General > Epics and Accidents

Acadia Accident Sunday

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Heard about this on TV and found this online. Appears that a "guide" was involved - and a rope was cut/failed. Of course we all know that can mean anything the way these get reported. Anyone know anything else? Hopefully all recover fully.

"The rope appears to have broken because it wore through while rubbing against a sharp rock, he said."

Since top-belaying is the norm there I'm wondering if it was a belayed rappel, or lowering incident. Plenty of edges there deserve consideration. We probably won't hear from those involved but I really would like to know what system was being used at the time of the accident.

Updated info - Acadia Mountain Guides. Appears everyone will eventually be OK - which is great news.

That is great news... I still can't accurately picture this:

“Basically, they had a rope cut above the point where the three people were secured to the rope,” said Tierney, who said he’s climbed Otter Cliff about 100 times a year for the last 20 years.

The male climber and the guide fell off the side of the cliff, a drop of about 22 feet, Tierney said. The female climber was at the base of the cliff, waiting for instruction from the guide, he said.

“She was on the ground below. She was the one having difficulty. The guide went down to coach her through a difficult move and when the guide fell, it ended up pulling the other climber off with him,” he said."

So... my typical set up for top belaying there, which I think was kind of invented my Tierney, is to fix the middle of the rope and have a "rappel line" for the climber to go down (lowering over a harsh edge ain't good), so the active climbing end of the rope is only loaded in the event of a 2nd's fall...

So if the guide was going down to coach, I would think he would go down the fixed side, maybe he went down the delay strand to be able to still belay her while below... still how would he pull the 3rd client off if the rope cut above him... and if it cut above the 3rd guy on top that means it cut back the edge? What the hell cut the rope there?... I can't picture this at all...

Admin Al:
Jon Tierney  islander511 • a day ago
June 16, 2013

It is with deep sadness that Acadia Mountain Guides, Inc. reports a climbing accident in Acadia National Park on the morning of June 15 in the vicinity of Otter Cliffs at Acadia National Park. Two people were injured in the accident and were taken to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. They were treated and released today.

We have notified the families and we will do everything
possible to support the injured parties and their family members.

All of us at Acadia Mountain Guides are distraught by this incident. It is the first significant accident in a twenty year history of guiding in Acadia National Park for Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School. The accident
will be thoroughly reviewed both internally and externally in hopes of further preventing future incidents.

I would like to thank the NPS rangers, MDI Volunteer Search and Rescue, Bar Harbor FD, Eli Simon from ACS and the many guides from Acadia Mountain Guides who provided care and participated in the rescue.


Jon Tierney
Internationally Licensed IFMGA Mountain Guide
Owner, Acadia Mountain Guides, Inc.


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