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Fall on Ice, Inadequate Protection, Exceeding Abilities, New Hampshire, Frankenstein Cliff, Standard Route Left

FALL ON ICE, INADEQUATE PROTECTION, EXCEEDING ABILITIES

New Hampshire, Frankenstein Cliff, Standard Route Left

On February 17, the strongest leader, Tom, had apparently done the first (crux) pitch just fine. The second leader, Jim, fell while attempting the 20-foot bulge above. He decked on one of the ledges and broke his ankle. Jim immobilized the ankle with ice tools and webbing and lowered him as far as he could. Their ropes would not reach the ground from the belay. They did not know how to do a tandem rappel. Several other climbers nearby talked the second through the lowering process until they could get the second on their rope.

An experienced climber from the Adirondacks was helpful, as was another climber who is a physician’s assistant. Two members of the Bartlett Fire Department came with a litter perched atop a fat dune buggy tire to take him out. This litter made the carry-out process much easier in a single track trail.

Analysis

Standard Route Left is a climb that looks easier than it is. Many intermediate leaders are lulled into a false sense of security because of the much easier main Standard Route to the right. The curtains on this route, while short, are quite vertical and can often be brittle. Even on easy ice bulges anything can happen. Place ice screws in places that will prevent ground fall, even if the climbing is easy. Several accidents have happened here in the past couple years. (Source: A1 Hospers)