June 21, 2017
Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500
Injured Climber Rescued in Boulder Canyon
Climber fell 20-25 feet while climbing Bell Buttress' "Old School" Route
Boulder County, Colo. - On Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at approximately 7:37pm, the Boulder County Communications Center received a 911 call reporting an injured rock climber in the area of 32000 Boulder Canyon Drive, Boulder County, Colorado, near Boulder Falls. The climber, 29-year-old Molly Berkenhoff of Arvada, CO, fell approximately 20-25 feet while climbing up the “Old School” route of the Bell Buttress. She was climbing with two other individuals and was on belay, but two pieces of rock protection pulled out, causing her extended fall. Her injuries were reported as a broken ankle and possible lower spinal fractures.
The climbing area is on the opposite side of the creek from the road, so rescuers setup a technical tyrolean traverse to transport Ms. Berkenhoff across the creek in a litter (pictured). This resulted in a very brief total shutdown of Boulder Canyon vehicle traffic. She was then transported to Boulder Community Hospital for treatment. Incident command was closed at around 10:12pm.
The following agencies assisted with the rescue: Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Nederland Fire, AMR Ambulance, and the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. A helicopter was placed on ground standby at the beginning of the incident but was later canceled by rescuers.
Rocky Mountain Rescue Group is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization serving the Boulder County area, and summer is their busiest time of year. If you are interested in donating to their operating expenses and/or volunteering your time, energy, and skills, more information can be found on their website, http://www.rockymountainrescue.org/.
The associated case number for this incident is 17-3560.
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/s/Sgt. Clay Leak