American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Placed No Protection, No Hard Hat, Distraction, Massachusetts, Chapel Ledges

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

FALL ON ROCK, PLACED NO PROTECTION, NO HARD HAT,

DISTRACTION

Massachusetts, Chapel Ledges

On May 16, 1987, James Stow (73), a veteran Westfield climber, fell 15 meters to his death as he was preparing a rappel for a teenage church group. He was tying ropes around a tree when he slipped. (Source: The Springfield Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts, May 17, 1987)

Analysis

Every few years there seems to be an accident like this. Experienced climbers and guides engaged in routine operations become engaged mentally in something

other than the tasks at hand. It happens to automobile drivers with great frequency. Many experienced guides tie themselves in before setting up rappels and belays. It is standard protocol in most climbing and adventure schools.

(Source: J. Williamson)

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