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Report Accidents and Injuries

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Another Arapiles Accident
7:52:38 AM
I heard that another accident occured at Arapiles yesterday. News reports said that a 46 year old man had to be air lifted to Melbourne and is in a serious condition. Can anyone confirm this or know what happened?
10:35:44 AM
herald sun says

15m fall at arapiles, grampians
46 year old man
head chest and arm injurys
he was unconcious when found on a ledge.
15 mins after the accident paramedics were then called to the other side of the gramps for a bushwalker with a broken ankle.

12:37:03 PM
wow, the herald shun didnt report a fall from a 500m cliff? That is their usual high journalistic standard.
5:32:42 PM
We saw this guy hauled up by rescuers and then airlifted off from behind Bluff Major. Does anyone know if he is OK?
1:01:21 PM
None of this info is confirmed.

A South Oz climber in his mid 40s. Apparently it was a ground fall from Missing Link. Head injuries (don't know if he was wearing a helmet), broken bones and the usual cuts and abrasions. The quote was "he'll live" which doesn't sound all that promising (brain damage?).
6:35:14 PM
Not sure where he is from, but his name was Paul and no, he didnít have a helmet.

I was with a couple of mates who did Missing Link before Paul and his partner set off. The wind was gusting through the gully hard, I decided to sit it out and watch my more experienced friends do the climb. I chatted to both guys while we waited for my mates to rap off. Paul had done missing link before, albeit in slightly better conditions.

We had just packed up and were about to go back down Ali's when watching Paul lead the climb. He was looking good having placed his first bit of pro before the tricky traverse right which had him strung out a fair distance from his first piece. I think he had got his second piece in, but pulling on it it came out which made him loose his balance and fall. His partner tried to take in but there was way too much rope out from his bit of pro. The ground falls away a fair bit to the right of the start so it was probably more like a 12 or so meter fall onto rock. Needless to say he was pretty messed up with pretty severe head injuries and plenty of broken bones.

Fortunately, one of my mates who had just finished the climb, Warwick, is a nurse so he took control of the situation. Being my birthday, I had also fortunately decided to take my mobile up on the mountain which I wouldnít usually do. I got on it straight away calling the ambo's and the araps rescue squad.

Warwick says he couldnít find any pulse for a while, but the guy pulled through and eventually regained consciousness. We werenít able to do much more for him other than talk to him and keep him warm. After well over an hour, an ambo abseiled down to him from the top car park. The chopper arrived soon after.

A decision was eventually made to pull him up the face opposite to missing link to the car park on top of the mountain where the chopper could winch him up from. It was way too windy for them to winch up out of the gully. A challenge for the araps rescue squad to say the least. They eventually worked it out and after a bumpy ride up the face in the scoop, we were glad to finally see Paul on his way to Melbourne.

We were happy to see a rope set up at the chains at Ali's which we abseiled off. The nerves were shot and we all werenít exactly in the mood for a down climb. By this time, it was mid afternoon, we walked Paul's partner back down to camp (a climber of 25ys experience who didnít know Paul that well), got back to our spot at the gums and tried to digest what the hell we had just gone through.

My birthday climb scheduled for that afternoon was replaced with a billy full of bourbon. We took off the next day needing a change of scenery. I've spent the last month re-evaluating my enthusiasm for the sport. It was a bit of a shock to see after only climbing for a year. Havenít managed to get back on a rope yet, not just because I live in ACT and most climbing areas are closed after the fires... Haven't given it away though and I'm determined to get back up soon.

I hope this posting can act as a warning to anyone doing Missing Link. The traverse out to the right really does leave you strung out. Id know saying this will be controversial, especially to keepers of the araps ethics, but if there was a bolt on that section this guy wouldnít be lying in hospital. But thatís another debate for people more experienced than me to partake in. A helmet certainly wouldn't hurt either...

A birthday I'll never forget.

If anyone has any news on Paul I'd be grateful to hear how he is going. My thoughts have been with him since that day.

9:47:24 PM
Nobody likes to hear of climbing accidents, and I hope Paul recovers from his fall.

But the issue of adding a bolt to every climb that someone gets injured or dies on.... where would it end? Add a bolt because the fall was too long, I felt I could have fallen, or I just don't like falling!
Missing Link has always had a reputation as being quite bold. Climbers need to accept responsibility for choices and make the judgement on whether we want to expose ourselves to that greater risk.

4:06:38 PM
When I did Missing Link a few years ago I thought it was not very three stars and quite bold. The guide didn't stress hard enough the runout nature of the climb in my opinion. All it needs now is a mention of the fact it was the scene of a nasty accident - and most scardycat climbers will keep clear. It certainly dosn't need a bolt.
10:51:41 PM
Let's get this into perspective: Missing Link was put up in 1965 and protection is not good. The Mentz-Tempest guide uses the adjective 'bold' to describe this climb.

