Orono man injures his back in 20-foot fall while ice climbing in Acadia National Park


ACADIA NATIONAL PARK — An Orono man injured his back Saturday when he fell about 20 feet while ice climbing on Champlain Mountain, according to a park ranger.

The 33-year-old man was preparing to lead a climb with two other men at the South Wall climbing site when his ice axes slipped just before noon while he was 10 feet up the wall. After falling onto snow-covered granite he then fell about 10 feet onto granite rocks.

Ranger Richard Rechholtz said the man was an experienced climber, but the ice was not in good condition for climbing. He said it was soft and had water running underneath. In keeping with the park’s policy about medical response calls, Rechholtz did not release the man’s identity.

In addition to park rangers, Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue and Bar Harbor paramedics answered the 911 call. Rescue personnel arrived near the site in 4-wheel drive vehicles and reached the injured climber after a 10 minute hike. The man was stabilized and carried out in a Stokes litter to an ambulance that took him to Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor.

His condition was unavailable Saturday evening.