American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Fall on Rock, Inadequate Protection, New York, Adirondacks

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984


New York, Adirondacks

On July 3, 1983, Lee Fowler (32) and Andrew Metz (22) were killed when they fell about 90 meters from Wallface in the Adirondacks.

Fowler was six to eight meters above Metz, with no protection in, when he fell, pulling both Metz and his protection from the belay position. (Source: Discussion between the Editor and Jim Wagoner, Adirondack climber and rescue team member)


Metz used a medium-size Friend to anchor himself to his belay position. When Fowler, who weighed close to 100 kg, fell, the force of pull on the Friend was straight out. The reasons Fowler might not have placed protection are: first, that there probably were no appropriate cracks, and second, that the section of the pitch he was on is not particularly difficult. The major problem was using only one anchor for the belayer, which was compounded by the weight of the climber and the diminished capability a Friend has for taking shock loads. (Sources: David Ames, Adirondack Ranger, and discussion between Editor and Jim Wagoner)

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