Becker released from hospital

by Maura Henninger | 10/21/97 5:00am

Dan Becker '00, who entered Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Oct. 12 after a near-fatal rock climbing accident, was released from the hospital yesterday, according to an Oct. 19 e-mail message sent to the Dartmouth Mountaineering Club and obtained by The Dartmouth.

Having entered DHMC in fair condition with head injuries, Becker was still in fair condition when released yesterday -- though he is ahead of schedule with his recovery, according to the message.

Matt Holmes '00, Becker's friend, said that Becker will stay at a local hotel with his mother until he is physically ready to fly home to Phoenix. Holmes also said Becker hopes to return to campus for several days before returning home. Becker will then take medical leave for the term.

Jon Waldman '00, Becker's roommate and climbing partner at the time of the fall, said Becker was able to greet visitors during his hospital stay and to sip food through a straw. He is now able to walk around and perform such activities as checking his e-mail, according to Holmes.

"He's calm and taking it very well. I'm very impressed with the fact that he's talking like usual and is really enthusiastic -- the old Dan," said Holmes.

The Dartmouth Mountaineering Club, under the leadership of "climbing father figure" John Joline '70, has been especially supportive of Becker, Holmes also said. Many of the members of the DMC, friends or not, visited him daily.

Waldman said he was unsure of how soon Becker, after his recovery, would start climbing again. As far as the rest of the DMC climbers, Holmes said they have not been deterred by the accident. The group made a trip to the Gunks last weekend.

"I'm not freaked out by it. I've been climbing three times since Dan fell. But I'm never going back to where we were climbing. For him it's going to be totally different," said Waldman.

The accident occurred last Sunday at the Cannon Mountain Ledges, where Becker, placing his third pin, loosened a rock. He then fell 40 feet past his second pin and Waldman and another 40 feet to the first pin and hit a ledge head first.

Becker was then taken by helicopter from the site of the fall to nearby Littleton Hospital where he was treated for head and spinal injuries. He was later airlifted to DHMC where he remained for eight days. He sustained a broken jaw, nose, cheekbones, and fractured skull, though no neurological damage.

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