FALL ON ROCK
New Hampshire, Cathedral Ledge, Recompense
A party of two climbed Recompense, and the leader fell while on the crux third pitch. He fell 10 to 15 feet and hit a ledge, badly breaking his leg. The climbers had the experience and knowledge to initiate their own rescue. The belayer was able to get the leader back to the belay and set up a lower on a single rope strand to get the leader to the ground. When New Hampshire Mountain Rescue and local paramedics arrived, they had only to put the leader into a litter and carry him out.
The crux on the last pitch of Recompense is technically a 5.9; however, the layback moves on fingertip holds are very strenuous. Protection is very good if you can hang on long enough to place it. One suggestion is to climb up, get the protection in place and in that spot it is easy to step back down to a good rest, recover, then continue climbing.
It is good to see climbers self sufficient enough to rescue themselves. In this case their method worked and was quick. The patient really suffered as he was being lowered down the cliff, bumping into the rock on the way down. We could hear his screaming as we approached the cliff. It is possible that a better method would have been for the uninjured climber to counter balance rappel with the patient to keep him away from the cliff. (Source: Mountain Rescue Service, Inc)