American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Wet Rock, No Hard Hat, New Hampshire, Whitehorse Ledge

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1993

FALL ON WET ROCK, NO HARD HAT

New Hampshire, Whitehorse Ledge

On August 2, 1992, Steve Wickham (32) was about 600 feet up on “Wedge” when he fell. His rope was clipped through about six pieces of gear, with the final one being a 1 1/2 Friend which caught his fall of about 50 feet. He was upside down and bleeding profusely, and he was unconscious. The male partner, with a belay from the female, climbed to Steve and righted him. Steve regained consciousness after being out for about seven to ten minutes. He suffered a wound on top of his head, a fractured skull with the break running half way around his head, and two compressed vertebrae.

The accident happened around 1505. The litter-lower rescue by the MRS and other climbers was completed by 1800. Members of SOLO and the North Conway Fire Department Rescue Squad were at the base to carry Steve to the ambulance. Because of the severity of his skull fracture, he was flown from the North Conway Hospital to the Hitchcock Center near Hanover.

Analysis

The victim was not wearing a hard hat. He and his partners had decided that Whitehorse Ledge is a clean cliff, and therefore left helmets in the car. (Source: George Hurley)

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