American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

New Hampshire, Cannon Mt.

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

New Hampshire, Cannon Mt.—On June 8, S. M. Ornstein (27), Robert Jahn (27), John F. Noxon (28), and John S. Humphreys (24) climbed the

Whitney-Gilman route (class 5) on the face of Cannon Mt. All were experienced climbers, the weather was good, and no particular difficulty was encountered on the climb. At about 5 P.M. with the lead rope of Ornstein and Jahn on top and Humphreys leading through the last 10 feet of the top pitch, Humphreys slipped and caught his full weight on a right handhold that was originally at waist level and somewhat to the side. The jerk was sufficient to dislocate his right shoulder. Recovering his balance, he called for a rope from above, which was passed down, and he was quickly brought to the top. When Noxon, as fourth man, had completed the pitch a brief but unsuccessful attempt was made to reduce the dislocation on the spot, after which the party scrambled up through the brush and down the Kinsman Ridge trail to the road, arriving there about 8 P.M. Humphreys was then driven directly to the North Conway Hospital where the shoulder was put back in its socket professionally.

Source: John S. Humphreys.

Analysis: (Humphreys). “The immediate cause was simply carelessness. I had become slightly chilled waiting below and was eager to reach the top to join the first rope, and as a result I was climbing too fast. It was late in the day, and I was perhaps not aware of the fact that I was becoming tired and my coordination was less good. This illustrates well the serious consequences that can result even from a minor slip, and points up the ever present need for caution, particularly on the part of the leader.”

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