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Rain Soaked Rocks Blamed in Fatality in Garden of the Gods in Colorado

August 27 2004 at 9:43 AM
roger  (Login dipper)

Response to August 2004 Accidents/Rescues


A young rock climber died Wednesday when rock gave way at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

Mark Heinmets, 20, had the proper permit and was using the correct gear during his climb, but the rock crumbled and he fell 30 feet -- head first. The accident happened around noon.

Rescue teams say recent rain has made the sandstone unstable. "During this time of year the sandstone is brittle, moisture is absorbed by the rock," said Capt. Larry Schwartz, with the Colorado Springs Fire Department. "You can tap this rock and hear that it is hollow."

There are signs warning climbers about loose rocks in the area.

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