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Maine, Mt. Katahdin

Maine, Mt. Katahdin—At 2:00 p.m. on April 5, 1954, while descending the Saddle Slide, unroped and without an ice ax, Ernest Oikelmus (21), a member of the Harvard Outing Club, lost a crampon. Apparently it was a failure of the strap which either broke or became untied. He was using Army surplus crampons. He fell and slid “several hundred feet.” In attempting to arrest his fall by breaking with the other crampon and a ski pole, he broke his right leg above the ankle. He was evacuated by the Ranger Force on Katahdin with much difficulty.

Source: Jean Stephenson, Appalachia 30:105-106, 1954 (June); Craig Merrihue.

Analysis: This accident illustrates the dangers of climbing without ice ax and unroped on icy slopes.