June 16, 2011
A 20-year-old man from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died in Virginia’s Augusta County on Wednesday while rock-climbing at Ravens Roost Overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The man fell 100 feet to his death at around 2:15 p.m.
It was reportedly the man’s first time to try outdoor rock climbing, and he and two friends—aged 21 and 30–had been climbing since 11:30 a.m., using the top-rope climbing method whereby a rope is anchored to a tree at the top of a cliff.
On their sixth climb of the day, which was to be their last, the man fell. The cause of the accident hasn’t yet been determined.
National Park Service District Ranger Kurt Speers told The News & Advance that “it looks like some kind of equipment failure.”
And though the man’s friends say they initially thought the fall was caused by a rope that broke, they told The News & Advance that they couldn’t find any breaks in the rope that the man was using.
“Something like this has never happened,” said one of the climbers, who has a reported 10 years experience. “I just can’t understand what happened.”
The National Park Service will continue to investigate the death–examining setup, equipment maintenance, and photos taken by first responders.
What can be done to make rock climbing safer? Should rock-climbers have to be certified to climb or to earn a license like a pilot might?
If your loved one or the loved one of someone you know has become the victim of a Virginia wrongful death, the Virginia wrongful death lawyers at Skolrood Law Firm can help.