Tragedy struck on June 10, when 18-year-old Elizabeth Marie Young, of Castle Rock, took an estimated 80-foot fall while rock climbing in Colorado. At the time of the accident, Young was wearing safety gear.
According to Young’s obituary, she was moving over a rock edge at the top of a route when her rope broke, resulting in the accident. After falling to the ground, Young was conscious and coherent despite having extensive injuries. Medical assistance was able to reach her in approximately 30 minutes, eventually airlifting her to a hospital in Colorado Springs. Family has stated that she was able to talk while at the hospital, though she would eventually succumb to the serious injuries that she sustained on the following day, June 11.
Young was relatively new to rock climbing, learning some technical skills in high school and continuing to practice the sport into college. In recent months prior to the fall, Young “became very dedicated to rock climbing with her friends.” Young had recently finished her first year in the UCCS Mechanical Engineering program.
Details about the specific climbing area or route on which the accident occurred were not included in initial public reports of the incident.
A service of remembrance for Young is scheduled for Saturday, June 20 at Calvary Castle Rock at 11 AM. A graveside service will follow. Young is remembered by her family and friends as a “true friend,” a “light and a witness of her faith in Jesus,” and someone that was “fearless in standing up for and doing what is right.”
Rock climbing is a sport with inherent and deadly risks, though many of these risks can be minimized by using maintained gear properly. Details about what may have caused the rope failure have not been released.