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Ground Fall at Mount York
7:59:23 PM
G'day all,

My old man tells me that apparently someone grounded at Mount York on Saturday. This is the excerpt I received:

"Police Rescue and Paramedics are currently on scene at Mt York, near Mt Victoria after a rock climber took a fall a short time ago. The female climber fell several meters and impacted a tree, before falling to the ground. The climber sustained leg injuries and will be airlifted to hospital shortly."

Anyone know/heard anything else?


9:50:34 PM
It was my girlfriend who had the fall. It wasn't a grounder though.

She took a fall from only just short of the 3rd bolt on a climb (can't remember which one) on the Mezzaluna wall. As she fell, she popped far further back from the wall than we expected and impacted a broken, upward pointing branch attached to a tree behind the belayer (me). The fall onto the branch was about 2 or 3 metres I think.

The branch gave her a very nasty puncture wound on the inside of her thigh, and she hit it hard enough to snap it off at the trunk. The branch was was about 8cm in diameter, with a blunt (thank Christ) spike at the end.

She didn't take a grounder (although I know that tends to be the way things are reported), but did hit the tree hard. We lowered her and applied first aid.

Bleeding was mostly stemmed and controlled by the time emergency services were onsite. They helped her with pain management and further assessment, then she was choppered out due to the difficulty in getting her back up to the road with the injury.

She had surgery to fully assess and repair the wound last night. She's still in hospital (and will be for at least a few days), but will be OK. It'll be an uncomfortable week or two as she heals, but there's no permanent damage.

After running it through in my head countless times over the last few nights, I'm furious with myself for not recognising the hazard before starting up a route. To be honest, we're both far more used to gym climbing, and I believe she just pushed away from the wall as she fell without realising the tree was there. I as the belayer didn't think of it as a hazard either.

On a side note, I can't say enough to compliment and thank the people involved on Saturday afternoon. The emergency service guys were all perfect professionals who should be proud of how they did their jobs, and the three other climbers there (Lana, Andrew and Eric if I have the names right in my memory) were absolutely brilliant too. I owe every one of you a beer and a big thank you.
5:54:34 AM
An unusually frank account of what happened, thank you. Something (else) to think about in future.

7:20:24 AM
Sounds like a lot of bad luck. Hope the recovery goes well.

7:45:58 AM
Thanks for sharing Craig. It must have been a pretty traumatizing event and I wish your GF (and everyone involved) a speedy recovery.

EDIT; I've often thought the dying/dead tree below Barbara Streisand (at Werribee Gorge) could do the same if you fell at the right spot...
8:53:06 AM
As the others have said, thanks for the frankness of your reply,

Here's hoping that your girlfriend is okay. Sounds like a quick response on all fronts may have stopped this from becoming more disasterous. I hope the injury doesn't discourage either of you from outdoor climbing...

it also serves to highlight just how wrong the media can get these reports. The difference in context between clipping a tree (something I think more than a few of us have probably done over the years) versus hitting the ground is quite profound.

12:47:10 PM
I'm happy to share the info with people guys.

I've always used the Accidents and Injuries board as a bit of a teaching resource. Read what happened to other people so you don't repeat their mistakes. So if anyone takes this story and avoids a similar situation, there's some good to come out of it.

I think it's also important to take the opportunity to correct the incorrect info that tends to fly around after an accident. As Paul said, there's a fair difference between a grounder and clipping a tree. We (my girlfriend and I) know what happened on Saturday and I'm not too worried about others making assumptions, but it would be silly to not take the opportunity to give people a more accurate account.

It might be a while before either of us tie in again outdoors, but we'll just play that by ear.

Thanks for the support guys.
2:55:04 PM
Thanks for the info - like you I always appreciate accident accounts, as reminders of things to look out for myself.

Best wishes to your g/f for a speedy recovery - and don't be put off outdoors as a result.

There are 8 messages in this topic.


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