ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A rock climbing guide on Mount Desert Island suffered multiple traumatic injuries when he fell 40 feet on the eastern side of Champlain Mountain, a park ranger said Wednesday.
The climbing guide is living on MDI for the summer and is in his late 30s, according to Ranger Richard Rechholtz. The guide had two clients with him when he fell around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday on the South Wall climbing area near Precipice Trail, Rechholtz said. The two clients did not fall and were uninjured.
Rechholtz said the climber was wearing a helmet but still may have suffered a head injury. The possibility of a spinal injury is also a concern, he added. He declined to comment on how or why the guide fell, saying that the incident remains under investigation by another ranger.
In keeping with the park’s policy about identifying people who fall ill or become injured in Acadia, Rechholtz did not release the injured guide’s name. The guide works for Acadia Mountain Guides.
“This was a serious climbing accident,” Rechholtz said. “It’s a good thing he was [wearing a helmet].”
He added that it happened in roughly the same location where a University of Maine student from Old Town fell while rock climbing this past April.
The ranger said several park employees, including some who work in other divisions, helped rescue the climber Wednesday. They loaded the injured guide into a litter and carried him for about 10 minutes to an ambulance waiting nearby on the Park Loop Road. From there, the ambulance drove to the Sand Beach parking lot and loaded him into a LifeFlight helicopter that took him to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Rechholtz said he did not know the guide’s condition.
Rechholtz said the man’s fall is not the only incident Acadia rangers have handled in recent days.
Also on Wednesday, there were two bicycle accidents on carriage roads, one that resulted in a girl suffering a serious leg injury, Rechholtz said.
On Tuesday, rangers received three calls of dogs being left in hot cars and also climbed the Beehive near Sand Beach to help a woman who had symptoms of heatstroke. On the way up to the top of the Beehive, rangers ended up helping five other hikers who were starting to get overheated.
The rangers did not find anyone suffering from serious heat exposure, but Rechholtz cautioned that people need to take precautions. People should not lock dogs in hot cars and need to make sure they eat a good breakfast, drink plenty of water and bring extra water with them. If they are on a bike, they should slow down on hills and curves and make sure to wear a helmet, he added.
“People need to be prepared in the hot weather we’ve had,” he said. “It’s been a busy summer with rescues — serious rescues.”