According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, a climber fell approximately 50 feet at around 6:20PM on Friday from the second Flatiron. Despite the long drop, the 23-year-old male escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.
In the official report, it’s mentioned that the climber is assumed to have been free climbing, which means safety equipment was not in use.
While the term “free climbing” is used in the release, the mention of no safety equipment whatsoever would make this free solo climbing, a form of climbing in which climbers forego safety equipment altogether. Free solo climbing has gotten plenty of media coverage as of late, likely contributing to an increase in the sport’s popularity. Recently, the sport even hit the silver screen when the film “Free Solo” was released, recounting Alex Honnald’s free solo climb up the 3,000 foot rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
This incident happens weeks after another climber fell in the Boulder area without utilizing safety equipment. That climber fell 60 feet and sustained severe injuries.
While many outdoor recreation activities carry a level of inherent risk, free solo climbing is a sport with a very low margin of error. If you’re not a highly-experienced climber that is comfortable with the route and risks associated with the sport, do not attempt to free solo as it can and often does lead to serious injury and/or death among its participants.
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