Date of Incident

19/04/2009

Country

England

Route

Incident

Less than a month after starting to lead trad my partner and I found ourselves at the top of a route that finished on a ledge partway up the cliff. "No problem!" I said, "I know how to abseil off". We put a sling around the tree behind us and proceeded not to abseil but to lower ourselves off. Despite this misunderstanding of the basics of abseiling we both reached the ground safely but were perplexed at having left the sling and screwgate up on the ledge.

Still flushed with success I again assured my partner that there was no problem as I would just solo up the gully (normally used as a descent gully...) next to the route, retrieve our gear and solo back down.

At the top of the gully there is a flat polished ledge and I mantelshelfed onto this with cavalier gusto. It was a sunny day and my first climbing on limestone so I was unaware of the caution (and chalk) needed when sweaty fingers are called upon to interact with glossy rock- my hands shot out towards me before my foot could swing up to join them and I started to tumble down the gully.

As the gully is very ledgey I was able to repeatedly attampt to arrest my fall by sticking various limbs out to grab holds. This slowed my descent into a sort of slithery tumble but I still sustained sprains to both wrists, both knees (one fairly badly) and both ankles as well as a few flesh wounds.

On visiting a hospital A&E department I was given crutches but only needed them for a few days and returned them when I was discharged a week later. It was another couple of weeks before I could climb again- pretty lucky for what was technically an 8m groundfall.

Lessons

The mistakes I made were-

-Not having a plan of how to get down after the route in advance,
-Not understanding how to abseil, let alone rig an abseil without leaving gear,
-Not exercising anything like enough caution when soloing,
-Not appreciating the differences in friction between different rock types,
-Generally having a highly elevated opinion of my own abilities and anhealthily low appreciation of the potential dangers of the crag environment.

Activity

Trad rock climbing

When

Ascending

Injury

Minor injury

Causes

Slip, trip or fall

Anonymous?

Yes

Reported By

Participant

Wearing Helmets?

No

Rescue Services Involved?