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Any bouldering deaths?


Original Post
Eric Boesch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 55

Any year, any country. Highball counts, upending a boulder in a boulder field or anything done without sticky shoes probably doesn't. Preferably with some kind of verifying information -- name or link to story -- to cut down on rumors. Links to previous discussions of the topic would also be of interest. People get messed up falling onto foam at the gym regularly, and the death risk of falling onto pointy rocks seems obvious, yet I have not heard of it actually happening.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

There was a guy in the 90s who pulled a block onto his head while bouldering. The accident report was in Climbing magazine, I want to say circa 1997 or 98.  I am way too lazy to do more research, but this is the only bouldering fatality that I am aware of. 

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450

There was one a priest draw a long time ago. There's a plaque on the triangle boulder about it. 

Greg Opland · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 167

Block referenced above was Robert Drysdale. Accident happened at Priest Draw near Flagstaff.

(go get some gas Dave)

Adam Reinhardt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 0

Go search here and you’ll like find what are looking for. 


http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/search

Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

The sign at the rock gym says bouldering is more dangerous.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 119

How are we defining highball boulders?

The consensus difference between V0 and 5.9 (on the same boulder) is the difference between 40ft and 50ft, but elsewhere 40ft is considered a rope climb. And don't say it's because it's on a boulder instead of a cliff, because all the climbs I linked are on boulders, and there are entire areas where people boulder which are just the bottoms of cliffs.

It seems to me like bouldering at no-fall heights is just free soloing, and it doesn't make much sense to lump free solo deaths in with bouldering deaths at more conservative heights, because the causes of death are different. I'm not sure where to draw the line, but there's a definite difference between what we can learn from a death on a 12ft boulder and a death on a 40ft boulder.

Eric Boesch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 55

Thanks for the pointers to Robert Drysdale's accident. The only other AAC hit I found was this one back in 1977. I doubt it passes the sticky shoes test, given the mentions of "tourists," "inexperienced in mountain skills," and "climber" being put in quotation marks.

http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13197702600/Fall-while-Bouldering-Exceeded-AbilitiesColorado-Mt-Evans

I wonder if I would get additional hits asking in a UK or European forum. Anyway, good job not dying, people.


Bryce Adamson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 652
Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

no but I think the femur count is plenty

Tavis Ricksecker · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 4,280
David Kerkeslager wrote:

How are we defining highball boulders?

The consensus difference between V0 and 5.9 (on the same boulder) is the difference between 40ft and 50ft, but elsewhere 40ft is considered a rope climb. And don't say it's because it's on a boulder instead of a cliff, because all the climbs I linked are on boulders, and there are entire areas where people boulder which are just the bottoms of cliffs.

It seems to me like bouldering at no-fall heights is just free soloing, and it doesn't make much sense to lump free solo deaths in with bouldering deaths at more conservative heights, because the causes of death are different. I'm not sure where to draw the line, but there's a definite difference between what we can learn from a death on a 12ft boulder and a death on a 40ft boulder.

On MP the difference is not by consensus, but by how the original poster of the route/problem chooses to define it. The southwest Arete is VB/5.9, a bit easier though scarier than the Essential Peabody. They both get bouldered all the time, I've never seen a rope on either.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,365

So bouldering is to climbing what marijuana is to drugs?

Ryan Swanson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50
Tradiban wrote:

So bouldering is to climbing what marijuana is to drugs?

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

I know of a few deaths at Stoney.... 

A person fell from “Crank-n-Queene “ and split their head open on the rocky “landing “. I think it was back in 82... can’t find any links.

Lots of ankles, legs broken too... 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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