American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Connecticut, West Rock

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1959

Connecticut, West Rock—On June 1 Leo Arsenault (16), Peter Davis (18), Edw. Goderre (16) and Marvin Moore (15) went to West Rock near New Haven, Conn. Davis remained at the foot of the Rock to direct and advise. Arsenault and the other two descended from the road at the summit using a rope tied to a stump to aid in control of descent. Part of the way down (less than half) they stopped at a convenient ledge to rest because they had reached the end of the rope. Moore went up to see if he could find some more rope. Then, a housewife nearby spotted them, called the police, and in a matter of minutes a crowd of spectators had gathered and a Fire Department rescue truck was on its way to the summit. At the sound of the truck and at the sight of the crowd, Goderre stayed put on the ledge. Arsenault started scrambling his way up the rather sheer face of the rock, trying to find grips with fingers and feet. Goderre said Arsenault started to climb off the ledge rather abruptly and impulsively. In going up, he dislodged some outcroppings, fell, and struck some boulders at the foot. He suffered head injuries and died almost instantly. Goderre was struck by some rocks dislodged by Arsenault, receiving superficial abrasions, Davis and Moore were unhurt. Davis climbed to the summit and was paramount in aiding police and fire department personnel in retrieving Goderre from his perch.

Source: John E. Taylor; M. Doverman, Supt. of State Receiving Home, New Haven, Conn.

Analysis: Inexperience and fear of police leading to rash action.

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