American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Various Falls on Rock, Mostly No or Inadequate Protection, New York, Shawangunks

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990


New York, Shawangunks

In 1989, there were 19 climbing accidents. They can be divided into three categories: (1) solo climbers or boulderers, who use no rope; (2) lead climbers; and (3) those climbers being seconded. The great majority of climbing accidents involve lead climbers. Of these, seven leaders fell, and either pulled protection or had placed none, and hit either the ground or a ledge. Six accidents involved a leader falling a moderate distance, six meters or less, with protection holding yet an injury resulting.

Perhaps the most interesting category of injuries is those that happened to climbers coming second. Seconding is usually considered to be relatively safe, so injuries here are notable. All three injuries in this category occurred for different reasons: a loose rock, a shoulder prone to dislocation being stressed, and a climber coming second whose rope appears to have jammed and he was not aware until he fell; and then there was just too much slack in his rope and he fell two or three meters. (Source: Mohonk Preserve)

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