Feb 15, 2016

Ice climber injured in Sunday fall

An Arizona man fell and was injured while ice climbing in the South Fork area Sunday afternoon.

Fifty-six-year-old Gary Weber of Phoenix had been climbing with a guide during the annual Cody Ice Climbing Festival, the Park County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

At the time of accident, Weber and the guide were reportedly descending from the summit of an ice flow.

“The guide was lowering Weber down the flow when, due to his inattention, he ran out of rope causing Weber to fall,” sheriff’s spokesman Lance Mathess wrote in Monday's release.

Weber reportedly fell about 30 feet before catching himself with his ice axe; the Sheriff’s Office said that stopped him from falling another 50 feet.

Authorities were contacted at 1:30 p.m.

Fellow climbers were able to reach Weber and lower him down the rest of the way.

His companions stabilized Weber — who complained of injuries to his lower left leg — and helped him to a waiting ambulance from West Park Hospital, the release said.

Cody Ice Climbing Festival Organizer Don Foote Jr. said Weber broke his ankle and was released from the hospital after a "short 22 hour stay."

"He is in good spirits, talking about his new boots he won from Garmont and making plans to return" to the ice climbing festival next year, Foote wrote in a Facebook post.

Foote also took to a mountaineering forum to dispute that Weber had been with a guide.

"Two friends, one giving instructional advice, NOT a guide, these two have climbed together in past and yes a human error was made by not tying the safety knot on the end of the rope. A mistake made by many unfortunately," Foote wrote on Mountain Project.

The ice flow in question is on the east side of the Shoshone River, near the Majo Ranch and southeast of the Cabin Creek Trailhead parking area at the end of the South Fork Road.

Editor's note: This version removes a reference to the accident location being the "High on Boulder" ice flow, as identified by the Sheriff's Office. Foote told the Cody Enterprise the incident actually took place on "Moonrise WI5."


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