American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Illinois, Mississippi Palisades, near Savanna

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1956

Illinois, Mississippi Palisades, near Savanna—On October 16, 1955, ten members of the Chicago Mountaineering Club were joined by five uninvited American Youth Hostlers. The Chicago Mountaineering Club party was climbing in two groups. One group had rappeled down a face and had left the rappel rope in place when the Youth Hostlers appeared at the top of the rappel rope. One member of the Hostlers asked and was granted permission to rappel down since he was known as a fairly experienced climber to the Chicago group leader. Two more Hostlers, without asking permission, rappeled down safely. A fourth, Joe Sporn (26), with one day of previous experience rappelled down the same rope. He slipped out of the rappel rope when he hit against a rock while going over. He fell about 25 feet. An ambulance was called from Savanna and after a trying rescue he was delivered to the hospital where X-rays revealed eight broken ribs. He also suffered a concussion.

Source: Safety Committee, Chicago Mountaineering Club.

Analysis: Inexperienced group without proper leadership attempting descent beyond its experience.

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