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Chockstone Forum - Accidents & Injuries

Report Accidents and Injuries

Author
Bungonia Bungle

Jahmz
11/06/2014
2:58:22 PM
The long weekend started like many others, the quiet creep away from work early Friday afternoon, the frenzied packing of the car (not great at packing early). Gear check: ropes, gear bag, harness, shoes, lid, 1st aid kit etc. etc. swing buy town, supplies, the food, the grog, fuel. Check, check, check. And then a quick burn up the Hume to the destination of this weekend's sortie.

This Weekend's destination is Bungonia, possibly Australia's greatest limestone chosspit. if you are climbing 26+ Its a paradise with good quality rock and plenty of variety. We are not. Instead we are digging deep in our entrails bag for some guts and balls to go climb an enticing ridge (the devils staircase) seen from one of the lookouts. It looks dark and razor sharp, stirring images of adventure and undiscovered lines.

Saturday morning rolls in and a fresh frost pins us in our sleeping bags until the sun peeks in. we make a gentlemanly start to the 350m elevation decent down the walkers track at around 10am. We had no idea what was in store, so we took EVERYTHING. a largish rack, 2 heavy ropes (for that knife edged limestone), walking boots, climbing shoes, food & water, even a couple of rope protectors. We spied the floor of the gorge approaching and decided to make a break for the ridge. The landmarks we so carefully identified at the top had all dissolved and transformed into an alien landscape but we were keen on an adventure and our GPS was inspiring so we pushed on. It turns out we had come way to far down and had 100m or so of chossy looking limestone above us. I racked up and took off crossing all my fingers and toes with every move that the rock and my gear would hold. As we ascended the chospit, landscaping and gardening as we go, the rock gradually improved. Things are looking up.

About 50m up we took a detour to climb/scramble up a spire that sits away from the main cliff. we find a cairn on top. Lose a bit of our Burke and Wills reminiscence and head back down to climb the main ridge. the rock is pretty good now, plenty of loose stuff, but at least its all hard. I lead out the next 30m with an appealing short crack and bulge followed by the usual loose scramble to a belay at the base of the next wall. Feeling confident my partner romps up after me and carries on leading the next section. This is where things went all askew.

I maintain that we would have been better off heading straight up the steep wall where the rock was good he was doubting his ability and decided to skirt around the edge of the wall to the top of the ridge. the line he chose was made up of a number of short broken walls about 4-5m and steep bushy ledges between. My partner was climbing the third of these walls, mounting a 5ft flake to gain the next ledge when the whole flake gave way on him. He fell back to the last ledge with the 200kg rock landing on his foot then promptly on his face, the rock them proceeded to surf my poor mate down the ledge until the ropes took up and the rook careered off towards the valley floor, cleaning up trees and shrubs like they where paper mache in the rain. I hear a groan and some select profanities, followed by a quick body check.



It's my foot! and I think I have a cut on my face. I look up to see claret pouring down his chin and into his T-shirt. head wounds... yey, at least he had his helmet on. Considering the fuss he was making over his foot and the condition of his face. I was seriously worried about his foot. by the time I got up to him, it was clear that finishing the climb was out before we even got to see the ridge, and a retreat was going to be hard on him. Rescue? not yet damn it. Not while I can carry him out. We make a shaky retreat back towards the gully. I am acutely aware of the heightened risk level to both of us now in a high stress situation. I double check all my actions and remind myself not to be that guy who makes a stupid mistake to be picked to pieces by some bottom feeders on internet forums. He can walk, just. I take all his gear except his harness and pack, stubborn bastard doesn't want to look weak. We skirt around the gully together until we meet the walkers track. He wont stop talking and its opening up his face wound pumping blood out onto his face and shirt. He doesn't think its bad enough for first aid and wont let me look at it, stubborn bastard.




Finding the track was our marker for a self rescue, if we can get there we can get out, so I leave him behind to begin hobbling up the steep walkers track. I slog up track with all the gear to get the walking poles from the car. Turns out we didn't take everything after all. Grab a quick drink and head back down to meet him. He is a machine and is already 2/3 of the way up. the poles are a help and we get back to the car in near record time. Feeling relieved to be out, we celebrate with a hot shower back at camp before heading into Goulburn Hospital. He's talking again on the way in and his face has started bleeding again. We got in before the Saturday night rush, he was stitched up, X-rayed and released in a manner making me glad we don't have the US health system. His foot was lucky with no broken boned but some serious crush damage and impressive bruising.



