American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Various Falls on Rock and Inadequate Protection and One Hornet Attack, New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997



New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

Of the 18 incidents reported form the Shawangunks in 1996, twelve were the result of leader falls, with six of those exacerbated by inadequate protection. Sixteen accidents occurred while ascending, one of them being a 160-foot fatal fall while soloing. There was only one report of a falling rock/object, and that happened to a rappeller, though we don’t know how the rock was dislodged from above. There were six cases resulting in fractures, while the rest resulted in sprains, lacerations, or abrasions. There was only one report of stings, but it was a very serious one, because the victim is “deathly allergic” to bee stings. In this case, they were white faced hornets encountered at the end of the first pitch of Le Teton (5.9). Thaedra (23) worked quickly to set some protection, because she knew that if (more likely when) she passed out, she could fall 70 feet to the deck. Her epi-pen, unfortunately, was in her pack on the ground below. Her partner came to the rescue, part of which could be called an epi-epic, as he climbed up to her unroped with epi-pen in mouth! He too was stung—about 15 times—before getting the epi-pen to her and effecting a lower. A trip to the hospital that included another shot and some benadryll led to a sufficient recovery.

There was a case of rope being used on rope, resulting in a sling being worn through while lowering. A thirty foot fall resulted in a fracture and concussion. The average age of victims was 30, and the only climb of any difficulty was a 5.10, from which the leader (48) fell within the first six feet.

One full report, sent in to ANAM by the climbers, follows below. (Source: From the report submitted by Mohonk Preserve and Jed Williamson)

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