American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Miscommunication—Inadequate Belay, Climbers Unknown to Each Other, Maine, Bald Mountain, Shag Crag, Tightrope

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

FALL ON ROCK, MISCOMMUNICATION-INADEQUATE BELAY, CLIMBERS UNKNOWN TO EACH OTHER

Maine, Bald Mountain, Shag Crag, Tightrope

Jed Piatt (29) of Dover, N.H., was in a group of experienced climbers when he fell from the route Tightrope (12d) on Bald Mountain’s Shag Crag shortly before 6:00 p.m. Steve Allarie, District Game Warden for the Woodstock area, said Piatt fell 15 to 25 feet. He suffered broken ribs, a broken ankle, and a slight concussion.

“Based on his injuries, he had to be hand-carried down the mountain in a basket,” Allarie said. “It was very difficult because of the steep terrain and it was nighttime.”

The LifeFlight rescue helicopter was able to land near Reading Road in Woodstock, and took Piatt to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where he was treated and released Sunday.

Analysis

Always go over your verbal signals, especially if you and your partner don’t know each other. Piatt called, “Take,” and the belayer thought he wanted rope to clip so let out slack instead. Also, be wary when using a 9.4 mm rope in a Grigri. Due to the extra slack and force generated from that, the 9.4mm rope just shot through the belay device and was not able to be arrested. (Source: Edited from various reports sent in by A1 Hospers)

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