American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Inadequate Protection, New Hampshire, Cathedral Ledge, Recompense

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2004

FALL ON ROCK, INADEQUATE PROTECTION

New Hampshire, Cathedral Ledge, Recompense

In October, on the third pitch of Recompense, my partner, Mark, was ten feet from topping out and went to plug a cam and popped off. He was 15 feet above his last piece, so with rope stretch fell about 3 5 feet and hit the small ledge about 15 feet above the belay stance. It was immediately apparent that his arm/wrist was badly injured, but all other digits intact. No head injury and he was coherent. We lowered him down (shouting the whole way that a 911 call wasn’t necessary, but those who saw his fall were pretty freaked out).

I lowered off and we walked out, then drove to the ER. He broke his wrist in three places and dislocated the bones in his palm. He spent two hours in surgery getting pins put in.

Analysis

It was totally obvious that his pride was hurt more than anything. He’s an experienced climber and has led Recompense four times and never fallen. This goes to show that just because you have a climb wired doesn’t mean you should run it out 15 feet when there’s good pro. We were lucky that it was just a broken wrist.

I was very impressed with our climbing community that day. Everyone on and around the prow came quickly to our aid and organized a clean descent. Anyway, that’s the scoop. (Source: From an e-mail to Al Hospers from Holly.)

(Editor’s Note: There were a few other reports from NH, but none involving serious injury. Two of them were simply stranded climbers.)

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