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Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, No Experience, No Equipment, Connecticut, Ragged Mountain, Main Cliff

FALL ON ROCK, CLIMBING UNROPED, NO EXPERIENCE,

NO EQUIPMENT

Connecticut, Ragged Mountain, Main Cliff

On November 6, 1993, two friends decided to try mountain biking in a new area. They entered Ragged Mountain Preserve, but found the biking there unsatisfactory. Chris Dean (21) had never done any climbing but had seen (solo) climbing on MTV that “looked easy.” Wiesner's Slab is a prominent feature at Main Cliff, a 50 foot low-angle slab. Chris decided to climb it. He states he got more than half way up before getting stuck. Trying to start moving again, he slipped, slid part way, then caught on a ledge, flipped and fell to the ground, across about ten feet of almost level surface, then down a scree slope where he was stopped by fallen branches a yard down.

This occurred about 1430 on a gray day with only a few climbers out in the chilly weather. He was found in about a minute by his friend who got the attention of climbers. In the south descent gully nearby was a volunteer trail crew of Ragged Mountain Foundation officers and members building rock steps at the top. They were informed by a climber from the cliff top that there had been a fall with injuries. They immediately descended the gully, located the fallen youth and went the quarter to half mile through the woods to call for rescue. Climbers and crew members remained with the victim who was conscious and in pain. He had obvious compound fractures of left lower arm and right lower leg, and a scraped face. Bleeding was minimal and moving the victim seemed inadvisable. Spare clothing was put over him, and a little water given at his request.

One policeman, one fireman, and two ambulance attendants arrived within 45 minutes, guided in by RMF members. It took another half hour to administer oxygen for his shortness of breath, stabilize the victim, and load him onto a litter to be carried out to the ambulance by climbers and crew.

Additional injuries diagnosed at the hospital were internal bleeding, a bruised kidney, and a fractured pelvis. (Source: Elizabeth Buckley, Ragged Mountain Foundation)

Analysis

The experience and familiarity with terrain, landowners and community resources of the area by RMF members greatly facilitated the rescue and minimized the time involved. This accident, along with past accidents in this popular area, has led the RMF to formulate a plan for working with community rescue organizations to familiarize them with the terrain and vehicular access to the area so they can function effectively when other experienced personnel are not present. (Source: Elizabeth Buckley, Ragged Mountain Foundation)

(Editors Note: Here is a classic case of an individual setting out to do one kind of an adventure activity and impulsively deciding to try another kind. This is an accident that happened on a climbing cliff, but the individual was not a climber and had not set out with the intent to climb. It does not get entered into the Tables.)