East Greenbush man dies in climbing accident

Posted at: 09/13/2013 9:48 AM
Updated at: 09/13/2013 5:55 PM
By: Dan Bazile

The Indian Ladder trail at Thacher State Park.
The Indian Ladder trail at Thacher State Park.
Photo: File

NEW SCOTLAND -- Ronald Czajkowski, 44, of East Greenbush, fell 120 feet to his death early Friday morning at Thatcher Park, according to police.

"He had a harness rope with him. It appears it was human error as far as attaching it to the anchor point on top of the cliff," said Captain John Layton, from the Albany County Sheriff's Department.

Layton said Czajkowski, who had very little experience climbing, came to the park just around sunrise. He said it appears the victim did not have the proper knot on the rope as he was trying to rappel off the cliff.

"He's only been climbing a few times. It's a new thing for him. It's only been over the last few weeks," Layton said.

Czajkowski, according to police, was also by himself, something that climbers say you should never do. In addition, climbing or repelling is not allowed at the park. There are discussion underway to allow the sport in the future. The Thatcher Climbing Coalition, made up of experienced climbers, are exploring options.

"Thatcher is what, a couple of miles. We need to evaluate what section of that have strong rock," Said Adam Catalano who runs The Edge Halfmoon in the Town of Halfmoon.

Catalano said the unfortunate accident should serve as a reminder that people need to be careful.

"I think it really shows that you need to be experienced. You need to go with somebody who knows what they're doing," he said.