A few days ago a climber took a big fall on New Hampshire’s Cathedral Ledge. Luckily for him several things went in his favor and he ultimately survived the plunge.
Hans Bauer and climbing partner Max Lurie made the trip to Cathedral for a day of aid climbing the Prow, a classic route that ascends the prominent Prow Buttress. The route was first established on aid by Paul Ross and Hugh Thompson in 1972 to only be freed five years later by Jimmy Dunn and Jay Wilson.
The day Bauer and Lurie were making their ascent, they were climbing well and everything was going smooth. Lurie had just climbed the crux pitch and Bauer was to ascend the rope, cleaning gear as he went. Unfortunately, Bauer was dehydrated and dropped his ascender so he had to rely on another device he was unfamiliar with. Believing the device was setup properly he untied from his anchor with approximately 50 feet of slack in the line and down he went. The device he had rigged ultimately created a small amount friction on the rope slowing his fall but nearly severing it in the process. Slamming into the slabs below, Bauer came to a stop and felt good enough to ascend the rope to the anchor above. Jim Surette, a local guide and videographer, was nearby and asked if everything was ok. Surette eventually helped lower the climber to the ground and the Mountain Rescue Service was called and Bauer was taken to the hospital. Bauer has since been released and will have a full recovery.
Accoring to Lurie, Bauer is a solid climber with many hard solo aid ascents on Cathedral.