American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Climbing Unroped, New Hampshire, Mt. Washington

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1981

FALL ON ICE, CLIMBING UNROPED New Hampshire, Mt. Washington

On January 22, 1980, John Zedick (25) was leading two friends, Brian Kring and Kim

Ankeny, up the Fan to climb Odell’s Gully. They had stayed at the Harvard Cabin the night before. The Fan, normally full of snow, was extremely icy with rocks jutting out, making it a “no fail” scene. Although Kring and Ankeny had asked about roping up, Zedick continued. He was just going over the last little bulge when he fell and slid about 200 feet, bouncing off the sharp rocks as if in a pinball machine. He wasn’t tied into his tools. He came to rest between two large boulders. He remembered most of the fall and didn’t lose consciousness. His friends rushed down to help him.

He received serious injuries but was moved successfully by the rescue team to Pinkham Notch and then transported to the hospital. (Source: Rick Wilcox, Mountain Rescue Service Leader)

Analysis

The conditions were unusual for this time of year, as the rocks are normally covered with snow. Even the trail required the use of crampons because of the ice. Also, Zedick was not able to use any of his ice tools. (Source: Rick Wilcox, Mountain Rescue Service Leader)

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