American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

New Hampshire, Joe English Hill

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1967

New Hampshire, Joe English Hill. On 16 April, a New England College instructor (Mr. Dan H. Allen), three students and one non-student were climbing together at Joe English Hill in New Boston, New Hampshire. The three students were ascending one of the commonly used routes on a face with an average gradient of about 60°. An instructor (Mr. Charles H. Groes- beck) and about five students from Dublin School, Dublin, New Hampshire, arrived and set up a static climb below. As the leader of the New England College rope reached the top of the face an improvised rock hammer attached to his belt loop with a nylon cord came untied and fell approximately 150 vertical feet, striking a grazing blow to the back of Mr. Groes- beck’s head. Mr. Groesbeck left immediately for medical aid and later reported that he had received a 5 inch laceration of the scalp.

Source: Dan H. Allen

Analysis: (Allen) It seems clear that every climber must bear the responsibility for his actions and that allowing anything to drop is an avoidable act. It is also evident that any instructor has the responsibility both not to overlook potential hazards and to advise his students of their responsibility, (ed. — Mr. Groesbeck had loaned his protective head gear to one of his students. He also had to grab another student who froze and to protect him with his own body. Since nylon cord or line is so likely to come untied because of its inherent characteristics, it would seem advisable not to secure as important a piece of climbing equipment as a piton hammer with nylon cord that is tied. Certainly the loss of a piton hammer on a difficult climb could be disastrous. Such items should be securely attached to the climber.)

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