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Falling Rocks — Broke Away from Routes — Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Mount Minsi, Mount Tammany


Pennsylvania, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Mount Minsi, Mount Tammany

There were three climbing incidents reported from this area.

The first report was of a fall on a route called Raptor of the Steep (5.10) on Mount Minsi. Dan O’Malley was about 25 feet above a belay site. His partner Tim Feitzinger watched him make a move to climb up on a large rock. The rock teetered and then came free from the face, knocking O’Malley backward and off the mountain. The rock nearly hit Feitzinger. While he was busy avoiding the rock, he lost track of O’Malley. Then he realized that O’Malley was not on belay because the rock had severed the rope. A third partner, Jeff Sukenick, began efforts to get help for O’Malley, who was seriously injured. Sukenick and Feitzinger, and then two paramedics, were unable to revive O’Malley.

In July on Mount Tammany, Laura Glockeler was ascending a fixed rope when she began to pendulum. She reached for a large rock and it broke off, crushing her left arm in the process. She required reattachment surgery, which was successful.

In August on Mount Minsi, another accident involved a fall to a ledge as a result of a rock (foothold) coming loose. The climber, Dr. Mike Sinclair, fell about 20 feet onto a ledge. His injuries included a pneumothorax, torn cervical ligament, several fractures (T5&6, ribs, hip), lacerations, and a concussion. He survived, thanks to a technical rescue effort involving a dozen people. During the rescue, part of the ledge gave way, and while a rescuer below was trying to run from possible harm, he broke his ankle. (Source: Incident Reports submitted by Delaware Water Gap NRA)