From Manchester Union Leader
September 14. 2012 12:31AM
Rock climber airlifted to Boston hospital after 60-foot fall
A 28-year-old rock climber was hurt Thursday when he fell about 60 feet from a cliff in the Stonehouse Pond area of Barrington, police said.
The man was climbing with two other men when he fell about 6:30 p.m. He was airlifted to a Boston hospital to be treated for what police said did not appear to be life threatening injuries.
The rock climber was conscious and talking when rescue crews arrived. His name was not immediately available.
Last June, a woman was hurt when she fell about 30 feet from a rock ledge near Stonehouse Pond, a small, fly-fishing pond off Routes 9 and 202.
Foster's Daily Democrat
Rock climber who fell 70 feet from Stonehouse Pond ledge in Barrington recovering at Boston hospital
By LIZ MARKHLEVSKAYA
Saturday, September 15, 2012
BARRINGTON — The rock climber who fell about 70 feet off a ledge at Stonehouse Pond Thursday night is recovering at a Boston hospital after being airlifted there with multiple injuries.
Dover resident Jack Rigel, 28, an experienced rock climber, was free-solo climbing Thursday evening when his hands slipped about 10 feet from the top of the highest ledge, said his best friend, Stephen Wentworth.
Wentworth, who was one of two friends accompanying Rigel on the climb, said Rigel, who was climbing with no rope, fell backward after losing his grip, somersaulted, and hit his head on a rock on his way down, losing consciousness.
Rigel landed flat on his back, on a land mass several feet above the level of the water at Stonehouse Pond, said Wentworth.
"By the time I got to him he was conscious but he was not coherent," he said. He said that Aaron Ronher, the third friend who had been rock climbing with Rigel and Wentworth that evening, dropped to his knees after seeing Rigel fall.
"He thought he saw Jack die," said Wentworth. "It's traumatizing. I still have a hard time with it."
Ronher said, "I cant' believe he is still alive ... I can't get the image (of him falling) out of my head."
On Friday, Rigel remained at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where he was flown by helicopter Thursday evening. According to Ronher, he was expected to be released from the hospital by the end of this weekend.
Rigel's injuries include three broken vertebrae, though "nothing vital was damaged," said Wentworth. He also has some fractures on his left foot, broken bones on his right foot, as well as two staples in his head from hitting his head on the rock.
"He's hurting, but he's OK," said Wentworth, who visited Rigel at the hospital Friday. "The doctor said people don't live from those types of falls."
Wentworth and Ronher have been rock climbing for about two years, but Rigel has been climbing longer than that, said Wentworth.
"Jack is the one with experience, he's the better climber," said Wentworth. "He's an adrenaline junkie ... We go to Stonehouse Pond all the time. We climbed at night when we first started."
This summer, Rigel began rock climbing free-solo, using no rope. While Rigel has free-soloed at Stonehouse Pond several times this summer, Thursday was his first time climbing on the more difficult ledge with no rope.
"He says he doesn't want to climb again, which I don't blame him, but he's in good spirits," said Wentworth. "Me, I'll climb, though it will be a while."
"I will never climb without a rope," said Ronher. "It's just not worth it."
Rigel's fall, which occurred shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, drew response from more than a dozen rescue personnel from Barrington and surrounding towns.
Some of the rescue crews hiked the rugged terrain to the other side of the pond, directly opposite from the boat launch, to access Rigel.
Others used boats from Barrington Fire Department to get across the pond, where Rigel was carefully lowered from the land mass onto a stretcher on a boat.
Fire departments from Rochester, Durham, and Madbury assisted in rescuing Rigel. Frisbie Memorial Hospital EMS, as well as Barrington police, fire and rescue departments responded to the incident.