American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice—Mediocre Ice Quality, Inadequate Protection, New Hampshire, Frankenstein Cliff, Pegasus

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002

FALL ON ICE-MEDIOCRE ICE QUALITY, INADEQUATE PROTECTION

New Hampshire, Frankenstein Cliff, Pegasus

On March 14 the climber started up the lower right side of Pegasus. This was the most interesting side of the climb at this time and it had been done many times. The ice was chandeliered and somewhat “funky.” He was approximately seven feet up, in the standard “monkey hang” position with picks of both ice axes buried. They both ripped from the ice simultaneously. The leader fell and hit his left crampon on a ledge and stopped short, right at the bottom. He was immediately aware there was a problem and advised his partner to pack up the gear. After taking a number of Ibuprophen, he self-evacuated by sliding down the hill to the railroad tracks and hopping back to his car. He drove himself to Memorial Hospital in North Conway where his injury was diagnosed as a fractured heel bone.

Analysis

The leader was not high enough where he would normally have placed protection. In fact, the accident occurred so low that protection would likely have been of no benefit, and a fall from this height would most often cause no problem. Catching the crampon was pure bad luck. Sometimes accidents just happen, even to experts. (Source: A1 Hospers)

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