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Fall on Rock, Inadequate Equipment, Inadequate Protection, Off Route, New York, Shawangunks


New York, Shawangunks

On May 26,1985,I led the first pitch of the Arch (5.4) but had not carried enough slings so there was a large amount of rope drag. Bil Tulipare (38), coming up second, found this rope drag excessive and to eliminate it he removed all but the last piece of protection. Ron Dingman (32), coming up third, was now faced with the prospect of a long pendulum fall if he followed the normal route, so he decided to climb more difficult rock as directly under the belay as possible. About 20 meters off the ground he fell and swung about 7 meters into the right wall of the arch, breaking his right ankle. I caught the fall and lowered him to the ground while other climbers informed the climbing rangers. By the time Bil and I reached the ground Ron had been splinted and was being carried down the scree in a stokes to the carriage road. I later drove him to Vassar Hospital where it was determined he had fractured and displaced the calcaeneus, requiring surgical reduction. (Source: Roy Curet, 25)


If I had used more slings under the overhand, the amount of drag would not have been so high that Bil would have thought it necessary to remove the protection. If Bil had not removed the protection, Ron would have stayed on the easier rock of the normal route. If Ron had followed his own thoughts/instincts, he would not have attempted the inadequately protected pitch (at least not so early in the season). (Source: Roy Curet)