American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Climbing Unroped and Unprotected, Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap, Mt. Minsi

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

FALL ON ICE, CLIMBING UNROPED AND UNPROTECTED

Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap, Mt. Minsi

On January 10, Hugh Dougher (25) attempted to climb an ice flow on the Mt. Minsi cliffs. Near the top of the flow the thin ice disintegrated, causing Dougher to fall 170 feet to the base of the cliff. Dougher suffered fractures of a leg, rib, and both arms. He was evacuated by a National Park Service search team later that evening. (Source: Hugh Dougher)

Analysis

I used poor judgment in deciding to attempt the climb under marginal conditions. Under those conditions a roped team wouldn’t have had much more security. The ice was too thin to accept ice screws but thick enough to hide underlying rock placements. (Source: Hugh Dougher)

(Ed. Note: In a letter to this editor, Dougher said that while awaiting rescue, he snuggled with his dog Strider in order to keep warm. The local newspaper ran the headline, “Pooch Saves Life.” Strider subsequently placed in Ken’l Ration’s top ten “Hero Dog of the Year” competition. There is a lesson here for climbers, if only we knew the size of the dog.)

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