American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing


  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995


New York, Mohonk Preserve Shawangunks

Fourteen incidents were reported in 1994, of which eight resulted in fractures or dislocations. There were two fatalities. One occurred when a man (47) slipped and fell 60 feet to the road. He was setting up a top rope at the time. The other, which happened only eleven days later, was the result of assuming that a sling around a tree with rings attached indicated a rappel station. Neither of the two climbers checked the knot on the sling. The first climber (27) clipped in and weighted the rappel rope at the edge of the cliff. That was when he discovered that the knot was improperly tied. He fell first about 40 feet to the Grand Traverse ledge, then rolled off that and went the rest of the way to the ground— about 200 feet. The sling was later found to have only one half of a water knot tied in it.

Seven victims suffered fractures, and two experienced dislocated shoulders. Most incidents were caused by falls, and either there was inadequate protection or the belayer was unable to check the fall. Two injuries were the result of dislodging rocks that hit the climbers themselves rather than anyone below. One fall was the result of fatigue at the moment of leading the crux move of the first pitch of Bonnie's Roof (5.8). While protection held, the fall was 20 feet.

The average age of the victims was 32, and the average route difficulty was 5.6. (Source: Mohonk Preserve)

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