The rock climbing wall at the University of Iowa is closed indefinitely after a fall landed one student in the hospital on Nov. 9. Business student Spencer Bean, an experienced climber who is also an employee of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, fell 30 feet, landing upright on his feet. He remained conscious and coherent for a few moments before passing out.

Photo By Kun Zhang, Dimension Images
The university is not disclosing any information about the severity of the injuries, but a blog set up by his brother, Josh, and mother, reported that he suffered two crushed vertebrae and underwent an eight-hour surgery on Nov. 10 to extract the broken bone fragments.

"He's in a lot of pain, but he feels fortunate that he's able to move his arms and legs," Josh Bean told The Daily Iowan. "If a bone from his crushed vertebrae had pushed one millimeter farther into his spinal cord, he would've been in a wheelchair for the rest of his life."

The recreation center requires climbers to pass a safety check before climbing and has a belay system in place to help prevent serious falls, but something malfunctioned the night of the fall, reported one observer.