There is protection on Missing Link but the problem is that once you step right from the top of the initial seam then you can climb anywhere but only one option has gear (i.e. traverse horizontally R from top of the seam for 2m to a large wire placement).

Guides don't stress the danger associated with climbs because people don't want to know about it. In my Stapylton Amphitheatre Guide I stated : "The easiest climb in this guide can kill you". You can soon be acused of laying it on too thick. Climbers can't have it both ways.

By way of example, someone on Chockstone reported a recent ascent of Sabre at Stapylton and said something like : " the guide said that this (3rd) pitch was poorly protected but it seemed fine".

That can only be a comment on my guide because that is the only guide that comments on the seriousness of Sabre (quote from description of pitch 3: "poor protection at times")

It's not as though I was a total gumby on face climbs when i put the guide out. I had put up Missing, Navigator and repeated Blyth Street DS ( among others).

I stick by my asessment of Sabre. The description was written for climbers so that they could assess the risks. If someone thinks that I am a wimp that's their problem:)

Before people blame the guide for the Missing Link accident perhaps you could look at yourselves.

What you are trying to do is blame people like me who have tried to publish the best information we can find about our climbing areas. That makes me really cross.

It is not as though I make any money out of it. I received $1,000 for the Victoria Range Guide. That cannot have covered the cost of my research trips. I still haven't recovered the printing costs of my Stapylton Amphitheatre Guide, let alone my research costs.

Another thing worth noting is that climbs are not inherently safe. D Minor would have to be one of the safest climbs at Arapiles, in theory. In reality, one person has died and at least one other has been seriously injured on D Minor. It has a worse record than Missing Link


9:35:16 AM
I think the onus always has been, and always should be, on the individual climber to make their own assesments of a route. Guidebooks should be seen as just that, a guide, not gospel. In my opinion its important to recognise that even the best researched and edited guide will contain a certain degree of error, and a certain degree of subjectivity. In many cases error and subjectivity may not the responsibility of the authors, given that for large guides in particular it is impossible for the authors to have climbed every route. They would therefore be relying on the original route descriptions, from god knows how many years ago, and written by god knows who.

If I do rely on a guidebook description, if it mentions poor protection / boldness etc I try and make sure its well within my capabilities (difficulty wise). If no mention is made of protection, depending on what you can see from the ground, I have to assume that there may be some run-out sections. If the guide mentions the climb is well protected, I would be more likely to try and push the boundaries.

I guess what im saying is that the only time id be really pissed at a guidebook is if it said a climb had excellent protection, and I found this to clearly not be the case.

Every time I getmy hands on a new guidebook I give thanks that I didnt have to do all the work, yet still get to reap the benefits.

Donut King
5:40:36 PM
clip-clop-clip-clop...whooooooooo there Silver

Missing Link is a CLASSSSSSSSSic route, as previously stated in kieranl's mail, there are a number of ways to go, but only one line has any protection of merit.

I agree totally that climbers dont want to know the danger associated with a climb...hell thats why we climb, any climb can kill you (agian from kieranl). Look at Ali's decent how many people have had some trouble on that, but what grade is it???? People have dided on that decent!

they guy who fell may have been a competant climber, he'd done the climb before.

No one should be blamed for this "accident", specifically not a guide book editor.
Paul could have worn a helmet but for whatever reason he didnt, which may or may not have helped.I'm sure he's not going to bame anyone for this.

lets hope and pray together that Paul has a quick recovery and that he's back on the rock soon, pehaps with a bit more caution and maybe a head encased by a protective shell.

Rocky-she'll be right mate, get back on the ol' horse as soon as possible. Perhaps more people should view the results of a car crash to make them think twice about driving like a complate twat---but i doubt it would.
Dali and nm comments are on the money, lets not stich up every climb so that every 0.75 m theres some shiny bolt jusy cos someone has an accident or thinks its a weeee bit runout.

lets make those choices ourselves on wheter we should do a route or not taking into consideration any subjective comments by the like of kieranl or tempest-mentz....etc in there books.

"Every time I getmy hands on a new guidebook I give thanks that I didnt have to do all the work, yet still get to reap the benefits."-amen to that bruther owneg.

Giddy up there...away............
8:37:17 PM
I must have taken some angry pills before my last post but people seem to have gotten the message without taking offense.

We deal with a risky activity and it will occasionally bite back in a very nasty way.

As one article (by Graeme Desroy, UK, some issue of Mountain) said "Life goes on but some don't".


