American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall On Rock, Inadequate Protection, Quebec, Mount Saint Hilaire, Dame Noire Route

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

FALL ON ROCK, INADEQUATE PROTECTION

Québec, Mount Saint Hilaire, Dame Noire Route

On May 31, M.L. (33), with six years of climbing experience, and C.M. were attempting Dame Noire (5.8). M.L. was leading in a dihedral, six meters above his second and last placement, and placing protection in a crack system, when his right foot suddenly slipped on some wet moss. His left hand also slipped and he fell off. He had just enough time to push himself away from the rock, but still hit his right and then his left foot against the rock as he dropped.

According to his belayer, M.L. was face-down before being stopped by the rope two meters below the belay station, a total fall of about twelve meters. M.L. tied himself in to the belay system with a sling, rested a few minutes, and then belayed his partner while he retrieved their equipment. M.L. then rappelled to the ground, where C.M. administered first aid and assessed his injuries. He had sustained a fracture of the right foot and a traumatic bursitis of the left ankle. (Source: Jacques Kirouac, FQME)

Analysis

This climb was reportedly well within M.L.'s ability, so he may have pushed his lead out as a result. A six-meter runout is excessive so close to the ground. Fortunately, his top piece held, as C.M. reported that the other chock had nearly fallen out of the crack, as it was held in only by the cable. The injuries may have been lessened or nullified if the leader had placed more protection. (Source: Orvel Miskiw)

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