Somerville resident Benjamin Kessel dies after climbing accident in New Hampshire on Cannon Cliff in Franconia Notch State Park


A Massachusetts man has died after falling from a mountain in New Hampshire while climbing over the weekend, authorities said.

The man was identified Tuesday by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department as Benjamin Kessel, 34, of Somerville.

Authorities were alerted at around 4 p.m. on Sunday that the climber from Cannon Cliff in Franconia Notch State Park fell about 150 feet after a refrigerator-sized boulder broke off, slipped on his climbing rope and cut him, according to a statement from the department.

Several 911 calls regarding the crash were made from the Moby Grape climbing route, the statement said.

Conservation officers and members of the Pemi Valley search and rescue team searched for the man at the base of the cliff, while a member of Kessel’s group and two other nearby climbers descended the road where the Somerville man had fallen, authorities said.

At around 5:30 p.m., climbers rappelling down the cliff found Kessel’s body and determined he was dead, authorities said.

“It was then decided that the recovery would take place in daylight early Monday morning,” the department said. “All efforts then were to get the research climbers back to the top of the cliff before the darkness started and the night temperatures cooled.”

It was not until Monday morning that authorities recovered Kessel’s body, according to the department.

Search and rescue personnel were taken down to the man’s body, which was found lodged in small spruce trees, officials said.

By 10:30 a.m., authorities returned Kessel’s body to the top of the cliff. Rescuers then transported the man’s body to the Cannon Mountain Streetcar parking lot. The entire rescue team arrived at the base around 12:30 p.m., officials said.

News of Kessel’s death comes about a week after another Massachusetts man, a 60-year-old Mashpee resident, died after suffering from an “unknown medical condition” while atop Mount Jefferson, according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game.

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