Keene ice climbing guide seriously hurt in fall

Matt Horner in December 2013 (Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)

A Keene climbing guide suffered grievous injuries when he fell about 50 feet while ice climbing at Chapel Pond last Wednesday.

Matt Horner, who is a professional scultor as well as a climbing guide, fell while bringing a client up the Rhiannon route. The client was able to help Horner to the trailhead, where a forest ranger administered first aid and transported him to Elizabethtown Community Hospital. He was then taken via helicopter to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.

Horner’s friend Bill Schneider set up a GoFundMe page that raised more than $20,000 in the first 24 hours. Horner and Schneider have not yet responded to requests for comment on the accident.

On the GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/Matthew-Horner), Schneider said Horner suffered broken bones and numerous soft-tissue injuries.

“His injuries include a 2cm brain hemorrhage, a severe concussion, multiple fractures in his face (a La Fort fracture), and soft tissue injuries to his right wrist, left knee, and hip,” Schneider wrote on the page. “Thankfully, in time, Matt should recover from these injuries, and will be able to guide and pursue his artwork again.

“Matt’s doctors have advised him that it’s REALLY important for him to avoid screen time in front of a computer, cell phone, and other sorts of mental stimulation. He needs to rest his brain so he can recover!”

Horner is a well-known figure in the Adirondack climbing community and has climbed many of the area’s hardest routes. He has also climbed in Alaska, Mongolia and Peru.

In an interview for a Lake Placid News feature story in December 2013, Horner contrasted his love of climbing with his passion for sculpting stone.

“Ice climbing is very ethereal. Here and gone,” he said. “It’s a beautiful environment. And then sculpting a stone is so permanent. It’s almost like the opposite of what the sculpture is. Stone really intrigues me because I’ll be dead for a long time, and my sculptures will still live.”

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