Valley Hospital before being airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction for further evaluation.
Officials at both AVH and St. Mary’s listed the man in fair condition just a few hours after the fall.