American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Reported Mountaineering Accidents, Table III

  • Accident Tables
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

FALL ON ROCK, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, ROPE SEVERED

New York, Shawangunks

On April 29, a climber (20) became tired while attempting High Exposure, a 5.6 route. He was also off route. He fell, and his rope severed as a result of impact on a sharp edge of rock. The climber fell 150 feet to the ground, sustaining only a broken ankle thanks to his fall being broken by trees along the way. (Source: Brad Snyder)

Analysis

This is one of the very few accidents over the years in which the climbing rope parted. It is important to note that the rope did not “fail” in the fatigue sense of the word, but rather was cut as a result of impact on a sharp edge. The capabilities of modern climbing ropes have come under the scrutiny of “advanced technology,” but for the best analysis and perspective on ropes, you should read “Climbing Rope Myths” by Royal Robbins in the February-March 1979 issue of Summit. (Source: J. Williamson)

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