American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Various Falls on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, Inadequate Protection, and Rappel Errors, New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003


New York, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks

There were 29 incidents reported for 2002. More than half were injuries sustained from lead climbing. In eight of the leader falls, protection pulled out. In seven others, leaders were “run out” in that they had too much slack in the belay system, which resulted in long falls to ledges, impacting the cliff, or grounding out. In the four top-rope incidents, the climbers were injured because they made pendulum swings when they fell.

There were five bouldering incidents—which is an increase from previous years. These falls were from ten to twenty feet off the deck with inadequate spotting or padding as a contributing cause.

One injury of note resulted when a lead climber pulled a two-cinder block sized rock loose and almost completely severed his right index finger. He was able to rappel and self-evacuate. The finger was successfully reattached.

One of the two rappel incidents happened in November when a climber was down-climbing to a rappel point. As his protection popped out due to “mushy ice” lining the crack, he fell fifteen feet, resulting in a fractured tibia and fibula.

The average age of the climbers injured was 30, and 20 out of the 28 were males. The climbing routes were mostly of moderate difficulty. (Source: Mohonk Preserve)

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