American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, Pennslyvania, Delaware Water Gap

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT

Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap

On November 10, 1988, Mike “X” (35) and Randy “Y” were attempting a climb of Sex Kitten (5.8). Mike was leading, Randy belaying. Mike clipped to a rhododendron a short way up for a directional. Just above it (5.8) the protection was difficult. He clipped to a flexible Friend in a vertical slot, with the stem sticking straight out 90 degrees from rock. Mike knew it was a poor placement, but thought it might hold something. A little higher still, looking for a better placement, he reached left to a hold and slipped unexpectedly. The Friend pulled out easily and he fell three meters, stopped by the rhododendron, and just short of the ground. He suffered a slight fracture and sprain of his left ankle. He hobbled down the talus and drove to the hospital. (Source: Ranger Steele, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area)

Analysis

Although the climb was well within his abilities, Mike did slip and consequently did have to rely on the protection. Since he knew the Friend was a poor placement, he should have backed it up before moving on. There were some other possible intricate placements. Impatience with arranging difficult protection was a factor, as perhaps overconfidence was too. (Source: Ranger Steele, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area)

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