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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 25
Author
Minor accident Mt Buffalo 9th March 2014

gordoste
16/03/2014
9:54:19 PM
Hi all, Just thought I would post about the accident I had last weekend and a couple of things I've learnt. I always try to read others' accounts to take lessons and make my own climbing safer, and so I thought I'd share in turn.

We went up to Mackey's Lookout at Mt Buffalo to do the 3-pitch slab route "Fundamental Difference of Opinion". It's not a difficult route, and is quite safe, as it is equipped with modern stainless bolts (mostly hangers and rings). A bit about us - I have been climbing for quite a long time however mostly as a weekend warrior, and the majority of my climbing has been trad. My climbing partner Dave hasn't been climbing very long, however we've done about 10 days of trad climbing together and he does a lot of research about climbing at home, reading books and using the internet. This means that he has picked the theory up quite quickly, however he has limited experience in applying it.

Anyhow, we located the route (I'd done the top 2 pitches about 7 years ago) and abseiled in with no problems. I took the first lead (as I had led the 2nd pitch last time) and - as expected - found that the climbing was not technically difficult, just requiring a lot of faith in smearing and a bit of mental fortitude to avoid worrying about the fairly large runouts (6-7m in some spots). I had gotten up most of the pitch and at the time of my fall, I was maybe 5m up and significantly left of the previous bolt. I'd gotten the best handhold for some time and needed one more foot move to get to a massive flake. I placed my foot on an edge about the width of a 10c piece (pretty standard for the route), and shifted my weight onto it in order to reach up to the flake. Next thing I know I was running backwards very quickly. When the rope came tight, I got pulled sharply to the right, and my right foot rolled underneath me. I knew it was at least sprained as soon as it happened, and immediately let Dave know that I wouldn't be climbing any further.

After curling up in the foetal position and swearing for a couple of minutes, I got Dave to tie my water bottle on the end of the rope and pulled it up, as I'd suddenly become exceedingly thirsty. My vision also went hazy for a few seconds - probably due to mild shock. After I got myself back together and the pain had subsided somewhat, I used the rope to pull myself up about a foot so I could clip the bolt below the one I last clipped. I then made a 2-point anchor off this bolt and the bolt above. Dave then climbed up to me, took some draws off me, and finished the pitch without incident. I was then able to hand-over-hand up a line fixed to the anchor whilst he belayed me up. I was extremely happy to reach the relative comfort of the belay scoop, however we still had about 70m of climbing to get off the cliff. Dave wasn't 100% confident that he'd get up the next pitch, so we briefly discussed other options. If all else failed, we could abseil to the bottom of the cliff and bush-bash down to the road in a couple of hours (ok it would have taken me longer but at least Dave could get help).
As it turned out, Dave managed to get through the next (very long) pitch, pulling on bolts to save time. By the time he got to the top my ankle had swollen sufficient to allow me to ascend fairly quickly. I could hand-over-hand on the 2nd rope, keeping my right foot at right-angles to the rope to ensure the ankle wasn't flexing at all. This technique found us at the top of the cliff quicker than I expected and we were both very relieved to finally sit down and take our shoes off (I didn't take mine off on the cliff as I knew it wouldn't go back on).
After that, it was a delightful 45-minute hike (about 800m I think) along a rocky track to the car.
So, what have I learnt? Well - firstly, carry a mobile. Reception is fine from the cliff and if I was immobile (e.g. if the ankle was broken), it would have made a rescue much easier to organise. We both felt a bit silly in retrospect when we realised we didn't have one.
Secondly - discuss retreat options in case of an accident, especially if the usual access is from the top of the cliff.
That's about it really, however I do think my next few climbing trips will be to more accessible places - just in case something does go wrong :)

JamesMc
17/03/2014
8:25:08 AM
The sign of a REAL climber. You had an injury but you finished the route. Hope the ankle comes good soon.
brendan
17/03/2014
9:27:18 AM
Thanks for sharing your story and reflections on the incident. Hope the ankle heals up fast

gordoste
17/03/2014
11:03:02 AM
Thanks guys. I have had an x-ray to eliminate a fracture, but it is still too swollen to assess whether there is ligament damage. My toes were uninjured but are purple anyway :) Hopefully over the next few days I will know how long the recovery is likely to take.

ambyeok
17/03/2014
12:56:51 PM
On 17/03/2014 JamesMc wrote:
>The sign of a REAL climber. You had an injury but you finished the route.
>Hope the ankle comes good soon.