Another long weekend failing to disappoint in excitement. I'm sure the Queen would be proud. I hope everyone else had a great weekend too. Finally and most importantly,

We got out safely, and didn't need to be rescued.

BlankSlab
11/06/2014
3:15:22 PM
Nice TR.
I saw the pics on his facebook. Climbed with him a few years back when i was starting out. Was wondering what had happened and been wanting to hear the story.
Nice work on getting out safely and in one piece.

shortman
11/06/2014
3:26:05 PM
Cheers. Well done.
martym
11/06/2014
4:07:05 PM
On 11/06/2014 Jahmz wrote:
>
stubborn
>bastard doesn't want to look weak.

yeah, weak isn't quite the word I'd use...

Well done on the self rescue... did the walk out do more damage to his foot?
My mate broke his foot in the Dolomites last year - after a sheer walking/stumbling descent of about 1km, we made our way back to our hotel & just put it on ice, see how it is in the morning. It was worse... 3 breaks in the bone.. oops...

Jahmz
11/06/2014
4:24:08 PM
Luckily there was no broken bones, just a lot of bruising and probably a couple of crushed tendons. the walking was ok because he could strap it up tight in a shoe.

I've retreated with a partner with a twisted ankle before and that defiantly made it worse. I think the nature of this injury was particularly lucky.

Miguel75
11/06/2014
7:23:45 PM
Glad you're both ok. Thanks for sharing a pretty interesting TR...
jo-ann
12/06/2014
11:01:01 AM

"I've retreated with a partner with a twisted ankle before and that defiantly made it worse."

can anyone else see the trend here?

nmonteith
12/06/2014
11:09:21 AM
On 12/06/2014 jo-ann wrote:
>"I've retreated with a partner with a twisted ankle before and that defiantly
>made it worse."
>
>can anyone else see the trend here?

But think of it another way - calling in a rescue puts the ambo/police in great danger. The ankle might get slightly "worse" if you do a self rescue but that is better than potentially someone who is trying to rescue you being injured or killed. Rescue is not a perfect science. They have to string ropes and people all over the place and they will be working until the early hours of the morning. All a recipe for problems.

I congratulate these guys for getting out of Bungonia on their own. Well done.

nmonteith
12/06/2014
11:10:44 AM
p.s. if a spinal injury or serious head injury happens then call a rescue!
Wendy
12/06/2014
12:08:53 PM
I've done multiple retreats with twisted ankles - I think the risks of making it significantly worse are significantly less than the risks of a rescue, especially given where they were. Coordinating a rescue at Bungonia would be full on. Both my ankles are perfectly functional despite hobbling out on them more times than I can remember. Sounds to me like they made a good call - that the injuries were such that self rescue was still possible, as they then demonstrated.

An assessment always needs to be made at the time as to what is the best way to proceed given nature of injuries, location, weather, time frame, resources etc etc. There's also a little bit of "I got myself into this, I guess I should get myself out" - ie, we all know that something might go wrong when we are climbing, and if the cost of us looking after ourselves in further irritating a sprained ankle, well, so be it.
If the cost is moving a spinal injury and causing permanent spinal cord damage, well, I think we will all agree that's a much more serious issue and should only be done when no other options are available.

Having the option of professional rescue at all is a massive luxury we should all be grateful for when we really need them and not put under pressure when we don't.
kieranl
12/06/2014
12:12:42 PM
On 12/06/2014 nmonteith wrote:
>p.s. if a spinal injury or serious head injury happens then call a rescue!

Yep. And if you're worried about a possible spinal injury, treat it as one, don't move the person unless essential for their safety and call a rescue. Remember, movement of fingers and toes and good sensation in those areas doesn't establish that there is no spinal injury. There may still be an unstable fracture that has not caused any spinal cord damage.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
12/06/2014
1:09:25 PM
Well done on your resilience and fortitude to see out your 'self-rescue', and for posting of your experience here.
I enjoyed reading it.

As an aside; by 'seeing it through', you have remained true to the ethos of adventure, ... and apart from your mates likely scar, this will become a long lasting memory worth savouring and re-telling in years to come!

As a further aside; Bungonia is an interesting choss pit is it not?
Dare I say, compared to say Dogface in the Bluies, where you know every hold is suspect, Bungonia keeps you guessing all the time, as some of the holds actually stay put in the lower grades!

There are 12 messages in this topic.

 

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