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18/07/2020 Leader groundfall at Frog Buttress (QLD
7:08:38 PM
Accident note with photos.

Please note: the following is a rough overview of some details of a recent accident at Frog, undoubtedly some of the details will be incorrect, incomplete or just missing, nevertheless I hope they provide some educational value. Please keep any comments constructive.

Best wishes for the recovery of the climber, and thanks for QAS, QPS, Fire and HEMS services for their assistance.

Date of incident: 18/07/2020
Location: “Voices in the Sky” *** 25, West of access track, Frogs Buttress, Mount French section, Moogerah Peaks National Park, QLD, Australia

Activity: single pitch trad climbing
Mechanism: Trad lead fall, multiple placement failure, groundfall.
Injury: Lower limb injury requiring hospitalisation
Weather: Clear
Incident ~1540, Sunset: ~1712, last light ~1737 (ref: Willyweather)

Route Description from TheCrag:
“Fantastic climbing and superb positions can be found the whole way up this thin and daunting line. Despite appearances, brilliant protection in the form of small wires and micro cams can be found the whole way.”

Route Description Guidebook:

Incident description:
Male climber in his 30s fell during onsight attempt on Voices in the sky (Grade 25, three star, 32m), due to multiple placement failures fell approx 7m into boulder gully, ‘caught’(spotted) as he bounced out of the gully head first to the base of MMT. Sustained leg injuries, walked out by ambulance service for road transport to hospital for further treatment.

Climber was not wearing a helmet at the time of the fall, I understand it was his first day at Frog.

Emergency services were contacted by the climbers' partners immediately due to concerns regarding risk of serious injury due to significant fall distance by mobile phone (good reception at this crag).

Climber was reviewed at the site by QAS with attendance of QPS/fire who performed as assisted hobble to walk to road transport ~300m as last light approached.

Per the climbers friends, injuries including open fracture of kneecap and fracture of tibia were identified.

Unfortunately I have been unable to contact the climber to confirm any details regarding this incident.

The climber was reported to have noted, during the climb, that his placements were of poor quality prior to the fall. Review of photos taken prior appears consistent with some of the micro cams stems being in a suboptimal position (ie out of alignment with expected loading) immediately prior to the fall. It is likely the climber was either not carrying or did not use micro wires.

7:52:44 PM
Link doesn't work, files in trash
6:05:21 AM
The photos open ok on iPhone
Nasty incident and I do hope the injured party recovers well and gets back confidently in rock- best wishes!
7:03:07 AM
The photos open ok on iPhone
Nasty incident and I do hope the injured party recovers well and gets back confidently in rock- best wishes!

I was involved in a similar experience at Frog In 1979 when my partner, leading iron mandible, pulled out a hex he was testing- suddenly found himself about 2ft out from the rock ; then splat!
Fortunately the ground there is soft, he landed on his side had a gashed hand, broken cheek bone bruising but otherwise ok. Just the 2 of us at Frog that day so a slow stagger out and trip to Boonah hospital where he got cleaned up, I’m not sure he climbed again.
8:30:13 AM
On 29-Jul-2020 davedave wrote:

>...I understand it was his first day at Frog...

I remember the old Cheap and Nasty Guide to Frog had a warning to new-comers to lower their grades by a few whilst getting familiar with the style of climbing and rock. Assuming the narrative presented is correct, this is probably a good demonstration as to why.

Dr Nick
7:07:28 PM
On 29-Jul-2020 davedave wrote:

>Climber was not wearing a helmet at the time of the fall, I understand
>it was his first day at Frog.

For clarification, my (~30yo) memory of Frog is that quite a few of the climbs have significant amounts of loose largish rock near the top. DaveDave, can you confirm that it's a crag where helmets are a Good Thing?

(I'm trying to head off the "he landed on his leg, what good would a helmet do?" responses.

Healing vibes to the bloke involved, and may the ambos and others involved have all their crag responses be as (relatively) pleasant.
One Day Hero
1:53:27 PM
Voices in the Sky seems like it would be a fairly serious onsite, not that surprising that someone stripped gear and cratered. Hope the injuries aren't too bad.
5:07:35 PM
Certainly not the climb to get used to Frog on, no rests and the need to place good gear quickly.
5:59:31 PM
Everyone was pretty aware that he was very lucky to not have more obviously life changing injuries. Perhaps some mixture of the gear taking an amount of force, favourable orientation on take off/landing and falling down the boulder gully, as well as apparently being spotted as he landed at the base.

Loose rock is a significant hazard at frog, I can't think of many climbs on my last trip that didn't have a good range of unattached rock from small to large at or above the top anchors. Climber triggered and 'spontaneous' rockfall is common.

Choosing to wear a helmet is obviously a personal choice. I usually wear one even on choss-free sports climbs, but I've probably met more young people with life altering head injuries then most, also quite the gumby.
3:53:32 PM
I did onsight this route. I remember great wires interspersed with small cams. A warning to remember that when you get into the harder routes at Frog, you need to be good at placing wires. Also, the chap was very lucky not to die, having no helmet. It is not cool these days to skip the helmet. I hope he recovers well and learns. Sorry he had to learn the hard way.

There are 10 messages in this topic.


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