American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

New Hampshire—Cannon Mountain

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1953

REVIEW OF ACCIDENTS—1952

New Hampshire—Cannon Mountain: On July 4, 1952 a party of seven consisting of Gerald Barnes, Mabel Cody, Irwin Davis, John Gardner, Edith MacDonald, Kenneth Turner and “Skip” Voorhees intended to climb the Whitney-Gilman route on Cannon Mountain. As they climbed up the talus

slope, Barnes, Turner and Voorhees moved faster and approached the buttress first. While they were awaiting the others a portion of the cliff, not on the climbing route, fell off. The upper party raced out of the path of the stone fall but Barnes tripped, and was struck by a boulder from the fall. He suffered a compound fracture of both bones of the right lower leg. The lower party was able to avoid the fall. A traction splint was improvised as was a crude but effective litter. Evacuation was started by members of the party and completed with the assistance of Tramway personnel who had been notified of the accident.

Source: Irwin Davis, Appalachia XXIX 265 Dec. 1952

Analysis: Davis has neatly presented an analysis of the accident in his report: “It should be emphasized that the accident in question was not a rock climbing accident in any sense. It was not caused, nor contributed to in any way, by climbers or climbing. The climbing route does not proceed over the place from which the rocks fell, and other than the tremendous talus slope made up of rock which in past centuries has fallen from the cliff, there was nothing to indicate that the rock was about to fall.”

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