Last Saturday, while lead climbing the 3rd pitch of Frogland, witnesses say that a climber lost his footing and succumbed to a fall of about 20 feet, allegedly breaking his right arm and injuring the right side of his body.
Kevin Riley and Ian Valley, both with Action in Solitude, were also climbing Frogland at the time and captured something that most people don’t get to experience — a first-hand account of the accident along with video of the actual rescue. Here’s Kevin’s version of the events that took place:
On November 30th 2013, Ian Valley and I decided to get on Frogland, a mega-classic route on the Whiskey Peak formation in Red Rocks. After I led the first wandering pitch (not the actual first pitch but pretty cool nonetheless) we arrived at a bolted anchor. Someone then alerted us that there was a helicopter coming (unbeknownst to us the incident had already happened and someone had called 911 to activate Search and Rescue).
At some point that morning, Dani Ramos from the Bay Area started leading the 3rd pitch. After traversing out, he started moving up a crack having clipped a bolt and placing two pieces. At this point his foot blew and he fell approximately 15-20 ft. upside down, allegedly breaking his right arm and causing injuries of unknown severity to his right leg.
After Search and Rescue was activated they arrived by helicopter below the initial pitches of Frogland. The helicopter pilot would set the ship down on one skid on top of a large boulder, to let the SAR members out one by one. Initially one of the members led the first two pitches of the route, after arriving at the large belay ledge (which happened to be pretty crowded with 6 people on it) where the injured party was located, they fixed lines for lowering Dani in a basket. After a few more SAR members arrived on scene they proceeded to raise the litter up to Dani, get him packaged and lower him down below the beginning of the route. At this point the helicopter came back in with a long line to extract Dani and one of the Search and Rescue team members back to ground transport and/or the hospital.
We hope for Dani’s quick recovery so he can get back on the rock soon!
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves — or captured it better. Kevin and Ian had a camera on-hand, which resulted in the following footage, a very rare glimpse into one of our rescue operations:
After Dani was given medical attention and extracted from Frogland, he was short-hauled to a waiting ambulance. We wish Dani a speedy recovery!
Special thanks to Kevin and Ian with Action in Solitude for taking the time to put this footage together. Definitely a rarity.