American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Various Falls on Rock, Protection Problems, New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

VARIOUS FALLS ON ROCK, PROTECTION PRORLEMS

New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

Eighteen accidents were reported in 1993, nine of which resulted in fractures, and one of which resulted in a fatality—the first since 1983. The latter occurred in October, at night, to a male (34) who was on the third and final pitch of Gelsa (5.4). He fell, for unknown reasons, about 50 feet, flipping over and landing on his head below two other climbing friends who were on the belay ledge. It is doubtful that a helmet would have made any difference. Climbing at night here is not condoned, but it sometimes happens on cloudless, moonlit nights.

Five of the accidents resulted in more serious injury because of inadequate protection, and one was the result of rushing because of darkness. The average age of the victims was 34, and 15 of the routes were 5.8 or less. (Source: Mohonk Preserve)

(Editor's Note: The average age and route difficulty might suggest that the climbers here are “regulars. ” Not entered into the statistics was a 41 year old man who was sitting at the base after climbing with his son when he keeled over in cardiac arrest. He was DO A at the hospital.

The oldest victim was 136, if dog years are converted into human ones. Preserve rangers were called upon to rappel down to pick a stranded dog off the cliff face at Hudson Highlands. The victim is alive and doing well.)

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