Falling Rock climbers discuss cliff safety

A Rapid City teenager remains hospitalized after falling nearly 100 feet off the cliff at Falling Rock and breaking one of his legs on Saturday. A day later, at that same cliff, rock climbers and vista visitors discuss the cliff’s safety and what could be done to prevent a similar accident.

“There’s a lot of people that come out here to have a lot of fun and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Christopher Peters, a rock climber of 6-years. “You just gotta be smart about how you have fun, making sure you’re doing everything safely.”

“If can be as safe as you want it to be,” said Jason Lambert, a rock climber of 5-years. “You can make things redundant like right now I have 2 anchors hanging on to the rock. Most people use one.”

But no matter the preparation some visitors say having adequate signage would make Falling Rock safer for everyone.

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“There’s not really any boundaries or like they don’t really warn you,” said Margaret McCloud, who lives near the victim. “We just walked right up to the edge. We didn’t even know how steep it was so anything can happen.”

But others insist the vista, located just West of Rapid City, is safe.

“It’s like hiking around all the Black Hills, you just have to watch your step and watch what you’re doing,” Peters said.

While they are all glad the 16-year-old wasn’t killed, they say they are curious as to how the accident happened. At this time no new information has been released, including the name of the victim.

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