The following is an accident report regarding the fatal accident that occurred on Arrow Final – It is an Unofficial report.
Again: This written account is a summation by the author about the accident that occurred when Ian Slatem was climbing Arrow Final with two clients. It should NOT be treated as an official report or to be considered in any way an accurate account of what happened.
After ongoing speculation (in many cases incorrect) regarding the recent accident on Arrow final, resulting in the deaths of popular Cape Town guide Ian Slatem and a lady climber, and the standard investigation process which is under way, very little has been said in public forums.
As a climber and outdoor ‘mainstream media’ person, Id like to just provide the basic details out of respect to Ian and his ‘guiding family’.
For starters, Ian was a legally registered guide, had his own guiding company, but also worked with Venture Forth, and came highly recommended by Walther Meyer and Venture Forth, who are not only one of the oldest and most established in the country, but leaders in the training area.
Ian was leading 2 people up Arrow final, and he had 3 good, solid pieces of gear (protection) in place 4 meters apart, when the the incident occurred.
A large block (piece of rock) was dislodged, but its not possible to know exactly how. It was most likely a block that had been naturally weathered under-surface, and could have been pulled on by Ian, or a block that he stood on. (Or possibly one that detached above him). Its impossible to know. The block caused Ian to fall, and a split second later, the block struck his belayer below, killing her instantly. With no belayer, Ian suffered a long fall and was killed. The 3rd climber was out of the line of the falling rock, and protected in a good ‘stance’ (position), and was fine.
In closing, Ian did EVERYTHING by the book. All systems were solid. The deaths were the result of a piece of fate that sadly are part of these sports, incidents that are unavoidable, unseen and just random life events.