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

FALL ON ROCK, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, INADEQUATE PROTECTION

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)

Analysis

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)