American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Exceeding Abilities, Inadequate Protection, New York, Harriman State Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986


New York, Harriman State Park

On June 1, 1985,1 was on the first pitch of a climb whose name and rating I do not know. I was about three meters from my last piece of protection on a hard traverse of a flaring crack under an overhang which I had not been able to get any protection into. I thought about turning back, but decided to continue around a corner to where it looked like I would be able to get something in. I couldn’t. I then tried to reach a fixed pin farther to the right but my fingers gave out and I fell. I fell onto a ledge. I also struck my back on a rock and got scraped up in the fall. I was lowered/downclimbed the remaining distance to the ground. The distance from the protection and the distance to the ledge were such that no strain had come onto the belay. I later jumared the pitch to recover the pieces I did have in and the next day hiked out with a full pack. Persistent pain brought me to an Emergency Room where I learned I had fractured two vertebrae. (Source: Roy Curet, 25)


If I hadn’t worn a helmet, my injuries would have been much worse. If I had used a chest harness, I would not have been falling head first. I should not have risked the fall without some kind of protection on the traverse. (Source: Roy Curet)

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