A REAL climber would have got half way back to the top, spied a direct finish, nailed the FA on natural gear, chopped some bolts, then been back at the pub in time for happy hour.

On a more serious note, thanks for the tale Gordoste and well done to the both of you for cool heads and a good outcome.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
17/03/2014
6:07:31 PM
Doug Scott and Joe Simpson would be proud of you gordoste!
;-)

Glad you are relatively Ok, despite the mishap.

PS; I have a stuffed ankle from being short-roped on a fall at Mt Pilot, and I can vouch that they take time to heal, but will sometimes never quite be the same as before the incident... ie, likely to remain as the weaker of your two ankles due the trauma (if bad enough), given it on this occasion.
:(
mikllaw
17/03/2014
6:47:37 PM
People tend to start slabbing with shock at the runouts, then after a while a few metres doesn't worry you too much. But once you're falling, the landing will always be a bit of a lottery.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
17/03/2014
6:58:23 PM
On 17/03/2014 mikllaw wrote:
>People tend to start slabbing with shock at the runouts, then after a while
>a few metres doesn't worry you too much. But once you're falling, the landing
>will always be a bit of a lottery.

I would say that that statement holds true for climbs other than slabs as well!
~> On a slab, it may be better to simply sit down/drop to knees, rather than run-fall?
~> ~> Yes, you will lose some bark, but that is possibly better than-

I also hope that this incident doesn't cause Mr Grollo someone to go and safety-retro the already too-close spacing of that, and similar routes ...
:-P
Mike Bee
17/03/2014
7:29:53 PM
I to have done my ankle. Be patient with the recovery.

Would prussicks or a haul from the belayer have made anything easier, or was the hand over handing up ok? I don't know the angle of the route so it's hard to visualise for me, but handover handing up most things at Araps or Moonarie would be simply out of the question I think.
mikllaw
18/03/2014
6:30:38 AM
On 17/03/2014 Mike Bee wrote:
>Would prussicks or a haul from the belayer have made anything easier,
>or was the hand over handing up ok? I don't know the angle of the route
>so it's hard to visualise for me, but handover handing up most things at
>Araps or Moonarie would be simply out of the question I think.

Super-overhung blank granite. He had a keg on his back too, hand over hand too easy.
Low angle slabs, probably 50 degrees or so.

gordoste
18/03/2014
9:49:18 PM
Bit steeper than 50 degrees - probably closer to 70 or 75 with no handholds at all. It's a grade 16 slab. The only worry you have is your feet slipping and the rock isn't super-solid on that cliff - it's pretty standard for a few crystals to part company but usually not a whole edge. When I say hand-over-hand, think "reverse abseiling" - weight always fully in my harness and walking with the legs perpendicular to the rock, using the hands to pull up.

Also I wouldn't agree that the bolts are too close, just that they stick out like dogs' balls. There is another new route on the left of pitch 1 which has carrots, and you have to look pretty carefully to actually find them.

Capt_mulch
19/03/2014
9:08:42 AM
Steve, well done in the circumstances. Ten points for Dave having a go and keeping his head. Sounds like Dave has learnt a good Seconder lesson too - you don't have to climb, you just have to get up the pitch.
LMo
23/03/2014
3:39:39 PM
Steve, the first pitch you are referring to, is it mainly all ring bolted? and does it traverse right underneath a low bushy patch nearer the top?
From the updated addition to the guide book, this route (marked as #11) appears to be called "No Ego".
It reads as if the first pitch of "A Fundamental Difference of Opinion" (route #10) is 6 meters to the left of this and is all carrot bolts, run out alot further than No Ego. It passes to the left of the bush and then meets up at the belay scoop for the second pitch.
When we climbed it recently, we thought we were on pitch 1 of "A Fundamental Difference of Opinion" until noticing the carrots further left...and the right traverse under the bush is the give away.

