Ohio, Practice Cliff near Dublin. The climb was a routine practice climb of about 40 feet in a limestone ravine at Dublin, Ohio. The weather was not a contributory factor, and the rock was dry. The pitch that Chet Hedden (21) chose on July 1 was a direct overhang consisting of several consecutive “ceilings.” He roped up with a double rope, each strand forming a loop, the size of which was regulated by a Hedden Knot tied to the loop and secured at the waist loop. This method eliminates the need for a second in double rope climbing, but does NOT provide a belay as one must depend entirely upon his pitons for security. He was aware of the nature of the hazard, but decided to take the risk since the exposure was practically non-existent. In this part of the country it is very difficult to find a second skilled in double rope climbing, and one must take his practice when and where he can — very often by himself. The climb went very well. He had no difficulty whatsoever and all of his pitons were sound. At the outermost edge of the overhang, suspended by two good pitons in the same crack, he began to drive the next piton, around the corner and into the vertical part of the face above the overhang. The crack that he used was the most obvious choice, the continuation of the same crack that held the two pitons supporting his weight. This third addition apparently proved too much for the ancient, crumbling blocks that comprise the practice cliffs in that locality. This last piton, acting as a wedge, forced the crack apart, allowing the two most important, load bearing pitons to drop out from underneath the overhang. He fell about 35 feet, striking his head on, or being struck by, a rock. He was unconscious for about two hours before picking himself up, coiling the rope, and driving a short distance to a friend’s house. He was then taken to a hospital for treatment and observation. There was no serious injury other than a concussion of the brain and no permanent damage resulted. He was released on the third of July.
Source: Chet Hedden
Analysis: (Chet Hedden) For a number of years, I have been campaigning for the cause of hard hats in mountaineering; I would, therefore, like to let this accident serve as an example for those who chose to ignore hard hats. In this accident as in many others, the most serious injury was to the head. THIS INJURY WOULD HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED IF, ON THIS RARE OCCASION, I HAD NOT DECIDED TO LEAVE MY HARD HAT AT HOME IN MY RUCKSACK. (See also accident California, King’s Canyon, where multiple pitons were placed in some crack).