1:23:55 PM
I have to agree, despite hoping paul recovers, the ultimate (final) responsibility for falling of a climb lies with the person who got you there - yourself. No one else makes you climb...

But I don't think it's fair to say missing link "certainly dosn't need a bolt". That depends entirely on what grade you can climb. If you can climb grade 25, a run-out 17 is probably a doodle, so it wouldn't need a bolt. But for other people (like me), leading a 17 is about my limit, so missing link certianly does need a bolt .. So i guess you just need to accept the ethics of the area is about climibg on natural pro, and stick to well protected routes if they are harder. It seems to me hard does not always equal dangerous, and easy does not always equal safe.

Have fun, Cheers

Donut King
2:45:21 PM

As to bolt/no-bolt question (i'm far to lazy to go out place a bolt in rock) IMHO I'm all for keeping things as the FA intended (apart from replacing old rusty bolts/pitons etc) in that if it was a bold lead then thats the way it should be, otherwise almost every thing would have a bolt. i suppose then you could chose NOT to clip the bolt, but really......

I would be a little miffed if missing link had a bolt placed on it. if a cllimber feels its beyond there limits then back off, know when to down climb and think perhaps i should be more confidant next time. Or even get you mate who climbs 20 to lead and then you can practice on top rope ready for the big "head-point" as it were. People apply these tactics to "hard" routes (all relative) so why dont you to this route.

Lets not sanitise climbing to this extent.

"It seems to me hard does not always equal dangerous, and easy does not always equal safe."

I reckon thats a good summary.
4:28:20 PM
im with ya donut
10:14:31 PM
Don't even contemplate placing a bolt on Missing Link. When you consider the protection available in the mid-60's it's bizarre that over 30 years later people might contemplate placing a bolt to 'improve' the climb. There used to be a piton in the initial crack but there are plenty of wire placements either side of where the peg used to be.

Missing Link is a serious climb. I climbed it when 18 was my leading level (oh that I was climbing 18 at the moment!). I coped OK.

If anyone places a bolt on Missing Link I might have to take a refresher course in bolt-chopping. I'm a out of practice after 15 years or so.


12:36:13 PM
For what it's worth...

I climbed Missing Link a couple of years back. I led it, as I almost always do on natural gear, using double ropes. I don't recall thinking that the route was run-out in the slightest, although I did think it was perhaps the most mentally involving 18 I'd led.

Climbing on doubles meant that I could get gear in the initial crack, traverse to the right, and place gear at the end of the traverse, clipping it with the right-hand rope. I can't recall the exact distances involved, but I felt the traverse was still protected by the initial gear. And I could clip the subsequent gear without putting any more slack into the system.

I'm by no means the boldest climber in the world (I'm more of a bolt clipping scaredy cat these days) but I can't see how a bolt is necessary on ML.

That said, I certainly wouldn't recommend it so a novice 'grade 18' leader. I had a lot more routes under my belt when I tackled it. But then at Araps there are so many routes that *are* great for a new leader at the grade, so what's the worry anyway.

And once you've exausted the 18s, you can move onto the well-protected, soft touch 19s like Quisling.

2:17:27 PM
What's in the water up in Natimuk!!?? Keiren, take a deep breath... No one said they would place a bolt on Missing Link. It doesn't need it and the climb isn't that great anyway.

Your threat "I have something of a reputation for chopping bolts though I haven't chopped anything for 14 or 15 years" perpetuates the comment from Jark
"but watch out i'm sure a few old guys out there will be waiting with their cold chisels to undo any good work you do." Even saying "I don't propose to chop these bolts" doesn't alter the fact you had already raised that you have already struck a cold chisel in the past and therefore could do it again if you felt it justified.

12:06:46 AM
Dalai, What's in the water at Nati? E-coli.
I think I mis-read a previous post that suggested the possibility of a bolt in Missing Link.
If someone placed a bolt in Missing Link I would think about removing it. I would hope someone else did it first.
As to my response to Jark, I was not threatening anything. I actually said that I wasn't proposing to chop the bolts he had placed. That statement is pretty meaningless unless set in the context that I have chopped bolts in the past.
I also acknowledged that Jarc had some worthwhile comments to make about the state of bolting on Taipan Wall. So shoot me for seeing both sides1
Finally, you seem to be privy to some information about me that I was not aware of. To the best of my knowledge I have never used a cold-chisel on a crag for any reason.
10:24:25 AM
Hi Kieren, the comment about the water was based on the aggression displayed in your previous couple of comments.
The comment re:cold chisel. You said you had chopped bolts previously. If you had REMOVED the bolts minus cold chisel, then be more precise in your wording next time so that I can't draw the wrong conclusion.

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There are 64 messages in this topic.


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