NORTH CONWAY, N.H. (AP) – An experienced rock climber lost his footing and dangled unconscious for about two minutes on a New Hampshire cliff, but walked out of the hospital later in the day courtesy of his climbing helmet, authorities and his hiking companions said.

Christopher Townsend, 27, rested at his Cambridge, Mass., home on Monday, a day after falling about 20 feet on Cathedral Ledge, according to the Fish and Game Department and two climbing companions.

“He seems to be fine, amazingly. We’re all really grateful,” said Hannah Waight, a Harvard student who was belaying Townsend when he fell. A belayer controls a lead climber’s rope so he cannot fall too far.

Kevin Jones, also a Harvard student, also was on the climb. Townsend “walked out of the hospital by his own means and in good spirits around 5 p.m. yesterday,” Jones said in an e-mail. He said Townsend had a head wound that was closed with medical staples and other scrapes and bruises, but was spared worse by his helmet.

“The doctors all made it clear that the helmet undoubtedly saved his life,” Jones said.

Jones and Waight are leaders of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, though both said Sunday’s outing was not a club event.

The Mountain Rescue Service brought Townsend down, and he was treated a Memorial Hospital. Waight said a member of the group happened to be nearby and came to Townsend’s aid quickly.

“It was pretty scary, but you have to stay calm,” she said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.