Home > Climbing

Fatal Indoor Climbing Accident Claims Life of Gym Worker

Sad news quickly spread through the Northeast climbing community last night. An established rock climber from New Hampshire died after a fatal fall inside the climbing gym where he worked for 20 years.
ground up view or a lead wall from a climbing gym(Photo/Roman Zaiets via Shutterstock)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Climbers understand that there is inherent risk in their beloved activity. But when an experienced, and especially a professional, climber falls to their death inside a gym, it can be even more shocking and feel more tragic.

On Tuesday, May 21t, Lee Hansche, 46, of Allenstown, N.H., fell to his death while climbing in the Vertical Dreams climbing gym in Manchester, N.H., the gym confirmed in a Facebook post. A local news report on Patch.com said police confirmed that a man fell from 50 to 60 feet without the aid of any safety equipment.

The report said Manchester Fire and AMR responded and requested a trauma alert at Elliot Hospital. The man was transported to the hospital, but succumbed to his injuries. The Patch report claimed that authorities believed the incident was a “tragic accident, and nothing appears to be suspicious.”

Lee Hansche Remembered by Local Rock Climbers

Vertical Dreams, which claims to have “the tallest climbing wall in Manchester,” posted a tribute to Hansche. The heartfelt post stated that Hansche, an employee of over 20 years, “openly shared his sport with anyone who happened to walk through the door.”

A perusal of Mountain Project reveals that Hansche had been active in his local Rumney area and across other sport climbing crags in the U.S. And this Instagram post reveals that he was also a well-traveled rock climber globally and an established route developer.

Comments from gym members reinforce Hansche’s generosity in mentoring first-timers and beginners.

“Lee set so many of the routes that brought me to where I am in climbing, a sport that I now love because of it,” one commenter posted. “He clearly loved his craft, and I will always appreciate what he did for it. I wish his family the best.”

auto belay climber

Climbing Gym, Auto-Belay Maker Settle Lawsuit of Injured Climber for $6M

In 2019, a climber fell 30 feet while using an auto-belay device at a Seattle climbing gym. His lawsuit could have far-reaching consequences. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!