In April, amateur Colorado climber Kyle Walker was scrambling in the Flatirons, a famous climbing area near Boulder, Colorado. Walker was on the “Second Flatiron” when he apparently decided to try a new route. He wasn’t roped in, was solo, and apparently was climbing in tennis shoes (according to online commenters, which Walker didn’t deny). That drew the ire of Boulder’s deeply-rooted, and notoriously cynical, climbing community. “Apon impact [sic] I broke both wrists, 8 ribs, my pelvis and punctured my lung,” wrote Walker below his YouTube video. “I laid in a gulley below fading in and out of consciousness and stopped breathing on several occasions for well over an hour.” Walker told local media that he had scrambled in the area “hundreds” of times before.
The 26-year-old was rescued and has since been in recovery. “In the middle of my final move I realize I’m tiring quickly and I have one chance to explode over the rock to a resting place,” Walker wrote. “Instead, my feet slipped on the lichen-covered section of the wall and I was in free fall before I knew what had happened.”
Walker is getting skewered in the comments section of his video. Scrambling is moving up a rock surface that is not completely vertical. Free climbing is using a rope for protection only, unlike aid climbing. Free-solo climbing is when climbers don’t use ropes or any kind of aid. Regardless of the blow back, the fall is frightening and can be seen around the 45-second mark, above. Walker’s breathing was extremely labored and after he was found, he had to be evacuated from the canyon.
“I consider myself beyond lucky and wouldn’t recommend climbing new routes without practice or ropes to anyone,” he said. Walker is reportedly just leaving rehab.