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Fall on Rock, Weather, New Hampshire, Rattlesnake Mountain


New Hampshire, Rattlesnake Mountain

On September 17, 1994, Leon Kaatz fell down a wet rock slab while trying to set up a handline for friends with whom he was hiking. Kaatz is a climber, and this hiking situation called for climbing skill because of the wetness of the rock slab. Fortunately for him, he landed next to a rock climbing class from the University of New Hampshire. Most of them were EMT or Wilderness EMT trained. The class took over the responsibility for the evacuation and carry-out.

The students were pleased—and somewhat surprised—to find out that their training actually worked when put into practice. Their teacher, Dr. Michael Gass, said, “Their perspective on life is service to others. Action personifies the perspective the students have. I admire and respect them for that.”

Kaatz, who came out of the accident with a fractured elbow and many cuts and scratches, is an experienced climber. In a letter of thanks to Gass’ class, Kaatz said: “I have done much climbing in my days and I have participated before in litter rescues. This is the first time, however, I have ever participated in a litter rescue from the reclining position.” (Source: From a report and letter submitted by Michael Gass)