Colorado ice climber falls 100 feet Tuesday (1/12/10) when the Fang ice formation in East Vail Colorado unexpectedly sheared and fell , with the lead climber on the route.
NEice archive photo of “The Fang”
Below is an email I received from Griz with his report and prospective. We wish the climber a speedy recovery.
Yesterday at 1pm the Fang in Vail unexpectedly sheared and fell , with a lead climber on the route. I have heard rumor that his tools were above the roof line fracture, yet the falling pillar with gear forced him into a 100′ ride to the deck.
My good buddie Stanley had sent the first ascent of the Fang in WI6 conditions last Wed, 1/6/10 and I successfully made the second ascent via a different line on Saturday 1/10/10 in 15-degree weather under similar rotten WI6 conditions.
The situation is completely bizarre as it did not show any fractures atop the pillar, only the usual fracture at the base-cone interface. Our weather has been typical with no real extremes in a high or low that might prompt a catastrophic failure. The ice was pretty rotten and aerated, but continuous and consistent in it’s poor quality.
I’ve been playing this game a long time and have definitely pushed the limits, but this kinda threw me. It could have happened 3 days prior during my lead, Spirit energy must have been with me. Anyways, I guess for nothing more, it shows that something you think you know so well, can prove you wrong.
Source: Griz Guides – Vail Daily