American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, New Hampshire, Rumney Cliff, Holderness School Crack

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT

New Hampshire, Rumney Cliff, Holderness School Crack

On July 3, I was leading Holderness School Crack, which I have climbed at least 20 times and led (in fact I led it before the accident). I scrambled onto the ledge, started the climb and placed a directional nut near the bottom. I continued and placed a #1 Friend. I continued about ten feet past the Friend (a total of 25 to 30 feet above the ledge at the bottom). I believe my left foot slipped—though I only remember hitting the ground. The Friend pulled out. I landed on my back and hit my head. I was littered off the edge. My husband is a paramedic and directed the rescue as well as administered first aid. I went to Speare Hospital in Plymouth and was transferred to Lakes Region General Hospital. My injuries included cracked ribs (back), cracked left humerus, sprained ankle, severely broken right hand which was operated on and put back together with three screws. I had lots of typical Rumney abrasions all over my body and minor bleeds in my brain (detected on the CAT scan).

Analysis

I would have been dead if I didn’t have my helmet on. Its hard to know exactly what happened. I was not climbing above my ability and I was not ill equipped. I may have been over-confident and so did not pay enough attention to the Friend placement. Having a cellular phone in the car made everything happen very fast. It was not a luxury but a serious part of rescue equipment. (Source: Susan Kennedy, 27)

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