American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

New Mexico, Organ Mountains—Needles Area

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1958

New Mexico, Organ Mountains, Needles Area—In September 1956 Walter Casey (21) was apparently climbing alone. He does not remember how the accident occurred. He was attempting a slope which was between 45 and 60 degrees and his height above the ground was not over 10 feet, when he either lost his grip or a handhold broke off. The broken leg he suffered apparently resulted from the position of the leg when he slid to the ground rather than the sheer force of the fall. In this sense the accident was a freak since this type of fall would normally have resulted only in scratches, bruises, or possibly a sprained ankle.

Source: Harry S. Davis

Analysis: This was Casey’s first attempt at rock climbing, and clearly his judgement was in error when he attempted to do climbing in a class higher than grade two.

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