Thanks for the report also, hope the ankle comes good soon.

gordoste
23/03/2014
4:23:15 PM
I think you're right Leighton, the pitch I was doing was almost all hangers and we did see the line of carrots to the left. The 2nd pitch is all ring bolts.

I agree the bolting is reasonable - you can fall quite a way but it would be pretty hard to hit your head on anything. Did you lead that pitch or the 2nd one?
LMo
23/03/2014
5:11:06 PM
Yes you're right, I couldn't remember if they were ring bolts or hangers on the first pitch... all hangers bar one new carrot (and one old mild steel carrot) just above the belay?
I was in a group of 5 when we climbed (very cosy at the 1st belay) and I drew the straw to clean the bolts. Planning to head back soon in pairs to lead each pitch and try the left hand route.
My leader also took a 3-4m fall on the first pitch near the top on part of that glassy white streak. The bolting felt good tho...just unlucky with your ankle.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
23/03/2014
6:50:24 PM
On 23/03/2014 gordoste wrote:
>I agree the bolting is reasonable - you can fall quite a way but it would be pretty hard to hit your head on anything.

It is a slab, and although shit can happen during any fall, I agree that one would be unlucky to hit their head on a slab. Likewise you were unlucky to roll your ankle.

It sounds to me that NE possibly appears to those new to climbing it, to be a direct start to FDOO?
~> That being the case, then the next guide update needs clarification of it, to keep those inclined for climbing close spaced bolts on the straight & narrow, so to speak.


gordoste
30/03/2014
11:38:32 AM
Well my ankle is a fair bit better now, to the point that I was able to drive to work on Thursday. Will be at least a couple more weeks before I can run though.

To be honest M9, we didn't even look at the guide as I'd left it at home :) We abbed in and scoped out the line as we went down - we figured if a pitch looked too hard or rubbish on inspection then we could always prussick back up.

Looking at the photo topo in the guide update, it's actually very clear which line is which. No Ego and Stiletto are the same for the first 30m or so, with FDOO a few metres to the left (looking at the cliff). After that, No Ego traverses right, but Stiletto continues straight up to join a large flake system at the top of pitch 1 of FDOO. I was following that line and was about 6 inches from being able to grab those huge flakes when my foot blew.
One Day Hero
31/03/2014
2:01:36 PM
On 18/03/2014 gordoste wrote:
>probably closer to 70 or 75 with no handholds
>at all. It's a grade 16 slab.

Ahahahahahaha............what are you? a gecko?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
31/03/2014
2:33:13 PM
On 31/03/2014 One Day Hero wrote:
>On 18/03/2014 gordoste wrote:
>>probably closer to 70 or 75 with no handholds
>>at all. It's a grade 16 slab.
>
>Ahahahahahaha............what are you? a gecko?

C'mon ODH, you've been around long enough to know that in that type of climbing, non-existing 'handholds' are used more for balance than anything else, if used at all...

Hey gordoste, ask kieranl what he thinks of those flakes for use as a belay!
Heh, heh, heh.
pecheur
31/03/2014
2:39:21 PM
On 31/03/2014 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>On 31/03/2014 One Day Hero wrote:
>>On 18/03/2014 gordoste wrote:
>>>probably closer to 70 or 75 with no handholds
>>>at all. It's a grade 16 slab.
>>
>>Ahahahahahaha............what are you? a gecko?
>
>C'mon ODH, you've been around long enough to know that in that type of
>climbing, non-existing 'handholds' are used more for balance than anything
>else, if used at all...
>
>Hey gordoste, ask kieranl what he thinks of those flakes for use as a
>belay!
>Heh, heh, heh.
>
I'm with ODH, sure there are plenty of "no hands" type climbs, but not at 70-75 degrees at grade 16 ...

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 25
There are 25 messages in this topic.

 

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